Holistic Health Journal

HolisticHealthJournal.me

superbugs If there is one thing that viruses and bacteria like Ebola, SARS, H1N1 and MRSA have shown, it is that modern medicine cannot always kill today’s superbugs. Those with the weakest immune systems perish while the healthiest recover.

Unfortunately, in the event of a global pandemic, there will be no way to guarantee that modern medicine will even work, but you can give yourself a fighting chance by doing everything you can to boost your immune system to aid your body’s natural defenses.

More

The following are the top five herbs that you should experiment with to help give your immune system the kick it needs to help stave off disease.

ECHINACEA

This powerful herb encourages white blood cells and lymphocytes to attack invading microbes, increasing both the number and activity of the defending cells.

OLIVE LEAF

Olive leaf extract fights colds and flus, increases energy, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers blood pressure and, surprisingly, aids against autoimmune disorders.

TURMERIC

The common spice turmeric contains curcumin, which has notable antioxidant properties. It also has antibacterial, anti­inflammatory, and gastro­intestinal health benefits. Animal studies on this herb have revealed that turmeric can protect the liver from alcohol, toxins and other pollutants

REISHI MUSHROOMS

Reishi is a popular herb in Chinese medicine that is commonly prescribed by Chinese herbal medicine doctors to help in longevity and overall health. Studies have shown that reishi strengthens immunity and even helps combat cancer. It has antioxidant properties and provides relief from urinary tract infections.

PAU D’ARCO

This herb from Peru is commonly used for gastro­intestinal problems, but it also works wonders on stimulating the immune response to help ward off infections and disease.

These five important herbs are not just helpful during a pandemic. They can also be used to fight off the common cold, stomach bugs and the flu naturally. 

Some say everything is OK in moderation, including fast food. For many people, that may even be a mistake. 

Few people argue that fast food is a healthy option, but it appears that statement is really just the tip of the iceberg. Each happy meal or dollar menu item may have hormones, steroids, antibiotics, oils that clog your digestive system, and refined sugars — not to mention the empty calories, high cholesterol and chemicals like TBHQ. 

The compounds in that fast food meal may linger in your body for a long time, which can contribute to an array of compounding health issues. This graphic from Kimberly Snyder’s blog says it well:

Fast Food Health Risks

FastFood21

kidney-crawling1Our kidneys are super important for our health. They filter our blood, produce hormones, absorb minerals, produce urine, eliminate toxins, and neutralize acids. So as one of the most important organs in your body, your kidneys deserve some love.

Damage or steady decline of your kidneys can often go unnoticed for years as your kidneys can still do their job with as little as 20% of their capacity. Therefore kidney diseases are often referred to as “The Silent Diseases”. That’s why it is so important to take care of them before it is too late.

More

Here’s a list of 10 common habits that put a lot of pressure on your kidneys and can cause serious damage over time.

1.    Not Drinking Enough Water

Your kidney’s most important function is to filter blood and eliminate toxins and waste materials. When you don’t drink enough plain water during the day toxins and waste material start to accumulate and can cause severe damage to your body.

2.    Too Much Salt In Your Diet

Your body needs sodium or salt to work properly. Most people however consume too much salt which may raise blood pressure and put a lot of stress on the kidneys. As a good rule of thumb, no more than 5 grams of salt should be eaten on a daily basis.

3.    Frequently Delaying The Call Of Nature

Many of us ignore the urge to go because they are too busy or want to avoid public bathrooms. Retaining urine on a regular basis increases urine pressure and can lead to kidney failure, kidney stones, and incontinence. So listen to your body when nature calls.

4.    Kick The Sugar Habit

Scientific studies show that people who consume 2 or more sugary drinks a day are more likely to have protein in their urine. Having protein in your urine is an early sign your kidneys are not doing their job as they should.

5.    Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies

Eating a clean, whole food diet full of fresh vegetables and fruits is important for your overall health and a good kidney function. Many deficiencies can increase the risk of kidney stones or kidney failure. Vitamin B6 and magnesium, for instance, are super important to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

An estimated 70 to 80 percent of Americans isn’t getting enough magnesium, so there may be a good chance that you are one of them. Click here to learn more about magnesium deficiencies.

6.    Too Much Animal Protein

Over consumption of protein, especially red meat, increases the metabolic load on your kidneys. So more protein in your diet means your kidneys have to work harder and this can lead to kidney damage or dysfunction over time.

7.    Sleep Deprivation

We have all heard how important it is to get a good night’s rest. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many diseases and kidney diseases are also on the list. During the night your body repairs damaged kidney tissue, so give your body the time to heal and repair itself.

8.    Coffee Habit

Just as salt, caffeine can raise blood pressure and put extra stress on your kidneys. Over time excessive consumption of coffee can cause damage to your kidneys.

9.    Painkiller Abuse

Way too many people take painkillers for their small aches and pains, while there are many all-natural, safe remedies available. Excessive use or painkiller abuse can lead to severe damage of liver and kidneys.

10.  Alcohol Consumption

Although there is nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine or having a beer once in a while, most of us don’t stop after just one drink. Alcohol is actually a legal toxin that puts a lot of stress on our kidneys and liver.

To stay healthy and avoid kidney issues it is important to eat lots of fresh, whole foods and if you keep the above information in mind and avoid these common habits as much as possible, your kidneys will not be under constant stress and your body will thank you for that.

 

Four-Essential-Oils-With-40-Ways-To-Use-Them-To-Improve-Your-LifeEssential oils have been used medicinally throughout history. More people are enjoying the benefits of aromatherapy, a branch of natural medicine that harnesses the curative effects of essential oils and other aromatic compounds. Here are 4 essential oils with 40 different uses.

Essential oils are extracted from herbs and plants. They are labelled “essential” as they contain the characteristic fragrance of the plant that it is taken from. Oils are volatilized or diluted in a carrier oil and used in massage, diffused in the air by a nebulizer, heated over a candle flame, or burned as incense.

More

1. PEPPERMINT

  • Dab a few drops of peppermint oil on temples, neck and sinuses to banish headaches
  • Rub a drop of peppermint oil on the stomach can relieve indigestion
  • Take internally to ease stomach cramping or diarrhea
  • Ease allergy symptoms and clear airways by inhaling peppermint oil with lemon oil
  • Use as a natural painkiller and muscle relaxant in teething babies or after dental work
  • Inhale the aroma as an appetite suppressant to make you feel fuller
  • Apply on a cotton swab to ticks so they stop biting and sucking to come up for breathe and can be removed
  • Peppermint oil can improve blood circulation and lift moods
  • Use as an antibacterial and antifungal cleaner for kitchens and bathrooms
  • Use as a spider repellent as they hate the aroma

2. LAVENDER

  • A few drops on a pillowcase helps deep sleep
  • Inhale the vapor 4 or 5 drops in a bowl of war water to relieve colds and flu
  • Apply a few drops to neck, chest and between eyes to calm sinuses and allergy symptoms
  • Can be applied to soothe and heal minor scrapes and rashes
  • Mix with baking soda and sprinkle on carpets before vacuuming to banish pet odors
  • Revive and freshen linen by using it in a spray, it leaves no oil residue or stains
  • Use in a bath to cleanse and moisturize
  • Apply a few drops over a splinter, the splinter will swell and come to the surface easily
  • Soak cotton balls in lavender and lemon oil and place inside vacuum bag (or bagless cylinder) to freshen whole house
  • Apply a few drops to a mattress when changing bedlinen to keep bed fresh

3. LEMON

  • Apply a few drops regularly to callouses or corns to soften the skin
  • Add a few drops to a glass of water for an instant energy boost
  • Use lemon oil in a diffuser for an uplifting mood booster
  • Add to a humidifier to ease coughs, colds or other respiratory problems
  • Banish cold sores by applying a few drops when they first appear
  • Use as a natural hair lightening treatment when going out in the sun
  • Add a few drops to dishwasher soap for extra sparkle
  • Apply a few drops to a cloth and rub on leather to prevent splits
  • Use a few drops in a spray to kill aphids
  • Use to remove chewing gum from hair by applying lemon oil first

4. TEA-TREE

  • Dab a few drops on acne affected skin, or add to your usual skin wash to prevent breakouts
  • Dab a few drops on cold sores, or dilute in a small amount of coconut oil
  • Can reduce cavities by adding to homemade toothpastes or apply a drop to a toothbrush before and after brushing to disinfect
  • Combat athlete’s foot by massaging into feet or add a drop to your shoes
  • Clear ear infections by adding 1 drop to 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and use a dropper to apply a couple of drops to ears and leave for 30-60 seconds
  • Ease allergy symptoms by massaging a few drops into chest, abdomen or reflex points of the feet
  • Banish head lice naturally by adding a few drops to purified water and soak hair and scalp in this solution. Use on brushes and cobs and massage into scalp.
  • Apply directly to warts to remove them (dilute if you have sensitive skin)
  • Add 1 drop of tea tree oil and 1 drop of peppermint oil to purified water to make a natural mouthwash
  • Use after body piercings for its antibacterial properties.

Love and PeasLove and Peas is a certified vegan protein powder that is free from common allergens, including dairy, lactose and gluten.  It provides 20 grams of vegetable protein derived from split peas, brown rice and beans in each serving.  Pea protein is better tolerated that the commonly used soy and whey proteins found in many protein drinks.

Love and Peas is much more than a protein powder, however.  It is also a vitamin and mineral supplement providing 75% of the Daily Value of 18 vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, D, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacinamide, vitamin B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin, zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, chromium, manganese, vitamin C and molybdenum). Plus, it contains fiber, antioxidants and superfoods for added nutrition. Here are some of the ingredients in Love and Peas and their nutritional benefits.

More

Legumes (adzuki beans, black beans, garbonzo beans)

Legumes are seeds from plants in the pea family that are great sources of protein and dietary fiber. Beans contain phytoestrogens, which help protect the body from harmful xenoestrogens. University studies have documented that eating beans on a regular basis reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity.

Dietary fiber (soluble vegetable fiber, xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, pea fiber, bamboo fiber, rice bran)

Fiber is extremely critical to good health, and most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diets. An adequate intake of fiber helps reduce cholesterol, promotes intestinal regularity and bowel health and balances blood sugar. Fiber helps give a person a feeling of fullness, without adding calories, so it curbs appetite, prevents overeating and helps a person lose weight. Plus, fiber absorbs irritating chemicals and toxins, helping to protect the body from environmental pollution.

Healthy fats (medium chain triglycerides, borage oil, sunflower oil)

Fats often get a bad rap in modern society, but the body needs good fats to be healthy. Medium chain triglycerides help fuel the heart and have immune-enhancing properties as well.  Borage oil is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which play roles in controlling inflammation, protecting the cardiovascular system and promoting the health of the brain and nervous system.

Short chain fructo-oligosaccharides

These chains of fructose molecules are indigestible by the human body, but help to feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, promoting intestinal health.  These friendly bacteria, or probiotics, play a role in the immune system by inhibiting yeast and unfriendly bacteria in the colon.  They also help to feed and protect the intestinal membranes.

Flax seed

Flax seed is a good source of both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. It is also a source of dietary fiber and phytoestrogens. It helps to reduce intestinal inflammation and relieve dryness in the stool.

Plant enzymes

Plant enzymes are present in raw food and take stress off of the digestive tract by helping food to break down more easily.  Because most Americans eat primarily cooked food, they do not get enough enzymes in their diets.

Antioxidant berries and fruits (blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, grape skin and seed extract)

These fruits are considered superfoods by many nutritionists because of their powerful antioxidant benefits. Blueberries are relatives of bilberries and help protect the eyes and cardiovascular system. Cranberries help to prevent urinary tract infections. Pomegranate have 300 percent more cell-protecting antioxidants than green tea. They can reduce your chances of having heart disease or a stroke. Grape skins and seeds contain proanthocyanadins and other antioxidants that protect cardiovascular health.

Vegetables (broccoli, carrot)

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains sulfur compounds that enhance liver detoxification and have a cancer-inhibiting action. Carrots are a rich source of carotenoids, precursors to vitamin A, that protect eyesight and enhance immunity.Love and Peas is sweetened with fructose, stevia and lo han extract. It has only nine grams of sugar per serving.

Recommended Use:

Mix 2 level scoops (45 g) of Love and Peas powder with approximately 12–16 ounces of cold water, or mix to taste. Love and Peas can be blended with fresh or frozen fruits to make great-tasting smoothies. For my breakfast smoothies, I blend a scoop of Love and Peas with frozen fruits, whole milk yogurt and a little water.

Selected References

The Comprehensive Guide to Nature’s Sunshine Products by Tree of Light
SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven G. Pratt, MD, and Kathy Matthews 
Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, PhD

Nature-HarvestMany people feel there’s a lot of value to taking Vitamin and Mineral Supplements every day. If that works for you great. I take them occasionally, but personally haven’t seen that much difference when I use them.

I do see a difference, however, when I use super food supplements. Super foods is a term many TV shows, internet sites and magazines are using to refer to various nutritionally-dense foods. For me, the term isn’t just hype. Foods contain thousands of chemical compounds that are probably benefiting the body in ways we haven’t begun to understand, so they are providing far more nutritional value than most supplements. 

More

Super foods contain large quantities of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and other compounds that can give us more energy, promote healing and fend of disease. So, I feel that adding super foods and super food supplements into one’s diet is a wonderful way to improve overall health. Nature’s Sunshine has some great super food supplements some of which I use on a regular basis, such as Nature’s HarvestLove and PeasThai-Go and Ultimate GreenZone

I’ve featured all these products at HerbSpecialists.com, and posted the article Super Foods: Proving Food is Our Best Medicine. This is the first of a series of articles I’ll be posting on basic supplements like minerals, fiber, enzymes and probiotics. It’s part of a basic training in using NSP products I’m creating online to help new people in the business get started.

superfoodsWhen most people are chronically ill, the first thing they look for is the “magic-bullet” drug that will make them well.  Those who aren’t into drugs often adopt a similar approach by searching for the “magic” herb or supplement. However, when anyone suffers from chronic health problems, the wisest place to start is with food.

The body largely heals itself when it has what it needs to do the job. In modern Western culture, however, much of the available food is processed, devoid of essential nutrients. It may also be loaded with preservatives and other non-nutritive chemicals. The next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look around—the ratio of refined, processed foods to whole, natural foods is about five to one.  

More

The advice of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, to “let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food,” is still sound advice. If we were listening to this advice given more than 2,000 years ago, we would realize that food truly is  “the best medicine.”

Nutritional supplements only contain the nutrients we currently recognize. In contrast, the simplest of natural foods contain thousands of compounds, including many compounds with medicinal benefits.  Supplements cannot provide all the substances found in whole foods, and drugs don’t provide any.  That’s why we need whole foods to both maintain and recover our health.

Improving Our Diet without Stress

Giving up refined and processed foods can be difficult, because we may feel like we’re being deprived.  So, instead of thinking about what we need to “give up,” the best way to improve our diet is to focus on what we should add to our diet, not what we should eliminate.  All we need to do is make sure we start including more nutritionally-dense natural foods in our diet.

Many TV shows, internet sites and magazines are calling these various nutritionally-dense foods SuperFoods.  The term isn’t just hype. It’s based on the fact that these foods contain nutrients that tend to be lacking in modern diets.  SuperFoods contain large quantities of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and other compounds that can give us more energy, promote healing and fend of disease.

Imagine… delicious foods powerful enough to lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and even put you in a better mood—without side effects.  That’s what adding more SuperFoods to our diet can do. Furthermore, as your body starts getting what it really needs, you start naturally losing the cravings for those refined and processed foods, which means you are able to give them up without struggle.  

My Favorite Super Foods

I incorporate Super Foods into my diet just about every day. My favorites are:

Berries (Blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and goji berries). The antioxidant properties of these fruits help reduce inflammation and keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
Dark, green leafy vegetables (kale, mustard greens, spinach and Swiss chard). These foods supply magnesium, antioxidants and aid liver detoxification. 
Allium vegetables (onions, garlic, leeks, chives and shallots). These sulfur-rich foods enhance liver detoxification and help your immune and cardiovascular systems.
Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower). These foods also aid liver detoxification to protect your body from chemicals and are known to reduce your risk of cancer.
Cultured diary and vegetables (yogurt, kefir, raw sauerkraut, natural pickles). These foods provide friendly bacteria (probiotics) for digestive health.

Other great Super Foods to include in one’s diet are: tomatoes, pomegranates, sprouts, nuts and seeds, wild ocean fish and freshwater trout, mushrooms, legumes (beans and lentils), sweet potatoes and yams, winter squashes, hot peppers, oats, avocados and dark chocolate (in moderation).

Super Foods from NSP

Nature’s Sunshine has a several products that contain Super Food ingredients. Although many people like to take multiple vitamin and mineral products like Super Supplemental daily, I don’t do as well as these products as I do on NSP’s Super Food supplements. Most weekdays I make a smoothie for breakfast with frozen fruits and berries, whole milk yogurt and Love and Peas or Nature’s Harvest. I sometimes add a Solstic 24 packet when I feel I need a little extra nutrition.

Nature’s Harvest provides nutrient-dense plants, fruits and herbs for health and energy. It also provides 75% of the Daily Value for 18 essential vitamins and minerals. It contains green foods, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, nutritive herbs, fiber and more. With 13 grams of vegetable protein per serving, this unique meal supplement supports the intestinal and circulatory systems. It is vegan, dairy-free and lactose-free. It’s my favorite protein powder to use in my smoothies.

Love & Peas is a blend of 20 grams of protein from split yellow peas and a host of other nourishing foods. It supplies 75% of the DV of 18 vitamins and minerals. The powerful antioxidant blend supports the urinary and circulatory systems, while offering a balanced amino acid profile. It is free from common allergens, dairy, lactose and gluten, and is certified vegan. I really like Love & Peas except I’ve found when mixing it into smoothies containing purple and red berries, its green color makes the smoothie look unappetizing. It works better in smoothies made with lighter colored fruits like bananas and peaches.

Ultimate Green Zone complements any meal by providing extra nutrients and energy. It is easily metabolized into energy and helps promote proper bodily functions, including waste elimination and immune performance. Each serving provides 1 gram of a proprietary prebiotic fiber blend that helps feed the body’s friendly bacteria, plus enzymes to support digestion. Ultimate Green Zone tastes really good in pineapple juice, preferrably raw.

Thai-Go contains a potent mix of berries and other superfood ingredients that are rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants. Bioflavonoids enhance vitamin C absorption and help maintain collagen and capillary walls. They also aid in the body’s immune–defense system Thai-Go delivers powerful antioxidants with a very high ORAC value.  These ingredients combine to enhance the immune system, support the cardiovascular system, and promote energy.

Because Thai-Go is very cooling, I find it a very valuable product for the hot summers here in St. George. Adding it to a little water or lemon aide and drinking it after being out in the hot sun really helps to cool down the body.

Barley Juice Powder is derived from young barley plants, which have strong enhancing functions. Barley greens are also a superior source of chlorophyll, the nutrient-rich by-product of photosynthesis that makes plants green and is chemically similar to human blood. Nature’s Sunshine Canada has an amazing product called Nature’s Gold, which is made from barley and one of the most high energy Super Foods I’ve seen.  It’s a shame we can’t get it in the states.

So, add some Super Foods and super food supplements to your diet and learn why food really is your best medicine.

Nature's HarvestNature’s Harvest is a superfood or whole-food meal replacement that contains vegetable protein, green foods, a blend of antioxidant nutrients, essential fatty acids, herbs, fiber and enzymes. It is vegan, dairy free, lactose free and also free from other common allergy-producing foods.  Designed to provide many of the nutrients and phytochemicals missing in modern diets, this powder mixes easily with water and juice to form a great-tasting meal replacement.

Nature’s Harvest provides 75% of the Daily Value for 18 essential vitamins and minerals. It contains biotin, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, zinc oxide, copper gluconate, d-calcium pantothenate, manganese, vitamin D2, folic acid, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), sodium molybdate, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) and chromium chloride.

More

Each serving provides 13 grams of vegetable protein from yellow split peas, adzuki beans, black beans, garbanzo beans and brown rice.  Plus, it contains the following foods and nutrients.

Seeds and grains (amaranth, quinoa, chia, millet, rice)

Seeds are loaded with nutrition because they have to support a growing plant when they sprout. Many of these seeds are considered superfoods because they are loaded with nutrients that benefit cardiovascular health and immunity.

Spirulina and chlorella

These algae are a great source of amino acids. They help to stabilize brain and nerve function, balance blood sugar levels and increase energy.

Flax seed hull lignans

The lignans from flax seed hulls are loaded with phytoestrogens that help protect the body from xenoestrogens. They reduce the risk of breast cancer and other estrogen-dependent cancers.

Vegetable powders (carrot, broccoli, artichoke, spinach, asparagus, kale and beet)

Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables. These vegetables are known to immune system, provide antioxidant benefits and aid in liver detoxification. For instance, vegetables like broccoli and kale contain sulfur compounds that reduce the risk of cancer.

Antioxidant Fruit Blend (mangosteen, goji, blueberry, cranberry, grape skin and seed, pomegranate, acerola)

These fruits contain powerful antioxidants, vitamins A and C, fiber and other compounds that help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart disease. Antioxidants boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation—a key driver of all chronic diseases.

Herbs (alfalfa, parsley, matcha, chicory, horsetail, lemon grass)

These herbs are loaded with trace minerals and have benefits for the kidneys, bones, digestive tract and urinary system. Matcha is a finely milled green tea that is rich in antioxidants.

Fiber (pea and bamboo fiber, rice bran and others)

Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diets. An adequate intake of fiber helps reduce cholesterol, promotes intestinal regularity and bowel health and balances blood sugar. It also helps give a person a feeling of fullness, without adding calories, so it curbs appetite, prevents overeating and helps a person lose weight.

Good fats (flax seed, borage oil, medium-chain triglycerides)

Medium chain triglycerides help fuel the heart and have immune-enhancing properties as well.  Borage and flax seed are good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which play roles in controlling inflammation, protecting the cardiovascular system and promoting the health of the brain and nervous system.

Chlorophyll

The green blood of plants, chlorophyll helps oxygenate the blood and has powerful deodorizing and antioxidant properties.

Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides

These chains for fructose molecules feed the probiotics or friendly bacteria in the intestines.

Enzymes

Enzymes are present in raw food and take stress off of the digestive tract by helping food to break down more easily.  Because most Americans eat primarily cooked food, they do not get enough enzymes in their diets.Nature’s harvest is sweetened with fructose, stevia and brown rice syrup. It is a low glycemic so it will not spike blood sugar levels.

Recommended Use

Nature’s Harvest can be blended with water, juice or fruit to make nutritious smoothies. Simply mix two scoops of the powder with about 8 ounces of water or other liquids and blend.

Selected References

The Comprehensive Guide to Nature’s Sunshine Products by Tree of Light
SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven G. Pratt, MD, and Kathy Matthews 
Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, PhD

ZincIn a research review published in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety in July, Indian researchers cataloged more than eight separate, research-proven health benefits that zinc plays in the human body.

Zinc is a metal that functions as an essential nutrient in the body. It has been historically used as a medicine in many traditional medicinal systems, the researchers note, with Ayurvedic texts as far back as the 14th century recommending its application in various forms: calcified, zinc carbonate, zinc metal, zinc ore, zinc oxide and a copper-zinc alloy — brass.

More

Modern scientific studies have supported the use of zinc for boosting immune function in the elderly, reducing infection rates in infants, decreasing the occurrence of diarrhea and removing toxic metals from the body. Studies have found zinc therapy to be helpful for treating gastrointestinal problems, liver disease, diabetes and bacterial and microbial infections. Zinc also acts as an antioxidant, removing damaging free radicals from the body.

Deficiency causes problems across all organ systems

In a press release announcing the study findings, the Indian researchers focused on eight separate systems and conditions where zinc plays a critical role in promoting health:

Brain: Studies have shown that zinc can function as an antidepressant, and that patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases have lower-than-average levels of zinc.

Blood Pressure: Zinc has been shown to play a role in regulating blood pressure in arteries. People suffering from hypertension have also been shown to metabolize zinc differently.

Blood Sugar: Zinc plays a key role in the synthesis, secretion and storage of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. In diabetics, low zinc levels have been linked with higher rates of associated conditions, including high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary artery disease and high triglyceride levels.

Healing: Insufficient levels of zink have been correlated with slower wound healing. Zinc has also been shown to play a key role in healing early gastric ulcers.

Immune System: Zinc deficiency has been linked with reduced activity of the immune organ known as the thymus, where T-cells mature. Deficiency has also been shown to reduce immunity.

Liver: Zinc deficiency has been connected with both alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver diseases, including cirrhosis.

Pneumonia: A 2004 study found that increasing zinc levels in pneumonia patients might speed recovery and shorten hospital time.

Pregnancy: Even very minor zinc deficiencies are linked with worsened maternal and fetal outcomes, including atonic bleeding, inefficient labor, prolonged gestation and abnormal taste sensation.

The researchers also found that zinc played important roles in processes linked to cell injury and inflammation, and that zinc deficiency was connected with lower absorption and metabolism of vitamin A.

Are you getting enough?

In spite of all the critical functions played by zinc, the researchers estimate that half of the world’s population is at risk of not getting sufficient levels through their diets.

Zinc is typically found in foods high in protein, and protein also improves the body’s absorption of the mineral. The highest levels of zinc are found in meat-derived foods, with zinc concentrations between 0.40 and 6.77 mg per 100 g. Grains have a zinc content nearly as high as that of meat, at 0.30 to 2.54 mg per 100 g. In contrast, fruits contain only 0.02 to 0.26 mg per 100 g and vegetables contain 0.12 to 0.60 mg per 100 g. Dairy products have concentrations of 0.36 to 0.49 mg per 100 g.

Although meat is considered the best source of zinc, vegetarians can still get higher levels of the mineral from high-protein vegetable foods, such as legumes, nuts, seeds and oatmeal. In addition, fermentation increases the availability of zinc in some foods, such as soy (consumed as miso or tempeh) and some grains (consumed as leavened breads).

Sources for this article include:

http://www.newswise.com

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

http://veganhealth.org

 

Vitamin D3The most comprehensive study yet to be conducted on the subject has revealed that vitamin D levels really do affect dementia risk. An expert, multidisciplinary team of researchers hailing from some of the best schools in the world found that elderly folks severely lacking in vitamin D are more than twice as likely as other adults with normal or optimal vitamin D levels to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other similar forms of mental illness.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology, the study involved looking at 1,658 adults aged 65 years or older. All of the participants were healthy at the beginning of the study, able to walk without a walker and free of heart disease. Researchers tracked all of them for six years, paying close attention to those who developed some form of dementia and comparing vitamin D levels across the board.

More



What they found was a strong association between low vitamin D levels and elevated risk of dementia. Among those who were moderately deficient in vitamin D, for instance, a 53 percent increased risk of general dementia was observed. And specifically for Alzheimer’s, those with moderate vitamin D deficiency were found to be 69 percent more likely to develop the condition than others were.

The risk was even higher for those with vitamin D levels in the “severely deficient” range, which is somewhere between 25 and 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) of vitamin D. For Alzheimer’s, the risk was 122 percent higher among those with a severe deficiency. And for general dementia, the risk was a whopping 125 percent.

The researchers involved had expected to observe some correlation between low vitamin D levels and dementia. But they admit that they were unprepared for the drastic variance they observed, which serves as a wakeup call for the millions of aging “baby boomers” who already have an elevated risk of mental illness.

“We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results were surprising — we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated,” stated Dr. David Llewellyn from the University of Exeter Medical School, one of the study’s authors.

Elderly folks need to get more sunlight, take vitamin D3 supplements to avoid disease

The results are hardly surprising when considering the vast benefits already associated with vitamin D intake, however. The Vitamin D Council outlines more than 40 health conditions that modern science has identified as being associated with low vitamin D levels, which is easily correctable through increased sunlight exposure and supplementation.

“Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’sdisease and dementia,” added Dr. Llewellyn. “Our findings are very encouraging, and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia.”

While the authors stopped short of actually recommending vitamin D supplementation and increased sunlight exposure as an effective prevention method, Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society, suggests otherwise.

“During this hottest of summers, hitting the beach for just 15 minutes of sunshine is enough to boost your vitamin D levels,” he is quoted as saying by the University of Exeter.

Since there is no adverse risk involved, why not bring your vitamin D levels into optimal range?

Sources for this article include:

http://www.exeter.ac.uk

http://www.scienceworldreport.com

http://www.eurekalert.org

http://www.scienceworldreport.com

https://www.vitamindcouncil.org

Milk ThistleOur modern world is bombarding our bodies with thousands of toxins each day, and the liver, being the major organ of detoxification, needs help. And milk thistle is an herb proven to do just that.

Milk thistle’s benefits on liver and gallbladder health have been recognized by herbalists for 2,000 years. In the first century AD, Pliny, a Roman naturalist, said that milk thistle was “excellent for carrying off bile”. In other words, it helps restore impaired liver function.

Many recent studies have validated milk thistle’s ability to improve liver health and function and even help treat various liver conditions and disorders. Such therapeutic effects have been verified both via biopsies and lab and clinical data.

More


Milk thistle has liver-protective effects because silymarin, compounds found in the herb, has an effect on liver cell membranes, helping to prevent viral toxins and other toxic substances from getting into liver cells and damaging them. Milk thistle also aids in the removal of such harmful substances from cells.

Further, silymarin stimulates liver regeneration, and this helps people who are suffering from different types of liver ailments. Indeed, in 1986, the Commission E in Germany “approved an oral extract of milk thistle standardized to 70% crude silymarin content as a treatment for liver disease.”

Quick rundown of milk thistle’s liver benefits

• Cirrhosis is serious liver damage that can result from drug abuse, alcohol overuse or diseases like hepatitis, and research suggests milk thistle could boost the quality of life and life expectancy of sufferers.

• Research suggests silymarin helps halt fibrosis.

• Milk thistle could be the best-studied herb for hepatitis. And studies have revealed that it benefits sufferers of both hepatitis B and C. Other than viral hepatitis (both chronic and acute), milk thistle also helps in hepatitis cases brought on by alcohol or toxic substances. Some benefits observed for hepatitis were reduced liver damage and symptoms, plus increased platelet and white blood cell counts.

• As it regenerates the liver, milk thistle is useful for persons recovering from drug or alcohol addiction – studies have suggested it helps the liver return to healthy function. It even seems to improve the mood and energy levels of recovering persons.

• Milk thistle can also help counter the adverse effects of alcohol on the liver. These include nausea, appetite loss and alcohol-induced cirrhosis. Clinical studies have shown that silymarin “improves liver function tests and protects liver cells against oxidative damage in people with alcohol-related liver disease.” But research also suggests, when it comes to liver health, it is better for alcoholics to quit drinking totally than to continue their habit and take milk thistle.

• Many prescription medications have toxic effects which burden the liver, and milk thistle can help protect this important organ, especially in cases of long-term drug use. Indeed, in parts of Europe, milk thistle is often used together with prescribed medicines with known adverse effects on the liver.

• Milk thistle can also help protect persons exposed to harmful toxins at work, for example welders.

• Mark Stengler, ND, wrote that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy could use milk thistle extract.

• Milk thistle helps with sluggish liverliver congestion and fatty liver.

• Milk thistle can boost glutathione (a vital antioxidant) levels in the liver by up to 50 percent.

• Nicholas Culpeper, a well-known pharmacist in the 17th century, recommended the herb for treating jaundice.

• Significantly, research suggests that milk thistle extracts could, when used intravenously, be an antidote for liver poisoning, including deathcap mushroom poisoning.

• Milk thistle can help persons undergoing detoxification programs.

Sources for this article include:

Stengler, Mark, ND. The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies Medical Doctors Don’t Know. New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press, 2010. Print.

Balch, Phyllis A., CNC. Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-to-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies. New York, NY: Avery, 2002. Print.

Bratman, Steve, Dr. Complementary & Alternative Health: The Scientific Verdict on What Really Works. London, UK: Collins, 2007. Print.

Gaby, Alan R., MD. The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Natural Treatments for Common Health Conditions. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2006. Print.

Murray, Michael, ND. The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines: Vitamins, Minerals, Nutritional Supplements, Herbs, And Other Natural Products. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2002. Print.

http://www.insights-on-health.com

Blueberry consumption has skyrocketed over the last few years. In fact, it’s more than doubled over the last 6 years, according to the graphic below from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

And with good reason, too. They are low calorie and packed with nutrition. Health benefits of blueberries include high sources of fiber, manganese, vitamin C, phytonutrients, polyphenols, anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, and other antioxidants.

According to the Highbush Blueberry Council, blueberries may help with cardiovascular system, brain health, and insulin response. See the chart below the graphic for a more complete chart showing the nutrition of blueberries.

Blueberry Health Benefits

blueberry-infographic-a-handful-of-health

More

 

blueberry-nutrition