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Category Archives: Fitness

Sports Nutrition


Since the time of the most ancient civilizations, athletes have attempted to enhance their athletic performance with various nutritional approaches. However, as our knowledge of athletic metabolic physiology increases, we have learned that recovery from intense exercise is just as important as actual athletic performance in the athlete’s total training program. When an athlete is able to recover faster, they can train harder and perform at a higher level. The enhancement of athletic recovery is the basis of sports nutrition.

In assessing sports nutrition and supplements, it is important to remember that not all athletes are the same. There are marked differences in nutritional needs between endurance athletes and strength athletes, between conditioned athletes versus re-conditioned athletes, between male and female athletes, and other individual challenges and predispositions which point out the individuality of each athlete. Intense athletic exercise can be a major stressor for an athlete and can jeopardize immune health and performance over time. That is why a solid recovery program is essential for any athlete at any level. Proper sports nutrition includes a foundational healthy diet, nutritional supplementation (both basic and sports-specific), appropriate rest time, and, of course, ample water and hydration.

Supplement Products Supporting Athletic Recovery

Certainly one of the key building blocks in an athlete’s diet is protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle. Perfect Protein Powder is an excellent choice for protein supplementation. Its liquid consistency provides for greater absorption of essential nutrients and amino acids.‡ While it is a complete amino acid composition in itself, Perfect Protein Powder can be enhanced further with the addition of singular amino acids, such as L-arginine, L-carnitine, and glutamine.‡ Essential nutrients such as magnesium, coenzyme Q-10, and multivitamin supplements also can be added to supercharge the basic amino acid composition of Perfect Protein Powder.‡ Athletes participating in intense exercise need to recognize that they will require vitamin supplementation above that of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), given their increased metabolic expenditure.

Given the high level of interest in sports nutrition today, certain products have been developed which will help the athlete with both performance and recovery. Nitric Oxide Formula is a combination of ingredients, including L-arginine and L-citrulline, designed to support healthy nitric oxide levels and to support the integrity and vascular health of the blood vessel wall, resulting in enhanced blood flow, stamina, performance, and recovery‡. High-dose magnesium, can be very helpful in preventing muscle cramping and pain. Fruits and Greens Energy Drink is an easy-to-mix, nutrient-rich superfood formula with whole food concentrates designed to provide synergistic phytonutrient nutrition and increased energy.t Finally, Ultimate Joint Complex will help to minimize joint deterioration secondary to overuse, and help to re-establish collagen levels in stressed joints.‡

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‡The statements contained have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Top 3 Diet Trends of 2021


With so many diets out there, it’s hard to know where to begin, and nutrition is crucial now more than ever. During 2020, the majority of the population has quarantined, been unemployed, or simply has been inactive; such stressors can cause us to overeat and indulge in fatty foods with little to no nutritional value. These eating habits can lead to sluggish behavior, bloating, increased cholesterol, a weakened immune system, and a general lack of energy. To get you back on track, here are three trending diets that, with the right direction, can help optimize your health.

Mediterranean Diet

Have you ever heard of the peasant diet? If not, you may have heard it called the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has risen to fame over the past few years. For those pursuing a healthy lifestyle and looking to reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes, the Mediterranean diet offers a plethora of well-balanced meals, including the daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

  • Studies conducted in the U.S., as well as Europe, connect the Mediterranean diet to the reduction of type 2 diabetes. Eating patterns associated with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes were characterized by higher intakes of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. The studies compare this diet with a diet consisting of high intakes of red meat, sugar-sweetened food and drinks, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products (the Standard American Diet, known as the SAD diet).
  • Individuals whose diets consisted of reducing their total meat and dairy intake by 50% and replaced them with fruit, vegetables, and cereals contributed the most to reducing the risk of mortality. During the study, fruit and vegetable consumption was increased by 63% and saturated fat and salt were decreased.
  • It is important to remember that the Mediterranean Diet is more plant-based than meat-based. Under this diet, it is advised to limit your red meat intake and replace it with fish, poultry, beans, and eggs as protein sources. Instead of choosing butter for bread or general cooking, choose olive oil as your primary fat source. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat and has been found to lower total cholesterol.
  • When it comes to choosing seafood, some good options include fatty fish: mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon, lake trout, and albacore tuna (rich in omega-3 fatty acids).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation in the body, as well as help reduce blood clotting and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure. Do You Know Your Omega 3 and Vitamin D Levels?

Keto Diet

The Keto diet is high in fat (making the body work to burn it off, entering ketosis) and low in carbohydrates- 20-50 grams a day. But be careful that you do not cut out carbohydrates to the point of constipation, headaches, or bad breath.

  • The Keto diet benefits vary person to person, depending on how much carbs people have stored/consume. That being said, the reduction of carbs (less than 20-50 g per day) can help individuals lead the body into a state of ketosis. Hence the keto diet. The intake of foods high in fat and low in carbs will have your body using the fat stored to burn for energy instead of carbs. Rich in proteins and fat, the keto diet consists of lean meats, eggs, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.
  • While the keto diet has many benefits, there are a couple of things to remember: The keto diet is a restrictive diet, with the primary goal being weight loss. Individuals who suffer from kidney disease should consult their doctor before starting. This diet can bring on bad breath, nausea, and a general lack of energy.
  • If you find yourself lacking in protein, try our Cypress Pharmacy’s Perfect Protein Powder. Animal protein can contain appreciable amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats. Additionally, they can also be sources of antibiotics, hormones, and other undesirable elements inherent in our food supply. Plant-based proteins have no cholesterol or saturated fat and, when properly formulated and enhanced, can provide protein with a nutritional value comparable to animal-derived proteins.

Keto Swaps:

  • Rice to cauliflower rice or shirataki rice
  • Pasta to vegetable noodles made of zucchini, palmini, cabbage, and fennel
  • Potatoes to rutabaga, turnips, radishes, and winter squash
  • Cereals to nuts, seeds, and coconut
  • Bread and wraps to lettuce wraps (for sandwiches), nori sheets (for sushi), collards
  • Regular milk to nut, seed, or coconut milk
  • Instead of butter or canola oil, try avocado oil or coconut oil

The Mediterranean Diet and the Keto Diet are healthy choices to consider if you’re thinking of trying intermittent fasting. Both diets can give you fresh, lean meals to try out and keep you on track to your health goal.

Intermittent Fasting

  • Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
  • Once you’ve checked with your doctor to confirm this diet is safe for you, a simple approach would be attempting 16/8 fasting. What this means is that you’ll be eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen. There is also 5/2 fasting, where you eat regularly for five days a week, then the other two days you consume 500-600 calories. While partaking in this fast, it’s important to remember to limit not only sugar intake in foods but as well as beverages. Drinks such as water and zero-calorie drinks are encouraged, as well as black coffee and tea, which hold little to no calorie or sugar intake.
  • Consider adding Cypress Pharmacy’s Balance Meal Complete to provide additional nutrients and improve gut health.
  • Top Benefits: improved memory, increased heart health, and physical performance.

In all, these trending diets reveal that with a little push and some dedication, we all can be on our way to a healthier version of ourselves. If you’ve wanted to try the Mediterranean and Keto diets or intermittent fasting, take a look at our easy outline.  With the help of these tips, we hope you’ll find it easier to make meals for you and your loved ones that optimize your health. Remember to always check with your doctor or health care professional before making any changes.

A fresh start for 2021: Natural tips for navigating stress, anxiety and depression


By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy

The new year brings the promise of a fresh start. Yet, while many are feeling joyful and recharged after the holiday season, others have found that financial demands, family obligations and altered traditions have been a source of added stress compounded with the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With isolation, anxiety and worry over health concerns and job loss due to the pandemic, it’s no surprise some are struggling to find a renewed outlook for the year ahead. While managing the pressures and stresses of life looks different for each person, we must make the commitment to take extra care of our minds and bodies in 2021.

About 16.1 million adult Americans suffer from major depression, and approximately 40 million struggle with anxiety disorders. The pandemic has also led to higher rates of depression, with a recent study reporting that the number of U.S. adults experiencing depressive symptoms has tripled compared to before the pandemic.

Many who are suffering with stress, anxiety and depression are turning to natural solutions for helping ease symptoms and improve their mental states.

Full-spectrum, pharmaceutical-grade CBD, or cannabidiol, continues to rise as a popular natural approach for calming stress, anxiety and depression. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of receptors that act as messengers to give your body specific directions in regulating anxiety, depression, appetite/hunger, mood, sleep and more. We have cell receptors everywhere in our bodies, and external sources like CBD can help to balance and maintain the ECS by binding to the brain receptors responsible for controlling your nerves, which keep you feeling less anxious and more in control.

The quality of CBD is a key factor in its effectiveness, so consumers must ensure that they are purchasing CBD products from a trusted source. The amount of CBD oil in a product will have a direct effect on its efficacy, and the methods used to manufacture CBD oil will impact the safety and quality of products you might buy. A knowledgeable health care professional can provide guidance on product quality and safety as well as formulation selection, drug interactions, usage and application.

Additional steps for enhancing mental health include:

  • Get moving. In addition to its many physical health benefits, exercise is also an all-natural mood booster. Exercise releases endorphins that help us feel good, which play a key role in enhancing our mental outlook.
  • Get enough sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep is a critical factor for health and wellness, especially when navigating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Balance your diet. Maintaining a balanced diet is a major step to helping reduce stress. Follow a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and whole grains, and remember to drink enough water.
  • Consider supplements, including probiotics. Probiotics provide a safe, powerful way to help alleviate some of the symptoms regarding anxiety and depression when taken daily. They have also been shown to boost overall mood and outlook. Additional supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, amino acids, iron, GABA and CoQ10, can also help provide a mental health boost.

While natural solutions can help mitigate some of the effects of stress, it’s important to speak with a trusted medical professional or pharmacist about changes to your health care regimen to determine any risks, interactions or unwanted side effects with other medications you may be taking.

Feeling our best helps us be better prepared to handle life’s stressful situations. With a new year ahead, developing practices that support our mental and physical health offers a great fresh start.

Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart


Maybe it’s because we want a magic pill, or we expect the recommendations for lifestyle changes to be different, but many of us are not very kind to our hearts.

Even as the word has gotten out in the past few decades about lifestyle changes anyone can make to have a healthier heart, heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

Putting aside risk factors for heart disease beyond our control such as age and family history, most of us can improve our heart health. And good lifestyle choices can help minimize hereditary and other risk factors. And there’s a bonus! When you make choices for heart health, your overall health benefits, too.

In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, having a healthy weight, being active and eating a healthy diet lowered heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

Here are some lifestyle habits your heart (and body) will love.

  1. Stop smoking. Even if you have no other risk factors, smoking raises your risk of developing heart disease by two to four times, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Products such as gum and patches are available to help stop smoking.
  2. Eat healthier. Americans get more than half of their daily calories from ultra-processed food, increasing the risk of heart disease. Food consumption can impact other risk factors, including cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and weight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods.
  3. Control cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol and not enough good can result in plaque building up and blocking the arteries. While genetics play a role, extra weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake contribute to high cholesterol. High cholesterol often doesn’t have symptoms until a problem arises, so it’s important to have a blood test to reveal your levels. Medication can reduce cholesterol if diet and exercise do not.
  4. Get active. Research shows that 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity physical activity can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep weight at a healthy level. A Harvard study found that watching TV for two hours a day increased the risk of developing heart disease by 15 percent! The good news? Being even a little more active is better than nothing. Taking at least 4,400 steps a day lowers your risk of death more than taking only 2,700 steps per day.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts you at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes, all factors that heighten your risk of heart disease. Good nutrition, controlling calorie intake and physical activity are the best way to maintain a healthy weight and have heart benefits of their own.
  6. Manage diabetes. More than 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. If you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and exercising 2.5 hours per week can reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.
  7. Take targeted supplements. Professional-grade nutritional supplements, herbs, vitamins, and minerals can support heart function. It’s important to consult your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and possible risks of supplements. Because supplements are not regulated like medications, it’s important to purchase your supplements from a trusted source.

Sounds easy, right? Improving your health is not a one size fits all approach. It can be hard to make dietary and lifestyle changes, and it is easy to fall back into old habits. Ongoing support can help you commit to improved health, and Cypress Wellness is here to help you along this journey.

Information on “Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart Naturally,” is the topic of Seminar Saturday, Feb. 8. The free public seminar will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. at Cypress Pharmacy, 9451 Cypress Lake Drive in Fort Myers. To RSVP, visit https://cypresspharmacy.com/events.

Functional Medicine: A Shift in Healthcare

functional medicine

The prophetic words of Thomas Edison who stated decades ago that, “the doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease” appears to be an extremely accurate vision of today’s health care.  The emphasis is now shifting to treating the “whole person” rather than just reactive disease management as the standard of care. Enter functional medicine.

Considering that more and more physicians and health care providers are embracing this new form of medicine that strives to create homeostasis or internal balance in the body by implementing lifestyle medicine and behavioral changes, which includes diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation, stress reduction, and hormone balancing has proven to help patients get well and stay well is exciting.

There now exists several provider organizations whose sole purpose is to educate doctors and health care practitioners on functional and anti-aging medicine with a focus on how to get to the root or underlying cause of disease in their patients by balancing their physiology or body function. These associations include the American Academy of Anti- Aging Medicine (A4M), the Age Management Medicine Group (AMMG), and the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM).

In addition, there are prestigious medical institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, Duke University, the University of Arizona, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Columbia University, and Harvard Medical School which are leading the way in training young doctors in functional medicine for the future.

It appears for the first time, science and medicine now have in their possession the technology and understanding to appreciate the value of natural therapies.  The philosophical roots of natural medicine and natural health can be traced back to Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”.

Current population health statistics make an even stronger case for this paradigm shift in the way medicine is delivered to patients. Consider the following:

  • It is estimated that 90% of adults are nutritionally deficient
  • More than 50% of adults do not eat the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • 65% of adults have some form of chronic disease in the form of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and the incidence is going in the wrong direction.
  • 80% of chronic disease is preventable or reversible with functional or natural medicine.
  • Diabetes is now an epidemic with approximately 30 million Americans having the disease, plus, millions more are pre-diabetic and don’t even know it. Recent studies in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) stated that 1 in 5 adolescents are prediabetic.

Functional medicine- the philosophy of functional or natural medicine, including naturopathy, is to believe in the fundamental concept of the healing power of nature and the ability of the body to heal itself, given the proper opportunity.  Its therapeutic premise is based upon the least invasive intervention that will achieve the desired therapeutic effect or outcome.  Health is viewed as more than just the absence of disease, as it is considered to be a vital dynamic state which enables a person to thrive in or adapt to a wider range of environments and stresses.

Health and disease can be looked at as points on a continuum, with optimal health at one end of the spectrum and death at the other.  The typical person goes through life moving progressively towards dysfunction due in great part to lifestyle and behaviors.  This is many times considered to be “normal aging”.  By implementing functional medicine which focuses on prevention and on the whole person, this unacceptable trend can be reversed.

The question of health or disease often comes down to individual responsibility.  Responsibility means choosing a healthy alternative over a less healthy one.  The first step in achieving and maintaining health is taking responsibility for one’s self-care, and secondly, to take the appropriate action to achieve the results you desire.

There is no question that if you have an acute serious infection or are in need of a high- tech procedure, that conventional medicine here in America can deliver exactly what you need. In fact, America has an international reputation for making medical breakthroughs.  From pacemakers, defibrillators, birth control pills, kidney transplants, to artificial hearts and robotic surgery, we continue to make headlines.  Despite these heroics of modern medicine, our population is becoming less healthy.  Considering that conventional medicine is becoming more difficult, complicated, and costly for the patients to navigate, a growing number of people are turning to natural healing modalities.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil M.D., a pioneer from Harvard Medical School and now a professor of alternative or integrative medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, “there has been a real shift in the way people think about their health. People are realizing that conventional medicine is expensive, sometimes dangerous, and not always effective.”  A holistic approach means recognizing that the mind and the spirit have a direct, powerful effect on how the body functions.

If there is one thing we have learned regarding choices in health care, it is that there is no magic bullet or one size fits all template.  Everyone is biochemically unique and different and sometimes conventional medicine is best, other times functional or natural medicine is a better fit.  Again, many times the best option is blending the best of both worlds to effectively optimize your health.  The take-home message is to find a practitioner who understands when to say when.

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