Search Term: " benefiing "
6 Spices That Can Help Reduce Inflammation
March 15, 2019 10:32 AM
Although inflammation can be painful to experience, it is the body's natural response to any form of injury or attack. Your body may be trying to protect you with these inflammatory responses, but the symptoms that come with it can be quite troublesome. Fortunately, research is now showing that there are certain spices that can help aid in the reduction of inflammation. Black pepper, for instance, can decrease the prominence of inflammation markers by its powerful piperine levels.
"Turmeric is a yellow colored spice that originates from India and is added to curries and fresh vegetable juices. It can also be added to milk so that one’s immunity is strengthened. It contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin is responsible for giving turmeric several of its health-benefiting qualities."
Read more: https://dailywellnesspro.com/6-spices-that-can-help-reduce-inflammation
The Surprising Anti-Aging Benefits of Fiber
February 19, 2018 03:59 PM
Fiber is one of those things we rarely we get enough of. Often we skip the whole grain food and go right to the processed. On the whole, we are eating 16 grams of fiber per day, but should be eating around 25 grams. Fiber is overall helpful in your diet. Not only does it help you feel full, but it has benefits to heart health and colon health. It can also help cut cholesterol by binding to it before passing out of the body.
"Technically, it isn’t a nutrient because it isn’t broken down and absorbed. But that’s what makes it so beneficial."
Read more: https://www.consumerreports.org/diet-nutrition/anti-aging-benefits-of-fiber/
8 Pumpkin Seed Benefits for Weight Loss, Hair Growth and More
August 09, 2017 11:07 AM
There are 8 pumpkin seed benefits for weight loss, hair growth and much more. Being very mindful in what you eat and including some healthy snacks will go a long way in benefiting your body. One snack that you can always turn to is the pumpkin seed. There are a variety of nutrients in the pumpkin seed like zinc and magnesium. There is also copper and protein in the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of B vitamins.
Read more: 8 Pumpkin Seed Benefits for Weight Loss, Hair Growth and More
Top 13 Benefits Of Vitamin A For Health And Skin
May 22, 2017 08:44 AM
Vitamin A, found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and proteins, plays an important part in our everyday lives. Many people know of Vitamin A's existence, but are unaware of its host of benefits. These benefits include improving the immune system (raising lymphocytic responses, maintains moisture of mucus membranes, and improving white blood cell activity), maintaining eye health (through regulating light changes and moisture), keeping skin soft, strengthen teeth and bones (by forming dentin), prevent urinary stones (due to calcium phosphate formation), inhibit muscular dystrophy, may prevent acne and certain cancer, treat measles and cold sores, lower cholesterol, and protect from infection. And, as an added bonus, it's also an anti-aging agent, because of its wrinkle reducing properties! Just be careful that you don't take too much Vitamin A, and speak to a doctor before starting on supplementation.
"One of the most amazing benefits of vitamin A which ought to be mentioned first is improving your immune system"
Read more: http://vkool.com/benefits-of-vitamin-a/
Tea drinkers can take comfort in new study about heart benefits
May 12, 2017 06:44 PM
Tea is sometimes talked about negatively because some of it contains caffeine but it also has benefits. This talks about a study which links tea drinking to positive affects on the heart. This is important because the heart pumps blood all throughout the body. If drinking tea helps with that many are benefiting without even knowing about it. This will make you feel a bit better if you drink tea and worry about doing so.
Read more: Tea drinkers can take comfort in new study about heart benefits
Developments in the Legal Cannabis Industry
March 03, 2017 10:59 AM
The legal marijuana industry is currently the fastest-growing business in the United States. If it continues to expand and reaches all 50 states, it could become even bigger than the organic foods market. According to The ArcView Group, a research company focused on cannabis industry investment, the U.S. market grew 74% in 2014, up from the prior year of $1.5 billion.
"A report published by The Hemp Business Journal estimates that the Cannabidiol (CBD) market will grow to a $2.1 billion market in consumer sales by 2020 with $450 million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources. In 2015, the market for consumer sales of hemp-derived CBD products was $90 million, plus another $112 million in marijuana-derived CBD products which were sold through dispensaries - bringing a total CBD market to $202 million last year"
Lion's Mane Mushroom A Nerve Stimulant?
December 21, 2012 12:50 PM
Natural sources of nutrition and medication are the only secret to live a energetic, cheerful and long life. Still, the modern day pharmaceutical industry stands in front of this trend as it has to make money by extracting the natural ingredients and selling them back to people. Ancient herbalists had done enough research in finding out medicinal properties within our surroundings.
Mushrooms are one of these potent fungus and such a promising fungus is Lion's Mane Mushroom. It is identified by the botanical name Hericium erinaceus. One Beneficial role is in benefiting the nervous system. Our body secrets a nerve stimulating factor, known as NGF; standing for nerve growth factor. It is responsible for new nerve production. Lion's Mane Mushroom does the same thing (by stimulating NGF secretion) because it heals neurological disorders.
Terrific disorders like Parkinson's disease can be managed with the intake of this mushroom. Children who are given this mushroom with their meals are seen to be more active mentally than any other normal child. They also adapt, accommodate, improvise and decide faster even under stress. As far as other additional benefits are concerned, Lion's Mane Mushroom boosts the immune system. This is a common property of mushrooms though.
So, if you are thinking of adding mushroom dishes to your meals or supply your family with mushroom extracts, that's a smart idea. As these ancient treatment techniques aren't easily accepted by people and benefits of mushrooms are not discussed quite often in public, people don't get to know how powerful & medicinal mushrooms can be.
Who knows, few medicinal properties of mushrooms might not have been identified yet?
Few more benefits of Lion's Mane:
Digestive system functions better.
Just get started with this healthy fungus cause you might not want to miss seeing yourself healthy and active till death.
Health benefits of triphala
August 07, 2012 08:22 AM
Owing to the unhealthy food habits that people follow, there is hardly anyone who does not suffer from stomach problems like acidity, constipation, pain in abdomen and loss in appetite. These ailments can lead to various other problems like fatigue, hypertension, poor eyesight, skin ailments and headache. If you have tried various antibiotics, medicines and diets without getting any desired relief, it is time you try out triphala. It is an Indian mixture of herbs which can bring about great positive changes. Triphala is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘three fruits'. Triphala contains Bibhitaki (Terminalia belliricia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). It is important for you to know the benefits that each of these ingredients offer.
Bibhitaki (Terminalia belliricia)Bibhitaki is an internal cleanser, which helps remove harmful toxins, and gets your body rid of excess fats. It purifies your blood and helps control hemorrhage.It strengthens the hair roots and also improves hair texture and color. It is anti bacterial and anti viral in nature. It improves eyesight and betters voice quality.
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)It is an antioxidant and helps your body get rid of harmful toxins.Amlaki is very rich in vitamin C which is helpful in building immunity. It nourishes and strengthens respiratory tract and lungs by removing mucous out of the lungs.It increases fertility in both females and males and also helps maintain a good reproductive health by regulating menstrual cycle. It offers a healthy glow to the skin by working as detox, which helps in formation of fresh tissues.
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)Haritaki has five rasas or tastes, which are salty, sour, bitter, pungent and sweet. It strengthens the sensory organs and stimulates the functioning of the digestive system.It is a great cure against anemia, piles, gallstone and diarrhea. It is helps fight cough, asthma, headache and fever. It helps regulate blood pressure and prevents heart diseases.
These three herbs when combined form a great drug, the benefits of which are mentioned below.
Benefits for heart
It helps maintain cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart problems. It limits the formation of low density lipoprotein in the body and helps in the formation of high density lipoprotein. It regularizes the heart rate and is thus beneficial for heart patients. It helps generate red blood cells and is thus helpful for anemia patients.
Benefits for stomach
It acts as a natural appetizer and helps in proper digestion thus benefiting the digestive systemIt helps evacuate the bowel and throws harmful toxins out of the body.It relives your body of harmful gases thus curing acidity,It is helpful in curing stomach ulcers. It acts as an internal cleanser for the body.
Benefits for skin and eyes
It controls the amount of external radicals in the blood, which helps reduce skin disorders and infections. It improves blood quality and thus benefits the skin.Its antioxidant property helps delay aging. It improves eyesight by strengthening the muscles around the eyes. It helps cure eye problems like glaucoma, cataracts and conjunctivitis.It can be used to wash eyes to get rid of redness.
For weight loss
Triphala is very helpful in treating obesity. Since it helps in proper functioning of the digestive system, it helps reduce body fat.It secretes bile juices which is beneficial for the liver and is needed for burning fats. By reducing excessive water content of tissues it helps in weight loss.It also cuts down hunger pangs.
Triphala has endless health benefits to offer, no wonder, more and more people are opting for the same.
Can Avena Sativa Be Used For Menstrual Problems?
September 07, 2011 02:13 PM
Avena Sativa in a way is just a common oat plant and is considered a cereal grain that is derived from seeds and its most common form in our diets is as rolled oats and oatmeal. A lot of us these days feel stressed and tired. Some may feel a little depressed or even fed up and this can lead to a lack of sexual desire. Many of us would think that supplementation might help with this since our fast-paced life often times is the culprit of this and we would like to have an easy fix for more energy. Most of the time we look at supplementation to help us with that and for the past decade Avena Sativa is one of those herbs that have shown a lot of promise in the area of health and other benefits which in this specific case is more on Menstrual Problems. Like in most cases for herbs, it starts out to be a simple research about how it could help us with energy and overall wellness then we would discover that it can do a lot more.
Avena Sativa and how it works
Also known as Oats Milky, Avena Sativa in the past decade has shown promise in benefiting a number of bloodstream functions and this was made evident as researchers have shown that it could help in various sexual functions mainly in men. It is able to help with erection and improve sexual appetites. The consensus of the users of this herb is that it is a great alternative to pharmaceutical erection enhancers and what's great about it is it doesn't have the side-effects. In the same way that it is beneficial for men it also has shown promise in women. The same sedative effects to the nervous system seems to be what allows the women to have a more relaxed body which is the reason that researchers have found as the stimulants to increase desire in women.
Menstrual Cycles and Avena Sativa
Menstruation disorders are most common in a woman's teenage years. It causes a lot of anxiety not only to the people suffering it because it also affects the family. Some factors that come into play are physical and psychological and in order to have a better understanding of how Avena Sativa can help let’s try to understand a regular menstrual cycle just in the general sense. Commonly a menstrual cycle happens during 21 to 35 days with about 3 to 10 days of bleeding and blood loss, this excessive blood loss during those days is what creates a lot of problems for a female’s well being. Studies have shown a distinct link between these disorders and a deficiency in magnesium in the body. This is where Avena Sativa come into play with its ability to influence the nervous system and regulate blood flow it can have positive effects both psychologically and physically. Furthermore, it also is magnesium rich which can aid in the relief of some symptoms, if not most of it, of menstrual disorders.
Holy Basil Extract
November 28, 2008 10:04 AM
It has been proposed that holy basil extract can help you cope with stress, and an investigation into the active components of the plant does indicate that there could be a scientific basis behind this use of it. This is in line with most traditional Ayurvedic medicines, whose benefits have been supported by modern scientific evidence.
Holy basil, otherwise known as Tulsi or Tulasi in Sanskrit and Hindi, is correctly Ocimum tenuiflorum, an aromatic member of the Lamiaceae family just as the more common form of basil is (Ocimum basilicum). Holy basil is cultivated for several reasons, the major ones being for its essential oils, for culinary use, religious use and for its medicinal properties. It is grown right across South Asia. Thai holy basil is used in Thai cookery while other forms play an important role within some of the traditions of Hinduism and is found profusively around Hindu temples.
Holy basil extract has been used for thousands of years for its healing and medicinal properties, and is mentioned in the ancient Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita. It is written that it is used to balance a number of bodily processes and believed to be involved in promoting longevity. It is considered to be able to allow the body to adapt to stress and is also used to treat a large number of different medical conditions, from headaches to malaria and heart disease.
Most modern medical studies, however, have been carried out on animals rather than human subjects, so definitive evidence is lacking, and while there is evidence that tulsi extract might be an effective antioxidant and help in the control of blood sugar, there is also compelling evidence that it might be able to counteract the effects of stress. First, let's have a look at the active ingredients of holy basil extract, and how they fit in with the beneficial medical properties claimed.
One of the more important components of tulsi is eugenol, or 1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene. Eugenol is a phenylpropanoid, also found in clove oil, and is a COX-2 inhibitor that is used in medicine as a local anesthetic. Two others are the triterpenes oleanolic and ursolic acids, which possess anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. The pentacyclic ursolic acid can inhibit the development of various forms of cancers through the inhibition of the STAT3 pathway that is responsible for several types of human cancer that have poor prognosis.
Also present in holy basil extract is the polyphenol Rosmarinic acid which is a powerful antioxidant that is also present in herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme. Rosmarinic acid will also contribute to the anti-inflammatory properties of holy basil, and many of the antibacterial properties it is said to possess could be due to carvacrol, a terpene that damages bacterial cell membranes and inhibits the growth of a number of bacterial strains.
Another component of Tulsi is the sesquiterpene B-caryophyllene, also contained in clove oil, and also possessing anti-inflammatory properties in mice. It is unknown whether or not these properties are transferred to humans, but the evidence of the use of the plant is that they are. Beta-caryophyllene is an FDA approved food additive, and as such, a dietary cannabinoid. Apegenin, also present in tulsi, is a flavanoid and another strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
With all of these ingredients that have proven health benefits, it is little wonder that holy basil is claimed to have the health benefits that it has. But what about its effects on blood sugar that it is said to control? It's probably not a coincidence that many other herbs that contain eugenol, such as cloves, are also claimed to have the same moderating effect on blood sugar levels. Not only that, but since diabetes is an inflammatory condition, it is not surprising that holy basil extract, that is rich in ant-inflammatories, should possess this property.
The main theory is that many of the components of holy basil can help support the beta cell function of the pancreas, and so enhance the secretion of insulin. In one of the few controlled human tests, a group of 40 people with Type 2 diabetes stopped taking their normal medication seven days before the test. They were then given holy basil leaves for an initial period of 5 days. Half were then given 2.5g powder holy basil leaf and the other half a placebo for 4 weeks. The two groups then switched over for 4 weeks - the first being on the placebo, and the second taking the holy basil.
With the first group, the average fasting glucose level dropped by 25.9%, from 234.5 mg/dl to 99.7. After switching to the placebo for 4 weeks it increased to 115.6 mg/dl (15.9% increase). The fasting blood glucose of the second group dropped from an average of 132.4 to 123.2 (6.9%), and then when on the holy basil leaf, dropped further to 97.2 mg/dl (21.1%).
This demonstrates clearly that holy basil leaf reduces blood sugar significantly faster than fasting, and so is beneficial to Type 2 diabetics. Perhaps more such studies should be carried out to confirm these important results, which appear to conform to the theory that the components of the plant should have this type of effect on blood sugar levels.
How about stress? Tulsi is said to particularly useful to people suffering from stress. The human stress response is an inflammatory cascade in which the immune system reacts by attempting to repair the stressed areas. If this response gets out of hand the stress can be exacerbated, and it is important that the stress response is carried put at an appropriate level.
A COX-2 modulator can prevent the inflammatory cascade by inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme that causes it. Since eugenol is a COX-2 inhibitor, it can help to keep the body healthy and prevent the stress reaction. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of many of the components of holy basil extract can help to prevent the body being stressed by antioxidants and by today's environmental pollution and it also possesses antiviral and antibacterial properties to help reduce illness.
It is also an adaptogen, which enhances your natural response to emotional stress and helps your body functional normally when stressed. Studies have indicated that holy basil extracts can reduce the levels of corticosterone, a hormone responsible for stress, and improve your mood and mental clarity. Longer term effects can include memory improvement and a reduction in the risk of age-related mental conditions.
The active factors involved in the reduction of mental stress, and an increase in mental clarity, are the essential oils that tulsi contains, and their chemical components: particularly eugenol and caryophyllene. Studies have shown these to elevate the spirit and the mood, while the terpene acids, such as ursolic acid and oleanolic acid, can help to improve your body's response to stress.
There are very few doubts of the effect of holy basil extract (or tulsi extract and leaf) in improving mood, mental clarity and reducing the effects of stress, or of its other extensive beneficial medical effects. More studies might be needed to prove them to the medical community, but even now people suffering from diabetes mellitus are benefiting from its moderating effect on blood sugar levels, and once again the application of Ayurvedic medicine is being proved as effective in the modern era as it was in the ancient world.
Pine Bark Extract 150mg - 95% Procyanidolic Value
December 18, 2007 04:49 PM
New Source Naturals Pine Bark Extract
150 mg Extract Standardized to 95% Procyanidolic Value
UPC: 021078020820 SN2082
Pine bark is a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen blood vessels and boost overall health and wellness in individuals taking the supplement. We as individuals age by oxidation and destruction of cells in the body. Slow the aging process with antioxidants daily and look younger longer.
I recommend a good herbal tea loaded with antioxidants such as yerbamate royal by wisdom of the ancients in conjunction with a pine bark extract like this new Source Naturals supplement.
Acai - Super Antioxidant from Brazil
July 27, 2007 02:33 PM
Super Antioxidant from
• Powerful concentration of natural antioxidants that benefit every cell of the body
• Natural, effective free radical scavengers
• Rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins
• As seen on national media
Acaí is a palm from the Amazonian rainforest. It has small, purple fruits that have been used by Brazilian natives for food and health for hundreds of years. The active constituents in Acaí are polyphenols and anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown these compounds to be powerful antioxidants, benefiting the entire body by protecting the cells from free radicals.
2 capsules contain:
Vitamin C (naturally occurring) 8 mg
Acaí Fruit Extract (4:1) 1 g
Suggested Use: 2 capsules daily.
Buy Acai at Vitanet
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Heart Health - Heart-Healthy Herbs & Tonics
June 30, 2005 09:39 AM
Heart Health By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt Heart attacks and other circulatory problems head the list of modern day health threats. Care of the heart includes proper diet, exercise and effective handling of stress. An ideal way to provide nourishing support to the heart and related organs is through the use of herbs. Herbs have been used throughout history as part of a heart-healthy program. (Note that the well-known prescription heart medication, digitalis, was originally extracted from the herb Foxglove.) They provide a wide range of medicinal benefits not only for the heart, but for heart-supportive organs and related body systems as well. Herbs help the heart in several ways. Some are “tonics” for the heart and cardiovascular system. Others specifically aid with circulation. In addition, many herbs contain relaxing properties, which help decrease the negative effects of stress. As we frequently see in the herbal kingdom, there is often an overlap of therapeutic benefits between herbs, ultimately benefiting the user! Furthermore, combining herbs can have a more powerful or synergistic effect – meaning that the blend of two or more herbs is even more beneficial than the actions of any single herb!
A tonic herb is one that aids the body in a non-specific, balancing fashion, usually over a long period of time. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers tonics to be the most important class of herbal remedies, often called "superior" medicine.
First and foremost of the heart tonics is the European herb, Hawthorn, traditionally used in England to decorate the maypole. Hawthorn has a normalizing effect upon the heart, improving cellular metabolism while strengthening the heart's contractions, thereby improving the rate of blood flow throughout the body. It also helps maintain the integrity of the venal and arterial walls, as well as exhibiting anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Hawthorn is without a doubt the best long term heart tonic, useful for a variety of imbalances and for maintaining overall cardio-vascular health. An ideal formula for Hawthorn is Nature’s Answer®’s Hawthorne Berry, Leaf and Flower liquid herbal extract supplement (alcohol- free, organic alcohol).
Other herbs offering tonic actions to the heart include Astragalus and Dong Quai, especially when used together. Well-known as an immune tonic, Astragalus has been used traditionally to support the heart, and is considered one of the "superior" Chinese herbs. Its properties help lower blood pressure while increasing endurance. Astragalus’s ability to stimulate the body’s circulation is further enhanced when combined with Dong Quai, an herb traditionally used as a “blood builder”. Nature’s Answer® offers both herbs in alcohol-free and organic alcohol liquid herbal extract forms.
Any discussion of support for the heart would be inadequate without mentioning the essential and nourishing benefits of bio-flavonoids. Bio-flavonoids have the specific ability to regulate the permeability of capillaries and increase the strength of capillary walls. They are powerful anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers. Nature’s Answer® offers an outstanding bio-flavonoid formula -- Bio-Flavonoids & Rose Hip (organic alcohol), a truly tangy and delicious liquid supplement.
Other Heart-Healthy Herbs
Cayenne (a hot red pepper), has a long history of use to support the heart in many cultures. Best known as a potent circulatory stimulant (making it very useful for cold hands and feet), cayenne strengthens the heart, arteries and capillaries. This herb is added to many formulas to act as a "carrier" herb, which helps deliver active constituents to the body. Nature’s Answer®’s Cayenne liquid herbal extract formula (organic alcohol) is a powerful supplement for Cayenne support. Another overlooked herb for the heart is Cactus Grandiflorus found in Nature’s Answer®’s Cactus Grandiflorus liquid herbal extract supplement (organic alcohol); (new name: Night Blooming Cactus Formula). This herb, also called Cereus Grandiflorus, is a cactus flower extract that is useful to strengthen a weak heart and regulate irregular heartbeats.
Ginkgo Biloba, an herb well-recognized for its support of brain functions, has applications in maintaining the cardio-vascular system. It acts as both an anti-oxidant and circulatory stimulant. Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation, especially to the small venules and arterioles, including those which nourish the heart directly. An exceptional supplement featuring Ginkgo Biloba would be Nature’s Answer®’s Ginkgo Leaf liquid herbal extract formula (alcohol-free, organic alcohol).
Ideal Stress Reducers
Linden or lime blossom, another herbal remedy from Europe, provides nutritional support for the cardio-vascular system with a relaxing action on the arteries of the heart. Linden is useful with muscular tension and tension headaches as well. This makes it an excellent herb for heart difficulties relating to stress or anxiety, such as hypertension. You can find this herb in Nature’s Answer®’s Linden Flower liquid herbal extract (organic alcohol). Motherwort, as found in Nature’s Answer®’s Motherwort liquid formulation (organic alcohol), is yet another herb that has a long history of use for the heart. As a relaxing nervine, it may be particularly helpful in situations where anxiety or tension may affect the pulse.
As stated earlier, herbs used in combination can have a more synergistic, or powerful effect than when used alone. Nature’s Answer® offers an array of outstanding combination formulas for heart support. One such product is called Hawthorne CT (alcohol-free; new name: CardioNutriv™), a unique liquid herbal extract featuring Hawthorn, Linden and Cayenne herbs. TenseEase™(alcohol-free) is a second formula that blends Hawthorn and Linden with other stress relieving herbs.
As you see, liquid herbal extracts can be wonderful natural adjuncts to your program of sensible eating and exercise. Nature provides many useful herbs to support, nourish and protect the heart, heart-supportive organs and related body systems. Ultimately, remember to smile, relax and breathe deeply -- it'll do you and your heart a world of good!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide
June 11, 2005 03:54 PM
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, June 18, 2004
If you're hooked on exercise you're probably just as hooked on using top-notch equipment when you work out. Those who are serious about staying in shape buy the best running shoes, carefully pick out the best bikes and tread on durable treadmills. But do you pay just as much attention to your nutrition?
Scientists who have studied exercise have found that what you eat before, during and after workouts is crucial to maintaining your health, getting into shape and staying fit. To achieve your best athletic performance without getting injured or sick depends on optimum nutrition. When you carefully plan what to feed your exercised body, it rewards you by feeling and looking better.
Short 'n Sweet
If you thought long exercise sessions were the only ways to get decent exercise benefits, take notice: small doses of exercise during the week can go a long way. " The important thing, apparently, is just do it," says Howard D. Sesso, ScD, author of an American Heart Association study on exercise and heart disease. In his study, exercisers demonstrated that several short sessions of exercise were as good for the body as a single long session (Circ 8/00; 102:975-80). " Short sessions lasting 15 minutes long appear to be helpful,"Dr. Sesso explains. Even walking about three miles per week, which is a moderate level of exercise, lowers your risk of heart disease by 10%.
Some people glorify in working up a sweat; others curse the dampness. But putting in extra effort in even short bursts of activity pays off: experts have found that intense exercise burns more calories than more relaxed sessions, more effectively reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates production of human growth hormone, which offsets some of the effects of aging (Exp Biol Med 2004 Mar; 229(3):240-6).
But don't go crazy if you haven't worked out in a long time. The intensity of the workout should match your physical fitness. According to the American Heart Association, when people exercise at a comfortable pace, their heart rate and level of exertion stay within a safe range, but still high enough to benefit their health. Strenuous activities, for those who can handle them, produce the most physiological bang for the jog. But brisk walking within your own level of fitness still offers significant benefits.
Feeding Your Muscles
When you exercise, you work and develop your muscles, which are made primarily out of protein. Despite this fact, many exercise experts have advocated high-carb diets for athletes. But, as John Ivy, PhD, and Robert Portman, PhD, point out in their book The Performance Zone (Basic Health), "[While] there is no doubt that aerobic athletes require more carbohydrate than strength athletes...we are now discovering that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement offers significant benefits to aerobic athletes."
That is why researchers believe that consuming plenty of protein along with carbohydrates offers the best fitness benefits. Protein helps fuel activity more efficiently and aids in recovery after a session at the gym, allowing your body to repair muscle damage and build up muscle fibers.
During exercise, you break down muscle tissue. It is during recovery, after your exercise session ends, that muscles are rebuilt. At the same time, other cellular processes take place that adapt the body to working out.
According to Ivy and Portman, timing your intake of nutrients after exercise is crucial: "The ability of the muscle machinery to regenerate itself decreases very rapidly after a workout, so that the nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise will have far less impact in helping the muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier."
Stresses and Tears
Engaging in athletics can cause microscopic muscle tears. These tears can cause a range of problems that, when you exercise excessively, can cause pain and injury.
Inflammation is the body's response to cellular damage. The damaged area can swell as the body sends white blood cells and other cells to repair the injured area. Unfortunately, the swelling can further damage the muscle cells.
Since inflammation can take 24 hours or more to cause the collection of cells in the injured area, it can be a day or two before the resulting muscle soreness reaches its peak painfulness and then starts to subside.
Cortisol, a hormone produced when you exercise strenuously, which can result in muscle fiber damage. Cortisol boosts protein breakdown, so it can be used to fuel muscle movement. But the more protein breaks down, the more potential exists for muscle fiber injury. Free radicals are caustic molecules that are created when the mitochondria (small structures in cells) create energy; these marauders can also cause microscopic shredding of muscle strands. As you increase your use of energy during exercise, you simultaneously increase the production of free radicals. This collection of free radicals can outstrip the body's antioxidant defenses, leading to extensive muscle damage and dampening of the immune system.
All of these cellular events can make you sore. They are also the reasons that athletes who overdo it day after day are liable to come down with nagging colds and a variety of infections.
Your muscles use different substances for fuel depending on what you ask them to do. Lift a heavy weight and muscles recruit two processes called the creatine phosphate system and glycolysis to generate a large amount of quick energy. These are known as anaerobic types of energy production.
But if you jog, swim, bike or perform any other aerobic activity, the cells use oxygen in what is called cellular respiration to supply energy to working muscles.
When you exercise aerobically for extended periods of time, the energy available is generally limited by how much oxygen your body is capable of taking in and supplying to the muscles, where it takes part in energy production. In athletic circles, this upper limit is known as your VO2max.
The carbohydrates your body burns for energy during aerobic activity are taken from blood sugar and carbohydrate reserves called glycogen. (The muscles store glycogen, as does the liver.) During a workout session, your glycogen supply is limited to what is stored with your muscles. But blood glucose can be boosted by carbohydrate drinks, energy gels or bars.
Most people who work out have enough glycogen and blood sugar to fuel moderate aerobic activity for about two hours. After that, the body turns mostly to fat and protein stores to fuel exercise.
Fat Into the Fire
In contrast to the body's quickly diminishing supply of glycogen and blood sugar, fat can last for hours and hours of exercise. According to Portman and Ivy, a 200-pound man with 15% body fat has, theoretically, enough fat energy to run from Washington DC down to Miami Beach-and still has enough energy left over to jump into the ocean.
But using fat for energy is complicated; fat is stored in fat tissue and not readily available to working muscles. Plus, to burn fat for energy, the body needs carbohydrate-it cannot burn fat all by itself. What's more, the conversion of fat into energy doesn't go as quickly as carb conversion.
Protein is also used for energy when carbs run low. But the more you use protein for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down.
Prepare to Energize
To maximize your energy during exercise and minimize soreness, Portman and Ivy recommend some simple nutritional steps:
Taking protein and carbs while working out can limit muscle damage and curtail soreness. Carbs apparently drop your cortisol levels, and thereby limit muscle injuries linked to this hormone. While the mechanism that helps protein limit muscle soreness is not completely understood, it is possible that taking in protein while working out keeps the body from shredding muscle tissue in search of fuel.
Supplements that contain antioxidants such as natural vitamin E and vitamin C (Portman and Ivy think you should take these during exercise) may limit free radical damage to muscle fibers.
Muscle Reconstruction Plan
If you want to help your exercise plan make you stronger, you should focus your after-exercise sports nutrition plan on these steps:
The protein part of the equation is vital: don't merely indulge in only carbs after exercising. A recent study found that while carbs could help muscles rebuild, adding protein can make a big difference in improving your fitness (J App Phys 2/04).
This combination of nutrients stimulates the pancreas so that it releases insulin. The release of insulin is the key, initial step that sets off a cascade of physiological events that speeds muscle recovery. Although many people think of insulin as an undesirable hormone-if you never exercise, too much insulin may help drive your blood sugar down and cause other problems-for exercisers, this hormone plays a crucial function in benefiting from exercise.
By eating carbohydrate and protein soon after working out and stimulating insulin, according to Ivy and Portman, you help your body boost its synthesis of protein by:
Drinking for Exercise The most obvious nutrient you lose during intensive exercise is water in your perspiration. However, that perspiration also contains an array of minerals known as electrolytes. So, for optimal performance and health, experts recommend you replace both the water and its minerals.
Merely drinking water-instead of electrolyte-filled sports drinks-during prolonged aerobic activity can be dangerous. It leaves you vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, which can occur when your blood levels of sodium and other electrolytes drop, but your blood volume stays steady or increases because you drink lots of water.
According to Edmund Burke, PhD, in his book Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery (Avery), one out of four athletes who seek medical attention after a long race are suffering hyponatremia.
" Typically," he says, "conscientious athletes get in trouble because they adhere too diligently to one recommendation: the need to drink lots of fluids. They tend to ignore another recommendation: The need to keep electrolytes up...for most endurance athletes the real problem is drinking too much water." Dr. Burke warns that you can possibly suffer hyponatremia even if you don't drink a lot of water.
Signs of hyponatremia can be similar to those of heat exhaustion. But, while resting and cooling down can help alleviate heat exhaustion, that doesn't help hyponatremia. " To protect yourself against hyponatremia, start by paying attention to how much you sweat," Dr. Burke says. If your sweat seems very salty, burns your eyes or leaves an evident, white residue on your skin, you may be losing a great deal of sodium and should be diligent about eating salty foods. " You can also make sure you're getting enough sodium by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water during long (exercise) events," Dr. Burke notes.
Of course, no matter what you decide to eat or drink while exercising, the most important factor for your well-being is to get out to the gym, onto the track, or just on to the sidewalk, and do something, even if you only want to go out for a walk. No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you're in, you'll benefit from exercise.
" It's solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising," says Charles Emery, PhD, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Health Psychology 3/04).
Don't decline or remain supine. Let your fitness climb.