Healthy Living

Dr. Kent Speaks at Harvard Medical School Conference

Naples Lifestyle Medicine Physician Speaks at Harvard Medical School Conference on Healthy Aging

DrKent_Harvard2

Kriston Kent M.D. MPH, a Naples lifestyle medicine physician, recently spoke to over 400 attendees at the Harvard Institute of Lifestyle Medicine conference entitled: “Practicing Lifestyle Medicine: Tools for Promoting Healthy Change“. This course took place in Boston on June 26-27.

DrKent_Harvard1Dr. Kent’s presentation highlighted his model of using a team approach to creating a lifestyle change. The “Dream Team“, as it was called at the conference, included a lifestyle medicine physician (Dr. Kent), a nutritionist, an exercise specialist, a behavior specialist, and a health coach. Dr. Kent is the owner/medical director of the Kent Center for LIFE which often uses this team approach to help patients avoid chronic diseases and treats patients with chronic diseases using lifestyle modification instead of medications and medical procedures. This approach actually treats the cause of most chronic illnesses, instead of just the symptoms.

DrKent_Harvard3

DrKent_Harvard4

By |July 9th, 2015|Healthy Aging, Healthy Living, Preventive Medicine, Speaking Engagements|Comments Off on Dr. Kent Speaks at Harvard Medical School Conference

Treating the Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic

(This article will be published in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Florida Health & Wellness.
Read the article on that site here.)

Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic: Should we treat the symptoms, or should we treat the cause?

By Kriston J. Kent, M.D., MPH

Type 2 Diabetes EpidemicType 2 Diabetes, formerly known as the Adult Onset Diabetes (because it almost never occurred before adulthood), is now occurring in epidemic proportions in the US, and in many areas throughout the world.  Genes almost certainly play a role in the predisposition to type 2 Diabetes.  However, it is equally clear that those who are predisposed to diabetes are not destined to develop it unless they also develop poor lifestyle/health habits.  Furthermore, it is refreshing to note that, even in those who have developed type 2 Diabetes, it can be reversed with significant changes in lifestyle habits.

Study after study has confirmed, and I have witnessed, multiple patients who have reversed all of their signs, symptoms, and lab values of type 2 Diabetes using simple lifestyle modification.  With the reversal of certain biometrics and lab values, it has been proven that severe problems, like blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease can be completely avoided in these patients.

On the other hand, using standard medical therapy of oral medications and/or insulin typically leads to weight gain, and a myriad of other health problems.  Simply treating high blood sugar levels (a symptom of diabetes) with medications which lower blood sugar levels does not, in any way, treat the cause of diabetes.  Ironically, though medications may be necessary at first, if appropriate lifestyle changes are made, then there […]

By |November 4th, 2014|Healthy Living, Preventive Medicine|Comments Off on Treating the Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

(This article will be published in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Florida Health & Wellness.)

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Can Lifestyle Changes alter Gene Expression and Alter our Destiny?

This month has become known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Due to the fact that 1 in 8 females in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, this designation seems more than appropriate.  In addition to our acknowledgment, support, and concern for the victims of breast cancer, it seems essential that we concentrate on the “Awareness” aspect of preventing this devastating, health denying disease.  Awareness of the lifestyle habits and medications which are strongly associated with the development of breast cancer can potentially provide an opportunity to prevent most breast cancers, and to successfully prevent recurrence in individuals who have already suffered from breast cancer. Finally, it is preferable to avoid the challenges associated with conventional treatment.

Does Our Destiny lie in our Genes?

Like most of the most common debilitating and deadly diseases in our country, there is definitely a genetic predisposition to developing breast cancer.  However, having inherited the genes which make us susceptible to developing breast cancer does not mean that breast cancer will inevitably occur.  In actuality, new and evolving research leads us to believe that gene expression is more controlled by lifestyle habits, and what we choose to eat, than by preprogramming.  Said another way, what seems to be more important are what we do, and what we do not do, than what genes we inherit.

Or is it our “Epigenes”

So, if we are unfortunate to inherit a genetic predisposition for breast cancer, how it is possible to avoid the eventual development of breast cancer?  The […]

By |September 23rd, 2014|Healthy Living, Preventive Medicine|Comments Off on October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • heart
    February is Heart Month February is Heart Month

    February is Heart Month

February is Heart Month

Can heart attacks be virtually eliminated?

A recent editorial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stated that medical research “has revealed enough about the causes and prevention of heart attacks that they could be nearly eliminated.” Yet the reality is that 16 million Americans are living with coronary heart disease and half a million die from it each year. In fact, coronary heart disease is the number-one killer in our country and a major contributor to our health care crisis.

So why does our country’s number-one health problem, which is essentially preventable, continue to be so prevalent? It’s not because prevention doesn’t work—and not because it’s “too late” once heart disease or heart attacks have already occurred. The most likely culprits are our lifestyle choices and behaviors, as well as the current trend of treating the precursors and symptoms of heart disease aggressively, but overlooking the causes and failing to prescribe a path toward prevention.

It is clear to anyone familiar with medical literature that maintaining an appropriate diet and engaging in moderate physical activity on a daily basis can reverse or eliminate major cardiovascular risk factors. And when major cardiovascular risk factors are eliminated, the chances of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are drastically reduced. In other words, it really is true that heart attacks can be virtually eliminated without the need for drugs, surgery or some new “miracle breakthrough.” It’s as simple as paying careful attention to our diet, physical activity, and our addictions and stress levels.

Heart Health Tips:

 • Use Food As Your Medicine

  • Eat whole, non-processed, food—mostly plants, and not too much
  • At least 5 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables daily, preferably 9
  • Avoid refined grains
  • Eat beans and nuts daily
  • Eat food sources […]
By |February 19th, 2014|Healthy Living, Preventive Medicine|Comments Off on February is Heart Month
  • Stretching
    Can heart attacks really be virtually eliminated? Can heart attacks really be virtually eliminated?

    Can heart attacks really be virtually eliminated?

Can heart attacks really be virtually eliminated?

An editorial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently suggested that “medical research has revealed enough about the causes and prevention of heart attacks, that they could be nearly eliminated”. On the other hand, they lamented that 16 million Americans are living with coronary heart disease and half of million die from it each year. In fact, coronary heart disease is by far the #1 killer in our country, and a major contributor to our health care crisis.

So why is the #1 health problem in our country essentially preventable and yet it continues to be so prevalent? It’s not because prevention doesn’t work, and not because it is “too late” once heart disease or heart attacks have already occurred. The most likely reason is because of our lifestyle choices and behaviors combined with the current approach of treating the precursors and symptoms of heart disease aggressively, but not the causes. It is quite clear to almost all who know the medical literature that an appropriate diet and moderate physical activity on a daily basis will lead to the absence of major cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, the absence of major cardiovascular risk factors is clearly shown to be highly protective against cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In other words, it is really true that heart attacks can be virtually eliminated without the need for drugs, surgery, or some new “miracle breakthrough”. It is as simple as paying careful attention to our diet, our physical activity, our addictions, and our stress levels.

By |October 23rd, 2013|Healthy Living, Preventive Medicine|Comments Off on Can heart attacks really be virtually eliminated?
  • Berries
    The Power of Berries: A Natural Path to Heart Health The Power of Berries: A Natural Path to Heart Health

    The Power of Berries: A Natural Path to Heart Health

The Power of Berries: A Natural Path to Heart Health

A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health followed 93,600 women over 18 years and found that those who ate more than 3 servings of strawberries and blueberries per week were 32% less likely to have a heart attack. This held true even in patients who had a history of high blood pressure.

So, what makes berries so powerful? We believe the nutrients in berries called anthocyanins and flavonoids have a direct effect on our arteries/blood vessels which make them more supple and pliable, which reduces blood pressure. As we age, our blood vessels become stiffer, but berries counteract this trend. As an aside, the same nutrients which give berries their powerful health benefits, also give them their bright colors.

So what is the bottom-line? This study further confirms that we should choose a variety of brightly colored berries at least 3 times a week. Other studies have shown additional benefit from a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits. At a minimum, we should consume 5 servings (1/2 cup) of fruits and vegetables each day. However, more than 5 is likely to be more protective. Remember the saying “Five is Fine, but Nine is Divine!”

 

By |October 3rd, 2013|Healthy Living|Comments Off on The Power of Berries: A Natural Path to Heart Health
  • CashewNuts
    Nuts or No Nuts? A Common Nutritional Question Nuts or No Nuts? A Common Nutritional Question

    Nuts or No Nuts? A Common Nutritional Question

Nuts or No Nuts? A Common Nutritional Question

A great deal has been made regarding the potential health benefits of adding nuts to our diet versus the concern that nuts are packed with calories, and therefore should be avoided by anyone trying to lose weight. Some medical professionals and nutritionists even recommend that nuts are not advisable to those trying to simply maintain their weight.

Certainly, nuts are packed with calories. In fact, they are packed with calories from fat. However, unlike most of our food choices which contain fat, the fat in nuts is a healthy type of fat which is very beneficial to our cells and our body. In addition, the success of many fad diets is predicated on the fact that fat tends to satisfy our hunger and we ultimately eat less, not more, calories.

A new review of several recent studies confirmed the fact that those who add nuts to their diet are more likely to lose weight, rather than to gain weight. Therefore, nuts are both healthy and good for us and we should not fear that they will lead to weight gain, or prevent weight loss. As always, adding nuts to otherwise bad and unhealthy diet will not correct the underlying problem. But in these cases, the problem is not the nuts, and if a change is to be made, we must change our bad choices.

In summary, we are what we eat, and if we eat nuts, we will be healthier and lose weight! We should all try to add nuts to our diet every day in addition to making other healthy nutrition choices!

 

By |September 17th, 2013|Healthy Living|Comments Off on Nuts or No Nuts? A Common Nutritional Question
  • manrunning_sidebar
    Should Men Stop Eating Fish and/or Taking Fish Oil? Should Men Stop Eating Fish and/or Taking Fish Oil?

    Should Men Stop Eating Fish and/or Taking Fish Oil?

Should Men Stop Eating Fish and/or Taking Fish Oil?

Should Men Stop Eating Fish and/or Taking Fish Oil?

A study was released this past week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which proposed that men who have “high levels” of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (Fish oils) had a higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer then men with “low levels” of Fish oils in their bloodstream. The paper included a review of an original study done to determine the benefit of selenium and vitamin E (antioxidants) supplementation in improving health. Blood levels of Fish oil were determined in each patient and then the patients were followed over time to determine if they developed prostate cancer.  Those in the study group with “higher levels” (not high levels) were more likely to develop prostate cancer.

So what should we take from this study? First, it should be noted that none of the men in the study had high levels of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (Fish oils) in their serum.  In fact, the levels were low for all groups compared. Therefore, no conclusions can be drawn from the study regarding high levels of Fish oil and prostate cancer.  Furthermore, many countries throughout the world, which eat fish on a regular basis, tend to have lower levels of prostate cancer, not higher levels. Likewise, there have been multiple studies over the past 10 years, which specifically looked at the effect of eating fish/taking Fish oils, and its effect on health and prostate cancer.  Some of the studies have shown a specific benefit of eating fish (and higher levels of Fish oils in the blood) and others have shown no effect. Finally, the preponderance of research evidence that currently exists, clearly shows that those with higher omega-3 […]

By |July 18th, 2013|Healthy Living|Comments Off on Should Men Stop Eating Fish and/or Taking Fish Oil?
  • milk_glass-300
    Osteoporosis: Do we need more milk? Osteoporosis: Do we need more milk?

    Osteoporosis: Do we need more milk?

Osteoporosis: Do we need more milk?

For years and years, we have been told, by the dairy industry, scientists, physicians, and our mothers and grandmothers, that we need to drink more milk to “build strong bones” and prevent osteoporosis.  However, do we have proof, or even strong evidence, that increased milk and dairy consumption prevents osteoporosis and builds strong bones?  The fact is that recent evidence may be to the contrary.  The evidence is certainly not clear, but recent observational studies have demonstrated that the 3 countries with the highest dairy consumption in the world also have the highest osteoporosis levels in the world.  In contrast, 3 of the areas with the lowest dairy consumption in the world have extremely low levels of osteoporosis.  A new theory suggests that the dominance of meat and dairy and simple carbohydrates in our diet leads to a lower blood pH level which requires neutralization in our blood which is accomplished by removing calcium from our bones.  On the other hand, diets high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (again, a more Mediterranean-type diet) tend to increase the pH in our blood and preserve calcium in the bones, preventing osteoporosis.  Is it possible that dairy isn’t actually good for “building strong bones”?

By |July 11th, 2013|Healthy Living|Comments Off on Osteoporosis: Do we need more milk?
  • CoupleOnBeach
    Healthy Living Healthy Living

    Healthy Living

Healthy Living

Vitamin D: Sunshine for Health

Long known for its benefits to bone health, it has become increasingly found to be associated with other health conditions.  Thousands of studies now find association between low vitamin D levels and heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, chronic pain, macular degeneration, poor lung function, arthritis, and several cancers.  Vitamin D appears to be strongly associated with healthy immune system.

So why are our vitamin D levels typically so low and how do we increase them to boost our immune system and keep strong bones?  First, most of us, who live in Florida, would have excellent vitamin D levels if we simply spent 10-15 min. a day in the sun without using sunscreen.  Any further sun exposure would require the use of sunscreen to prevent damage to our skin.  Sunburns are certainly strongly associated with skin cancer and significant skin damage.  However, research has not shown that “unprotected” sun exposure of short duration (which doesn’t lead to sunburn) is harmful to our health.  For those who do not, or will not, obtain a healthy amount of sun exposure each week, vitamin D levels can also be increased by eating certain foods which have high vitamin D levels.  Finally, vitamin D supplementation can safely increase vitamin D tissue levels to the appropriate level.

Keeping adequate vitamin D levels in our body appears to be essential to good health and is not difficult to do.  Unfortunately, most Americans have gradually lowered their  vitamin D levels.  Don’t let this happened to you!

By |April 30th, 2013|Healthy Living|Comments Off on Healthy Living