Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Holiday Spices With Surprising Health Benefits

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Spices are a great way to season food without extra sugar or salt. What’s more, research suggests that many spices may offer a variety of healthy benefits, from fighting inflammation to helping prevent Alzheimer’s. Load up on these classic flavors in your holiday dishes for a healthier season!




Nutmeg has long been used as an at-home health remedy to treat indigestion and, when applied topically, to treat acne. It’s relatively high in magnesium–a mineral which has been proven to help treat insomnia in elderly patients, and which may help improve duration and quality of sleep. Macelignan, another compound found in nutmeg, has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect, which hypothetically means it may help stave off Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Just be careful, as consumed in too large of quantities (like, downing a whole shaker quantities) nutmeg can be toxic!



For many, the warm scent of cinnamon is synonymous with the change of seasons. This fragrant flavoring has been linked to several health benefits. Studies suggest it helps lower blood glucose levels in diabetics and pre-diabetics, making it a potentially important tool in helping high-risk patients manage their glycemic levels. Manganese, a mineral found in cinnamon, plays an important role in overall blood sugar regulation. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties help with oral health and fighting bad breath, and in preventing bacterial growth in food and beverages.




While ginger’s usefulness in helping relieve nausea and indigestion is widely known, it’s worth noting that this spice offers a number of other benefits too. It’s been shown to help relieve and prevent allergies. Ginger also offers anti-inflammatory benefits, and has been shown to effectively ease joint pain in arthritis sufferers.


Keep in mind that the amount of these ingredients typically used in recipes is relatively small–incorporating them in isn’t necessarily a magic bullet. It is, however a great–and tasty–step toward a diet that makes you feel better. For more tips tailored to your metabolism and needs, we encourage you to request an appointment with our wellness experts.

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#OptOutside and Two Other Holiday Health Trends to Check out this Holiday Season

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One thing we’re grateful for this holiday season? That health and wellness continues to climb the list of priorities for some many in our community and country at large. Increasingly, it seems like many of us have decided to do away with accepting “good enough” and really pursuing better health. It’s a sentiment that’s evident in some of the big trending stories and concepts that have been making headlines of late; for instance:


#OptOutside & REI’s Revolutionary Approach to Black Friday 5802400_l

Outdoor performance gear retailer REI caused a stir this year by announcing its stores would be closed for Black Friday. Instead, the company is urging customers to #OptOutside, and spend some time enjoying the great outdoors. Black Friday craziness can have a festive feel for some of us, but it’s also often an incredibly stressful event–whereas spending time outside offers all kinds of health benefits. Improved sleep, lower blood pressure, better mood, and reduced ADHD symptoms in children are among the many benefits of outdoors time cited by NY’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Check out where to score some fresh air in NJ here.


Genetic Testing

With the recent FDA approval of direct to consumer genetic testing, more and more people are opting to send in their samples. In return, they’re getting all kinds of fascinating data on their ancestry, health, and physiology. This kind of testing, whether through your healthcare provider or via a direct to consumer kit, can be a great tool in improving your fitness and overall health. If you’ve had a test done independently, consider contacting a wellness specialist for additional insight into your results, and assistance incorporating your findings into an action plan.


Better Food Choices

As Forbes notes in their recent report from food and beverage consultants The Hartman Group, consumers are “redefining” food culture. “As shoppers, progressives are no longer thinking about condition management (lowering cholesterol or blood pressure) or dieting (low fat, low carb) but are focused on real quality food, positive nutrition, fresh, less processed foods and beverages and fun,” the report notes. This means less focus on bland, traditional “diet” food and more focus on offerings that are fresher and have solid nutritional value. It’s all about quality versus quantity–and that’s good news for your body and your palate!


Ready to hop on the trends, and improve your health? Request an appointment with our specialists today for customized care to help your feel your best.

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Our Guide to Direct to Consumer Genetic Tests

Recently, 23andMeTM emerged from a multi-year hiatus as the first FDA approved direct-to-consumer genetic testing service. Now through many different genetic test companies, customers can order a kit, send in their saliva, and receive their results. These tests have been revamped over time to offer significant improvements over older versions, perhaps the most significant being that it no longer offers risk analysis on major diseases such as Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Some speculate that this is likely in part because of concerns patients may not know how to process the information, leading to issues like unnecessary elective mastectomies.




However, it can still be challenging for test recipients to figure out how best to contextualize their results, and how to prioritize recommended lifestyle changes.

Part of the challenge is the audience for these tests, which is perhaps somewhat broader than that of most medical devices. The test is frequently used by generally healthy people, who may not have as much experience with the jargon and wellness guidelines those who’ve spent more time in medical care do. It’s also sometimes given as a gift (as is delightfully described in Genome Magazine in this feature which begins, “Would you give someone you love a small plastic vial for her birthday and ask her to spit into it?”), in which case recipients may have even less understanding of how to use the results productively. Importantly, it’s also gained buzz among parents and prospective parents seeking to better understand the health needs–and risks–their genetics might create for their offspring.

Regardless of why one chooses to get tested, genetic tests are a great starting point for a conversation with a wellness professional. A consult can help report recipients get the most out of their test experience by providing further context and integrating results into a long term wellness plan. Here are some ways our practice has helped patients put genetic testing results to use:


Medication: The efficacy of certain medications can be predicted by genetics. By examining your results and reviewing current and future prescriptions, a professional can provide you with the best medications for your condition, and help you avoid those that are unlikely to work.


Diet: Genetics are an important insight into how we metabolize different nutrients. A professional can help you use your test results to accomplish your dietary goals, whether you’re bulking up or slimming down.


Risk: By taking into account genetics, medical history, and lifestyle, a medical professional can provide more accurate counseling on conditions you may be susceptible to–and what to be most aware of when considering its impact on kids.


A More Personal & Proactive Approach: Direct to consumer genetic tests can inspire a deeper, more personal connection to one’s health. This is perhaps especially true among those whose primary interaction with the medical establishment has been the generic annual check up, a ritual focused on maintaining a basic, “good enough” standard of health. Genetic tests provide motive and opportunity for these patients to stop settling for good enough, to take ownership of their health and strive for better. Physicians can use testing reports to develop customized health and fitness goals, and offer patients more precise, effective tools to reach these goals. The end result is a long-term wellness plan with a clearer, more constructive trajectory.



Interested in learning more, or discussing your genetic testing results? Request an appointment–our team would love to help you get more from your report!




23andMeTM is not sponsored, affiliated, or otherwise connected in any way to Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute or its subsidies. 23andMe is a registered trademark used for reference purposes only.

Good health requires balance. Physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, pain management, and stress relief all contribute to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. At the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of New Jersey, we help patients struggling with weight loss, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other conditions using holistic techniques. Request an appointment and get started on a path towards comprehensive wellness.