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Why Your Sodium to Potassium Ratio Is Important
August 04, 2023 02:09 PM
The typical Western diet is largely comprised of processed foods, which are notoriously high in processed table salt. This results in an imbalance in the sodium to potassium ratio, a significant health concern. Sodium is necessary for a variety of bodily functions; however, too much can be detrimental, leading to hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Simultaneously, potassium is often neglected, despite its crucial role in muscle function, nerve signaling, and balancing fluids.
The general dietary advice suggests a potassium to sodium intake ratio of 3:1. However, the reality in diets, particularly those in America, often sees this ratio inverted. The excessive sodium consumption is linked to a myriad of health complications, including high blood pressure and heart disease. Conversely, potassium, a mineral that aids in nerve function and muscle control, is consumed in insufficient quantities. This is a troubling trend that underscores the importance of dietary change towards natural, unprocessed foods.
The importance of potassium is often overshadowed by the emphasis on limiting sodium for reducing chronic disease risk factors. Potassium plays an essential role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels by counteracting the effects of sodium. Furthermore, the mineral is crucial for other functions like heart and muscle cell functioning, nerve transmission, and maintaining fluid balance.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that individuals with the lowest risk for heart complications or death from any cause were those consuming between four to six grams of sodium per day. This is a fascinating discovery, as this intake is significantly higher than the U.S. daily recommended limits. It suggests a need for a reconsideration of current sodium intake guidelines.
Another consideration to balance the sodium-potassium ratio is the type of salt consumed. Unprocessed, natural salts like sea salt and Himalayan salt contain higher potassium levels compared to standard table salt. These natural salts provide a variety of minerals and trace elements that contribute to our overall health and wellness. It's crucial to note that switching to natural salt should be part of a broader shift towards a diet rich in fresh, unprocessed foods.
Why You Should Focus on Increasing Potassium
While it's beneficial to monitor and moderate sodium intake, it's equally important to shift our focus towards increasing potassium consumption. Potassium-rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, bananas, potatoes, and beans, not only contribute to a well-rounded and nutritious diet but also help in maintaining an optimal sodium-potassium balance in the body. A high potassium intake can counteract the effects of sodium, aiding in blood pressure regulation and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, an elevated potassium level supports various bodily functions, including nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and fluid balance. Thus, prioritizing potassium intake forms a cornerstone for an overall healthier dietary approach. It is recommended that individuals consume 5 grams of potassium daily and potassium to salt ratio should be 2 to 1. To boost potassium intake, one can take a potassium supplement or add the following foods to their diet or both: Watermelon, Orange juice, Boiled red potatoes, Avocado, bananas, Cantaloupe, Oranges, Coconut water, Tomatoes, Yogurt, Winter squash, and Wild-caught salmon.
Why Low-Salt Advice Can Be Harmful
Contrary to popular belief, adhering to low-salt advice can sometimes pose risks to certain individuals. While it is true that excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, sodium still plays a vital role in our bodies. It assists in nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and maintaining the body's fluid balance.
In fact, low sodium levels in the body, a condition known as hyponatremia, can lead to symptoms such as headache, nausea, fatigue, and in severe cases, coma or even death. Moreover, a low-salt diet may lead to increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance. This can potentially elevate the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Low-salt diets can also exacerbate the risk of certain health conditions. For instance, individuals with conditions like Addison's disease or certain kidney disorders, where the body struggles to maintain a balance of electrolytes, might find a low-salt diet harmful.
Therefore, it is crucial to balance the intake of sodium, considering both the potential risks associated with too much, or too little, sodium. The key is to consume sodium from natural and unprocessed sources, such as Himalayan salt, fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats, which also provide a host of other nutrients necessary for overall health. As with most things in nutrition, moderation and balance seem to hold the answer rather than extreme restriction. The RDA - recommended daily allowance of sodium is 3.5 grams. It is advised to consume 3.5 grams of natural salt each day by way of foods or combination of foods plus Himalayan salt to reach that goal.
The Impact of Excessive Salt Intake on Certain Health Conditions
While moderate salt intake is vital for normal physiological functions, its excessive consumption can have detrimental effects, particularly for individuals with certain health conditions. For instance, endocrine disorders, high aldosterone levels, Cushing's syndrome, and elevated cortisol levels can all heighten the body's sensitivity to sodium, making it even more essential to monitor and limit salt intake.
Endocrine disorders, which involve imbalances in the body's hormone production, can often lead to increased sodium retention, exacerbating issues of water retention and swelling. Similarly, high aldosterone levels, a hormone that regulates sodium and potassium balance, can cause the body to retain excessive sodium, leading to high blood pressure and potential damage to the cardiovascular system.
Cushing's syndrome, a condition characterized by excessive cortisol production, can lead to a host of symptoms, including high blood pressure and rapid weight gain, both of which can be intensified by high sodium intake. The excessive cortisol found in Cushing's syndrome promotes sodium retention, further elevating the risk for hypertension.
Similarly, elevated cortisol levels, even outside of Cushing's syndrome, can lead to heightened sodium retention, contributing to high blood pressure, fluid retention, and an imbalance of electrolytes. Therefore, individuals with these conditions should be particularly mindful of their sodium intake.
In these scenarios, reducing salt consumption can help mitigate the associated health risks and symptoms. Switching to a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, and taking conscious steps to limit the use of added table salt can play a crucial role in managing these health conditions. As always, it is essential to seek personalized advice from a healthcare professional, as individual needs may vary.
In summary, while salt is often villainized in the health community, its consumption, especially from natural sources, is vital for maintaining bodily functions like nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and fluid balance. However, excessive or inadequate sodium intake can have adverse health effects, such as hypertension, imbalances in cholesterol and triglycerides, and even hyponatremia in severe cases. Certain health conditions, including endocrine disorders, high aldosterone levels, Cushing's syndrome, and elevated cortisol levels, can also exacerbate these risks, making it crucial for individuals with these conditions to carefully monitor their salt intake. On the other hand, increasing potassium intake can help maintain an optimal sodium-potassium balance, reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In a nutshell, moderation and balance are key in sodium consumption, but the emphasis should be on consuming more potassium-rich foods to ensure your potassium intake is higher than sodium levels which will ensure a healthier dietary approach.
Benefits of Taking Magnesium: Why You Need This Amazing Mineral.
December 27, 2022 10:39 AM
Magnesium is an essential mineral that many people overlook, but it’s extremely important for the overall health of your body. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 68% of U.S. adults don’t meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium, which is 350mgs per day. But why should you care about how much magnesium you’re consuming? Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions and metabolic pathways in the body, so it plays a key role in our overall health and well being. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of magnesium and why we need to get enough into our bodies every day.
How Magnesium Keeps Us Healthy
Magnesium plays an important role in everything from muscle and nerve function to energy production and blood pressure control. That means if your body doesn't have enough magnesium, you could experience a wide range of symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, depression, anxiety or even headaches. In addition to these uncomfortable symptoms, not getting enough magnesium can also lead to calcification of the cardiovascular system due to calcium deposits in artery walls—a conditionn known as arteriosclerosis—which can increase your risk for heart attack or stroke. So where can we get magnesium?
Food Sources Rich in Magnesium
Fortunately there are plenty of foods that contain high levels of magnesium including dark leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale; nuts and seeds like almonds or pumpkin seeds; legumes like kidney beans or black beans; whole grains like quinoa or brown rice; avocados; bananas; figs; yogurt; dark chocolate; and even coffee! So if you're looking for ways to increase your intake of this essential mineral without having to take supplements every day, try incorporating one (or more!) of these foods into your diet on a regular basis or take a magnesium supplement.
It's can be easy to forget about minerals like magnesium when it comes to our overall health and well-being, we have to keep in mind a well rounded diet is very important because magnesium plays an important role in keeping us healthy! Now that you know how vital this mineral is for our bodies, make sure you're getting enough each day by choosing foods that are rich in magnesium from leafy greens to nuts or by taking a dietary supplement of magnesium. Doing so will help ensure that you remain healthy now and for years to come!
The Benefits of NOW Calcium & Magnesium Citrate Powder with Vitamin D3
September 21, 2022 11:25 AM
NOW Calcium & Magnesium Citrate Powder with Vitamin D3 is an optimal bone structure support formula designed by NOW's certified nutritionists.* It contains key nutrients that play essential roles in bone metabolism.* The citrate forms of calcium and magnesium are highly absorbable and support not only strong bones and teeth but muscle and nerve function as well.* Vitamin D3 is included to complement calcium and magnesium and its role in the maintenance of mineral homeostasis and bone structure.*
Why Calcium is Important for Your Bones
Most people are aware that calcium is important for strong bones, but many don’t know why. Calcium is a mineral that works together with phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth. When you don’t have enough calcium, your body will take it from your bones, which can lead to weak bones or osteoporosis. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium, but you can also get it from dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, almonds, and sardines. If you can’t get enough calcium from food alone, you may need to take a supplement.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium is another mineral that’s critical for bones—in fact, it’s required for the proper absorption of calcium. Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure, supports immunity, and aids in muscle contraction and relaxation. Good sources of magnesium include dark chocolate, bananas, avocados, almonds, and spinach.
Vitamin D3 for Healthy Bones
Vitamin D3 is a type of vitamin D that your body can more easily absorb. vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus (which help form strong bones), supports immunity, maintains healthy blood pressure levels, and aids in muscle contraction. You can get vitamin D from sunlight exposure (about 15 minutes a day), fatty fish such as tuna or salmon, beef liver or egg yolks. You can also take supplements if you need to.
To maintain strong bones throughout your lifetime, make sure to include NOW Calcium & Magnesium Citrate Powder with Vitamin D3 in your diet!* This optimal bone structure support formula not only contains calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D3—key nutrients that play essential roles in bone metabolism—but it also uses the absorbable citrate forms of calcium and magnesium so you can be sure your body is getting the most out of these minerals.* Supplementing with NOW Calcium & Magnesium Citrate Powder with Vitamin D3 can help support not only strong bones and teeth but also muscle function.*
Problems digesting fat? Here are 5 ways to get your gut moving
May 02, 2019 01:57 PM
There are nutrients which require fatty acids for absorption. It is possible that you are struggling with absorbing fat, which can be seen in problems including light colored and stinky stools, bloating, nausea, or fatigue. Liver congestion, poor quality bile, or lacking of pancreatic enzymes may be the problem. Beet greens, collard, and chicory are a few helpful bitter foods that may stimulate your enzymes to function more properly. Foods including lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, spinach, and celery may help your hydrochloric acid in breaking down foods. Add in honey, avocados, bananas, ginger, pineapples, or kiwi to boost digestive enzymes.You can also help your body with medium chain fatty acids like coconut oil for absorption of nutrients. Finally, consider a probiotic supplement or fermented foods to help with proper breakdown and digestion.
"These symptoms may also be an indication of other nutrient deficiencies as some nutrients need fatty acids to be absorbed."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-20-problems-digesting-fat-5-ways-to-get-your-gut-moving.html
Research links folate deficiency to a wide range of diseases
April 30, 2019 03:59 PM
Folate is commonly known as vitamin B9 and is found in many fruits and vegetables. Being deficient in folate has been linked to many health complications. Folate deficiency has been found to be associated with incurable DNA problems, such as a lost chromosome. It is also associated with dementia, cancer, and even anemia. However, an abundance of folate in the body can prevent cancer and dementia risk. Foods containing folate include brussels sprouts, tomato juice, peas, bananas, and poultry, so it is important to eat healthy to reduce risk of deficiency.
"This is the first study that shows folate deficiency can cause problems with DNA replication and cell division."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/folate-deficiency-vitamins-2919.html
Health benefits of inulin.
March 08, 2019 08:02 AM
Fiber can improve digestion and promote a healthy gut. Inulin is a type of soluble fiber that is found in plants and contains a variety of health benefits, such as acting as a critical source of prebiotic bacteria in the digestive system. On top of this, inulin can support weight loss, help prevent bowel disorders such as IBS or colon cancer, and has the potential to control blood sugar. Side effects of inulin are incredibly rare- so be sure to fill up on inulin-rich foods, such as leeks, asparagus, wheat, or oats to get your daily fix.
"Here, learn everything you need to know about inulin fiber's health benefits, where it’s found naturally in food, and how to incorporate more into your diet."
Read more: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/inulin-foods-and-benefits
How to Get Rid of Acne, Scars, Wrinkles and Warts with Banana Peels
May 23, 2018 01:16 PM
I have bananas all the time and I do get some acne here and there. I can't remember having a wart anytime, but using a peel to fight the acne could be nice i suppose. Bug bites are never fun, so maybe have that ready in case I get a bite anytime. All the nutrients are why I have them ready for my daily diet, I just never got the urge to rub the peel on my skin.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1j0A0bdLt4&rel=0
A need for bananas? Dietary potassium regulates calcification of arteries
October 11, 2017 01:14 PM
Having potassium in your diet regulates calcification of your arteries. Bananas have a lot of potassium, so people should eat plenty of those. Dietary potassium can help to prevent heart issues. Both bananas and avocados can protect against heart disease. They are both foods that are very high in potassium. This is something that the nation needs to pay attention to because a lot of deaths in this country are from heart disease. Potassium matters a lot.
"Bananas and avocados -- foods that are rich in potassium -- may help protect against pathogenic vascular calcification"
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171005102712.htm
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY AFTER EATING BANANAS WITH BLACK SPOTS
September 27, 2017 12:14 PM
bananas are healthy. They contain a lot of potassium. The problem with them, though, is they don't keep very long after they're picked. They go bad quickly. Can you eat the ones with black spots or are they harmful? This givs info about that. Before eating a blackening banana you should make sure it won't hurt you so this is great ifo. There are many ways to eat bananas such as in breads or pies. You can also just eat them plain.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nvhZUghNEE&rel=0
"The more spots a banana has the higher the TNF"
IN BALANCE — Magnesium: An Essential Mineral for Health
August 14, 2017 12:14 PM
Magnesium is an important element. It is found in the body. It's important that you have a good balance of it. The body works best when all of the elements are balanced properly since they do different things. Magnesium can be bought and taken in supplement form for those who don't feel they have enough, but too much can also be a bad thing so be careful not to overdo it. You can always talk to a doctor first to see if you even need to be taking it.
"Americans are at risk of magnesium deficiency and it has been estimated that nearly half of the population is deficient."
Read more: https://bayviewcompass.com/in-balance-magnesium-an-essential-mineral-for-health/
Top 7 Foods That Fight High Blood Pressure Naturally
July 23, 2017 05:14 AM
High blood pressure can be dangerous. Hypertension is when it gets really high and that's a real concern for many. This gives examples of foods which can help fight it, though, so there's hope. High blood pressure can be caused by stress. Many people have it for this reason. It would e easy enough to add these foods to your diet even if you can't do much about your stressers. All you have to do is find recipes you like which contain the ingredients, but watch your salt intake since that is counterproductive.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yBxbacWL0s&rel=0
"For millions of people, blood pressure can reach dangerously high levels."
3 Common Kombucha Myths – Debunked
June 07, 2017 07:14 PM
Kombucha is a food, it is not a medicine. It is a fermented mixture of tea, sugar, water, and occasionally a flavoring, such as pomegranate, is added near the end of fermentation. That being said, one should approach Kombucha in much the same way as one approaches carrots or bananas – how much would you like. Carrots, by the way, provide Vitamin-A, carotene, and anti-oxidants, while bananas provide potassium, manganese, and small amounts of Vitamin-B6 and Niacin. And they are not considered medicine. The hesitancy of some folks to try Kombucha may stem from viewing the fermentation process itself as the culture of yeast and bacteria can be less than pretty to view. Like brewing beers, ales, and lambics, the bacteria & yeast simply converts the raw ingredients Kombucha.
Read more: 3 Common Kombucha Myths – Debunked
You need both pre- and probioticis for healthy digestion
March 25, 2017 04:44 AM
Most people have probably heard of pre- and probiotics, but are unaware of the positive effects both can have on their digestive health. Probiotics can be defined as "good" bacteria that lives in your gut, while prebiotics "feed" the probiotics. Consuming foods so that you get a balance of these pre- and probiotics can help keep irritable bowel syndrome at bay and easy allergies and lactose intolerance. Examples of foods that deliver probiotics include yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, while bananas, leeks, and garlic fall under prebiotic foods. Incorporating some of each into your diet can help your stomach and digestive system feel and function at its best.
"Eating probiotic foods also helps to manage irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and lactose intolerance."
Read more: http://www.wzzm13.com/life/wellness/healthy-you/you-need-both-pre-and-probioticis-for-healthy-digestion/422370520
The simple way to reduce stress and anxiety, according to new research
March 24, 2017 08:44 AM
Here's another reason for eating more fruits and vegetables- it may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may be especially true in women. A new study examining the diets of Australians aged 45 and over found that eating 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day resulted in decreased stress levels of 12 percent and those that ate 5-7 servings experienced a 14 percent decrease. Read on for more details into this study.
"New study that suggests eating more fruit and veggies may help ease depression, stress and anxiety."
Read more: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-eating/news/a27849/simple-way-to-reduce-stress-new-research/
Heal Your Skin Naturally With This DIY Antifungal Cream
March 22, 2017 01:44 PM
How can a woman reduce stress? Females can reduce stress by as much 23% simply by eating 5 to 7 portions of fruit and vegatables a day compared to someone who only eats 0 to 1 portions a day. Foods high in potassium, such as bananas or tomatoes can help you achieve this. Studies recently conducted in Australia has concluded this. More research is needed to verify the results that have been recorded so far, but it is start on showing the connection of eating healthy and reducing stress.
"If you have ever needed an antifungal medication, it was probably due to an area of your skin showing signs of redness, inflammation and swelling."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/diy-antifungal-cream/
How To Gain Weight | Remedies To Gain Weight
March 15, 2017 11:14 AM
The video briefly mentions the dangers of being underweight and then talks about home remedies for gaining weight. Specifically, detailed instructions and demonstrations are given for the creation of two weight gain aids. Then it explains the reasons mangoes work well for this task and suggests mango shakes, but does not demonstrate. Then it advises one to eat bananas at breakfast along with warm milk with sugar. The video then does several more recipe demos, interrupted only by a suggestion to eat raisins.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zgIdfa9C7U
"It is very important to take proper steps to increase your weight, proper diet and exercise help you to gain weight."
Top 20 Foods with Electrolytes
March 12, 2017 06:59 AM
electrolytes are minerals that are essential for our body. Since our body does not automatically produce these minerals, ww are required to intake them. We can find these minerals in certain foods such as bananas, yogurt, peanut butter or almond butter, spinach, coconut water, milk, swiss cheese, soy milk, nuts amongst others. the electrolytes are important in order to maintain our body balanced as far as our muscles and nerve's functions.
"Electrolytes are essential minerals that are necessary for proper cellular function in the human body. We should include foods with electrolytes in our daily meals."
Look How These Foods Will Help You GET A FLAT BELLY. Include Them In Your Diet!!
March 03, 2017 10:19 AM
There are foods that will help you get a flat belly if you include them in your diet. It is possible to not maintain a flat stomach if you exercise regularly. Even dieting may not give you the results you want. Fruit of the forest is where you want to start. The fruits of the forest are great for losing weight.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wty_QON58Qo
"Sometimes it is not enough just to make diets we find on the internet, since they are not personalized, so they lack the food to do it."
Top Foods That Prevent Osteoporosis Risk
January 20, 2017 12:59 PM
Getting more calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients into your diet can help decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis. The best source of these nutrients is the food you eat. Seafood, yogurt, beans, almonds, milk, bananas, and even cabbage all contain important nutrients that can help protect you against bone loss.
"The bones tend to become more porous as people age, but some people are at a risk of bone porosity at an earlier age and this leads to osteoporosis."
6 Fruits That Are Even Healthier Than You Think
December 28, 2016 02:59 PM
While apples and oranges are the usual go-to fruits for healthy eating, the wider variety of healthy fruits should not be ignored. Don't forget that avocados and black berries are choc full of vitamins! Vitamin C is plentiful across those and many other fruits: papyas, grapes, kiwis, and dragon fruits. The latter is also a good source of calcium, and some of these fruits can aid sleep or offer relief from cramps.
"They are also rich in fiber and antioxidants, and this together makes the papaya an effective fighter of cholesterol build-up in the arteries, which again works to prevent heart disease."
Relieve the Holiday Stress with Magnesium
The holiday season is meant for having quality time with friends and family, going on an adventure, taking time off work and so on. However, it can also be very stressful given the many guests to entertain, tight budget to stick to, preparing family meals, the shopping craze and so much more. It is important to gain control in this period of the year since too much stress can lead to depression alongside other physical and psychological issues. Fortunately, we have magnesium, the original chill pill, to get you back into the holiday cheer.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a huge role in cell functioning and relaxation. It has been used in hospitals to treat a myriad of complications including anxiety, irritability, muscle cramps and headaches. Magnesium accounts for over 250 enzyme reactions in our bodies and regulates the secretion of stress hormones. It is basically the fuel that your body runs on and hence its deficiency will lead to undesirable symptoms like brain fog, anxiety, aggression and fatigue among others. Modern farming and lifestyle changes have led to rather low levels of magnesium in our bodies as compared to decades ago. Magnesium will particularly be used up in greater quantities by your body during periods of extreme stress like this holiday season. This will usually translate in poor stress management, thus the more reason you should take some magnesium.
Some of the magnesium-rich foods include parsley, avocado, bananas, kelp, leafy greens like spinach, soy beans, brown rice, cashews and almond. In addition to providing this crucial mineral these foods also pack other nutritional benefits. Alternatively, you can also take a magnesium supplement like magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide to help rid some of that holiday stress. Lastly, taking baths in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is also a great stress reliever plus it works wonders in treating colds, detoxifying the body, relieving back pain and sore muscles.
Vitamin B Complex Health Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B Complex
November 24, 2016 02:59 PM
Everyone knows that it's bad to have a deficiency in just about anything, and that especially includes vitamins. if your nutrition is off, that affects your entire body, and you're in for a really bad time -- but how do you know what you're deficient in and what that vitamin does for you? "Vitamin B Complex Health Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B Complex" explores the symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency and the benefits of the vitamin itself.
"The vitamins from the B complex are useful in the treatment of diabetes because they reduce the cholesterol and blood fat and they should be administered at all times."
Importance of Magnesium in the body.
May 08, 2014 08:48 PM
Importance of magnesium
Magnesium is an important element that is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. Its functions is to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, regulates blood glucose levels and aids the production of energy and protein, helps bones remain strong, supports a healthy immune system and lastly, keeps the heart beat steady.
Cause of lack in magnesium
Lack of magnesium causes many diseases. Substantial magnesium deficiencies have led to deaths caused by coronary diseases, diabetes, cancer and strokes. On the other hand mild magnesium deficiency causes nervousness, mental depression, increased sensitivity to noise, confusion, insomnia, twitching and trembling and apprehension.
Sources of magnesium are from foods we eat
Symptoms indicating lack of magnesium are: sleepiness, muscle weakness and hyperexcitablity.
Magnesium works in the brain miraculously as remarked by many scientists through researches. Magnesium L-Threonate has the capability to cross into the brain and boost magnesium levels. Magnesium L-Threonate boosts magnesium levels in the brain in that, it maintains a state of healthy sustained action. Through maintaining this healthy homeostasis, mental demands in the brain can respond well and perform cognitive responsibilities with less stress and fatigue.
The blood-brain barrier is a diffusion barrier, which impedes influx of most compounds from blood to brain. It is composed of high-density cells that prevent passage of substances from the blood stream, but in a more action than the endothelial cells in the capillaries do in other parts of the body. Due the reasons, why most magnesium supplements do not cross blood barrier magnesium Threonte was introduced. Threonate is a vitamin C metabolite that acts as a carrier to help magnesium to penetrate into the brain.
Why Is Date Sugar A Healthier Choice Than White Refined Sugar?
February 07, 2014 04:50 PM
Date sugar is a magnificent sugar substitute that is healthy for children and it tastes extraordinary. Date sugar is not transformed or refined and it is stacked with strand, vitamins, and minerals. Date sugar is a light tan, really shade and has an exceptionally glorious taste.
How date sugar is made
Date sugar is a common sugar made by grinding up dates. It is exceptionally solid for you and tastes exceptional.
• 1 mug of refined prepared sugar could be swapped by 2/3 mug of date sugar, to 1 mug of sugar depending on the taste you are going for.
Health profits of dates and date sugar
1. Date sugar is packed with vitamins and minerals
Date sugar is stacked with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium; where white sugar does not. What a heavenly thing to have the capacity to make solid muffins, healthy treats, flapjacks, waffles, bread and solid sweets with a sugar substitute like date sugar that has vitamins and minerals it.
2. Dates make you feel full longer
Date sugar is packed with filament, protein and carbs, which make you, feel full any longer. This can help to check craving and help anticipate weight gain.
3. Assistance with circulation
Date sugar is stacked with potassium and really has more potassium for every serving size than bananas do. Potassium has numerous health profits including helping to anticipate issues in children, as they develop greater.
4. Date sugar is low in calories
Date sugar is low in calories at 288 calories for a 1/2 of container of date sugar; contrasted with white refined sugar, which has 387 calories for every 1/2 mug.
Refined white sugar is to a substantial degree to be faulted for a few manifestations of diabetes, whose exploited people confront the risk of blindness and different genuine weaknesses, also coronary illness, stroke, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and conceivably a few kinds of growth
The extraordinary indictment against refined white sugar is its high dissolvability in the figure. It hurries through the stomach divider without being processed, animates abundance discharge of insulin by the pancreas to encourage its entry through unit layers of the tissues, where it is utilized as fuel and reasons metabolic irregularity, which allows microscopic organisms, infections, and savage germ
The benefit of Amino Acid L-Tyrosin for our brains
January 21, 2014 09:47 AM
L-Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid because it can be made from phenylalanine, the another amino acid by our body. But from some researchers the body cannot make tyrosine from phenylalanine if stressed. In otherhand, L-Tyrosine is definitely present in many kinds of foods, such as milk, meats, eggs, nuts, cheese, bananas, beans and some seafood like fish.
Benefits of L-Tyrosine
By using this food stuff can increased the amount of L-Tyrosine in our body. And Also L-Tyrosine can we get from some suplement. L-Tyrosine has benefits for our brains. L-Tyrosine need for creating the neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It can called stress hormone. This compounds that transmit chemical signals in our brains. The neurotransmitters that was produced by L-Tyrosine have effect significant for your mood, memory, concentration, focus and alertness. The neurotransmitter dopamine can affects the incentive mechanism in our brain which indicates it involved in feeling of happiness. Dopamine is also helps we keep motivated and handle problem that can make streesed. But too much stress can make our dopamine level decreased. It can make our brain less active and weak. The neurotransmitter epinephrine ability to increases our energy, heart rate and breathing. It because epinephrine produces oxygen with rich blood that travels to our brain. Moreover the neurotransmitter epinephrine can boosting our memory, enhance cognitive performance, polishing our senses and reducing pain level of sensitivity. And the third compound of neurotransmitters is norepinephrine. It can helps increase our concentrate and to develop new memories. Norepinephrine is also travels through our blood and can stimulate our brains. The effect of our body does not produce enough neurotransmitters, we will become depressed, fatigued, confused and also develop memory loss. So if you want to enhance your memories and don’t let your body has less L-tyrosine to products stressed hormone that you need. Food supplements have shown good results in improving the amount L-tyrosine in our body.
Why Take A Coenzymated B-Complex?
January 10, 2014 05:09 PM
Why Take A Coenzymated B-Complex?
Vitamin B can normally be found in fruits and vegetables, people can get Vitamin B complex from eating green leafy vegetables, eggs, citrus fruits, nuts, kidney beans, bananas as well as chicken.
However, not everyone has the time to have a balance meal.
Vitamin B deficiency
When the body suffers from Vitamin B deficiency a person can suffer depression symptoms like anxiety and constant fatigue. It can also lead to other health problems like heart diseases and premenstrual syndrome as well as skin problems.
There are some individuals who are taking in B vitamins, but some are not able to make use of it due to problems with the way it is processed by the body.
Because of this Coenzymated B-Complex was developed. If a person’s body is unable to convert the B vitamins into usable form, then there is a need to use a coenzymate product of B vitamins.
Coenzymated sublingual B vitamins can be purchased singly or as a complex, not all forms of Vitamin B are in the coenzymate form, some are in their pure form from vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 including Folate.
While this form of supplement provides a lot of benefits for the body, this is harder to find than other B vitamins, there are only a few websites who is selling coenzyme products.
Before taking in any vitamin supplements
There is a need to consult a doctor. While it is undeniable that Vitamin B supplements are beneficial for the body, there are also potential side effects.
B vitamin supplements need to be taken according to doctor’s prescription in order to avoid skin problems and increase in sugar blood levels.
Who should take B vitamin supplements?
Coenzymated B-Complex should be taken by people who are suffering from anemia, loss of appetite, people who are experiencing frequent abdominal pain, hair loss and those who have eczema.
There is a need to ask a doctor with regards to the kind of B vitamin supplement that should be taken; vitamins should be taken only if recommended by doctors.
Overdose of vitamins can lead to kidney problems, and for this reason people have to avoid self-medication.
Keeping your body alkalized
November 10, 2013 09:46 PM
About is Alkaline
Keeping Your Body Alkalized is a term used commonly to refer to maintaining acid-alkaline balance. With the right PH balance, your body will always be in good health. In order to enjoy optimum health, your body needs to have an equal amount of both acidic elements and basic (alkaline) elements.
What Are the Benefits of Alkaline?
There is the mostly asked question- Can You Fight Disease by Keeping Your Body Alkalized? The answer is yes. Basically, PH has its main impact on the body enzymes. Enzymes can only function properly if the level of PH is right, otherwise, the body will be too weak to protect itself from diseases. In some worst scenarios, if the enzyme activity cannot take place anymore, a condition called acute acidosis, then one may be faced by a critical medical condition. If not handled immediately, the situation might lead to death.
Having excess of either can bring devastating impacts. For example, if your body has large volumes of acidity, then you might suffer from serious fatigue, arthritis or eczema. For you to eliminate such a condition, you need to consider one of the following diet tips or lifestyles to alleviate your overall health and maintain your body alkalized.
Magnesium Malate Benefits
January 30, 2013 12:54 PM
The compound Magnesium Malate was discovered by combining malic acid with magnesium. Malic acid is a naturally occurring element that aids in the generation of energy during aerobic as well as anaerobic activities while, magnesium is the fifth most abundant mineral found in the human body, which is vital for the health of the kidneys, bones and heart.
Malic acid and magnesium together offers several health related benefits. It helps to control numerous essential biological functions in the body such as the formation of nerves and muscle. It is naturally found in bananas, yogurt, fish, artichokes, almonds, grains, black beans, cashews and other nuts.
Health Benefits Of Magnesium Malate:
The malic acid present in magnesium malate attaches itself to the aluminum content of the body and helps to eliminate it. This allows the growth and detoxification of healthy nerve cells. Magnesium malate also assists in loosening stools due to its laxative properties so; it is used to treat constipation effectively. Physicians or technicians also use it as a cleansing agent prior to a bowel surgery or colonoscopy. This vital compound is known to relax muscles therefore; it is often utilized to treat uterine cramping, headaches and several other general muscle discomforts.
As per medical research, people who do not receive adequate magnesium through their diet usually stand the risk of kidney stone formation however; they can prevent this condition by consuming magnesium malate. This important compound also aids to synthesize adenosine triphosphate or ATP - a nucleotide that aids to store energy in the tissues of muscles and converts it into cellular energy source. This energy generating properties are useful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Magnesium malate also encourages the production of saliva, which in turn controls oral bacteria. Moreover, due to its antiseptic properties, it is also used in mouthwash and toothpaste.
Studies have found that 70% or more of the American population is deficient in magnesium, magnesium malate taken daily is a good way for anybody to get more dietary magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzyme processes in the body, if you are deficient in magnesium, these enzyme processes that maintain the body will fail and your health can decline. Consider taking magnesium in the form of magnesium malate. Have you had your magnesium today?
Why Would You Want A Time Released Chromium Supplement?
January 03, 2013 04:34 PM
Chromium is an important trace mineral for carbohydrates and fats processing by the human body. With the recent eating habits of refined foods, it's generally naturally deficient to many people. It's recommended to consume at least 50 micrograms of it each day. Similarly, the eating habits of today expose majority of people to diabetes. Chromium plays a major role in helping the body cells respond to insulin.
In addition, a sufficient level of the mineral availability to the body leads to lower insulin necessity. On the other hand, its deficiency in the body has been associated with diabetes. It helps prevent diabetes by aiding insulin in glucose metabolism as well as preventing insulin resistance for victims already using insulin shots. It's generally low in the blood but it plays a major role of enhancing insulin efficiency thereby helps control blood sugar levels.
You can get chromium from foods like broccoli, green beans, grape juice, potatoes, bananas, beef, orange juice and apples. There are also supplements that come in various forms and strengths. For instance, there are chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, chromium polynicotinate, chromium GTF and many others. These supplements differ in their absorption rates but have been proven in several studies to lower blood sugar as well as cholesterol. Some supplements are also safe to take alongside other medications. However, such a decision should always be taken with the consent of a medical doctor.
Victims of type 2 diabetes have usually been found to have low levels of chromium in their bodies. Due to this reason, supplements have greatly assisted such individuals tackle diabetes. Similarly, women suffering from gestational diabetes have had their blood sugar levels drop after using chromium picolinate. The dosage to use varies but many doctors prescribe 1000 mcg every day for victims already suffering from diabetes. Vitamin C has been found to hinder the uptake of chromium. It's, therefore, essential to watch out what you are consuming if you will be taking the supplements.
Sustained release chromium will help keep blood levels high with this important mineral and help one manage their blood sugar better.
Are There Herbs And Vitamins For Pain?
December 29, 2012 10:17 AM
Everyone at one point or the other suffers some pain which could be of different kinds. We usually go for prescription drugs or at times, over-the-counter pain relievers. These drugs, however, have many side effects and do cause numerous health damages if used for a long period of time. Thus, it is much better to turn to natural pain relievers, such as herbs and vitamins.
Most herbs and vitamins for pain are used as food; therefore, do not have any side effects. This is however not the case in painkillers which are made from synthetic hormones, chemicals, and so on.
Herbal pain relievers.
Turmeric: Turmeric is popularly used in Southeast India for cooking. Turmeric has curcumin, a very powerful ingredient which aid to fight against chronic inflammatory ailments. Thus, turmeric is usually employed with some other herbs to relieve pain.
Ginger Root: Ginger root is a commonly used herbal remedy since it contains warming properties and helps to enhance blood circulation. It is essential in treating arthritis associated pains, backache and menstrual cramps. It's also used to treat sore throat. It is both analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
Valerian Root: This is used for chronic pain relief and as a skeletal relaxant. It may be used also for the treatment of trauma, cramps, shingles, headaches, insomnia, neuralgia, and stress. It possesses antispasmodic properties and is also a sedative.
Arnica: This is a homeopathic pain reliever and is believed to be particularly essential in the treatment of bruising and soft tissue injuries. It helps to alleviate overall sprains and muscle pain. It may be applied externally as a preventive measure to avoid injury prior to racing or exercising. Thus, it is seen to be applied topically and care must be taken so as not to apply it on a broken or open skin.
Vitamins for Pain Relief
Vitamin D: This is a unique vitamin since its main source is being exposed to UV light. A deficiency in this nutrient is widespread and a popular cause of chronic pains. As a matter of fact, a vitamin D deficiency significantly raises the risk of common women's pains. In a study, vitamin D deficiency was shown to raise risk of chronic pain, particularly in women, by over 50%. Aside from sunlight, other sources of vitamin D are mushrooms, shellfish, fatty fish and fortified orange juice.
Vitamin E: This is a potent antioxidant which protects nerves and joints from damages which may cause pain. In a recent research, it was discovered that vitamin E supplements lower nerve pain. Vitamin E-rich diets are walnuts, peanuts, wheat germ, corn and kiwi.
B complex Vitamins: These include many water-soluble vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid. In a chronic pain animal model, it was discovered that high amounts of B-complex vitamins reduced pain significantly. B-complex vitamin supplements can be found in a number of supplement stores. Dietary sources are vegetables, whole grains, fortified cereals and fruits.
Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant just like vitamin E and protects nerve cells from damage. A scientist known as Paul E. Zollinger discovered that vitamin C supplements helped in reducing pain in wrist fractured patients. Foods rich in Vitamin C are broccoli, bananas, mangoes and oranges.
Can our health benefit from supplmenting choline?
November 18, 2012 11:01 AM
Choline, discovered in 1864 by the German chemist, Adolph Strecker, is an essential nutrient, usually grouped under the vitamin B family. While the human body does synthesize small amounts of choline, dietary consumption is a must in order to maintain a healthy body. Deficiency of choline can lead to a number of serious health issues including neurological problems, insomnia, accumulation of fat in the liver, damage to the kidneys and also cardiovascular disease. There are a range of important functions that choline performs in the body.
Some of the key health benefits of choline are:
Maintenance of brain health: The neurotransmitter or the messenger molecule, acetylcholine, that transmits signals from the brain to the muscles and various organs in the body such as the liver, heart, lungs etc, is synthesized using choline. Thus, it plays a very important role in memory and muscle control. Research also suggests that choline has a calming effect on the brain and helps reduce panic and anxiety attacks.
Maintenance of cell membranes: The integrity and flexibility of cell membranes depends on the presence of satisfactory amounts of choline thus making it a prerequisite for appropriate cell metabolism.
Maintenance of Liver health: Choline is responsible for preventing the accumulation of cholesterol and fat deposits in the liver hence preventing hepatosteatosis, a condition more commonly known as fatty liver.
Anti inflammatory benefits: Studies have revealed that inflammatory markers such as Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, Homocysteine, etc., which are associated with various illnesses such as Diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Cardiovascular disease, Osteoporosis and also various cancers, show reduced levels if adequate amounts of choline are consumed in the diet.
Apart from those stated above there are many more health benefits of choline and hence it is very important to consume foods that are rich in this nutrient. In addition to seafood and meat, foods that have high choline content include, Dairy and poultry products like Skim milk and Egg yolk, peanut butter; Vegetables such as Cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, Asparagus, Green beans and Fruits like bananas and Oranges. Soybeans, due to their high lecithin content, are also a fantastic source of choline. Seeds like flax seed, sesame seeds and grains like corn, barley and oats are also rich in choline content.
Maintenance of adequate levels of choline is imperative in order to maintain optimal health. It is therefore very important to have periodic health checkups so that any deficiencies are identified and addressed as soon as possible.
Potassium: An Overview
January 14, 2011 03:49 PM
Potassium is what is known as an electrolyte: it is a substance that can conduct electricity and is an essential substance in this respect with regard to almost all organs and structures within your body. Your heart function depends on specific electrical impulses that contract the muscles in a very specific fashion.
Potassium and sodium together are largely responsible for these electrical impulses, and much the same holds true for all of the muscular contractions within your body that control skeletal movements, digestion and breathing. That is how important potassium is - without it there would be no mammalian life.
You can get a good supply of potassium from bananas, fish and meat and also from dairy products. However, deficiencies are possible such as in times of illness, particularly of diarrhea and vomiting, and there are also malabsorption conditions such as Crohn's disease, all of which demand a potassium supplement in order to maintain a proper balance between potassium and other electrolytes.
October 08, 2009 01:20 PM
Plantain is one of the most commonly used plants found throughout the world. The herb is generally used for cooking and is lower in sugar content than general bananas. Plantain was known for its medicinal properties from England to the New World. Its popularity continues to grow to this day. The seeds of this herb are related to psyllium seeds. They are often used for the same purposes.
The outer layer of the seeds of plantain contain mucilage. This is a product that swells up when moist. These seeds are responsible for helping to lower cholesterol. However, plantain is most known for its gastric benefits. This herb is responsible for both neutralizing stomach acids and normalizing stomach secretions. Fresh plantain juice has been used to treat mild stomach ulcers. This herb helps to absorb toxins from the bowels and promotes normal bowel function. Plantain is a bulk laxative and increases in mass when it is mixed with water. Research has determined the value of plantain as a mild laxative. The intestinal transit time was decreased in those subjects who were tested.
Along with intestinal use, plantain can help with bladder infections and kidney problems. It can also help with bed-wetting in children. This herb is great as an expectorant. Plantain ingested in tea-form clears the head and ears of congestion. The tea is also helpful in treating chronic lung problems in children.
Plantain is known for its ability to neutralize poisons in the body. Those patients who had poison ivy were treated topically with crushed plantain leaves. Itching was eliminated and the condition was prevented from spreading in those who were treated. Additionally, the leaves were able to stop hemorrhaging when they were applied to the bleeding surface. The astringent properties that are found in this herb are helpful in stopping bleeding and promoting the healing of wounds.
Plantain works as an anti-inflammatory to help with problems like edema and hemorrhoids. Other conditions that plantain has been included for include nerve problems, fevers, burns, eye pain, and jaundice.
The leaves and seeds of the plantain plant are used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antivenomous, astringent, blood purifier, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, mucilant, parasiticide, gentle purgative, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, potassium, sulfur, trace minerals, and vitamins C, K, and T. Primarily, plantain is extremely beneficial in treating bed-wetting, snake bites, cystitis, diarrhea, intestinal problems, kidney problems, chronic lung disorders, neuralgia, blood poisoning, poison ivy, sores, ulcers, urinary incontinence, and wounds.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with insect bites, bronchitis, burns, high cholesterol, colitis, coughs, cuts, dysentery, edema, epilepsy, sore eyes, fevers, gas, external hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, infections, jaundice, leucorrhea, excessive menstruation, respiratory problems, primary tuberculosis, skin conditions, and stings. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on prescription medication. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by plantain, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
May 07, 2009 05:45 PM
L-carnitine is amino acid essential for the metabolism of fats into a form of energy necessary for extended aerobic activity. Originally discovered in Russia, and Germany a year later, the structural formulation of carnitine, as it is correctly known, was determined in 1927, although it is physiological and biochemical activity was not understood until the 1960s.
The amino acid is biosynthesized in the liver and kidneys from lysine and methionine. The vitamins niacin, B6, C and iron are essential for this reaction to take place. However, the supply of L-carnitine has to be supplemented by the diet, good sources being dairy products, red meat, nuts and seeds, pulses and fruits such as apricots, bananas and avocado. Most of the L-carnitine supply of the body is stored within the muscle tissue. However, it is not unusual for conditions to arise making it difficult for the body to obtain all the carnitine required.
L-carnitine enables fatty acids to be transported into the mitochondria, where cell metabolism occurs. The biochemistry is discussed below, although in simple terms the amino acid allows body fats, in the form of triglycerides, to be made more readily available for the generation of energy required for extended exertion. In this way, body fats can be used for energy and the supplies of glycogen stored by the liver can be retained for emergency use.
By providing the energy for endurance and stamina in this way, carnitine makes use of an otherwise unavailable energy source, and has the added benefit of reducing body fat stores and reducing strain on the heart.
Although there is generally a plentiful supply of L-carnitine available in a healthy diet, supplementation can ensure that a deficiency does not occur. Supplements are available in the form of L-carnitine or its acetylated derivative, acetyl L-carnitine.
In order for fatty acids to be used in the production of energy, their long-chain acetyl groups have to get inside the mitochondria where they are oxidized to the acetate to be used for the production of energy via the Citric Acid or Krebs cycle.
In order for the biochemistry to take place, fatty acids must be rendered suitable for binding to the carnitine molecule. The chemical grouping with a good affinity for L-carnitine is the acetyl or acetyl group, available in the molecule acetyl coenzyme A (CoA). The free fatty acid, therefore, is attached to coenzyme-A by means of a thioester bond, catalyzed by means of the enzyme fatty acetyl-CoA synthetase. The reaction is then completed by means of in organic pyrophosphatase.
In this way, the fatty acid in the form of an acetyL-carnitine derivative can be transported through the mitochondrial wall. This transportation takes place by means of several steps. These are:
1. As explained, the acetyl-CoA is attached to L-carnitine by means of the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase I. This enzyme is conveniently located on the outer mitochondrial membrane.
2. The enzyme carnitine-acetylcarnitine translocase helps the acetyL-carnitine through the membrane.
3. Another enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase II, located on the inner mitochondrial membrane, converts the acetyL-carnitine to acetyl-CoA, liberating the carnitine which returns to the muscle mass.
L-carnitine is the only known substance that allows fatty acids to cross the mitochondrial membrane, and therefore deficiencies must be avoided.
Another way in which carnitine is used in energy production is in the Krebs cycle itself. Part of this cycle involves the conversion of guanine diphosphate to the higher energy form guanine triphosphate. In this way energy can be stored in much the same way as it is in the conversion of ADP to ATP. Succinyl CoA is involved in this conversion, and one of the by-products of it is a corresponding succinate, that is then converted to a fumarate by the action of L-carnitine fumarate. Carnitine, therefore, has two parts to play in the production of long-term energy from the fatty acids contained in body fats.
Since the fatty acid triglycerides contained in body fats are a major source of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles, it is easy to understand how L-carnitine is believed to lead to the increased energy levels required for stamina and staying power. A major reason for its effect on longer-term or extended energy requirements is that in enabling stored body fats to be used for immediate and longer-term energy requirements, L-carnitine allows emergency glycogen stores to be retained for use once immediate fatty acid supplies or those of carnitine have been depleted, and so allows the energy supply to be extended even farther. Research has also suggested that the amino acid can possibly be used to treat liver and kidney disease, diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome.
As with many supplements, the question is often asked how does L-carnitine work in practice as opposed to the claims made for it by the supplement providers? Recent research indicates mixed results, but sufficient to justify its use. It is generally accepted that a supplement is necessary when there is a deficiency, but once that deficiency has been corrected further intake is unnecessary. However, it is also believed that during long and extended periods of exercise a carnitine deficiency does occur as L-carnitine is used up, and the supplement is necessary to ensure sufficient energy supply throughout the period of exercise.
There has also been a case reported in the Journal of Clinical Neurology (Negoro, Tsuda, Kato & Morimatsu, 1995) where a deficiency, caused by anorexia nervosa damaging the liver to the extent that it was unable to synthesize L-carnitine, was remedied by means of an oral supplement. Studies on endurance athletes have been mixed, ranging from no effect to L-carnitine being found to promote weight loss.
Carnitine has no unknown harmful side effects, and has been studied for medical applications other than as an energy supplement. For example it possesses extensive antioxidant properties, and can be used as a supplement against oxidative stress and the prevention of the lipid peroxidation that is a precursor to atherosclerosis.
Its use in osteoporosis and reducing bone mass is also being studied. The concentration of L-carnitine diminishes with age, and affects fatty acid metabolism in a number of tissues. Bones are particularly affected since they require continuous reconstruction. Without detailing the biochemistry involved in this, administration of carnitine helps to reduce the speed by which this occurs. Trials are so far been carried out only on animals.
In studies on both healthy volunteers and patients with type II diabetes, L-carnitine was found to improve storage of glucose in both groups, although its oxidation increased only in the group with diabetes. Other studies carried out include improving the function of neurotransmitters in the brains of elderly patients and in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.
In conclusion then, although the jury is out on the use of L-carnitine is an energy-giving or weight-loss supplement, it appears to be effective where the body's stores of carnitine could be depleted such as with long-term exercise, natural deficiencies or deficiencies caused through age. It is also under study in the treatment of various medical conditions. On balance, it would appear that the prospective benefits of L-carnitine render it worthy of use.
Potassium And Magnesium
December 30, 2008 01:08 PM
Potassium and magnesium are the two most common minerals found within the cells of your body. They each have specific individual functions within your body, and together help to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes and the proper functioning of smooth and striated muscles. That includes allowing muscles to relax properly rather than to cramp.
Before discussing this, let's have a look at the major individual properties of these two metallic minerals with respect to the body's biochemistry.
Magnesium is needed to ensure the proper functioning of the sodium/potassium pump. This is a complex topic, and we shan't dwell on it at length here, although the basics are that it is responsible for the movement of ions into and out of cells. Sodium and potassium ions are moved in opposite directions across the cell plasma membrane, three sodium ions being pumped out for every two potassium ions pumped into the cell.
This is of particular importance to nervous cells responsible for transmitting impulses in response to specific stimuli. In the event of a magnesium deficiency, this pumping action is impaired and the sodium/potassium balance within and without the body cells are imbalanced. This in turn impairs the response of nerve cells to stimuli. Both magnesium and potassium can be depleted through the use of diuretics, in which case a magnesium supplement can redress the imbalance.
There are several consequences of such an electrolytic imbalance, some having potentially serious consequences. Many can cause death if left untreated, although the symptoms usually allow appropriate medical treatment prior to the condition becoming fatal, such treatment frequently involving administration of magnesium and potassium. Among these are:
Calcium overload in certain heart cells that reduces the effective use of oxygen and ATP and causes overactive contraction of the heart muscle.
Spasms in coronary blood vessels.
Over-activity of the striated muscle fibers, leading to cramps in the calf and thigh muscles, for example.
Cramp and pain in the smooth muscles of hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus that can also cause premature labor.
Several heart problems caused by an increase in energy consumption and a calcium overload and potassium deficiency that leads to cardiac ischemia and arrhythmia that continue to create a serious medical condition and hazard to life. Potassium, that can stop the heart if given in excess, can be just as harmful if present in too small a concentration.
The whole situation creates a self-perpetuating cycle that can be broken by a magnesium and potassium supplement that restores the correct gradient of potassium and magnesium across the cell membrane, improves the function of the sodium/potassium pump and reduces the excess cellular calcium by replacing it with magnesium.
This only works if both potassium and magnesium are taken together: just either alone is no good. It also takes time for the effect to occur, so the supplement is not suitable for emergency use. A regular supply can prevent the condition occurring.
There are many other properties that magnesium and potassium possess with regard to the body's biochemistry such as the effect of magnesium in activating certain enzymes. However, in discussing relaxation, both of these essential minerals have a significant part to play.
It has been mentioned that a magnesium and calcium deficiency causes spasms and cramps in the smooth and striated muscles, and the corollary is also true. Magnesium and potassium can be used to relieve such cramps, and relax muscle tissue. Hence, because it can relax excited smooth bronchial muscle tissue, magnesium can be used to relieve asthma attacks. The intravenous administration of magnesium is, in fact, an accepted and proven clinical treatment for acute asthma attacks.
In the same way, magnesium has been used to treat muscle spasms and cramps. Again, it is not an immediate treatment for emergency use, but can be used over a period of days to treat athletes with a history of muscle spasms. Such spasm frequently occur after prolonged periods of exercise, when magnesium and potassium, among other electrolytes, can be lost through a combination of sweating and urination.
However, this is not the only means by which magnesium is lost from your body cells, and probably not even the main one. Less obvious, but likely of more importance, is the transfer of magnesium from the plasma into the red blood cells (erythrocytes). The amount by which this occurs is directly proportional to the more anaerobic the exercise, hence the need by athletes and weightlifters for more magnesium. It can be rapidly lost through exercise with insufficient oxygen, and cause their muscles to cramp up.
Magnesium deficiency is common in Americans, although factors such as high calcium intake, alcohol intake, diuretics, and kidney and liver disease are more responsible for this than a dietary deficiency. Potassium is readily available in bananas, brown rice, potatoes, tomatoes and oranges and dietary deficiencies are not common although supplements are readily available.
Magnesium is also known to play an important part in the secretion and use of insulin by the body. Supplementation with magnesium can help diabetics to make best use of insulin, become more tolerant to glucose and improve the fluidity of the membrane of red blood cells. The mineral; also has a small but definite effect in lowering blood pressure. Other uses for magnesium supplements include congenital heart failure, where higher magnesium contents lead to greater life expectancy and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) where magnesium supplements can significantly increase energy levels.
Other uses to which your body puts potassium other than to allow proper muscle contraction and relaxation and to maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body, includes the function of brain and nerve neurons. This, however, is academic since should your potassium levels drop by 50%, death would result.
Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium are essential in maintaining the proper workings of your body cells, although the most visible effect of magnesium and potassium is their relaxation properties on the body, put to specific use by sportsmen and women, particularly those involved in the more anaerobic sports.
Lower Blood Sugar
October 16, 2008 01:54 PM
Many people struggle to control their weight. However, while they are going on and off various diets, they fail to realize that they are also struggling to control blood sugar. Actually, the cause of blood-sugar problems may be weight problems, as being overweight and having blood sugar problems tend to go hand in hand. Too many blood sugar swings during the day tend to increase hunger jags, snacking, and overeating. When you overeat, you’re much more likely to add on the pounds, setting the stage for obesity, pre-diabetes, and full blown diabetes.
Sadly, both pre-diabetes and overweight have become modern epidemics that are out of control, with two of every three Americans being overweight and over 100 million people having some signs of pre-diabetes. Both of these illnesses are nutritional disorders that result from eating too many unhealthful foods. However, there is good news: you can reverse pre-diabetes and control your weight.
One can self-diagnose pre-diabetes by looking for the most visible symptom: being chubby or fat around the waist. Other clues are cravings sweets and starchy foods, not being hungry at breakfast, and feeling tired or mentally fuzzy after lunch. Many physicians diagnose pre-diabetes when a patient’s fasting blood sugar falls between 100 and 124 mg/dl. There are several dietary factors that significantly increase the risk of overweight. Some of these being: too many calories, too many refined carbs, especially sugars, and too many unhealthful oils.
The average woman needs about 1,600 calories and the typical man needs about 2,000 calories daily, but the average American now consumes 3,900 calories each day, making it difficult to burn off all these calories and causing the accumulation of body fat. Because most excess calories take form of refined carbs and sugars, which are digested rapidly, rapid or extreme spikes in blood sugar levels, elevated insulin levels, and bouts of hunger result, which stimulate low blood sugar. Trans fats, which are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, interfere with the body’s processing of fats and often lead to weight gain. Most of these problematic calories are found in fast foods, microwave foods, and other types of convenience foods, which are all best if they are avoided.
Even though pre-diabetes can be scary, it’s actually an opportunity to improve your eating habits and regain your health. To improve your health you can emphasize quality protein, emphasize high-fiber vegetables and fruits, include grapefruit in your diet, use more vinegar, and add some cinnamon. Since protein stabilizes and safely lowers blood sugar levels, be sure to start each day with some protein with breakfast and eat a little protein with each meal.
Most veggies and fruits are rich in fiber, which helps to lower blood sugar, so opt for salads and steamed broccoli while avoiding crutons, potatoes, bananas, and pears. Despite the calories, eating fresh grapefruit can help in weight reduction. The acetic acid in vinegar can also help to improve blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce appetite, and help with weight loss. Adding cinnamon has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. There are also several supplements that have exceptional value in improving insulin function or lowering blood sugar levels. These include lipoic acid, chromium, silymarin, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin D, and Pycnogenol.
You can also enhance the benefits of diet and supplements by increasing your physical activity as it helps build muscle and burn blood sugar and fat. Tackling pre-diabetes can not only reduce your long-term risk for health problems, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but also can allow you to quickly gain more energy and feel less post-meal fatigue.
September 12, 2008 09:43 AM
The ileocecal valve, which is made up of sphincter muscles that close the ileum, prevents toxins and other materials that are released by the appendix from entering into the small intestine. Additionally, the ileocecal valve helps to keep digested material in the small intestine until all of the nutrients have been absorbed. When the food residue is ready for elimination, the small intestine mixes bile, mucus, and other excretions with the food residue and releases it systematically through the ileocecal valve into the large intestine. This process prevents an overload of material in the intestine for the body to eliminate.
When the toxic material of the colon is able to enter back into the intestine, where it becomes rapidly reabsorbed, ileocecal valve syndrome occurs, which can lead to infection and disease. Symptoms of ileocecal valve syndrome include constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, irregular bowel movements, lower right bowel tenderness, acne, immune weakness, migraines, and duodenal ulcers.
To avoid ileocecal valve syndrome one should eat a diet that is high in fiber and includes whole grains. These whole grains should be soaked and cooked in order to avoid irritating the valve. Foods that cause constipation such as diary products, meat, and bananas should be avoided. Raisins, figs, and stewed prunes should be eaten for breakfast. More fresh fruits and vegetables should be added to the diet. Softer raw vegetables such as leaf lettuce, spinach, avocados, sprouts, and tomatoes should be used first.
Additionally, one should reduce the amount of meat that they eat and take a fiber supplement in order to avoid constipation. Fasting on juices two or three days a week will help to speed the healing process of the digestive tracts. Grains that are thermos-cooked are healing on the digestive tract and rich in enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and protein. The slow cooking process protects the body from destruction of vital enzymes. Milet, buckwheat, and basmati brown rice can also be eaten for breakfast, as they are easy for the body to digest and extremely nourishing. Raw vegetables and fruits, steamed vegetables, yams, and avocados are all also extremely helpful in healing the digestive tract, so they are recommended.
Nutritional supplements that can assist with ileocecal valve syndrome include antioxidants, vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, blue-green algae, acidophilus, and plant digestive enzymes. Also, aloe vera juice, cat’s claw, grape seed extract, pau d’arco, licorice, goldenseal, slippery elm, and comfrey are great herbal aids for helping for ileocecal valve syndrome.
Colon health is a lot more important than most people realize, as the digestive process is directly related to the health of the body, immune system function, and overall longevity. When any disease occurs, the colon should be the first thing looked to for treatment. By understanding what it means to have a healthy colon, adding fiber, nutritional supplements, herbal aids, and a change in diet, one can promote overall colon health. Eating habits should be changed slowly and unhealthy, nutrition robbing foods should be eliminated from the diet and replaced with whole grain foods, fruits, and vegetables.
August 22, 2008 05:50 PM
Fructooligosaccharides, which shall henceforth be referred to as FOS for obvious reasons, are sugars with chemical linkages known as osidic covalent bonds that resist enzymic hydrolysisis, and so are broken down by neither the salivary nor the digestive enzymes. In other words, they are indigestible.
However, before discussing the biochemistry further, let's have a look at what they can be used for. Your body depends upon certain bacteria for its health. These are essential to help break down and digest certain foods, and also to provide a resistance to disease and infection. FOS is what is known as a prebiotic, which used to feed these friendly bacteria. Just like any other living organism, bacteria require nourishment and while they get plenty of food from our own diet, especially from the fiber content, they find FOS particularly appetizing.
Because fructooligosaccharides cannot be digested, it passes unchanged into the colon, where these bacteria live. As they break down the FOS and live on it, they multiply, and create an environment in your lower intestine that is hostile to many harmful bacteria such as Clostridia and E. coli. However, it is not only these harmful bacteria that cause problems with your digestion since there many other agents that can interfere with the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal tract.
People all over the world are continually suffering from both minor and very serious digestive problems, ranging from heartburn and upset stomachs to severe diarrhea, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and even bowel cancers. There is a multitude of reasons for that such as the effects of aging, poor diet and bacteria from contaminated food. Organic foodstuffs do not last long in many warm countries, and while spices can be used to hide the taste, they are not always successful in killing off the bacteria.
Your health depends on a healthy digestive system, and when that is wrong then you will feel ill. If your digestive system is running below par, then you will not feel good, and could suffer from a wide range of symptoms, including tiredness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fevers and depression. The health of your intestinal tract in particular is often neglected, and most people need to do something to give it a boost and improve its, and their, overall health.
That is what FOS can do. And it can do more than just feed friendly bacteria: it can help you maintain regular bowel movements, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy immune system, break down hormones and rebuild them again (it is useful for the relief of the symptoms of PMS) and to keep down the cholesterol and fatty acid levels in your blood. It is used to feed beneficial bacteria, not to replace them, and if you are on a probiotic supplement, you can take FOS along with it.
Fructooligosaccharides are also used as artificial sweeteners, and alternative names for them oligofructan and oligofructose. There are two classes of FOS, the first of which is produced commercially by the chemical or enzymic degradation of inulin, a polymer of D-fructose linkages terminated with D-glucose. This is produced commercially predominantly in Belgium and Holland, and it also occurs naturally in chicory and Jerusalem artichoke, and in lesser amounts in bananas, garlic, tomatoes and onions. The second class of FOS is produced mainly in Japan. This is produced by a process known as the transfructosylation of a B-fructosidase from saccharose or aspergillus niger, a black mould found on onions and grapes. This is basically the same as the first class, although the chemical bonds are in different places.
While they resist breakdown by enzymes, they are fermented in the colon by anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that work in the absence of oxygen. Because they are fairly soluble, they can be added to dairy products such as yoghurt and used to feed the bacteria contained in the yoghurt. In fact many supplements containing acidophilus bacteria are fortified with FOS: you drink the bacteria along with its food.
Although FOS is only now assuming increasingly popularity in the West, it has been used as a dietary supplement in Japan for many years. Some of the specific health benefits that FOS coveys by promoting the health of essential bacteria, are:
Calcium and Magnesium Absorption
There have been several studies that have concluded that FOS and inulin improve the absorption of calcium in the intestine of both animals and humans. The fermentation of the FOS by bacteria reduces the pH of the gut, which increases the solubility of these minerals and hence extracts more of them from food. The increased solubility also helps them to be more easily absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. FOS can therefore help to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
Strengthened Immune System
By taking a supplement of FOS, you can increase the density of friendly bacteria in your gut fivefold in a matter of weeks. This crowds out harmful bacteria, and so the level of toxins in your body is reduced. Your immune system is allowed to work properly to fight of infection and disease without having to work hard on keeping down the harmful bacteria in your gut.
Apart from being a food for bacteria, since it is not digestible FOS is also a soluble fiber that draws water into your colon, and so promotes easy transport of feces by the peristaltic pumping action of the intestinal muscles. It also absorbs excess water in the chyme and feces and so helps to prevent diarrhea. Furthermore, improving the health of the friendly bacteria also improves your digestive health that also promotes regularity.
The fermentation of FOS by bacteria produces gases and acids. These acids help the body to produce energy, and although not a massive energy boost, when allied to the improved digestion it is significant.
All of these benefits and more suggest that FOS is highly recommended in the event of sporadic and chronic gastrointestinal problems. It is a natural substance that does not have a direct influence on your body's biochemistry, but promotes the health and reproduction of those bacteria that do have a significant influence on intestinal health. Add that to the added benefits discussed above, and FOS is one of these supplements that could almost be called essential.
How Important Is It To Have Proper Digestion
July 09, 2008 11:46 AM
The part played by food in the health of your body is to furnish it with the nutrients needed for the biochemistry that keeps you alive. The digestive process breaks the food that you eat down into a form that can be absorbed by your bloodstream, and from there to your liver which is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the biochemical reactions of your body take place, such as the manufacture of bile needed to break down fats during digestion.
Most people do not take this into account when eating, and in today’s hectic world nourishment is the last thing on their minds, yet the one aspect of their lives that can provide them with the energy to carry on as they do. They eat to get rid of the feeling of hunger, and any old thing will do: a burger or a pizza, but rarely an orange or some cheese on wholegrain bread.
Poor eating habits lead to poor digestion, which in turn leads to poor extraction of the nutrients from what we do eat, and therefore malnutrition. Yes, malnutrition! It is possible to suffer from that even though you fill your belly every day. It’s not the filling that matters, it’s what does the filling and how well it is digested. Proper digestion is very important to every living creature on this planet. The first step in ensuring that have a proper digestion function is to assess the quality of the food that you eat:
a) What nutrients does your food contain, and
b) Have you sufficient of the proper enzymes needed to break it down so that these nutrients can be extracted?
Nourishing meals are just as easy to find and eat as junk foods, and it is just as easy to a breakfast containing a high protein and fat content as it is to eat a chocolate biscuit. A hard boiled egg with whole meal toast and yoghurt isn’t difficult to prepare for breakfast, and some tuna, or cheese and whole meal crackers make a nutritious lunch. These foods are easier to digest than the greasy high-fat foods that most people eat at lunchtime.
Proper digestion requires relaxation, and eating when stressed or in a hurry creates the wrong pH conditions in your stomach, with hydrochloric acid production being suppressed and the production enzymes by the liver inhibited. Enzymes are essential to your health, and are types of protein that enable most biochemical reactions to take place. Without the proper production of enzymes, your food will pass through your body largely unchanged, and this indigestion can not only give you stomach pains but also weaken you because the nutritional value of your food is not being realized.
You should take the time to eat, and not try to eat on the job: that is why so many high fliers end up with ulcers. Take time to chew, and mix your food with saliva which itself contains the enzymes amylase and lysozyme. Amylase breaks down starch into sugars, while lysozyme inhibits the growth of oral bacteria. The digestive system therefore begins in the mouth when you chew your food. The breakdown of food into smaller particles also produces more surface area from which the nutrients can be absorbed.
Enzymes are very important to proper digestion, and your diet should include enzyme-rich food such as tropical fruits (pineapple and bananas), honey, and many vegetables. Yoghurt and lacto-fermented foods are also rich in enzymes, and many cooked foods also contain enzymes. An enzyme supplement can also be taken to top-up what you eat, and make up for any enzyme deficiency in your diet. Processed foods are fairly empty of good nutritional value, particularly enzymes, which is why so many people are so overweight: their food is a nutritional desert and their body keeps craving for food that leads to eating binges.
For your food to be properly digested your stomach acid has to be at a certain pH. If you drink too much liquid when eating then the acid will be diluted, and you will not properly digest your food. A glass of water is fine but two or three pints of beer, or a gallon of fruit juice, will dilute the hydrochloric acid concentration in your stomach, and it will not be able to break down your food. Consequently, your digestive system loses much of the nutritional content of what you eat. Restrict heavy drinking of liquid to about two hours before and two hours after eating each meal for maximum efficiency. Many people find that they have to take not only vitamin and mineral supplements to replace those which are lost through inefficient digestion, but also other supplements such as enzymes and extra proteins.
When food is processed or cooked, the process destroys enzymes. Since the body stores only a limited supply of enzymes, eating well cooked or highly processed foods continuously, places great strains on the enzyme reserves, and ultimately the metabolic enzyme reserves have to be used in order to digest your food. This diverts them from their proper purpose, and many of the functions of your body are disrupted.
For example, your lose energy and your immune systems begins to weaken, making you feel tired and more susceptible to illness and disease. You should therefore try to eat foods rich in enzymes, or use an enzyme supplement. Natural raw foods are an excellent addition to your diet, and salads and fruit should be regular components of your meals. Obviously you must eat some cooked foods, but that does not mean that you should avoid eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables altogether. That is a recipe for a dietary disaster.
Enzymes are extremely important components of your digestive system, as is dietary fiber. In fact if you eat a diet containing dietary fiber, some raw fruit and vegetables, and protein, either cooked or uncooked, you will be giving your digestive system a boost. If you are unable to maintain that, then enzyme supplementation, together with general multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily, should help you to maintain a healthy digestive system. However, fiber is essential since without it you will become constipated, especially if you consume a lot of pulpy foods that mainly consist of water.
It is extremely important that you have proper digestion of the food that you eat, and that your body makes the best use of the nutrients that it contains. To achieve this, you have to maintain the correct pH of stomach acid, and eat foods with the nutritional content required by the human body. This means not overcooking a balanced diet containing protein, fiber, enzymes and other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals).
B Vitamin Complex
June 23, 2008 03:19 PM
The vitamin B supplement you take is a mixture of nutrients that, although they share the same vitamin letter, are in fact distinctly different chemical entities. The reason that they share the same reference letter of the alphabet is that they are all essential water soluble vitamins (Vitamin C being the only other), they frequently work in synergy with each other and they often come from common sources and have similar properties in the body. They were therefore at one time believed to be just the one chemical entity.
They are essential in that they must form part of our diet because our bodies cannot manufacture these substances from others, and although most share common biochemical and health functions, there is no health function that requires all of them, and none of them can be totally replaced by another.
The B-Vitamin complex that you take can consist of as many as eight different B vitamins, each of which is essential for a healthy body and at one time it was believed that this mixture was only one single vitamin. That is why they are collectively known as vitamin B and were subsequently allocated numbers: it was only later that the individual components were discovered.
These eight are vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B-12 (cobalamins), biotin and folic acid (folate). They are found in yeast, liver, tuna, bananas and rice among other sources, and, as with all vitamins, without them life would not be possible. Not all vitamins are found in each of these food sources, and vitamin B-12, for example, is available in nutritional quantities only from animal sources.
Knowing what they are is all very well, but what does your body do with the B vitamin supplement that you take? Before considering that, the reason that a regular supply is important is because of their water solubility. This is a useful property for a vitamin to possess, because it means that they can easily be transported by the body fluids to the tissues where they are needed. The downside, however, is that they are consequently also easily flushed from the body, and your body cannot store any of the B vitamins.
You therefore must have a regular dietary source that can be augmented through supplementation. This is particularly desirable in alcoholics, those on diets to lose weight and vegans who are advised to take a regular vitamin B-12 supplement.
A lack of vitamin B will make you feel tired and lack energy because they play a big part in your body’s metabolism of blood glucose into energy. They also help to maintain a healthy immune system, keep your nervous system in tip-top condition and maintain good healthy skin, hair and muscles. The B complex is also very important in maintaining healthy blood and liver, and each and every component of the mixture has a specific part to play, both on individually and by interaction with others in the B complex.
Rather than examining what your body does with the supplement as a whole, let’s have a look at each component, and what your body does with that. Taking them one at a time, thiamine (B1) helps you to burn carbohydrates to generate energy. It is highly water soluble and must be taken daily. In the form of thiamine pyrophosphate it plays a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy, and also in the metabolism of certain amino acids. If you rely heavily on a high carbohydrate diet, you will need a good regular supplement of thiamine to be able to convert them to energy.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) also plays a part in fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule of energy. It plays a significant part in the health of your skin and a deficiency is associated with mouth ulcers, cracked lips, flaky skin and bloodshot watery eyes. It also activates vitamin B6 and folic acid, one of the cases where the B vitamins work together synergistically.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is well known to women as a component of some shampoos, and helps to promote health hair. However, this vitamin also takes part in the process of energy creation within your body, and helps to maintain a good muscle tone within the digestive tract. It is also used as a supplement for the treatment of diseases related to high levels of LDL cholesterol and is useful for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Pantothenic acid is also found as a component of shampoos, so no prizes for guessing one of its functions. Vitamin B-5 plays a significant part in the energy-producing Krebs Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle, that is used by every cell in your body to generate energy just where it is needed. It is also needed to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for good brain function and it helps to reduce stress. Pantothenic acid is also closely involved in the production of cholesterol in your liver: cholesterol is not all bad, and is needed by your body to produce some of the steroid hormones and also vitamin D.
Amino acids are the small units that are used to biosynthesize proteins and ultimately the genes and DNA that determine who you are. The major factor involved in processing these amino acids is Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), one of the lesser known of the vitamin B complex. It synthesizes and breaks up different amino acids to produce a variety of other compounds, such as the hormones serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
Deficiencies in these hormones can be very serious, Parkinson’s disease believed to be connected with a dopamine deficiency for example, and other disorders include kidney stones, anemia and many skin complaints. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, it can occur in alcoholics and those with chronic kidney problems. It is believed that many diets are deficient, however, and a good vitamin B supplement would ensure that this did not occur.
Vitamin B-12 is one where deficiency can occur, particularly in alcoholics and vegans. It is available in sufficient quantities only from meat sources, and a supplement is indicated in anyone with a low meat intake in their diet. It is used by your body for the replication of DNA and to allow the normal activity of your body cells. It also helps to control homocysteine levels in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid: homocysteine is a high-risk amino acid associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The seventh, biotin (sometimes referred to as vitamin B7) also takes part in the metabolism of energy, but deficiencies have not been known, and the final known member of the B vitamin complex is folic acid. This is essential for cell growth and the synthesis of RNA and DNA in the body. RNA (Ribonucleic acid) is responsible for the synthesis of proteins in your body, and the well known Deoxy-ribonucleic acid (DNA) holds the genetic information of your body. Folic acid is therefore essential in the growing fetus, and any other cellular system that rapidly regenerates such as blood cells and the various cells of the immune system.
Without folic acid your body would be more susceptible to bacterial and viral attack, and less able to protect you from foreign invaders into your body tissues. Although deficiency is not common, folic acid is present in fresh food only and degrades when stored at room temperature and when cooked. A supplement is therefore advisable during pregnancy to help to prevent neural tube defects.
It is evident that the Vitamin B complex plays many parts in the chemistry of your body, and that a supplement can be of benefit in assuring that there are no deficiencies. A good B complex can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Apple juice Could Reduce Wheezing…
May 31, 2007 11:20 AM
Apple juice Could Reduce Wheezing…Increased consumption of apple juice or bananas may prevent childhood asthma, says new research form England. Using a population based survey of 2,640 children between five and ten years old the researchers found that one glass of apple juice from concentrate a day or more was associated with a 47 percent reduction in current wheezing. At least one banana every day was associated with a 34 percent reduction in current wheezing, compared to eating bananas less than once a month. Consumption of apples, other fruits and orange juice however was not linked with asthma symptoms. (Nutrition, May 2007, volume 23, issue 5, pages 419-423)
July 14, 2005 05:05 PM
Natural Health for a Healthy Heart
July 13, 2005 09:17 AM
Natural Health for a Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular disease is on the rise. Heart disease, stroke, and related disorders kill more Americans than any other ailments combined. In 1990 approximately one million Americans died form cardiovascular disease. Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Fat and cholesterol accumulate around the heart and inner walls of the arteries. This causes blood flow to slow and blood pressure to rise. Blood clotting is also a problem when the arteries are clogged which, if a clot breaks loose, can cause strokes or heart attacks according to where they end up. Heart disease is usually advanced before a problem arises. Prevention should be the first goal.
Heart disease is much less common in “primitive” societies. This is due in part to the lifestyle and diet choices of Americans. Diet is viewed as the most important factor in heart related disorders. An increased intake of sugar, refined flour and simple carbohydrates may also be contributing factors. Other risk factors include a family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, type A personality, stress, diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol levels, physical inactivity and coronary artery disease. Changes must be made in diet and life-style in order to prevent heart disease.
Following a diet low in animal fat and refined sugars but high in fiber is highly recommended. Whole grains, almonds, fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of legumes, skinless turkey, chicken and fish should be the main dietary elements. Brown rice, garlic, onions, olive oil, raw fruits and vegetables, sprouts, asparagus, apples, bananas, beans, buckwheat, seeds, whey powder, and yogurt are especially good for the heart. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, red meat, refined carbohydrates, and white flour. Limit intake of dairy products which contain high amounts of fat. Homogenized dairy products contain an enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is believed to cause artery damage and could lead to arteriosclerosis. Use olive oil and canola oil when using fat. Avoid palm oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and cottonseed oil.
Choline, inositol and lecithin: These act as fat emulsifiers in the bloodstream and can help prevent plaque buildup.
Chromium: Chromium is known for recent studies linking it to a reduced risk of heart disease. It may help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Low levels of chromium are thought to be a risk factor for developing heart disease. It also may help increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol and aid in lowering the LDL cholesterol.
Coenzyme Q10: This can help oxygenate the heart muscle helping to prevent additional heart damage. Coenzyme Q10 can help the body break down fatty acids converting them to energy. This is often lacking in individuals with heart problems. Essential Fatty Acids: These can help prevent hardening of the arteries by preventing the blood cells from clumping together and forming clots. They also help with the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins.
Germanium: Germanium has been found to lower high blood pressure and improve circulation in the body. Calcium and Magnesium: Both of these minerals contribute to the muscular contraction and relaxation of the heart. They are essential for the proper function of the heart muscle and maintaining normal heart rhythm and blood pressure. Low levels of calcium have been linked to high blood pressure.
L-Carnitine: This is an amino acid that can help the heart by reducing fat levels in the blood. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Vitamin C helps prevent blood clots and strengthens the capillary and blood vessel walls. It may help prevent high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, lower cholesterol, repair arterial walls, and contribute to reversing heart disease.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is well known for its beneficial effect on the heart. Selenium: Low levels of selenium have been associated with heart disease.
Hawthorn: This herb is great for cardiovascular health. Garlic: Garlic is one of the most studied herbs for cardiovascular health. Several recent studies link garlic to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Cayenne: This is also known as capsicum and is beneficial on circulation and cleaning and nourishing the blood vessels.
Ginkgo: Ginkgo relaxes the blood vessels and improves the flow of blood even in constricted arteries. Rosemary Tea: This is a traditional heart tonic that helps to promote circulation and lower blood pressure. Chinese Mushroom (auricularia polytricha): This is a natural blood thinner.
It is important to include exercise in the daily routine. Aerobic exercise is known to help improve the heart1s pumping ability, reduce serum cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure as well as many other ailments. Exercising an average of three to five days a week for thirty minutes will benefit the body. Actually any amount of exercise is beneficial for the body, so try and do something each day.
Include relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Stress can increase the risk of heart disease. Stress releases adrenaline which causes the heart to work harder. If you feel resentment, fear or anger, find ways to deal with these in a positive way. Pursuit serenity and peace in life. Exercise, self hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, yoga and prayer can all help develop inner peace.
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.
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
Best Bread ...
June 13, 2005 07:30 PM
Best Breads by Jane Lane Energy Times, December 9, 1999
Few of us can resist the seductions of freshly baked bread, warm and fragrant, poised on the edge of a steaming bowl of soup or painted with an aromatic swath of rosemary scented oil. Even those of us from the most culinary challenged households can recall the pleasures of the simple plump white dinner roll or flaky biscuit piled in a basket on the dinner table.
Bread has blossomed from sideshow status beside the dinner plate to a full-scale mealtime headliner, a scrumptious star enriched by nutritious grains, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Contemporary cooks build meals around crunchy cornbread or chewy focaccia, presenting soups or salads as satisfying counterpoints. Want to jump into the bread baking basket or hone your skills? Two top vegetarian chefs shared with Energy Times their passion for bread and their expertise in baking. See if you don't find that ardor contagious.
Nancy Lazarus is a chef at the famed Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, established in 1973 to serve up natural fare with a homecooked, vegetarian emphasis. The bill of fare changes daily at Moosewood, but there's one constant: a cup or bowl of soup, a salad and a thick slice of bread. Some loyal customers have ordered the daily special for 20 years.
That's why bread occupies a cherished spot at Moosewood. Nancy Lazarus tells why and offers some of Moosewood's favorite bread recipes: "Cooking is like art; baking is like science; bread is like magic. No matter how much science you apply, you'll never have complete control: It'll do its own thing on some level, which is part of its charm, if you're charmed by that sort of thing. Breads come out differently depending on heat and humidity, the heat of the oven; yeast is a variable that can be slower or faster acting.
"There are bread machines, of course, and they work. But they're not as satisfying as the real thing, the kneading, which can be almost therapeutic, and the control over the ingredients to your own specifications.
"Bread is not that difficult. Know your own oven, to begin: Good insulation is important and how the heat travels around inside. Convection ovens are a wonderful thing.
"There are difficult breads we recommend you buy at a good bakery: baguettes, Italian, French and Cuban that are crusty outside and soft inside.
"But focaccia is easy. It's a yeasted bread that's better to make at home than buy because it's so fresh and you can control the toppings. It only requires one slow and one quick rising but you have to be there for a while.
"Then there are quick breads that use baking soda or powder, like cornbread. If you want a good meal at home and can make only one thing, make a quick bread. They're satisfying and delicious warm from the oven; and the aroma of bread fills the house. A corn bread with tomato soup for supper is a nurturing meal good for vegans.
"Popovers are fast and simple, a middle American 50s treat, but you do need a hot oven and 45 minutes. Also easy to make: sweet breads- carrot, banana, zucchini-and biscuits.
"To reduce the fat in denser quickbreads and cakes, use applesauce. It gives body and moistness.
"The number of wheat-sensitive people is rising dramatically. A theory I think makes sense is that in the last 30 years the varieties of wheat grown has been reduced to 1 or 2 that are more easily cultivated and harvested with the machinery available. People are overloaded with one type of wheat.
"Gluten is the offending substance in wheat and some oats; try rice, tapioca and potato flours, which are denser and more fine and don't produce a good crust. Improve the crust by baking in a preheated cast iron skillet.
"Also investigate chickpea flour. You don't make a loaf of bread with it- use it for flatbreads like papadam, which is in Indian cookbooks. And it's good for batter for vegetables.
"Spelt is the closest to wheat flour in consistency but some people can be sensitive to it.
"Visit a natural food store to check out the flours. The mills sometimes print handouts with recipes and a lot of those are real good, especially for what works with their flour. Or you may run into a baker who will whet your appetite with ideas and recipes.
"Bread is the supreme comfort food. It can speak to us, and reassure us. The magic of bread and how it varies: There's something appealing in that. In today's world, food is predictable, and that's reassuring to some people. At Moosewood, things are always different, and that's good."
Claire Criscuolo puts an intensely personal spin on the eclectically ethnic style of cooking at her esteemed vegetarian restaurant, Claire's Corner Copia. That 25-year-old institution in New Haven, Connecticut, reflects her zest for the freshest ingredients, robust flavors and inspired combinations. Claire, a teacher and advocate for healthful cuisine, pours her passion into her breadmaking as well:
"Healthy bread is like anything else-it has healthy ingredients. We use the best organic unbleached flour and yeast, pure vanilla, whole eggs (not dried and powdered), whole milk and organic sour cream. You want to use good, fresh ingredients. It's the essence of healthy cooking. "I tell my staff, 'Don't use your soup pot as a garbage pail. Bread is the same. If the ingredients aren't at their freshest for serving, then they aren't right for other uses in the kitchen.
"Our bread is very important at Claire's. We make a country white and a honey wheat in a pinwheel loaf-400 a day-and challah for the morning French toast with sauteed bananas or as buns for veggie burgers. "It's not practical to bake bread every day. We let our bread rise several times, punching it down again and again. For the home cook, it's time consuming. Even I'm happy to buy a good loaf of bread. "But anybody can bake bread. Combine flour, water and yeast and watch it grow! It's delights all your senses. And it a gratifies and satisfies. I was kneading it all by hand until we got up to 12 loaves a day.
"I love a good oatmeal molasses bread; a whole wheat bread with walnuts, rosemary and finely chopped sweet onion sauteed in olive oil for a roasted vegetable sandwich; or an anadama bread with split pea soup.
"Bread is part of a meal. It requires time and effort, but I can't think of many things worthwhile that don't."
Down with Blood Pressure
June 12, 2005 08:03 AM
Down with Blood Pressure by Kim Erickson Energy Times, January 6, 2002
More than one of four Americans suffers from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This so-called silent killer is often the first step in developing long-term problems like heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure leads to about 45,000 deaths a year and contributes to another 210,000. Hypertension is more common in women beginning at age 50, particularly African-American women. And since high blood pressure rarely causes obvious physical distress, unless your health practitioner monitors your blood pressure on a regular basis, it's easy to miss. The famous study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), known as the Framingham Heart Study, found that half of all people who suffered a first heart attack and two-thirds of first-time stroke victims also had moderate to high blood pressure. What's more, left untreated, high blood pressure can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), aneurysms, loss of vision and kidney failure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. When blood pressure reaches 140/90 or above on a consistent basis, you have high blood pressure. What do the numbers mean? The top number, systolic pressure, represents the peak pressure generated in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. Among 95% of all people with high blood pressure, health practitioners can generally pinpoint no specific, single cause.
For decades, the most common recommendation for people with high blood pressure was to eat less salt. Experts have advocated reducing our salt intake to no more than three teaspoons a day: six grams (2400 mg), which is four grams less than the current national average. This recommendation was largely based on a study conducted by Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, known as INTERSALT. The study tested more than 10,000 men and women from 32 countries. The researchers concluded that eating a lot of salt was linked to rises in blood pressure. Other scientists haven't always found the same results. One review of 56 clinical trials by the Integrative and Behavioral Cardiology Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found only a modest reduction in blood pressure when the salt shaker was left unshaken. And an analysis of 58 studies by academics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark found that, overall, studies did not support a general recommendation to reduce the amount of salt we consume. Added to all this confusion, many people are salt sensitive: their bodies retain excess salt instead of flushing it out of their systems. Unfortunately, only medical tests can reveal this sensitivity. Consequently, experts still recommend that you eat fewer foods containing salt. That means going easy on processed foods, lunch meats and soft drinks. In addition, increasing your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium may help your blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium and magnesium not only help regulate blood pressure, but may boost overall cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke. Vegetarian items such as bananas, baked potatoes and oranges are rich in these minerals. Research that looked at 30,000 doctors found that those who ate diets rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium had lower blood pressure than the men who ate few of these mineral-rich foods (Circ, 1992; vol 86:1475-1484). A study of 40,000 female nurses found that their pressure decreased when they consumed fibrous and magnesium-filled foods (Hypertension, 1996, vol 27:1065-1072).
The nutrient CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance which acts as an antioxidant in the body, decreasing the harm caused by caustic substances known as free radicals. Found in every part of the body, CoQ10 is necessary for producing energy in every cell. But it is estimated that nearly 40% of people with high blood pressure are deficient in CoQ10. Tests of CoQ10 seem to show that it can often reduce blood pressure by almost 10% (Cur Ther Res 1990;47: 841-845). It also appears to reduce blood triglycerides, blood fats linked to heart disease, and insulin, while slightly increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in lowering blood pressure without the use of prescription medicine came with a study known as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Funded by NHLBI and the National Institutes of Health, the multicenter study examined more than 400 people with high blood pressure. These folks were divided into three groups. One ate the standard high-sodium, high-fat American diet, the second a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and the third a combination diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products (the DASH diet). While the group eating plenty of fruits and vegetables enjoyed a modest reduction in blood pressure, the study found that combining low-fat dairy with produce lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11.4 and 5.5 points, respectively. And the benefits came quickly. Many of the people on the combination diet lowered their blood pressure within two weeks. The results were so impressive that researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts suggested that the DASH diet may offer an alternative to drug therapy for people with hypertension and may even serve to prevent high blood pressure altogether. The DASH diet is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Similar to the diet found in Mediterranean cultures, DASH also includes nuts, seeds and legumes, and is supplemented by non- or low-fat dairy products. Moderate amounts of protein-in the form of fish, poultry and soy-are also eaten. Eating in the DASH may also spur weight loss. Since being overweight can increase your blood pressure, the NHLBI strongly recommends a low-calorie diet such as DASH to take off extra pounds. Exercise and stress relief play critical roles in most pressure-reducing plans. Working out not only helps shed weight, it can also lower your blood pressure. Low to moderate aerobic exercise four days a week may lower blood pressure just as effectively as a higher intensity workout. And learning how to manage stress has helped dropped pressures in people with hypertension (Arch Intern Med 2001; 161:1071-80). Nutrition and lifestyle: two vital relief valves for dropping your high blood pressure and increasing your chances of longer life.