Sleep Better and 7 More Reasons to Eat a Banana Everyday

Monday, September 22, 2014 | comments

Sleep Better and 7 More Reasons to Eat a Banana Everyday

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits eaten in the United States, and for good reason. Not only is their sweet, yellow flesh supremely delicious, it offers an array of nutritional benefits.

There are a number of reasons to add this tropical delight, thought to originally hail from Malaysia, to your daily diet. The following are just eight of the many:

Heart health

Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral crucial to balancing out sodium levels in the body. When your body’s sodium to potassium ratio is too high, it can result in hypertension. Consuming foods high in potassium, such as bananas, can keep sodium in check, thus keeping blood pressure levels down.

This is important to your heart because high blood pressure may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Potassium is also essential for supporting optimal cardiovascular function in general.

Additionally, bananas contain sterols, compounds which have been shown to help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol, as well as containing a good amount of heart-healthy fiber.

Immediate – and sustained – energy
Whether you’re an athlete or just have a busy day ahead, having a banana with your breakfast is a great choice in terms of energy. The natural sugars in the banana give you a quick pick-me-up, and their rich fiber content helps sustain this energy throughout the day.

A 2012 study published in PLOS One focused on the effects of bananas on athletic performance, and concluded, “in general, ingestion of bananas before and during prolonged and intensive exercise is an effective strategy, both in terms of fuel substrate utilization and cost, for supporting performance.”

Bananas are also a great workout food because their potassium content helps to reduce muscle cramping.

Smoother digestion

Another well-known benefit of bananas is their gentle and restorative effect on the digestive system. Bananas function as a mild natural laxative, helping to ease constipation, and also aiding in relieving diarrhea and other digestive disturbances due to their high fiber content.

Bananas also help to reduce stomach acid, and coat the lining of the stomach, which may help to ease ulcer symptoms.

Sleep Better and 7 More Reasons to Eat a Banana Everyday

Less stress

These tasty fruits are rich in B-vitamins, which help to mitigate both anxiety and depression. They also contain tryptophan, a protein which converts to serotonin in the body, helping to boost your mood. Due to their tryptophan content, bananas may even help to ease a nasty case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Better sleep

The tryptophan present in bananas not only serves to boost your mood, it can also promote a more restful sleep. As we know, without a proper sleep, nothing else in the body can function correctly, so this benefit is absolutely key.

Reduced PMS symptoms
One of the B-vitamins found in bananas is vitamin B6, which can help balance blood sugar levels, and ease up some of those “that time of the month” symptoms. It may also help to alleviate some of the morning sickness that many pregnant women experience, especially in the first trimester.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry reported on the use of bananas for both PMS and morning sickness relief.

Heartburn relief

Due to bananas’ ability to neutralize stomach acid, they can help to stop heartburn in its tracks. These fruits have been used traditionally for many generations for their antacid properties.

Sleep Better and 7 More Reasons to Eat a Banana Everyday

Immune system support

Bananas contain ample vitamin C content, which is essential to optimal immune system function, as well as for fighting free radicals and reducing oxidative stress damage. Another antioxidant found in bananas is gallocatechin, which is also found in green tea.

Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral crucial to balancing out sodium levels in the body. When your body’s sodium to potassium ratio is too high, it can result in hypertension. Consuming foods high in potassium, such as bananas, can keep sodium in check, thus keeping blood pressure levels down.

This is important to your heart because high blood pressure may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Potassium is also essential for supporting optimal cardiovascular function in general.

Additionally, bananas contain sterols, compounds which have been shown to help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol, as well as containing a good amount of heart-healthy fiber.


A 2002 study published in Food Chemistry stated, “antioxidant capacity of the bananas may be attributed to their gallocatechin content. Bananas should be considered as a good source of natural antioxidants for foods.”


Sleep Better and 7 More Reasons to Eat a Banana Everyday

Note: While bananas are extraordinarily healthy, they are also high in natural sugars, and should be consumed in moderation. Eating them with a protein is often recommended. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, talk to a health professional before making bananas part of your daily diet, to determine how much banana intake is safe for your individual condition.

SOURCE


The 7 Things I Did To Lose 220 Pounds Without Dieting

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | comments

The 7 Things I Did To Lose 220 Pounds Without Dieting

Back in 2001 I weighed more than 400 pounds. I tried every diet I could think of to lose weight. I even worked face to face with the late Dr. Atkins for two months, and after charging me thousands of dollars, the best he could do was yell at me for being so fat.

Every diet I tried ended up the same way. There would be a whole list of foods I wasn’t allowed to eat. I’d follow the diet to the letter. I’d lose a little weight through sheer brute force and willpower. Then there would come an inevitable point when I couldn’t take it anymore and I’d have a huge binge. Whatever weight I had lost on the diet would come back in a matter of days, and a week later I’d be 5 pounds heavier than when I started the diet. This pattern of losing 10 pounds and gaining 15 pounds started in 1990, until by September 2001 I reached my peak of 409 pounds.

Then I had turning point. On September 11, I narrowly missed being on UAL flight 93. That experience left me feeling like I was living on borrowed time. Here I was, killing myself working in a high-stress Wall Street job that I hated, and the universe had just given me a second chance.

So I decided to get off of the dieting roller coaster once and for all, and I resolved never to diet again. Instead I was going to try to figure out why my body seemed to be forcing me to gain so much weight. I decided to find out what I could do to get it to want to be thin again. Armed with a solid background in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, I spent 12 hours a day researching everything I could about the hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and chemical massagers that cause weight gain.

I learned that losing weight sustainably isn't about counting calories, but about creating the proper hormonal environment in your body that’s conducive to weight loss. Since stress and emotional issues can cause an unfavorable hormonal environment, the issue needs to be addressed from a mind-body perspective. We need to take a holistic approach that looks at our psychological and emotional life, as much as what and when we eat.
The 7 Things I Did To Lose 220 Pounds Without Dieting
Over a two-and-half-year period I lost 220 pounds, without dieting. I’ve been the same weight now for over 10 years and I still don’t diet. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want.

These were the keys to my transformation:

1. I stopped dieting and started nourishing my body.

I learned through my research that my body was chronically starved for certain key nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, live foods and high-quality proteins. I made sure I gave myself as much really high-quality nutrients as possible. If I wanted junk foods like candy, chips or pizza, I would eat them whenever I wanted, without hesitation. Eventually I lost my taste for all junk food as my body learned to prefer high-quality, nutrient-dense foods.

2. I healed my digestion.


I discovered that one of the reasons why I was so badly starving for nutrients is that my digestive processes were compromised, so I was unable to effectively extract the nutrients from the foods I was eating. Digestion problems can also cause inflammation and the inflammatory hormones put our bodies into fat storage mode. I started eating lots of fermented and cultured foods, and taking probiotics and digestive enzymes in order to normalize my digestion.

3. I got a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects many overweight people. It creates a hormonal environment in the body that encourages weight gain by causing elevated cortisol levels, which leads to junk food cravings and insulin resistance. Sleep apnea is easily treated with a CPAP machine. The machine blows air into your nose and mouth to keep your windpipe open, so you can sleep through the night without problems.

Most people who have sleep apnea don’t even know that they have it, although the people they live with would know, because people with sleep apnea snore very loudly. It turns out I had one of the worst cases of sleep apnea that my sleep study technicians had ever seen. From the moment I got the CPAP machine I started having more energy and less junk food cravings. And the weight started to melt away for good.

4. I started using mind-body practices to reduce stress.

Just like sleep apnea, stress causes elevated levels of cortisol and inflammatory hormones. These hormones lead to constant cravings and put your body into chronic fat storage mode. Many people don’t realize how important it is to learn how to reduce stress. I began meditating and visualizing every morning, which I found to be extremely effective for reducing stress.

5. I created a much more sustainable life.

I also lowered my expenses, moved to a more affordable house and started growing some of my own foods. My life felt much more sustainable and I felt calmer and more supported. I loved knowing that anytime I was hungry I could go into the back yard and eat something fresh and full of vitality. The stress hormones where no longer coursing through my system, wreaking havoc and turning my body into a fat storage machine.

6. I worked through some important emotional issues.


Some people feel safer with extra weight on their body. It’s as if the body actually uses weight as a buffer from the world. I was in that situation and I knew I had to address the emotional issues that were making my body feel unsafe. I started doing visualization practices that helped to resolve past traumas and to get my body to feel safer in letting go of the weight.

Over the years I’ve found that 65-70% of the clients I work with are using weight as a form of protection. I call this “emotional obesity”. When you work through the issues that are causing emotional obesity and break the association that fat equals safe, the body is much more willing to let go of the weight. After I broke this association and the weight no longer served its purpose - that is, the armor of fat no longer made me feel any safer - the weight all but went away.

7. I detoxified my body.

After I had lost about 180 pounds I started doing a lot of research about toxins and how the body processes and deals with toxic chemicals. It turns out the body uses fat cells to store excess toxins. I realized that the last 40 excess pounds that my body was holding onto was because it was a storehouse for accumulated toxins. I started living what I call a “detoxifying lifestyle”. Basically, I started flushing my body with lots of alkaline liquids, like water with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, green juices, super greens and lots of salads and sprouts. That did the trick, because I lost the last 40 pounds much more quickly than I lost the first 40 pounds, so the rate of my weight loss continued to accelerate to the very end.

Taking a mind body approach that nourishes the body and reduces the physical, mental and emotional stresses that cause weight gain is the most sensible and sustainable way to lose weight. I’ve now worked with tens of thousands of people in 60 countries teaching this approach and we’re getting amazing results.

People who have spent a lifetime of yo-yo dieting have now lost weight - 50, 100 and 200 pounds, without dieting by following this exact formula.

SOURCE


Smoking Tea Is Now A Thing, And Apparently It’s Relaxing And Good For You

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | comments


Smoking weed to relax used to be relatively taboo, at least in terms of how the general population viewed the practice.

With legalization laws passing in more and more states, lighting up isn’t looked down upon so much anymore. After all, marijuana is a plant and for some, it really does help with psychological problems or physical ailments.

But, not everyone benefits the same way. While weed relaxes some people, it makes others panicky; it can be tricky to tell how the high will be, especially if you’re not a frequent smoker.

Digg shared this video, featuring Liz Neves, a storeowner in Brooklyn who sells smokeable tea. You can think of the product as a natural, high-free alternative to marijuana (great for those who want the calming benefits, but not the high).

Smoking Tea Is Now A Thing, And Apparently It’s Relaxing And Good For You

Her shop, Raganella’s Botanical Solutions, offers lots of different blends of smokeable herbs.

In the video, Neves discusses customer favorite Vivid Visions, a blend of lavender, damiana and mugwort, which is a psychoactive herb that supposedly enhances the intensity of your dreams.

Granted, it sounds a little hippie-dippy and new-agey, but the reviews on Neves’ Etsy site are fantastic. Obviously, she’s doing something right.

Now, where are my rolling papers?

WATCH THE VIDEO:


SOURCE


5 Kidney Cleansing Drinks

Monday, September 15, 2014 | comments

5 Kidney Cleansing Drinks

The kidneys are our organs that filter out toxins and waste from the bloodstream. Because toxins can affect your entire body, there is no question that supporting your kidneys is crucial for keeping your overall health in check. Without a balanced diet, purified drinking water, and body cleansing, toxins can build up and affect the function of the kidneys, liver, and neighboring organs… and may even lead tokidney stones and other problems.

Cleansing the Kidneys With a Few Sips


Cleansing the kidneys is a simple process and most cleanses don’t require an exhaustive supply of tools or ingredients to work. In fact, just drinking plenty of purified water is the first step toward an effective flush. Water, however, only provides hydration. The following 5 kidney-cleansing drinks may provide that extra cleansing boost.

Cranberry Juice

1. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice has been touted for years as supporter for the urinary tract. Research shows that cranberries can help fight against urinary tract infections, possibly by decreasing the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder and urethra.[1] Cranberries may also be helpful for cleansing the kidneys of excess calcium oxalate, one of the main contributors to kidney stones. [2] When purchasing cranberry juice, always choose varieties that are certified organic and free of added sugars, preservatives, or artificial flavors; or, get a juicer and make your own.

Beet Juice

2. Beet Juice

Beets and beet juice contain betaine, a very beneficial phytochemical. It has antioxidant qualities and increases the acidity of urine. This can help clear calcium phosphate and struvite buildup from the kidneys. [3] The removal of calcium in the kidneys not only promotes kidney function, but decreases the likelihood of kidney stones.
Lemon Juice

3. Lemon Juice

Naturally acidic, lemon juice has been shown to increase citrate levels in the urine, a factor that discourages kidney stones from forming. For a quick lemon kidney cleanse, squeeze 4-5 lemons into a quart of cold water and drink up. Or, for a warming beverage, squeeze one quarter to one half a lemon into 8 ounces of hot water daily.

Juice Cleanses

4. Juice Cleanses

Juice cleanses are all the rage, and with good reason. A juice cleanse combines the nutritional power of fruits and vegetables into one, easy-to-drink beverage. The juice of vegetables and fruits is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients necessary for facilitating the removal of toxins. This helps take the strain off the liver, colon, and kidneys. Vegetables like celery, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, carrots, kale, and spinach are great for juicing. For fruits, try apples, peeled oranges, pears, pineapple, and peaches.

5. Homemade Kidney Cleanse Beverage

Here’s one of my favorite beverages that will aid any kidney cleanse. All you will need are fresh lemons, apple cider vinegar (organic and raw), purified water, and Renaltrex. I’d suggest checking out the full kidney cleanse instructions for a detailed breakdown. But, in short, it involves mixing lemon juice, purified water, ACV, and Renaltrex into a beverage that you drink over the span of a four day cleanse.

What About Supplements?

There’s no question that certain nutrients are beneficial for kidney health but many people don’t get enough in their diet. That’s where kidney cleansing supplements can be helpful. The best ones contain herbs have had their active compounds extracted and enhanced to maximize efficacy. There are a number of herbs out there and a supplement like Renaltrex is a great source for many.

Have you cleansed your kidneys? What process did you use? Leave a comment below and share your experience!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

SOURCE



What Does Your Acne Reveal About Your Health

Sunday, September 14, 2014 | comments

What Does yYour Acne Reveal About Your Health

It is believed in Chinese Medicine that acne that flares up on different parts of your face represents health problems on different parts of your body. It’s like this part of your face corresponds to this organ. To know what conditions you’re suffering from, just look at where your acne is.

What Does yYour Acne Reveal About Your Health

Upper Forehead

Affects: Digestive System and Bladder

What to do:
  • Drinking water helps to flush out the toxins in your body, so boost your water intake and have a look at the foods you are eating.
  • Minimize intake of fizzy drinks and high caffeinated drinks. Also look at switching to herbal teas, especially green tea!
  • Consume less chocolate, cakes, lemonade and Coke, drink more mineral water without gas. Eat food that helps eliminate toxins from the body: boiled cabbage, and baked apples.
  • Go to bed early (10pm) and wake up early (6am). Even if you can’t fall asleep. it’s good to relax so your liver can rest and be ready for work the next day
  • 20-30 minutes of light exercise every day, especially outdoors
  • Practice relaxation techniques to worry less
  • Better hygiene (washing hair, hats)
  • Green Tea, lemon water and berries can also help as these are antioxidant rich foods

 
What Does yYour Acne Reveal About Your Health

Lower Forehead

Affects: Heart

Your heart is a massive organ that pumps blood all over your body. If it’s stressed out due to poor diet, inactivity and various mental and physical stresses, then not only are you likely to get pimples on your lower forehead, your entire body will be doomed if you don’t fix the problems. Having a healthy heart means to do regular exercises to strengthen the heart, as well as eat a healthy diet, and keeping stresses low.

What to do:
  • Try to exercise regularly
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water
  • Eat healthy, preferably low cholesterol, high fiber diet
  • Quit smoking

Ears

Affects: Kidneys

When kidneys are not taken care of, you’ll find these large, painful pimples on your ears that refuses to leave no matter what.

What to do:
  • Increase water intake
  • Avoiding eating too much salty food, caffeine
  • cleanse your kidneys with diuretics like parsley and water

 Eyes, orbital area and between the Eyebrows

Affects: Liver

Oiliness, redness, flakiness and pimples between the eyebrows can indicate that your liver may have been overworking and need a cleansing.

What to do:
  • Eat fruits and vegetables with high content of vitamin C (kiwi, sweet pepper, oranges) will help in providing you with a good mood.
  • Try to avoid eating late at night; especially right before bedtime as your body will not break down the food as effectively, leading to a toxin build up.
  • Cut back on fatty, sugary, greasy and rich foods, alcohol and diary, particularly if you’re lactose intolerant.
  • Some of the best foods to cleanse your liver include garlic, grapefruit, green tea, carrots, beets, leafy green vegetables, lemons and lime.

 Upper Cheeks

Affects: Lungs and Respiratory System

Stresses to the lungs is likely to cause flare ups in the upper cheeks and even break your capillaries. These stresses include smoking, asthma, allergies, and lung infections.

What to do:
  • Avoid smoking and passive smoking
  • Exercise
  • Avoid polluted area

Lower Cheeks

Affects: Gum or Teeth Problems

Gum or teeth problems may contribute to acne in the lower cheeks area.

What to do:
  • Hygiene:
    • Change your pillowcase at least once a week, and wipe down your phone with an antibacterial wipe every few days.
    • Always keep on top of your dental health, brushing, mouthwash and flossing twice a day and regular check ups at the dentist at least twice a year! Don’t just wait until you have a dental problem to make an appointment.
  • Food:
    • Foods great for healthier lungs include, kale, sprouts and pumpkin.
    • Include fresh vegetables, oatmeal and brown rice in your diet.
    • Eat more cooling foods such as gourds, winter melons, and green beans
    • Don’t overeat
    • Avoid fast food and junk food, artificial sugar and sodas
    • Avoid mango, taro root, wine, and seafood or other foods you may be sensitive to
    • Eat less sugar

Sides of the Chin

Affects: Hormones and Genitals

This may affect a lot of girls. When sides of the chin often flare up, it’s a sign of hormonal imbalance, often caused by menstruation. Sometimes, even emotional or physical stress can cause hormonal imbalances. There are also herbs that can help balance hormones such as licorice, schisandra, holy basil, maca, burdock, red raspberry leaves, rhodiola and milk thisle. Green tea is also a brilliant anti-androgen.

What to do:
  • Reduce the habit of eating before bed
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Get more rest and sleep
  • Get 20 minutes of exercise each day and massage your body for relaxation
  • Sleep early and wake up early
  • Try herbs that can help balance hormones such as licorice, schisandra, holy basil, maca, burdock, red raspberry leaves, rhodiola and milk thisle. Green tea is also a brilliant anti-androgen.

Centre of the Chin

Affects: Small intestines and stomach

This is also caused by poor diets and food allergies. Be sure to eliminate those bad foods.

What to do:
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Get more rest
  • Increase water intake and fiber in your diet

What Does yYour Acne Reveal About Your Health

Chest and Neck

Chest areas are usually caused by stress, so be sure to figure out what’s stressing you out and try to eliminate that stress. It’s also important to be comfortable in your outfits. When areas around the neck flare up, it’s often caused by your body fighting off infections.

What to do:
  • Try to eliminate stressors
  • Use comfortable clothing
  • Increase water intake and maintain ascorbic acid intake to fight off infections.

SOURCE


10 Signs Of Poor Kidney Health And What You Can Do About It

| comments

10 Signs Of Poor Kidney Health And What You Can Do About It

The kidneys are a vital organ, working day in and day out to process toxins out of your blood. Did you know the kidneys filter some 300 gallons of blood every day? Incredible! It's important we take care of our kidneys though, and signs of kidney disease sometimes go unnoticed because of how subtle they are.

 Let's talk about the 10 symptoms.

10 Signs Of Poor Kidney Health And What You Can Do About It

1. Changes in urination
Your kidneys make urine, so if things are getting weird with your urine, things might be getting weird for your kidney. If your urine is bubbly, if you're getting up at night to pee, if you're peeing more, or less often, smaller amounts, larger amounts, anything like that could be considered a change.

2. Swelling

Your kidneys remove extra fluid, and if they aren't able to do that, extra fluid will get stored in your legs, ankles, feet, face, or hands. Swelling like this can be a sign things aren't going, well, swell for your kidneys.

3. Fatigue
Healthy kidneys produce erythropoietin, or EPO, a hormone that tells your body to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your cells. When your kidneys begin to fail, they produce less EPO, thus fewer red blood cells, less oxygen going to your cells, and less energy.

4. Skin problems
Your kidneys remove waste and toxins from your body. When your kidneys fail, that waste can build up in your skin and cause rashes and itching.

5. Ammonia breath and metallic taste in mouth
Uremia, or a buildup of waste in the blood, can make your food tast metallic and give you bad breath. In conjunction with losing weight and a dislike of meat, this can be a clear sign of kidney failure.

6. Nausea and vomiting

As kidney disease progresses, you may find yourself feeling nauseated and vomiting. This is caused by a severe buildup of uremia.

7. Shortness of breath
Extra fluid in the body can build up in your lungs, and anemia can occur because of kidney disease. This can make catching your breath difficult.

8. Feeling cold
Anemia, a shortage of red blood cells, cause by the lack of EPO can cause coldness, even in a warm room.

9. Dizziness and trouble concentrating
The anemia caused by kidney failure can cause your brain not to receive enough oxygen, leading to dizziness and trouble concentrating, as well as memory problems.

10. Leg pain

Some people with kidney problems may experience pain in the upper back or the legs.


So, does none of this apply to you? Good. Here are some steps to take to help make sure it never does. For healthy kidneys:

  • Make sure your blood pressure is healthy and on target.
  • If you have diabetes, take care to control your glucose level.
  • Make sure your cholesterol is on target.
  • Cut back on the salt. Don't eat more than 2300 mg a day.
  • Eat plenty of healthy food, like fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Lose weight if you're overweight.
  • Quit smoking if you do.
SOURCE


A Simple Trick Removes Pesticides from Your Vegetables & Fruits

Saturday, September 13, 2014 | comments

A Simple Trick Removes Pesticides from Your Vegetables & Fruits

So much of our fresh fruits and vegetables are covered in waxy films or have pesticide residues. Below is a short video showing a quick, simple and cheap way of removing any residues.

We all know that including fruit and vegetables in our daily diets is good for our health, however residues of many hazardous pesticides are still detected in worryingly high levels. Not everybody has the means to buy or the access organic produce.

A Simple Trick Removes Pesticides from Your Vegetables & Fruits

Here is a simple way to ensure that the fruit and veggies you eat are as clean as possible:


* Mix a solution of any basic white vinegar with water in a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.
* Pour over your chosen fruit or veggies and allow them to sit for 15 minutes or so.
* Then rinse.

You will be left with clean produce with no lingering aroma of vinegar, and a bowl of dirty looking water showing all the gunk you have removed – the results may surprise you.

Note: Do not use this method on more fragile fruits such as berries as they can become damaged in the process and soak up too much vinegar through their more porous skins.


Watch this short video below:



The Environmental Working Group(EWG) believes that the US public has a right to know about the level of exposure to often toxic chemicals commonly found in our fresh produce. They produce an annual list of their results which shows what is widely known as the ‘Dirty Dozen™’ and, conversely, the ‘Clean Fifteen™’ representing the least contaminated.

Some of the more startling discoveries in the EWG report for 2014 are:

• “Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
• The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
• A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.”

SOURCE


10 Potent Foods that Kill Pain Fast

Thursday, September 11, 2014 | comments

  10 Potent Foods that Kill Pain Fast

Pain is the mechanism that our bodies use to tell us that all is not well. Once we are aware of what is wrong, we can well do without it continuing, unfortunately that is not how it works. For those of us who suffer with chronic conditions such as arthritis, headaches (including migraines), tendinitis, and other painful ailments, it’s all too tempting to reach for commercial painkillers like ibuprofen. But is that the best course of action?

There are other natural pain relief agents that Mother Nature has thoughtfully provided it is just a matter of knowing which ones work and which ones don’t.

Dark Cherries

Natural pain relief agent # 1 – Dark Cherries

A recent study carried out by the John Hopkins Pain Treatment Centre has confirmed that Anthocyanins, a type of bioflavonoid, or plant pigment that is found in dark fruits such as cherries, are proficient at being able to block the pain signals that emanate from inflammation. Sitting down and enjoying munching on 20 cherries can help to remedy joint pain, stomach pain, and other pain that is caused by inflammation. It can also help to ease PMS symptoms too.


Ginger Root

Natural pain relief agent # 2 – Ginger Root


Ginger root, used in Ayurvedic medicine, is a renowned natural pain relief agent. Ginger powder, which can be bought in any supermarket store selling spice, has the ability to lessen pain by inhibiting certain toxic compounds that your body manufactures, which are the cause of inflammation that causes pain in your joints and muscles.

You can also chop fresh ginger root and make it into a paste which can then be applied topically to joints and muscles radiating pain. Ginger root can also be eaten, and as such is a very effective remedy for stomach pain and nausea. Many moms-to-be also chew Ginger to help to ward-off the dreaded morning sickness.

Cold-water fish

Natural pain relief agent # 3 – Cold-water fish

Cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon, and tuna are renowned for good health. The omega-3 fatty acids that cold water fish contains enhances cardiovascular health, and lessens any inflammation that might gather around cartilage

Not many people are aware however that eating these fishes can also help to fight the pain of back injury, painful joints, and neck injury.

Tahini

Natural pain relief agent # 4 – Tahini

Tahini, which is used in North African, Greek Turkish and Middle Eastern cookery, is also an excellent pain relief agent. It is made from ground sesame seeds and is rich in magnesium, a mineral that many people have a deficiency of. This mineral has many health benefits, amongst which is the ability to ease muscle tension. You can also used it for treating headaches and sore muscles. You can make your own by following this link.
 
Turmeric

Natural pain relief agent # 5 – Turmeric

The Indian spice Turmeric is legendary for its many health benefits. It contains Curcumin, which gives it its natural anti-inflammatory characteristics. Turmeric powder is made from the Turmeric plant and is a beautifully fragrant and golden spice, which in addition to helping you to fight pain naturally, is also a great flavor additive, (and a great colorant too) for any salads and casseroles.

Aloe Vera Juice

Natural pain relief agent # 6 – Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera gel is renowned as a topical treatment by way of a skin moisturizer and helps to soothe and heal burns. But what many people are not aware of is that you can drink AV juice and that when you, do it is a super remedy for stomach ulcers. If you drink AV juice twice per day it will help to treat the symptoms which include pain, feelings of nausea and fatigue (because of the blood loss that ulcers can engender); it also helps to accelerate recovery.

Organic Papaya Fruit

Natural pain relief agent # 7 – Organic Papaya Fruit

Papaya fruit contains an enzyme known as Papain. This enzyme is a natural anti-inflammatory straight out of Mother Nature’s closet. It works best when it is combined with Bromelain (contained in Pineapple). Papain is sometimes employed following a surgical procedure when it helps to lessen any swelling and pain. Papaya extract is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, and it also contains many vitamins which are helpful in underpinning and enhancing many body functions. A great way of consuming Papaya is as a smoothie.

Raw Probiotic yogurt

Pain relief agent # 8 – Raw Probiotic yogurt

The human digestive and intestinal tracts house billions of bacteria, both good and bad. Good bacteria fulfills an important function in promoting the digestive process. If the proportion of bad bacteria outweighs that of good, it can have an adverse affect on digestion and cause many related illnesses and conditions, including skin rashes and hair loss. It can also bring about a hormonal imbalance, which leads to further illness. The live bacterial cultures in probiotic yogurt supplement the good bacteria already in the gut, helping to remedy many conditions including IBS, flatulence and painful bloating of the abdomen.

Hot Peppers (Chilies)

Pain relief agent # 9 – Hot Peppers (Chilies)

Hot peppers (chilies) contain a substance known as Capsaicin, which is a natural ingredient that you’ll find in many topical pain relief creams and ointments. Capsaicin has the ability to draw something called substance-P, out of your nerves. Substance-P is a chemical messenger that carries a signal to the brain that it translates as pain. When you effectively block the messenger, you block the pain too.

Whenever you apply Capsaicin cream, which you can either buy over the counter, or make yourself (follow this link to the recipe), be sure to wear disposable gloves, and don’t get any in your eyes.


Peppermint

Pain relief agent # 10 – Peppermint

Peppermint is an excellent treatment for soothing muscle spasms. It is the Menthol in Peppermint that works the magic. You can purchase Peppermint oil over the counter at many supermarkets and health food stores, which you can then apply topically to the areas where the pain is.

For treating headaches, simply crush some fresh Peppermint leaves against your temples or alternatively make a peppermint tisane, which is great for relaxing stressed and painful muscles.

Banish pain naturally and get your health back in order

The one thing that disrupts any healthy lifestyle more than anything else is pain; especially when it is a regular event. Knowing about these natural pain relief agents as discussed above, can help you to banish any pain in a natural way, without any chemically manufactured drugs, and can help to get your holistic health lifestyle back in order.

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Knowing the Symptoms of Liver Disease Could Save your Life

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Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of liver disease can save your life. As with so many illnesses and diseases, liver disease, if spotted early enough, can be arrested, and cured (providing the causes have been identified and are avoided in future), and your liver can fully recover, growing new healthy tissue to replace any that has been damaged, just as long as the disease has not been allowed to progress too far – hence the importance of knowing what the warning signs to look out for.

An organ and a gland

Your liver is the largest internal organ (and also the largest internal gland) that you have in your body. In a healthy adult, a normal liver will weigh somewhere between 3 to 3.5 pounds and it plays a crucial role in a number of body system functions.

The functions of the liver

The key functions of the liver are to detoxify your blood, and to enhance your digestive system by creating bile, which helps to break down the fats that you consume into small pieces, making them easier for your small intestine to absorb. But that’s not all. Here is a quick summary of what your liver does for you:
  • It detoxes your blood, filtering out any harmful and unwanted substances like drugs and alcohol
  • It produces bile to aid digestion
  • It stores some of your body’s vitamins and iron
  • It stores glucose
  • It converts glucose into sugar that the body can use when the body’s sugar levels become depleted
  • It processes haemoglobin, insulin and a variety of other hormones
  • It converts ammonia into urea; an essential ingredient for healthy metabolism
  • It eliminates old red blood cells, which produces faecal matter which is normally brown in color. This is why when your stools are discolored (i.e. not brown) it can be an indication there is something wrong with your liver function.
Without a healthy liver, any holistic health lifestyle will become severely compromised, and depending on the nature and severity of disease, could prove fatal; which is why it’s so important to be able to detect and interpret the early symptoms of liver disease.


 Knowing the Symptoms of Liver Disease Could Save your Life

Hepatic disease

Liver disease is also sometimes referred to as hepatic disease. When any type of hepatic disease affects up to three quarters of your liver tissue, that’s when a significantly increase in liver function can be detected.

The causes of liver disease

Liver disease can be brought about in a number of different ways.
  • Its cells may be inflamed, as with hepatitis
  • The passage of bile may become obstructed, as in cholestasis
  • A build-up of cholesterol may occur
  • The flow of blood to the liver can be damaged
  • The tissue of the liver may be attacked and damaged by toxins
Alcohol abuse and cirrhosis of the liver

The most common cause of liver disease in North America is alcohol abuse. The final stage of liver disease (when the liver sustains severe scarring and cannot regenerate replacement tissue), is known as cirrhosis of the liver, and this is responsible for approximately 25,000 deaths per annum here in North America.

The classic symptoms of liver disease

The most frequent and common symptoms of liver disease include:
  • Bad breath
  • Black circles beneath the eyes
  • Bad body odor
  • Brown blemishes on the skin
  • Coated tongue
  • Discolored stools
  • Flushed facial appearance
  • Inflamed palms and soles of feet
  • Swollen eyeballs
  • Jaundice-the yellowing of the skin which can often also be evidenced in the whites of the eyes
  • Nausea
  • Pain – which is felt in the uppermost right hand quadrant of the abdomen
  • Increased tendency to perspire excessively
Some people also suffer from fatigue and weight loss.

These symptoms of liver disease relate to hepatic disease in general. But there are also many different, specific, illnesses or diseases that affect the liver, and each of these has its own specific symptoms.

 Knowing the Symptoms of Liver Disease Could Save your Life

Gallstones

The symptoms of liver disease that are associated with gallstones, include pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen; vomiting, (having eaten a fatty or greasy meal); and if the gallbladder itself becomes infected, this may also bring about a fever.

 Knowing the Symptoms of Liver Disease Could Save your Life


Cirrhosis of the liver

As hepatic disease progresses and reaches the stage of cirrhosis, the following symptoms of liver disease may often appear.
  • A tendency to bruise more easily. This is because the liver is no longer able to efficiently clot the blood
  • Itchiness. The result of bile salts being deposited in the skin can cause itching
  • Enlarged male breasts. This is a condition known as gynecomatia and can be brought about by upsetting the balance of sex hormones, and an increase in the hormone estradiol in particular.
  • Erectile dysfunction. The upsetting of the balance of sex hormones can also bring about a reduction in sex drive and cause the testicles to shrink.
  • Feeling confused. Feelings of confusion can arise when the levels of ammonia in the bloodstream become too high. This ammonia is normally removed from the bloodstream by a healthy liver, but when liver health is compromised, the sufferer may experience feelings of confusion.
  • Feelings of lethargy. This is also potentially brought about by the increase in blood ammonia.
  • Decrease in muscle tissue. A compromised liver will also reduce its production of proteins, and this can lead to the wasting of muscle.
  • Swollen stomach veins.  Because blood pressure becomes increased with a cirrhotic liver, the blood flow to that liver receives can become compromised. This may result in a swelling to the veins around the stomach area.

  Knowing the Symptoms of Liver Disease Could Save your Life

The unusual metabolism of fats

Another of the prime symptoms of liver disease is the abnormal metabolism of fats, which can manifest itself in the following ways:
  • Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, at the same time as decreased levels of HDL cholesterol.
  • Hypertension or blood pressure caused by your blood vessels becoming blocked by fatty deposits. This can also potentially lead to stroke and heart attack.
  • Fatty tumors and lymphomas developing in the skin
  • Significant weight gain that could lead to obesity
  • Difficulty in losing weight, even though you may be dieting
  • A sluggishly slow metabolism
  • Bloated stomach
  • The appearance of cellulite
  • Developing a roll of fat around the upper abdomen your own armchair.
Symptoms to look for with your digestive system

The symptoms of liver disease can also be seen in relation to the digestive system and can include things like:
  • Constipation
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Indigestion and/or reflux
  • The inability to tolerate alcohol
  • The inability to tolerate fatty food
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
Symptoms relating to blood sugar levels

The symptoms of liver damage that relate to blood sugar include things like:
  • Developing a craving for sweets things
  • Unstable levels of sugar in the blood, also known as hypoglycaemia
  • The onset, in later life, of type II diabetes
Symptoms relating to your immune system

Poor liver health can also affect your immune system in which case the symptoms of liver disease to watch out for include:
  • Developing new, allergies such as asthma, hay fever, and hives
  • excessive itching
  • Developing skin rashes
  • An increased incidence of autoimmune disease
  • Developing fibromyalgia
  • An increase in the incidence of viral and bacterial infections
Spot the symptoms of liver damage and give your liver the chance to recover

The health of your liver, is not only crucial for a continued holistic health lifestyle, but is essential for any type of healthy lifestyle. The power of the liver to heal itself from many diseases brought about by alcoholic or non-alcoholic fatty liver is quite amazing; provided that the disease is spotted early; so knowing what the potential symptoms of liver disease are, as discussed above, and keeping a watchful eye out for them is absolutely crucial.

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This Is Why You Are Fat – 5 Reasons Why You’re Piling On The Pounds

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | comments

Have you ever caught yourself with a handful of cookies while thinking about your relationship? Or maybe you prefer eating a big sandwich in front of the computer while you are trying to solve some financial problems?

Maybe you have small children and a bunch of things to be done, and you often eat the leftovers your kids left on the back seat?

If you recognize yourself in any of these roles, then you have probably noticed that your waist size has increased in the meantime. The stress you have been living with lately is the main reason for the weight gain.

The latest studies have discovered five major reasons for this condition, and a few tips on how to strike back.

This Is Why You Are Fat – 5 Reasons Why You’re Piling On The Pounds

Belly Fat

In the days when our ancestors fought with tigers and often felt hungry, their bodies were adapted so they can store fat for the long hauls they were used to. The area around the stomach is the perfect place for fatty deposits.

Hence, you are apt to receive and store excess fat deep in your bellies. Your stomach supplies the blood vessels and cortisol receptors with energy, and this process can run smoothly. But today, this “cushion” around the abdomen is a serious threat to your health, and it is quite difficult to get rid of it.

You enter the magical circle at the very moment when you try to fit in your new skinny jeans. The stress you experience at that moment slows down your metabolism and you start gaining weight.

This Is Why You Are Fat – 5 Reasons Why You’re Piling On The Pounds

Craving For (Fast) Food

Chronic stress makes you crave for some comfort food, and usually that is a large bag of chips or some ice cream.

You can eat any of these foods in a minute, and they are full of salt, sugar and fat. Stress can affect your brain, and cortisol makes you crave for sugar and fat. Stress can also bring back some childhood memories, for example the smell of your favorite cookies and these memories remind you of a warm and comfortable home.

So, when you are under stress, you usually sit in your car and go to the nearest fast food restaurant, rather than stop for a second and prepare your own meals.


You Sleep Less

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking about your job or your latest phone bill? More than 40% of people do this at night, which confirms that they are exposed to stress.

That’s the main reason for insomnia. In these moments your mind is overactive and disabled to shut down. Stress reduces the blood sugar levels, which leads to fatigue. Drinking coffee to stay awake or alcohol to relax before going to bed additionally disrupts your sleeping cycle.

Sleeping is also a powerful factor that affects the weight gain. Whenever you lack sleep, your body requires more sugar. Experts conducted a study which involved people who were trying to lose some weight, and they found that people who sleep enough get the desired results more easily than those who struggle with insomnia.

This Is Why You Are Fat – 5 Reasons Why You’re Piling On The Pounds

Anxiety

Adrenaline rush is a sign that your body is activated. Although the adrenaline can help you burn some calories, anxiety often causes emotional eating. Overeating or eating unhealthy foods come as a response to stress.

According to the latest research of the American Psychological Association, 40% of respondents said that food helps them deal with anxiety, and 42% sit for at least 2 hours in front of the TV for the same reason.

This means that anxiety disables you to burn those extra calories, and while you eat you can not focus on the taste of the food, nor control the feeling of satiety. In that situation, you may eat as much as you can, but you will never feel full.

How to relieve stress


Exercise

Aerobic exercises will help you knock stress out. Exercising reduces the level of cortisol and triggers the body to release chemicals that relieve pain and improve your mood. Exercising also boosts your metabolism, and you can reduce the fatty deposits easily.

Learn how to eat smart

This mental program will teach you how to cope with stress and change your attitude towards food. You will learn how to take things slowly and thereby turn your food sensors on, and they will tell you how the food looks or smells like and also what is its texture like.

You will learn how to listen to your body and understand its signals about hunger and satiety, and you will eat only when you are hungry, not whenever the table is set or when it is lunch time. This will relieve the stress and depression.

Find activities to overcome stress


Reading a book, doing yoga, massage, walking your dog, spending some quality time with your friends or family could help you relieve stress and avoid gaining weight. You may think that you do not have time for these activities, but this is a great way to relieve stress and feel fresh. These activities will help you think more clearly and thus avoid frequent overeating.

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Health Benefits of Eating Oysters

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | comments

Health Benefits of Eating Oysters

I love oysters.

I love them raw on the half shell.

Unfortunately, here in west Texas, they are not readily available. But, when we lived near Mobile, Alabama they were in abundant supply!

Whether you like them raw, baked, boiled, grilled or fried, oysters are a nutritional powerhouse! I posted my recipe for oyster stew last week which will definitely become part of my menu planning. But, as I thought about the expense of oysters, I decided to do some research and find out exactly how good oysters are for you.

1. Oysters taste better in cooler weather


Spawning, which occurs in the warmer months of May, June, July and August, affects the taste. They are not bad, just not as tasty as in the cooler months.

2. Oysters are considered to be an aphrodisiac


American and Italian researchers found that they were rich in amino acids which trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Their high zinc content aids the production of testosterone.

3. Oysters can be safely eaten in non “R” months

The rule of thumb before refrigeration was not to eat oysters in months whose names have no “R”. This would be May through August when the hot weather would not allow for safe storage of the oysters. Thankfully, for all us oyster lovers, refrigeration makes it possible to eat them all year round!

Health Benefits of Eating Oysters

4. Oysters are good for your garden

 

Oyster shells are high in calcium which helps balance your soil’s pH. Calcium also helps build strong cell walls which leads to healthier plants. BUT – don’t just throw your oyster shells in the garden though, they should be ground – or you could just purchase the ground oyster shell lime at the local garden center.

5. Oysters can contain harmful bacteria

Be sure of your source! Oysters are filter feeders meaning that they concentrate anything present in the surrounding water. In the gulf coast area, there would occasionally be warnings (after heavy rains causing the potential for water contamination), not to eat the bay seafood.

6. Shucking (opening) oysters is a competitive sport.

Shucking oyster competitions are held worldwide. There is even a Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship in Galway, Ireland.

7. Eating oysters is environmentally friendly.


They are on the Seafood Watch list as a “best choice”. This means that seafood in this category is abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.

I knew I liked oysters – now I have other reasons besides just the taste!

How about you – are you an oyster lover?

Health Benefits of Eating Oysters

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An Egg Yolk a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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An Egg Yolk a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Now that you know that cholesterol in food (dietary cholesterol) is not a bad thing, you might be interested to learn about the benefits of eating egg yolks versus egg whites. In fact, other than for some extra proteins, egg whites are pretty much useless and can even cause problems for some people with digestive conditions or autoimmune diseases and you’ll see why later.

Our society’s bias against saturated fat and cholesterol has become so strong that we often forget that in nature those are the exact foods where the most nutrients are found. Egg yolks are no different. They contain 100% of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin found in the egg.

They also contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Compared to the yolk, the white doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of nutrients. The gg white contains more protein than the yolk, but it’s only because the yolk is smaller. Furthermore, we know that protein really should only consist of about 15 to 30% of our caloric intake, with the bulk of the rest coming from healthy animal fats. It doesn’t make much sense to seek out sources of proteins without fat and protein alone depletes stores of vitamin A. Mother nature is wise though and put fat around most sources of animal protein in nature.

An Egg Yolk a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The reason why we find a high amount of cholesterol in the egg yolk is not an evil trick played by mother nature to damage our health with the exact foods that are full of nutrients, but because cholesterol is an extremely important nutrient that is much needed by the future animal that should come out of the egg if no one interferes. Cholesterol is not only important for the future bird or reptile, but for us too. It’s the precursor to all sex hormones and is used by every cell of the body. It has also been shown countless times that dietary cholesterol raises the “good” HDL while it’s the sugar, especially fructose, grains and omega-3/omega-6 imbalances that raises the “bad” LDL and the triglycerides in the blood.


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Arachidonic acid (AA)


DHA is the usable form of omega-3 by the body and arachidonic acid is the usable form of omega-6. Compared to those, omega-3s from ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and the omega-6 LA (linoleic acid) need to be elongated before being used by the body. Egg yolks bring both DHA and AA, the two truly essential fatty acids. Consuming omega-3 rich eggs is also a good idea to keep the n-3/n-6 in a good ratio in your diet.

An Egg Yolk a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The case against egg whites

It’s a sad thing that the medical establishment has got the facts all wrong about things like eggs and butter and that consuming only the white is what’s recommended by most nutritionists. It’s no wonder kids today have ADD and development problems with the egg white omelets, low fat milk and cereals that feed them in the morning. They have a nutrient, cholesterol and saturated fat deficiency. Don’t forget that most vitamins require dietary fat to be properly absorbed and metabolized.

In fact, a case can be made against the egg whites and it’s the white that we should worry about. Most living organisms on the planet develop defense mechanisms to protect themselves against predators and invaders. It’s the survival of the fittest after all. Animals have teeth and legs to bite and run, plants develop toxins and anti-nutrients to deter any single animal from eating too much of it. Grains and legumes are often much worse in the toxin and anti-nutrient department than most plants because they are in their most vulnerable state and are the baby of the future plant so all hopes are on them for the survival of the species. This is why grains and legumes cause multiple health problems are are advised against on a Paleo diet.

Unlike most animals, eggs can’t defend themselves by bitting or escaping and have to rely on some of the same mechanisms that plants, grains and seeds use to survive. The white is solely responsible for this part while the yolk is busy becoming a full-fledged animal. 13 of the 14 proteins found in the white have anti-microbial properties. This usually deters microbes and viruses, but can also affect us, especially when consumed in high quantity or when our gut health is already compromised.

An Egg Yolk a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The protein lysozyme, which is usually harmless, can bind with proteins like ovomucoid or ovoinhibitor and inhibit trypsin, a protease enzyme, from doing its job of digesting proteins. Even more insidious, some of the compounds can pass through the intestinal wall and can agravate autoimmune problems or damaged guts. This is why egg whites are best avoided when dealing with autoimmune problems.

Avidin, another anti-nutrient found in the egg white, binds to biotin, a B vitamin responsible for things such as fatty acid synthesis and blood sugar regulation, and inhibits it’s absorption. Biotin is normally produced by a healthy gut flora so those suffering from digestive issues are even more at risk of biotin deficiency.
Up to 3% of the population is allergic to egg whites while most of them would do just fine on the yolk alone.

Some argue that by cooking the white thoroughly we deactivate most of the protease inhibitors and anti-nutrients, but most people, including myself, experienced otherwise. Avidin as been shown to retain about 30% of its activity, even when the white is well cooked. Cooking the white improves the situation, but doesn’t eliminate the problem entirely. For their part, egg yolks can safely be eaten raw and they are delicious that way.

Conclusion


Most people today are very deficient in most of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K2) and would benefit greatly from the healthy dose that a couple of egg yolks a day can bring. In fact, egg yolks will keep the doctor away much more than the fructose-rich apples will. The cholesterol in them is also much needed, especially for children, menopausal women, elders or anybody with adrenal problems. On their parts, egg whites are not such a big deal and can even cause problems for some people. Appreciate that tasty super-food without guilt and discard the white without loosing anything meaningful if you suspect that that make you feel bad. All hail to the egg yolk omelet!

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