Search Term: " salads "
NOW Real Food® Marcona Almonds
November 02, 2022 04:44 PM
Almonds are a popular ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes. They are originally from Spain and are known for their rich, buttery flavor. Our Marcona almonds are grown in California on a family farm. They are blanched to preserve their pure, mild, buttery flavor and moist, tender texture. Here are some ways you can enjoy them!
salads - Add some crunch to your salad with NOW Real Food® Marcona Almonds. Their rich, buttery flavor goes great with greens and other salad ingredients.
Desserts - Use Marcona Almonds as a topping for your favorite dessert. They add a delicious crunch that takes your dessert to the next level.
Cheese and Fruit Pairings - Serve NOW Real Food® Marcona Almonds with cheese and fruit for a tasty snack or appetizer. The rich, buttery flavor of the almonds pairs well with both sweet and savory flavors.
NOW Real Food® Marcona Almonds are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes. Their rich, buttery flavor is perfect for salads, desserts, and cheese and fruit pairings. Add them to your next dish for a delicious crunch that will take it to the next level!
NOW Real Food® Goldenberries - Your New Favorite Superfood!
October 22, 2022 11:24 AM
Here at NOW Real Food®, we're always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to help our customers live healthier, happier lives. That's why we're so excited to introduce - NOW Real Food® Goldenberries!
Native to South America, goldenberries have been consumed for thousands of years thanks to their numerous health benefits. Once dried, they resemble raisins, but their taste is a unique and exotic combination of sweet-and-sour, pucker-up goodness the whole family will absolutely love!
Not only are they delicious, but goldenberries are also incredibly versatile. You can enjoy them straight out of the bag, mix them with nuts and granola for an ultra-tasty trail mix, sprinkle them on salads, add them to breads and cookies, or create your own tasty jams and jellies. Goldenberries are also paired with artisan wines, cheeses and chocolates to create unique and remarkable flavor combinations. Trust us - there's nothing quite like goldenberries!
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our website and stock up on NOW Real Food® Goldenberries today. Your taste buds (and your body) will thank you!
The Health Benefits of Goldenberries
In addition to being delicious and versatile, goldenberries are also packed with nutrients that can help your body in a variety of ways. Here are just a few of the many health benefits associated with consuming goldenberries:
As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to start incorporating NOW Real Food® Goldenberries into your diet! Not only are they delicious, but they offer numerous health benefits that can help improve your overall well-being. So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our website and stock up today! Your taste buds (and your body) will thank you!
This Delicious Sweet Fruit Is Called The Fruit Of The Angels:Weight Loss And Other Benefits - Doctor NDTV
May 07, 2019 04:07 PM
The papaya fruit has been called the "fruit of the angels" because of its nutrients which are needed for your body to function normally. Papaya has enzymes in them which are often included in dietary supplements and chewing gum. These enzymes can also help reduce inflammation. Papaya also has antioxidant nutrients such as carotene, flavonoids, and vitamins C and K. The fiber in papaya can aid you in weight loss and also can help control your appetite,
"Papaya is a natural source of essential vitamins and minerals which are required for the normal functioning of the body."
Read more: https://doctor.ndtv.com/living-healthy/this-delicious-sweet-fruit-is-called-the-fruit-of-the-angels-weight-loss-and-other-benefits-1981442
Pistachios: Discover 7 reasons to eat this delicious nut
April 24, 2019 02:19 PM
Tree nuts can be a great addition to a healthy diet, and there is no better example of this than the pistachio. Pistachios are rich in antioxidants that help fight against aging, cancer and inflammation. Eating pistachios can also improve your blood pressure and blood glucose levels. They're a good source or protein, fiber and healthy fats. In fact, snacking on pistachios can actually help you lose weight because they make you feel full. Note that one serving of pistachios is about one ounce of unshelled nuts, which is just under 50 kernels. How you eat them (alone or added to salads, rice, desserts, etc.) and buy them (pre-shelled vs. shelling them yourself) is up to you.
"They’re super gut healthy and can increase the number of bacteria which produce the anti-inflammatory fatty acid called butyrate (which protects against everything from obesity to autoimmune disorders)."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/pistachios-food-news-2805.html
Cinnamon has good-for-you properties along with wonderful aroma
October 13, 2018 11:52 AM
There are many good things that come from eating cinnamon. Not only does it taste really good, it has properties within it that are good for you. First and foremost, it helps unclog your system. If you are feeling a little bit stuffy or too down, then cinnamon can help clear all of that stuff up. Also, it has a really good aroma to it that indicates that it is good for the senses of a human.
"According to a 2018 analysis of studies of people with type 2 diabetes, taking between a half and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon daily reduced fasting blood sugar by 10% to 29%."
Read more: https://www.jsonline.com/story/life/food/2018/10/08/cinnamon-good-you-properties-along-wonderful-aroma/1491615002/
CBD Oil Is the 'Wellness Vitamin' Everyone Can Benefit From, Experts Say
July 22, 2018 11:53 AM
Unlike its cousin marijuana, which is psychoactive in nature, the hemp plant has very minute amounts of the intoxicant found in marijuana. It's therefore legal to consume and sell in all of the fifty states, as long as the sellers can show their product has less than .03% of THC, the intoxicating element in marijuana. CBD oil, or cannabidiol, which is a hemp extract, is not just legal it's sexy and offered to eager consumers in pills, powders, liquids, even smoothies. CBD popularity undoubtedly arises from the fact that the hemp variant has many of the calming feel-good effects of the marijuana variant, but without the intoxicant. Besides its mood-elevating and tranquilizing effects, CBD also has been shown to help pain-sufferers and lower inflammation. Many nutrition gurus are advocating use of the oil as a daily wellness regiment. Meanwhile, product uses multiply in everything from salad dressing to chocolate.
"Currently, CBD is being added to everything from smoothie powders, coffee, tinctures, gummies and tablets to salad dressing. Despite its lack of psychoactive components, which is typically credited for cannabis’ feel-good benefits, when taken internally, CBD has a similar effect — just without the high."
Read more: https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-body/news/cbd-oil-the-wellness-benefits-explained-by-experts/
What Nobody Tells You About Celery And What Happens To Your Body Once You Include It In Your Meals!
October 30, 2017 12:14 PM
Celery is a miracle vegetable, and can be used for many purposes other than just for basic eating. Celery is a stem from a vegetable and a natural "remedy" food. Can be used in soups, salads, foods, and even for weight loss. It has many health properties that it can promote.It is a diuretic vegetable which means it can rid the body of the toxins it has. Celery contains many vitamins and minerals, and also contains a large amount of liquid water. It can also assist in bowel movements, and the movement of the intestines. It also strengthens the auto-immune system, and has anti-bacterial properties. There are also many ways celery can be cooked and certain ways can take advantage of certain properties of celery.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9RfTeIYDu4&rel=0
"Celery is rich in flavanoids, vitamins, minerals like pottassiun, phosphorus, sodium and calcium and so its is very useful"
Are mangos the nutrient filled superfood we need for better health?
September 23, 2017 09:14 AM
A recent comprehensive review was published about all of the benefits of eating mangos. Review focused on the anti-inflammatory and health benefits of the pulp and flash of the mango. Recent research has shown that the mango enhances intestinal, grain in skin health. It also has shown to help prevent obesity as well as type 2 diabetes. Research into this low-calorie nutrient rich food needs to continue but it looks like the mango is a promising superfood.
"Mangos have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties according to a comprehensive review of all available science literature on the fruit."
Read more: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Are-mangos-the-nutrient-filled-superfood-we-need-for-better-health
Does Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Help You Lose Weight? A Dietitian's Response
August 21, 2017 04:14 PM
People may wonder if drinking apple cider vinegar helps them lose weight. There is not any harm in taking it regularly, but it might not be a good idea to use it as a weight loss supplement. There is evidence that shows it can help with weight loss and blood sugar levels, but there is not a ton of evidence that makes it a sure thing. It can help you feel satiated, which will make you want to eat less.
"These studies sound promising, but as mentioned above, there haven't been extensive studies proving that taking ACV daily will greatly impact your metabolism or help with weight loss."
Read more: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/ACV-Help-Weight-Loss-43633087
Radicchio: The Vitamin K Vegetable that Supports the Heart & Bones (And Kills a Common Parasite!)
May 15, 2017 03:44 PM
Many people have not heard of radicchio, and if they have, they don't really know what it is, let alone use it for their own consumption. Radicchio is a leafy vegetable that can be used in many salads or other recipes. It has a somewhat spicy radish flavor. It has many health benefits including fighting cancer cells, creating stronger bones and being good for the heart. It is also loaded with antioxidants and actually gets rid of some parasites. So load up and fun tasty ways to use this helpful vegetable.
"Radicchio also contains a large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are specifically known as the antioxidants responsible for keeping your eyes healthy."
Read more: https://draxe.com/radicchio/
Does apple cider vinegar have health benefits?
May 02, 2017 08:59 AM
Is there any apple cider vinegar in your pantry? If not, perhaps it is time to make this addition. Apple cider vinegar has an array of health benefits that are going to be yours when the vinegar is used on a regular basis. What are those health benefits? You've come to the right place to learn. DO not wait any longer to enjoy the massive health benefits that come with apple cider vinegar used in your life.
"If you are using apple cider or other vinegars as one part of an overall plan, combining it with a healthy diet, portion control and exercise, it might help, Drayer says. She suggested using balsamic vinegar on salads, in a 4:1 ratio with oil, or adding it to sauces for poultry and fish."
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/18/health/apple-cider-vinegar-uses/index.html
HOW TO GET FLAT BELLY IN JUST 5 DAYS – Results Are Guaranteed!
April 23, 2017 11:44 AM
People always wonder how you can get a flat tummy by working out or dieting. A flat tummy doesn't just come with workouts only but it comes with eating the proper things, like salads and such. Some people try to wear plastic wraps to make their stomach smaller but that doesn't not have long lasting affect. This video shows how different ways to really get a flat tummy. They have a list of things like the position when you eat matters and how slow or fast you eat as well.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXd5hSpy3sY&rel=0
"If you feel heavy and bloated, and worry how you will look in your new clothes especially purchased for an event, it’s the right time to devote on creating healthy food habits."
6 Ways to Use Spring Herbs as Healthy Greens
March 11, 2017 06:14 AM
Greens are healthy but not everyone likes the traditional lettuce. Many find it too bland. This gives ideas for using spring herbs in its place. This will make your salads more flavorful so you'll actually want to eat greens. This also allows you to broaden your eating horizons in general. Take these ideas and expand on them to create even more.
"Using handfuls of herbs instead of pinches can pack more nutrition onto your plate."
6 Ways to Use Spring Herbs as Healthy Greens
March 11, 2017 05:59 AM
Greens are healthy but not everyone likes the traditional lettuce. Many find it too bland. This gives ideas for using spring herbs in its place. This will make your salads more flavorful so you'll actually want to eat greens. This also allows you to broaden your eating horizons in general. Take these ideas and expand on them to create even more.
"Using handfuls of herbs instead of pinches can pack more nutrition onto your plate."
Coconut Meat: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
January 30, 2017 02:59 PM
Coconut oil and milk are common choices for healthy fats in diets. But what about the rest of the fruit? Many don’t know that coconut meat is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It is also very versatile, as it can be put in salads, desserts, smoothies, and sprinkled on baked goods. In addition to vitamins and minerals, coconut is also a great source of fiber. The nutritional content of the food gives it the benefits of helping with bowel health, blood sugar levels, supporting the immune system, and fighting off bacteria and parasites.
"Coconut contains the important saturated fatty acids, including lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. From these three, the monoglyceride of lauric acid called monolaurin has the most antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties."
Top 10 Anti-Aging Superfoods
November 03, 2016 10:59 AM
Most of these foods (garlic excepted) are something that you can integrate into your daily diet without even noticing it. I grab a handful of grapes as a snack. Use spinach as an alternate to lettuce in your salads. Eat an avocado by itself or use it as a mayo substitute in that lunch sandwich. Most important, eat what you like off this list. Those little changes will pay in dividends in the future.
"Many people wish if they could stop the process of aging and live younger for whole life but still we haven’t found any method or medicine which could stop the process of aging."
Toss eggs onto salads to increase Vitamin E absorption, study says
October 30, 2016 07:49 AM
A new study from the Journal of Nutrition has encouraged salad eaters to eat a few eggs with their leafy greens. Eating eggs with salad has been evidenced to increase the absorption of essential vitamins, like A and E, as well as other antioxidants. The study was funded by the Egg Council.
"Vitamin E is the second-most under-consumed nutrient in the average American diet, which is problematic because this fat-soluble nutrient has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties"
Sesame sticks - a choice full of health
December 18, 2013 04:03 AM
What is Sesame
Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. The story of its amazing benefits, begins 3600 years ago in the ancient Egyptian times. Since those antique times, women used the sesame seeds to keep their beauty and their youth and the Roman soldiers ate them for energy and strength. In recent years, an abundance of scientific information was exposed to demonstrate that the sesame seeds and their components have over 36 therapeutic properties.
Sesame seeds are number one when it comes to the richness and complexity of nutrients. Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and these can be added in salads, sandwiches or over cereal in the morning.Another excellent choice are the sesame sticks. These are the real sources of health and in addition there are some excellent snacks.
Sesame sticks consumption helps to detoxify the liver and kidneys, being highly recommended for cirrhotic patients. In addition, these snacks prevent arthritis and osteoporosis, asthma, migraines and headaches; have antirheumatic and anti-cancer effects; strengthen the immune system and decrease the level of cholesterol.All these properties put together, give your body energy and a great power to work.
So, as you can see, the sesame seeds have many health benefits and additionally, these keep your silhouette. Therefore, when you sit and watch your favorite show on TV, you can choose a healthy snack consisting of sesame sticks, instead of chips that will fill you with cholesterol and that will add you a few extra pounds.You can also consume sesame sticks during breaks or when you feel the need for a snack.Vitamins and minerals contained by sesame seeds will provide you the necessary energy and will create you a feeling of satiety.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Cholesterol And Triglycerides?
December 05, 2011 09:40 PM
Apple Cider Vinegar And CholesterolApple cider vinegar is a classification of vinegar which is derived from apple or cider. As you can observe, apple has an acidic taste which makes it possible to be processed into a type of vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is pale yellow to amber in color. This kind of vinegar may be pasteurized or unpasteurized. Non - processed or unpasteurized form of apple cider vinegar has a semi - solid or firm appearance because of its thickness and cobweb - like make - up. This form of apple cider vinegar is considered to be the “mother of vinegar”.
Apple cider vinegar is yielded by mashing the fruit and squeezing out the juice it contains. Friendly microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts are usually combined into the extracted juice to allow alcoholic fermentation. These microorganisms are the ones responsible for converting the sugar contained in the apple extracted juice into its alcohol form. Apple cider vinegar undergoes a second fermentation process. The alcohol produced from the first fermentation process is converted into its vinegar form by adding an ample amount of acetic acid – forming bacteria specifically known as Acetobacter. As a result, the juice extract will have a sour taste because of the acetic acid and malic acid it contains after several fermentations.
In the food industry, apple cider vinegar is commonly used as an ingredient of salads, marinades, food preservatives and the like. Aside from its acetic acid content, apple cider vinegar also contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Clinical studies on whether apple cider vinegar can help control the amount of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood have shown significant results. Yes, apple cider vinegar can have promising effects on the regulation of serum cholesterol and triglycerides. However, the studies also revealed that this fruit extract must not serve as a substitute for the medications prescribed by your doctor to regulate blood cholesterol and maintain or improve cardiovascular health. In animal studies, apple cider vinegar has shown positive effects on lowering triglycerides by almost 50 %. However, effects on Low Density Lipoprotein or the so – called “bad cholesterol” are not that efficient.
Needless to say, the American Heart Association stated that a good lifestyle and balanced diet can effectively reduce the amount of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Apple cider vinegar will also greatly help in lowering these substances in the blood.
Other studies have also revealed that the acetic acid content in apple cider vinegar stimulates the expression of the genetic material which activates fatty acid oxidation enzymes. As a result of this biological process, there will be a significant lowering or control of body fat accumulation by the liver. This is the reason why apple cider vinegar can also be employed as a weight loss agent.
Apple cider vinegar is all – natural. Therefore, safety is relatively established. However, health experts still suggest that before you start using this product, you have to consult your doctor and discuss your current and past health condition as well as the other medications you are taking. This will reduce the incidence of adverse health reactions and drug to drug interactions.
What can you get from Too Much Fiber?
October 11, 2011 12:57 PM
Dietary fibers are plant food particles which cannot be digested and absorbed by the body. Fiber only adds roughage or bulk to the stool making it easier to pass out. It cannot be broken down into simpler compounds then absorbed by the body for cellular consumption. Therefore, dietary fiber is generally intact inside and outside the body. However, despite this fact, certain fiber may be dissolved in certain kinds of solvent such as water.
Fiber is categorized into two, insoluble and soluble fiber. The former is a fiber which does not dissolve in water while the latter is a fiber which dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber significantly promotes the movement of digestive contents by increasing its bulk. This normal intestinal peristalsis then promotes regular bowel movement, thereby, lowering the risk of constipation or irregular bowel movement. Great sources of this kind of fiber include whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and leafy vegetables. On the other hand, soluble fiber dissolves in water but is not absorbed by the body. After being dissolved, the fiber forms into a gel – like substance which alters the absorption of cholesterol and excess sugar thus regulating the blood levels of cholesterol and glucose. Popular sources of soluble fiber include oats, beans, apples, carrots, oranges and barley.
There are many great sources of dietary fiber. However, there are misconceptions on what fruit or vegetable contains rich amount of fiber. Among the commonly mistaken food items are lettuce, tomatoes and celery in the forms of fresh salads. Chemically, these fruit and vegetable contains little amount of fiber only. Another mistaken belief is that a food may be high in dietary fiber just because of its tag which states wheat, multi – grain, natural and enriched. Like for example, oat – bran doughnuts, cookies and grain chips are commonly low in oat bran fiber but instead high in fat and sugar. Therefore, be careful of commercial labels.
Great sources of dietary fiber mainly include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Dietary fiber is important to the body because it can significantly normalize the individual’s bowel movement. Aside from such primary purpose, fiber can also greatly help in lowering the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, fiber is beneficial and important to the body. However, many questions have come out whether consuming more fiber can be good or bad to the body.
Certain clinical studies have revealed that consuming greater than 35 grams of fiber everyday can significantly influence the digestion and absorption of several vitamins and minerals. This may be technically valid. However, that certain amount of fiber is rarely eaten since most people eat only a small amount of dietary fiber. Therefore, this is not a significant threat to the health of an individual. The benefits of dietary fiber far outweigh the little possibility of adversely altering nutrient absorption and assimilation.
Also, rarely in certain individuals, consumption of more than 50 grams per day of fiber may cause intestinal obstruction. However, this chance is only very little since in most individuals this amount of fiber can improve instead bargain the health of the intestines.
How Does Borage Oil Boost Your Health?
October 06, 2011 12:05 PM
Borage Seed Oil
Borage, also known as starflower, is a medicinal herb that is native in Syria. The plant could approximately grow up to two to three feet in height having a hairy appearance all over its leaves and stems. The leaves of the plant are about half feet in length. Its flowers resemble five narrow and triangular petals that are blue in color. However, there are few instances that borage flowers are pink in color. One distinct characteristic of the borage plant is that it follows an indeterminate growth habit that could lead to a fruitful spreading. In places where climate is mild and good, the plant grows all year round.
In ancient years, the plant was used as a flavoring for wines which ancient Celtic warriors drink before engaging themselves into battle. It has been a tradition because they believe that the wine could boost both their strength, and courage. As time pass by, people discover new uses of borage leaves and flowers. During the middle ages, the people utilized the plant as a relief for melancholy. As a matter of fact, the renowned scholar named Pliny believed that the herb is very effectual in curing depression and boosting mood. During the 16th century, John Gerard was able to discover the herb’s potential in making the heart healthier.
To add, borage is also utilized as a cure for bronchitis because of its soothing effect and capacity to lessen inflammation. Aside from that, borage is also noted for its capability to protect the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat as well as ensuring that the kidneys and adrenal glands are well functioning.
Borage is helpful in rejuvenating the body during recuperation from a disease. This herb is also useful for curing and correcting problems of in the digestive tract. Research would also show that the herb is effectual in increasing the quantity and quality of mother’s milk.
The seed oil of borage contains liberal amounts of GLA which is highly beneficial for the human body. as a matter of fact, virgin borage oil contains vital components such as essential fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid that will aid the body in times of stress.
There are a lot of preparations which will allow you to grasp the benefits of borage plant. And two of the most common is to use it as a vegetable or as a dried herb. People enjoy eating borage because it tastes like cucumber hence it is perfect for salads or as a garnish. Borage flower is also palatable. Its taste is similar to that of honey hence, it is also good to incorporate in desserts.
Among the many health benefits of borage leaves would include the following: purgative properties, blood purifier, diaphoretic, galactoagogue, and febrifuge. Vital nutrients such as potassium and calcium are also abundant in the herb. Because of these potent and vital components that the herb contains, various conditions can be corrected and prevented by borage just like inflammation of the eyes, excessive mucus, and a lot more.
You too should grab some borage oil to help improve your health and wellness.
What is Red Marine Algae And What Are Its Health Benefits?
June 01, 2011 04:21 PM
Red Marine Algae And Your Health.
Red marine algae refer to a large group of seaweeds that contain phycobiliproteins, which give them their red coloration. They are simple organisms in that they do not have complex tissues in contrast with terrestrial plants. Many species of red marine algae plays an important role in the formation of coral reefs as they secrete calcium carbonate as well as provide nutrition for other marine species. Like plants, they are capable of making their own food by way of photosynthesis. And like most other seaweeds, they are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy organic compounds.
Rhodophyta is the taxonomic classification of all red marine algae. It is oftentimes considered a part of the plant kingdom, but more recent definitions of plant suggest red algae belong to a kingdom of their own. Rhodophyta is one of the largest groups of algae, second only to green algae. It consists of up to 6000 aquatic species that are widely distributed in the tropical, temperate, and even frigid zones. These species usually take up residence along the coastal regions and significantly contribute to the distribution, abundance, and ecology of organisms found in the extended perimeter of each continent.
Seaweeds have become a part of the staple diet of many communities throughout history, and red marine algae are one of the best sources of human nutrition among all seaweeds. For thousands of years, different species of red algae have enjoyed significant presence in cuisines from all over the world. It is often consumed uncooked or added to salads. It is also an important ingredient in soups and stews. Ocean farmers have learned different techniques of domesticating crops of algae, and cultivation has been the solution to the growing demand of red marine algae in the past few decades.
Red marine algae have steadily grown in economic value since the 20th century. In addition to their historical culinary uses, their application now extends to medical science. Several organic compounds have been isolated from different species of red marine algae are now in wide use in the food and drug industries. For example, gelatinous substances are derived from agarophytes, any species of seaweeds that belong to rhodophyta. These substances are used in the production of beer, food preserves, ice cream as well as papers, fabrics, lubricants, and other personal care products.
Red marine algae have a special place in antiviral research. Many species are now identified to contain organic compounds that are of medicinal value against several viruses. Decades-long studies have come to a conclusion that sulfated polysaccharides derived from red marine algae have an inhibitory effect on replication of herpes simplex virus (HSV). There is good evidence that one class of sulfated polysaccharides called carrageenan offer some protection against transmission of herpes. Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that sulfated polysaccharides are potent inhibitors of HIV-1 in cell culture.
Red marine algae is an excellent source of nutrients found in the sea. Get some red marine algae and reap the benefits of this nutrient rich food today!
Why Are Fresh Sprouts Like Alfalfa, Barley, and Wheat So Good for Your Health?
May 24, 2011 11:22 AM
Sprouts For A Healthier Body!
Fresh sprouts are among the healthiest of all foods. They are rich in enzymes that are not found in the human body. These enzymes help facilitate better absorption of vitamins and minerals. Alfalfa, barley, and wheat are examples of plants that are capable of sprouting when soaked in water. They are best consumed fresh when they still contain all of their nutrients. They make excellent ingredients to salads and sandwiches that can complement any meal. They can be processed in juicing machines, too.
You might have heard of the nutritional value of grasses and legumes. Wheatgrass is becoming increasingly popular nowadays as they have been receiving a lot of good press lately. Wheatgrass and barley grass has in fact earned the moniker superfoods. Alfalfa, on the other hand, is a legume recently rediscovered for its phytochemical content. It has been a forage crop for centuries, but human consumptions have steadily increased in the past few years. Apart from the fact that wheat, barley, alfalfa can be consumed as fresh sprouts, they also bring similar benefits to human health.
Restore Normal pH Levels
Proponents of the alkaline diet believe that the body is in a constant cycle of alkalinity and acidity, which is partially dependent on the foods that we eat. The body raises alkalinity with every acidic by-products of digestion to maintain pH balance. That being said, a significant fraction of the human diet is acid-forming, tipping the balance in the process. Fresh sprouts are often linked to the alkaline diet, which aims to restore pH balance of the body.
Have High Nutrient Content
Alfalfa, barley grass, and wheatgrass are very good sources of vitamins and minerals. They are particularly rich in dietary minerals that help the body function at its best. Plus, they contain amino acids, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates in amounts adequate to complement any other foods that make up a healthy diet. One of the very noticeable improvements after months of consuming fresh sprouts is the increase in red blood cell count.
Cleanse the Body of Toxins
Aside from the fact that fresh sprouts are effective free radical scavengers, they also improve the natural antioxidant defense of the human body. Wheat, barley, and alfalfa are reliable sources of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and selenium, all of which are involved in chemical reactions that lead to effective removal of toxic by-products of metabolism. Fresh sprouts are capable of neutralizing reactive oxygen species such as free radicals. Furthermore, they facilitate the excretion of toxins.
Promote Heart Health
Fresh sprouts are particularly good for the cardiovascular system. They maintain the health of red blood cells. They limit the releases of low-density lipoproteins into the blood, thus lowering bad cholesterol and free fatty acids. They help control high blood pressure and promote normal blood flow. They maintain healthy levels of blood sugar by improving glucose metabolism. And, of course, their antioxidant profile enables them to protect the heart and arterial walls from lipid peroxidation.
Have you had your sprouts today?
Hops And Good health
September 20, 2009 08:47 PM
Hops are the female flower cones, which are also known as strobiles, of the hop plant. The hop plant is part of the Cannabaceae family, which also includes hemp. Primarily, hops are used as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. The first documented use in beer is from the eleventh century. Today, hops are used extensively in brewing because of their many benefits. Among these are balancing the sweetness of the hops with bitterness. However, hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.
Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, suggested the use of hops to open obstructions of the liver and spleen, cleanse the blood, loosen the belly, cleanse the veins, and promote urination. Hops were used as food by the Romans. Gerard, a famous herbalist, recommended using the buds in salads. Native American tribes also found hops to be of value. The Mohicans used it as a sedative and also for toothaches, while the Menominee tribes used hops as a cure-all. The lupulin that is found in hops is described as both a sedative and hypnotic drug. It was recognized in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1831 to 1916. Most often, hops are probably used in the production of beer.
Hops are best known for their sedative action. Also, they are used for their antibiotic properties. These properties are beneficial for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, delirium, toothaches, earaches, and pain. Although hops are strong, they seem to be safe to use. Their main uses are to alleviate nervous tension and promote a restful sleep. They have been used to naturally relieve insomnia. For inflammation, boils, tumors, and swelling, a poultice of hops is recommended. Hops have been used as a stimulant to the glands and muscles of the stomach. They have also been used as a relaxant on the gastric nerves. Hops have a relaxing influence on the liver and gall duct and a laxative effect on the bowels. Many studies indicate that hops have sedative properties. This herb is known to be fast-acting, soothing, and calming to the nervous system. Hops are often nervine herbs that aid in promoting sleep. Certain elements of the plant have been shown to possess hypnotic effects. Hops are also used for their antispasmodic effects. Additionally, hops contain antibacterial properties, which validates some of their historical uses.
The flower of the hops plant is used to provide alterative, anodyne, antibacterial, antibiotic, antineoplastic, carminative, cholagogue, galactagogue, nervine, sedative, stomachic, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are chlorine, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, sodium, vitamin B-complex, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in treating appetite loss, bronchitis, delirium, gastric disorders, headaches, hyperactivity, and indigestion, insomnia, absent lactation, nervousness, pain, and excessive sexual desire.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with alcoholism, anxiety, blood impurities, coughs, intestinal cramps, dizziness, earaches, fevers, gas, jaundice, kidney stones, liver disorders, menstrual symptoms, menopausal symptoms, neuralgia, restlessness, rheumatism, skin disorders, sleeplessness, toothache, ulcers, venereal diseases, water retention, whooping cough, and worms. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by hops, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Hops and St. John's Wort
July 15, 2009 12:17 PM
St. John’s wort has emerged recently as an herb that is known to assist the nervous system. Quite a few naturopathic physicians rank kava kava, valerian, St. John’s wort, passionflower, and hops as the most effective herbs for treating insomnia. A study that took place in 1994 and was published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology proved that St. John’s wort extracts increased deep sleep during the total sleeping period of the patients. This study also makes an interesting connection between sleep and depression. It was found that many standard antidepressants and MAO inhibitors used to treat those people who suffer from depression cause a decrease in deep sleep. St. John’s wort has demonstrated the ability to treat both insomnia and depression.
Hops, an herb that is commonly found throughout the world, was originally used as a food. The tips of the food were both cooked and eaten. The young plants were the ones eaten because the older plants were too tough. A famous herbalist, Gerarde, recommended using the buds of these plants in salads, while the Romans anciently used hops as a food and Native American tribes found hops to be of great value. Hops have been appreciated for a long time for its nervine properties. A hop was first used as a beer ingredient in England around 1500. At this point, hops farmers noticed that their farmhands often seemed tired and easily fatigued. With time, the herb gained a huge reputation as a natural sedative. Pillows were filled with hops to promote rest and relaxation during the reign of King George when people were recovering from an illness.
Lupulin is a compound that is found in hops. It is described as a sedative and hypnotic drug. Certain parts of the plant have been found to have sedative and hypnotic effects. This herb is known to be fast-acting, soothing, and calming to the nervous system. Additionally, it is another nervine herb that assists in promoting sleep. It is mainly used to alleviate nervous tension and promote restful sleep. Also, hops is used for antispasmodic effects. Its relaxing effect has the potential to calm the nerves and muscles in cases of muscle spasms. This herb has also been shown to contain appetizing and tonic properties. It acts as a stimulant to the glands and muscles of the stomach, while calming the hyperexcitable gastric nerves. Hops also has a relaxing influence upon the liver and gall duct, and a laxative effect on the bowels.
Along with other uses, hops is also used for its antibiotic properties. It is very helpful for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, delirium, toothaches, earaches, and pain. A hops remedy is a great way to help with inflammation, boils, tumors, and swelling. Hops is extremely high in B-complex vitamins, which are known for their calming effect on the nervous system. B vitamins also promote energy and aid in problems of depression, anxiety, nervousness, and memory. Additionally, hops is extremely rich in potassium, which is necessary for nerve transmission, contraction of muscles, and hormone secretion. Low levels of potassium are often found in those people who have high blood pressure. Additionally, hops contains magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, manganese, iron, sodium, and fluoride.
Hops and st. johns wort are a wonderful herb that has many therapeutic uses. Hops and st. johns wort come in tea bag, capsule, and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. For more information on St. John’s wort and hops, contact your local health food store.
June 16, 2009 09:46 AM
Chickweeds are an annual herb that can be found growing in temperate zones, artic zones, and throughout. The most likely origin of this plant, although not known for sure, is Eurasia. Chickweeds have established themselves all over the world, as they may have been carried by clothes and shoes of explorers. Chickweed plants are as numerous in species as they are in region. Most species are succulent with white flowers. All of the species have practically the same edible and medicinal values.
This plant exhibits an interesting trait, as it folds its leaves over its buds and the new shoots every night. This event is known as the sleeping of the plant. Cultivating this plant is not exactly necessary, as it is abundant and easy to find. The plant can be gathered fresh and edible between May and July, as soon as the flowers appear. Not only can the plant be used fresh, it can also be dried for later herb use.
Chickweed can be found growing abundantly in areas of Europe and North America. The Ojibwe and Iroquois Native American tribes used chickweed as eyewash. They also used it in poultice form to heal wounds. It has recently been studied for its abilities in helping to prevent cancer.
Chickweed is extremely valuable in treating blood toxicity, fevers, and inflammation. Its mucilage elements are known to help with stomach ulcers and also inflamed bowels. Chickweed is great for helping to dissolve plaque in blood vessels as well as other fatty substances that can be found in the body. Chickweed acts as an antibiotic in the blood, as it may be recommended as an anticancer treatment. Some people have used chickweed to treat tumors.
Chickweed can be used as a poultice for boils, burns, skin diseases, sore eyes, and swollen testes. Chickweed is also recommended to aid in weight loss and to break down cellulite. This herb is mild and has been sued as a food as well as a medicine.
Chickweeds are very nutritious and high in vitamins and minerals. They can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb. The plant tastes somewhat like spinach. The whole plant can be taken internally as a postpartum depurative, emmenagogue, glactogogue, and cirucaltory tonic. A decoction can also be used externally to treat rheumatic pains, wounds, and ulcers. Chickweed can be applied as a medicinal poultice to relieve any kind of roseola. It is effective wherever there are fragile superficial veins or itching skin conditions.
The entire chickweed herb is used to provide alterative, anorectic, antineoplastic, blood purifier, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, mucilant, nutritive, pectoral, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, vitamins C, D, and B-complex, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with excessive appetite, bleeding, blood impurities, convulsions, obesity, skin rashes, and ulcers. Additionally, chickweed can be extremely helpful in treating arteriosclerosis, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, bursitis, colitis, constipation, cramps, eye infections, gas, hemorrhoids, lung congestion, excessive mucus, pleurisy, blood poising, swollen testicles, inflamed tissue, water retention, and wounds. For more information the many beneficial affects of chickweed, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Chickweed is available in capsule and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands like Solaray, Natures Answer, and Natures Herbs to ensure quality and purity of the products you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Chickweed is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Borage Seed Oil (GLA)
June 10, 2009 11:34 AM
Borage, often referred to as starflower, is an annual herb that originated in Syria. However, it was naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region and in Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. The plant grows to a height of two to three feet, having a bristly hair all over the stems and leaves. The leaves are alternate, simple, and ranging from two to six inches in length, while the flower are complete with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. The borage flower is most often blue in color, but occasionally pink flowers are observed. White flowers can also be cultivated. The borage plant has an indeterminate growth habit, which may lead to prolific spreading. In milder climates, borage will bloom for most of the year continuously.
Borage was often used to flavor wine drank by ancient Celtic warriors before going into battle because it held the reputation of enhancing both courage and strength. During the middle Ages, the leaves and flowers of the borage plant were combined with wine to relieve melancholy. The Roman scholar Pliny believed that this herb was useful for treating depression and lifting the spirits. John Gerard, a sixteenth-century herbalist, thought of borage as an herb to comfort the heart and increase joy.
In addition to its mood-boosting properties, borage is often used to treat bronchitis. This is because of its soothing effect and its ability to reduce inflammation and detoxify the body. Borage is known to help heal the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat and to stimulate activity in the kidneys and adrenal glands to rid the body of catarrh.
Also, borage is useful for restoring vitality during recovery from an illness. This herb is helpful for treating problems of the digestive system and has been used to increase quantity and quality of mother’s milk. Borage was traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, but today it is commercially cultivated as an oilseed. The seed oil provides a desired source of GLA, for which borage is the highest known plant-based source. Virgin borage oil contains essential fatty acids, especially when they are in concentrations with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid can account for as much as 26 percent of the oil’s content. It is best known for its source of concentrated GLA. The borage plant is known to stimulate the adrenal glands to help the body during stressful times.
Borage includes use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage has a cucumber-like taste and is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored things that are edible, making it popular for the decoration of dessert.
The leaves of the borage plant are used to provide blood purifier, diaphoretic, febrifuge, galactoagogue, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb include calcium and potassium. Primarily, borage is most beneficial in dealing with bronchitis, congestion, inflammation of the eyes, fevers, heart problems, absence of lactation, excessive mucus, PMS and rashes. Additionally, this herb is extremely helpful in treating blood impurities, colds, gastric disorders, insomnia, jaundice, lung disorders, nervous disorders, pleurisy, ringworm, and urinary problems.
Borage oil is available in softgel or bulk liquid forms at your local or internet health food store. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase. For more information on the beneficial effects of borage, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Lower Blood Sugar
October 16, 2008 01:54 PM
Many people struggle to control their weight. However, while they are going on and off various diets, they fail to realize that they are also struggling to control blood sugar. Actually, the cause of blood-sugar problems may be weight problems, as being overweight and having blood sugar problems tend to go hand in hand. Too many blood sugar swings during the day tend to increase hunger jags, snacking, and overeating. When you overeat, you’re much more likely to add on the pounds, setting the stage for obesity, pre-diabetes, and full blown diabetes.
Sadly, both pre-diabetes and overweight have become modern epidemics that are out of control, with two of every three Americans being overweight and over 100 million people having some signs of pre-diabetes. Both of these illnesses are nutritional disorders that result from eating too many unhealthful foods. However, there is good news: you can reverse pre-diabetes and control your weight.
One can self-diagnose pre-diabetes by looking for the most visible symptom: being chubby or fat around the waist. Other clues are cravings sweets and starchy foods, not being hungry at breakfast, and feeling tired or mentally fuzzy after lunch. Many physicians diagnose pre-diabetes when a patient’s fasting blood sugar falls between 100 and 124 mg/dl. There are several dietary factors that significantly increase the risk of overweight. Some of these being: too many calories, too many refined carbs, especially sugars, and too many unhealthful oils.
The average woman needs about 1,600 calories and the typical man needs about 2,000 calories daily, but the average American now consumes 3,900 calories each day, making it difficult to burn off all these calories and causing the accumulation of body fat. Because most excess calories take form of refined carbs and sugars, which are digested rapidly, rapid or extreme spikes in blood sugar levels, elevated insulin levels, and bouts of hunger result, which stimulate low blood sugar. Trans fats, which are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, interfere with the body’s processing of fats and often lead to weight gain. Most of these problematic calories are found in fast foods, microwave foods, and other types of convenience foods, which are all best if they are avoided.
Even though pre-diabetes can be scary, it’s actually an opportunity to improve your eating habits and regain your health. To improve your health you can emphasize quality protein, emphasize high-fiber vegetables and fruits, include grapefruit in your diet, use more vinegar, and add some cinnamon. Since protein stabilizes and safely lowers blood sugar levels, be sure to start each day with some protein with breakfast and eat a little protein with each meal.
Most veggies and fruits are rich in fiber, which helps to lower blood sugar, so opt for salads and steamed broccoli while avoiding crutons, potatoes, bananas, and pears. Despite the calories, eating fresh grapefruit can help in weight reduction. The acetic acid in vinegar can also help to improve blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce appetite, and help with weight loss. Adding cinnamon has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. There are also several supplements that have exceptional value in improving insulin function or lowering blood sugar levels. These include lipoic acid, chromium, silymarin, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin D, and Pycnogenol.
You can also enhance the benefits of diet and supplements by increasing your physical activity as it helps build muscle and burn blood sugar and fat. Tackling pre-diabetes can not only reduce your long-term risk for health problems, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but also can allow you to quickly gain more energy and feel less post-meal fatigue.
August 23, 2008 11:59 AM
Acidophilus is correctly named Lactobacillus acidophilus, and is one species of Lacobacillus used commercially in the preparation of certain types of yoghurt. The name refers to the fact it is found in milk (lacto), is rod-like in shape like many bacteria (bacillus) and it likes acidic conditions (acidophilus). It not only likes them, but creates them.
In fact, acidophilus thrives at a pH of 4-5 or less, and occurs naturally in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, and also the mouth and vagina. It ferments milk to lactic acid, and dies in the presence of sunlight, excessive moisture and at high temperatures. Some, but not all, strains are probiotic, or ‘friendly’ bacteria that aid digestion and help to protect against harmful bacteria and their toxic emissions.
The fermentation of nutrients by friendly bacteria produce acids, such as the lactic acid previously referred to, hydrogen peroxide and other substances hostile to harmful organisms, and also reduces the population of harmful bacteria by competing for their food. There are additional health benefits that shall be discussed later, but first some comments about the stability of acidophilus to heat.
The growth rate of acidophilus reaches an optimum at around 36-37F (2.2C), and it tends to die off at temperatures much above this over a period of time. It also tends to be sensitive to oxygen and moisture, and if exposed to heat, moisture and oxygen, a supplement will lose its potency over time. This is true of all such supplements, and after purchase must be quickly refrigerated. It is possible, however, to purchase stabilized forms of acidophilus that die off slower than normal. This extra resistance is built in during the manufacturing process, and many forms of acidophilus claim to be stable. Although there will never be a truly stable form of the probiotic, these stabilized versions do last longer than those not claimed to be so.
During manufacture, the bacteria are first concentrated by removing the excess liquid by means of sedimentation, ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis and centrifuging. A substance is then added to protect the bacteria from the shock of freezing and the acidophilus freeze dried. A stabilizer is then added to maintain its properties between freezing and consumption.
It has also been found that bacteria grown at higher pH levels last longer than those at lower pH. The packaging is also important, and since the bacteria are sensitive to oxygen, nitrogen flushing the bottles will improve the stability of the product. Glass bottles are less porous than plastic, and so is the preferred packaging material for maximum stability and life. Another factor is refrigeration. If you keep the bottle in the fridge it was last a lot longer than at room temperature, but take care not to freeze it since acidophilus does not freeze well. If it is not refrigerated then it will quickly lose its potency.
The form in which you take the supplement is immaterial regarding the potency: at least initially. However, through time the powder will become less potent quicker, because it will adsorb oxygen and moisture. Otherwise the form in which it used is immaterial. So, yes, acidophilus can be stabilized, but only for a while, and if allowed to warm up to room temperature in the presence of oxygen will quickly degrade, although this takes more than just a day or two.
Many health benefits are claimed for Lactobacillus acidophilus, although your daily consumption to achieve these should be at least 2 billion CFU, and preferably 5 billion. You can also fortify the bacteria with a prebiotic of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). These provide nutrition for the acidophilus and accelerate its growth.
One thing to be careful of is assuming that yoghurt contains acidophilus. It does not contain sufficient to be of benefit to you. Commercial yoghurt acidifies over time and kills off the bacteria, so commercial yoghurt sitting on a supermarket shelf has very little beneficial bacterial content. Natural yoghurt is better, and certainly contains beneficial bacteria, but not enough to make a significant difference. A supplement is therefore needed if you are to keep your intestinal tract sufficiently healthy. If you cannot take dairy products, acidophilus is available in non-dairy form. The major health benefits they impart are:
1. Digestive Problems.
Acidophilus can control many types of digestive disorder, particularly traveler’s diarrhea. In fact if you are traveling to countries where drinking water might be a problem, also take some acidophilus and this will tend to prevent you from becoming ill. Even if you drink bottled water, there are still washed salads, beverages made with local water and showers and the like whereby you could ingest some dodgy water.
Acidophilus, especially when supported by FOS, helps both to hydrate the feces, and improve their transport through the colon, an also to improve the general health and well-being of your entire intestinal system.
3. Yeast Infections (Candidiasis)
Acidophilus possess antifungal properties that kill off yeasts, particularly Candida albicans found in the vagina. This is due to the lactic acid produced by the bacteria, and there is evidence that gastrointestinal yeasts are affected in the same way by the oral probiotic. Furthermore, when bacteria and yeasts are killed off by medication, including friendly bacteria, the sites they occupied on the intestinal walls become free and acidophilus should be present to take these up and prevent any more yeast or bacterial infections. That is one reason why probiotics should be taken immediately after a course of antibiotic treatment.
4. Immune System Support
Lactobacillus acidophilus is believed to modify the balance of microbes in the intestine so as to lead to an enhanced production of antibodies, and white blood cells with increased phagocytic activity. The bacteria also appear to have some reducing properties, which can also give support to the immune system through the resultant antioxidant properties.
However, by far the most important property of probiotics are their properties in acidifying the intestinal tract, and so rendering them less attractive to harmful pathogens, and in producing hydrogen peroxide which has a similar effect. They also produce natural antibiotics, and there is now doubt that a supplement of acidophilus will provide you with several health benefits and also make you feel fitter and more alert.
Apple Cider Vinegar
August 13, 2008 03:05 PM
Apple cider vinegar is an old folk remedy claimed to be beneficial in treating a long list of ailments. It is sold today by "health food" companies and others who claim it has remedial properties. Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made by the fermentation of apple cider. Unlike white vinegar, apple cider vinegar is a light yellow-brown color and is often sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with a dark, cloudy sediment called mother of vinegar (consisting mainly of acetic acid bacteria) settled at the bottom of the bottle.
Over the centuries, vinegar has been used for countless purposes: making pickles, killing weeds, cleaning coffee makers, polishing armor, and dressing salads. While many of the folk medicine uses of vinegar are unproven (or were disproved), there is some medical research backing them up.
The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar, is acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar is also said to contain an abundance of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Do not use a metal container when making vinegar or storing it; acid in the mixture will corrode metal or aluminum objects making the solution unfit for consumption.
When it comes to losing weight, experts say you are what you drink. Apple cider vinegar has recently found new use as a weight loss and weight management aide, and has been included in many over the counter weight loss nutritional supplements. Anecdotally, ancient Egyptians used apple cider vinegar for weight loss. The acetic acid in this vinegar can curve the appetite which benefits those trying to loose weight and keep it off.
Some say apple cider vinegar can help arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and assist in digestion. It is also thought to help the body maintain a healthy alkaline level. The acidic nature of this vinegar has been said to help scalp problems such as dandruff, itchy scalp, baldness and thinning hair. Apple cider vinegar can also help gastric problems as well.
Civil War, soldiers used vinegar to prevent gastric upset and as a treatment for various ailments including pneumonia and scurvy. Research suggests that this vinegar can delay gastric emptying. Ten patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and diabetic gastro paresis were studied; when the study was over the patients were able to demonstrate a significant delay in already delayed gastric emptying after the ingestion of vinegar. So delaying the rate at which the stomach empties can keep a sense of fullness for those looking to loose weight.
The effect of vinegar on blood glucose levels is perhaps the best researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar's possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For example, a small study compared the effect of vinegar with white bread on blood glucose and insulin levels. Keeping blood sugar lower is important to diabetic patients which can help reduce the use of insulin. Subjects with type 2 diabetes showed a slight improvement in insulin sensitivity, but postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels were not affected when apple cider vinegar was added to a meal.
In conclusion, apple cider vinegar could theoretically interact with diuretics, laxatives, and medicines for diabetes and heart disease so you must be careful. Apple cider vinegar should always be diluted with water or juice before swallowed. If you have diabetes, check with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar. Furthermore, blood glucose must be monitored more frequently in patients with diabetes treated with insulin experiencing gastro paresis to prevent adverse hypoglycemic episodes. All those taking medications should consult a doctor because the acid in this vinegar can enhance absorption and increase Side effects.
How Important Is It To Have Proper Digestion
July 09, 2008 11:46 AM
The part played by food in the health of your body is to furnish it with the nutrients needed for the biochemistry that keeps you alive. The digestive process breaks the food that you eat down into a form that can be absorbed by your bloodstream, and from there to your liver which is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the biochemical reactions of your body take place, such as the manufacture of bile needed to break down fats during digestion.
Most people do not take this into account when eating, and in today’s hectic world nourishment is the last thing on their minds, yet the one aspect of their lives that can provide them with the energy to carry on as they do. They eat to get rid of the feeling of hunger, and any old thing will do: a burger or a pizza, but rarely an orange or some cheese on wholegrain bread.
Poor eating habits lead to poor digestion, which in turn leads to poor extraction of the nutrients from what we do eat, and therefore malnutrition. Yes, malnutrition! It is possible to suffer from that even though you fill your belly every day. It’s not the filling that matters, it’s what does the filling and how well it is digested. Proper digestion is very important to every living creature on this planet. The first step in ensuring that have a proper digestion function is to assess the quality of the food that you eat:
a) What nutrients does your food contain, and
b) Have you sufficient of the proper enzymes needed to break it down so that these nutrients can be extracted?
Nourishing meals are just as easy to find and eat as junk foods, and it is just as easy to a breakfast containing a high protein and fat content as it is to eat a chocolate biscuit. A hard boiled egg with whole meal toast and yoghurt isn’t difficult to prepare for breakfast, and some tuna, or cheese and whole meal crackers make a nutritious lunch. These foods are easier to digest than the greasy high-fat foods that most people eat at lunchtime.
Proper digestion requires relaxation, and eating when stressed or in a hurry creates the wrong pH conditions in your stomach, with hydrochloric acid production being suppressed and the production enzymes by the liver inhibited. Enzymes are essential to your health, and are types of protein that enable most biochemical reactions to take place. Without the proper production of enzymes, your food will pass through your body largely unchanged, and this indigestion can not only give you stomach pains but also weaken you because the nutritional value of your food is not being realized.
You should take the time to eat, and not try to eat on the job: that is why so many high fliers end up with ulcers. Take time to chew, and mix your food with saliva which itself contains the enzymes amylase and lysozyme. Amylase breaks down starch into sugars, while lysozyme inhibits the growth of oral bacteria. The digestive system therefore begins in the mouth when you chew your food. The breakdown of food into smaller particles also produces more surface area from which the nutrients can be absorbed.
Enzymes are very important to proper digestion, and your diet should include enzyme-rich food such as tropical fruits (pineapple and bananas), honey, and many vegetables. Yoghurt and lacto-fermented foods are also rich in enzymes, and many cooked foods also contain enzymes. An enzyme supplement can also be taken to top-up what you eat, and make up for any enzyme deficiency in your diet. Processed foods are fairly empty of good nutritional value, particularly enzymes, which is why so many people are so overweight: their food is a nutritional desert and their body keeps craving for food that leads to eating binges.
For your food to be properly digested your stomach acid has to be at a certain pH. If you drink too much liquid when eating then the acid will be diluted, and you will not properly digest your food. A glass of water is fine but two or three pints of beer, or a gallon of fruit juice, will dilute the hydrochloric acid concentration in your stomach, and it will not be able to break down your food. Consequently, your digestive system loses much of the nutritional content of what you eat. Restrict heavy drinking of liquid to about two hours before and two hours after eating each meal for maximum efficiency. Many people find that they have to take not only vitamin and mineral supplements to replace those which are lost through inefficient digestion, but also other supplements such as enzymes and extra proteins.
When food is processed or cooked, the process destroys enzymes. Since the body stores only a limited supply of enzymes, eating well cooked or highly processed foods continuously, places great strains on the enzyme reserves, and ultimately the metabolic enzyme reserves have to be used in order to digest your food. This diverts them from their proper purpose, and many of the functions of your body are disrupted.
For example, your lose energy and your immune systems begins to weaken, making you feel tired and more susceptible to illness and disease. You should therefore try to eat foods rich in enzymes, or use an enzyme supplement. Natural raw foods are an excellent addition to your diet, and salads and fruit should be regular components of your meals. Obviously you must eat some cooked foods, but that does not mean that you should avoid eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables altogether. That is a recipe for a dietary disaster.
Enzymes are extremely important components of your digestive system, as is dietary fiber. In fact if you eat a diet containing dietary fiber, some raw fruit and vegetables, and protein, either cooked or uncooked, you will be giving your digestive system a boost. If you are unable to maintain that, then enzyme supplementation, together with general multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily, should help you to maintain a healthy digestive system. However, fiber is essential since without it you will become constipated, especially if you consume a lot of pulpy foods that mainly consist of water.
It is extremely important that you have proper digestion of the food that you eat, and that your body makes the best use of the nutrients that it contains. To achieve this, you have to maintain the correct pH of stomach acid, and eat foods with the nutritional content required by the human body. This means not overcooking a balanced diet containing protein, fiber, enzymes and other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals).
Dandelion Root Tea
July 05, 2008 09:53 AM
Just about everybody knows what a dandelion is. In the western world it is a weed, but in many other societies it is an important herb that is used to treat many common diseases and conditions of the human body.
It is also a food, being used in salads and the roots are also used by some as a coffee substitute the same as chicory. It is also used to make a herbal tea, and most people have likely heard of dandelion tea. However, its medicinal properties are not so well known, even though it has been use for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for the treatment of many conditions including those associated with the gall bladder, liver and kidneys.
However, that is not all, and there are several more traditional uses of dandelion in the folk medicine of many different countries including conditions as diverse as water retention and eczema. So, taking all of this into consideration, what exactly are the main benefits of dandelion to the body and what is it that provides these benefits?
Dandelion contains its fair share of minerals and vitamins, and is rich in vitamin C of course, with its strong antioxidant properties. It also contains the antioxidant vitamin A together with several B vitamins and the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, which is so important for the absorption of calcium by the kidneys and into the bone structure. The minerals it contains is like an encyclopedia entry of minerals important to the human body. It’s not so much what minerals dandelion contains, as what it doesn’t contain.
The list includes phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, silicon, manganese and boron, and the organic nutrients include lecithin, carotenoids, terpenoids, tannins, sterols, choline, inulin, aspargine and so on. It would take a whole book to describe the health benefits of each of these, but an attempt will be made later to discuss the more important of them.
Suffice it to say that the list contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and substances that help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and also maintain the health of your blood and major organs. However, the effect of dandelion on the liver and the digestive system are due largely to substances known collectively as taraxacin. That is what gives dandelion its bitter taste.
What was once known as taraxin, is now known to consist of sesquiterpene lactones known as eudesmanolide and germacranolide, which although claimed to be unique to the dandelion, are very similar to other sesquiterpenes found in chicory. In fact, dicaffeolquinic acid and chicoric acid (dicaffeoyltartaric acid) have been found to comprise a significant proportion of the extract from dandelion roots, together with a number of phenolic acids and flavanoids. Each of these, of course, is important and effective antioxidants, responsible for many positive health effects in the body.
Among the more important of these is the stimulation of the circulation of the blood throughout the body. The sesquiterpenes are also believed to support the activity of the pancreas, and the presence of so many strong antioxidant species within the leaves and roots of the dandelion explains the traditional use of dandelion for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
Antioxidants support the immune system that causes inflammation when it is under stress. Studies of rats have indicated that dandelion is effective in reducing acute pancreatis, which is itself an inflammatory condition. The large querticin glycoside and flavanoid content of dandelion root extract posses anti-inflammatory properties, and suddenly dandelion is beginning to take on the appearance of a ‘wonder plant’.
However, let’s get away from the technical stuff for a while, and check out exactly what you can use dandelion for. Pregnant and post-menopausal women can gain the benefit of all these nutrients detailed above by taking dandelion extract, and it also has a diuretic effect. Although mild, this can help to remove excess water from the body, and helps to reduce blood pressure and the effects of heart problems. LDL cholesterol levels can be reduced by virtue of its anti-oxidant properties, and can help to resolve minor digestive complaints.
Traditionally it is claimed to have been used as a laxative and a cure for rheumatism. The latter can be explained by its antioxidant effects, and the way the sesquiterpenes reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatism. It is this inflammation of the tissues that causes so much of the swelling and pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Anti-inflammatories help to reduce this effect.
Dandelion is also believed to stimulate the flow of bile from the gall bladder to the duodenum, and help promote the digestion of fats and oils, thus alleviating many of the digestive problems associated with a fatty diet. This also appears to have the effect of stimulating the appetite, and dandelion juice is frequently drunk before a meal for these reasons. It is believed to help bladder and kidney stones, and also helps to alleviate infections of the urinary tract.
Although dandelion is normally safe to take, those with problems associated with the bile ducts should not take it, and if you are already on diuretic drugs, or any medicines designed to lower your blood pressure, you should stay clear of dandelion extract. The same is true if you are taking lithium for manic depression since some of the components of dandelion juice can exaggerate the side effects. It is also recommended that diabetics do not use dandelion extract, and neither should anyone on blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin, or any other form of warfarin.
Although dandelion can be a very effective natural remedy for many conditions, you should always refer to your physician before taking it, since it could interfere with any medications you are currently taking. Your doctor might also be aware of certain medical conditions you have that, while you are not being treated for, could deteriorate in the presence of one of the constituents of dandelion extract.
Although all of this could suggest that dandelion is dangerous to take, in fact what it indicates is that it is very effective against many conditions, and that taking it could lead to the effects of an overdose of the treatment you are already on. Had it not so many contra-indications, dandelion wouldn’t be as effective at doing what it does.
June 30, 2008 04:47 PM
If there has ever been an overlooked vegetable, it would definitely be fennel. Some people have an aversion to its licorice-like scent, while others feel as if fennel is a bizarre and obscure vegetable that they have no interest in learning how to prepare. However, those who have discovered it know that ignoring fennel is a waste of a versatile vegetable’s amazing flavor and healthful benefits. Even those who already cook with fennel might find that they aren’t taking advantage of its versatility. For example, many people use only the delicate, lacy parts of fennel as a flavor-enhancing garnish for soups or salads. Others stick to just using the green-white bulbs, while tossing the remaining pieces aside. However, there’s no season like now to start using and enjoying all the parts of fennel.
Fennel is available from autumn until early spring and both its stems and bulbs have been found to contain many nutrients. Fennel spice, which is made from the vegetable’s seeds, can be found year round, as it is one of five spices in Chinese five-spice powder. One cup of raw, sliced fennel is a huge source of vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, and potassium. History has shown that fennel can be taken to alleviate bad breath, indigestion, intestinal spasms, cramps, and gas. It is thought that Puritans chewed the seeds in order to tame hunger during fasts. Recently, scientists have found that fennel contains antioxidants which promote good health.
In order to gain these healthful benefits, be sure to purchase white or pale-green fennel that has clean, firm bulbs. The bulbs should not be split, bruised, or spotted, while the stalks that grow from the bulb should be relatively straight. Additionally, the vegetable’s fronds would be green but not flowering because blooms indicate that the bulb is past maturity. When consumed right away, fennel is at its best. But, it can be kept in the crisper for up to four days. Be sure to wash it before using its base in hors d’oeuvres, salads, and gratins. Also, make sure to reserve its fronds in order to enhance dishes in a potent way. With such versatility in the kitchen, there is absolutely no excuse not to include fennel in your meals this season.
Once you discover that fennel is both crunchy and slightly sweet, you will want to incorporate it into many of your daily meals. Thankfully, fennel can enhance many dishes and make them extraordinary. Here are some quick ideas for using fennel this season. You can thinly shave the desired amount of a fennel bulb and toss it with a bit of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a small amount of Parmesan cheese to make a fennel salad at moment’s notice. Another option is sauté sliced fennel with equal parts of onion and bell pepper in order to make a simple vegetarian side dish. One can take advantage of fennel’s ability to enhance flavors by adding fennel with tuna or grilled sea bass. Fennel can also be cut vertically, leaving bulb, stalk, and leaves intact and then brushed with olive oil and grilled until lightly browned. Another idea is to garnish your favorite vegetable soup with coarsely chopped fennel fronds.
Six Foods that Boost Heart Health
January 21, 2008 01:57 PM
The majorities of baby boomers are looking for a way to loose weight and lower their cholesterol. Both of these are two important factors in heart disease, which still remains the number one killer in the United States. The good news is that you can dodge heart disease through your food choices. Below are six foods that can help boost your heart health.
Many studies have proven the variety of health benefits given by fish, ranging from joint inflammation in arthritis sufferers to brain development in babies. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish support circulation and improve blood vessel function. Researchers have also determined that omega-3s can prevent heart-attack deaths as they stop the electrical disturbance that causes death and half of all heart attacks are due to these arrhythmias. Each week, you should eat one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish such as an Alaskan salmon, anchovies, herring or mackerel. By baking or poaching these fish at low heart you can help to preserve the omega-3s. For vegetarians, omega-3 rich flaxseeds can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or salads. For those who don’t care for fish there are omega-3 oil supplements available as well.
Have you ever wondered why oatmeal is so good for you? In your body, this gluey beta-glucan, which is soluble fiber, binds to bile acids found in the intestines and stomach and excretes them as waste. In order to make more bile acids, the liver needs cholesterol and takes it from the blood. This results in lower blood cholesterol levels. You need 3 grams of soluble fiber each day to reduce your cholesterol by five percent. A cup and a half of cooked oatmeal is a good size serving that can be jazzed up in flavor with frozen berries, non-fat plain yogurt, almonds and much more.
High-glycemic foods like potatoes, white bread, and white rice should be avoided because you get a harmful burst of glucose and insulin that’s harmful immediately after eating them. These bursts tire out the pancreas in the long run and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Research also shows that having high-glycemic foods at one meal will make you even hungrier and eat more at the next, which is why these foods are associated with weight gain. People with excess fat are much more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if there are no other risk factors. Because of this, focusing on true grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and barley and choosing them over refined grains as much as possible.
Nuts are important for their unsaturated fats and their ability to help lower cholesterol. Walnuts actually contain omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds boost calcium, helping the heart muscle to contract, and Brazil nuts have selenium, which is a heart-protective antioxidant. About one ounce each day of nuts is good for you, but they do have a lot of calories so make sure to go easy on them. If you have a nut allergy, topping you salad with olives is a good alternative, as they contain unsaturated fats.
Beans also contain soluble fiber like oatmeal which helps to reduce cholesterol and keep arteries clear. By choosing the protein from beans instead of meat, you can cut back on saturated fats which raise cholesterol. Eating beans four to five times a week is recommended, as they can be added to a lot of meals. If you don’t tolerate beans well, try adding kombu, a sea vegetable, to them to help break down the components that cause gas. Your body also does adapt to beans over time, so try building up your bean servings slowly. Food enzymes can help reduce gas as well so don’t forget to take your enzymes.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and other berries all have strong antioxidant properties that can help fight heart disease and are also low in calories and high in fiber. Eating two cups of fruit each day for general health is recommended, but you should eat as many berries as you can tolerate. Free radicals can break down cholesterol that is flowing in your blood and make them sticky so to deposit on the arterial walls of your blood vessels. Fight this with antioxidant rich foods to reduce cholesterol build up.
Eating healthy is one step in boosting heart health and overall cardiovascular health. Exercise is also important in keeping your body strong and vibrant so one can live a healthier longer life.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
For Better Heart Health ...
February 06, 2007 12:57 PM
Nutrients Every Heart Needs
High blood pressure. High cholesterol levels. Ever increasing stress. All are factors related to the development of heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, 1 in 2 women in the
Fortunately, heart disease is a problem you can do something about. Proven ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of heart disease include taking targeted nutritional supplements, making changes in the foods we eat, exercising most days of the week, drinking in moderation, eliminating tobacco use and adapting a positive attitude. Research shows that those of us who are often angry and depressed have more heart disease than people that live their lives with a more positive outlook.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific nutritional supplements that are heart healthy, whether your goal is to prevent heart disease or reduce the effects of heart disease if you currently have it.
Q. I am trying hard to live a healthier life. But it all seems so overwhelming. How do I start?
A. It may help to know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people feel this way. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association are both urging people to prevent heart disease by identifying their individual health risk factors.
A risk factor is an indicator of whether or not you may develop a certain health condition. In heart disease prevention, there are two kinds of risk factors. There are risk factor you can control – such as diet, exercise, and the supplements you take. There are also risk factors you can’t change or control –your age, race, and gender, as well as your family’s history of heart disease.
Examples can be really helpful. Let’s follow three adults – Fred, Jane, and Earl – and determine their risk factors.
Fred is 32, single, has a job he loves, has an optimistic attitude about his life, and works out 5 days a week. Most days Fred’s diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat. Occasionally Fred will eat a cheeseburger and fries when he watches the game with his buddies. Fred’s risk factors are his male gender and the occasional high fat content in his diet.
Jane is 55, a lawyer, married, and has a very stressful job. Jane eats lots of salads, fruits, and whole grains. However, her job requires her to work long hours which leaves little time to exercise. Jane is for the most part happy with her life, but her work stress had led to times of negativity. Her father had a heart attack when he was 56. Jane’s risk factors include her age (greater than 50), negativity from job stress, lack of regular exercise, and a family history of heart disease.
Earl is 65, married, and has just retired from a job he hated. He spends most of his day watching TV and eating potato chips and other high fat, salty snacks. Earl has told his friends and family since he worked so hard for so long, he is sure to drop dead soon after retiring. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Earl’s father had a heart attack and died when he was 73. Earl’s risk is his male gender, age (greater than 50), sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, negative outlook on life, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
Q. OK, it’s pretty easy to see that Fred needs to watch his diet, Jane needs to exercise more, and Earl needs lots of help. But, which supplements should they take?
A. The Whole Heart Nutrition chart is an easy way to determine the supplements each risk level needs. As you can see, everyone wanting to prevent heart disease – Fred, Jane, Earl, you, and I – need to take quality heart formula multivitamin, garlic, and a fish oil supplement providing Omega-3 fatty acids. CoQ10 is also a smart choice for complete heart heath support.
Q. Why do we all need to take a “heart multivitamin”? Why can’t we take a regular multivitamin to prevent heart disease?
A. Since the human heart simply cannot function without adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, it seems logical that a multivitamin would be the foundation of good nutrition for your heart. Heart-health formulated multivitamins provide the exact nutrients needed to prevent heart disease.
That’s why we need to take a specially formulated heart-focused multi-vitamin. The cells and the tissues that make up the heart must have vitamins C, A, and E, as well as B1, B6, and B12 to function. Folic acid, the little B vitamin that is so crucial in preventing spina bifida (a birth defect), breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is also needed to keep heart muscles strong. The B vitamins and folic acid are very important to heart health because they help lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a potential and emerging cardiac risk factor,
Magnesium is a mighty mineral and healthy hearts need it every day. Aloha lipoic acid, a fatty acid, provides protection against heart cholesterol and high blood pressure. Lutein and lycopene are all-natural nutrients and keep our arteries free from the buildup of plaque, a condition linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Multivitamins formulated with these exact vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will work with medications often prescribed to treat heart disease and provide the nutrition our hearts need.
Q. Don’t all multivitamins work with medications prescribed to treat heart disease?
A. Many multivitamin formulas contain herbs and other nutrients that can interfere with prescription medications, especially mediations prescribed to treat heart disease. One multivitamin does not fit all.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.
Q. What can garlic supplements do for Fred, Jane and Earl or other people with low to high risk factors?
A. Garlic supplements have a very long and very successful history of preventing premature death from heart attacks. Lately, however, there have been some conflicting news stories about supplemental garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure – the causes of heart disease and death. That’s because many different garlic supplements have been used in these studies – garlic oil, garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and supplements made from fresh garlic. They have all been studied clinically for their effects in heart disease.
The best garlic supplements (and the ones that showed the best effects in garlic studies) contain alliin, which is then converted to allicin. Allicin is the compound that lowers harmfully high cholesterol levels and dangerous blood pressure readings. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor. Because alliin is very stable when dry, properly prepared and enteric coated fresh garlic preparations preserve the allicin-producing action until the garlic mixes with the fluids of the intestinal tract. Fresh garlic extract’s enteric coating also prevents garlic breath. In contrast, aged garlic contains absolutely no allicin or allicin potential. This fact is probably responsible for the poor results noted in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure from aged garlic preparations.
The most effective garlic supplements are made from fresh garlic, enteric coated, and provide a daily dose of at least 10 milligrams (mg) alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 micrograms (mcg). Taking a once-daily garlic supplement that delivers 4,000 mcg of allicin will lower Jane’s and Earl’s high blood pressure and Earl’s high cholesterol, naturally and effectively.
Whole Heart Nutrition
Each additional risk factor requires additional supplements or increased doses for protection from heart disease.
Q. What about fish oil supplements? I know they can prevent heart disease but I’ve also heard they contain harmful substances, too.
A. You’re right on both counts. But, there are excellent fish oil supplements naturally loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, powerful nutrients that prevent heart disease, that are also certified free of harmful contaminants.
In the 1980s, researchers first began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and
Research has shown that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements can:
-Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, lethal heartbeat rhythms that cause sudden death.
-Lower the levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase a person’s
risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person’s cholesterol levels are normal.
-Slow atherosclerosis – the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls.
Atherosclerosis develops over many years. If the plaque growth is slow and
stable, chances are low that a heart attack will result. However, rapidly growing
or unstable plaques can rupture. The body responds with inflammation, which
causes blood clots to form. These blood clots block the artery and cause a heart
-Keep blood pressure levels low. Many people have high blood pressure for years
without knowing it. That’s because it has no symptoms. Uncontrolled high
blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
While 25% of Americans have high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these
people don’t know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called
the “silent killer.”
You can get all of this heart disease preventive protection from just 600-1800 mg of fish oil. It’s pretty simple to see why Fred, Jane, Earl, and you and I need to take fish oil supplements every day.
However, it is absolutely critical that the fish oil supplement you take is free of contaminants and guaranteed fresh! Make sure that the manufacturer of the fish oil supplement you buy is able to provide documentation of purity in their product. Supplements should contain no detectable dioxin (a widely used toxic preservative), DDT (a toxic insecticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Before you buy any fish oil supplement, ask the clerk if you can open the bottle or jar and smell the contents. A fishy smelling fish oil supplementation means it is rancid. Rancid fish oil is not going to help your heart at all and may actually hurt it.
Q. That leaves CoQ10. Why is it important for Jane and Earl?
A. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is the premier heart supplement! CoQ10 is part of our energy producing system. It works directly in the mitochondria of each cell. Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as powerhouses. These tiny energy producers generate 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. The heart has very important functions and requires a vast amount of energy. Thus, the heart has a lot of mitochondria or little powerhouses.
CoQ10 is incredibly crucial to the health of our hearts. Especially to hearts that are pumping blood with too much cholesterol. But, in a dangerous paradox, CoQ10 levels can become dangerously depleted when physicians treat high cholesterol in their patients with certain medications. The so-called “statin” drugs (Mevacor/lovastatin and Crestor/rosubastatin are two examples) are powerful and medications prescribed to lower harmful cholesterol levels. However, one very harmful side effect they share is that they deprive cells of CoQ10. While some physicians are aware of this serious side effect and tell their patients to take at least 400 mg of CoQ10 each day, most are not. The result? Any good the statin drugs may be doing is actually negated by their depletion of CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 actually work? Has it been studied in heart disease?
A. Yes, it has! CoQ10 has been extensively studied in heart disease. This natural nutrient is present in every nucleated cell in our body (the only cells that don’t contain CoQ10 are red blood cells). Heart cells, however, are absolutely loaded with CoQ10. Its job is fairly simply – CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound our body uses for 95% of its energy needs.
In 1998, 144 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack, participated in a CoQ10 study. Half of the patients received 120 mg of CoQ10 a day in addition to the usual treatments given to heart attack patients. The other half, the control group, received the usual treatments and a placebo, but no CoQ10.
The results showed that the group taking CoQ10 had less irregular heartbeat, experienced less angina (a type of heart pain), and had much better function in the left ventricle (the most essential chamber of the heart), compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden heart failure or another heart attack were also reduced in the CoQ10 group.
Q. What if I have already been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure? Will CoQ10 still help me?
A. CoQ10 has been proven in study after study to help slow down the destruction that occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF), a serious heart disease, and heal the heart muscles damaged by heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks often occur when the body’s CoQ10 levels are low.
In a CHF study, patients received 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after the treatment period, the researchers introduced a catheter into the right ventricle of the patients’ hearts to determine the degree of muscle damage CHF had caused. In the group who took CoQ10, the pumping ability of the heart improved significantly. The placebo group’s hearts did not. The researchers conducting the study recommended that people with CHF add CoQ10 to the other medications they need to take to stay alive and well.
Q. Are some types of CoQ10 better than others?
A. Indeed they are. CoQ10 products are not created equally. The key to this natural medicine is the quality of the manufacturing. Take a CoQ10 supplement that’s been used in research conducted by prestigious universities (it will tell you this right on the label). Researchers want the best CoQ10 for their studies. You want the best CoQ10 for yourself and your loved ones.
The best CoQ10 has to meet the following criteria:
1. Must be easily absorbed during the digestion process so that it can get into the
2. Must reach the mitochondria in the cell.
3. Must be proven effective in studies.
4. Must be safe and free of impurities.
Q. It sounds as if CoQ10 is only for people with moderate or high risk factors. Can others benefit from this supplement?
A. Many people, including those like Fred with low risk factors or no risk of heart disease take CoQ10 every day. CoQ10 supplements may reduce your risk of cancer, prevent gum disease, and help certain nerve cells work more effectively.
Understanding your personal risk factors, making it better lifestyle choices, taking a multivitamin formulated for your heart, an enteric-coated fresh garlic supplement, fish oil supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids, and CoQ10 – the heart’s super-nutrient – can help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Helen Keller, the famous lecturer and author, who was both blind and deaf wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot e seen or even touched. They must be felt with the human heart.”
Healthy hearts have the most opportunities to “feel” the best and are the most beautiful thing our world has to offer.
Mayo Clinic Diet
December 26, 2005 11:44 AM
Mayo Clinic Diet
In 2 ½ months you should lose 52 pounds
This diet is given to heart patients needing to lose weight fast for surgery.
1. All soft drinks need to be diet and caffeine free.
FORMS OF STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:51 PM
FORMS OF STEVIA
Stevia has traditionally been used in either a powder or raw liquid form. Powdered forms can either be crude green or fine and white. Powders come in bulk or in tea bags. White stevia powder is the most common type and usually has more sweetening power than other forms. Countries like Japan use a filler substance along with stevia powder in order to give it more substance and make it easier to package. Powdered forms can be somewhat difficult to measure, although they are considered quite practical. Liquid formulas which are often brown in color frequently add other compounds to counteract bitterness. Alcohol based extracts are also available, as well as new concentrated liquid varieties. White stevia powder is the most popular form of the sweetener, although the leaf, ground or whole, can be purchased loose or in tea bags. Fresh leaves can be chewed but they are not practical for sweetening other foods. Dried leaves can used used for teas or in tea blends. Stevia tablets are also available for those who want to use the herb as a therapeutic rather than sweetening agent. Ground stevia can be sprinkled over cereals, salads, and other ready-toserve foods. (NOTE: Stevia powders can vary in their sweetening strength, which is determined to a great degree by the refining process and the plant quality.) If you choose to buy stevia leaves, they can widely vary in their quality and content depending on their cultivation and environmental conditions. The stevioside and rebaudidoside contents can also differ and bacterial or fungal contamination can be a problem. For this reason purchase stevia products only from reliable sources. Buying stevia in white powder or liquid extract forms from reliable distributors is also recommended.
Stevioside is the most powe rful form of the stevia glycoside and is usually available in either a white powder or liquid extract. It is the isolated glycoside form of stevia and is used specifically for its sweetening ability and not for any therapeutic applications. Japanese consumers use stevioside extensively.
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
June 25, 2005 07:49 PM
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
When we eat more than our daily energy requirements (and most of us do), the extra energy is stored as fat. The human body is designed to stockpile fat very easily. This tendency is related to innate mechanisms intended to protect us against starvation or the threat of a diminished food supply. Fat cells provide extra fuel which can be utilized if necessary to sustain life. Those survival fat pounds settle on the hips, waist, thighs, upper arms and back, not to mention around organs, like the heart and kidney. Some ethnic groups, whose ancestors repeatedly suffered from famines, are especially efficient in energy storage. These include the Pima tribe48 in the United States, the Aborigines of Australia,49 and many of those of African descent.41
Fats are very readily converted to pounds. Carbohydrates and proteins require more complicated digestive processes to convert and store their energy than fat does. Calories from carbohydrates and proteins are usually burned and thrown off as heat (thermogenesis). Naturally, overeating proteins and carbohydrates can result in weight gain, however the body has to work harder to convert these nutrients to fat stores. It takes 20 to 25 percent of the energy in carbohydrate and protein to convert them into body fat. It only takes about 5 percent of the energy content of dietary fat to store it as body fat. Fat is also twice as energy dense (9 calories per gram) as carbohydrates or proteins (4 calories per gram) making fat at least twice as dangerous from a weight gain standpoint.50 Blood taken from an individual soon after they have eaten a double cheeseburger, french fries and a thick milk shake will often be a milky pink color due to the infusion of fat from the digestive system. This fat circulates throughout the system until it is either burned or stored.
A Winning Combination
Most people would agree that exercise combined with a low-fat, high-fiber diet would be a winning combination for maintaining and improving health. Exercise is important in any health maintenance program. It is especially important in weight control since the amount of energy we expend in the resting state, our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), is a function of our muscle mass and tone.51,52 There is a tendency for us to lose muscle mass and gain fat pounds as we age. In part, this is due to life style changes. Instead of flying kites we fly desks! Nevertheless, our capacity to increase our muscle mass is undiminished with age.53 The lack of exercise rather than the abundance of candy is thought to be the primary cause of childhood obesity.54
Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet will produce some weight loss even in nor-mal weight subjects.55 The reason for this may well be the balance between fullness and satiety.56 It is a proven fact that we can easily eat an excess of fat before we feel full or satisfied. This is because fats are twice as energy dense (9 calories/ gram) as carbohydrates or proteins (4 calories/gram). By the time we are full, we have over eaten. Increasing our fiber intake helps us feel full. (Of course expensive gastric bypass surgery is another alternative.57) Eating a highfiber diet helps us to feel more than just full. Low-fat, high-fiber diets are found to lead to a general lowering of cancer rates.58 Though the above combination of exercise, low-fat, and high-fiber may work in theory; making the theory work in practice is quite another story.
Technology works against us in some ways as evidenced by this comment a woman made about her husband’s physique: “He has added 20 pounds of lap since he got his lap-top [computer].” And just try to get a low calorie meal over your lunch hour. In Feburary 1996 McDonald’s, an international fast food franchise, announced that it would be dropping its five-year experiment with the low-fat McLean burger (12 grams of fat). Also gone from the menu will be the Chef’s salad and the side salad. The taste of the Big Mac (35 grams of fat) has apparently won out over its McLean competition. The salads seem to be a casualty of convenience. Eating a salad in the car after a quick pickup at the drivethrough can be a bit challenging.
Fortunately, state-of-the-art research in the area of weight loss has discovered that through the addition of certain supplements and nutrients, the process of decreasing the amount of fat we process in the stomach and boosting the amount of fat we burn can be expedited. For those of us who suffer from a “fat imbalance” or a condition where we store more fat than we burn, it is often a matter of life or death to lose fat in order to protect our arteries and heart.
The Secret t o Weight Loss . . . An Ounce of Prevent ion Most weight-reducing strategies have to confront the “after the fact” problem of burning already stored fat. Like most of our medical practices, we routinely become sick or fat and then go about the business of trying to remedy our ills. Despite Poor Richard’s advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” we continually eat high-fat diets, and wait until we have to pay the piper before most of us take serious action. It’s much easier to prevent a fat build-up than to reverse the damage that carrying extra fat stores can cause. Going on a diet is nothing less than torture and usually means giving up all the foods we like to eat. Yet dieting seldom gets to the root cause of our excess weight which most often is that we eat too much fat, when not dieting. The body begins to digest lipids in the stomach and intestines.
The diagram in Figure 1 illustrates the steps involved in getting fat into our bloodstream.59 There are four steps in fat digestion: 1) acidolytic breakdown of food in the stomach; 2) enzymatic breakdown (lipolysis) of the fats (triglycerides, TGs) into fatty acids (FAs) and beta-monoglycerides (b-MGs); 3) formation of soluble mixed micelles with bile acids; and 4) absorption through the intestines. If we could tie up excess fat before it was absorbed, we could spare our physiological systems the stress of having to deal with that fat. Ideally then, what we need is a substance that prevents fat absorption.
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
June 14, 2005 10:52 AM
Nutritional Scorecard by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, June 15, 2004
For over 50 years, the federal government has produced Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) as guidelines for vitamin and mineral intake. Then, in 1993, the Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) superseded the RDAs. By applying this new designation, the government's guidelines are now supposed to represent the designated amounts that an average person should consume. With this in mind, and the fact that many experts think you should consume more than some of the RDIs, how does your nutritional scorecard add up? Answering a few nutritional questions can point you in the right direction.
Are you trying to lose weight? If you are, the latest thinking on weight loss opines that eating more protein may be the key to keeping your weight down. Two recent studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (5/18/04) found that people who ate a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet lost more weight and had better cholesterol levels than dieters who ate fewer fatty foods. Both studies found that a low-carb diet can improve your triglycerides (blood fats) and boost your HDL, or good, cholesterol.
Eating protein satisfies both tummies and taste buds. Researchers have found that the amount of protein eaten in a meal determines not only how much food you eat but also how satisfied you feel after eating (J Nutr 2004 Apr; 134(4):974S-9S). And when you feel satisfied after eating less food you improve your odds of losing weight.
We need about 50 grams of protein a day to support the body's functions. The best sources of protein are eggs, meat, milk, protein shakes and yogurt.
Does your energy level go up and down during the day? To get off the energy rollercoaster, cut down on carbohydrates, and make sure the carbs you do eat are complex.
Carbohydrates have been getting some unflattering press lately. Yes, if you want to lose weight, you may want to go on a strictly low-carb diet. But for those not concerned with weight, carbohydrates are the principle source of energy for the body.
What's more, even if you do restrict carbohydrates, you should still eat a tiny bit of them. Without some carbs in the diet your body cannot regulate protein or fat metabolism. According to Michael and Mary Eades, MD, authors of The 30-Day Low-Carb Diet Solution (Wiley), "Carbohydrates control insulin and insulin controls your metabolic health."
So, make your carbohydrates count. Indulge in complex carbohydrates: whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In those foods, carbs are accompanied by fiber and larger amounts of vitamins and phytonutrients. Other reliable sources of complex carbohydrates are whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal.
Are you concerned about your heart health? Fiber from beans, oats, legumes, nuts, rice bran, fruits and vegetables helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Pectins, found in apples, pears, prunes and plums, are a particularly useful form of water-soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber, in cereals, wheat bran and vegetables, reduces the risk of colon-related problems. In addition to adding fiber to the diet, dried beans and soybeans have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve vascular health and kidney functioning, preserve bone mineral density and reduce menopausal discomforts (AJCN 1999 Sept; 70(3 suppl):464S-74S). Fiber also promotes good bowel health and encourages the growth of beneficial intestinal flora.
You need 25 to 40 grams of fiber daily. If you have cut back on your carbohydrates, be sure to take a reliable fiber supplement.
Do you have problems focusing on mentally challenging tasks? If so, you should eat more fish and get more of the omega-3 fatty acids that fish and flax contain. Higher levels of this type of fat have been linked to better concentration while performing demanding intellectual work (Lipids 2004 Feb; 39(2):117-23).
Fats add flavor to food, making meals taste better. Monounsaturated fats like plain olive oil and canola are liquid at room temperature and are suitable for use in cooking at high temperatures. Researchers have found that a diet high in monounsaturated fat has the ability to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol (J Nutr 2001; 131:1758-63). Other fats, such as extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil, are best used in dishes that don't need cooking, such as salads.
Although the RDI for fat is less than 30% of the total calorie intake, some researchers believe that if you eat healthy fat, eating too much is not a concern. Omega-3 fats are available in supplement form.
Do you suffer from dry skin? You may not be drinking enough water. This precious liquid is used by every cell of our bodies and makes up 60% to 75% of our body weight. Water is important for kidney function. Researchers in Italy found that drinking adequate amounts of water can help prevent the formation of kidney stones (Urol Int 2004; 72 Suppl 1:29-33).
Your activity level, environment and diet influence how much water you need daily. Try to drink at least eight cups of fluid a day from noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic sources.
Do you exercise frequently? If you do, you need more antioxidant vitamins like natural vitamin E and vitamin C as well as a healthy supply of carotenoids. A study at the School of Applied Medical Sciences and Sports Studies, University of Ulster, found that exercisers need more antioxidants. Otherwise, their exertion may release an excess number of free radicals (caustic molecules) in their bodies and do damage to the heart arteries and other internal organs.
Vitamins, in general, are defined as micronutrients that are necessary for life. They are necessary for the production of energy, a healthy immune system and hundreds of other functions in the body.
Vitamins aren't the only substances that produce big benefits in small quantities. Phytonutrients are chemicals in plants that have health-promoting properties. These nutrients are getting more and more attention from researchers who are keeping score on our nutritional requirements.
Do your meals contain plenty of calcium? If not, you may need supplements to keep your bones strong and help keep your weight down. One study, presented at the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting in San Diego, found that young women who consumed more calcium had better luck controlling their weight. In this research, it didn't take much calcium to make a difference in waistlines. Consuming just one more serving daily (a cup of milk or a thumb-sized piece of cheese, each of which contain about 300 mg of calcium) made, on average, about a two-pound difference.
In addition, many experts recommend multimineral supplements (along with multivitamins) to promote better health. A recent study of people with immune problems, for instance, found that those kinds of supplements seem to help boost the immune system (AT News 2004 Feb 27; 398:4-5).
Mane Attraction - lustrous Hair...
June 14, 2005 08:19 AM
Mane Attraction by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, February 12, 2004
Everyone wants thick, lustrous hair. Think of the allure attached to the locks of Samson and Lady Godiva and-fast-forward to the present-the full heads of Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts.
" We're naturally attracted to hair as humans; it catches the light, it frames the face, we like the feel of it," says Catherine Jones, ND, LAc, a resident naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington. "Fair or not, historically in many cultures, rich, thick hair has been a sign of fertility and strength."
Along with that allure, latching onto natural ways to have great-looking hair gives you the benefits of looks and health. Every hair starts with a shaft that grows from a root. "The root is contained deep within the hair follicle," says Dr. Jones. "Each one has a sebaceous or oil gland, which supplies the hair with necessary lubrication as it approaches the surface of the scalp." Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, including a resting period, the telogen phase, when hair falls out. Because of these constant hair phases, each of us loses, on average, about 100 hairs a day.
" The number of hairs the average person loses in a day tends to increase in the fall as the leaves fall from the tree and tends to decrease in the spring as the bulbs emerge from the soil," Dr. Jones says. "We really are connected to nature." Stress-due to rapid weight loss, infection, anemia, prolonged illness, hormonal changes, hypoactive thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, eczema or psoriasis-can influence hair growth and loss.
Hair consists of proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates and pigment (gray hair has reduced pigment; white, none at all). Each shaft's structure is divided into a medulla, a cortex and an outer cuticle. " The cuticle is coated with an outside lipid-like layer, which protects the hair," says Dr. Jones. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, the cortex and cuticle become keratinized and harden." Dry or damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage. "The condition of the cuticle affects how the light reflects off the hair, giving it highlights and luster," Dr. Jones says. "Luster is affected both by what occurs inside the body as the hair is developing and what happens to the hair after it has grown from the shaft."
Sun, heat, moisture, pollution and hair products, dyes and bleaches can all dull the hair. "Applying chemical solutions to the hair, color, permanent waves or curl relaxers, damage the protein molecules that wrap around the shaft, leaving hair brittle and dull," says Christina Pirello, author of Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty (HP Books).
Conditioners and oils can leave a residue or weigh hair down. Hair sprays and products that contain alcohol can dry and damage the hair, as can using blow dryers and curling irons.
To combat hair-raising havoc, feed your hair natural nutrients for health. Silica and plants that contain silica/silicon both strengthen hair and promote growth. "Silica is a good mineral for hair health," says Walter Siegordner, founder of The Aurora Group, a personal care company. "It helps in the keratinization process of the cells that produce hair."
" Silica is a mineral that is involved in the synthesis of bone and connective tissue," adds Dr. Jones. "The hair follicle contains connective tissue so silica may promote the health and function of the follicle itself." Silica-containing herbs include nettles (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sea plants like seaweed and kelp also provide vital nutrients. "Sea plants are essential ingredients in many natural shampoos and can be used to fortify damaged hair," says Pirello. "They're rich in vitamin A that prevents the build-up of dead skin cells, which can clog the hair follicles, inhibiting the growth and health of the hair, and also contain vitamin B, linked to the prevention of oily hair, baldness and dandruff. Calcium found in sea plants is essential to the structure of the hair shaft."
Eaten on s daily basis, sea plants are rich in nutrients that help maintain healthy, shiny hair, free of split ends, Pirello says. Try wakame in soups and salads, kombu or kelp in bean and vegetable dishes, nori in sushi, and hiziki and arame as side dishes. Since hair health is affected by digestive health, the fiber found in whole grains also helps. "Fiber prevents accumulation in the intestines that can result in the formation of toxins," says Pirello.
Miso, she adds, is especially good hair food. It "is rich in living enzymes that ease digestion, fortify the quality of the blood nourishing the body and hair, and provide us with essential oils, vitamins and minerals."
Key nutritional support includes adequate protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids such as cold-pressed flax seed oil and fish oil, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, biotin, iron and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Zinc and selenium can help combat the effects of hyperthyroidism, which can result in thinning, lackluster hair.
Vitamin C can boost adrenal health. "When the adrenals are overtaxed and become fatigued, hair follicles will go into a resting phase," says Dr. Jones. (If you have a medical condition, she adds, check with your health care practitioner first before taking supplements.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair is associated with the kidneys' qi, energy that originates in these organs, and with blood quality. " From the traditional Chinese perspective, excess amounts of fat, protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol and salt in the diet acidify the body, damage the Kidney qi and are not good for the hair," says Dr. Jones. A diet rich in vegetables and grains is a great way to support healthy hair. "Iron and mineral-rich foods are considered blood builders and hair tonics. Foods such as blackstrap molasses, seaweed, nettles, and the herb polygonum multiflorum (also known as He Shou Wu and Fo-Ti) have been used throughout the years. Fo-Ti has also been used to prevent graying of the hair and support the immune system."
" Hair is extremely strong but at the same time it's extremely delicate," says Barsoum Bouchar, a cosmetologist and owner of the Virtuoso Salon in Birmingham, Michigan. "Many products work against the hair texture, so the cuticle is always raised. This causes tangles and split ends. With blow dryers, chemicals, colors and styling elements, the hair is tremendously abused." If you don't have to chemically treat the hair, he says, don't.
When replenishing the hair it's important to remember that it's composed of 97% protein and 3% moisture, says Bouchar. Shampoo cleanses the hair and removes buildup. "A moisturizer brings moisture back into the hair and smoothes the cuticle down, which is what makes hair shiny and gives it bounce. The one key ingredient in both shampoo and moisturizers is aloe vera. It heals the hair." " Avoid products with harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate and propylene glycol," warns Siegordner. "These decrease the circulation in the scalp, reducing the pathway for nutrition to the hair bulb." Conditioners that aren't natural can also cause build-up. "When you apply heat to the hair through blow drying or styling, you end up 'burning' the hair," says Bouchar.
To stimulate hair growth, add a few drops of essential oils of rosemary, lavender and thyme to jojoba and almond oils, and rub into the scalp. Leave it overnight and then rinse it off. " Essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, stimulate the circulation to the hair follicles and combat dryness. They also smell good," says Dr. Jones.
For hair that's not chemically treated, "a vinegar rinse cleanses the hair, removes build-up and boosts shine," says Bouchar. Use one part vinegar to ten parts water, apply after a shampoo, comb though and rinse it off. To naturally lighten the hair, use the same ratio in a lemon rinse for five minutes for, say, four days in a row, and then stop.
If you want to color your hair, choose natural elements, too. "The best natural dye is henna," says Bouchar. "It's organic, just like hair is." Blonde hair becomes warmer with a coppery tone, brunette hair takes on a mahogany hue, gray hair looks like highlights.
To find a good natural hair stylist, Bouchar suggests asking which products they use and why. If your hair is chemically treated, it's especially important to work with a stylist you trust for the best care.
Keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to hair health. "Be proactive and treat the body holistically," urges Dr. Jones. "Nourish the glands, the organs and the vessels that are responsible for getting the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle. Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental aspects of health. Once hair is lost it may come back but it will likely be thinner than it was before. It's important to take care of what you have."
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."
Centering Your Heart
June 13, 2005 10:15 AM
Centering Your Heart by Lisa James Energy Times, January 4, 2004
The romantic view of the human heart conjures up vivid images: The gallant lover, the committed enthusiast, the wise sage. When the romantic philosophy speaks of the heart, it speaks of things that lie at the very center of what it means to be human.
Western medical science, though, views the heart as a biomechanical pump-marvelously engineered to be sure, but a physical device amenable to surgical and pharmaceutical tinkering.
Between romance and technology lies the Eastern path. Eastern medical traditions, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and India's Ayurveda, see the heart as a seat of energy that must be kept in right relationship with the rest of the body.
TCM: Yin, Yang and Qi
The two great polarities of yin and yang are always shifting and rebalancing, according to Chinese philosophy, in our bodies as in everything else. Yin is dark, inward, cold, passive and downward; yang is light, outward, warm, active and upward.
The energy that keeps us alive is called qi, or life force. Organs, including the heart, are seen as places where qi resides. Organs supply and restrain each other's qi, which flows along carefully mapped meridians, or channels. Disease occurs when disturbances in qi interrupt the flow of energy so that an organ experiences either a deficiency or excess of yin/yang.
According to Chinese precepts, disturbances in the heart affect the whole body. "The movement of the blood throughout the body, TCM circulation, is managed by multiple organs, which in turn interact with one another. A failure in any one part of this system can result in pathology," says Jonathan Simon, LAc, an acupuncture expert in private practice and at the Mind-Body Digestive Center, in New York.
"If there's a circulation issue, all the organ systems are going to be deprived of the nourishment supplied by the blood. The heart seems to have a dramatic effect on everything else in the body," says Ross Rosen, JD, LAc, CA, MSTOM, Dipl AC & CH (NCCAOM), of The Center for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine P.A. in Westfield, New Jersey.
Connecting the Dots
While Western medicine probes the heart's physical functioning, TCM searches for energy imbalances by looking for patterns in a person's complaints.
"The wrong approach, in my opinion, is to try to relieve a Western ailment before you have established the proper pattern," Simon notes. "For example, I once had a 20-year-old, slim patient who came to me complaining of hypertension. She had seen several other acupuncturists before she got to my clinic, all of whom had prescribed the number-one formula for hypertension in TCM. When I interviewed her, I discerned a very different pattern from the classic one for hypertension. I gave her the formula associated with her pattern, not her symptom, and she had great relief over the next three weeks. After consultation with her Western physician, she began to cut back on her medication, and is now off of her meds."
TCM emphasizes taking a thorough medical history and using a sophisticated pulse-taking technique called the shen hammer method. Rosen calls pulse "the blueprint of one's health."
As in conventional Western medicine, TCM sees diet as a major culprit in heart disease. "Poor diet will cause problems depending upon on the constitution of the person," explains Simon. "For example, if one eats an excess of greasy and spicy food, that may build up and generate excess heat in the body. That may manifest itself as someone with a quick temper, red face and high blood pressure. On the other hand, a vegetarian who eats only salads may have low energy, a sallow complexion and low blood pressure. I try to tell my patients to keep balance in their diets, but to avoid cold, raw and greasy foods."
TCM also sees unsettled emotions as a source of illness. Stress "creates stagnation in qi and in the blood, eventually," Rosen says. "When stagnation is long or severe, heat starts being produced. We say that heat goes into the blood and steams the body, and heat starts to dry out the vessels. This process winds up turning into atherosclerosis-it kind of vulcanizes the vessel wall. It deprives the vessel of its moisture, which deprives it of its elasticity. Blood pressure starts to increase."
Managing one's emotions and not overworking body or mind is key, says Rosen: "The heart houses the spirit, the shen. When we see people with imbalances in emotion, the spirit starts to become agitated; once the spirit becomes agitated, the whole heart system goes out of balance."
Signs of agitation include insomnia, anxiety and an inability to feel joy, along with chest pain and heart palpitations. TCM uses nutrition, herbs and acupuncture to bring the body back into balance.
Ayurveda: Constitutional Energies
Like TCM, Ayurveda sees health as a matter of balancing the subtle energies that power our bodies. In Ayurveda, these energies exist as three doshas, or basic constitutions:
* Vata is cold, dry, light, clear and astringent. The skin of vata individuals is generally dry, thin, dark and cool, with hair that's curly, dark and coarse. Vatas change their minds readily and crave warmth.
* Pitta is sharp, light, hot, oily and pungent. Pitta people tend to have skin that's soft, fair, warm and freckled, along with fine, fair hair. Quick-witted, pittas hold strong convictions. They prefer coolness, since they tend to perspire profusely.
* Kapha is cold, heavy, oily, slow and soft. Kapha skin is pale, cold and thick, and kapha hair, which is usually brown, is thick and lustrous. Stable and compassionate, kaphas don't like the cold.
Few people are one, pure dosha. Most contain varying levels of vata, pitta and kapha (abbreviated VPK), generally with one predominating.
Ayurveda views the heart as "governing emotions and circulating blood," according to Sophia Simon, MS, LAc, of the Karma Healing Center in Newtown, Pennsylvania. In Ayurveda "heart problems arise mainly due to improper diet and stressful lifestyles," which causes a "derangement of vata dosha. This leads to thickening of the arteries, resulting in angio-obstruction."
"Stress reduction is very important in heart disease," says Simon. "Meditation helps a lot with stress reduction, especially simple breathing exercises, yoga, etc." Some of Simon's recommendations have a familiar ring: Don't smoke, do exercise, eat a plant-based, low-fat diet. In addition, she says you should:
* Avoid coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine.
* Be loving and compassionate to all mankind.
* Do things in a casual way. Speak softly. Avoid anger, especially holding anger for a long time.
* Indulge in healthy, whole-hearted laughter.
In addition, Simon notes that garlic is an Ayurvedic herb "most useful for heart problems.
Keep your balance: In the great Eastern healing traditions, it is the key to keeping your heart healthy.
Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...
June 12, 2005 05:27 PM
Go Green by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, December 4, 2003
If you feel like your busy life is holding your health hostage, green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free. "Green foods are worth a king's ransom as far as your health is concerned," says Betty Kamen, PhD, author of Betty Kamen's 1,001 Health Secrets (Nutrition Encounter). "Green foods capture solar energy, using it to produce chlorophyll, which gives it its distinctive green color. Since we obtain our food by eating these plants or by eating the animals that eat these plants, this process is the source of human life."
"Green foods are renewal foods," says Ryan Bradley, ND, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Kenmore, Washington. "They help to counteract the nutrient depletion caused by stress and by caffeine intake. They're nutrient dense, grounding, balancing, and soothing in their energetic nature."
Ideally, your meals should supply you with greens, but "...99.9% of the population doesn't get three to five [daily] servings of leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach," says Jordan Rubin, NMD, PhD, CNC, author of Patient Heal Thyself (Freedom Press). Green foods can bridge that gap.
"Green foods have become popular because it's a convenient way to get your servings," says Dr. Rubin. "You get the equivalent of two large salads with one serving of powdered green food. It's nutrient dense and low calorie so it's a great addition to any diet. It satisfies the brain so you don't feel hungry."
"Everyone can benefit from green food supplementation," adds Dr. Kamen. "It's a concentrated supplier of everything that's good about vegetables."
Chlorophyll for Health
The key ingredient of green foods is chlorophyll, the green blood of plants. The benefits for humans from chlorophyll can be profound. A study of individuals at high risk of developing liver cancer because of their exposure to environmental toxins showed a 55% reduction in noxious compounds when these people supplemented their diets with a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative with properties similar to those of chlorophyll (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Dec 4; 98(25):14601-6).
"This research supports the long-standing notion that chlorophyll, and green foods, can play a role in detoxification in the liver, and thus 'cleansing' the blood," says Dr. Bradley. "It's a good addition to any detox protocol. Test tube evidence also suggests that chlorophyll inhibits mutations in human cells."
Chlorophyll is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can help fight anemia, improve digestion and elimination, and act as a mild diuretic. It also helps friendly bacteria in the gut reproduce and thereby possibly boost immunity.
Green, Green Grasses
Fast-growing plants, such as wheat and barley cereal grasses, contain the most chlorophyll and the deepest green color.
"Wheat grass was one of the country's first multi-vitamins," says Dr. Rubin, who is also the author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Twin Streams Health). "Certified organic cereal grasses pull a vast number of nutrients from the soil."
"The solar-powered factory in the leaves of the young grass plants is almost beyond comprehension," says Dr. Kamen. "Sprouted grains have exceptional nutritive value and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals."
The blue-green microalgae spirulina is a chlorophyll powerhouse.
"Spirulina is high in protein, up to 65%, and the blue pigment of this blue-green algae, phycocyanin, has antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties," says Dr. Rubin.
Like other greens, spirulina can help you cut calories. "When you nourish the body and the brain with nutrient-dense and low-caloric food, it satisfies that impulse to keep eating." Spirulina is also high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, all commonly depleted nutrients. B vitamins are critical players in overall metabolism, and are vital to nerve and adrenal function.
Spirulina contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, plus iron. "It's been scientifically validated that [spirulina's iron is] comparable to the absorption from an egg," says Dr. Bradley. "It may benefit patients that are anemic. It's also a great choice for vegans who are looking for plant sources of iron."
In addition, the spirulina compounds called phycocyanins may control inflammation and lower the risk of cancer.
"Spirulina stimulates the part of the immune system [natural killer cells] responsible for our ability to fight off viruses and survey our tissues internally and detect and kill cancerous tissue," says Dr. Bradley.
Like spirulina, chlorella stimulates your natural killer cells to fight bacteria and viruses, and to strengthen your defenses.
"Chlorella is the richest food on the planet in chlorophyll," says Dr. Kamen. "It's also high in protein and rich in beta-carotene and minerals.
"One of the truly amazing facts about chlorella is its ability to oxygenate the blood," Dr. Kamen continues. "If your blood doesn't have enough oxygen, you can become listless and lethargic. Chlorella actually increases your hemoglobin, the oxygen transporter in your blood, so there is more oxygen present. It provides the necessary fuel for making healthy cells, and the result is renewed energy and vitality."
Both spirulina and chorella also contain omega-6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits and can improve the behavior of your blood vessels. In addition, they provide vitamin B12.
Green Foods from the Sea
Seaweed and other sea vegetables like kelp offer a green foods bonanza. Seaweed is low in calories but, like spirulina, offers a wealth of nutrients.
"Most seaweed provides a rich supply of many essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, iodine and zinc," says Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Program (Potter). "Iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid gland, which needs it to make hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Lignans, the cancer-fighting phytoestrogens have been found in high quantities in seaweed, mostly kelp, which could conceivably provide some protection against certain types of cancers."
Lower rates of breast cancer were reported in Japanese patients eating a diet high in kelp (Nutr Cancer 1983; 4:217-22). Kelp has also been shown to reduce DNA damage induced by several known carcinogens (Mutat Res 1993; 303:63-70).
Sea greens contain omega-3 fatty acids, fats that boost heart health. "Sea vegetables may prove to be a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than the dwindling fish populations," says Dr. Bradley.
To incorporate sea greens into your diet, start by putting them on your lettuce and tomatoes.
"Sea vegetables can make a great addition to salads," says Dr. Bradley. "They're high in nutrition and add flavor because of the sodium. They also add texture, giving salads more crunch."
Other ways to green up your diet:
* "Kelp comes packaged in three-foot-long dried strips and is prepared by cutting the long strips into smaller two- to three-inch strips and boiling them for about ten minutes. You remove the kelp, and then you can use the broth in soups, salads and other dishes. Kelp simmered with vegetables or tofu and served in miso soup is an Okinawan favorite," says Dr. Willcox.
* Wakame (one of Dr. Willcox's favorites), a type of kelp, has a taste and appearance that may remind Westerners of spinach lasagna.
* Nori seaweed can be used to wrap sushi and rice balls and also to season salads, soups and noodles.
"Seaweed tastes great and if used wisely, should not tip you into sodium overload," says Dr. Willcox.
Go for the Green
More and more people are realizing and enjoying the benefits of green foods. Dr. Bradley recommends keeping your green foods consumption simple. Add powdered greens, dried tablets and liquids to juice, mix them into smoothies or a protein shake, and sprinkle the powder on salads. Mixed in water, greens can be used as a morning tonic and help replace some of the nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins depleted by coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which act as diuretics.
"Incorporate a green drink into your diet once or twice a day," says Dr. Bradley. "It's the least expensive (health) insurance policy you can have."
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 Natural Man
June 10, 2005 03:31 PM
The Natural Man
by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, July 14, 2003
Men face significant health challenges as they age. "When men go through andropause in their late 40s (like women go through menopause) and testosterone drops, these hormonal changes are associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and diabetes," says Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, Director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Therapy in Maryland.
And although cardiovascular disease and cancer account for about two-thirds of men's deaths, says Michael Castleman, author of Blended Medicine (Rodale), men are also plagued by chronic pain (arthritis, especially from old athletic injuries), sexual problems and mental decline.
But men, and the women who love them, need not accept decline as an inevitable sign of aging. A natural man lifestyle makeover can make a difference. "Prostate problems can be significant [for men as they age]," says Jamey Wallace, ND, clinic medical director at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle. "As men get older there can be an enlargement of the prostate that can cause urinary problems, with increased frequency and discomfort. There's a correlation between inactivity and weight gain and perhaps prostate problems as well." Besides lack of exercise, other contributing factors to health problems include a diet loaded with pesticide residues and chemicals, a lack of fiber and an excessive amount of unhealthy fats.
The Stronger Sex?
Women, on average, live five years longer than men. "At every age, American males have poorer health and a higher risk of mortality than females," says David Williams of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The gap in life expectancy between men and women may have both genetic and lifestyle origins. More men smoke than women, and men are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers. A recent study Williams led, published in the American Journal of Public Health, confirms that men's behavior is indeed a contributing factor to longevity or lack thereof. "Men take more risks than women," says Castleman. "Men ride motorcycles, go skydiving and do 'death-defying' things. Sometimes, death wins." A macho attitude can prompt men to practice risky behavior by, say, driving without a seat belt. Men also typically engage in more dangerous occupations like construction or fire fighting.
Get Him to the Health Practitioner
Being macho may also mean men postpone visits to their health practitioners. Women are twice as likely to schedule an annual checkup.
"Men postpone admitting and getting help for problems," says Shoshana Zimmerman, ND, author of My Doctor Says I'm Fine...So Why Do I Feel So Bad? (Blue Dolphin). "They may want to prove they are tough or are preoccupied with their jobs and responsibilities." "Starting in adolescence men feel they can take care of themselves," says Dr. Wallace. Unfortunately, this means that it may take a health crisis like severe pain to prompt a man's visit to a health practitioner. "Men care less about their health, so they don't take care of themselves as well as women do," says Castleman.
Get Him to Take the Long View
"Health problems are a result of decades of poor diet and not enough exercise," says Dr. Wallace.
Dr. Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic (Avery/Penguin) says, as a rule of thumb, "Things that make you feel good are generally good for you." But there is a difference between a craving, say for sugar, and what makes you feel good. The difference is how you feel an hour after you've eaten something. Sugar may make you feel fatigued; a high-protein diet may make you feel energized. "If you have low energy, that's the time to add eggs and meat. Others need to be vegans. It's really individualized. Listen to your body."
Zinc is an important nutrient for men's health, particularly for the prostate, and can be found in pumpkin seeds. "Sprinkling a small handful on salads on a daily basis or bringing a small bag to the office and nibbling on those can be a helpful adjunct," says Dr. Wallace. Don't overdo zinc supplementation because high levels can lowers HDL-the good cholesterol-levels. If you do use supplements, follow package directions.
By eating different whole foods, you get optimal daily doses of vitamin A (in the form of mixed carotenoids); flavonoids; B vitamins; vitamins C, D, E and K; and important minerals like calcium, boron, manganese and magnesium, the single most critical nutrient. "It's also the one most Americans are deficient in," says Dr. Teitelbaum. "It promotes heart health, improves mental function and mood, helps you relax and sleep better." When sleep is elusive, herbs that can help include wild lettuce, Jamaican dogwood, hops, passionflower and valerian.
For many men, an enlarged prostate is part of aging. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may reduce the frequent urge to urinate that can result.
"After age 40, men's levels of testosterone decline, while levels of other hormones, notably prolactin, increase," says Castleman. "This results in an elevation of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for the overgrowth of prostate tissue that is characteristic of benign prostate enlargement. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto shrinks enlarged prostates and relieves symptoms." It takes about six weeks to work. (Since urinary difficulties can signal several health problems, it's important to consult a trained practitioner first.)
Give Him a Multivitamin
Add a good multivitamin with essential nutrients from a natural food store, says Dr. Wallace. "You'll find vitamins there with bioavailability. You can take something but it may be in a form that you can't assimilate. You need a multivitamin that your body can actually use."
Powdered vitamin formulas can be a good choice, says Dr. Teitelbaum, since they don't have binders or fillers. "You can just put it into a glass of say orange juice or mix it into a smoothie."
In addition, omega-3 oil offers antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory action, says Dr. Zimmerman: "Especially on the arteries, which protects against plaque buildup."
Get Him Eating Better and Exercising
To help your spouse or significant other improve his health and vitality, start by setting a good example both in nutrition and activity.
"Eat a whole-food diet yourself, include foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains like quinoa, teff and kamut (find them at your local natural food store) full of fiber and B vitamins, instead of refined bread and pasta," says Dr. Wallace. "Choose foods you both like. Go to a natural food store and look through whole food cookbooks, find recipes that use ingredients that you know your spouse likes and try those."
"Spend your time in the produce section, have salads and fruit salads in the fridge at all times, and serve them at all meals," says Castleman.
Make gradual, healthy substitutions, steps you both can live with. For example, replace one meat lunch and dinner a week with a vegetarian alternative, says Castleman. "Make a big pot of hearty bean and vegetable soup a week, and just keep it in the fridge for an easy heat-and-eat meal." You can also broil fish instead of frying it. Use olive or canola oil when cooking.
To get your four to five servings of vegetables each day, eat a five-color salad. "You'll get a variety of nutrients so the body can select what it needs from the different vegetables," says Dr. Wallace.
"Serve more vegetables, at least two with dinner and add fruit into your man's (and your own) diet," says Dr. Zimmerman. "Eating three each of protein, vegetables and fruits per day goes a very long way to improving health." So does drinking plenty of water, eight to ten glasses a day.
Besides providing a good example by eating healthy foods, a woman can do the same thing with exercise. "If a woman wants to start walking she can invite her husband to go along. Thirty minutes of walking every day can be very helpful," says Dr. Wallace. Walking, like sex, keeps the pelvic area active and improves prostate health by stimulating blood flow. Remember, in both diet and exercise, nagging doesn't work-while setting an example and trying to be inclusive, and not demanding, often makes a big difference for better health.
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
May 27, 2005 09:24 AM
Improve Your Diet and Stop Being S.A.D.
The Standard American Diet (or S.A.D.) is exactly that ? sad! Sadly lacking in essential nutrients and sadly loaded with an excess of the wrong things, like fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar. How can we improve our diets and truly nourish our bodies?
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Why are fruits and vegetables so important? Not only are they high in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain bioflavonoids?naturally occurring plant constituents that act as antioxidants and support the integrity of our connective tissue. And fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, so crucial in maintaining our digestive tract health.
What fruits and vegetables don't contain is just as important as what they do contain: fruits and vegetables are free of cholesterol, additives and preservatives, contain no added sugar or salt, and are low in fat?nature's perfect foods. All you have to do is look at the bright, crisp colors?the vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, reds and purples?to know how good fruits and vegetables are for you.
Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains, like oats, brown rice and barley, help us meet important nutritional goals. They are low in fat and high in fiber, and, because the germ of the grain has not been lost in the milling process, they are higher in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and B vitamins compared to processed grain products like white bread or pasta. And they're delicious! Have a bowl of hot oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts for breakfast?or make a hearty barley-vegetable stew for dinner. Your body will thank you!
Increase Your Fiber Consumption
Fiber exercises our digestive tract?toning and strengthening the muscle that surrounds our intestines just the way lifting weights tightens and tones our skeletal muscles. Low-fiber diets increase our risk for a variety of bowel problems, from constipation and hemorrhoids to diverticulosis and diverticulitis to colon cancer. Increasing fiber in the diet is good for the digestive tract, helps regulate blood sugar and may also help reduce cholesterol levels.
What are the best dietary sources of fiber? All plant foods (whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) contain fiber. And all animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain zero fiber?that's right, none!
Eat Healthy Fats and Oils
Fats and oils have gotten a bad rap. Somehow the idea has been promoted that all fats are bad and we should eat as little fat as possible. The truth is that fat is an essential part of our diet, and dietary fats are used for many important functions in the body, from energy production to cell membrane maintenance to nerve conduction. While much of the focus has been on the amount of fat we should eat, the type of fats we eat is at least as important.
High-quality fats are rare in the standard American diet. Most of the fats and oils we eat have been damaged by exposure to heat or light during processing or cooking. This damage destroys essential nutrients and creates free radicals, chemically unstable molecules that can wreak havoc in the body. For this reason, fried foods and highly processed fats like margarine and shortening are best avoided. Health concerns have been raised about margarine, as it contains trans fatty acids?a configuration of fatty acids not found in nature.
And our ratio of fat consumption is skewed. Most Americans consume too many saturated fats and not enough polyunsaturated oils. How do you tell which fats are saturated and which are not? Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (think butter, lard and coconut oil). Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature (like corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil). In addition to polyunsaturated oils, olive oil, a monounsaturated oil, is also a heart-healthy choice and one of the best oils to use.
Reduce Your Consumption of Animal Products
While animal products (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products) contain many valuable nutrients, as a nation, we tend to overdo it. A diet high in animal products is a diet high in cholesterol, and is strongly linked to the number-one killer in the industrialized nations: cardiovascular disease, which includes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
How do you know which foods contain a lot of cholesterol without having to read labels? All animal products contain cholesterol. All plant foods (grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds) contain zero cholesterol. It's that simple. Eating a predominantly vegetarian diet is one way to maintain your cardiovascular health.
Avoid Stimulants?Like Caffeine
Most people think caffeine "gives" them energy. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Caffeine in fact robs the body of energy?by withdrawing from your energy 'savings account' now, leaving you less reserves to draw upon later. The pick-me-up feeling artificial stimulants provide is inevitably followed by an energy crash.
Reduce Your Caloric Intake
About a quarter of the U.S. population is now considered to be obese, and the numbers are rising. Our children are increasingly overweight, from a steady diet of junk food and TV-watching. As a nation, we are overfed and undernourished?our diets are too high in "empty" calories and too low in essential nutrients.
Being overweight significantly increases the risk for a variety of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. Animal studies have shown that the only consistent way to extend the life spans of laboratory animals is to put them on a lower calorie diet. Thinner rats live longer?and we suspect the same is true for humans.
Are you too serious about your diet? Do you miss out on social opportunities because you are too busy counting calories or grams of fat? Lighten up! To paraphrase one poet, "?Tis better to eat steak and beer with cheer than sprouts and bread with dread!" Don't allow your dietary restrictions to rule you or limit your social life.
Eating out is possible, even on a restricted diet. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate your requests. It's just a matter of learning how to order the healthiest meal possible. Good options include poached fish with lemon, salads with vinaigrette dressing, and plain baked potatoes. Get in the habit of ordering sauces on the side and avoid filling up on empty calories, like white bread rolls.
Take Time To Savor Each Meal
We often make the mistake of eating hurriedly, standing at the sink wolfing something?anything!?down so we can move on to the next activity in our busy lives. But digestion actually functions better when we take the time to slow down. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for enhancing circulation to the digestive organs and promoting the flow of digestive juices. There is only one catch?we must be relaxed for our parasympathetic nervous system to predominate. So, take a deep breath and relax, there's plenty of time!