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New Study: Exercise As Effective As Prescription Drugs

                                                           REJOICE! FANTASTIC NEWS IS HERE! 

As a physician who strives to provide the best treatments to all of my patients in my practice, I was incredibly overjoyed to read this week that researchers at Stanford Medical School were able to make an evidence-based conclusion that physical exercise can be as effective as prescription drugs in reducing the number of deaths caused by various common and serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

WOW! Now THAT is music to my ears!

*** IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE! Before we begin our discussion, as doctor of medicine, it is important that I emphasize that these findings do not change my belief the use of medications – all of my patients, clients and subscribers reading this should continue to take their medications as directed unless told otherwise by their primary care physician.

BUT!

Imagine a world where the power to improve and maintain our health was inside of our minds and bodies instead of a bottle of pills – what would that look like? For many who are already sick, sometimes a trip to the pharmacy is the only option. But, scientists already know that exercise is an extremely effective method of prevention for various chronic illnesses. So these new findings imply with significant data that with the right approach, engaging our bodies in regular physical activity may not only prevent but also help to cure certain illnesses without the use pharmaceuticals!

For some of you who aren’t very enthusiastic about physical exercise,

Here are a few reasons why the implications of this study are worth getting excited about!

  •  In 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that Americans spend on average $1,000 per year on prescription drugs…..That’s A LOT of cash!  Not only that, each year Americans are spending 40% more on these medications than the rest of the world – and because of the high cost of these treatments, 1 out of every 5 Americans are not filling our prescriptions or are skipping doses to alleviate this financial burden. What would you do with your extra money?

 

  • A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1999 and 2000 found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states – showing that the pharmaceutical industry is a significant contributing factor to water pollution. As it is, the oceans of the world are already in a great amount of duress from millions of tons of plastic deposits and other pollutants – something every human should be extremely concerned about. Ridding ourselves of our dependency on pharmaceuticals will improve water quality and make the earth a greener place. 

 

  • Prevention should ALWAYS be the goal of a healthy lifestyle as well as the focus of any interventions conducted by physicians. NOBODY wants to get sick! Instead of treating our ailments with prescription pills, wouldn’t it be better to not have health problems at all? If you knew that exercising for 30 minutes a day would prevent you from contracting diabetes, heart disease or cancer – would you participate? Hundreds of studies on physical exercise and its use in the prevention of chronic illness have revealed a strong connection between working out and staying healthy throughout a lifespan. Think about it!

 

  • Unlike many prescription drugs which can result in an array of complications, exercising is a treatment method with very few negative side effects. So if exercise can be used as a treatment in the event that we do get sick - we’re not only treating the illness but also preventing stress, strengthening our skeletal system and boosting our metabolism! Do your medications have those positive side effects???

 

There are myriad of additional reasons why every single individual should engage in regular physical activity – the trick is to find those reasons that are most important to you. It is fairly common knowledge that exercise is a very empowering tool for our minds and bodies – these findings by Stanford University only serve to emphasize that evidence.

I hope I have made a convincing argument for putting some spring in your step and getting in some workouts this summer! For those of you who aren’t interested in joining a gym or paying for a workout program, I highly recommend checking out the YouTube Channel “FITNESS BLENDER”! FitnessBlender is a free service created by an adorable young couple from Washington State that has hundreds of FREE exercise videos of all kinds, from yoga to High Intensity Interval Training. My youngest daughter Mariella and I frequent these videos – and they have really inspired us to get fit from the comfort of our own homes! The couple, Dan and Kelli, do a fantastic job of inspiring their viewers and creating realistic fitness goals. All of their videos are quite doable by most able-bodied individuals.

Give it a shot! Here is one of our favorite total body routines for beginners:

 

For this Summer 2014 – I urge all of you to not only get fit with me but GET HEALTHY too in the process!

Dr Emily Nolfo

 

St Patrick’s Day Wisdom: Combating Fears, Negativity and Other Distractions

 

Hi everyone!

First of all, I’d like to wish my patients, clients, friends, family and followers a very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! In celebration of this Irish tradition, here’s a gluten-free, paleo-friendly version of Irish Soda Bread. I use currants or golden raisins, since my family doesn’t like cooked dark raisins.

Today I’d like to talk about stories. Your stories. The negative scripts we write about ourselves every day. You know the kind!

“I’m a klutz and not athletic.”

“I’m disorganized.”

“I’m always late.

This week alone, patients said to me:

  • “Once I put a carb in my mouth, I splurge on them for the next two weeks.” 
  • “I will never have enough time to exercise.”

At times I myself have been guilty of the same kind of self-deprecating dialogues.  For years I told myself I was just too anxious to speak in front of groups of people. I couldn’t even ask a question at a conference without a pulse of 130! And when my friends wanted to start a band, I felt there was no way I was ever going to be able to sing in front of anyone! However, I prioritized my desires and goals over these self-imposed shortcomings by pushing myself to take on opportunities that would allow me to break through my own stereotypes. As an executive member of several local and national medical societies, I have learned quickly that I can in fact, stand up in front of large groups of colleagues and overcome my public speaking anxieties when my time comes to make a presentation. Additionally, my cover band Take Two And Call Me In The Morning plays a gig almost every weekend here in Connecticut where I am featured as lead singer. I have discovered that the feelings of joy and achievement I get out of these experiences help me to slowly overcome those old fears – but only when and if I give myself the chance to engage in those moments of positivity!

So how do we make these leaps and bounds in our everyday lives?

 OK, well, here’s the thing: there are surely things about yourself you can’t change. I’d like to wake up tomorrow 5’7”. Not gonna happen!

 But, so many things we say about ourselves we want to change; we should change; and we really, truly CAN change!!!!

You don’t have to eat all carbs for two weeks after one cookie if you are trying to reverse metabolic syndrome. As I have written before, you can enjoy at treat and move on. But you have to tell yourself: “I’m not a person who sabotages his/her health because I ate one thing.”  Maybe you won’t believe yourself at first, but say it anyway!! Say it enough times and you start to rewrite your story, eventually you will start to live differently.

So: You CAN find 10 minutes in your day to exercise. Walk up and down your stairs or around your house, the grocery store or the parking lot. Put on music and dance for 10 minutes. Or try strengthening your core by engaging your abdominal muscles while you complete everyday tasks such as picking up a heavy object out of your car or stepping over the baby gates at home.

Think you’re not smart? Say: “I’m pretty smart!” and then make yourself smarter by exercising! Yup, that’s right — a study by Harvard shows that physical activity not only strengthens our bones and muscles but also our minds!

Try to recognize the stories you tell yourself that you would like to change.

Rewrite your story the way you’d like it to read.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Dr. Emily Nolfo

Tomato Soup: The Benefits You Didn’t Know About!

Hi friends!!!

My deepest apologies for a gap in communication, but recently there have been some sad events in my life – which combined with the weather, made me less productive. But we’re back on track! Right now I am foolishly looking at the Weather Channel app to see there will be arctic temps tonight and snow on Monday…….

  Damn you, Groundhog!

What could be better than some warming, nutritious soups to ease you through the last days of this interminable winter? Today I want to talk about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes. So to start, here are two fantastic, simple recipes for tomato soup:

1) http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP00226/Creamy-Tomato-Soup.html

2) http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2305847

Tomato is famously rich in LYCOPENE.  Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are the  substances that give vegetables their red, orange and yellow hues. Lycopene is not used by the body to make vitamin A, as many other carotenoids are, making it unique and safe.

Here are some good sources of lycopene:

½ cup canned tomato puree

27,192

1 cup canned tomato juice

21,960

1 wedge of raw watermelon

12,962

½ cup ready-to-serve marinara sauce

6,686

1 tablespoon canned tomato paste

3,140

1 tablespoon catsup

2,506

½ pink or red grapefruit

1,745

1 tablespoon salsa

1,682

One sun-dried tomato

918

One slice of raw tomato

515

Note how much more lycopene the sun-dried tomato has!

Lycopene is absorbed best when foods containing it are cooked, and also when a small amount of fat is eaten with the food, making these soups a perfect way to get your lycopene! I’d even add a little more good-quality olive oil than called for.

Some medical studies suggest that lycopene may be protective against certain cancers, such as lung, stomach, skin, cervix, possibly breast and particularly prostate. Some of the studies used a lycopene supplements while others were observational studies of persons with high lycopene diets. The studies using a supplement were less impressive than the ones refecting a high–lycopene diet such as the Mediterranean diet.

HAVE A HIGH CARDIOVASCULAR RISK?

A recent study in the journal Neurology shows that men with high lycopene levels have a lower stroke risk. (Hey, lets do a study on women, too!) Lycopene may also improve cholesterol profile. However, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL EXTRA BENEFIT FROM EATING WHOLE FOODS FOR NUTRIENTS. I think the other nutrients and micronutrients, fiber and more in real foods are an inextricable part of the good effects of nutrients like lycopene!

So eat REAL, WHOLE FOOD!

(WATCH: Jon Stewart’s take on snack foods)

All the best,

Dr. Nolfo

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