Search Term: " Warns "
ARE YOUR MEDICINES MAKING YOU SICK?
August 24, 2017 04:14 PM
Several different medicines may carry a negative impact according to this piece from India's Mumbai Mirror. These medicines are intended to help those with such ailments as diabetes, acidity problems and arthritis, among others. A series of relevant fixes are also offered for the problems that could potentially be caused by these medicines. These fixes mainly involve suggestions to eat particular kinds of healthy food alternatives, including dairy, leafy vegetables, fish, sweet potatoes, eggs and many more. A doctor is also quoted to ensure that not all readers should be concerned about potential problems with these medicines.
"However, many of these drugs can interfere with the availability of nutrients in your body, warns Mahesh Jayaraman, medical researcher, therapist, health advisor and co-founder of health platform Sepalika, “either because they impair the body’s ability to effectively absorb nutrients from food, or cause it to unintentionally excrete certain nutrients.”"
Read more: http://punemirror.indiatimes.com/others/you/are-your-medicines-making-you-sick/articleshow/60163067.cms
Is Coconut Sugar Better Than Other Sugar?
April 18, 2017 06:44 PM
Coconut sugar, a product derived from the coconut tree's flower buds . When processed, it tastes like brown sugar and is about 70 percent similar to table sugar. Coconut sugar is however, rich in vitamins and nutrients that are not available in regular sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index but the Joslin Diabetes Center warns that glycemic index isn't always an indicator of health. Since table sugar can cause high blood sugar and hyperglycemia, coconut sugar should also be used in moderation. There are other natural sweeteners but should also be used in moderation including date sugar, raw honey, blackstrap molasses and maple sugar.
Read more: Is Coconut Sugar Better Than Other Sugar?
THC initiates brain cancer cells to destroy themselves
March 15, 2017 11:59 AM
With all the research that goes into cancer treatments, something rather interesting has been found. The active ingredient in marijuana is called THC. This has been found to kill cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells around it. It lab research with mice, they found that brain tumors shrunk when using this substance. This research does not condone people going out and trying to cure themselves by smoking marijuana. That is not showing any promise, even though many people are doing it. It makes one wonder if this THC is really doing in reality what research is showing. Brain cancer patients that are using marijuana have been showing a decrease in their cancer that would indicate there is a lot of validity to the research.
"The THC cells initiates brain cancer cells to destroy themselves."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https%3A%2F%2Fuk.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F304555993537563424%2F&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjFlMTFjYzBlYzAwOTU4NjY6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNEMXEvnWJmfK5_G1VLVDuaTlKBflg
How to keep an eye out for eating disorders in loved ones
March 15, 2017 04:59 AM
It can be very hard to determine if someone you know has an eating disorder. It may not be able to be noticeable with obvious signs, sometimes its the things you least expect. As much as you want to look out for your loved ones when it comes to an eating disorder, they are going to be as discrete as they can be. This s why this article presents a list of things one should to watch out for eating disorders, that way if you see certain signs you will know what to do.
"Hundreds of South Africans have eating disorders, but it can be difficult for family and friends to detect these problems in loved ones, a doctor warns."
Read more: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.health24.com%2FDiet-and-nutrition%2FHealthy-diets%2Fkeep-an-eye-out-for-eating-disorders-in-loved-ones-20170303&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGmZjNGVlYTM1NDU3YmZmOGU6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNEX1cAzXEB4qfyGZgH85ST6LZmXDg
Dr. Rao of Diet Doc Warns That Going Gluten-Free Can Inadvertently Result in a Lack of Proper ...
December 11, 2016 04:59 PM
With the emergence of Celiac disease in recent years, there are many who have cut gluten from their diet even though they do not suffer from the condition. It has been viewed as a fad new diet, but specialists argue that it can negatively impact your diet. The concern is that the lack of fortified breads, pastas, and cereals in a diet will cause a deficiency in essential B vitamins, folate, and fiber that come from them. Doctors are advising those who do not have Celiac disease to not cut gluten from their diet.
"This truth is that there are no published reports showing that a gluten-free diet produces weight loss in persons without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity"
Can Peppermint Tea Sooth An Upset Stomach?
Almost everyone has experienced upset stomach at some point in life. There are various possible causes of upset stomach including food and drink, lifestyle factors, and medical issues.
Food and Drink
Upset stomach often results from the food or drinks that we take. According to C. Health (2015), upset stomach might result from food poisoning. For example, food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites can cause upset stomach or vomiting. Overeating and drinking can also lead to upset stomach. C. Health (2015) Warns that if an individual drinks or eats too much, he/she can get upset stomach or indigestion. Similarly, some types of foods such as fatty, greasy, or spicy food, can cause upset stomach.
Upset stomach can also result from a number of lifestyles including emotional stress, eating too fast, or smoking (C. Health, 2015). The other possible lifestyle causes of upset stomach include too much alcohol or caffeine.
There are various medical problems associated with upset stomach. These include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or intestinal infections (C. Health, 2015). The other possible medical causes of upset stomach include lactose intolerance or ulcers.
There are various treatments for upset stomach. These include peppermint tea.
Peppermint is a common flavoring for tea and toothpaste (UMMC, 2015). Peppermint tea helps to soothe upset stomach in various ways.
Peppermint tea calms stomach muscles and improves the flow of bile that helps in digestion of fats (UMMC, 2015). As such, food passes through the stomach more quickly. However, it is not advisable to use peppermint if the indigestion symptoms result from GERD.
Peppermint tea relaxes stomach muscles thus allowing digestive gas to pass.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Peppermint tea treats irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including, diarrhea, pain, bloating, and gas. UMMC (2015) found that patients who took peppermint flavored tea 3 to 4 times daily for one month rarely experienced upset stomach.
Overall, peppermint kills some types of viruses, bacteria, and fungi implying that it has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. UMMC (2015) asserts that the main ingredients of peppermint include menthol and methyl salicylate which have calming effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, peppermint tea can soothe upset stomach.
C. Health. (2015). Digestive health. Retrieved from, //chealth.canoe.com/channel_section_details.asp?text_id=5293&channel_id=1017&relation_id=76888
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). (2015). Peppermint. Retrieved from, //umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/peppermint#ixzz3hn1seQSm
How Important Is It To Take A Trace Mineral Supplement And Why?
September 07, 2014 05:38 PM
What is Trace Minerals
Trace minerals are the essential minerals for proper functioning of our bodies. Trace minerals are zinc, calcium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, selenium, etc., the best way to get these minerals is through a diet rich in nutrients. The modern busy lifestyle prevents us from obtaining these minerals, also modern diets, have led to a deficiency in some of the most essential minerals. That is why a proper trace mineral supplementation is necessary for optimal health.
Most important trace minerals are:
Zinc is a mineral found in meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood. The recommended daily intake for adult males is 11 mg and 8 mg for female. Zinc deficiency leads to slow recovery of injuries, diarrhea in children, stunted growth; it may disrupt the thyroid functioning, low levels of testosterone. Zinc is necessary for the immune system, it cures the common cold faster, and it is used for Attention deficit disorder, Down syndrome, colitis and many other illnesses.
Copper is a mineral mostly found in meat, and many foods we already intake. The recommended daily intake of copper is only 2 mg. The National center for biotechnology information Warns about recent studies who found copper deficiency. Copper deficiency leads to Menkes' syndrome, anemia, and neutropenia.
Iodine - 3. 40% of the world population is at risk of iodine deficiency. The use of iodine is at risk of extinction because of using iodine in salt. Many people do not have the proper nutrition to obtain the daily need of iodine. Iodine deficiency leads to hyperthyroidism, enlargement of the thyroid gland, miscarriages in pregnancy, preterm delivery of babies, and to permanent mental damage in babies. Iodine is found in meat, dairy products, soy, eggs, milk, and ice cream.
Manganese is a mineral responsible for blood clotting, sex hormones, and it forms the connective tissue. Manganese is found in the bones, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal, and pituitary glands. According to the University of Maryland, 37% of the Americans are at risk of manganese deficiency, and do not take the daily recommended intake of manganese. Manganese deficiency changes the fat metabolism; it causes bone deformities, skin rash, increases calcium in blood, and causes many other symptoms, which lead to serious medical problems. Manganese is found in nuts, seeds, whole grains.
Chromium is found in meat, whole grain, some fruits, but these foods provide a very small amount of chromium in the body. The recommended daily intake of chromium is 50-200 mg a day and food provides 2 mg per serving. The elder are at a higher risk of chromium deficiency. Research has found that chromium deficiency leads to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, and increased chromium intake has fixed diabetes symptoms in patients.
Who is at risk of trace mineral deficiency?
Vegetarians are at a higher risk of mineral deficiency as most of the sources of these minerals are coming from meat. Vegetarians should consider taking trace mineral supplementation. We need a very small amount of minerals for proper functioning of our bodies, still we have a mineral deficiency which leads to many illnesses, improper functioning in the body. The mineral deficiency has led to lower life span in humans. Our ancestors lived longer because they ate home cooked food, rich in the most important nutrients. Daily trace mineral supplementation is essential for returning our health and immune system on the right track. That is why we all need proper trace mineral supplementation to compensate for the low levels of minerals.
Facts about Curamin and its working formula.
March 30, 2014 01:14 AM
Benefits of curcumin
It is very normal to experience pain and inflammations however, curamin is the answer to any pain problem. What is curamin? It can be described as a blend of all-natural components comprising of curcumin, Boswellia, curcuminoids, nattokinase and DLPA (dl-phenylalanine). Curcumin has been researched and found to have a broad healing platform, that is, anti cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti bacterial and anti-fungal. During post-surgery, it has been proven to ease inflammation and in addition to that, reducing inflammation and swelling in arthritic conditions. Nattokinase is nutrient element in curamin which is an enzyme. The enzyme functions in that it helps breakdown blood clots as they can be painful and moreso, helps in relieving blood pressure.
Inflammations should be well taken care of as research says that, the pains are responsible for all kinds of serious sicknesses such as cancer and painful conditions such as arthritis. The enzyme nattokinase, is very important in relieving inflammations by enhancing circulation in the body thus allowing compounds such as boswellia, pain killer endorphins and curcumin to get to the areas where they are needed most. In addition,it enhances balance of fibrinogen in the body which is associated with muscle damage. Curamin also contains a component by the name DLPA which works in an interconnected mode and furthermore improving moods. Boswellia is termed as a traditional herb which relieves pain by reducing inflammation.
Two capsules, two times a day is the most appropriate dosage to clients. The manufacturer Warns that eight capsules should not be exceeded in 24 hours.
Bird Flu Vaccine in short supply !!
November 26, 2005 02:23 PM
U.S Unprepared for Bird Flu Pandemic
Vaccine in short supply.
Officials worldwide are preparing for the worst, as bird flu spreads through asia and into Europe, resulting in the death of 140million chickens and ducks. Meanwhile waterfowl travel their migratory paths, shedding virus contaminated feathers, droppings and saliva into the water, air and soil.
Human cases of avian flue have so far been limited to individuals who had direct contact with sick birds. Experts, however, believe the virus could mutate into a form easily transmitted from human to human. The current strain, known as H5N1, is particularly lethal; it has killed 61 people—half of those infected.
A few times each century, flu pandemics sweep the world. One of the worst, the 1918 flu, killed 50 million people; it was also a bird flu, which jumped directly to humans. The grimmest forecast today is a pandemic that could kill millions. And, among developed nations, the united states is one of the least prepared.
After Delay, U.S. Must Wait in Line.
Congress and the President are considering spending billions to buy the drub tamiflu, which has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of bird flu. A few months ago, the manufacturer could have delivered much of this supply; now, orders placed by other countries have exhausted production capacity for the next two years, according to the New York Times. U.S. health agencies have 2 million doses on hand, enough to treat 1% of the population.
A Military Response?
Anticipating a crisis, President Bush asked Congress to consider using the military to enforce a quarantine, and requested a review of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the armed forces from engaging in domestic policing. Critics question the effectiveness of a military response to a health problem, and point out that authorities can already call in the National Guard to deal with civil disorders.
Contagious Disease and the Wellness Revolution.
Concentrations of poverty, especially in Asia; huge, crowded farms and factories; poor hygiene; insufficient public health facilities; companies that refuse to produce unprofitable vaccines—all must be addressed to prevent future pandemics.
Meanwhile, individuals must do all they can to protect themselves. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your eyes and nose. Avoid contact with people who have respiratory illnesses. Clean surfaces used to prepare raw poultry with hot, soapy water, and cook poultry thoroughly. With so many potential assaults on your health, a wise strategy that is at the very core of the wellness revolution is to strengthen your immune system. Get enough sleep, take good daily multiple, and visit your health food store for a wide range of immune-boosting herbs and special nutrients to help you stay well this winter.
Sources: After Delay, U.S. Faces Line of Flu Drug, New York Times, 10/7/05; U.S. Warns of Future Flu Pandemic, Associated press, 10/10/05; Review of the monster at our door: the global threat of avian flue by Mike Davis.
Bird Flu Facts:
Symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, aches, pneumonia.
Virulence of current strain: kills 100% of birds, 50% of humans.
Projected U.S. Pandemic Death toll: ½ million.
Children’s diabetes risk on the rise
October 18, 2005 10:59 AM
Children’s diabetes risk on the rise
Illeana Bargas, M.D., physician at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center in New York City, Warns that an alarming number of children are being diagnosed for Type II (adult onset) diabetes.
Bargas says that the cause of this rise is obvious—today one in five children is obese, and the number has grown 22 percent in the last fifteen years. Obesity, inactivity and poor diet are all associated with the development of type II diabetes, because they all can affect the function of blood sugar metabolism. Many health care professionals feel that Type II diabetes can be prevented by improving diet and engaging in more physical activity. T
Some Final Thoughts
June 22, 2005 09:54 PM
Some Final Thoughts
One of the important proofs of the belief Pariza and Cook have in this supplement is to learn that they both take it themselves.
Cook says it is the only supplement he takes, and he believes he will take it the rest of his life. He was naturally thin because of intense exercise, but he believes that it has helped him to keep inches off during long weeks of travel. Pariza, for his part, has lost three inches from his waist during the last year, as well as about seven pounds. He said he has less of an appetite. He says he feels warmer, probably an effect of a faster metabolism. He Warns that this is not a quick fix. When he first started taking this supplement, he found virtually no results. He was disappointed. But the results have come.62
Another significant thing to remember is that, today, scores of scientists around the country are now studying this nutrient. The results will pile in human studies and in other long-term clinical trials. These will give broad indications of the use of this natural, previously unrecognized nutrient.
Why would CLA be involved in so many functions?
If human studies hold true, and the expectation is that they will, you might consider this the next aspirin or the next vitamin C. Vital, remarkable nutrients seem to work on a basic level and impact a variety of systems. This is the case with CLA. What a remarkable piece of science that emerged from a charcoal grill. So, the next time charcoal briquettes sizzle with the drippings of a nice burger, remember how science has found that life, with its remarkable chemistry, finds a way to survive and thrive. No better example exists than that beef cooking on the grill. Sizzling steak covers itself with dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer. Many people feared that fact for years, and science studied those dangers earnestly. How encouraging that nature thankfully also provided other chemicals that counteract, partially at least, the effects of these dangers. CLA, just another highway of chemicals, is a quiet blessing, wiping out carcinogens, blocking dangerous fat, and striving to keep our veins clear. And it was there all along, doing its job, just waiting to be studied and understood. Now that nearly two decades of research are beginning to show how this substance can benefit our lives, a celebration of nature’s bounty seems to be in order. Let’s light up the old grill. Shall we make it steaks or burgers this time?
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas Warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," Warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
Eat to Live - fruits and vegetables are more effective than foods like ...
June 14, 2005 10:38 AM
Eat to Live by Mary Menendez Energy Times, April 14, 2004
By now, most everyone with even a cursory interest in health knows that fruits and vegetables are more effective than foods like cheeseburgers at making your body more resistant to chronic diseases such as cancer.
But beyond that generality, few people seem to know how to fine-tune their meals for the most anti-cancer bang per bite.
Over the course of the lifetime of planet Earth, the plant world has devised and concocted a wealth of nutrients that can help your body fight off cancer.
It's time to put them to work for you.
Would you be interested in a tasty, quick way to cut your chances of certain types of cancer in half? The means to this desirable end are about as close as your refrigerator and your dining room table: All you have to do is cut open and eat a single orange every day.
According to cancer research in Australia, adding that extra serving of citrus fruit to your diet every day, only once a day, boosts immunity enough to significantly lower your risk of some common cancers.
" Citrus fruits [protect] the body through their antioxidant properties and strengthen the immune system, inhibiting tumor growth and normalizing tumor cells," says Katrine Baghurst, PhD, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). According to Dr. Baghurst and her fellow researchers, oranges possess the most antioxidants of any fruit: more than 170 different phytochemicals.
The protection you can get from oranges is due to their influence on immunity. Your immune system has the assigned task of protecting you against cells that can turn cancerous. Sixty of the chemicals in oranges are substances called flavonoids that can help the immune system fend off inflammation and tumors.
When Americans eat fruits and vegetables, they don't eat the ones with the most anti-cancer (or other) health benefits. Instead, we dine on the same so-so produce too frequently. If we want more health benefits from our veggies, we'd better look to expand our culinary horizons.
" While people understand they should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, they are not translating 'variety' in a way to capture health benefits, such as reducing their risk of developing chronic diseases," says Susie Nanney, PhD, acting director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University.
" People aren't eating the fruits and vegetables that contain the most nutrients," Warns Dr. Nanney. "People are quite frankly confused about nutrition. I feel their pain."
Unfortunately, Americans rely too often on iceberg lettuce, corn, apples, potatoes and bananas; a steady diet of that produce doesn't produce the same benefits as indulging in a wider variety of vegetarian foods.
Dr. Nanney points out that the vegetables and fruits most effective at helping the body fight cancer are dark green leafy veggies, citrus (oranges, grapefruits), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and produce that has yellow or orange color.
Making Dinner Plans
Dr. Nanney's spectrum of desirable foods includes:
" When we look at how to get the most bang for your buck, the most power, it's by eating these other fruits and vegetables instead of the traditional choices," Nanney insists.
Studies show that tomatoes, colored by a pigment called lycopene, may be particularly helpful in lowering men's chances of prostate cancer. For instance, research on about three dozen men with prostate cancer found that those taking supplements of lycopene and other tomato phytochemicals had smaller tumors and less spread of their cancers (Exper Bio and Med, 2002; 227: 881).
The researchers conclude that "lycopene may have an antitumor effect and may be useful as an adjunct to standard treatment of prostate cancer, such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormones and chemotherapy. In addition, lycopene supplementation appears to have reduced the [spread of cancer within the prostate], suggesting that lycopene may have a role in the prevention of prostate cancer."
In a study on African-American men, who suffer a higher rate of prostate cancer than other Americans, researchers also found that lycopene can limit the DNA damage that may presage cancer (Amer Chem Soc Meeting #222, 2001).
" This study does not say that tomato sauce reduces cancer," cautions Phyllis E. Bowen, PhD, a nutritionist at the University of Chicago and lead investigator in the study. " It says that it reduces DNA damage that we think is associated with cancer."
Other studies have confirmed the finding that men who eat tomatoes suffer less prostate cancer. And if you want the most anti-cancer benefit from tomatoes, better cook them.
According to Rui Hai Liu, MD, Cornell assistant professor of food science, "[Our] research demonstrates that heat processing actually enhanced the nutritional value of tomatoes by increasing the lycopene content-[the] phytochemical that makes tomatoes red-that can be absorbed by the body, as well as the total antioxidant activity. The research dispels the popular notion that processed fruits and vegetables have lower nutritional value than fresh produce."
While you're making an effort to eat more of the colorful vegetables, you should also eat less fatty red meat and cut back on high-fat dairy foods, according to research from Harvard.
In this study, which covered eight years and looked at the diets of more than 90,000 women, scientists found that those premenopausal women who ate the most fatty red meat and regular milk had the highest chance of developing invasive breast cancer.
The scientists taking part in this study believe that eating more saturated fat from meat may increase hormone levels that boost the chances of breast cancer (Jrnl Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1079).
In this research, the total amount of fat didn't affect cancer risk, but the amount of animal fat did. Women who ate the most red meat had a 54% higher chance of breast cancer. Aside from avoiding red meat, women who wish to lower their risk of breast cancer should also limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages.
A study of two thousand post- menopausal women found that those who averaged about two drinks a day raised their risk of breast cancer by about 80% (Cancer Epidem, Biomarkers and Prevention, 10/03).
Here, too, researchers believe that alcohol affects the level of hormones that influence cancer.
The moral of the research into how food can slow cancer risk: Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits early and often. Limit meat and alcohol.
Change the color of the fruits and vegetables on your plate for a better chance of a brighter future.
Mane Attraction - lustrous Hair...
June 14, 2005 08:19 AM
Mane Attraction by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, February 12, 2004
Everyone wants thick, lustrous hair. Think of the allure attached to the locks of Samson and Lady Godiva and-fast-forward to the present-the full heads of Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts.
" We're naturally attracted to hair as humans; it catches the light, it frames the face, we like the feel of it," says Catherine Jones, ND, LAc, a resident naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington. "Fair or not, historically in many cultures, rich, thick hair has been a sign of fertility and strength."
Along with that allure, latching onto natural ways to have great-looking hair gives you the benefits of looks and health. Every hair starts with a shaft that grows from a root. "The root is contained deep within the hair follicle," says Dr. Jones. "Each one has a sebaceous or oil gland, which supplies the hair with necessary lubrication as it approaches the surface of the scalp." Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, including a resting period, the telogen phase, when hair falls out. Because of these constant hair phases, each of us loses, on average, about 100 hairs a day.
" The number of hairs the average person loses in a day tends to increase in the fall as the leaves fall from the tree and tends to decrease in the spring as the bulbs emerge from the soil," Dr. Jones says. "We really are connected to nature." Stress-due to rapid weight loss, infection, anemia, prolonged illness, hormonal changes, hypoactive thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, eczema or psoriasis-can influence hair growth and loss.
Hair consists of proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates and pigment (gray hair has reduced pigment; white, none at all). Each shaft's structure is divided into a medulla, a cortex and an outer cuticle. " The cuticle is coated with an outside lipid-like layer, which protects the hair," says Dr. Jones. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, the cortex and cuticle become keratinized and harden." Dry or damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage. "The condition of the cuticle affects how the light reflects off the hair, giving it highlights and luster," Dr. Jones says. "Luster is affected both by what occurs inside the body as the hair is developing and what happens to the hair after it has grown from the shaft."
Sun, heat, moisture, pollution and hair products, dyes and bleaches can all dull the hair. "Applying chemical solutions to the hair, color, permanent waves or curl relaxers, damage the protein molecules that wrap around the shaft, leaving hair brittle and dull," says Christina Pirello, author of Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty (HP Books).
Conditioners and oils can leave a residue or weigh hair down. Hair sprays and products that contain alcohol can dry and damage the hair, as can using blow dryers and curling irons.
To combat hair-raising havoc, feed your hair natural nutrients for health. Silica and plants that contain silica/silicon both strengthen hair and promote growth. "Silica is a good mineral for hair health," says Walter Siegordner, founder of The Aurora Group, a personal care company. "It helps in the keratinization process of the cells that produce hair."
" Silica is a mineral that is involved in the synthesis of bone and connective tissue," adds Dr. Jones. "The hair follicle contains connective tissue so silica may promote the health and function of the follicle itself." Silica-containing herbs include nettles (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sea plants like seaweed and kelp also provide vital nutrients. "Sea plants are essential ingredients in many natural shampoos and can be used to fortify damaged hair," says Pirello. "They're rich in vitamin A that prevents the build-up of dead skin cells, which can clog the hair follicles, inhibiting the growth and health of the hair, and also contain vitamin B, linked to the prevention of oily hair, baldness and dandruff. Calcium found in sea plants is essential to the structure of the hair shaft."
Eaten on s daily basis, sea plants are rich in nutrients that help maintain healthy, shiny hair, free of split ends, Pirello says. Try wakame in soups and salads, kombu or kelp in bean and vegetable dishes, nori in sushi, and hiziki and arame as side dishes. Since hair health is affected by digestive health, the fiber found in whole grains also helps. "Fiber prevents accumulation in the intestines that can result in the formation of toxins," says Pirello.
Miso, she adds, is especially good hair food. It "is rich in living enzymes that ease digestion, fortify the quality of the blood nourishing the body and hair, and provide us with essential oils, vitamins and minerals."
Key nutritional support includes adequate protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids such as cold-pressed flax seed oil and fish oil, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, biotin, iron and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Zinc and selenium can help combat the effects of hyperthyroidism, which can result in thinning, lackluster hair.
Vitamin C can boost adrenal health. "When the adrenals are overtaxed and become fatigued, hair follicles will go into a resting phase," says Dr. Jones. (If you have a medical condition, she adds, check with your health care practitioner first before taking supplements.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair is associated with the kidneys' qi, energy that originates in these organs, and with blood quality. " From the traditional Chinese perspective, excess amounts of fat, protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol and salt in the diet acidify the body, damage the Kidney qi and are not good for the hair," says Dr. Jones. A diet rich in vegetables and grains is a great way to support healthy hair. "Iron and mineral-rich foods are considered blood builders and hair tonics. Foods such as blackstrap molasses, seaweed, nettles, and the herb polygonum multiflorum (also known as He Shou Wu and Fo-Ti) have been used throughout the years. Fo-Ti has also been used to prevent graying of the hair and support the immune system."
" Hair is extremely strong but at the same time it's extremely delicate," says Barsoum Bouchar, a cosmetologist and owner of the Virtuoso Salon in Birmingham, Michigan. "Many products work against the hair texture, so the cuticle is always raised. This causes tangles and split ends. With blow dryers, chemicals, colors and styling elements, the hair is tremendously abused." If you don't have to chemically treat the hair, he says, don't.
When replenishing the hair it's important to remember that it's composed of 97% protein and 3% moisture, says Bouchar. Shampoo cleanses the hair and removes buildup. "A moisturizer brings moisture back into the hair and smoothes the cuticle down, which is what makes hair shiny and gives it bounce. The one key ingredient in both shampoo and moisturizers is aloe vera. It heals the hair." " Avoid products with harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate and propylene glycol," Warns Siegordner. "These decrease the circulation in the scalp, reducing the pathway for nutrition to the hair bulb." Conditioners that aren't natural can also cause build-up. "When you apply heat to the hair through blow drying or styling, you end up 'burning' the hair," says Bouchar.
To stimulate hair growth, add a few drops of essential oils of rosemary, lavender and thyme to jojoba and almond oils, and rub into the scalp. Leave it overnight and then rinse it off. " Essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, stimulate the circulation to the hair follicles and combat dryness. They also smell good," says Dr. Jones.
For hair that's not chemically treated, "a vinegar rinse cleanses the hair, removes build-up and boosts shine," says Bouchar. Use one part vinegar to ten parts water, apply after a shampoo, comb though and rinse it off. To naturally lighten the hair, use the same ratio in a lemon rinse for five minutes for, say, four days in a row, and then stop.
If you want to color your hair, choose natural elements, too. "The best natural dye is henna," says Bouchar. "It's organic, just like hair is." Blonde hair becomes warmer with a coppery tone, brunette hair takes on a mahogany hue, gray hair looks like highlights.
To find a good natural hair stylist, Bouchar suggests asking which products they use and why. If your hair is chemically treated, it's especially important to work with a stylist you trust for the best care.
Keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to hair health. "Be proactive and treat the body holistically," urges Dr. Jones. "Nourish the glands, the organs and the vessels that are responsible for getting the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle. Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental aspects of health. Once hair is lost it may come back but it will likely be thinner than it was before. It's important to take care of what you have."
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," Warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney Warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Supersized Kids - today's children are not just mildly overweight.
June 12, 2005 02:04 PM
Supersized Kids by Carl Lowe Energy Times, August 1, 2003
If your kids are like most American children, they are in serious danger. Because of a lifestyle that packs in too many calories and not enough exercise, today's children are not just mildly overweight; they are fat enough at younger and younger ages to threaten their well-being.
All of the extra body fat kids carry around is not just a cosmetic problem. Unless something is done quickly, this overweight generation may be doomed to a lifetime of chronic illness stemming from their excessive weight.
If you have kids, they are at risk. The time to take action to save them is today. When researchers look at the weight problems of today's youth, they are shocked and dismayed. The juvenile weight problem has resulted in some kids becoming obese-grossly overweight-by their third birthdays. Scientists are also finding that, in many cases, obese 10-year-olds now have livers that are already malfunctioning because of too much body fat. At the same time, their bodies, in an effort to cope with increases in fat, are secreting high levels of insulin, making them prone to type 2 diabetes, a disease usually found in older adults.
When pediatric endocrinologists at the University at Buffalo analyzed the heights and weights of young children who were referred to them, they found frightening levels of obesity (Pediatric Academic Societies meeting 5/3/00).
"Childhood obesity not only affects a child's self-esteem, it also is associated with multiple medical consequences," says Teresa Quattrin, MD, professor of pediatrics and director of the study. "High insulin levels are believed to be related to type 2 diabetes, formerly known as 'adult-onset diabetes.' In fact, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children has risen significantly in recent years, along with a high prevalence of obesity." "Children at risk of obesity must be identified very early, even at the preschool level," she adds. "Obese children often have obese parents, so an effective family-based multi-factor intervention program should begin as soon as obesity is diagnosed." Experts estimate that up to one in three US children and adolescents is already obese, and the numbers are rising. Children who are overweight are much more likely to grow up to become overweight adults and to suffer all of the health problems associated with adult obesity.
Experts believe that the best way to get children's weight under control is to get family eating under control. And the eating changes do not have to be drastic to produce effective results.
"Obesity is a family illness," says Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University School of Public Health. "Children...learn to become obese in an environment that encourages it. If parents are eating poorly, that's what they're providing their children."
To help children eat a moderate diet, according to Dr. Haire-Joshu, parents have to eat healthier first. In her research (Preventive Medicine, 6/03), the Saint Louis University School of Public Health joined with Parents As Teachers (PAT), a national, free educational program for parents of children from birth to age 3, to show parents simple ways to eat healthier that they could share with their children.
The researchers found that when they instructed the entire family on eating fewer calories, fewer fried foods and more fruits and vegetables, everyone, including the young children, benefited.
"What we showed in the study is parents who institute very simple changes can significantly impact their health. When parents have kids, they want the best for their kids. We get them at a very teachable moment," Dr. Haire-Joshu says. But society and the media produce an environment that encourages kids to eat gooey, calorie-dense food and stay glued to the television.
"Our society receives consistent messages to eat more and move less. This is a way to balance some of those messages to very young families," Warns Dr. Haire-Joshu.
Dr. Haire-Joshu says that her study shows parents are more likely to start on healthier diets when the dietary changes are relatively small. For example, instead of completely revamping meals, families that ate fried foods at five dinners during the week tried cutting back to four fried dinners. Or mothers who consistently ate at fast food restaurants were encouraged to add lettuce and tomato to a smaller burger than the supersize they usually ordered.
Don't wait. Make those kinds of changes today to help your kids control their weight. Their health is at stake.
June 12, 2005 01:59 PM
Certified Foods by Glenda Olsen Energy Times, July 13, 2003
What's in your food, and where does it come from? To most American consumers, that question may seem unimportant. But the answers might surprise you. Your food's origin and processing can make a big difference in its nutritional value, for better and for worse. Increasingly, concern over the quality of food and its influence on health are persuading shoppers to take a greater interest in their food. The result: More visits to natural food stores and more sales of organic food.
Once upon a time, food used to be just food. Crops were grown on family farms, and animals were raised in barnyards. But today, corporations have conquered food production in a big way. Agribusiness is just that-a big business in which animals and plants are treated like assembly-line items and raised on factory farms.
While the term "organic" gets tossed around endlessly in the media, the term is often misconstrued. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones."
In addition, organic farmers generally do not use pesticides, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. This type of food is also produced without genetically modified organisms and is not subject to radiation used to zap the bugs on food. Today, USDA-approved certifying agents inspect the farms where organic food is raised to ensure organic standards are followed. In addition, the companies that process food and handle organic food have to be USDA-certified. Meeting these standards allows companies to use the USDA's organic label on foods that are at least 95% organic in origin. Labels for foods that contain between 70% and 95% organic content can use the words "Made With Organic Ingredients," but cannot use the seal.
While the debate over the nutritional benefits of organic food has raged for decades, recent research is beginning to turn up evidence that organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain extra helpings of vitamins and other nutrients. A study at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, found that organically grown oranges contain more vitamin C than conventional supermarket oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 6/02).
Theo Clark, PhD, the Truman State professor who investigated the organic oranges, says that when he and his students began their research, "We were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges" because they are larger than organic oranges. To his surprise, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that the organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they were only about half the size. "We speculate that with conventional oranges, (farmers) use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and doesn't have as much nutritional value," Dr. Clark says. "However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration."
If you want to avoid pesticide residues in your food, research shows that going organic can make it much less likely that you or your family consumes these unwanted chemicals. Research, for instance, into the diets of children (Enviro Hlth Persp 3/03) shows that dining on organic fruits and vegetables, and organic juice, can lower kids' intake of pesticides.
These scientists took a look at the organophosphorus (OP) pesticide breakdown products in the blood of kids ages two to five who ate conventional supermarket produce and compared it with the OP found in organic kids.
The children on the organic diet had less OP in their blood than the other kids. As a matter of fact, the children on the conventional diet had six times the dimethyl metabolites, dimethyl being a pesticide suspected of affecting nerve function and growth. "Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides," note the researchers. "Organic foods have been growing in popularity over the last several years," says Jim Burkhart, PhD, science editor for the journal that published the study. "These scientists studied one potential area of difference from the use of organic foods, and the findings are compelling."
On the way to tonight's dinner, researchers have created genetically modified organisms (GMO), plants and animals that have been transgenically engineered. In the food world, that means organisms containing genes inserted from another species. Chances are if you eat food purchased at the typical supermarket, those comestibles contain GMO ingredients. In the United States, food companies are not required to label for GMO content.
A growing number of American consumers are upset about not being told about the GMO products in their food. But industry scientists, worried that informed consumers may someday turn their back on GMO foods, consider consumer ignorance to be an acceptable state of affairs.
For instance, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is fighting regulations that would require GMO labeling. According to ASPB President Daniel Bush, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana, "The language...(in these types of regulations) is based on a system of beliefs of what is 'natural,' rather than a scientifically defined set of criteria focused on content and nutritional value. This is a radical departure from food labeling up to now, which is designed to maximize useful information for consumers concerning what is in the food they are buying."
Dr. Bush continues, "There are, of course, examples of voluntary labeling standards in the food industry that reflect how foods are processed, such as organic foods. The voluntary organic labeling standards were sought by the organic food industry. Kosher foods are also labeled as having been produced in accordance with specific beliefs. However, mandatory labeling of targeted production methods has never before been required and we believe would obscure rather than clarify important issues of food safety."
In other words, Dr. Bush opposes GMO labeling because he feels it would unnecessarily stigmatize GMO food items. Others are not so sanguine about the safety of GMO foods.
The arguments against GMO foods include:
These types of risks have motivated industry groups to urge more regulation of GMO crops. The Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association, plus seven other food groups, are worried that GMO plants grown to produce pharmaceutical drugs could contaminate the food supply and destroy consumer trust in food.
Mary Sophos, a vice president of GMA, Warns, "To minimize the possible risks, a clear system of regulatory enforcement and liability needs to be in place. Until then, no permits for new field trials or for commercialization should be issued because there is no room for trial and error."
These food industry groups have voiced their concerns to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA. Last year, the USDA forced ProdiGene Inc., a biotech firm, to dispose of 500,000 bushels of soybeans contaminated with a drug meant to treat diabetes. What are the chances of more GMO accidents? No one knows. But if you buy and eat organic, you minimize your risk and maximize your chances of dining on safer food.
Bone Power - Natures Plus
June 11, 2005 04:41 PM
Bone Power by no author Energy Times, May 1, 1997
Patricia Q. stopped smoking 20 years ago. At 61, she is active, tries to exercise regularly, eats properly and takes a multivitamin. Most would consider Patricia's lifestyle a sufficient safeguard against the diseases of aging. But one debilitating possibility still concerns her: Osteoporosis-bone thinning. She worries that her bones may have begun weakening almost a decade ago. Although her good health habits can slow the demineralization of her bones, osteoporosis may still take its toll. And as her neck and back begin to obviously round, a possible sign of bone weakness, Patricia frets about her future.
The weakening of bones brought on by age makes them more prone to fracture. One of every two women older than age 50 suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime. Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones," bones that deteriorate and particularly increase the risk of damage to the hip, spine and wrist. In extreme cases, everyday activities assume danger: fractures can result from simply lifting a bag of groceries or from what would otherwise be a minor fall. Some women, fearful of fractures, eliminate many seemingly innocuous activities from their daily lives. Their fear is well founded. Complications from these fractures are a major killer of women.
As women grow older, the risk grows, too. Ten million individuals already have the disease, and 18 million have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis.
But research shows that osteoporosis may be preventable and controllable. Regardless of age, eating right, getting enough calcium and performing weight-bearing exercises, can lower your risk for this disease.
Understanding Your Bones
Bones are not static structures but living tissue constantly reformed in a process called remodeling. Every day old bone is removed and replaced with new bone tissue. When more bone is broken down than is replaced (demineralization), bones weaken. When the structure loses sufficient density, you face eminent danger of a fracture.
Generally speaking, bones continue to increase their density and calcium content until you reach your 30s, at which point you probably have attained your peak bone mass. Afterward you may either maintain this mass or begin to lose calcium yearly, but you rarely can increase bone density. The loss of bone density can increase at menopause, when your body ceases producing estrogen, a hormone required to improve bone strength. In addition, some medications, used for a long period, compromise bone density.
Stop Calcium Loss
Eating a diet rich in nutrients that help your bones stay strong should be the first step in stopping or slowing the process of osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, soy-based foods and fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone.
At this moment, 98 percent of your body's calcium resides in your bones, the rest circulates in the blood, taking part in metabolic functions. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. When the diet lacks sufficient calcium to replace the amount that is excreted, the body begins to break down bone for the calcium necessary for life-preserving metabolic processes.
Calcium in the diet can generally slow calcium loss from bones, but it usually doesn't seem to replace calcium already gone. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000-1200 milligrams of dietary calcium per day for premenopausal women and 1200-1500 milligrams for menopausal and postmenopausal women
Good sources of calcium include milk and milk products, yogurt, ricotta, cheese, oysters, salmon, collard greens, spinach, ice cream, cottage cheese, kale, broccoli and oranges.
If you cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium supplements are an easy way to consume calcium. Take supplements with a meal to aid absorption of calcium from the stomach.
In Total Health for Women, Dr. Kendra Kale, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, urges women to read supplement labels. Scrutinize the fine print to see how many grams are considered "elemental"or "bioavailable"-the form of calcium your body will absorb. If you're taking a 750 milligram supplement, chances are only 300 milligrams are elemental. You should also check that the pill will dissolve within 30 minutes and meets the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards. If tablets do not break down within 30 minutes, they may pass through you unabsorbed and you won't digest the calcium from them that you need.
Absorbing calcium from your digestive tract also requires the presence of vitamin D. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily usually satisfies vitamin D requirements since most people's bodies can use sunlight to manufacture this substance. So walking to work, or going outside for lunch should supply sufficient ultraviolet light to facilitate calcium absorption.
As we age, however, our body's ability to produce vitamin D gradually diminishes. Our diets can make up the difference: Good dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver and fish or nutritional supplements. Many foods, like milk, are supplemented with vitamin D.
Magnesium is another mineral that helps to build bones. Found in leafy, green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, seeds and whole grains, your daily requirement of magnesium should be about half of your calcium intake.
Absorbing calcium for bone health also requires phosphorus, but be careful not to get too much of a good thing: excess phosphorus can actually increase your body's need for calcium. This can present a problem for people who drink bottle after bottle of cola soft drinks or who eat an abundance of processed foods which are often high in phosphorus.
New Soy Research
New research suggests that soy foods, like tofu or soy milk may be vital for preserving bones. A study of more than 60 postmenopausal women who consumed either diets rich in soy's isoflavones or milk protein found that eating soy restored calcium to some of the women's bones. Even though the researchers didn't think such a replacement due to soy was even possible!
The researchers at the University of Illinois believe that isoflavones behave in the body in some of the same ways that estrogen does. The study measured bone density at the lumbar spine, a part of the body at the small of the back that is liable to fractures due to osteoporosis.
Fluoride: Not Just For Teeth
Although most people associate the mineral fluoride with strong teeth, fluoride is just as important for bone strength. Surveys report that osteoporosis is reportedly less common in communities that drink fluoridated water. Fluoride combines with calcium in the bones to slow mineral loss after mid-life. Good sources of this mineral include fish, tea and most animal foods.
Cut Back on Alcohol and Coffee
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, consuming lots of caffeine is thought to increase the calcium excreted in your urine. In addition, high levels of protein and sodium in your diet are also believed to increase calcium excretion. And although more studies of protein and sodium are needed to precisely determine how these substances influence calcium loss you should limit the caffeine, protein and salt you take in.
On top of those findings, researchers say that the diuretic action of alcohol and caffeine speed skeletal calcium loss. They believe alcohol may interfere with intestinal absorption of calcium.
Along with a bone-friendly diet, your exercise program should also be designed to preserve bone. Weight-bearing exercise-exercise that places stress on the bones-strengthens bone density and wards off osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises include weight lifting, walking, jogging and jumping rope.
Exercise possesses many benefits for preserving bone, according to Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young. Among them: exercise can help you retain the balance necessary to resist falls and strengthen the muscles that keep you erect. Studies performed on women of all ages found that by doing strength training exercises two times a week for a year, without use of estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women, on average, added three pounds of muscle and lost three pounds of fat. They were also 75 percent stronger with improved balance and bone density.
Although strength training can be performed by anyone at any age, Nelson recommends that if you have an unstable medical condition or if you have recently undergone surgery, wait until you recover and speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have not exercised in a long time, consult a health practitioner knowledgeable in sports medicine before beginning an exercise program.
Drug therapies are now available to combat osteoporosis. One of the most popular is HRT, which supplies estrogen to women undergoing menopause. However, medical experts are still arguing over HRT 's possible role in increasing your risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
According to Jan Rattner-Heilman, co-author of Estrogen, the Facts Can Change Your Life, the conflicting studies that balance the benefits and risk of HRT are bound to confuse the average consumer. Estrogen is recommended to prevent bone loss and forestall heart disease and possibly Alzheimer's disease. Most women take estrogen to ease the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes, and many experts do not believe that it unduly increases the risk of breast cancer for those at low risk.
Heilman Warns, however, that estrogen probably should not be taken by women especially at risk for breast cancer risk or those who are already suffer the disease.
Patricia Q. is reluctant to try HRT. "I'm at risk for breast cancer-my mother had it-so I won't take estrogen. I'd rather do what I can without medications. My preference is to watch my diet and exercise as much as I can. That gives me my best chance to avoid osteoporosis."
Doctor Nelson agrees with this perspective She believes that exercise possesses enough benefits to make it the treatment of choice. "The difference between estrogen and strength training is that strength training has a huge spillover effect; you aren't just decreasing one type of disease. You become stronger with more muscles and less fat, and you become more fit. This decreases your chances for many types of diseases, not just osteoporosis. It can decrease risks for heart disease, diabetes, sleep disturbances, hypertension and more."
If you believe you are at risk for osteoporosis, ask your doctor about the benefits of bone mineral density screening. DEXA scan (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) measures the bone density in a 15-minute test. But the test is expensive: the cost of this test ranges from $75-200 or more and may not be covered by your health insurance. But financial help may be on the way. A Bone Mass Standardization Act has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the cost of bone mass measurement is covered under Medicare and that standards for coverage are clear and consistent for anyone with medical insurance.
Fighting Osteoporosis at Different Ages
Childbearing years (30-40): These years are particularly important for preserving bone through exercise and good nutrition. Eat plenty of low-fat dairy products, vegetables and soy. Perform weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight lifting to attain the greatest amount of bone and muscle possible. Being active reduces risk of injury and makes you stronger. If you smoke, now's the time to stop.
Menopausal years (late 40s-50s): During this time, muscle, bone and estrogen decreases. Minimize loss through diet, walking and weight lifting. Your exercise intensity may have to be decreased but you should not stop being physically active.
Post Menopause (over 60): Focus on reducing your risk of falling. Minimize balance problems and increase muscle strength through exercise.
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide
June 11, 2005 03:54 PM
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, June 18, 2004
If you're hooked on exercise you're probably just as hooked on using top-notch equipment when you work out. Those who are serious about staying in shape buy the best running shoes, carefully pick out the best bikes and tread on durable treadmills. But do you pay just as much attention to your nutrition?
Scientists who have studied exercise have found that what you eat before, during and after workouts is crucial to maintaining your health, getting into shape and staying fit. To achieve your best athletic performance without getting injured or sick depends on optimum nutrition. When you carefully plan what to feed your exercised body, it rewards you by feeling and looking better.
Short 'n Sweet
If you thought long exercise sessions were the only ways to get decent exercise benefits, take notice: small doses of exercise during the week can go a long way. " The important thing, apparently, is just do it," says Howard D. Sesso, ScD, author of an American Heart Association study on exercise and heart disease. In his study, exercisers demonstrated that several short sessions of exercise were as good for the body as a single long session (Circ 8/00; 102:975-80). " Short sessions lasting 15 minutes long appear to be helpful,"Dr. Sesso explains. Even walking about three miles per week, which is a moderate level of exercise, lowers your risk of heart disease by 10%.
Some people glorify in working up a sweat; others curse the dampness. But putting in extra effort in even short bursts of activity pays off: experts have found that intense exercise burns more calories than more relaxed sessions, more effectively reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates production of human growth hormone, which offsets some of the effects of aging (Exp Biol Med 2004 Mar; 229(3):240-6).
But don't go crazy if you haven't worked out in a long time. The intensity of the workout should match your physical fitness. According to the American Heart Association, when people exercise at a comfortable pace, their heart rate and level of exertion stay within a safe range, but still high enough to benefit their health. Strenuous activities, for those who can handle them, produce the most physiological bang for the jog. But brisk walking within your own level of fitness still offers significant benefits.
Feeding Your Muscles
When you exercise, you work and develop your muscles, which are made primarily out of protein. Despite this fact, many exercise experts have advocated high-carb diets for athletes. But, as John Ivy, PhD, and Robert Portman, PhD, point out in their book The Performance Zone (Basic Health), "[While] there is no doubt that aerobic athletes require more carbohydrate than strength athletes...we are now discovering that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement offers significant benefits to aerobic athletes."
That is why researchers believe that consuming plenty of protein along with carbohydrates offers the best fitness benefits. Protein helps fuel activity more efficiently and aids in recovery after a session at the gym, allowing your body to repair muscle damage and build up muscle fibers.
During exercise, you break down muscle tissue. It is during recovery, after your exercise session ends, that muscles are rebuilt. At the same time, other cellular processes take place that adapt the body to working out.
According to Ivy and Portman, timing your intake of nutrients after exercise is crucial: "The ability of the muscle machinery to regenerate itself decreases very rapidly after a workout, so that the nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise will have far less impact in helping the muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier."
Stresses and Tears
Engaging in athletics can cause microscopic muscle tears. These tears can cause a range of problems that, when you exercise excessively, can cause pain and injury.
Inflammation is the body's response to cellular damage. The damaged area can swell as the body sends white blood cells and other cells to repair the injured area. Unfortunately, the swelling can further damage the muscle cells.
Since inflammation can take 24 hours or more to cause the collection of cells in the injured area, it can be a day or two before the resulting muscle soreness reaches its peak painfulness and then starts to subside.
Cortisol, a hormone produced when you exercise strenuously, which can result in muscle fiber damage. Cortisol boosts protein breakdown, so it can be used to fuel muscle movement. But the more protein breaks down, the more potential exists for muscle fiber injury. Free radicals are caustic molecules that are created when the mitochondria (small structures in cells) create energy; these marauders can also cause microscopic shredding of muscle strands. As you increase your use of energy during exercise, you simultaneously increase the production of free radicals. This collection of free radicals can outstrip the body's antioxidant defenses, leading to extensive muscle damage and dampening of the immune system.
All of these cellular events can make you sore. They are also the reasons that athletes who overdo it day after day are liable to come down with nagging colds and a variety of infections.
Your muscles use different substances for fuel depending on what you ask them to do. Lift a heavy weight and muscles recruit two processes called the creatine phosphate system and glycolysis to generate a large amount of quick energy. These are known as anaerobic types of energy production.
But if you jog, swim, bike or perform any other aerobic activity, the cells use oxygen in what is called cellular respiration to supply energy to working muscles.
When you exercise aerobically for extended periods of time, the energy available is generally limited by how much oxygen your body is capable of taking in and supplying to the muscles, where it takes part in energy production. In athletic circles, this upper limit is known as your VO2max.
The carbohydrates your body burns for energy during aerobic activity are taken from blood sugar and carbohydrate reserves called glycogen. (The muscles store glycogen, as does the liver.) During a workout session, your glycogen supply is limited to what is stored with your muscles. But blood glucose can be boosted by carbohydrate drinks, energy gels or bars.
Most people who work out have enough glycogen and blood sugar to fuel moderate aerobic activity for about two hours. After that, the body turns mostly to fat and protein stores to fuel exercise.
Fat Into the Fire
In contrast to the body's quickly diminishing supply of glycogen and blood sugar, fat can last for hours and hours of exercise. According to Portman and Ivy, a 200-pound man with 15% body fat has, theoretically, enough fat energy to run from Washington DC down to Miami Beach-and still has enough energy left over to jump into the ocean.
But using fat for energy is complicated; fat is stored in fat tissue and not readily available to working muscles. Plus, to burn fat for energy, the body needs carbohydrate-it cannot burn fat all by itself. What's more, the conversion of fat into energy doesn't go as quickly as carb conversion.
Protein is also used for energy when carbs run low. But the more you use protein for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down.
Prepare to Energize
To maximize your energy during exercise and minimize soreness, Portman and Ivy recommend some simple nutritional steps:
Taking protein and carbs while working out can limit muscle damage and curtail soreness. Carbs apparently drop your cortisol levels, and thereby limit muscle injuries linked to this hormone. While the mechanism that helps protein limit muscle soreness is not completely understood, it is possible that taking in protein while working out keeps the body from shredding muscle tissue in search of fuel.
Supplements that contain antioxidants such as natural vitamin E and vitamin C (Portman and Ivy think you should take these during exercise) may limit free radical damage to muscle fibers.
Muscle Reconstruction Plan
If you want to help your exercise plan make you stronger, you should focus your after-exercise sports nutrition plan on these steps:
The protein part of the equation is vital: don't merely indulge in only carbs after exercising. A recent study found that while carbs could help muscles rebuild, adding protein can make a big difference in improving your fitness (J App Phys 2/04).
This combination of nutrients stimulates the pancreas so that it releases insulin. The release of insulin is the key, initial step that sets off a cascade of physiological events that speeds muscle recovery. Although many people think of insulin as an undesirable hormone-if you never exercise, too much insulin may help drive your blood sugar down and cause other problems-for exercisers, this hormone plays a crucial function in benefiting from exercise.
By eating carbohydrate and protein soon after working out and stimulating insulin, according to Ivy and Portman, you help your body boost its synthesis of protein by:
Drinking for Exercise The most obvious nutrient you lose during intensive exercise is water in your perspiration. However, that perspiration also contains an array of minerals known as electrolytes. So, for optimal performance and health, experts recommend you replace both the water and its minerals.
Merely drinking water-instead of electrolyte-filled sports drinks-during prolonged aerobic activity can be dangerous. It leaves you vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, which can occur when your blood levels of sodium and other electrolytes drop, but your blood volume stays steady or increases because you drink lots of water.
According to Edmund Burke, PhD, in his book Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery (Avery), one out of four athletes who seek medical attention after a long race are suffering hyponatremia.
" Typically," he says, "conscientious athletes get in trouble because they adhere too diligently to one recommendation: the need to drink lots of fluids. They tend to ignore another recommendation: The need to keep electrolytes up...for most endurance athletes the real problem is drinking too much water." Dr. Burke Warns that you can possibly suffer hyponatremia even if you don't drink a lot of water.
Signs of hyponatremia can be similar to those of heat exhaustion. But, while resting and cooling down can help alleviate heat exhaustion, that doesn't help hyponatremia. " To protect yourself against hyponatremia, start by paying attention to how much you sweat," Dr. Burke says. If your sweat seems very salty, burns your eyes or leaves an evident, white residue on your skin, you may be losing a great deal of sodium and should be diligent about eating salty foods. " You can also make sure you're getting enough sodium by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water during long (exercise) events," Dr. Burke notes.
Of course, no matter what you decide to eat or drink while exercising, the most important factor for your well-being is to get out to the gym, onto the track, or just on to the sidewalk, and do something, even if you only want to go out for a walk. No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you're in, you'll benefit from exercise.
" It's solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising," says Charles Emery, PhD, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Health Psychology 3/04).
Don't decline or remain supine. Let your fitness climb.
The Science of Healthy Hair
June 10, 2005 03:44 PM
The Science of Healthy Hair
by Susan Weiner Energy Times, January 5, 2002
From the strength-giving mane of Sampson to the magically long locks of Rapunzel, hair has had the power to captivate since biblical times. Today, its lure is just as compelling and hair remains an important form of self-expression and self-image. A healthy head of hair is more than an asset to your appearance. A hairstyle can reflect a mood, an attitude or a personal style, while unkempt hair may reveal the status of one's emotional or physical health. Even a "good" hair day vs. a "bad" hair day can significantly determine how your frame of mind takes shape. We can't always control the frizz factor or the humid weather that makes our curls fall flat, but many natural approaches are available to allow us to put our best looking follicle forward. Whether your hair is sleek and stylish, long and slinky, spiky punk rock-hip or wash-and-wear, botanical-based products and proper nutrition can bring out the very best in your locks.
Don't Fool Mother Nature
No matter how often you cut, dye, perm or blow-dry your hair, Mother Nature, with the help of your DNA, has blessed you with a quite specific quality and quantity of hair. Styling may work to change the appearance of your hair, but nothing can change your genetics. Every hair on your body, from the soft down on your arms to the coarser, longer hairs on your head, grows from a cell-lined indentation called a follicle. The hair follicle consists of three cylinders; the central cylinder determines whether your hair is straight, wavy or curly. Each hair shaft alternately grows or goes into a dormant phase. "At any one time, approximately fifteen percent of the one hundred thousand or so hairs on the head are resting, while the rest are growing or lengthening," say Arthur Balin, MD, PhD, and Loretta Pratt Balin, MD (The Life of the Skin: What It Hides, What It Reveals, and How It Communicates, Bantam). Hair constantly comes and goes, falling out consistently even when it is healthy. Consequently, a normal head can shed up to one hundred resting-phase hairs a day. When hair is subjected to harsh chemicals and treatment, even more may fall out. If you're concerned with hair loss, gently pull on a small section of hair; if fewer than five hairs come out, hair loss is within normal range.
What's Your Type?
Normal hair is an elusive commodity in these stressed-out days of over-washed, over-dried and chemically treated hair. If your tresses look frizzy, tangle easily or generally lack moisture, they're probably dry. Dry hair lacks the proper oil content to maintain an ample sheen and is usually dull-looking. To gain back a natural shine, cut back on shampooing and use a natural conditioner formulated for dry hair. Look for essential oils such as jojoba, evening primrose, blue chamomile, and white camellia, and B vitamins (such as panthenol) and aloe vera, suggests Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. Drinking plenty of water, eating a diet that's not ultra-low in fats and using a humidifier may also help improve dull-looking dry hair, points out David E. Bank, MD (Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, Adams Media). (Excessively dry hair may be a significant sign of metabolic disease. If you don't notice a marked improvement in your scalp after taking measures to improve dry hair, or your hair is abnormally dry, consult your health practitioner to see if stronger cures should be implemented.)
Too Much Oil
Hair that appears greasy within 24 hours after shampooing is oily. In that case, try gentle shampoos and herbal rinses with essential oils including quillaya bark, amino acids mixed with saponins, non-coloring henna and peppermint. For an oily scalp and dry ends, condition only the ends. Styling products should be oil-free. For thin or flyaway hair, products with natural thickening agents such as panthenol can help pump up the volume. Color treated and damaged hair can benefit from sulfur-containing amino acids; check your natural foods store for hair care products that contain horsetail, coltsfoot and cysteine. Tea tree oil products are effective when you are trying to control dandruff and a problem scalp.
If the label lists sodium lauryl sulfate, steer clear, Warns Hampton. And, says Dr. Bank, sodium C-14-16 olefin sulfonate, a harsh chemical found in cheap shampoos, is the worst of the worst when it comes to offensive hair care ingredients. "You also need to watch out for sodium chloride-table salt-in the ingredient list. It's a cheap ingredient to thicken shampoo and strips the hair of oils."
Feed Your Head
To optimize shine and fullness, improve your nutrition, says Bruce Miller, MD, author of The Nutrition Guarantee (Summit Publishing Group). "Good nutrition is as essential to healthy, attractive hair as it is to clear, glowing skin," notes Dr. Miller. "Your hair directly reflects your care and feeding of it." Your hair consists of about 97% protein, containing nineteen of the twenty-two amino acids that form protein, explains Dr. Miller. If you skimp on quality protein, your hair may reflect this amino acid imbalance by breaking, cracking and splitting. Hair follicles pass on the nutrients you consume, nourishing the new cells that form the growing hair shaft. As the hair gradually pushes upward, the shaft is continually lubricated by the busy sebaceous glands. For a smoother transition through the shaft and undamaged hair, lecithin provides a welcome dose of lubrication, as well as the important B vitamins choline and inositol, vital to healthy hair. In fact, the B vitamins are crucial to the growth of full bodied, healthy hair. The B complex strengthens, forms and smoothes the hair shafts, and helps maintain an even hair color, even warding off the beginning of gray hair. For thick and shiny hair, vitamin A works in conjunction with the B vitamins. Zinc can strengthen the hair shafts by thickening them. Thicker and stronger hair shafts increase your chances of holding on to your hair and suffering fewer lost hairs. When it comes to hair retention, genetics count. The more hair your parents retained, the greater your chance of keeping yours.
If you're interested in optimal hair health, think nutrition. Eating for the sake of your curls is a lot like eating for overall health: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean sources of protein, including tofu and other soy-based foodstuffs. To support healthy hair, some experts advocate foods high in biotin, including brown rice, brewer's yeast, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. The natural phytochemicals in green tea may aid hair, while ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp. Don't forget your daily vitamins and be sure to take an iron and B12 supplement.
Herbs from China show great promise for helping hair. He Shou Wu, made from Polygoni multiflori (the eastern wild rose), is reputed by devotees to restore color, slow hair loss, and help hair grow back. In Chinese medicine, this botanical has been used as an adaptogen to boost overall health and longevity. Within the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Shou Wu is supposed to strengthen the liver and kidney meridians and support healthy blood. Many Asians use the herb to promote higher levels of qi, the TCM concept that encompasses your life's overall energy.
Show a Little Tenderness
Long-term exposure to sunlight and seawater can damage hair, as can combing or brushing wet hair. Treat your hair with kid gloves, use natural products that are gentle on hair, and avoid chemical treatments. If you're looking to lose weight, avoid crash diets; a sudden drop in nutrition can cause deficiencies and lead to hair damage and loss. Keeping a wonderful head of hair means staying ahead of the curve with proper nutrition, the right supplements and a continuous program of TLC. In that way, you can maintain the crowning head of hair you've always coveted.
June 10, 2005 02:48 PM
by column Energy Times, April 1, 1999
If you've ever felt burned out, bored and/or just plain tired of your exercise program, you may be in need of a taste of cross training. When your exercise routine becomes too routine, you run not only the risk of losing your motivation for physical activity, but you may also run an added chance of injury. The possible cause: overusing particular muscles that receive an excessive amount of stress as other muscles practically atrophy while waiting for a chance to show off their stuff.
For instance, if you are a devoted runner who spends hours jogging, your upper body may wither unless you give it a reason not to. At the same time, your achilles, hamstrings, knees and lower back muscles may protest those miles after miles. As Frank Jobe, MD, Neal EllAttrache, MD, and Karen Mohr, PT, point out in Athletic Forever (Contemporary), "Dedicated runners are among the most injury-prone of all athletes. If running is your main form of exercise, you have a 37 to 56 percent chance of sustaining an injury each year and your chances for a recurrence of that injury are as high as 70 percent."
The basic principle of cross training is simple: take part in various activities that supplement each other. Runners should lift some weights or at least shoot a few hoops to keep those arms and shoulders toned. Bikers should walk or run now and then to keep their bones healthy. (Bicycling, since it is not a weight bearing exercise, does little to promote bone strength.) Swimmers should find something to do on dry land so that their bones react to gravity and grow stronger. And, no matter what your sport, you should stay well-nourished and supplied with plenty of antioxidants.
As Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, points out in Optimum Health (Bantam), while athletes may enjoy health benefits from exercise, "The vigorous training pursued by competitive athletes renders them more prone to catabolic stress-a situation in which tissues are constantly broken down."
He goes on to point out that the low fat diet many athletes follow may be short of antioxidant nutrients. Unfortunately, that shortage can lead to injury. The metabolic acceleration caused by athletic activity may increase potentially harmful oxidative stress at the cellular level. Without antioxidant nutrients to help quell that stress... Well, the results may not be pretty. Potentially, that kind of oxidative damage may, theoretically, lead to cancer or heart disease. As Dr. Sinatra says, in those circumstances, "the supplemental use of glutathione, vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium seems reasonable. Some athletes, such as menstruating women, may also need iron supplementation."
In addition, water is crucial for athletes to stay adequately hydrated during activity. According to Daniel Gastelu and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery), when you run short of water "this can adversely affect performance and, in the long run, can cause peaks and valleys in the athlete's performance." In addition, they advise using sports drinks to stay adequately supplied with electrolytes. "The major electrolytes found in bodily fluids are chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium."
Electrolytes serve a host of duties, including keeping the heart muscle functioning properly. Gastelu and Hatfield explain, "An electrolyte is an ion that is required by the body to regulate the electric charge and flow of water between the cells and the bloodstream."
Getting Better All the Time
Even if you cross train religiously and try to avoid overdoing one particular sport, sooner or later you may incur injury. If you do (or even before you hurt yourself), the trio of Stanley W. Jacob, MD, Ronald M. Lawrence, MD, PhD, and Martin Zucker, authors of The Miracle of MSM (Putnam), believe that methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can provide reliable relief for pain and suffering.
"Many people experience rapid relief after starting MSM," say this trio. They go on to claim that "this nutritional supplement has real potential to make a significant impact on the quality of life."
"Your main enemy in the hours following an injury is inflammation," Warns Athletic Forever. For injury, they recommend RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. In other words, put the injured body part in a firmly wrapped bandage (don't cut off the circulation!) Keep the injury cold but don't put ice directly on it (watch out for frost bite). Rest a while and keep the injury elevated. Then, don't exercise again until you've fully recovered.