Thursday, April 10, 2008

Harvard Cites Effectiveness of Managing Many Health Conditions Naturally (Minus the Medication)

The Harvard Health Letter (April 2008) just published some findings that might disappoint our friends in the pharmaceutical world. Many health conditions can be treated without the use of any medication at all.

The article spells out some of its recommendation to treat seven common conditions plaguing millions worldwide. In simplest terms Harvard recommends maintaining a health centered, balanced, lifestyle for both prevention and treatment of ailments.

Changes in how you live involve more effort than a "twist off" bottle - but in the long term offer more sustainable benefits for longevity and overall quality of life - without the risks (both known and unknown) associated with many medications.

Here are their recommendations.

  • Arthritis: There’s a good chance that losing weight will make arthritis less painful. Combine weight loss with exercise and you may have less pain and more mobility. Even for those who don’t need to lose weight, exercise that doesn’t put “load” on the joints reduces pain.
  • Cholesterol: Your LDL level may drop by 5% or so if you keep foods high in saturated fat off the menu. Additional soluble fiber may reduce LDL levels as well. So can margarines fortified with sterols.
  • Cognitive decline: Memory training and other “brain exercises” seem to help healthy older people stay sharp. But physical exercise may benefit the brain more than mental gymnastics.
  • Depression: Studies have shown that regular physical activity can have a potent antidepressant effect.
  • Diabetes: Regular physical activity is a powerful brake on blood sugar levels as well, because exercised muscle becomes more receptive to the insulin that helps it pull sugar in from the bloodstream. Eating fewer sweets and easy-to-digest carbohydrates also helps control blood sugar levels.
  • High blood pressure: Losing weight, getting more exercise, and eating less sodium all lower blood pressure.
  • Osteoporosis: Weight-bearing exercise puts stress on bones, and bone tissue reacts by getting stronger and denser, fending off osteoporotic processes. Extra vitamin D and calcium top the list of dietary recommendations.

To learn more about the Harvard Health Letter go to their SITE

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