Probiotics: The Good Bacteria

probiotics Digestion conceptWe’ve all heard of antibiotics. The doctor prescribes an antibiotic to help us fight off a bacterial infection. The antibiotic either kills the bacteria or stops it from reproducing so the body’s natural defenses can take over.

Bacteria, of course, are those microscopic, living critters – or microorganisms – that exist virtually everywhere.

Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, trillions of bacteria from more than 400 species exist in the average adult’s intestinal tract. These bacteria perform countless functions that are very beneficial to the human body.

The problem is that we as a society have destroyed our guts with bad food and high stress levels, and we consume far more bad bacteria than good bacteria.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy and promote good digestion. Babies pick up probiotics and other bacteria as they pass through the birth canal during delivery, and the probiotics multiply from there.

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What You Should Know about New Dietary Guidelines for Cholesterol

new cholesterol guidelinesThe Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federal panel run by the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, recently changed its 40-year guidelines related to the consumption of cholesterol.

More specifically, the government is no longer warning people that consuming food with too much cholesterol – excess dietary cholesterol – is a bad idea. Previously, this was thought to increase the amount of cholesterol in blood.

The folks in Washington are finally listening to doctors who understand the human body.

The panel now sees no direct relationship between dietary cholesterol consumption and blood cholesterol. Of course, evidence that has existed since the 1950s contradicts the claim that cholesterol found in food has a significant effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Dietary cholesterol comes from animal-based foods, like meat, eggs, dairy and seafood. Plant-based food has no cholesterol. However, the human body produces all of the cholesterol it needs.

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Why Magnesium Is So Important to Our Health

magnesium is importantWhen most people think of important vitamins, minerals and nutrients, some of the ones that come to mind most often are iron, calcium, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin D. However, magnesium plays an enormous role in our health.

In fact, after oxygen, water and basic food, you could argue that magnesium is the most important element in the human body.

Magnesium is a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions that keep the human body functioning properly. Magnesium supports proper nerve and muscle function, the immune system, a regular heartbeat, bone strength and growth, strong cell structure, energy and protein production, and the regulation of blood glucose levels.

An important electrolyte, Magnesuim helps to keep the body’s fluids balanced in order to maintain normal muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. Magnesium also helps the body move other electrolytes in and out of cells.

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Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 4

healthy pregnancy In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of our Healthy Mother, Healthy Child series, I focused on the nutritional component of pregnancy – essential nutrients, the importance of moderation, foods to avoid and the importance of breastfeeding.

Now I want to shift to the physical component. Many pregnant women deal with musculoskeletal pain. Chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage can do wonders to prevent and relieve pain during and after pregnancy.

These are passive modalities that require the mother to do nothing. Mommy is working hard enough. These treatments can prevent and relieve physical pain and keep the body’s systems in balance.

We can get more aggressive with lingering musculoskeletal pain after pregnancy, using x-ray, MRI and more intense physical therapy to diagnose and treat pain. Of course, you want to take it easy with exercise at first. Start with walking and light stretching to elevate the heart rate and improve the production of breast milk. Exercise can quickly turn into stress if you overdo it.

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Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 3

eating healthy during pregnancyIn Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I discussed the essential nutrients during pregnancy and the recommended daily allowance of these nutrients, as well as the importance of water, fiber and pre-natal vitamins.

With any nutritional program, but especially during pregnancy, moderation is critical. If a pregnant woman has a craving for a hot fudge sundae in the middle of the night, will the baby be harmed if mom gives in to this craving?

Of course not. Just use common sense and follow that late night snack with healthy meals and snacks the next day.

However, there are certain types of foods and beverages that you need to closely monitor or eliminate during pregnancy. Continue reading

Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 2

Pregnant Woman Eating A Fresh Passion FruitIn a previous post, I began a discussion about the keys to proper nutrition during pregnancy, including consuming the proper amounts of folic acid, iron and calcium. This is obviously important to the developing baby, but also to the mother, who needs to produce a supply of healthy breast milk for feeding the baby.

Protein intake is another critical factor for pregnant women, especially during the second and third trimesters when the baby’s growth rate increases. The amino acids in protein serve as the foundation for many kinds of body tissue.

The recommended daily allowance for protein varies for different age groups. Women ages 25 and older should consume 45 to 50 grams of protein, but during pregnancy, consumption should increase to 70 grams per day. Organic chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef, fish (never farm-raised), plain yogurt, beans, peas, nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.

One essential ingredient during pregnancy that is often overlooked is water. Water not only keeps the body hydrated, but it also helps to relieve constipation, reduces the risk of hemorrhoids, and prevents bladder infections, which are common among pregnant women. Continue reading

Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 1

healthy pregnancy tipsThere are a million reasons why I respect my wife, Stacy, more than any person on the face of the earth. The five biggest reasons are our five children who, along with Stacy, make me the luckiest father and husband in the world.

There is no greater joy than having a family. As for those nine months leading up to the birth of each child – well, you’ll have to ask Stacy.

As a doctor, one of the most common questions I’m asked by a pregnant woman is, “Am I doing the right thing?” That motherly instinct kicks in as moms want to make sure they’re doing everything possible to protect their children.

For a nutritional perspective, there are certain things expecting moms should know that can help keep mother and child healthy.

Cravings are natural because a woman’s appetite typically increases quite a bit during pregnancy. The developing baby is consuming vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the mother, especially between weeks 20 and 30. Also, the mother’s body is working to produce milk reserves for feeding the newborn baby. Continue reading

Another Super Shameful Money Grab

American FLag Football Helmet on Grass with Dollar Symbol CloudsSuper Bowl 49 is in the books. Tom Brady and the Patriots are champions again. Seattle coach Pete Carroll will spend his offseason being second-guessed for his play call at the end of the game.

And the NFL, its top players, NBC and many celebrities continue to make money off of products that make people sick.

Pepsi returned to sponsor the halftime show. Coca Cola talks about making people happy and glosses over the fact that soda has been directly connected to chronic diseases that obviously make people unhappy.

McDonalds took a similar approach by offering free food to people in exchange for kind or happy acts. I must say that it’s refreshing to see that more and more people are passing over McDonalds and sodas in favor of healthier alternatives.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, I heard about Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter attending a 50th anniversary party for Gatorade, a sports drink that’s loaded with sugar, sodium and other harmful substances. Taylor Swift is now shilling Diet Coke. Continue reading

Understanding the Basics of Knee Pain

Knee painThe knee is the largest joint in the human body, a complex combination of ligaments, tendons and muscles that hold together the femur (upper leg bone) and the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones). It’s also one of the most common sources of pain in the human body.

When you think about the physical burden and stress we place on our knees each day, it’s no surprise that the knee is extremely vulnerable to injury and degeneration.

This vulnerability is increased because the knee is a hinge joint, not like the shoulder or hip, which are ball-and-socket joints. The knee is designed to bend in one direction, while the shoulder and hip can rotate and move in circular motions.

I’m sure everyone over the age of 50 knows someone who has had a knee replacement as a result of an injury or gradual wear and tear. Conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis also increase our chances of experiencing knee pain. Continue reading

Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Neck Pain

avoiding neck painWe have this 10– to 12-pound bowling ball, called the head, on the top of our bodies. This bowling ball is held up by a weak structure, called the neck, that isn’t designed to handle heavy strain.

It’s no wonder that so many people suffer from neck pain.

Neck pain is most commonly caused by the gradual weakening of the intrinsic muscles in the neck area. Intrinsic muscles are the ones that you don’t see in the mirror but they have a very important purpose – stabilizing the spine.

As I discussed in a previous post, these muscles are often weakened by forward head posture, which happens when the head drifts forward as we stare at computer monitors, look down at our mobile devices or hunch over the steering wheel. Continue reading

Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the Foot

Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the FootPlantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick, flat ligament that connects the heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. When the plantar fascia is strained, small tears can develop, causing it to become weak, swollen and inflamed.

The end result is a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot. That’s plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is usually most painful after you’ve been sitting, standing or lying down for long periods of time. For example, those first steps when you get out of bed in the morning are a killer. Climbing stairs can also be painful. Once you’ve loosened up your foot, the pain of plantar fasciitis isn’t as intense in most cases.

Although plantar fasciitis is most common in middle-aged people, younger people who spend a lot of time on their feet doing repetitive movements often develop plantar fasciitis. Athletes, especially runners, and even soldiers who spend a lot of time marching are susceptible.

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Keep Your Head Up! It’s Good for Your Health

good posture, sitting up straightFour natural curves can be found in the human spine. The curve in your neck is appropriately called the arc of life because those cervical vertebrae protect the brain stem and spinal nerves that affect the entire body. When we fail to maintain the correct curvature in our spine, we can lose half of our spinal strength.

A common cause of improper curvature in the spine is forward head posture, which occurs when the head is held forward.

I speak all the time about the importance of maintaining balance in the nutritional, physical and psychological components of the Triad of Health. I’ve discussed the consequences of hormonal imbalance. I’ve discussed how basic functional tests can help us assess our balance, stability, flexibility and strength.

We also need to balance our noggins above our bodies.

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Resolve to Help Your Kids Become Healthier in 2015

Trim Kids I love the holiday season. I love ringing in the New Year and kissing my wife at midnight.

But there is one thing I despise about the New Year – resolutions. Every year, money-hungry corporations peddle unhealthy weight loss gimmicks, preying on the desperation of people who are sick or unhappy.

Most of these resolutions don’t last more than a couple of weeks, and the cycle of desperation, failure and depression continues. This cycle often leads to chronic illness and even death.

Of course, these corporations wouldn’t make so much money if people made smarter decisions.

Instead of searching for magic potions and silver bullets and trying to take shortcuts, we need to make permanent lifestyle changes that make true wellness possible. As I’ve said thousands of times, healthy weight loss is nothing but a by-product of a wellness lifestyle.

The sooner we do this, the better. That’s why I want you to resolve to help your kids adopt a wellness lifestyle. After all, more kids are overweight today than at any time in our history, and most obese children grow up to be obese adults. Continue reading

Reflections on 2014

Natural Healthcare Center success storiesLike many people during the Christmas season, I like to reflect on the year gone by. I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have a family that I love, a job that brings me fulfillment, and a practice where I feel we truly make  a difference in people’s lives.

As part of my reflection, I go back through the emails, messages and letters I’ve received from people and organizations who I’ve done my very best to help over the course of the year. This not only puts a smile on my face, but it strengthens my faith in God and the mission of Proodian Healthcare.

It also motivates me to push forward in 2015 and continue the movement toward true health and wellness that is slowly but surely being embraced in our country. We can only combat the chronic illness epidemic in our country if education leads to motivation, and motivation leads to real behavioral change.

Here are a few examples of feedback that serve as motivation for my staff and me.

I had fallen into a rut, and I had become resolved to accept my post-menopausal elevated blood levels, increasing weight gain, stress, and fatigue until I attended a By Design Ministries seminar, where Dr. Proodian offered very practical and sensible information and solutions. Continue reading

You Can’t Measure Health with a Bathroom Scale: A NHC Success Story

Proodian healthcare Patient Success StoryI’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a fantastic woman who came to Natural Healthcare Center through CityWell, a free resource created to help city of Long Branch employees and their dependents lead healthier lives. I’m proud to be CityWell’s health educator.

To protect this patient’s privacy, I’ll refer to her as Olivia.

Olivia is 5-foot-1 and weighed 256 pounds when she first came to see us. Just 27 years old, she was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, a group of medical disorders that collectively increase the risk of chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Olivia’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was 48.5. BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. Her body fat percentage, which should be under 30 percent, was 54.1 percent.

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Angry Fat and the Truth about Obesity

angry fatIn a previous post, I discussed how mad cow disease is a prime example of how altered structure changes the information of that structure, which in turn impacts the way the body functions.

More specifically, when man alters the state of food, it alters the structural information within that food, which affects our health and causes disease. These facts are painfully obvious when you take a closer look at the obesity epidemic in our country.

Central obesity, or excessive fat around the midsection, poses the greatest risk of chronic illness associated with fat accumulation. The dangerous fat stored in the belly area is called angry fat.

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Lessons Learned from Mad Cow Disease

Cow, Isolated Over Summer MeadowIn a recent post, I explained how alterations to the human body’s molecular structure negatively impact how we function. These structural alterations can be caused by different events in an individual’s lifestyle, diet and environment. The resulting altered function is a key component of the disease process, causing everything from back pain to chronic disease.

There’s one prime example in our recent history of a structural abnormality causing a physiological disease. Remember mad cow disease?

Cows were designed to consume a plant-based diet. However, in the late 1980s, the cost of food for cattle went so high that cattle farmers began to use alternative food sources – namely, the remains of dead and diseased animals – to feed cows. Continue reading

Celebrate Thanksgiving by Celebrating the Simplicity of Life

slow down and relax - reducing stress Most of us maintain a pretty hectic lifestyle most of the year, from long hours at work to driving kids to soccer practice and dance class to taking care of the house.

If there was ever a time to sit back and appreciate all that we have, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m not just talking about material things. I’m talking about our faith, family and health. These are the things that really make us rich in ways far better than material possessions.

And if we’re going to take the time to truly appreciate what we have, can we at least make the commitment to unplug for the day, if not the entire weekend? That doesn’t mean you have to put down your smartphone. I love taking and sharing photos of my kids as much as the next person. But it does mean taking a break from work and anything else that causes us stress so we can enjoy the simplicity of life.

Relax. Laugh with family. Do fun things together before and after your meal. Continue reading

Improve the Way You Function by Aligning Your Body’s Structure

Aligning Your Body’s StructureIn 1951, a study was conducted by the National Academy of Sciences about the structure of the human body and the relationship between protein and body function. The study involved Dr. Linus Pauling.

If that name sounds familiar, Dr. Pauling was the subject of a blog post I wrote last year about a true genius. Dr. Pauling is a hero of mine and the father of molecular medicine.

Dr. Pauling stated that that underneath human physiological structure is the molecular level, and we can better understand body function if we understand body structure at the molecular level.

In other words, if we get the structure right, the function will follow.

Most of us think of the physiological structure – bones, muscles, connective tissue and organs – as permanent. In reality, these systems are replaced on a regular basis.

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How Man Raises Animals for Food and the Case for a Green Diet

VegetablesMost people don’t know much about the livestock industry in our country. When you take a look at what man has done to our meat supply and our ecology, and the way meat is raised and produced, you may just think twice before you order a steak or a roast beef sandwich.

Let me tell you what’s really happening when man raises animals for food. Raising grain-fed animals takes an enormous toll on the environment. It requires massive amounts of fuel, fertilizers, pesticides, water and land. In fact, if the rest of the world’s population ate as much meat as we do, we’d quickly run out of land and irrigation systems.

Cows are supposed to be out on a range, walking around, grazing and consuming grass. That’s how they spend the first three quarters or so of their lives. Cows spent their final months mostly on a feed line, where they’re fed corn, soybean meal, and a lot of drugs, hormones and antibiotics to keep them alive and fat. Man replaces the cow’s natural food supply with inflammatory foods that cause weight gain. Continue reading