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Health Articles

Coffee - Chocolate - Tongue Diagnosis - Insomnia

Below are some short articles on a variety of health issues. If you would like to see an article on a specific problem or issue, please contact me at

The Good Side of Coffee

The Good Side of a Cup of Java

By Francine Milford

75% of Americans jump start their mornings with a hot cup of coffee. Coffee drinkers have long discovered that caffeine helps them to feel awake, alert, and better able to face the day. Despite the fact that too much coffee drinking causes jitters, insomnia, and heart palpitations; not too many people are aware that moderate coffee drinking may have health benefits.

Coffee (coffea, various species), contains the stimulant caffeine which constricts the blood vessels. This constricting action may help those who suffer from certain forms of headaches. In fact, caffeine is an ingredient in many pain relievers. A cup of coffee, when taken with an aspirin, can boost the pain-relieving powers of aspirin by as much as 33%.

Coffee contains two major anti-asthmatic compounds (theobromine & theophylline) which can help stop bronchospasms and open up constricted bronchial passages. This is good news for asthma sufferers. If you are ever caught without your medication, drink a few cups of coffee!

In a study at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, caffeine was found to have an antidepressant effect. This effect gives people a sense of well-being, lowers suicidal tendencies, and even reduces alcoholic dependency.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA), male coffee drinkers who consume 2-4 cups of regular coffee a day enjoy a 40% lower risk of developing gall stone disease.

Another study done by the American Chemical Society found that caffeine contains certain compounds that act like other antioxidants. Moderate coffee drinking may reduce the risk of colon cancer by 25-30%, it may prevent LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), and was found to “significantly reduce” breast tumors in rats.

Yukmiko Hara from the Mitsui Nurin Company in Japan reports that coffee and tea drinkers not only enjoy antioxidant and cancer fighting properties, but also antibacterial properties as well. Drinking your coffee may help to fight viruses, prevent tumors, and even help to reduce stroke.

In a study done by Chi-Tang Ho from Rudgers University, N.J., it was noted that when caffeine was applied to the skin and added to the drinking water of mice and rats, that it inhibited tumors in their stomachs, lungs, and on their skin.

What is the recommended safe dose? Anything less than 300mg/day (under 4 cups) a day. As in all things, practice moderation. But before you run and out and starting guzzling half a pot of coffee, please check with your primary health care professional.

Francine Milford, N.D., owns the Reiki Center of Venice and offers correspondence courses in many alternative methods of healing. Visit her website at


Chocolate Story Sweet Heart

By: Francine Milford

In a recent study by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), it was found that polyphenols-which occur naturally in cocoa-may help in maintaining the health of your heart.

What does that mean to chocoholics like me?

That means that there is now evidence that chocolate acts like an antioxidant. The consumption of chocolate can help reduce “bad” cholesterol, it can help to prevent damage to body tissues, and it even helps to reduce the formation of blood clots.

Nibbling on chocolate morsels can also act as an anti-cancer ally. And as every menopausal woman can attest to, eating chocolate can ease PMS symptoms and cravings. A plain chocolate milk bar has nearly 10 times more calcium than a medium-sized apple! Of course, this is all done in moderation. After all, too much of anything, even chocolate, can have adverse effects on your body and your health.

How much is just right? As little as 22 grams a day. (that's one standard chocolate bar).

So if your wondering what to get that sweet heart on your list this Valentine’s Day, try some heart-saving chocolates... now if we can only figure out what to do with the calories!

Stick out your tongue

Sometimes discovering the current state of the health of your body is as simple as sticking out your tongue.

In the photo above, the person has a crack running down the middle of their tongue. This crack usually signals potential heart problems. But before you become too alarmed, the crack down the middle of the tongue also signals menopause. So if you recieved a clean bill of health from your doctor and have the crack down your tongue, you may be entering, in, or just coming out of menopause. 

Insomnia, Part I

By: Francine Trunzo Milford


An estimated 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders and another 20 to 30 million have occasional bouts of sleepless nights. The group hardest hit are women over the age of 40. Since sleep patterns change as our bodies change, women are especially affected during menopause, pregnancy, and the aging process.

Insomnia is not a disease-but rather a symptom of an existing illness or condition. The causes of insomnia are as numerous as are the remedies. Sleep disorders are categorized by (1) Psychological (anxiety, depression, stress), (2) Biochemical (misuse of prescriptions, drugs, and medications), and (3) Medical (physiological problems such as sleep apnea, etc. In the majority of cases however, the single most common cause of insomnia is Stress. Over 90% of the population will suffer from sleep loss due to stress at some point in their lives. In these cases, when the stress resolves, so does the insomnia.

Sleep is important to our body’s ability to fight infections. It is especially critical for growth in children. Loss of sleep translates into a loss of energy, loss of memory, feelings of frustration, short-tempers, and mental confusion. Loss of sleep makes one more prone to accidents.

But what about when insomnia begins to affect your ability to function at home and at work? Then it is time to see your doctor. Your doctor should be able to diagnose the cause of your problem and provide for accurate treatment. What if there is no apparent underlying medical cause? Are you forever doomed to toss & turn?

Take this test to see if you are risk for a Sleep Disorder. Answer “Yes” or “No”

(1). I wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep
(2). I lie awake over 30 minutes before I fall asleep
(3). I am overweight
(4). I snore
(5) I have high blood pressure
(6) I am usually worried about something
(7) I suffer from heartburn, hiatus hernia, reflux, etc.
(8) I often kick or jerk my body while I sleep
(9) Sometimes I experience leg pain, cramps, or other sensitivities in my legs
(10) I have experienced vivid dreams while sleeping or napping.

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then you are at risk at suffering from a sleep disorder. Check with doctor to be sure.

Below are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve your good nights’ sleep.

1.) Regular exercise (3-5 times a week for 20-30 minutes each session)
2.) Avoid Alcoholic beverages
3.) Quit Smoking
4.) Avoid caffeine (Coffee, Tea, Sodas, even chocolate)
5.) Do NOT watch TV in bed
6.) Avoid using your bedroom as an office
7.) Take a warm bath before bed (Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the tub and even to your pillowcase).

For more information on sleep disorders or locations of sleep lab sites and sleep physicians, contact the Corporate Development Director of the Sleep Disorder Centers of America at 1-800-373-7326 or website “”


Insomnia, Part two (coming soon)


A look at what alternative remedies are being offered by area practitioners. From acupuncture to sipping specially blended teas, there is a remedy just for you.