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Curcumin may protect the brain after a traumatic brain injury
January 08, 2019 08:13 AM
Oxidative neurodegeneration is a process in which oxidative stress results in degeneration of the brain, often related to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Studies are now showing that curcumin has protective abilities that can help decrease the brain's vulnerability to further injury as a result of oxidative stress. This could be due to several factors such as its anti-inflammatory properties, the way it increases antioxidants, and its natural healing properties that can aid in regeneration.
"When choosing a curcumin supplement, it is important to source one that is non-GMO, non-irradiated and preferably contains piperine (BioPerine) which enhances curcumin absorption by as much as 2,000 percent"
To Get Rid Of Inflammation, Avoid These 5 Foods Like The Plague
May 02, 2018 09:17 AM
Inflammation in the joints can cause tremendous pain that you certainly do not want to experience. Shockingly, it could be the foods that you are eating that is causing you to experience inflamed joints. What foods are on that list of foods to avoid at all costs? There are several that you should not eat if inflammation is of concern, but the five hee are among the worst that you should ensure yu avoid at all costs.
"You’ve no doubt heard about the growing gluten-free craze that’s sweeping the nation, and you probably have some idea that gluten is bad news for most people."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/these-5-foods-direcly-cause-inflammation/
Watch out for these nine TOXIC ingredients in your toothpaste
September 18, 2017 09:14 AM
There are nine toxic ingredients that are in toothpaste that you need to watch out for. Everyone wants to have a healthy smile and a clean one as well. It can be hard for people to achieve that though. Also, with all of the toxic ingredients that are found in toothpastes, this is an even harder thing to achieve. Aspartame is one of the toxic ingredients that people need to watch out for in their toothpaste.
"Once touted as a solution to building strong teeth, fluoride has since been exposed as a downright unsafe toothpaste ingredient with a shocking number of negative health effects."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-09-12-watch-out-for-these-nine-toxic-ingredients-in-your-toothpaste.html
100 shocking studies prove cannabis can help cure cancer
April 09, 2017 08:44 AM
There has been a growing body of evidence that cannabis is a very effective treatment against cancer. Now here's more evidence, 100 studies have shown that cannabis can cure a wide range of cancers including cancers of the lungs, brain, breast, uterus, pancreas, throat, liver and many more. Compounds in cannabis have been shown to help with seizures, ALS, and anxiety. Pharmaceutical companies have attempted to replicate these compounds, but the actual plant compounds prove much more effective. Read this article for more details into these studies and find out how potent the medicinal properties of cannabis are.
"THC is one of the most recognizable marijuana compounds, and is often described as what gives the plant it’s psychoactive effects — but THC also provides therapeutic benefits."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-07-100-shocking-studies-that-prove-cannabis-can-help-cure-cancer.html
Shocking experiments show how much damage energy drinks do to your teeth
March 14, 2017 08:59 AM
Energy drinks are used and enjoyed by many people, but it seems the dangers of doing this keep getting worse. New evidence suggests that energy drinks rot your teeth and the results of a recent study show what happens when the drinks are consumed on a regular basis. Are you interested to know what energy drinks can do to your teeth? Should you discontinue use of these drinks now that this evidence is out and about?
"The tooth that had been placed in the energy drink showed that the enamel, which is the hard coating that protects the dentine underneath, had begun to crumble away."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-09-shocking-experiments-show-how-much-damage-energy-drinks-do-to-your-teeth.html
CBS News shocked to report local man cured his cancer with cannabis oil
February 16, 2017 10:59 AM
There are a lot of shocking stories in the news but CBS news may have topped all of them. CBS news appeared completely baffled while reporting on a story about a man whose cancer was cured through the use of cannabis oil. With more and more states pushing for cannabis to be legal in the United States more news has come out about its health benefits.
"The only reason that marijuana isn’t already legalized is that the federal government profits far too heavily from the alternatives."
Colgate toothpaste found to contain cancer-causing chemical
November 28, 2016 04:19 PM
Triclosan is an active ingredient in Colgate toothpaste. Some research says that it contributes to antibiotic resistance and hormone disruption, but the FDA is still allowing it to be included in toothpaste. It is, however, banned from being used in antibacterial soaps. The FDA sites the fact that the chemical is effective against gum inflammation and plaque, but is that worth the risk? Many mice that were exposed to triclosan developed cancerous tumors and those that already had them experienced rapid growth of the tumors. This definitely causes pause when selecting toothpastes.
"The researchers also exposed human muscle cells to an amount of the chemical equivalent to average exposure."
Low vitamin C levels linked to higher blood levels of lead
November 16, 2016 06:49 AM
In addition to the many health benefits we already know vitamin C helps with, it seems it may also help reduce levels of lead in our blood. With the shocking reports coming in from all over about lead contamination in our water supplies, it is good to know that we have a readily available vitamin that will help.
"The benefits of vitamin C are many, and include protection and treatment for cancer, infections, scurvy, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, cataracts, and the common cold."
Top reasons why gluten free diet is necessary
January 27, 2014 09:31 AM
What is Gluten
Gluten is a protein found mainly in grains, which include wheat, farro, durum, bulgur, spelt, semolina and many others. It is also found in other foods and is present in some toothpaste brands. Gluten is difficult to completely digest and can cause serious health problems for some people. It is for this reason that many people are increasingly consuming gluten free diet in an attempt at avoiding its negative health effects. The following is a look at the adverse effects of gluten in the human body.
What Gluten can Do
Some people’s bodies react to the presence of the protein by attacking it and the body tissue surrounding it, which results to numerous health problems in the body. Gluten is responsible for a condition referred to as celiac disease, which is a serious form of gluten sensitivity. This disease is considered an autoimmune disease because the body’s immune system attacks the protein and the cells of the digestive tract’s enzymes. This leads to bloating, gas, stomach pain, anemia, skin rashes, muscle cramps and bone pain. Other symptoms include missed periods in women, stunted growth in children, seizures, mouth sores, calcium deficiency, nerve damage and nutrient malabsorption.
Other serious effects of ingesting gluten
Include increased risk of developing some forms of cancer and chronic diarrhea. The protein has also been found to cause intestinal inflammation and degeneration of intestinal lining. Weakened intestines are dangerous because they can permit foreign substances into the blood stream, which is common in persons suffering from celiac disease.
Gluten is also associated with numerous disorders of the brain. Conclusive studies have associated the protein to a condition referred to as cerebellar ataxia. Its symptoms include difficulties in coordinating balance, problems with speech and movement. Gluten free diet results to significant improvement in health for persons suffering from autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia.
It has been observed that gluten may be addictive, which is why many people crave for meals made of wheat and other grains. This has not been conclusively proven but there are studies that suggest that traces of the protein’s exorphins can find their way into the human brain.
Gluten free diet is healthy because it improves a person’s bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Any people experience significant benefits in their mental, emotional and physical health after eliminating the protein from their diets. It is, therefore, important that a gluten free diet be consumed especially by people who react negatively to it.
Can Vitamin D-3 Do More For Bone Health Than Calcium?
January 10, 2013 01:02 PM
Loss of density and mass in bones has become very common these days because of the increase in the number of people suffering from osteoporosis. It is shocking to note that the number of osteoporosis related fractures in US is more than 1.3 million. Bone health can be improved by taking the right nutrients and minerals. It is generally assumed that calcium is the only mineral needed to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Calcium supplement have been used by many people to improve their bone strength. is it correct?
Do calcium supplements treat osteoporosis completely? The answer is NO.
A recent study conducted in Iceland concludes that maintaining right levels of vitamin D-3 provides greater protection to bones than taking calcium supplements every day.
What are the results of this study?
Maintaining ideal levels of PTH or parathyroid hormone is essential for bone health. It has been proved by researchers that sufficient vitamin D-3 levels ensure the ideal level of PTH and not calcium. PTH is not in the ideal level in an individual who takes more than 1200 mg calcium a day if he has vitamin D deficiency. On the other hand PTH level is ideal in a person who has sufficient vitamin D even if he takes less than 800 mg of calcium a day.
Vitamin D-3 has calcium sparing effect and if the status of vitamin D in the body is assured, there is no need to take calcium of more than 800 mg a day. The results of this study clearly indicate the importance of vitamin D-3 for bone health. It is clear that sufficient levels of vitamin D-3 are more important than sufficient levels of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. In another study, women who were hospitalized for osteoporosis related fractures were studied. It was found that more than 50% of them had vitamin D-3 deficiency.
The duration of the study was two years and it proved that vitamin D-3 supplementation improved the bone strength and reduced the risk of fractures in these women. It is an unarguable fact that calcium is an important mineral to build bones and to keep bones healthy and strong, but how does the human body absorb calcium? It is the presence of vitamin D-3 that helps in absorption of calcium. Without adequate vitamin D-3, intake of calcium supplements is meaningless.
To absorb calcium sufficient amount of vitamin D-3 must be present in the body. Vitamin D-3 is also needed for the efficient utilization of calcium by the body. The mass and density of the bones are increased only when calcium is absorbed by the body. Absorption of calcium is not possible without vitamin D. Vitamin D-3 plays an important role to build bones in children and to keep bones strong and healthy in adults. It also improves immunity, prevents muscle weakness, regularizes the functioning of thyroid glands and helps in blood clotting.
Deficiency in vitamin D-3 may increase the risks of Alzheimer's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D-3 is the natural form of vitamin D. It is produced when skin is exposed to the ultraviolet rays in the sun. Those who live in latitudes, who have dark skin, who spend most of the day indoors and who wear sunscreen lotion whenever they step outdoors lack sufficient levels of vitamin D-3. They should take vitamin-D supplements to avoid a lot of health risks and to improve their bone health.
Red Pepper, Cayenne, Capsicum
December 18, 2008 04:51 PM
A remarkable whole body stimulant, Capsicum can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain, and fight off infection. One study on African plants found that Capsicum, when regularly ingested, is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion, and vascular conditions. The therapeutic actions of capsicum can be attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.
Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion as it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. This allows the medicinal benefits of these herbs to reach the inflamed tissue more rapidly because of enhanced blood flow. Cayenne insures rapid and even distribution of the active parts of the rest of the herbs to critical parts of the body, which include those that are involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation.
For this reason, cayenne is included in many other blends, as even extremely small quantities can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs. Capsicum stimulates everything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. Capsicum’s ability to stimulate organ secretion and heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants that are known.
Capsicum is also known to be unequaled in its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Cultures that consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diets have been found to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. A variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system can be produced by Capsicum, with its extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance and lower blood pressure. Capsicum is considered a superior food for the heart by herbalists, where capsicum in hot water is thought to help lessen the severity of heart attacks.
Many studies have also been done on Capsicum’s ability to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. When cayenne is ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels that ordinarily results was significantly inhibited. Additionally, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.
Another bonus of Capsicum is its ability to lower blood serum cholesterol, as it decreases blood pressure. There is additionally evidence that suggested that the herb is able to initiate other mechanisms that help in fighting hypertension. Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it is not shocking that is also facilitates the faster removal of toxins from the blood stream and lymphatic system.
Additional benefits of Capsicum include its ability to boost the circulatory system, as it has the ability to help in preventing cold hands and feet, as well as Reynaud’s Syndrome. Capsicum also has antioxidant capabilities, making it a great scavenger of free radicals. Anti-cancer research has also found that Capsicum does demonstrate anticancer properties, as it inhibits certain enzymes that initiate the mutation of cells. This implies that taking Capsicum can give the body some protection against cellular mutation.
Capsicum has also been found to be an impressive pain killer, an anesthetic to ulcerated tissue, an aid in weight loss, a helper in psoriasis and rhinitis, and a reliever of fevers and chills. The list goes on and on, about the benefits of this amazing herb. Cayenne or red pepper can be found at your local health food store.
Dangers Of Over The Counter Drugs
October 16, 2008 03:42 PM
Parents have recently been hit with shocking information about the potential dangers to their children. First it was lead contamination that came from toys that were manufactured by some of our most trusted companies. Next, it was super antibiotic resistant bugs that may lurk in day care centers and schools. The latest information is of greatest concern. Every study performed in the recent years has found that children’s cough and cold remedies are ineffective and may, in fact, be potentially dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended against the use of multi-symptom, over-the-counter, cold medicines in children under the age of three unless the parents are advised by a physician.
Many parents have depended on these medicines for years to help with runny noses, coughs, and sleep disruptions. However, our kids are not the first generation to suffer from frequent respiratory troubles. Herbal and dietary remedies have been the first line of defense for centuries, with Elderberry being rich in flavonoids, essential oils, vitamin C and organic acids. It reduces mucous secretions, helps ease breathing, and soothes an irritated nose and throat.
If your child frequently deals with a runny nose, earache, and sinus infection, he or she may have hidden food intolerances. One doctor states that there are various ways that you can recognize hidden childhood allergies. A classic symptom is the “allergic salute”, which the child demonstrates when he is constantly rubbing his or her hand across the end of a runny nose.
Food allergies are difficult to determine with standard allergy testing, but by avoiding common allergic provoking foods like dairy, wheat, corn, and tree nuts, often brings relief to the child. Changing the family diet is the best way to eliminate offending foods. Replace all forms of sugar and other refined carbohydrates, as they slow down bowel transit time and increase exposure to toxic bowel contents. Natural sweeteners, which can be found in most health food stores, can be used instead. Since dairy products top the list of provoking foods, they should be replaced as much as possible with other beverages. Inspect labels carefully to determine if they contain casein, which is a milk protein that often causes problems. A liquid calcium supplement is a good idea to give your children if they are not receiving dairy products.
Allergic children are often prone to digestive problems, which is a condition referred to as intestinal dysbiosis. Antibiotic use disturbs the microflora in the gut by killing helpful bacteria. Psychological stress can also impact microflora, which poses the question of whether or not stress is having a negative impact on our children’s health. Studies in which some children were placed in a stress relieving program showed that treated groups of children increased their levels of secretary IgA, which gives them a greater ability to resist colds.
Allergic children also have disturbed bowel function, making them constipated, frequently pass gas, be bloated, and have foul smelling hard stools. A low fiber diet is one cause of constipation, but an imbalance in microflora in the gut is another reason, which causes toxins to enter circulation. Supplementing with Bifidobacteria and other helpful probiotics can restore normal gut function, alleviate allergic symptoms, restore immune competence, and reduce allied bowel problems. Supplementing with fiber can also support proper elimination of toxins in children as well as adults. Acidophilus, fiber, and herbal cold aids can be found at your local health food store.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
New Man Food
July 27, 2005 04:31 PM
New Man Food
Listen up, guys. Masculinity isn’t defined by what you eat. It’s all about how well you hold up through the years, which means taking care of yourselves. So ditch the doughnuts, double burgers and draft beer, and adopt a healthier diet. Here’s how!
Back in 1982, a best-selling, humorous manifesto of masculinity known as Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche epitomized the male backlash against feminism, by then a formidable force in the American cultural landscape. But the joke, it turns out almost 25 years later, is on the men- and not just because quiche doesn’t have that many fewer calories than a Quarter Pounder. We may have maintained out mach-ness all these years by eating “manly food,” but we’ve become unhealthy and ultimately weaker because of it.
In 2000, the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that among men 20 years and older, a whopping 65.1 million (67.2%) were considered overweight and 26.6 million (27.5%) were considered obese. Only 30.6 million (31.8%) of men 20 to 74 were considered to have a healthy weight. The fallout from such a fatness factor is that more men are dying each year of heart disease and related illnesses and more money than ever is being spent on health care (to say nothing of how poor male health affects the women and children who depend on the men in their lives). Another cheeseburger, guys?
Those numbers, though shocking at first, shouldn’t be that surprising. As a gender, men are more vain, ego-driven and stubborn than women. How does this manifest itself when it comes to wellness? Until a man is hit with his first health crisis, no matter what the age, he thinks he’s indestructible.
That’s why it’s so difficult to convince men to get regular medical checkups (which they should do especially when they hit 50). It’s not that many American men aren’t trying to lose pounds. It’s just that they are a bit misguided in their efforts. Weight-conscious men really gravitated to the Atkins diet. Why? Because at the same time the plan says to cut carbohydrates and increase protein, it gives men carte blanche to eat mass quantities of high-fat “manly” foods like beef and pork. Trading pounds for clogged arteries doesn’t seem like a good deal.
So the time has come for all American men to turn their testosterone-driven energy into changing their nutritional lifestyle. We have to stop eating the same high-caloric and fat-laden foods we usually consume in large doses and start pursuing a diet based on variety, moderation and balance. It’s time to start eating “new” man food: the kind of foods that will make us feel (and look) like a new man.
Out With the Old
But before we can embrace the new, we must wean ourselves off the old, particularly the male habit of eating food in humongous portions. Easier said than done because all of us, men and women, have found it hard to resist the marketing power of super sizing. Who among us wants to feel like and idiot because we didn’t double the size of popcorn, soda or french fries for a mere 49 cents? But resist we must.
We also have to steer clear of the killer Fs-fried food and fat. New York-based nutritionist Annie Hauck-Lawson, PHD, RN, says that also requires willpower because fried foods can be addicting. “They taste so good and fat conveys a lot of flavor,” she admits. “So the best strategy is going cold turkey to get that taste off the palate.” Hauck-Lawson also suggests not beginning a meal with fried foods or fatty meats.
“The start of the meal is when you’re the most hungry so you’ll eat the most during the first course.” She says. “If you start most lunches and dinners with a broth-based soup or a big salad, you’ll load up on high-fiber, high nutrient foods rather than high-fat foods and you’ll be too full to eat the bad stuff. Besides, food can be broiled with herbs and spices instead of being fried and still be delicious.”
Nutritionists like Hauck-Lawson strongly advise men to eat more fiber-base foods, which means adding more fresh fruits and vegetables (about five servings a day), whole grains and beans to the diet. Fiber may not sound manly, but it aids digestion, reduces the risk of colon cancer by moving waste out of your system, supports healthy cholesterol levels and makes you feel full so you won’t gorge yourself on those super-sized portions.
And when you’re eating all those nutritious and healthy new man foods, please don’t offset the benefits by washing it down with soft drinks. Did you know that a can of cola contains 39 grams of refined sugar, which is equivalent to seven teaspoons of the sweet stuff? Okay, we know what you’re going to say when we mention water as an alternative. B-O-R-I-N-G! But you can’t ignore a liquid that is crucial to your hydration, digestion and metabolism. If you must drink something interesting with your meal, try an organic red wine, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood pressure. (When the liquid is the meal, a smoothie can fill the bill.)
During and after your transitional phase into the new man food lifestyle, nutritional supplements can ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals from your diet. Besides taking a general multivitamin designed for men, you should incorporate heart- and prostate-healthy supplements such as omerga-3 fatty acids (especially if you aren’t eating more fish), magnesium, lycopene (found in abundance in tomatoes), zinc and vitamin D, which supports bone health and offers cancer protection. (You should see a licensed practitioner for guidance on which supplements are best for someone in your age group.)
What it boils down to, guys, is choices. We can choose to be set in our unhealthy eating ways or act like men and do the work it takes to make the adjustments. “men have been stereotyped as meat and potatoes freaks and that view is fairly accurate,” says Hauck-Lawson. “Trying to get men to eat healthier has been difficult.” But then she offers a carrot that men just might bite on. “Look at it this way: if a man eats more fish, fruit and vegetables for the nutrients he needs to stay healthy, he looks smart. And to women, smart is sexy.”
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.