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4 reasons you should eat more mushrooms
May 09, 2019 04:52 PM
Mushrooms are a nutritious food with many health benefits. Mushrooms can provide one of the few completely vegan foods with lots of vitamin D, although that is only if they’re exposed to sunlight and not grown in the dark. They’ve got tons of fiber, and are also full of niacin, phosphorus and other minerals. Evidence to support claims that mushrooms help prevent specific diseases is weak, but what is definitely clear is that sautéed mushrooms are delicious, and there’s no reason not to eat them.
"You only need 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week to get your necessary dose of vitamin D, but if you’re still running low you can supplement with food sources."
Read more: https://www.popsci.com/mushrooms-health-benefits
4 magical herbs that can help you lose weight faster
April 26, 2019 01:34 PM
We're constantly met with over-the-counter supplements loaded with chemicals and preservatives that promote claims of being able to shrink your waistline, but what if there were more natural options? Consuming ginseng helps regulate your blood sugar levels, as well as boost your metabolism. Garlic is almost a magical herb in how it is able to help you fight off cravings due to your body being able to sustain levels of fullness for longer periods of time.
"Those 7 days or 1-month weight loss challenges cannot give you a long-term result."
Read more: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/heres-4-magical-herbs-that-can-help-you-lose-weight-faster/articleshow/68283825.cms
Why Fibre: The One Effective Macronutrient For Constipation AndWeight Loss
April 25, 2019 04:31 PM
Fiber is a critical macronutrient that can help to alleviate constipation by increasing the size and weight of the stool. However, consuming too much fiber can cause discomfort, gas and bloating. The recommended daily intake of fiber for adults is 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men. Unfortunately, most people take in only about 15 grams of fiber per day. It's important to drink plenty of water so that the body can absorb fiber properly without any negative effects. While fiber is not a magic pill, it can aid in weight loss by eliminating toxins, boosting gut health, and balancing blood sugar.
"This means that a lack of fibre can invite a host of health problems ranging from plummeting sugar and lipid profiles, overeating which can in turn lead to obesity, constipation and gut dysbiosis which can pave way for even more serious illnesses."
Read more: https://www.ndtv.com/health/why-fibre-the-one-effective-macronutrient-for-constipation-and-weight-loss-2003400
Why prebiotics are absolutely essential to gut health
January 03, 2019 08:50 AM
We are always told about how important probiotics are for our gastrointestinal health, but what about prebiotics? Prebiotics are shown to improve digestion because they can naturally restore the presence of probiotics that fight off any harmful bacteria. Harmful gut bacteria can lead to issues such as bloating, gas, and acid reflux. It can also lead to issues such as brain fog and having poor levels of vitamins in your system that lead to related deficiencies.
"People also have to complement their diet with foods containing the lesser known prebiotics for probiotics to work their magic."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-14-why-prebiotics-are-absolutely-essential-to-gut-health.html
From Tradition to Science: Herbs and Your Immune System
September 21, 2017 12:14 PM
Using herbs to keep yourself healthy is traditional. It has been done for millennia. It also works on scientific levels if you do it right. Herbs can be very healthy and can give your immune system a much needed boost so your body can fight off bad bacteria. You can take herbal supplements or can just eat the herbs. There are also teas you can make from herbs. These are often delicious and are a good way to get the herbs in.
"Your immune system isn’t a magic switch you can simply flip on with the right supplement says Reisman. Your body has a very symbiotic relationship with the pathogens that challenge your immunity."
Read more: http://wholefoodsmagazine.com/supplements/features-supplements/from-tradition-to-science-herbs-and-your-immune-system/
A Magic Trick With Tea Bags For Your Teeth That Your Dentist Does Not Want You To Know!!
August 24, 2017 12:14 PM
There is a magic trick with tea bags for your teeth that your dentist might not want you to learn about. Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Each kind of tea offers a unique set of benefits for people. There are many hidden benefits that tea bags offer. They are very good for your gums and they can also treat your sunburn. Tea bags help you get rid of itchy and irritated skin caused by the burn.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MqB9FhWJdY&rel=0
"Helps to clean dishes: A plate full of grease ends with the patience of anyone."
Drinking green tea could boost your weight loss and brain function in just 4 months, study claims
August 03, 2017 09:14 AM
Drinking green tea can help boost your weight loss and brain function in only 4 months. This is the claim of a new study that has recently come out. There was a compound found in green tea, that helped get rid of fat in mice. Many tea brands boast about green tea and its benefits. The beverage has lonmg been a favorite of many different dieters. EGCG is the compound that works the magic on people.
"Results reveal that the mice fed just a high fructose diet had significantly higher body fat than those who were also given EGCG or a standard diet."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4746508/Green-tea-help-weight-loss-brain-function.html
From golden lattes to wonder drug – is turmeric really such a super spice?
June 05, 2017 12:14 PM
People attribute all kinds of health benefits to turmeric. It is becoming popular because of these. Everyone wants a natural remedy. It is better than taking drugs which often have unpleasant side effects. This gives the scoop on whether or not turmeric is all it's cracked up to be. It's good info because some of these remedies aren't but some really do help a lot. It also helps that turmeric has a great flavor and many enjoy it just for that.
"Is turmeric the magic bullet it’s been claimed to be? Of course not. Might it be beneficial in some way to our health? Very probably"
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/31/golden-latte-turmeric-culinary-trends-ingredients-golden-spice
The Eat Whatever You Want Diet
April 12, 2017 06:44 PM
People are always looking for the magic element that can make you lose weight quickly. It is easy to feel depressed when the latest magic pill doesn't work. Just remember, this isn't a failure on your part. There are no magic potions, diets or pills that can make you lose weight quickly and with little effort. This article touts a different way to lose weight. It's not a magic cure and it requires a different way of looking at dieting. It's called the Eat Whatever the Fork you Want Diet. Read on for more details.
Read more: The Eat Whatever You Want Diet
In praise of turmeric, the magic yellow spice.
March 23, 2017 02:44 PM
For those who pursue optimum health, Turmeric is a spice that should not be overlooked. Turmeric boasts a myriad of wonderful health benefits including it's anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Turmeric can be added to a great many meals and can also easily be added to smoothies if you want to find ways to incorporate it into your diet. Read on to find out more creative uses of turmeric, and how to make it more easily absorbed in the body.
"The magic is in the Curcumin which is the potent compound within turmeric."
Read more: https://www.lorrainepascale.com/in-praise-of-turmeric-the-magic-yellow-spice/
Ways to Decrease the Risk of Heart Attack
February 20, 2017 12:59 PM
There are ways to decrease the risk of having a heart attack. A heart attack is a life changing event that hurts a lot of people and getting rid of the risks is one important way to avoid having this terrible thing happen. Eating right and exercise are two really important things. Replace burger with something like fish and eat more fruits and veggies.
"New evidence shows that an enteric-coated 81 milligram Aspirin daily decreases the risk of a second coronary attack."
Could magical mushrooms contain the cure for depression?
February 08, 2017 02:59 PM
More Americans over aged twelve have been diagnosed with depression, a condition that can lead to high risk behaviors and even death from suicide. A medical journal from China recently published the benefits of the hen of the woods mushroom in treating depression. Early studies on mice have shown that it is a safe and effective treatment and has less side effects than chemically formulated medications to treat depression.
"Mental health issues, and depression in particular, have risen to alarming proportions in recent years. The CDC reports that at any given time, 7.6 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 are afflicted with this condition."
12 Amazing Cucumber Juice Benefits for Your Skin, Hair and Overall Health
January 20, 2017 02:59 PM
Looking for the ultimate natural remedy? No need to bother with different herbs, fruits, and veggies this remedy contains only one ingredient: Cucumber! With amazing benefits such as weight maintaining, Rehydrating, and Purifying these twelve different ways to use a cucumber will revolutionize your daily routine and dietary habits, all while helping you be a better you.
"Ever wanted to find a magical elixir that can improve your overall health and give you that glow you’ve always wanted? Presenting: Cucumber juice."
4 foods that can help you to improve your arthritis symptoms
January 04, 2017 12:59 PM
Arthritis symptoms can be improved by consuming more Omega-3, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Omega-3 can be found in foods such as salmon and flaxseed. Vitamin C can be found in food such as strawberries and bell peppers. Vitamin D can be found in foods such as fortified dairy products and eggs.
"Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effect and it can help you to reduce inflammation which will in turn reduce arthritis flareups."
Not enough vitamin C to quell insulin resistance in kids
December 31, 2016 02:59 PM
Most people know vitamin C is healthy. Growing up everyone was told to get enough of this magical vitamin to keep the immune system healthy. New research is coming out to show that it may be even more important. Vitamin C can help kids battle insulin resistance, a major problem. Read on for more.
"Researchers concluded that maintenance of higher vitamin C blood levels, 30 micromole/Liter (µM) above the mean of about 90 µM was associated with "appreciably lower insulin resistance."
Master mineral: Why you need the magic of magnesium
December 12, 2016 12:59 PM
There are many essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep it working properly. Magnesium is one of those nutrients, but it is also one that many people become deficient in easily. In addition to helping with nerve, muscle, and immune function, it also promotes normal blood pressure, metabolism, and protein synthesis. Through these processes, magnesium is helpful in promoting good sleep and decreasing anxiety. Not getting enough of this mineral can put us in a bad mood and make it hard for us to sleep and relax.
"Magnesium also helps promote deep, quality sleep by calming your nervous system and activating the GABA receptors in your brain."
Is your relationship with food on the rocks?
November 24, 2016 04:59 PM
Not everyone can manage to have a healthy relationship with food -- or, at least, that's the way it seems. Others seem like they're able to just eat whatever they want and stay alright, while others feel like they're addicted. Still, others bounce from diet to diet. Which are you? "Is your relationship with food on the rocks?" helps determine if your relationship with food is healthy, and what you can do about it if it's not.
"Eat healthy, but treat yourself. What, when and why we eat is so wrapped up in social and emotional factors that it goes way beyond simply fueling the body."
The fantastic pumpkin seed
November 02, 2016 10:49 AM
Mention pumpkin and you think Halloween jack o’lanterns. Come Thanksgiving or Christmas, it’s pumpkin pie. Or maybe pumpkin soup. Yet nobody talks of the two powerhouse nutritional part of the pumpkin – pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. From improving bladder function, easing arthritis to thwarting heart disease and providing anxiety relief, it’s the seeds where the magic of the pumpkin is.
"a condition characterized by a sudden urge to urinate that may lead to an involuntary loss of urine Researchers estimate that 16 percent of men and women suffer from overactive bladder symptoms such as urination urgency as well as frequent daytime and night urination."
Curcumin Helps Alleviate Depression
Curcumin is a phenolic acid that can be sourced from the cooking spice turmeric. It acts as a powerful antioxidant in humans and protects the body's cells from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products that are released into the cells during oxygen related reactions). Provisional studies suggest that it may also have many more health benefits. There is also some evidence that curcumin or turmeric may help alleviate the symptoms of certain skin diseases, viral infections, diabetes, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Once again, the ancient herbal remedy is being celebrated as a modern wonder drug. But perhaps the most promising results have been seen in the use of curcumin to treat depression.
Curcumin vs. Prozac
If there's one thing Big Pharma fears more than anything else it's competition from the outside. Because herbal medicines have far fewer and less serious side effects than prescription pills, they would be the logical choice - if only they worked as well. Well, there is now irrefutable, ironclad scientific evidence that an herbal remedy is every bit as effective at treating depression as one of the most popular prescription antidepressants.
When researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India conducted a controlled clinical study comparing the effects of curcumin and Prozac, they didn't expect to make national, even global news. Although the popular herbal remedy is widely used in India, curcumin had never been subjected to rigorous scientific testing for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The most serious and chronic form of the disease, major or clinical depression affects about 3 percent of population at any given time. The idea that a chemical compound from a popular native spice could compete with Prozac seemed far- fetched to those conducting the study. But after 60 patients diagnosed with MDD were randomly administered curcumin, fluoxetine (Prozac), and a combination of the two, the results spoke for themselves.
With the help of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17), researchers determined that curcumin was just as effective as Prozac at treating serious depression. Because the study utilized the latest research tools and followed strict testing guidelines, it became the first published report that indicated the efficacy of turmeric or curcumin in the treatment of depression. What the report did not take into account, however, were the serious side effects those who take Prozac endure; the most serious of which include anxiety, seizures, racing heartbeat, trouble sleeping, and suicidal ideation.
How Curcumin Treats Depression
Shortly after the results of the aforementioned study made news, researchers started looking for answers. It was not enough for Western scientists to know that curcumin is effective in the treatment depression, they also had to know how. As you might imagine, the how has proved more challenging than the if. This is not at all surprising, since curcumin has diverse biological properties that are difficult to study separately. So, while the mechanism of action is poorly understood, the effects of curcumin intake are well documented, particularly with regard to neurotransmitters.
As their name implies, neurotransmitters send messages to the billions of neurons in the human brain. Some of these neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating brain functions such as mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. Known as "feel-good" neurotransmitters because they help maintain mood balance, dopamine and serotonin play a role in depression. How do we know? For starters, studies have confirmed that people who suffer from clinical depression have consistently low levels of both neurotransmitters.
Once again, we aren't sure how curcumin extract works its magic, but testing has shown that those who take it have higher serotonin and dopamine levels. That fact alone might account for the improved mood those that take the dietary supplement have consistently reported. Although researchers will undoubtedly get to the bottom of this ancient mystery, it enough for most patients to know that curcumin is a safe and effective treatment option.
Eating Healthy and Gluten-Free
Eating healthy is something that really everyone should aspire to, but it's especially important for people with Celiac disease. Especially if you've just started making the transition to eating gluten free, you'll want to be sure that your new diet is made up of foods that will get you the nutrition you need. Fortunately, the easiest way to eat gluten free is also generally the healthiest. However, it's never a bad idea to supplement your diet with some gluten free multivitamins as well (yup, they can have gluten in them too).
Whether you can eat gluten or not, you're always going to be better off with fresh foods as the foundation of your diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally celiac friendly and are full of the nutrients your body is craving. While canned vegetables might be more convenient from time to time, buying this product just leads to a great label reading endeavor so that you can make sure there are no gluten-containing additives in the can.
Fresh fish is also a great source of nutrition and it is naturally gluten free. If you're used to those breaded salmon burgers, of course, you're going to have to make an adjustment. But cutting out breaded foods is much healthier for you anyway. If you're really craving it, though, you can make your own breading with gluten free flours.
Avoid Extra Processing
Essentially, just like anyone else trying to make healthy eating choices in today's world, you're going to want to steer clear of processed foods when you're putting together your gluten free diet. This is most significantly because processed foods are very likely to contain gluten in some form. In fact, many things that you would never expect contain gluten as a filler, binder or preservative.
The most important thing to remember when you're trying to eat healthy, gluten free or not, is that there's no one magic food or food group. You can't consume as much as you want of your favorite food and nothing else and expect to be healthy. Also, just because a food is gluten free doesn't mean it's good for you.
Mother Nature’s Best Secret is Grape Seed Extract
December 25, 2014 08:08 PM
Benefits of Grape Seed
Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant, the benefits resemble a type of fountain of youth that invigorated individuals and improved cardiovascular health and improved weakened collagen levels. Research indicated that individuals who resided in France and consumed red wine enjoyed a longer lifespan due to consuming wine that possessed a high content of a type of flavonoid called proanthocyanidin.
High blood sugar damages the heart and hardens it resulting in heart attacks and heart disease. Researches uncovered a secret of grape seed extract; it activated a blocker at the gene level stopping the body from heart hardening. Turning on this element at the cellular level deep inside of the mitochondrial DNA of a human being has assisted diabetic cardiomyopathy. French grape seed extract has an amazing impact on the body with blood sugar levels.
Germ managing elements have been identified inside of grape seed extract; it is a powerful anti-candida, reducing harmful bacteria keeping it in a healthy balance. People that are overweight who take the extract find that they reduce their calorie intake naturally. Persons who suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, if they are given the extract improve and maintain a higher mental function. This extract is excellent for all parts of your body, boosting the immune function at all levels.
How Does Green Tea And African Mango Help With Weight Loss?
December 11, 2012 12:34 PM
There are numerous weight loss concepts and supplements available on the market today. But finding a weight loss supplement that's safe and effective is quite a tough task. You all know that no magic is going to happen within a night when it comes to weight loss. The fact is you have to reduce the amount of calories you intake for weight loss. Though the safest methods for losing weight is regular exercising and consuming proper diet, but often people get frustrated as these ways are very complex and long term process. Hence many people are switching towards natural weight loss supplements which are safe and you'll get the positive results in short span of time. Finding ways will speed up the process of burning excess fat and make it easier.
Green tea and African mango supplements
Green tea and African mango supplements are one such promising product which helps individuals to lose weight effectively. Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants especially polyphenols known as catechins. It is made up of un-fermented leaves. Apart from tea form, green tea supplements are found in the form of capsules, liquid extract and dried powder. Green tea/mango speeds up the metabolism and burns excess fat at a faster rate. They turn off the receptors that compel you to eat more.
Green tea has the ability to reduce excess water and fat from the body, increases its energy consumption and stimulate an effective metabolism. Consuming green tea liquid extract containing catechins in accord with regular exercising increases persons ability to lose excess abdominal fat and improved their triglyceride levels.
African mango is a rich source of fiber food. And all you know that a balanced and healthy is a high source of fiber. The mango supplements are available in the form of pills, tablets and powder. African mango is a great supplement that works for weight loss. It accelerates the metabolism of the body. When consumed mango extract it diminishes nutrient blocking toxins that allows the body to obtain the energy it requires to burn the excess fat. African mango contains vitamin B. The Vitamin B helps to speed up metabolism of other essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It has the power to suppress the appetite and makes your body sensitive to Leptin.
Leptin is a hormone that regulates you from overeating. African mango supplement also helps you to lose weight by slowing down the digestion process, you feel full stomach for a longer time being a high source of fibre. The fibre present in Mango helps suppress your appetite and flush out the toxins from your body. A recent study has been proven that Green tea/mango both emerged as great weight loss products, if consumed regularly and should be taken in proper dosages. One can get much faster results if these supplements are followed with routine exercises. Though consuming these dietary supplements are safe and have no side effects, but it is suggested to consult a doctor, prior to consumption a person having any medical history. The Green tea / mango supplements were proven to be the best weight loss aid , so choose the high quality products which provides quicker results.
Health Benefits Of Chamomile
December 03, 2012 07:56 AM
It is believed that ancient Egypt saw Chamomile as an effective cure for most illnesses. In the modern world too, this golden herb retains its healing properties and is used for treating many a disease and discomforts of the body. Most commonly, German chamomile blossoms are infused to prepare 'Chamomile tea' which is a fragrant concoction full of medicinal properties. The tea can be combined with honey to enhance the taste.
Health Benefits Of Chamomile Tea Chamomile tea, supposedly, helps to bring about restful sleep. It is thus of great value for people suffering from insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. Due to its soothing and relaxing effects, it is generally taken before a person goes to bed. Since time immemorial, Chamomile has been considered a remedy for stomach ailments. Known to soothe gastric and bowel related problems, the herb is a blessing for people with stomach aches.
All in all, Chamomile helps facilitate the complete digestion process by promoting bowel movement. For women facing menstrual cramps and nausea every month, Chamomile tea comes as a welcome relief. Research indicates that regular consumption of Chamomile tea increases the level of glycine in the body. Glycine is a compound that controls muscular spasms, thus it tends to calm menstrual cramps. A healthy cup of golden chamomile tea has also been found to combat the morning sickness of pregnancy. However nothing has been proven till now to this effect. Some studies suggest that this wonder herb accelerates the wound healing process too.
Many researchers are of the belief that age-old Egyptians and Greeks used Chamomile flowers on wounds to speed up their healing time. Though there is no established evidence as such regarding this subject, history stands witness to the magical healing properties of Chamomile in more ways than one. Diabetes patients are also in for some good news concerning Chamomile tea. Many ongoing studies and surveys conducted worldwide are hinting at Chamomile playing a role in diabetes management.
Consumed regularly in the form of tea, the herb may arrest complications arising out of diabetes and may also prevent hyperglycemia. What's more, the golden herbal tea prepared from chamomile is caffeine-free and will not be addictive in any way. However, it is always a good idea to take professional advice before going all-out for Chamomile. Some people may display allergic reactions to the herb and suffer side-effects.
Therefore, it is best to try the herb first in small amounts before one decides to include chamomile tea in the daily routine of life. Besides its therapeutic uses, chamomile is being increasingly used as an ingredient in cosmetic products and is being considered a good friend of the skin. Since Chamomile is known to be a stress-buster, a cup of chamomile tea after a hectic work day might just prove to be the right beverage to save the evening. With its sedative, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and benefits, Chamomile is sure to become more popular by the day. Used wisely, the golden herb is no less than gold itself.
Acidophilus: The magic substance
November 21, 2012 04:43 PM
Goat's milk can be considered as the king of lactic drinks. The acidophilus in goat's milk is a magic substance which has umpteen numbers of nutritional values. This naturally occurring probiotc is also available in capsule and powdered form. Acidophilic milk is basically a drinkable yogurt and is widely used a health supplement for various conditions. The health benefits of acidophilus ranges from digestive benefits to vaginal cleansing.
Health benefits of acidophilus: Acidophilus intake will help you in many ways.
The prominent health benefits are:
1) Digestive well being:
Our digestive tract is filled with both good and bad bacteria. Acidophilus intake will increase the count of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. It will also hinder the growth of antagonistic bacteria like E Coli and Staphylococcus which are the major culprits behind diarrhea and food poisoning.
2) Vaginal well being:
This is another health benefit you can attain by acidophilus intake. Acidophilus prevents the growth of antagonistic bacteria in the vagina and the cervix. This will prevent the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections. Acidophilus intake also cleanses the lining of vagina and cervix, and the walls will remain free from pathogenic germs.
3) Nutritional Value:
Milk products containing acidophilus gives you awesome nutritional benefits. Acidophilus is rich in Vitamin K and lactase, and it improves the overall immunity of your body. Regular acidophilus intake will prevent bacterial attacks and infections.
4) Respiratory benefits:
Some recent studies proved that acidophilus can act as an allergic buster. Regular intake of acidophilus reduces the risk of an asthma attack. Certain experts believes that acidophilus reduces the chance of an allergic trigger. Acidophilus is a magic substance which plays a vital role in your overall well being. You can obtain acidophilus from fermented milk products (goat's milk) and from other supplements. 'Take acidophilus regularly and lead a healthy life'.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Raw Honey?
May 03, 2012 11:23 AM
Raw Unrefined Honey
Raw honey does not only taste sweet but also has numerous health benefits. It is one of Mother Nature's best gift to us and has been used for its natural healing powers since ancient time. The goodness with it is that it has retained its natural properties, excellent flavor and health benefits.
Raw honey is much better than processed honey. Processed honey normally undergoes many heating processes that destroy the critical enzymes. It might appear clean and clear on the outside but it really has no much benefits as compared to the raw unrefined honey. The ultra filtration that processed honey goes through to make it look fine normally removes an important aspect of raw honey; pollen. With no further argument we can boldly complain that raw honey reigns supreme over processed ones. The following are some of the health benefits that can be harvested from consuming it.
It provides a natural healing solution for allergies.
You can eliminate all kinds of allergies by eating raw honey. Honey contains anti-inflamatory, anti-allergenicand expectorant elements which reinforce the immune system in the most effective manner ever known to man. That's part of the reason why it's recommendable to take honey with lemon and hot water when having a cold.
It is the healer of most skin problems.
Raw honey heals and mends skin affected by harmful chemicals. It is applied to rashes,acne and burns with would be regarded as a thin layer of baking soda to reduce the sticky effect. it is also used as a natural moisturizer or use it for treating their scalp with by mixing it with olive oil. It is also a perfect remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores. It aids in the digestive process.
Raw honey is a kind of inverted sugar that doesn't cause bacteria or ferment in the stomach. Hence it isn't absorbed easily. Its extremely good enzyme content helps in the digestive process. For many years raw honey has been used as a remedy for gall bladder disease,intestinal ulcers as well as a natural laxative.
It contains anti-cancer properties.
Studies done show that raw honey has both the capability as well as ability to prevent and inhibit cancerous diseases. It can also aid in the chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients.
As a sleep aid.
Raw honey is full of vitamins, minerals, calcium, zinc, manganese, potassium, chromium and selenium. All these minerals are needed in the sleep formation processes and to fight insomnia. If you are sleep-deprived, take two teaspoons right before bedtime and experience the magic of this wonderful product made by bees.
It is a natural energy booster.
The sugars found in raw honey are a perfect source of energy, revitalizing the body especially after a workout session.
Now that you know why raw honey is good for you, why not opt for it instead of the processed and refined ones? The next step to take is replacing it with sugar for your cup of coffee and baking needs. It is a natural sweetener that will not only sweeten your beverages and cakes, but also make you healthier.
Can L-Carnosine Be Used As An Anti-Aging Vitamins?
April 18, 2012 07:31 AM
Carnosine And Your Health
Carnosine has gained widespread popularity as an anti-aging compound despite some skeptical voices in the scientific community. Many studies lend credence to its value for treating the signs of aging and its antioxidant properties are well researched. Carnosine is also widely used as a supplement to prevent complications from diabetes such as nerve and kidney damage. This article will discuss the details of what it is, what it seems to do in the body and how it may be able to help people restore a more youthful state of health.
Discovered in Russia more than a century ago, Carnosine is an amino acid and is found primarily in muscle, skeletal and nervous tissue (including the brain). As such the primary dietary sources are animal products such as fish, poultry and red meat. It is common for vegetarians to become deficient in it, making them ideal users of carnosine supplements.
There is a gradual decline in carnosine levels as we age, which lends credence to the claims of its anti-aging properties. The most clearly established property of carnosine is its ability to act as an anti-glycation agent. Glycation is a process the body goes through to release energy from sugar but which ends up producing harmful substances. Carnosine can neutralize some of these already formed substances and also prevent the process from forming new ones. Some researchers believe glycation may be the key behind the benefits of caloric restriction, making carnosine the long awaited magic pill that can mimic its effect as a longevity treatment without the deprivation of restricting food intake.
In addition to carnosine's anti-glycation effect, it also has antioxidant properties. The oxidation process which the body goes through naturally produces the well known "free radicals" which slowly damage the cells and are thought to play an important role in the aging process. Carnosine can neutralize this protecting the cells. This also has a beneficial effect at keeping the telomeres from shortening, which is thought to be the main cause of the aging process. Telomeres are the buffers at the ends of DNA code that protect the code from being corrupted, so when the telomeres become shorter there is less protection and a greater chance of things going wrong. This makes carnosine's protective benefits of great importance in the fight against aging.
Carnosine Protects The Cells From Damage Like Radiation
Studies show that carnosine can protect the cells from radiation damage, which is particularly useful for cancer patients who have to undergo radiological treatment. It also promotes the healing of wounds and protects cell membranes. Some studies demonstrate that it can literaly repair old cells and make them younger. As it binds easily to toxic metals, turning them into powerful antioxidants, it is very effective at protecting the body from their harmful impact.
Some of the most promising uses of carnosine are for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer, the signs of aging in the skin, cataract, nerve and kidney damage and heart disease. The recommendation for use as a supplement is 500 miligrams, though the body can deal safely with much larger doses. Give Carnosine a try today and experience the difference yourself.
September 21, 2009 11:12 AM
Horehound has been around for thousands of years. The Romans used this herb in a combination as an antidote for poison. The horehound plant is a bushy plant that produces numerous annual branching stems. The plant is a foot or more in height and has whitish flowers. The leaves are much wrinkled, opposite, petiolate, and about an inch long. They are covered with white, felted hairs that give them a wooly appearance. The leaves have a strange, musky smell that can be diminished by drying the plant. Horehound is known to flower between June and September.
An ancient Greek physician by the name of Galen first recommended horehound for use in treating respiratory conditions. Early European physicians also used horehound to treat respiratory ailments. Early settlers in North America brought horehound with them to treat coughs, colds, and tuberculosis. The herb was also used to treat hepatitis, malaria, and intestinal worms. Horehound was also used to promote menstruation and sweating. Most commonly, the herb is used to treat colds and coughs, to soothe the throat and loosen mucus in the chest. Horehound is a well-known lung and throat remedy.
Warm infusions of horehound are able to relieve congestion and hyperemic conditions of the lungs. They do this by promoting an outward flow of blood. In large doses, horehound will work as a mild laxative. Applying the dried herb topically is a great way to treat herpes simplex, eruptions, eczema, and shingles.
The Romans praised horehound because of its medicinal purposes. Its Latin name Marrubium is derived from the word Maria urbs, which is an ancient town of Italy. The plant was called the ‘Seed of Horus” or the ‘Bull’s Blood,’ and the ‘Eye of the Star’ by the Egyptian Priests. Horehound was a main ingredient in Caesar’s antidote for vegetable poisons. It was recommended, in addition to its uses in coughs and colds, for those that had drunk poison or had been bitten by serpents. Horehound was once thought of as an anti-magical herb. Additionally, horehound is a serviceable remedy against cankerworm in trees. Some believed that if it is put into new milk and set in a place where there are a lot of flies, it will quickly kill all of them.
The marrubiin content of horehound is believed to be the responsible component, giving it its ability to stimulate bronchial mucosa secretions. This information was obtained by German research done in 1959. Horehound can be used as a safe and effective expectorant.
The entire horehound plant should be used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, mild purgative, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are iron, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and F. Primarily, horehound is extremely helpful in dealing with asthma, colds, coughs, croup, lung ailments, excessive mucus, phlegm, and respiratory problems.
Additionally, this herb is beneficial in treating bronchitis, infectious diseases, earaches, external eczema, fevers, glandular problems, jaundice, absent menstruation, and external shingles. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horehound, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Red Yeast Rice
August 04, 2008 04:07 PM
Many natural substances that are capable of lowering blood fats and cholesterol levels that are potentially harmful have emerged. No one is suggesting that there is a magic pill that will promote healthy cholesterol levels, but nature has provided us with some specific compounds that are capable of enhancing both dietary and lifestyle changes in order to improve cardiovascular health. One of the most impressive of these compounds is that of red yeast rice, which is a fermented food substance that has been traditionally used for its red-coloring abilities in meats and other foods. Additionally, red yeast rice offers some extremely beneficial therapeutic effects, as it is the source of certain compounds that can successfully reduce cholesterol.
Pharmaceutical companies have been making cholesterol lowering drugs for many years, but natural supplements are now available which offer the consumer a way to lower cholesterol in natural way. This is extremely good news for those people who are suffering from moderately elevated cholesterol levels and is looking to avoid synthetic drug preparations and the side effects that follow.
Most of us are now aware that high serum cholesterol level is what predisposes us to cardiovascular disease along with other degenerative conditions. Learning how to control our cholesterol levels, especially the LDL and blood triglyceride levels, while keeping HDL cholesterol at desirable levels can be an extremely frustrating task. By decreasing our consumption of animal fats and certain types of oils, eating more fiber and taking prescription drugs or natural alternatives, we can easily accomplish our goal.
Dietary changes should be targeted first, but turning to cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs has both its pros and cons. Pharmaceutical preparations come with considerable side effects. Some of the drugs that are most effective contain enzymatic inhibitors that prevent the synthesis of cholesterol. Red yeast rice accomplishes the same enzyme inhibition but is considered a natural alternative that safely promotes healthy serum cholesterol levels.
Coronary heart disease refers to the damage that is done to the heart when the coronary arteries become blocked or narrowed because of a buildup of plaque or oxidized cholesterol. When cholesterol buildup breaks off and lodges in the heart or brain, this causes a heart attack or stroke. An extremely common disorder of developed nations, coronary heart disease causes more deaths in the US than any other disease. Many people who die from heart disease are ironically in otherwise good health.
High blood pressure, which is a related disorder, is similar in the fact that both can be a silent killer. The symptoms of coronary heart disease include impotence, heart attack, or stroke. Although the mortality rates from coronary heart disease have declined over the last twenty years, the reason for this decline is shown to be the better medical technology that is available. Claiming more than one million deaths every year, coronary heart disease is still a major issue facing the American society.
In order to help us prevent heart disease, we have been given many dietary guidelines. However, many of us are not motivated enough to make the dietary changes that could literally save our lives. The major causes of coronary heart disease include obesity, smoking, alcohol, high protein and high saturated fat diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and a genetic predisposition.
Apple Cider Vinegar to Fight Heart Burn
February 16, 2008 08:55 AM
Strange as it may seem, apple cider vinegar can be used to fight heart burn, even though that type of vinegar is composed of acetic acid the same as any other. It wouldn’t seem logical to use an acid to alleviate a condition caused by excess acidity in the stomach, but all will be clear shortly.
First, let’s have a look at what cider apple vinegar is, and what health benefits it can impart to the body. There is more to the old maxim regarding an apple a day than most appreciate. Although an orange has more vitamin C, apples have a lot going for them. They not only contain the soluble dietary fiber and prebiotic pectin, that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, but are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Many consider apple cider vinegar the form of the apple that provides its ultimate health benefits.
Hippocrates himself has written of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and used it for the benefits to health that it imparted. That goes back almost 2400 years, to an age when the biochemistry of the body was unheard of and even the alchemists had yet to work their magic. There was no surprise then that an acid could be used to increase the alkalinity of the body since the terms had yet to be understood, let alone invented.
The later applications of vinegar followed a path that would be expected of a substance recognized as a form of medicine, and it has been poured over wounds to sterilize them from early in history, and by people of the 14th and 17th centuries to protect themselves against the Black Death and the Great Plague respectively. It was believed by people in these times that the disease was transferred by breathing in the ‘ill vapors’ and that a vinegar-soaked cloth over the face would protect them.
Many people, associate vinegar with ‘bad wine’ or solutions of acetic acid, generally 5%. But how is real cider apple vinegar produced? All vinegar has acetic acid as its key ingredient. The reason that it can be produced from wine is that acetic acid is produced naturally by the fermentation of ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, the main alcoholic product of the fermentation of sugars. If the fermentation of wine is allowed to continue after the sugar has been used up, then the yeast will act on the ethanol and convert it to acetic acid. In fact the word comes from the old French ‘vin aigre’ or ‘sour wine’, due to it resulting from the undesirable continuing fermentation of wine.
The concentration varies according to the use it is put, though commercial pickling vinegars can be distilled to any required concentration of acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar is obtained by the over-fermentation of apple must usually used for cider, and can be obtained either the clear filtered form, or unfiltered with a hazy light brownish color. Although the manufactured distilled vinegars consist of acetic acid at various concentrations, natural vinegars contain by-products of the fermentation process such as citric and tartaric acids.
However, none of this explains why apple cider vinegar should help to cure heartburn. The first thing you should keep in mind is that this type of vinegar has some nutritional value that will be explained later, but also that it is less bitter than many other types of vinegar and many enjoy drinking it with a small amount of honey as an energy pick-me-up and also to prevent various digestive problems that it appears to alleviate such as bloating and diarrhoea.
The reason that many people experience heartburn is due to the body finding that that the acidity of the stomach is lower than it should be to digest a meal. There might be several reasons for the body believing this, such as drinking too much milk during the meal and thereby neutralizing some of the acid while also introducing more fat to be digested. The body reacts by injecting more acid into the stomach. Excessively spicy foods or alcohol can cause the same effect.
Stomach acid is concentrated hydrochloric acid that is very corrosive and can even dissolve a nail. If your stomach is slightly full, the acid causes a slight, but not full, reflux and you get the burning sensation known as heartburn due to the corrosive effects of the very strong acid on the esophagus, which is not protected by the stomach lining that is designed to withstand it. Sometimes the excessive acid in your stomach will cause the bottom of the esophagus to open, allowing some of the stomach contents into the esophagus giving the horrible burning sensation. That sensation is acid corrosion of your body tissue, but it is rapidly repaired and does no lasting damage unless it is chronic when you have to see your doctor.
Since heartburn is caused by excess acidity then, it will seem strange that you can use an acid to alleviate it. However, keep in mind that your heartburn is due to the body (brain) being convinced that there is insufficient acid in your stomach. If you introduce a weak acid, then you can convince your brain that the acid has been brought to a satisfactory level and so it will stop sending signals to the stomach lining cells that secrete the HCl.
If you remember what I asked you to remember above, regarding the traditional uses of apple cider vinegar and how easy it is to drink, then that vinegar is the ideal acid to take. It floods the stomach with acetic acid and signals pass back and forth between the stomach wall to the brain and back again to the effect that the stomach has enough acid and so no more hydrochloric acid need be secreted.
Had you treated it with milk or even an antacid, it would have worked initially, but eventually the signal would be initiated and the lining would secrete more HCl. With an antacid that can occur after the stomach contents have been passed on, but although it has had its effect, your food will have been poorly digested, and so the better remedy is likely not an alkaline antacid but a weak acid such as apple cider vinegar.
That’s how it works, but what other benefits does it bring to you. For starters it is a good source of potassium which is essential to maintain a proper cardiac rhythm. Potassium can also help to maintain a good blood pressure, and it is necessary for healthy nails, hair and teeth, and also helps to repair damage to soft tissues and to allow cells to repair internal tissue loss.
Potassium is an essential mineral, although there is normally sufficient in a healthy diet. However, if somebody is displaying the symptoms of potassium deficiency then this form of vinegar can help to resolve the problem. The elderly especially can benefit from a regular dose.
Other than its antiseptic effect, the most common popular use of apple cider vinegar, however, is to fight heart burn and in that respect it is very effective, even if it seems a bit of a paradox.
Power Your Day With Natural Energizer's
December 20, 2007 01:48 PM
If you tend to feel a bit tired now and again, there are plenty of natural energizers that you can use to power your day and provide you with that much needed energy to enable you to get going and keep going.
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue then you need something to get you going, and many people suffering from conditions such as fibromyalgia that can cause severe fatigue and very poor sleeping patters, need an energy booster each morning. It might not help the pain, but it will help their bodies to get moving and provide the energy required for everyday living.
So what substances are available to help you energize yourself for what the day is to bring you? The Chinese use cordyceps, which is type of mushroom that truly could be describes as ‘magic’. It grows on the caterpillars of a type of moth and can improve stamina and endurance, and also regulate sleeping patterns. It is useful for the prevention of depression, and improves the function of your lungs and also of the adrenal function. A low adrenal function can lead to low blood sugar and loss of energy.
Energy is obtained from the cellular mitochondria that metabolize blood glucose into energy. Part of this metabolic process requires the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Coryceps is known to increase the ATP levels in human cells and so enable the mitochondria to generate more energy. It is used in China by those recovering from surgery or childbirth, and is known to replace the energy lost after heavy exertion.
Its added benefits to those suffering from sexual dysfunction are well known, and it appears to promote stronger blood flow to the extremities of the body. In Chinese medicine it replenishes yin and yang jing and is also a strong antioxidant. It is used extensively by athletes and people who expend a lot of energy while working and exercising.
A magnesium deficiency is rare in the western diet, but it can cause symptoms including fatigue, weakness, irritability, muscle cramps, insomnia stress and appetite loss. Your cardiovascular system is dependent on magnesium for its functioning, and it contributes significant to the strength of the heart muscle contraction and hence the blood flow.
It is also an important component of bone, and during times of stress its stores can be significantly depleted. It is when stressed, then, that most people might benefit from a supplement, and a general energy boosting supplement would also benefit from a small amount of magnesium to replace what is lost through stress. Many people needing a tonic to give them a start to the day might also be under stress for one reason or another, and a magnesium supplement will do them no harm.
D-ribose is found in all living cells. It is an essential building block of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). DNA, of course, is essential to life while RNA is used in DNA replication. Ribose is responsible for providing energy to every cell in your body, and without it you would not exist. Athletes in particular believe that a ribose supplement increases stamina and endurance, and it is used to help speed up recovery of the heart after surgery and after heart attacks.
Ribose seems an excellent candidate to be included in any energizing tonic due both to its ubiquitous presence throughout the body and also because it is a sugar – a monosaccharide in fact, and hence simple and easily absorbed by the body.
Yohimbe is obtained from the bark of a predominantly West African tree, and when ingested it releases an indole alkaloid called yohimbine into the bloodstream.
Yohimbine is a vasodilator, which means that it widens the blood vessels allowing a greater flow of blood to the extremities. This is one reason why it is also prized by those suffering from erectile dysfunction although it also claimed to be an aphrodisiac. However, as an energizer it is likely the increased blood flow that provides a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles that is the most important property. There are also several more alkaloids contained in yohimbe bark that likely have an effect on its energy enhancing effects on the body.
Guarana is extracted from the seeds of the guarana shrub, native to South America, and Brazil in particular. The Amazonian natives use it in their food and drinks to improve their alertness and energy and its main benefits likely come from its caffeine content. This is about twice that of coffee beans, and it should therefore be used with caution.
An excess of caffeine can cause restlessness, tension and nervousness due both to the caffeine content (xanthines), and that of other alkaloids such as theophylline and theobromine. They not only enhance your alertness and energy levels but suppress appetite and increase your metabolic rate that results in an increased need for energy providing foods such as sugars. However, guarana is used by those needing a boost and makes a good energizer for those that find it difficult to keep both physically and mentally active throughout the day.
Bee products provide sugars in a natural form and are excellent and natural energizers for your whole body. Whether you use royal jelly, honey or any other of the bee products available as supplements, they will not only increase your energy levels but also provide you with many other health benefits.
From treating athlete’s foot to healing wounds and alleviating stomach ulcers, honey has many medicinal uses. It is an antioxidant and antiseptic, and can heal you of many conditions from head to toe, inside and out. Bee products are a must in any restorative or energizing tonic and are completely safe with no known side effects.
Each of the above six substances has its place as a natural energizer, and each could help to power your whole day. Put them together and you have an ultra-powerful mix of natural products that should enable you to meet any physical demands put on you. You are unlikely to come across such a combination of effective substances of course, but should make your choice of tonic from any or some of the above, and you can even use them in combination since they do not appear to interact with each other.
Maca is an Adaptogen used for Centuries
November 10, 2007 02:35 PM
Maca has been used for centuries in South American and studied for years by a Dr. Hans Seyle, a Nobel Prize winner on General Adaptation syndrome. The highlanders who live in the Andes Mountains use maca to help them survive and thrive at 14000 to 18000 feet above sea level. Oxygen levels are low at this altitude and maca helps oxygenate the blood. Maca has over 60 phytonutrients to help the body adapt to stress. The unique alkaloids increase the body’s endocrine and immune function.
Maca contains biological active components that spur an aphrodisiac and libido enhancing effect on the body for both men and women. Today’s herbalists suggest maca for a wide range of usages such as hormonal imbalances, PMS, hot flashes, depression and night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Some herbalists recommend maca for chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal dysfunction, anemia, tuberculosis, and stomach cancer. All would agree that maca extract can be used as an endocrine balancer and aid in mental clarity.
With all the benefits of maca being discovered, why not give maca a try for your self?
May 28, 2007 11:33 AM
Humankind has long searched for a special elixir that would confer immortality…or, failing that, at least prolong youthful vitality for a decent number of years. Resveratrol is no magic potion, but it has improved survival rates among mice at the ripe old age (for a mouse) of 114 weeks even overweight mice fed high-calorie chow (Nature online 11/1/06). What’s more the Resveratrol bolstered rodents stayed fit and trim well into their senior years; as Dr. Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging told the news service heartwire, such a finding “suggests that this compound may not just extend life but may also enable individuals to lead healthy and functional lives for longer.”
While tests continue on how Resveratrol could produce these results, it is believed that this substance may actually mimic the effects of calories restriction, which has been shown to increase longevity. Resveratrol apparently activates a gene known as SIRT1 activation is also associated with greater exercise capacity and fat burning.) in addition, Resveratrol both acts as an antioxidant itself by mopping up dangerous molecules called free radicals and helps enhance the antioxidant effects of vitamin C and E.
A toxic by-product of industrial waste.
April 21, 2006 04:34 PM
Imagine a government permitting industry to dump toxic waste products into the drinking water supply, denying the public the right to make an informed choice by censoring the press and dissenting experts. Meanwhile, influential leaders disseminate misinformation and hoodwinked people demand community acess to the dangerous chemical.
Although it might seem like science fiction, this scenario has been playing in America since 1940’s. the toxic chemical? Fluoride. Today, 170 million Americans, approximately two thirds of the population, have fluoridated drinking water issuing from their taps.
A 1998 Gallup poll showed that the majority of Americans—a whopping 70% --support water fluoridation. Dissenters are seen as crackpots and conspiracy theorists.
EPA Unions Call for a Moratorium
In august 2005, eleven Environmental Protection Agency employee unions under the umbrella of NTEU Chapter 280, primarily scientists, researchers, doctors, submitted a request to Congress for a moratorium on drinking water fluoridation, based on scientific evidence that fluoride is a proven carcinogen.
Dr. William Hirzy, Vice President of Chapter 280, explains that the biggest misperceptions about fluoridated water are “that its safe and effective, that basically there are no adverse effects, and that it does this magic of lowering dental decay rates.”
A Profitable By-Product
Although the American Dental Association explains that fluoride is a naturally occurring compound, the form used in drinking water, hydrofluorosilicic acid is, in fact, a product of man.
Today’s fluoride is a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. Air filtration vents, called “Wet-Scrubbers,” trap fluoride, which is a gaseous by-product of manufacturing. For many years, the gas was vented into the sky, where it caused lawsuits by farmers for burnt crops and sickened animals. Now, the fluoride is sold to American communities as well as developing countries, Dr. Hirzy calculates the fertilizer industry makes about 100 million a year from their toxic by-product.
Fluoride’s Tainted History
Fluoride’s effect upon teeth was first observed in children who were overexposed to ingested fluoride. Their teeth turned pitted and brown, a condition recognized as dental fluorosis. According to the American Dental Association, fluoride damages only the body’s tooth-forming cells, buy many scientists are concerned that other cells are damaged as well.
According to Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D., a prominent toxicologist, animal research shows that fluoride crosses the blood-brain barrier, causing defects in the brain region devoted to memory and learning. In humans, the behavior evidenced in rats would qualify as motor dysfunction, deficits or learning disabilities.
Is Fluoride Good for Poor People?
Many argue that fluoridation is needed by economically disadvantaged populations with inadequate access to dental care. In fact, these are the people at greatest risk from fluoride, which wreaks its most hazardous effects on those who are malnourished. Calcium deficiency, in particular, is linked with fluorosis.
Is It Good For Anything?
Ironically, many dental authorities acknowledge that ingested fluoride has little to no effect on preventing cavities in the pits and fissures of the teeth, where most cavities occur. Many researchers acknowledge that only topical fluoride can stop cavities. The largest nation wide study, conducted in 1989 by the national institute of Dental Research, showed that children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities have approximately the same cavity rate.
Fluoridation and the Wellness Revolution
The Fluoridation controversy is another example of our health care system’s approach of throwing chemicals at problems, rather than solving them through improved public hygiene and better nutrition. In addition, calcium and vitamin D supplementation can help build strong teeth, while vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.
Source: www. Fluoridealert .org, www. Fluoridedebate .org, www. Nteu280 .org/issues/fluoride/fluoridesummary.htm
November 05, 2005 03:27 PM
The Benefits of Green Tea.
Around the globe, tea holds an exalted place among beverages. As a matter of fact, next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Green tea is on of the richest natural sources of antioxidants. Most of the published health research on Green tea has been in regard to preventing disease, such as certain types of cancer, but other health benefits from green tea have been studied in test tube, human and animal trials with many positive results. Green tea is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As chemists investigate how Green Tea works its medicinal magic, they have zeroed in on a family of antioxidants known as catechins. Catechins are members of the flavonoids family and are naturally occurring in a number of plant-derived foods. Some of the catechins in Green tea are more powerful then a number of familiar antioxidants.
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
July 27, 2005 03:44 PM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
You and your sweetie can turn up the heat by cooking together.
Since the beginning of time, the pleasures of the table have been intertwined with those of the boudoir. (Remember the scene in the film Tom Jomes in which Tom and his amorata-of-the-moment wolf down a meal while staring lustily into each other’s eyes?) But when most of your kitchen time is spent trying to get everyone fed and out of the house in time for the night’s soccer game/ PTA meeting/ballet lesson, it can be tough keeping the pilot light lit on your love.
That’s why one of the best ways to spice up your sex life is to prepare a sensuous meal together sans offspring (thank heavens for doting grandparents with spare rooms!). A little fourhanded cooking- preferably while sharing some suggestive banter- can create chemistry that allows your playful, non-parenting side s to emerge, enhancing intimacy and setting the stage for the seductive feast to follow.
Just as the frenzied pace of modern living can often foster a sense of separation, cooking together as a couple can promote a sense of union. “Eventually you get a feel for your partner’s rhythms and adjust yours accordingly,” says food TV personality Jacqui Malouf, author of Booty Food (Bloomsbury). “Before you know it you’re passing the coriander, peeling the potatoes and stirring the risotto at precisely the right moments.”
With time, you can learn what each of you does best: Who has a flair for combining spices in just the right proportions? Who can chop carrots into perfect little matchsticks without taking all night? Since nothing kills the mood more than arguing over who misplaced the baker’s chocolate or the pasta platter, buy your ingredients earlier in the day and have all the necessary utensils out and at the ready. (Safety note: while two in a tiny kitchen can be steamily cozy, do be careful with hot pots and sharp knives.)
Four hands can also be better than two, so why not make the most of it? Malouf suggests approaching your combined efforts with a sense of adventure: “Use more than three ingredients in a salad dressing! Be daring with your desserts! Try concocting something with squab or squid or quince or quail- the sky’s the limit.”
One advantage of using exotic ingredients (or at least foods not normally found on your weekly shopping list) is that they can help you and your partner break through the limits of everyday experience by reawakening long-dormant senses. Go ahead- run your fingertips over the rough rind of a pomegranate before feeling the smooth, full seeds within. Inhale the sweet, perfumed scent of a dead-ripe apricot, and appreciate its downy skin. Admire the cool green beauty of a cut avocado, and share a spoonful with your sweetie.
Avocado, in fact, is one of the foods known for inflaming passion based on its suggestive shape, along with artichoke and asparagus- and that’s just the AS! (Chocoholics rejoice: Chocolate, full of the same feel-good chemical released by the brain when one falls in love, also makes the ecstasy encouraging grade, even when obtained in standard shapes.) “coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat (avocado and chocolate are delectably healthy exceptions) and are high in vitamins and minerals,” write Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge in Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook (Terrace Publishing). “A diet heavy in these foods, then, yields a healthy blood healthy body with the energy, blood flow and nutrients needed for a peak sexual experience.” (The way these foods feed the imagination- the ultimate smorgasbord of pleasure- is a bountiful bonus.) Other foods, such as honey, have been treasured for supplying the energy needed to fan love’s flames far into the night; no wonder the sweet, sticky stuff shows up in a number of naughty-night concoctions.
Just as Venus, the Roman goddess of love, emerged fully formed from the sea, so do the foods that best encourage those under her spell. In addition to being chockfull of healthy protein, “seafood is elegant, clean and light enough to keep your sleek loving machine fully fueled but never weighed down,” says Jacqui Malouf. Oysters are famous- or infamous- for their amorous effects (Cassanova was fond of them) but aren’t for everyone; other romantic dining favorites include shrimp or scallops.
Time to Eat
Once you’ve worked your kitchen magic together, it’s time to move the action into the dining room. Again, a little preparation can keep the evening at a slow, sensuous boil. Use the best china you have, along with matching silverware, cloth napkins and nice glasses (sippy cups don’t count). The warm glow of candlelight can both set off your tantalizing table and set your hearts aflame, along with a rose or two in the most decorative vase you own. Music (from Mozart to Motown, depending on your taste) is another surefire mojo mover. But please guys- catch up with CNN or ESPN some other time.
When you do finally sit down to dinner don’t rush, even (especially) if fast-forward eating is the norm in your house. “Treat the food as if you are making love for the first time,” advises Kerry McCloskey in The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). “Before putting any in your mouth, inhale its aroma to get your digestive juices flowing…Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces, (which) will ensure that you enjoy each bite.” The idea is to enhance all of your senses, which will come in handy later on in the evening.
You can make your couple dining experience even more intimate by feeding each other; some foods. Like asparagus spears and shrimp, beg for finger-feeding. McCloskey recommends also trying chopsticks: “Because it will take longer to maneuver your food when using them, you will feel full sooner with less food.” That’s important since you don’t want to overeat- passing out right after dessert is not the way to impress your partner (they’ve seen you snoring away on the couch a hundred times before).
In the wee hours, happily exhausted, you can ponder this: No matter how hectic your lives get, you should always make time for each other. You already share a mortgage and kids. Cooking together is a great way to share sensuality, too.
Supplement Efforts - to increase weight loss...
July 07, 2005 11:41 AM
If you're searching for a pill that magically melts away the pounds safely and quickly, allowing you to pig out on cookies and chips every night without having to walk a step or lift a weight, keep looking-- it doesn't exist. (If anyone tells you it does, lace up those high-tech sneakers and run in the opposite direction.) That being said, there are supplements that some folks find helpful in addition to (not instead of) a healthy diet and adequate exercise:
Don't forget a good, all-purpose multivitamin/mineral to make sure you're not missing anything nutritionally. (For in-depth information on another weight-loss option, Coleus Forskolii.) It's always a good idea to get a knowledgeable health practitioner's assistance in designing a supplementation program, especially if you are looking to lose weight because of a pre-existing health condition.
June 25, 2005 09:58 AM
For thousands of years amazing magical and medicinal powers have been attributed to garlic. Prized as a legendary protectant against vampires in Transylvania, it has also been used to enhance sexual prowess and fight off infections. Referred to as “the stinking rose,” it is mentioned in Bible, the Talmud, and in the Odyssey by Homer as well. The Egyptians looked to garlic as a tonic which boosted physical strength and consumed it while building the pyramids. The Greeks utilized its laxative properties, and the Chinese prescribed it for high blood pressure. Vikings and Phoenicians alike extolled the virtues of garlic and used it both for flavoring foods and treating disease.
Garlic is a hardy, perennial bulb which is native to the Mediterranean regions of Africa and Europe. Along with onions, leeks, chives and shallots, garlic is a member of the lily family. The botanical name for garlic, allium sativum may have been derived from the celtic word all which refers to “pungent.” The edible portion of the garlic plant grows underground and consists of a cloved bulb.
Hippocrates believed that garlic could treat uterine cancer and Native Americans used it for stomach cancer. During the Bubonic Plague years in Europe, garlic was used to boost immunity against the infectious organism responsible for so many deaths. Several accounts relate that survivors of the plague were frequently those who had routinely ingested large amounts of garlic. A sixteenth- century herbalist writes, referring to garlic, “The virtue of this herb is thus. It will unbind all wicked winds within a man’s body.”1
During the eighteenth century, Russians utilized garlic to treat influenza. Eventually, garlic would become known as “Russian penicillin.” American colonists regarded garlic for its ability to kill parasites.
In the nineteenth century, Louis Pasteur finally proved scientifically that garlic contains antibiotic properties. His discovery led to the initiation of hundreds of studies which have substantiated his findings. What was thought to be nothing more than a culinary ingredient has medicinal value. Garlic can effectively kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. In the late nineteenth century, garlic was routinely used by physicians as an effective treatment for typhus, cholera and whooping cough. It was highly recommended by medical practitioners and considered as staple treatment for infection. Albert Schweitzer used garlic for treating amebic dysentery in Africa. Early in this century, tuberculosis was treated with garlic and it was also used as an antibiotic/antiseptic for wounds during World War II. American and European doctors alike noted a remarkable high cure rate in tuberculosis patients treated with garlic.
2 Septic poisoning and gangrene, which can so quickly develop in battlefield wounds were prevented to a significant degree by using garlic. During the 1950’s Chinese scientists used garlic to successfully treat influenza. Subsequently, western studies found that garlic was an effective treatment for the common cold. Today the widespread use of antibiotics have relegated garlic to the back burner of medicinal therapies for infection. The discovery of penicillin resulted in classifying garlic as nothing more than a folk remedy. Unfortunately, for several decades its medicinal potential was no longer taken seriously by scientists. Over the last decade, scientific interest in garlic has dramatically escalated. In 1990, the First World Congress on the Health Significance of garlic and Garlic Constituents was held in Washington D.C. Herbalists have always considered garlic as an effective treatment and preventative agent against colds, flu and other infectious diseases. The present focus on garlic as a medicinal agent promises to support the notion that garlic should be utilized by medical practitioners much more than it currently is.
Recently, medical research has focused on garlic’s potential value in treating cardiovascular disorders and as an anti-cancer agent. This renewed interest in garlic has contributed to the development of the “Designer Foods Program” which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.3 This agency investigates foods that may be effective cancer preventatives. Garlic is one of those foods which may have profound cancer prevention potential.
CLA and Cows
June 22, 2005 09:52 PM
CLA and Cows
Nutritional developments like that of CLA couldn’t come at a better time. America is a nation obsessed with weight, but successes in battling weight seem harder and harder to come by. Is there a nutritional reason for this? Have we been barking up the wrong tree in recent years, starving ourselves for fear of gluttony rather than looking at broader nutritional reasons for fat accumulation? For example, Dr. Cook says that modern nutritional dogma is that fat is bad. “I’m not sure the dogma’s right. We need to get down to very specific fatty acids.”51 One of the most exciting developments coming from CLA research is that modern animal-raising techniques may be partially responsible for those of us who eat meat getting fat around the middle, even though our consumption of meat may have declined or, at least, stayed about the same in recent years.
CLA has been declining in our diet. This one nutrient’s lack may mean many of us are gaining fat, despite eating less overall fat.52
This desire to simply eliminate fats without looking at the broader nutritional picture has its roots deep in our culture. The desire to starve ourselves to lose weight goes back centuries. We have often thought weight gain came solely from lacking self-control when, often, nothing could be further from the truth.
Take for example the experiences of conscientious objectors during World War II. These men who chose, for religious reasons, not to fight in the war, contributed in other ways. One group at the University of Minnesota underwent forced starvation to help scientists learn ways to help concentration camp victims recover after liberation.
Science learned many useful things, but one thing stands out. The objectors grew more hungry as they recovered and ended up weighing five percent more after they recovered than before the experiment began. (The same can be said for refugees and concentration camp victims, who also weighed more, on average after their ordeals than before.)53 This idea of dieting being the full answer to weight loss still persists, often tragically. Many have died of anorexia, obsessed with self-image. Others have died directly from ill-conceived meal replacement programs.54 In the 1980s, Americans spent $15 billion on diet soft drinks alone,55 but consumers weighed more on average when the decade was over than when it began. You’d think all of this energy and dieting spent on the effort would have helped people lose weight. (Thankfully, many people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off. According to Dr. Pariza, this may well be the most significant part of CLA, not so much in losing the weight, but in helping people keep it off.56)
To drive the point home further, consider your parents. They ate a diet that was likely higher in fat than yours. They never saw “lite” versions of snacks in the store. Yet they, in general, weighed less than we do. Why? Surely exercise may have had something to do with it, but, no one has the complete answer. It seems likely that nutrition too played a role. CLA itself may hold part of the reason. As we have seen, CLA nutrition means less fat and more protein in our bodies. Recent research is showing that the amount of CLA in cows has dropped substantially since the times of our parents. In 1963, scientists found that CLA was as much as 2.81 percent of milkfat. The amount of CLA in the milk products varied with the seasons. At some times during the year, cows ate grass. At other times, they ate feed. However, in 1992, Pariza and his colleagues did a large food survey and found that this variation in CLA is no longer occurring. Furthermore, the amount of CLA in dairy products rarely gets above 1 percent of the milkfat. 57
In another research paper in 1994, scientists noticed that Australian cows have as much as three or four time the amount of CLA in the meat from similar American animals. Why? These differences probably “reflect different feeding conditions.” 58
Today, farmers use more efficient feeding methods that rely less heavily on natural grasses. This means less CLA in the meat we eat, and less CLA can mean a higher percentage of fat on our bodies. Consider too that skim milk contains virtually no CLA with its no fat content. This lack of CLA may actually hinder some people’s efforts to lose weight.
The lesson here seems to be that gluttony guilt would be better focused on balanced living. Healthy lifestyles coupled with the right supplementation can make a difference. CLA, though no magic bullet, adds to this lifestyle and could be the key that finally opens many weight (and fat) management doors. It could help many people keep the weight off.
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997
So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.
The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.
Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.
Thermogenesis and You
Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.
The ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, ephedra has been available since the 1800s.
The ingredients in ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.
Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."
Because of their strong stimulant effect, ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of ephedra have been consumed without problem. But ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.
Salicin Burns Fat
Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)
Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening kick, can also boost ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. Aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)
Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid
To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.
This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.
Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.
Go for the Chrome
Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.
Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.
Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.
Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.
Some Overall Recommendations
You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.
Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.
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."
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Garlic for the Ages - eat garlic because it's good for your heart...
June 13, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic for the Ages by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, January 1 , 2004
If you eat garlic because it's good for your heart, you swallow a plant renowned through human history: Garlic was eaten by Roman soldiers for courage; Egyptian slaves ate it to build strength; Christians, Moslems and Hindus include it in their sacred books. Others have used it as an aphrodisiac, a vampire deterrent and a magical charm.
Garlic has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb that people either love or hate. Its pungent aroma and warming flavor captivates or repels, but its wealth of natural chemicals does great things for your heart.
Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family, is native to Siberia but, in modern times, has become a treasured naturalized citizen grown all over the world. Garlic's use in folk medicine dates back about 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal foods or herbs.
In modern times, garlic is generally used as a condiment lending a unique, pungent flavor to dishes, but in medieval times, garlic was cooked and eaten as a vegetable in its own right. Today you can revel in a wealth of garlic choices, consuming garlic raw, cooked in various recipes, as a dried concentrated powder, as a fresh liquid extract or as aged garlic powder.
Each little clove of garlic is a powerhouse of good-for-you natural compounds, vitamins and minerals. The biologically active constituents of garlic include allyl sulfur compounds as well as the minerals germanium and selenium.
When you chop up raw garlic and allowed it to stand for about 10 minutes or more, the herb's fragments release an enzyme that converts its compounds from allyl sulfur to another natural chemical called allicin.
Although some allicin is found in garlic before it is cut apart, the yield multiplies considerably when the garlic clove is chopped or pressed and exposed to water (Garlic Conference, Newport Beach, 11/15/98; Penn State).
Many researchers believe that the more allicin produced, the better the health benefits. (Although this is still being debated among the garlic cognoscenti.)
But garlic's benefits don't end meekly on the kitchen counter with its allicin content rising.
Cooked garlic and aged garlic contain other helpful chemicals called diallyl sulphides. Consequently, in any form, garlic produces beneficial health effects.
Fortunately, since raw garlic juice or oil can often irritate the stomach lining, especially in people with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestive systems, garlic supplements and cooked garlic are both helpful for heart health.
Aged Garlic Extract
Aging garlic significantly reduces its irritating compounds and makes it easier on the stomach.
In the aged form, all of garlic's healthy sulfur-containing compounds are converted to water- soluble compounds that retain garlic's natural health benefits. In addition, the pungent odor of the garlic is greatly reduced, an outcome many people desire.
When a group of researchers at Brown University studied the effects of aged garlic extract on people's cholesterol levels, they found that after six months, cholesterol dropped about 6% (Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 64:866-70).
In another study from Brown, researchers found that aged garlic extract reduced platelet adhesion, a sticky blood problem that can cause vessel blockages (New Drug Clin 45(3):456-66). When platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Garlic and Heart Disease
A growing body of research shows that a clove of garlic a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A four-year study of 280 people who took dried garlic powder three times a day found a striking reduction in the types of arterial plaque blockages that threaten the blood supply to your heart. Interestingly, in this particular study, women displayed a greater reduction in plaque than men (Atherosclerosis 2000; 150:437-8).
Another study found that garlic may also keep important blood vessels more supple and less likely to spasm. Arterial spasms have been linked to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in women.
As you age, the aorta, one of the main arteries that carries blood, may harden, reducing blood flow from the heart and placing damaging stress on a number of other bodily organs. In research at Ohio State University, people who took garlic supplements had 15% less aortic stiffness than people who avoided garlic (Circulation).
In this study, scientists found that the older people enjoyed the greatest cardiovascular benefits from daily garlic use.
Researchers believe this extra benefit is linked to the fact that as you age, the endothelial tissue in the linings of the aorta and other blood vessels become less responsive to the need to dilate (expand). As a result, when more blood flow is required, and the heart pumps faster, these vessels take more of a beating from the friction of blood passing through them.
That restriction in dilation has two damaging consequences: In one instance, vessel walls can be injured. In response to these injuries, cholesterol collects on artery walls, plaque forms and the blood supply to the heart muscle can be restricted, leading to a heart attack. In other cases, arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart simply because of the inability to expand sufficiently.
The Ohio State researchers found that arteries in folks aged 70 to 80 benefited the most from taking garlic. But those in their 60s also benefited significantly.
Garlic's natural antioxidant properties can also help protect the heart from damage after surgery (BMC Pharmacology 9/02).
In a study performed on lab animals, researchers found that oxidative stress, a source of cell damage that takes place after surgery, dropped when the animals ate a diet that included garlic.
Oxidative stress can seriously reduce cardiac function, limit the amount of blood the heart can pump and cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Garlic Against Blood Clots
Under normal circumstances, blood clots serve a useful purpose: Cut yourself and a blood clot stops the bleeding. Without this clotting ability, you might bleed to death. But if your blood is too prone to clotting, these clumps can cut off blood supply to your heart and other organs, endangering your life.
In a study of apparently healthy individuals whose relatives had already suffered from heart disease, researchers found that their blood formed thick, tangled blood clots, increasing their risk of heart problems (Circulation rapid access 9/23/02). These blood clots are made of a substance called fibrin, a protein in the plasma that can form elastic threads that cut off blood flow.
While these researchers recommended aspirin as an anti-clotting measure for people at risk of heart disease, garlic can also help break up fibrin and possibly lower your chance of heart problems (Pharmatherapy 5(2): 83).
The fibrin that forms clots is produced by blood cells called platelets. Other scientists who have looked into garlic's benefits believe that one of its natural chemicals called ajoene may keep platelets from producing excessive fibrin and gumming up the flow of blood through arteries.
If you've rarely indulged in garlic, you may need a period of adjustment in growing accustomed to its unique taste and aroma. But its heart benefits confirm the long-ago observation by Pliny, an ancient Roman naturalist, that "garlic has powerful properties."
Nutrients for Longevity
June 10, 2005 09:59 PM
Nutrients for Longevity by Edward C. Wallace, ND, DC Energy Times, September 1, 1999
What's the big deal about trying to live longer? As you grow older (and the American population grows older alongside you) you may want to postpone the inevitable. Few wish to hasten "the journey from which no traveler returns." But as we approach that final bon voyage, chances are we desire clear sailing-aging without disability and with a peaceful easy feeling.
How Do We Age
Science has long puzzled about what causes the wrinkles, pains and deterioration of aging. In the search for causes, two basic theories have won over the most proponents: The first holds that cells are programmed with biological clocks that predetermine how many times they can reproduce before becoming non-functional. This theory has been largely formulated by the researcher Leonard Hayflick, MD.
The second basic theory, introduced by Denham Harman, MD, PhD, in the mid 1950s, holds that cells eventually break down due to attack by caustic molecules called free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Programmed Cell Theory
In the early '60s, Dr. Hayflick observed that human fibroblasts (cells from connective tissue) in the laboratory refused to divide more than about 50 times. Dr. Hayflick also found that even if he froze the fibroblasts after 20 divisions, they would remember that they only had 30 divisions left after thawing.
Fifty cell divisions have been called the "Hayflick limit." Based on this research, scientists theorize that cells maintain a genetic clock that winds down as old age ensues. Many researchers believe the hypothalamus gland is the force behind our aging clocks, signaling the pituitary gland to release hormones that cause aging.
Free Radical/Oxidative Stress Theory
The other popular theory of aging pictures the human body as a cellular battlefield where attackers called free radicals damage our cells and tissues, making them age. In this scenario, a process called oxidation is the chief aging villain.
On a microscopic level, oxidation generally entails molecules or atoms losing electrons. (Gaining electrons is called reduction.) The molecules or atoms that take these electrons are oxidizing agents. Free radicals are substances that can exist with missing electrons, making them readily able to donate or accept electrons and damage structures in cells. As such, they are highly reactive, binding with and destroying important cellular compounds. Most of the free radicals in your body are made during metabolic processes. More are added from the food you eat and environmental pollution.
Most of these free radicals contain oxygen molecules. As each cell makes energy in little structures called mitochondria, free radicals result. These oxidant by-products can damage DNA, proteins and lipids (fats). Consequently, toxic by-products of lipid peroxidation may cause cancer, inhibit enzyme activity and produce mutations in genetic material that make you age faster.
DNA Repair Theory
Free radical damage to DNA can cause cells to mutate or die. Your body makes enzymes that can repair this damage and slow aging. But, over time, the amount of damage overwhelms the body's ability to fix things. As cells grow older, their ability to patch up DNA diminishes and the rate of damage proceeds faster than repair. The result: We age and eventually die.
What Can We Do
The free radical theory of aging suggests that taking antioxidants (compounds known to prevent free radical damage) in our food or as supplements may slow aging.
In the publication Age (18  1995: 62), it was reported that "aging appears to be caused by free radicals initiated by the mitochondria at an increasing rate with age. Superoxide and hydrogen peroxide radicals formed by the mitochondria during normal metabolism are major risk factors for disease and death after about the age of 28 in developed countries. Antioxidants from the diet lower the production of free radicals without impairing essential reactions to maintain body function."
Common dietary antioxidants include: vitamins E and C, carotenes, sulphur containing amino acids, co-enzyme Q10 and flavonoids (a group of plant compounds or pigments responsible for the color in fruits and flowers). In addition, melatonin, DHEA and the amino acid compound glutathione may also prove of benefit.
Glutathione along with the enzyme glutathione peroxidase are an essential part of free radical "quenching." (Quenching means changing free radicals into benign substances no longer capable of harm.)
Deficiencies may suggest a decreased capacity to maintain detoxification and metabolic reactions in which glutathione plays a role, resulting in increased free radical stress and/or lipid peroxidation. Drinking too many alcoholic beverages can result in glutathione deficiency.
In a study in which 39 healthy men and 130 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 94 were evaluated for glutathione levels, the older subjects had significantly decreased levels (especially in the 60 to 79-year-old group). The authors felt that physical health and longevity were closely related to glutathione levels (Jrnl Lab & Clin Sci 120(5), Nov. 1992: 720-725).
Poor nutrition and/or deficiencies in essential micronutrients and many prescription medications may contribute significantly to detoxification capacity in an aged individual. All of these circumstances are common in the elderly.
Eating a poor diet that contains too many processed foods without many fruits and vegetables can compromise your body's ability to detoxify pollutants, toxins and other harmful compounds. That can set off metabolic processes capable of fomenting large increases in free radical stress that can accelerate aging. Unfortunately, even in a country as prosperous as our own, nutrient deficiencies are frequent, especially in older citizens.
A study that looked at what elderly people consumed compared their reported intake with the 1989 Recommended Dietary Amount (RDA) and 1980 RDA: One of four people consumed only two-thirds of the RDA for calories and 60% consumed less than two-thirds of the RDA for vitamin D. As for other nutrients, 50% were found to have inadequate zinc levels (less than two-thirds of the RDA), 31% lacked calcium, 27% were short of vitamin B6, 25% didn't get enough magnesium, 7% missed out on folate and 6% ate less than two-thirds of the requirement for vitamin C (Nutrition Reviews (II), September 1995: S9-S15).
When researchers examine what everyone in the U.S. eats, they find that only 9% of Americans consume the recommended five servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sept 1993).
A diet high in fruits and vegetables is naturally high in antioxidant compounds and is believed to help you live longer. Unfortunately, if you buy your produce in the supermarket, those fruits and vegetables may also be rich in pesticide and herbicide residues (Consumer Reports, March 1999). Obviously, organic produce lacks these residues. But, in any case, research continues to indicate that a diet low in meats and animal fat and high in vegetables protects against antioxidant damage.
A six-year study of 182 people over age 70 in rural Greek villages found that those following their traditional diet of olive oil, whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables and wine were less likely to die during the study than those who consumed more red meat and saturated fat. The most important foods in lowering the risk of early death included fruits, vegetables, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, dairy products and cereals (BMJ 311, 1995: 1457-1460)
Another article in Epidemiology highlights the evidence that eating a vegetarian diet increases your chances of living longer. Included in this survey is a recent country-wide study of diet and health in China, showing that the traditional near vegetarian diet of 10% to 15% of calories coming from dietary fat reduced the chances of heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancers. (Epidemiology 3, 1992: 389-391).
Staying skinny and limiting what you eat may also increase longevity. Scientific studies have previously shown that being overweight can theoretically curtail your life, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other life-shortening conditions. Animal studies have also shown that restricting food can slow diseases associated with aging. Researchers believe that cutting calories helps your immune system stay younger by reducing the formation of substances that are called proinflammatory cytokines.
Specifically reducing your intake of fatty foods may decrease your chance of coming down with autoimmune diseases. Researchers think omega-6 fatty acid vegetable oils (like corn oil) may increase free radical formation and decrease levels of antioxidant enzyme messenger RNA in addition to other effects. (Nutrition Reviews 53, 1995: S72-S79). Another study found that cutting calories lowers the levels of oxidative stress and damage, retards age-associated changes and extends maximum life span in mammals (Science 273, July 5, 1996: 59-63).
In yet another study, it was shown that caloric restriction early in the life of lab animals increased their life span by a whopping 40% (Australian Family Physician 23, July 1994: 1297-1305). Today's modern higher-fat, low-fiber diet with substantial sugar consumption represents everything the longevity researchers say you shouldn't eat.
Longevity and Exercise:
Exercise may slow aging. When researchers looked at the exercise habits of 17,000 men, average age of 46, they found that those who took part in vigorous activity lived longer.
Exercise can improve both cardiac and metabolic functions within the body, while also decreasing heart disease risk. Even modest exercise has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels (JAMA 273, April 19, 1995: 1179-1184).
In a study of how exercise affects your chances of living longer, 9,773 men underwent preventive medicine examinations on two different occasions. When the researchers looked at who lived longest, they found the highest death rate was in men who were unfit during both physical exams.
The Treadmill of Life
The lowest death rate was in the men who worked out and were in good shape. The researchers concluded that for each minute increase in how long a man could keep treading on a treadmill (between the first and second exam) there was a corresponding 7.9% decrease in the risk of dying. (JAMA 273 , April 12, 1995: 1093-1098).
Since exercise can increase oxygen consumption up to 10 times, boosting the rate of production of free radicals, researchers believe that older individuals need more antioxidant nutrients to protect them. In a paper published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (1997), researchers stated that if you regularly exercise in your golden years, you should take more antioxidant vitamins to compensate for this risk.
Melatonin is not often thought of as an antioxidant, but, instead, as a sleep aid. Melatonin, however, is an effective and efficient free radical scavenger and may help stave off the effects of aging.
Melatonin protects against what are called hydroxyl free radicals. Research shows that older people's lack of melatonin may make them more susceptible to oxidative stress. In one study, researchers felt that new therapies aimed at stimulating melatonin synthesis may eventually lead to therapies for the prevention of diseases related to premature aging (Aging and Clinical Experimental Research 7, 1995: 338-339). Melatonin was shown to provide antioxidant protection in several ways.
Toning Down Enzymes
Melatonin can ease the effects of enzymes that generate free radicals, enhance the production of glutathione peroxidase (an antioxidant) and defuse the caustic action of free radicals that contain hydroxyls.
In several studies, DHEA supplementation has been shown to potentially revive immune function in older adults (Exp. Opin. Invest. Drugs 4, 1995: 147-154).
In a study of 138 persons older than 85 years compared to 64 persons 20 to 40 years of age, scientists found that the younger people had four times as much DHEA in their bodies.
The researchers believe that our bodies make less and less DHEA as we get older. The authors of this study raise the possibility that declining DHEA may be partly to blame for our biological clocks running down (New York Academy of Sciences 1994: 543-552).
Vitamins E & C
A growing body of research also supports the benefits of taking vitamins E and C to hold off the effects of getting old. Researchers writing in Free Radicals and Aging (1992: 411-418) point out that as you get older your body is home to more and more free radical reactions that may lead to degenerative diseases like heart disease and arthritis. Research has found that in older people with exercise-induced oxidative stress, taking vitamin E every day may significantly fight off free radicals. (To investigate this effect, scientists measured waste products in urine that result from free radical reactions.) Their conclusion: Dietary antioxidants such as vitamin E may be beneficial.
Chronological Age Vs. Biological Age
Vitamin C also looks to scientists like a good anti-aging bet. Research in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, (7, Spring 1994: 31-41) showed that folks consuming larger amounts of vitamin C were less likely to experience clinical problems at all ages. Those taking in less than 100 mg of vitamin C per day also suffered the most problems. In this research, individuals over 50 years of age who daily consumed the largest amount of vitamin C were as healthy or healthier than the 40 year olds who were taking the least amount of vitamin C.
A similar relationship appears to exist for vitamin E and serum cholesterol levels. In a study of 360 physicians and their spouses, researchers found that people in their 50s who consumed more vitamin E had lower cholesterol than those in their 30s who were taking less. And the longevity beat goes on: In a study evaluating environmental tobacco smoke and oxidative stress, researchers divided 103 people into three groups. Researchers blew smoke at 37 of these folks without protection while 30 of them got to breathe tobacco smoke but took antioxidant supplementation. Another 36 of them merely had to read magazines from doctors' offices. The results: After 60 days of supplementation the antioxidant folks had a 62% reduction in evidence of oxidative damage to their DNA. Cholesterol levels dropped and so did antioxidant enzyme activities. The researchers concluded that taking antioxidants provided a modicum of protection against environmental poisons.
The range of antioxidant nutrients used in this study included: beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium as well as copper (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 7, November 1998: 981-988).
When you mention carotene or carotenoids, most people think of the beta carotene that makes carrots orange. But more than 600 carotenoids are present in colorful vegetables and many of these misunderstood substances are more potent antioxidants than beta-carotene.
Carotenoids have been shown to destroy oxygen free radicals in lipids (fats), help protect our cells from the sun's ultra violet radiation and enhance our natural immune response (J. Nutr 119(1), Jan. 1989: 112-115).
Some evidence seems to show that how much carotenoids you (and other mammals) have in your cells may be the predominant factor in determining life span (Proc Natl Acad Sci 82 , 1985: 798-802). Therefore, a diet rich in carotenoids (leafy green vegetables, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, citrus fruits and tomatoes) along with supplementation seems to be just what the fountain of youth ordered.
Flavonoids, a group of antioxidant plant pigments, seem to be able to protect specific organs.
For instance, the flavonoids in milk thistle (Silybum marianum) have been used for ages for liver problems. Bilberry has been found protective for the eye and hawthorn for the heart and circulatory system.
Numerous studies have shown the many beneficial effects of flavonoids with perhaps the best known being the ability of anthocyanidins in wine and grape seed extract to help protect your blood vessels and capillaries from oxidative damage (Phytotherapy 42, 1986: 11-14; Am J Clin Nutr 61, 1995: 549-54).
Flavonoids are found in vegetables and such fruits as blackberries, blueberries, cherries and grapes. A diet rich in these foods helps ensure an adequate intake of these important nutrient compounds.
Amino Acid Health
Methionine and cysteine are sulphur containing amino acids (protein building blocks), both of which are essential in maintaining levels of glutathione, a substance that plays a major role in quelling free radicals. Studies have found that as we age, the level of these important amino acids in our bodies decreases. (NEJM 312 , 1985: 159-68).
As it has been shown that adding cysteine to the diet of test animals can increase their life expectancy considerably, researchers believe these amino acids can help us live longer too.
Attitude & Behavior
Get more sleep! A recent study showed that men who habitually napped were less likely to have a heart attack. The men in this research who regularly napped for at least 30 minutes per day had about a 30% reduction in heart problems while those who napped for a full hour had a 50% reduction compared to non nappers. Naps of longer duration did not seem to increase the benefit.
In the same research, investigators also found that spending time with a pet or merely contemplating nature could also improve cardiac health. Sensuality, optimism and altruism also appeared to have health benefits (Family Practice News, December 15, 1998: 14-15).
In another study, this one in American Psychologist, researchers from the University of California found that people who are self-indulgent, pampered and achieve by running roughshod over the competition are less likely to outlive their healthy peers. Being egocentric, impulsive, undependable and tough-minded were predictors of poor physical health and a shorter life. So loosen up and be nice to your fellow humans! (U.C. Davis Magazine, Fall 1995: 14).
Longevity at Last
While no one has suggested that taking supplements, eating vegetables or exercising can, as of yet, extend the human life span past the generally recognized limit of about 120 years, researchers believe they can improve your odds of living longer. An added benefit: By staying healthier, your old age won't only be longer, it will be more enjoyable, too.
And, who knows, if you hang around long enough, taking your nutrients and getting a comfortable amount of consistent exercise, while meditating and refusing to succumb to stress, that magic bullet that will keep you alive for centuries may be discovered. Some day a new antioxidant or other substance may finally prove to provide the elusive fountain of youth. Stay tuned.
June 10, 2005 09:44 PM
Breast Cancer by Joseph L. Mayo,MD Mary Ann Mayo, MA Energy Times, May 2, 1999
What do you fear most? Bankruptcy? Floods? Heart disease? If you're like many women, breast cancer stands near the top of that dreaded list.
But that fear doesn't permeate other cultures the way it does ours.
A woman like Mariko Mori, for instance, 52 years old, Japanese, worries about intense pressures beginning to burden her toddler grandson. But worry about breast cancer? Hardly.
In Indiana, Mary Lou Marks, 50, has similar family frets, mulling over her 28-year-old daughter's career choice.
But on top of that, when Mary Lou tabulates her other worries, she recoils at the thought of breast cancer. She's heard about her lifetime risk: 1 in 8. Meanwhile, Mariko's is merely 1 in 40, according to Bob Arnot's Breast Cancer Prevention Diet (Little, Brown).
New studies have found the effect of carrying the gene linked to breast cancer, which is responsible for only 5 to 10% of breast cancer incidence, is not as great as first suspected. Earlier estimates that the gene reflects an 80% chance of incurring breast cancer by age 70 has been recalculated to be only 37% (The Lancet, 1998;352:1337-1339).
Complex Causesbr> Researchers agree: No one factor is solely responsible for breast cancer. Risk depends on many factors, including diet, weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, activity level and, of course, those genes.
Regardless of their actual chance of getting breast cancer, women worry. Mary Lou faces no factors that would place her in particular jeopardy. But her anxieties about radical therapies and medical expenses paralyze her: She forgets to visit her health care provider and skips her annual mammogram appointments. Mary Lou's daughter, perhaps in reaction to her mother's gripping fears, campaigns ardently for cancer prevention, educating herself and mobilizing against the cumulative effects of known cancer risks. Smart young woman: A malignancy, after all, can take years to develop. A tumor must swell to one billion cells before it is detectable by a mammogram.
The soy-rich regimen of Japanese women like Mariko Mori, for example, helps to explain the low breast cancer rates in Asian countries (see box at center of the page).
Tomatoes, because of their high quotient of the carotenoid lycopene, have been found to protect cells from the corrosive clutches of oxidants that have been linked with cancer in 57 out of 72 studies (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 17, 1999, page A6, reporting on a Harvard Medical School study). For more on tomatoes see page 16.
But there's no one magic anti-cancer food or diet. Eating to prevent breast cancer requires a balanced menu with fiber, healthy fats, phytoestrogens and antioxidants, all fresh and free of chemical additives.
Modifying the balance and type of estrogen, the female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, offers an important breast cancer safeguard. Fat cells, adrenal glands and, before menopause, the ovaries, produce three "flavors" of estrogen, the strongest of which, estradiol, is believed to be carcinogenic when too plentiful or persistent in the body.
Estrogen does its work by attaching to estrogen receptors. Receptors are particularly numerous in the epithelial cells that line milk sacs and ducts in the breasts.
A receptor site is like a designated parking spot: Once estrogen is parked there it triggers one of its 400 functions in the body, from preparation of the uterus for pregnancy to intensifying nerve synapses in the brain.
The food we eat can be a source of estrogen; plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens, are much weaker than the body's estrogens, but they fit the same receptors. Phytoestrogens exert a milder estrogenic effect than bodily estrogen and are capable of blocking the more potent, damaging versions.
Soy also contains genistein, an "isoflavone" very similar in molecular form to estrogen but only 1/100,000 as potent. Because of its structure, genistein can attach to cells just as estrogen does; it also helps build carriers needed for binding estrogen and removing it from the body (Journal of Nutrition 125, no.3 :757S-770S). It acts as an antioxidant to counteract free radicals.
Soy is most protective for younger women. Postmenopausal women benefit from soy's ability to diminish hot flashes and for cardiovascular protection, especially in combination with vitamin E, fiber and carotene (Contemporary OB/GYN, September 1998, p57-58).
Experts don't know that much about the cumulative effect of combining hormone replacement with soy, herbs and a diet high in phytoestrogens. Menopausal women who boost their estrogen this way should work with their health care providers and monitor their hormonal levels every six to 12 months with salivary testing.
The Vegetable Cart
Fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces insulin levels and suppresses the appetite by making make us feel full, thus helping with weight control, so important to resisting cancer. Fiber also helps build estrogen carriers that keep unbound estrogen from being recirculated and reattached to the breast receptors.
Cellulose, the fruit and vegetable fiber most binding with estrogen, also rounds up free radicals that damage DNA within cells.,p> Feeding the Immune System Despite heightened public awareness and efforts to stick to wholesome, healthful diets, experts increasingly link poor nutrition to depressed immune systems. Many Americans are at least marginally deficient in trace elements and vitamins despite their best attempts to eat well; that's why a good multivitamin/mineral is wise, even mandatory. Vitamins given to people undergoing cancer treatment stimulate greater response, fewer side effects, and increased survival (International Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, January/February 1999).
Nutrients tend to work synergistically on the immune system. They should be taken in balanced proportions, and in consultation with your health care provider.
n Riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid (B5), zinc and folate strengthen immunity. Selenium, in lab culture and animal studies, has helped kill tumors and protect normal tissues.
n Beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants. Vitamin C enhances vitamin E's effects, boosting immunity and protecting against cell damage. The antioxidant isoflavones in green tea, with soy, convey the anticancer effects of the Asian diet. Research shows actions that discourage tumors and gene mutations.
The food you eat influences hormones. Excess sugar raises insulin, which acts as a growth factor for cancer and interferes with vitamin C's stimulation of white blood cells. It may contribute to obesity.
Alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which causes cancer in laboratory animals. It affects gene regulation by decreasing the body's ability to use folic acid. It increases estrogen and the amount of free estradiol in the blood. The liver damage that accompanies high alcohol consumption frequently reduces its capacity to filter carcinogenic products, regulate hormones and break down estrogen. Studies of alcohol consumption have caused experts to estimate that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day increases breast cancer risk by 63% (OB-GYN News, November 1, 1998, p. 12).
Fat Can be Phat
Fat cells produce estrogen. Excess fat stores carcinogens and limits carriers that can move estrogen out of your system.
Once estrogen has attached itself to a receptor, the health result depends on the type of fat in the breast. Saturated fat, transfatty acids and omega-6 fat from polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as safflower oil, peanut, soybean oil, corn oil and in margarine can increase the estrogen effect and trigger a powerful signal to the breast cell to replicate.
Breast tissue is protected by omega-3 fat chiefly from fish and flaxseed and by omega-9 from olive oil. Salmon once a week or water packed tuna three times a week are particularly beneficial. Fish oil supplements processed to reduce contaminates are available. Cod liver oil isn't recommended: its vitamin A and D levels are too high.
Flaxseed is the richest known plant source of omega-3. Use a coffee grinder to benefit from the seed and oil for the full estrogen effect; sprinkle ground flaxseed over cereal or fold into baked goods. Drizzle flaxseed oil, found in the refrigerator section of your health food store, over salads or cereal. (Store the oil in the refrigerator.)
Olive oil, especially in the context of the so-called Mediterranean diet of vegetables, omega-3-rich fish and fresh fruit (Menopause Management, January-February 1999, p. 16-19), lowers the risk of breast cancer (The Lancet, May 18, 1996;347:1351-1356).
Selecting Organic Food
Buy or grow fresh, organic foods whenever you can. When grilling meat, fish or poultry, reduce the area where carcinogens may accumulate by trimming fat. Charred, well-done meat is known to be carcinogenic. When grilling, marinate meat first and reduce the cooking time on the grill by slightly precooking.
Cancer prevention is an interlocking puzzle requiring the limitation of fat consumption, weight control, exercise, stress reduction and care for psychological and spiritual balance. Possessing more cancer fighting pieces makes you more likely to be able to complete the prevention picture.
Joseph L. Mayo, MD, FACOG and Mary Ann Mayo, MA, are the authors of The Menopause manager: A Safe Path for a Natural Change, an individualized program for managing menopause. The book's advice, in easy-to-understand portions, isolates in-depth explanations with unbiased reviews of conventional and alternative choices. A unique perspective for mid-life women who want to know all their options.
Also from the Mayos - The HOW Health Opportunities For Women quarterly newsletter to help women learn HOW to make informed health choices. Learn HOW to: - Choose nutritional supplements
The Science of Healthy Hair
June 10, 2005 03:44 PM
The Science of Healthy Hair
by Susan Weiner Energy Times, January 5, 2002
From the strength-giving mane of Sampson to the magically long locks of Rapunzel, hair has had the power to captivate since biblical times. Today, its lure is just as compelling and hair remains an important form of self-expression and self-image. A healthy head of hair is more than an asset to your appearance. A hairstyle can reflect a mood, an attitude or a personal style, while unkempt hair may reveal the status of one's emotional or physical health. Even a "good" hair day vs. a "bad" hair day can significantly determine how your frame of mind takes shape. We can't always control the frizz factor or the humid weather that makes our curls fall flat, but many natural approaches are available to allow us to put our best looking follicle forward. Whether your hair is sleek and stylish, long and slinky, spiky punk rock-hip or wash-and-wear, botanical-based products and proper nutrition can bring out the very best in your locks.
Don't Fool Mother Nature
No matter how often you cut, dye, perm or blow-dry your hair, Mother Nature, with the help of your DNA, has blessed you with a quite specific quality and quantity of hair. Styling may work to change the appearance of your hair, but nothing can change your genetics. Every hair on your body, from the soft down on your arms to the coarser, longer hairs on your head, grows from a cell-lined indentation called a follicle. The hair follicle consists of three cylinders; the central cylinder determines whether your hair is straight, wavy or curly. Each hair shaft alternately grows or goes into a dormant phase. "At any one time, approximately fifteen percent of the one hundred thousand or so hairs on the head are resting, while the rest are growing or lengthening," say Arthur Balin, MD, PhD, and Loretta Pratt Balin, MD (The Life of the Skin: What It Hides, What It Reveals, and How It Communicates, Bantam). Hair constantly comes and goes, falling out consistently even when it is healthy. Consequently, a normal head can shed up to one hundred resting-phase hairs a day. When hair is subjected to harsh chemicals and treatment, even more may fall out. If you're concerned with hair loss, gently pull on a small section of hair; if fewer than five hairs come out, hair loss is within normal range.
What's Your Type?
Normal hair is an elusive commodity in these stressed-out days of over-washed, over-dried and chemically treated hair. If your tresses look frizzy, tangle easily or generally lack moisture, they're probably dry. Dry hair lacks the proper oil content to maintain an ample sheen and is usually dull-looking. To gain back a natural shine, cut back on shampooing and use a natural conditioner formulated for dry hair. Look for essential oils such as jojoba, evening primrose, blue chamomile, and white camellia, and B vitamins (such as panthenol) and aloe vera, suggests Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. Drinking plenty of water, eating a diet that's not ultra-low in fats and using a humidifier may also help improve dull-looking dry hair, points out David E. Bank, MD (Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, Adams Media). (Excessively dry hair may be a significant sign of metabolic disease. If you don't notice a marked improvement in your scalp after taking measures to improve dry hair, or your hair is abnormally dry, consult your health practitioner to see if stronger cures should be implemented.)
Too Much Oil
Hair that appears greasy within 24 hours after shampooing is oily. In that case, try gentle shampoos and herbal rinses with essential oils including quillaya bark, amino acids mixed with saponins, non-coloring henna and peppermint. For an oily scalp and dry ends, condition only the ends. Styling products should be oil-free. For thin or flyaway hair, products with natural thickening agents such as panthenol can help pump up the volume. Color treated and damaged hair can benefit from sulfur-containing amino acids; check your natural foods store for hair care products that contain horsetail, coltsfoot and cysteine. Tea tree oil products are effective when you are trying to control dandruff and a problem scalp.
If the label lists sodium lauryl sulfate, steer clear, warns Hampton. And, says Dr. Bank, sodium C-14-16 olefin sulfonate, a harsh chemical found in cheap shampoos, is the worst of the worst when it comes to offensive hair care ingredients. "You also need to watch out for sodium chloride-table salt-in the ingredient list. It's a cheap ingredient to thicken shampoo and strips the hair of oils."
Feed Your Head
To optimize shine and fullness, improve your nutrition, says Bruce Miller, MD, author of The Nutrition Guarantee (Summit Publishing Group). "Good nutrition is as essential to healthy, attractive hair as it is to clear, glowing skin," notes Dr. Miller. "Your hair directly reflects your care and feeding of it." Your hair consists of about 97% protein, containing nineteen of the twenty-two amino acids that form protein, explains Dr. Miller. If you skimp on quality protein, your hair may reflect this amino acid imbalance by breaking, cracking and splitting. Hair follicles pass on the nutrients you consume, nourishing the new cells that form the growing hair shaft. As the hair gradually pushes upward, the shaft is continually lubricated by the busy sebaceous glands. For a smoother transition through the shaft and undamaged hair, lecithin provides a welcome dose of lubrication, as well as the important B vitamins choline and inositol, vital to healthy hair. In fact, the B vitamins are crucial to the growth of full bodied, healthy hair. The B complex strengthens, forms and smoothes the hair shafts, and helps maintain an even hair color, even warding off the beginning of gray hair. For thick and shiny hair, vitamin A works in conjunction with the B vitamins. Zinc can strengthen the hair shafts by thickening them. Thicker and stronger hair shafts increase your chances of holding on to your hair and suffering fewer lost hairs. When it comes to hair retention, genetics count. The more hair your parents retained, the greater your chance of keeping yours.
If you're interested in optimal hair health, think nutrition. Eating for the sake of your curls is a lot like eating for overall health: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean sources of protein, including tofu and other soy-based foodstuffs. To support healthy hair, some experts advocate foods high in biotin, including brown rice, brewer's yeast, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. The natural phytochemicals in green tea may aid hair, while ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp. Don't forget your daily vitamins and be sure to take an iron and B12 supplement.
Herbs from China show great promise for helping hair. He Shou Wu, made from Polygoni multiflori (the eastern wild rose), is reputed by devotees to restore color, slow hair loss, and help hair grow back. In Chinese medicine, this botanical has been used as an adaptogen to boost overall health and longevity. Within the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Shou Wu is supposed to strengthen the liver and kidney meridians and support healthy blood. Many Asians use the herb to promote higher levels of qi, the TCM concept that encompasses your life's overall energy.
Show a Little Tenderness
Long-term exposure to sunlight and seawater can damage hair, as can combing or brushing wet hair. Treat your hair with kid gloves, use natural products that are gentle on hair, and avoid chemical treatments. If you're looking to lose weight, avoid crash diets; a sudden drop in nutrition can cause deficiencies and lead to hair damage and loss. Keeping a wonderful head of hair means staying ahead of the curve with proper nutrition, the right supplements and a continuous program of TLC. In that way, you can maintain the crowning head of hair you've always coveted.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - What are they good for?
June 09, 2005 09:27 AM
In 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term 'vitamine' to refer to a 'vital factor' he proposed was an essential component present in foods. His conjecture dovetailed with other research, leading to the isolation in the 1930's and 40's of the compounds we now call vitamins.
Vitamins are chemical substances which play a variety of roles in the human body. They are core components of any nutritional supplementation program.
While many people are aware of vitamins as necessary substances for good nutrition, few have a grasp of the extraordinary complexity of the roles they play in our bodies. As you'll see below, vitamins are involved in trillions of biochemical interactions every minute to keep us alive and functioning. For example, B-vitamins are converted into coenzymes which are directly necessary for the production of ATP energy from food, a process that goes on continuously in every cell in the body and which in turn fuels myriad physiological events such as muscle contraction, brain activity or tissue repair.
Source Naturals offers a full line of vitamins in bioactive forms, allowing you to tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to your individual needs.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is a generic term for a class of fat-soluble substances called retinoids, which can either be consumed preformed or synthesized by the liver from plant pigments called carotenoids (see 'Carotenoids', below). An essential nutrient, vitamin A is perhaps best known for its role in vision.
The outer segments of the rods, a type of light-sensitive cell in the retina of the eye, contain a pigment called rhodopsin (or 'visual purple') that mediates vision in dim light. Cone cells mediate color vision via three additional pigments. Both rods and cones are surrounded by pigmented epithelial cells that store vitamin A. Rhodopsin is formed from a protein called opsin and a vitamin A-dependent compound called 11-cis retinal. As light strikes the rods and cones it is absorbed by the pigment molecules, and retinal is split off from opsin. This chemical change allows an electrical impulse to be sent to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. The pigment must then be regenerated from opsin and retinal. Repeated small losses of retinal during this process require a constant replenishment of vitamin A to the eyes.
Vitamin A also plays an extremely important role in epithelial cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is the process by which a cell undergoes a change to a specialized cell type, allowing it to perform particular functions in the body. It is not yet understood precisely how vitamin A is involved in this process. One hypothesis is that it directly affects gene expression through its interaction with chromatin, a complex of DNA, RNA and protein in the cell nucleus. These interactions affect the process of transcription of DNA to messenger RNA, leading to synthesis of a specific group of cellular proteins.
Each one of us carries in our DNA a unique genetic blueprint. This genetic material is the same in every cell of our bodies. It is only because of this mysterious and magical process of differentiation that we have specialized cell types - and therefore eyes, ears, lungs and hearts.
Vitamin A is necessary, either directly or indirectly, for the healthy growth and functioning of many of our tissues and organ systems, including the eyes, the skin, the bones, the reproductive system, and the natural defenses. It is not yet known whether this requirement is due to the role of vitamin A in cell differentiation or whether there are other physiological processes for which vitamin A is essential.
Vitamin A is related to a class of nutrients called carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are botanical pigments whose colors range from red to orange to yellow. Some carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A predominantly in the intestinal mucosa and to some extent in the liver. Carotenoids are completely non-toxic; their conversion into vitamin A is well-regulated by the body, making them extremely safe sources of this essential nutrient.
In addition to their role as safe sources of vitamin A, carotenoids are powerful nutrients in their own right. Their primary claim to fame is their powerful antioxidant action, particularly against singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an 'excited' ion of oxygen which, while not technically a free radical, is nonetheless highly reactive. It causes 'oxidative' reactions which can impair or destroy membranes, enzymes and DNA. It can also lead to the formation of free radicals which can cause additional damage.
Certain carotenoids such as beta carotene, because of their chemical structure, can neutralize singlet oxygen by absorbing its extra energy and dissipating it throughout the carotenoid molecule, releasing the energy as heat and converting the singlet oxygen back to 'normal' oxygen. One molecule of beta carotene can quench up to 1000 molecules of singlet oxygen.
In addition to their role as singlet oxygen quenchers, carotenes provide antioxidant protection against free radicals as well. In nature, they protect plants from photo-oxidative reactions; in humans, certain carotenoids, notably beta carotene, may help protect the skin from such reactions. Other carotenoids may provide more localized protection to particular organs. Lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, are selectively concentrated in the retina of the eye. Along with vitamins C and E, carotenes are among the most important nutrient antioxidants in the human body.
Stevia Sweetleaf with FOS - A Healthy Choice for Balanced Blood Sugar Levels
June 06, 2005 09:08 AM
Since the first sugar cane was brought from exotic South Pacific and Caribbean islands generations ago, Americans have had a love affair with foods that are super sweet but lack true nourishment. This has led to the development of literally thousands of good tasting but nutritionless foods that have contributed to childhood and adult obesity, energy depletion, mood swings, decreased brain function, and countless other negative effects on human health. Nature has also provided help in the form of an amazing herb from Paraguay, Stevia rebaudiana. Now Planetary Formulas brings you this beneficial herb with its introduction of STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS.
STEVIA SWEETLEAF contains a concentrated extract of stevia leaves and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) derived from the roots of the Chicory plant (Cichorium intiba). Stevia leaves have been used as a staple in the diet of the Gaurani Indians for more than 1500 years. One of stevia’s greatest attributes is that it contains no calories and no fat. Traditionally, it was used in foods and as a digestive tonic. Modern research has shown that stevia can help to balance blood sugar levels through an enhancement of insulin production. Balanced blood sugar levels in turn can help maintain stable energy levels, proper brain function, and emotional stability, while also reducing sugar cravings.
Planetary Formulas STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS contains a highly potent stevia extract containing 90% steviosides, the primary active components of stevia. Stevia has been used historically to improve digestion and gastrointestinal function. A healthy gastrointestinal tract is important for digestion, assimilation, the efficient burning of calories, the elimination of toxins, and healthy immune functions. The steviosides in stevia pass through the digestive process without chemically breaking down, so the body obtains no calories from it and it does not contribute to swings in blood sugar levels in the way that consumption of simple sugars do. Modern research suggests stevia has a positive effect on the pancreas, the primary sugar regulating organ of the body.
Unlike many stevia extracts, which are made with toxic extracting solvents, Planetary Formulas uses a water extraction process to avoid the presence of potentially toxic compounds. This is also more ecologically sound: a perfect supplement for people and planet.
FOS is a delicious, fiber-rich group of compounds that also serve as an herbal intestinal prebiotic. Prebiotics are substances that promote the body's natural production of friendly flora, most specifically, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. The magic of FOS is that–like the steviosides–it passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. Once in the colon, it helps to create a healthy bacterial environment. Part of its action in the colon is its ability to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on fat metabolism that are similar to fiber. The results are improvements in gastrointestinal function, bowel regularity, fat metabolism, and a cleansed colon--all of which are integral to health overall.
This combination of delicious flavor, fiber, blood sugar-balancing, and prebiotic activity makes STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS an ideal dietary supplement for healthy blood sugar levels, digestion, and colon health and as part of a healthy weight management program.
PLANETARY FORMULAS—YOUR SOURCE FOR ADVANCED HERBAL NUTRITION
Planetary Formulas is dedicated to bringing you the finest herbal supplement modern research has to offer. And now compelling research shows how the ingredients in STEVIA SWEETLEAF WITH FOS can help maintain normal blood sugar levels and a healthier lifestyle. Available in 2 oz, 4 oz and 8 oz sizes.