Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
The link between asthma and cows’ milk is familiar to many young asthma sufferers and their parents. Many people assumed that milk worsens asthma by stimulating mucus production in the lungs. However, studies suggest that, either along with or instead of creating excess mucus, milk may worsen asthma due to an undiagnosed milk allergy.
“In all respiratory conditions, mucous-forming dairy foods, such as milk and cheese, can exacerbate clogging of the lungs and should be avoided,” writes Professor Gary Null in his Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. Very simply, when more mucus accumulates in the lungs than can be expelled, asthma attacks develop. This belief has long been held in practiced medicine, and many medical doctors still stand behind this theory.
At the same time, many other doctors and researchers are now beginning to feel that undiagnosed milk allergies may be the underlying problem behind the link between milk and asthma. As Dr. Robert M. Giller writes in Natural Prescriptions, eliminating dairy products from the diets of many adult and child asthma patients helps “not because dairy products stimulate mucus production but because they’re very common causes of allergy, upper-respiratory allergies and asthma (which may be an allergy in itself).”
“Milk is one of the two or three most common food allergens in the American diet,” says allergy specialist Dr. James Braly in Bill Gottlieb’s book Alternative Cures. In fact, Dr. Frank Oski, the chief of pediatrics at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, believes that 50 percent of all school children may be allergic to milk, though many of them remain undiagnosed. Some researchers believe that the figure may be even higher, up to 60 percent of children, according to Dr. Charles R. Attwoods’s book, A Vegetarian Doctor Speaks Out. When most people think of milk allergies, they think of anaphylactic shock — a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that can only be relieved with a shot of epinephrine. However, allergies sometimes manifest in very different ways, and these may change throughout a person’s life.
In Get Healthy Now, Professor Null explains a milk allergy’s changing symptoms: “Even if the symptoms are not the same, the underlying allergy may be. A child who has suffered milk-associated asthma, for instance, may have severe acne as a teenager. The milk allergy is still there, but its symptoms have moved to a different organ system, often misleading the patient and physician into thinking that the original allergy has been outgrown.” According to Alternative Medicine, up to half of all infants may be sensitive to cows’ milk. As a result, symptoms of an underlying milk allergy may start as early as infancy, only manifested as eczema, a symptom that may remain later on in childhood and adulthood. Furthermore, in addition to asthma and eczema, an underlying milk allergy may manifest as bronchitis, sinusitis, autoimmune disorders, frequent colds and ear infections and even behavioral problems.
Source: Natural News
With all the new diet trends that seem to spring up, it’s not surprising many people are confused about what to eat. Most diets that promise optimal health and weight loss have their good points. But at the end of the day, all diets use a gimmick or trick to make you focus on how to change your eating habits to be healthier. They’re each based on ideas like eating certain foods at a certain time or cutting out certain foods. → Read more
By Huffington Post
Ron Finley is a successful clothing designer and artist from Los Angeles whose life got a little dirtier when he realized something strange about his neighborhood.
He found that South Central, Los Angeles was overwhelmingly filled with “Liquor stores. Fast food. Vacant lots,” but had no great place to get fresh, affordable produce. “People are losing their homes, they’re hungry, they’re unemployed, and this area is so underserved with nutritional food.” Finley was quoted as saying.
Since he’d just taken a course on gardening at the Natural History Museum, he decided to put his newfound knowledge to good use and planted a garden in a small strip of grass by his house with the help of his teacher, Florence Nishida and some friends.
Even though Finley used a small plot of land, about 10 feet wide, 150 feet long, the city still gave him a citation, which eventually turned into a warrant. His garden, filled with tomatoes, peppers and chard, celery, kale and herbs, had been deemed illegal.
Luckily with the help of LA Green Grounds, a charity he co-founded to help spread gardens throughout Los Angeles, Finley managed to overcome the citation, with the additional encouragement of his councilman, Herb Wesson. LA Green Grounds continues to help communities acquire gardening skills and grow their own produce, “And it always amazes me how planting a bunch of seeds or plants really can change someone’s life as they watch it grow, and then harvest it. I’ve seen people light up and literally change before my eyes.” Finley explains.
“Growing your own food is like printing your own money,” Finley said in his TED talk. He has educated his community in the importance of gardening as a sustainable, cost-effective and healthy activity in the hopes the can help turn these “food deserts” into “food forests.”
Finley perfectly sums up the significance of his gardening movement with this very promising observation: “If kids grow kale, kids eat kale!”
Clearly you’re interested in attaining a healthy weight — you’re reading this article, aren’t you? One motivation may be the hope that you’ll feel better about yourself once you’re carrying less baggage. But the baggage you’re toting around in your head may be what’s keeping you from moving forward. Maybe you’ve tried to lose weight before and didn’t reach your goal. Maybe you did reach your goal and then regained the pounds. Perhaps you’re worried about how your friends and family will react, or whether your age makes it too difficult to lose weight. Or maybe you just feel it’s too big a task to take on. Prepare for Change Whether you’re contemplating a weight-reduction program, preparing to go on one or ready to take action, it’s common to experience some level of fear or discomfort. “Change is uncomfortable,” says Scott Bea, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Psychiatry and Psychology. “As humans, we’re motivated to avoid discomfort.” Adopting new, more healthful behaviors does, of course, mean revising many of your current habits. So first and foremost, don’t criticize yourself for being worried about those changes. You’re Worth It “Part of the difficulty in achieving a healthy weight is that people often don’t think they’re worth it,” says Jane Ehrman, MEd, CHES, a mind-body medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. As you gear yourself up to adopt healthier habits, valuing yourself is essential. “It’s hard to motivate yourself from a place of self-loathing,” Dr. Bea points out. You also need a safe environment in which to try new behaviors. “If you’re self-accepting, you’re in a better spot to make changes,” he says. Remember that it’s your behaviors that need to change — not you as a person. How do you create this warm, welcoming place for yourself? A beginning step, Dr. Bea says, is to “just practice counting what’s right about yourself.” Applaud Your Efforts Self-acceptance also means forgiving yourself when you make a misstep. We’ve all been there: We make one mistake and give up. In fact, Americans, as a whole, focus on outcomes instead of the effort, and that sort of outlook can undermine attempts at behavioral change. “Be faithful to the effort,” Dr. Bea counsels. “Outcomes will take care of themselves.” Setting reasonable goals is critical to managing the effort and keeping yourself from falling prey to self-criticism. If you develop goals that are unreachable, a surprisingly common occurrence, you set yourself up for failure. Instead, establish a series of small goals that are measurable and attainable in the short term. For instance, don’t say you’re going to lose 20 pounds by a certain date; instead, set your target as going on a walk or getting on the exercise bike for a half hour each day. Daily incentives, Dr. Bea says, are a good way to remain motivated and to feel good about yourself — for example, when you take that walk each day, put a dollar in a cookie jar for yourself. Another thing to watch out for is the power of negative thoughts. As Ehrman points out, we’re often “stuck in our heads, recalling bad memories or anticipating negative events.” In other words, don’t dwell on past attempts at weight loss or worry about ways you might not succeed now. As the saying goes, “Just do it.”
If you are trying to improve your health or drop a few pounds, think beyond superfoods and supplements, because this “super-drink” deserves your attention. The things we chew are not the only dietary factors that contribute to weight management, disease fighting, energy boosting and stress reducing. Consumed for thousands of years, tea has provided delicious medicinal benefits to many cultures around the globe. Studies show that the components found in such a small little teabag can do wonders for your health. Drink up – your overall health is about to get a lot better!
Tea can help you in maintaining a healthy weight. A 2011 study in the Journal Obesity found that mice fed a high fat diet and given compounds found in green tea gained weight at a slower rate than mice that were not fed the same compounds. The findings from this study suggest that green tea extracts may actually interfere with fat formation in the body. As a side note: green tea extracts should not be confused with bottled green tea drinks that may be full of added sugar. To get green tea extracts, opt for the real deal — boiling water with a good old-fashioned teabag or loose tea!
Green tea may help you see better. The eye, like any part of the body, can suffer oxidative stress — making it more prone to disease. What if you could just add some green tea to your daily diet regimen to combat this? A 2010 study found that components in green tea positively affected the tissues of the eyes, especially tissue related to the retina. Drink on green tea lovers and protect your precious eyeballs!
White tea can help you look younger! White tea has a very high polyphenol count (that means it’s really good for you), which deliver fabulously gorgeous benefits! A recent studydemonstrated that tea drinkers may have already found their fountain of youth — in their mug! In the study, extracts in white tea inhibited wrinkle production by strengthening elastin and collagen — two important factors in your chances of developing what both men and women fear the most — fine lines and wrinkles. White tea can keep your joints younger too according to this 2011 study.
Black tea can help to reduce stress levels. Stressed out? A cup of black tea may be just what you need. One study found that black tea actually helped in reducing levels of the stress hormones in study participants. The fun does not stop there — black tea showed yet another benefit related to stress: blood pressure. As stress goes up, blood pressure does too, putting us at risk for developing a heart attack or stroke. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that six months of black tea consumption lowered systolic blood pressure.
It may help you fight diabetes. A 2010 study reviewing a variety of caffeinated teas found that the caffeine in tea may help in reducing the overall risk of diabetes.
Tea can make your ticker stronger! One study found that green tea helped to improve endothelial function rather quickly after consumption but resist the urge to add milk to your tea if you are drinking for better cardiovascular health! That’s because the caseins in milk may actually decrease the cardioprotective benefits you get from tea according to one study.
The tea-takeaway. You can use tea bags or go loose, drink it hot or drink it cold. Either way, tea is fabulous — and so are all of its benefits. For all the tea veterans, keep drinking your way to good health! For those that have not yet embraced a tea-drinking habit, it’s never too late to start brewing a batch! Explore the various types, flavors, and brands to find your tea-mate.
Herbal teas are renowned for their benefits but what benefits do herbal teas actually have and why are they so advantageous to our health? Read on to find out more.What is Herbal Tea?
Herbal tea looks like tea and is brewed in the same way as tea, but it not actually a tea at all. This is because they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made. Herbal teas are actually infusions, and are properly called tisanes. Tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers, or other botanical elements that give them their taste and provide the benefits of herbal teas.
Unlike other forms of tea, herbal teas contain no caffeine. They also taste great and are easy to drink. Your herbal tea may consist of one main herbal ingredient or it may be a blend of herbal ingredients, designed to bring about a specific purpose, such as relaxation, rejuvenation, relief from a specific condition, amongst other things.Noted Benefits of Herbal Teas
Firstly, it is important to note that there is a huge array of herbal teas available on the market – each one designed to have a specific therapeutic or medicinal benefit. However, there are some general benefits that can be obtained from herbal teas, and these include:achieving a more calm and relaxed state of mind supporting heart health aiding with stomach and digestive problems providing cleansing properties for the body promoting energy and wellness nourishing the nervous system strengthening the immune system providing antioxidants to the body boosting energy levels and invigorating the body relieving stress helping to avoid colds stimulating the internal organs promoting a good night’s sleep it is caffeine free and tastes great Some Common Herbal Tea Ingredients
There are many different herbs that can be found in an herbal tea, each with a different use. Some common ones include:Allspice – helps to soothe the common cold and relieves upset stomachs Anise seed – aids digestion and freshens the breath. It can also soothe a cough and improve bronchitis. Chamomile – is renowned for its calming properties and is also said to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic Chrysanthemum – is sweet-tasting and is able to reduce body heat resulting from fever. It also helps protect against liver damage and neutralises toxins. Cinnamon – is calming and helps to support healthy circulation and digestion. Ginseng – stimulates vitality and helps the body stay healthy. Ginger root – is excellent for improving circulation, and is one of the best herbs for improving digestion, nausea, lung congestion, and arthritis. Hawthorne – strengthens the heart and increases blood flow. Lemongrass – is frequently used due to its calming properties. Parsley – is a diuretic and helps with kidney function. Pau d’arco – has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity against a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, yeasts (including Candida albicans), viruses (including herpes simplex types I and II, influenza virus, poliovirus and retroviruses) and parasites. Peppermint – is good for stress relief. It also helps with stomachs and digestive issues and helps to freshen the breath. Red Clover – use as a medicine for menopausal symptoms, cancer, mastitis, joint disorders, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis and eczema. It is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women. Rose hips – are a natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They are a liver, kidney, and blood tonic, and are a good remedy for fatigue, colds, and cough. Sarsaparilla – promotes energy and healthy skin. Slippery elm – helps to relieve stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems. Making Herbal Tea
When you are making your herbal tea, use fresh, cold water. Do not use aluminium cookware as it can affect the taste. Use glass, cast iron, or stainless steel where possible. A tea strainer is very helpful as it lets you create your own blends of teas or herbs, and stops the leaves and flowers from escaping into the drink.
Once the water has boiled, add one heaped teaspoon of herbs for every cup of water. Cover and let the herbs steep for ten minutes. Do not over-steep the herbs as the flavor may become too strong and taste more medicinal rather than pleasant. If you want to enhance the flavor of your tea, honey or lemon can be great choices.
By Heidi Fagley, Natural News
With all the delicious foods to choose from during the holidays, and in spite of our best efforts to keep food indulgences to a minimum, there are times when we find that it’s nearly impossible to resist an extra helping of treats.
To deal with our temporary lack of constraint that can produce an upset tummy, here are some natural and inexpensive remedies to jump start your digestive system back into high gear.The Facts
Our digestive system is an important key to living a long and healthy life. Digestive function is made up of numerous organs working together to break down, absorb, and process nutrients in the food we eat. Without healthy digestion, the body can become malnourished and toxins may build up, leading to degenerative diseases.Using herbs and whole foods is a simple way to support the natural detoxification organs of your body.
Below are some simple tricks to turn foods you already have in your cabinets into goldmines for the digestive system.Herbal Elixir
Caffeine-free herbal teas can reduce an uncomfortable, bloated system.
Warm and soothing, these medicinal leaves become digestive support upon contact.Peppermint – Used for centuries to ease the digestive system. Assists with dissipation of gas and indigestion. Chamomile – With anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, the calming effects of this tea also help relieve stress, which is often linked to digestive problems. Lemon grass – Soothes the digestive system and calms the nerves. Go Green
Green juices are packed with nutrition. Drinking emerald sunshine enables the release of stored toxins throughout the system. Green juices can cleanse your digestive system, helping to move things along while providing an extra dose of readily available nutrients.
Start with vegetables that are gentle on your system like celery and cucumbers, adding a little apple to sweeten things up.Natural Enzymes
Pineapples contain the digestive enzyme bromelain, and papayas contain papain.These natural enzymes support the digestive system in breaking down and absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat.
Consuming the fresh juice from these fruits can help relieve gas, upset stomach and occasional constipation and diarrhea.Pucker Up
Warm lemon water is used in many ancient remedies to alleviate digestive distress, support liver detoxification, normalize digestive juices, and reduce intestinal bloating. Lemon activates the liver to release toxins and helps to cleanse and move any roughage that stays behind in the intestines.
Mix half of a juiced lemon with eight ounces of warm water. Drink upon waking on an empty stomach.Spice It Up
Ginger stimulates digestion by speeding up the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine.
Widely used all over the world for many digestive disturbances, ginger has been found to soothe the digestive lining and balance gastric juices, making it a great remedy for overeating.
Peel and slice a two-inch piece of fresh ginger. Add to three cups of boiling water. Brew for five minutes, strain and sip the tea slowly. You may add some natural sweetener to taste.Naturally Fermented
Naturally high in probiotics, foods such as raw sauerkraut provide beneficial enzymes that increase the digestibility of any food. This enhances lactic acid which in turn promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestines as well as preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and increasing nutrient absorption.Even though the temptation to indulge may be more likely to occur during the holidays, these simple, natural remedies can promote healthy digestion any time of the year.
Do you have any of your own natural remedies or tips for managing seasonal overindulgences? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.
By David DiSalvo, Forbes
Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders, depression – all have been linked in recent research to the over-consumption of sugar. And these linkages point to a problem that is only beginning to be better understood: what our chronic intake of added sugar is doing to our brains.How Much Sugar Are We Consuming? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each. If you find that hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories – nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet.The key word in all of the stats is “added.” While a healthy diet would contain a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and grains, for example), the problem is that we’re chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods. That’s an important clarification because our brains need sugar every day to function. Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body; roughly 10% of our total daily energy requirements. This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar), the gasoline of our brains. Sugar is not the brain’s enemy — added sugar is. BNDF Explained Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in people with an impaired glucose metabolism–diabetics and pre-diabetics–and as the amount of BDNF decreases, sugar metabolism worsens. The Side Effects In other words, chronically eating added sugar reduces BDNF, and then the lowered levels of the brain chemical begin contributing to insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which eventually leads to a host of other health problems. Once that happens, your brain and body are in a destructive cycle that’s difficult if not impossible to reverse.Research has also linked low BDNF levels to depression and dementia. It’s possible that low BDNF may turn out to be the smoking gun in these and other diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that tend to appear in clusters in epidemiological studies. More research is being conducted on this subject, but what seems clear in any case is that a reduced level of BDNF is bad news for our brains, and chronic sugar consumption is one of the worst inhibitory culprits.Other studies have focused on sugar’s role in over-eating. We intuitively know that sugar and obesity are linked, but the exact reason why hasn’t been well understood until recently. Research has shown that chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating. It does so by reducing activity in the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, which is responsible for throwing up the red “full” flag that prevents you from gorging. When oxytocin cells in the brain are blunted by over-consumption of sugar, the flag doesn’t work correctly and you start asking for seconds and thirds, and seeking out snacks at midnight.
What these and other studies strongly suggest is that most of us are seriously damaging ourselves with processed foods high in added sugar, and the damage begins with our brains. Seen in this light, chronic added-sugar consumption is no less a problem than smoking or alcoholism. And the hard truth is that we may have only begun to see the effects of what the endless sugar avalanche is doingSource: http://www.forbes.com/…
For better health, dial down your meat consumption by going meat-free on Mondays. The average American eats twice as much meat as people in the rest of the world. Animal products, especially red meat and dairy, are among the biggest sources of saturated fat in the American diet. While fat is essential for proper functioning of the body, eating too much saturated fat is a major risk factor for heart disease and obesity. No more than 10 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. That means if you eat 2,000 calories per day, your goal would be to keep your saturated fat intake under 200 calories (equivalent to 23 grams per day). Though that might sound like a lot, it adds up quickly. Three ounces of lean beef, one tablespoon of butter, one slice of cheese and four ounces of salmon equals 23 grams of saturated fat. By going meat-free one day a week, you can help your body get more nutrients from fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Remember to go easy on the cheese!
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects millions of people around the world, including over 30 percent of American adults. Often referred to as “the silent killer” for its tendency to wreak havoc on the body without producing symptoms, hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease and a leading cause of stroke. If you have any concerns, get checked by your doctor. There likely won’t be any other way of knowing if you’re at risk.
This pervasive and dangerous condition is at the heart of today’s episode of Urban Yogis on The Chopra Well YouTube channel. Ashtanga yoga instructor Eddie Stern has teamed up with fellow instructor Blake Seidenshaw and physical therapy professor Marshall Hagins at Long Island University (LIU) to conduct a study on the effects of yoga on patients suffering from hypertension. As of yet, yoga has not definitively been proven to be an effective treatment for high blood pressure, on its own, though evidence does suggest it may lower blood pressure by reducing stress and increasing flexibility and weight loss. Stern, Seidenshaw, and Hagins came together in the hope of finding clear, consistent evidence to prove what, until now, most yoga practitioners only felt and observed in their own lives without the authority of science to support them. That isn’t to say anecdotal evidence doesn’t carry its own weight – there’s a reason over 20 million people in the United States have practiced yoga.
If science comes to support what practitioners have felt for decades, it could have a major impact on our health. So many of Eddie’s students, like the patients at LIU, have already noticed the positive effects. Likely it has something to do with lifestyle. Though the cause of hypertension remains undetermined, the condition is often associated with lack of exercise, being overweight, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, and a diet high in saturated fat and salt. Chronic stress also contributes to hypertension, which may be unwelcome news to people with high-intensity, fast-paced lifestyles.
During stressful situations blood pressure spikes, returning to its normal level after the experience passes. People who are constantly stressed, though, may be at a greater risk of raising their blood pressure in the long-run, especially if they tend to smoke, overeat, or exercise less when they are under a lot of stress. As Eddie’s students can attest to, yoga steps in to provide the tools for self-soothing and mindfulness, so critical to stress-reduction. Hopefully in the near future we’ll know even more about the amazing medical and emotional benefits of a regular yoga practice. But until then, we’ll take the smiles and calm, glowing faces as proof enough.