Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Norwegian study decries effects of sugar on teenagers; US study says multivitamins help.

Norwegian study decries effects of sugar on teenagers; US study says multivitamins help.

(December 31, 2008, Canton, GA). The opening line of a McGuire Sisters’ pop hit of the 1950’s went like this: “Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime… ” According to researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway, far too many teenagers today are taking that advice literally, and the long-term effects on their physical and mental health are just beginning to be uncovered.

The Norwegian researchers examined the eating habits –including intake of soft drinks with sugar – of 5,000 teenagers. The participants in the study – all ages 15 & 16 – were then given a questionnaire designed to gauge their mental well-being. The researchers found a strong correlation between soft drink consumption and mental health problems. This association remained significant after adjustment for social, behavioral, and food-related disorders.

““The study revealed that hyperactivity and distress were more prevalent in teenagers who consumed an inordinate amount of sugar-based drinks – with those who drank four or more soft drinks a day displaying increased symptoms,” said Dr. Mike Headlee, a chiropractor whose family wellness practice is located in Canton.

“These findings emphasize the need for young people to limit their consumption of sugar – especially the sugar-loaded soft drinks that so many teens crave,” added Headlee whose standard course of care includes nutritional planning.

Not all the news is bad for today’s teens.

The University of Minneapolis School of Public Health studied 2,761 high school seniors to explore the correlation between multi-vitamin supplement use and lifestyle decisions. The study – published in the December 2006 edition of The Journal of the American Diabetic Association – established that teenagers who take multi-vitamin supplements are more likely to exhibit a healthier attitude toward life including a greater willingness to exercise and eat more nutritious foods.

“Vitamins are not magic pills. But, it was clearly evident in the study that vitamin users were more likely to be involved in school and extra-curricular sports, they watched less television per day, and they were less likely to be smokers or to be overweight,” noted Headlee.

“This is not rocket science. If you want to lead a healthier life – both physically and mentally – the equation is simple. Be fit. Eat right. Think well. It’s a credo that applies to people of all ages and walks of life,” concluded Headlee.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are You Living Well With Cancer?

For people dealing with cancer, living well might mean living longer. After asking 3,700 people with late stage cancer to rate their quality of life on a scale of 0 to 10, Mayo Clinic researchers determined that those with as score of 5 or higher lived 7.5 months longer than people with a poor quality of life.

One of the best ways to improve quality of life is through stress reduction. "We don't have an anti stress pill," says Moshe Frenkel, M.D., medical director of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Integrative Medicine Program, "but research shows that mind-body techniques can relieve stress and support the immune system, which is especially helpful for patients with cancer." What's more, many practices can ease cancer-specific problems: Yoga, for instance, may promote sleep, and acupuncture can ease pain and nausea.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Childhood Obesity Can Be Deadly

Harvard study finds that overweight kids risk premature death.

(December 29, 2008, Canton, GA). Overweight children most often become overweight adults. Sure, there are those who seek guidance or find inspiration and commit themselves to a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, those success stories are few and far between. The majority of obese children leave adolescence for an adult life already ripe with health concerns. And, according to a study by Harvard’s School of Public Health, those lives often end prematurely.

The Harvard study – published by the Annals of Internal Medicine – evaluated the health habits and medical records of more than 100,000 women who had provided data through the Nurses’ Health Study (an ongoing federally financed study on women’s health issues) since 1989. Researchers found that those women who were overweight or obese at age 18, had a far greater risk of dying from cancer or heart disease before reaching middle age.

“Today, one-third of U.S. children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight,” said Dr. Mike Headlee when contacted about the study. “And, the Harvard research confirms that childhood obesity is a death sentence, “ added Headlee, whose chiropractic office are located in Canton, GA.

“The physical and emotional strain on an overweight child is compounded by the

type of behavior uncovered in this study. The obese youth were found less likely
to exercise and more likely to have smoked and consumed alcohol. Let me be the master of the obvious, this is a recipe for a shorter life,“ continued Headlee.

While the Harvard study did not establish whether permanent weight loss after age 18 decreases the risk of dying prematurely, Dr. Headlee urged parents and children to address their health regimen.

“Change the way you live, and you can alter the life path you currently travel,” noted Headlee. “I preach to my patients that chiropractic care is part of a maintenance program that includes proper diet, exercise and a healthy mental outlook. There is a reason that clichés become clichés. Treat your body like a temple, and that temple will stand for a long time,” he concluded.

Editor’s Note:
Those seeking additional information regarding this study may contact Dr. Mike Headlee directly at 206 Sawtooth Ct, Canton, GA, 30114, telephone (770) 720-6813.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Can Your iPod Give Relief for High Blood Pressure?

Tuning in to mellow music could bring your blood pressure down, suggests a study from the University of Florence in Italy. For a half hour daily, 28 people on medication for mild hypertension listened to classical, Celtic, or Indian music and performed abdominal breathing exercises. After four weeks, they showed a significant drop in systolic pressure. A control group showed no significant changes.

Doing breathing exercises and listening to mellow music help slow down your sympathetic nervous system, resulting in lower blood pressure, explains Stephen Devries, M.D., preventive cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. If you can't carve out a half hour each day, Devries recommends taking 10 minutes whenever you get the chance. So before bed, on your lunch break, or on the train, he says, "pop in your earbuds, call up a play list of soothing songs, and practice breathing techniques."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Brain Food?

An antioxidant in celery and green peppers might shield against memory loss, a recent University of Illinois study finds. Called luteolin, the compound squelched brain-cell inflammation in areas of the brain involved in memory formation in a series of preliminary tests. Since the study's authors have yet to test the antioxidant's effects on humans, National Institute on Aging neurobiologist Andrew Monjan, Ph.D., says there's no reason to load up on luteolin just yet. For now, Monjan advises enhancing brain health by sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet, linked to reduced Alzheimer's risk in past research.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holy Mackerel!

Research identifies fatty fish oil’s many health benefits.

(December 26, 2008, Canton, GA). It’s no fish story that those who include seafood as a staple in their diet benefit from the ingestion of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids — known to reduce the risks for heart-related diseases, age-related cognitive decline, abnormal brain development and functioning, even obesity and mood disorders. Now, new studies have shown that it is the oil from fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel) that may offer the most health benefits.

During the course of a 10-year study conducted in Sweden, it was established that the consumption of fatty fish oils might inhibit a commonly found receptor for kidney cancers in women, the Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), which triggers more than 80% of kidney cancers. Consistent long-term intake of fatty fish oil reduced the RCC risk by up to 74% in the Swedish women tracked for the report. At the same time, the intake of fatty fish oils triggered an increase in the level of serum vitamin D in these women. Low levels of vitamin D are believed to trigger the development and progression of RCC.

“You might say that fatty fish oil is phat!” said a smiling Dr. Mike Headlee when contacted about the study. “Even lean fish — although to a lesser extent — provide similar health benefits,” the doctor continued. Headlee, whose chiropractic office is located in Canton, GA, follows developments in chiropractic science closely.

“Consuming fish oil or eating raw, baked or broiled fish — not fried — can also
protect your heart’s electrical system by decreasing the risk of fatal heart-rhythm disorders,“ noted Headlee. “Omega-3 fats have been found to benefit a healthy heart rhythm,” he added.

In addition, according to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, fish oil consumption by the elderly prevented a decline in heart rate variability that was caused by same-day exposure to indoor airborne pollutants (which can trigger arrhythmia and sudden death.)

This study also found that a diet including fish at least once a week has other significant health benefits for the elderly. These finds included a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as a 10% slower rate of annual age-related cognitive decline (and a 13% slower rate decline when fish was consumed more than once a week). In addition, seafood and by products decreased incidences of strokes because high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA or docosahexaenoic acid) are crucial for normal brain functioning.

There’s even more to this school of thought.

“ Several epidemiological studies find a correlation between omega-3 fatty acids intake and mood disorders like depression — which are affected by an omega-3 fatty acids deficit. In addition, people suffering from coronary artery disease may benefit from omega-3 fatty acids as well since there is an established link between the disease and depression,” stated Headlee.

“An increased omega-3 intake, even through supplementation, may have therapeutic benefits,” he declared.

Fishing for compliments about a reduce waistline?

A study conducted by the University of South Australia noted that daily omega-3 fatty acids intake — when combined with exercise — can aid in weight loss because fatty acids increase blood flow to the muscles during exercise and thereby assist in fat burning.

“The studies are overwhelming. Will people change their dietary habits due to the promise this research shows? It’s certainly food for thought,” concluded Doe.

Editor’s Note:
Those seeking additional information regarding this study may contact Dr. Mike Headlee directly at 206 Sawtooth Ct, Canton, GA, 30114, telephone (770) 720-6813.

Reference Material:
Alicja Wolk, Susanna C. Larsson, Jan-Erik Johansson, and Peter Ekman: Long-term Fatty Fish Consumption and Renal Cell Carcinoma Incidence in Women, JAMA, September 20, 2006, Vol. 296, No. 11

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, July 12, 2006.

Fish Oil Prevents Potentially Deadly Heart Rate Variability, Science Daily, December 2005.

Fish Consumption May Be Linked to Reduced Cognitive Decline, Medscape, Oct. 11, 2005.

Gordon Parker, Neville A. Gibson, Heather Brotchie, Gabriella Heruc, Anne-Marie Rees and Dusan Hadzi-Pavlovic: Omega-3-Fatty Acids and Mood Disorders, The American Journal of Psychiatry, June 2006.

Reuters, Australian Study Finds Fish Oil Helps Weight Loss, July 28, 2006.

(Edited and re-written by Tekla Szymanski)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Get a Dose of D

According to research, most Americans lack sufficient vitamin D, and that's a problem. "Not getting enough D is linked with chronic diseases such as cancer," says Eastwood. The body creates vitamin D from sunlight. But since few of us live near the equator or spend much time in the sun, at least without lots of sunscreen or protective clothing, we don't get enough of this crucial vitamin. Eastwood recommends supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily.

Natural Solutions 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Are You a Little Nutty?

The saying goes "You are what you eat."

It turns out that it might not be an apple a day that keeps the doctor away: A new study in the Journal of Nutrition reports that eating a handful of nuts five or more times a week can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Reach for almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, says Sari Greaves, RD, a nutritionist in Bedminster, NJ. These are packed with monounsaturated fatty acids that raise HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). "Like a broom, these fats help HDL sweep the cholesterol buildup to the liver for excretion," says Greaves. To reap their heart-healthy benefits, snack on these nuts or sprinkle them in salads and stir-fries.

Now Go Nuts.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Reason to Quit the Pill

Listen up, ladies: If you've got a knee injury, using birth-control pills may hinder your healing time. "Women have four to eight times more knee ligament injuries than men, even when playing the same sports," says Ross Hauser, MD, a rehabilitation specialist in Chicago. This is because men's bodies heal more quickly; testosterone encourages the production of tissue-rebuilding collagen. Estrogen, on the other hand, inhibits this process, so the excess estrogen from birth control may slow your body's ability to heal torn ligaments. Hauser's recommendation: Shelve the Pill during your rehab, and use another form of birth control.

Yet another example where better health doesn't result from artificial pills, potions, or lotions.

Nature need no help, just no interference.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Avoid The Bunion

Women have long sacrificed comfort for fashion, so it's no surprise that teetering in 3-inch heels has made women 10 times more likely to have painful bunions than men. Heredity can make you more susceptible, but "any kind of pressure on the side of your foot or on your toes can lead to bunions," says Kathy Thorpe, a Boulder, Colorado, homeopath. This pressure causes inflammation around your big toe joint, which creates a bony bump (or arthritic deposit). Over time this bump pushes your big toe inward, making it crooked. "Most women don't understand that their feet get bigger and wider as they age. It's normal for them to go up one foot size or more," she says. Wearing shoes that are too narrow, short, or high can inflame the joint and eventually lead to bunions. For serious cases, Western doctors recommend an injection of cortisone to ease the pain. Anti-inflammatory analgesics like aspirin or ibuprofen get the call for less painful bunions. But these solutions don't fix the deformity, they merely treat the symptom.

The three vital thing to take care of regarding your health are your spine and nervous system )obviously), your teeth, and your feet. Prevention is the key.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Healthy Feet

Contrary to its name, athlete's foot can infect even a couch potato. This is highly contagious fungus is most commonly contracted after walking barefoot at the gym or pool. All it needs to flourish is a warm, moist environment. The infection usually starts between your toes (the most moisture-prone part of your foot) and spreads into an itchy, burning red rash on the sole of your foot. Serious cases blister, crack, and bleed. Up to 70 percent of Americans get athlete's foot at some point in their lives, and once you get it, you're more prone to repeated infection.

The best way to combat this fungus is to make the infected areas less inhabitable. Dry your feet thoroughly after showering, and if you wear close-toed shoes, replace your synthetic socks, which lock in moisture, with organic cotton ones to better soak up wetness. Also any kind of topical antifungal cream you treat athlete's foot with will be absorbed by your body and into your bloodstream. Frequent use can lead to side effects such as liver damage, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and menstrual and sexual irregularities.

Also, remember to get your spine checked for subluxations, because with subluxations, you get a compromised nervous system and therefore you get a compromised immune system and delayed healing time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Route to Obesity Passes Through Your Tongue

According to neuroscientists, obesity gradually numbs the taste sensation of rats to sweet foods, and drives them to consume larger and sweeter meals. There is apparently a critical link between taste and body weight.
Previous studies have suggested that obese persons are less sensitive to sweet taste, but little is known about the specific differences in sense of taste between obese and lean individuals. Researchers investigated these differences by studying the taste responses of two strains of rats.
Compared to the lean and healthy LETO rats, the taste responses in OLETF rats mirror those in obese humans. These rats tend to chronically overeat due to a missing satiety signal, and they become obese and develop diabetes. The obese rats also show an increased preference for sweet foods.
The researchers implanted electrodes in the rodents' brains to record the firing of nerve cells when the rats' tongues were exposed to various tastes. The OLETF rats had about 50 percent fewer neurons firing when their tongues were exposed to sucrose, suggesting that obese rats are overall less sensitive to sucrose.
Science Daily November 26, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Exercise Can Have a Positive Impact on the Brain

Researchers see benefits beyond traditional thinking

(December 19, 2008, Canton, GA). It has long been accepted wisdom that exercising several times a week has many health benefits – from weight loss to preventing cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign believe you can add better brain function to the list.

After reviewing clinical data from the past 40 years, the researchers established that regular exercise might help brain structure and function in the elderly to the point of delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and reducing mortality. They found that people who exercise several times per week for at least 15 to 30 minutes, may delay the onset of neurological diseases, age-related cognitive decline, brain atrophy, depression and dementia.

“I’m not surprised. Exercise increases neuroprotective molecules in the brain while physical and mental activity sustains the levels of cerebral blood flow,” said Dr. Mike Headlee when contacted about the study. Dr. Headlee, whose chiropractic offices are located in Canton, GA, follows developments in chiropractic science closely.

In addition, the research concluded that the benefits of exercise could last for up to several decades – even for people predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease.

“The findings are encouraging,” added Headlee. “Vanity is not the only reason to lace up your jogging shoes. Documentation regarding the long-term effects of a healthy lifestyle is a step in the right direction in the fight to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps other neurological disorders,” he continued.

For those looking to partake in a wellness regimen, the Illinois-based researchers believe that aerobic exercise seems to have the most health benefits because it strengthens brain plasticity as well.

“There’s validity in comparisons of the human body and a fine automobile. The care and maintenance you provide often make the ride longer and more enjoyable,” concluded a smiling Headlee.

Editor’s Note:
Those seeking additional information regarding this study may contact Dr. Mike Headlee directly at 206 Sawtooth Ct, Canton, GA, 30114, telephone (770) 720-6813.

Reference Material:
Laurie Barclay, “Exercise May Have Neuroprotective Effect,” Medscape, August 11, 2006 (Edited and re-written by Tekla Szymanski)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not So Late-Breaking News?

It's taken far too long, but the FDA has finally decided that amalgam fillings may be dangerous to our health, something that an increasing number of dentists have long suspected. In June the FDA cautioned that these fillings may pose a risk for young children, developing fetuses, pregnant women, and people particularly sensitive to mercury. (WHO ISN'T) "When you chew on food, drink hot beverages, and brush your teeth, mercury vapor escapes from the filling and you inhale and swallow it," says John Neustadt, ND, director of Montana Integrative Health.

Luckily, safe and equally effective alternatives to amalgam already exists, says Todd Kinney, DDS, an integrative dentist in Bozeman, Montana. Find a dentist who uses porcelain, gold, and composite resin (ask specifically for BPA-free composite). Since the off-gassing of mercury decreases over time, you may not need to remove fillings more than 10 years old. But if you wish to replace them, "choose a good dentist who uses a dental dam and suction to prevent inhalation of mercury vapor during the replacement." says Neustadt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Food For Life

Try this diet for 60 days and see how good you feel. Food is the fuel for our lives and we are what we eat.

  • Only eat foods that will rot or spoil, but eat them before they do.

Eat these: all vegetables. all fruits

Not these: potato chips, donuts, pastries soda, fast food, processed food

  • Only eat foods that are processed the way they were 100 years ago.

Eat these: nuts, seeds, sprouts, cod liver oil, beans, olive and flax oils

Not these: white bread, hydrogenated oils, instant anything, microwaved foods, canned fruits, lunch meats, MSG, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup

  • Eat lots of color.

Eat these: purple cabbage, tomatoes, green/red peppers, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beets, squash, red grapefruit, organic spices

Not these: White flour, cookies, pastries, most breads, white rice, crackers, white lettuce

Avoid foods that you are allergic or sensitive to, always eat organic food when possible

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Walking Meditation to Ease Stress

Start out by setting aside 10-15 minutes to walk. Leave all things that you don't absolutely need (keys, etc.), at your home or office. Outside, walk slowly, at about a third your normal pace, maintaining silence. Breathe in and out through your nose. Be aware of the breath as it passes in and out of your nostrils. Notice everything that you see, feel, smell, or hear, as well as everything that comes into your mind. As you notice, name the thought, feeling, or sensation to yourself. Breath in right nostril...tickle in left eyebrow...seeing tree bark...air around my face...and gently return to the breath. Just like any new habit, it takes time and patience to get good at this. As you get better, you can melt away emotional stress and re-focus in just a short period of time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why You Should Avoid Frozen Foods

Those who use frozen diet meals sometimes argue that their portion-controlled nature makes them an easy way to get a healthy low-calorie meal. However, they are likely not your best option.

Some such meals have so few calories that they are actually too low for most people, which either encourages unhealthy snacking or, if that does not occur, causes the metabolic rate to slow down, making weight control more difficult.

These low calorie meals also have too small a portion of vegetables, and a high sodium content.

If you do use low calorie frozen meals, it's recommended that you check the label to choose one low in fat, in sodium, add extra vegetables, and don't restrict yourself to them entirely.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Feed Your Flora

Popping probiotics and still having digestive problems? Here's a novel solution: Gobble a handful of almonds. The Institute of Food Research recently reported that almonds act as prebiotics that function as food for probiotics, the good bacteria that restore a healthy balance of gut flora. "This results in better digestion, fewer infections, and less inflammation," says Gary Huffnagle, PHD, author of The Probiotics Revolution (Bantam, 2007) and a professor of internal medicine, microbiology, and immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Almonds are also an excellent source of vitamin E, protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spinal Adjustments May Lower Blood Pressure

Chiropractic journal reports results of new study.

(12-13-08)Canton, GA. According to a recent article in The Journal of Chiropractic Education, a team of New Zealand researchers has found a correlation between chiropractic adjustments of the neck and lower back and reduced blood pressure.

The 63 participants in the case study were divided into two random groups. After subjecting those studied to a short period of relaxation in a sitting position, chiropractors took blood pressure readings from both arms of the subjects. In the experimental group, a spinal adjustment of the cervical (neck), lumbosacral (lower back), and thoracic (chest) area was performed – depending on needs of the individual patients. In the control group, patients received only gentle digital pressure on their spine. The same doctors who recorded the initial blood pressure results (and who performed the adjustments or digital pressure) then took new readings.

The results were surprising. To date, most studies concerning the effects of a chiropractic adjustment on one’s blood pressure have been inconclusive. The New Zealand study, however, showed a direct impact on participants’ blood pressure levels. Those in the experimental group showed “statistically significant changes of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.” Subjects whose cervical (neck) and lumbosacral (lower back) were adjusted showed a decrease in their blood pressure, while subjects whose thoracic (chest) was adjusted showed an increase in blood pressure. In contrast, the control group, which received no adjustments but only gentle digital pressure, showed much less significant changes in blood pressure.

It is too early to assess the clinical aspects of these results,” Dr. Mike Headlee said when contacted about the study. Dr. Headlee, whose chiropractic office is located in Canton, GA, follows developments in chiropractic science closely.

“I am encouraged by these promising results,” Dr. Headlee said. “However, further trials on vertebral subluxation—that is, a mechanical problem in the spine that disrupts proper functioning of the body’s nervous system—and its effects on blood pressure are needed and should include longer term follow-up as well.”

Those seeking additional information regarding this study may contact Dr. Mike Headlee directly at 206 Sawtooth Ct, Canton, GA, 30114, telephone (770) 720-6813.

Kelly Holt, B. Sc. (Chiro), Randy W. Beck, B. Sc., D.C., Ph. D., New Zealand College of Chiropractic, and Stephen G. Sexton, B. App. Sc. (Clin.), B. Chiro. Sci., D.A.C.N.B., Carrick Institute for Graduate Studies. “Reflex Effects of a Spinal Adjustment on Blood Pressure,” The Journal of Chiropractic Education, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2006.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Get More Greens

Red produce like apples and peppers have gotten a lot of buzz lately thanks to their antioxidant-packed nutrition profiles, but that doesn't mean you should give up your green veggies, especially if you worry about memory loss. A new study from the University of Illinois reports that celery and green peppers may prevent Alzheimer's. These greens are packed with a flavonoid called luteolin, which impedes inflammation in the brain. "Alzheimer's begins when a protein in the brain, called CD40, sends out stress signals triggering an inflammatory response that ultimately kills brain cells," says Beth Reardon, RD, an integrative nutritionist at Duke Integrative Medicine. "Luteolin blunts CD40's signals and in turn protects your brain's cells fom inflammation and premature death."

Natural Solutions 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ear Infections May Lead to Weight Gain

It sounds crazy, and eeven a bit cruel, that those ear infections that made you miserable as a kid may have returned to haunt you in the form of fast-food cravings and persistent belly fat. But new research shows that people who suffered moderate to severe middle ear infections when they were young were 62 percent more likely to be obese at the time of the study. Researchers believe the taste-bud damage caused by frequent ear infections leads to a strong preference for sugary and fatty foods later in life--which, in turn, leads to weight gain. Previous studies have made the same connection between childhood tonsilectomies and obesity.

-Natural Solutions 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Harmful Hand Sanitizers

Every purse, diaper bag, and glove compartment in America seems to house an antibacterial hand sanitizer. And while that chemical rub may keep your hands germ free, it is hardly doing your health a favor. A recent study by University of California, Davis, Researchers showed that an antibacterial chemical called triclocarban (TCC), commonly added to sanitizers and soaps, may interfere with the way sex hormones function.

Researchers found that TCC actually increases the effects of testosterone, causing abnormal growth in the prostate gland of male rats. This isn't the first time that research has voiced concerns about this chemical: A 2006 study at the University of Victoria, Sweden, linked a variation of TCC called triclosan to thyroid dysfunction. Clinical studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap at protecting against disease in healthy people, so why even use it?

In instances where dangerous bacteria could be present and hand sanitizing is a must, you can substitute natural alternatives. "Several essential oils have demonstrated significant antibacterial activity in the laboratory," says Andrea Joy Cohen, MD, integrative physician and founder of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Program in Cancer at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. "Tea tree, clove, eucalyptus, manuka, lavender, and orange oils look very promising."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Eat Berries to Beat Cancer

Berries are bursting with compounds that could help thwart cancer at its earliest stages, a recent study from Cancer Research finds. In tests on rats, scientists found that a diet rich in black rasberries restored more than 20 percent of carcinogen-damaged genes to normal activity.

Berries of all types offer antioxidants, minerals, and a unique blend of phytochemicals that seem to boost the production of enzymes that knock out carcinogens, says Karen Collins, R.D., nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Since the frozen and freeze-dried fruit still packs an anticancer punch, Collins suggests choosing them when fresh berries aren't available.

For optimal cancer protection, it's important to broaden your approach beyond berries, adds Collins. "Berries do provide some pieces of the cancer prevention puzzle, but you're going to need other foods that deliver different compounds," she says. Aim for a broad variety of cancer fighting foods every day, including dark-green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, legumes, and whole grains.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trans Fats Linked to Colon Cancer

If saving your heart isn't reason enough to avoid trans fats, how about keeping your colon healthy? New research from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill links high trans-fat intake with increased growth of polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer. Study participants who ate 6.5 grams of trans fats daily were 86 percent more likely to have polyps than those who took in only half that amount. But why put your, ahem, health on the line when experts advise you to eliminate trans fats entirely?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dangers of GM Foods

A long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety confirms genetically modified (GM) corn seriously affects reproductive health in mice. Non-GMO advocates, who have warned about this infertility link along with other health risks, now seek an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world.Feeding mice with genetically modified corn developed by the US-based Monsanto Corporation led to lower fertility and body weight, according to the study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Lead author of the study Professor Zentek said there was a direct link between the decrease in fertility and the GM diet, and that mice fed with non-GE corn reproduced more efficiently.Other studies have also found that offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce.
Institute for Responsible Technology November 13, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

7 Food Preservatives That Are Unsafe

Following is a list of seven food preservatives that have serious safety concerns. Anytime you buy a processed food product, make sure to read the label and make sure it does not contain any of them.
1. Propyl Gallate
This preservative, used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, might cause cancer. It's used in vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum, and is often used with BHA and BHT (see below).
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2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used similarly to propyl gallate -- to keep fats and oils from going rancid. Used commonly in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oil and potato chips (and also in some food packaging to preserve freshness), these additives have been found by some studies to cause cancer in rats. If a brand you commonly buy uses these additives, look for a different variety, as not all manufacturers use these preservatives.
3. Heptyl Paraben
This preservative, found in beer and non-carbonated soft drinks, is relatively uncommon. Although studies suggest it is safe, it has never been tested in the presence of alcohol, so it may pose unknown safety risks.
4. Sodium Nitrite (Sodium Nitrate)
Sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. These additives can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines. Some studies have found a link between consuming cured meats and nitrite and cancer in humans
5. Sodium Benzoate (aka Benzoic Acid)
This preservative is used in fruit juice, carbonated drinks and pickles to help prevent the growth of microorganisms in these acidic foods. Sodium benzoate may cause hives, asthma, or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, and may adversely effect behavior in children, particularly those with ADHD.
Further, when sodium benzoate is used alongside ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in an acidic solution, a reaction occurs that causes the formation of benzene, which causes cancer.
Though generally safe for most people, sulfites used in wine and dried fruits can cause severe allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to it.
U.S. officials and members of the beverage industry have known about this problem for some 15 years, and drink makers were supposed to reformulate their products to prevent the problem over a decade ago.
However, tests have uncovered that some beverages still contain high levels of benzene, particularly when exposed to high heat, raising consumer concerns and prompting the filing of a class-action lawsuit.
6. Sulfites (Sulfur Dioxide, Sodium bisulfite)
This preservative prevents discoloration in dried fruits, wine, processed potatoes, and some fresh shrimp. Sulfiting agents destroy vitamin B-1 and may cause severe allergic reactions, particularly among people with asthma.
7. Ultra Pasteurization
Not technically an additive, ultra-pasteurization refers to a type of high-temperature processing that gives milk and dairy products an extended shelf life of up to 50 days. Also known as "ultra-high temperature" (UHT), this process may damage the fragile components of milk, for instance flattening milk proteins so that enzymes can no longer help break them down.
According to Lee Dexter, microbiologist and owner of White Egret Farm goat dairy in Austin, Texas in a Weston A. Price article, "If such proteins pass into the bloodstream (a frequent occurrence in those suffering from "leaky gut," a condition that can be brought on by drinking processed commercial milk), the body perceives them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response. That means a chronically overstressed immune system and much less energy available for growth and repair."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Healthiest Fruits

01. ApricotsThe Power: Beta-carotene, which helps prevent free-radical damage and protect the eyes. The body also turns beta-carotene into vitamin A, which may help ward off some cancers, especially of the skin. One apricot has 17 calories, 0 fat, 1 gram of fiber. Snacks on them dried, or if you prefer fresh, buy when still firm; once they soften, they lose nutrients.
02. AvocadosThe Power: Oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that helps lower overall cholesterol and raise levels of HDL, plus a good dose of fiber. One slice has 81 calories, 8 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. Try a few slices instead of mayonnaise to dress up your next burger.
03. RaspberriesThe Power: Ellagic acid, which helps stall cancer-cell growth. These berries are also packed with vitamin C and are high in fiber, which helps prevent high cholesterol and heart disease. A cup has only 60 calories, 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber. Top plain low-fat yogurt or oatmeal (another high fiber food) with fresh berries.
05. CantaloupeThe Power: Vitamin C (117mg in half a melon, almost twice the recommended daily dose) and beta-carotene - both powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free-radical damage. Plus, half a melon has 853mg of potassium - almost twice as much as a banana, which helps lower blood pressure. Half a melon has 97 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Cut into cubes and freeze, then blend into an icy smoothie.
06. Cranberry JuiceThe Power: Helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. A cup has 144 calories, 0 grams of fat and 0 fiber. Buy 100 percent juice concentrate and use it to spice up your daily H20 without adding sugar.
07. TomatoThe Power: Lycopene, one of the strongest carotenoids, acts as an antioxidant. Research shows that tomatoes may cut the risk of bladder, stomach and colon cancers in half if eaten daily. A tomato has 26 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Drizzle fresh slices with olive oil, because lycopene is best absorbed when eaten with a little fat.
08. RaisinsThe Power: These little gems are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen and which many women are short on. A half-cup has 218 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Sprinkle raisins on your morning oatmeal or bran cereal - women, consider this especially during your period.
09. FigsThe Power: A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which is responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol and preventing water retention. The Pill depletes B6, so if you use this method of birth control, make sure to get extra B6 in your diet. One fig has 37 to 48 calories, 0 fat and 2 grams of fiber. (Cookie lovers - fig bars have around 56 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber per cookie). Fresh figs are delicious simmered alongside a pork tenderloin and the dried variety make a great portable gym snack.
10. Lemons/LimesThe Power: Limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin C, all of which help prevent cancer. A wedge has 2 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Buy a few of each and squeeze over salads, fish, beans and vegetables for fat free flavor. See also: Beneficial Bytes: Lemons and Limes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tap Vs. Bottled Water?

Tap vs. Bottled-What Should You Drink?
Glug, glug, glug!
Glug, glug, glug-- as we sip bottled water in our cars, at the gym or behind our desks.The sound you DON'T hear is the thwack of 60 million bottles a day being tossed into U.S. landfills, where they can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.If that's not enough to turn your conscience a brighter shade of green, add this: Producing those bottles burns through 1.5 million barrels of crude oil annually--enough fuel to keep 100,000 cars running for a year.Recycling helps but reusing is even better. Invest in a couple of portable, dishwasher safe, stainless steel bottles that won't leach nasty chemicals into your water. (Avoid refilling the water bottle you just emptied; the polyethylene terephthalate it's made of breaks down over time.)3 Reasons to Turn on the Tap1. Tap water is tested dailyUnder the Safe Drinking Water Act, water suppliers are required to provide an annual report on the quality of your local water and to test tap water daily. By comparison, the FDA examines bottled water only weekly, and consumers can't get the agency's results.2. Tap water is a bargainBottled water costs about 500 times more than tap. If you're into really fancy labels, up to 1,000 times more.3. Tap water is often tastySome places (New York City for one) have delicious water, but if you don't love the flavor of yours, the solution is simple: Run your tap water through a Brita or Pur filter to remove most tastes and odors.The average home filter goes for $8.99 and produces the equivalent of 300 large (16.9 ounce) bottles of water. That's about $0.03 cents a bottle, versus the $1.25 or so you'd pay in a market.One last thing: Don't just think about making this switch; actually do it. Today. It does the world and you a lot of good. Plus, allowing nagging, unfinished tasks (known as NUTs) to go undone can make you years older!

Friday, August 8, 2008

What are you drinking?

Soft Drinks--Hazard Warning!!!/////////////////////////////////////////////////Many health conscious people switch to sugar-free products to loose weight. However most sugar substitutes are harmful to our health--an NBC news report said that it can contribute to weight gain. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, 'Splenda' has been linked to a number of toxic side effects including shrunken thymus glands, enlarged liver and kidneys, reduced growth rate, aborted pregnancy and diarrhea.Aspartame (Nutra-sweet) is another popular substitute. It is an artificial sweetener with a bitter after-taste. According to the research of Russell Blaylock, MD and H.J.Roberts, MD some possible side-effects are:- Muscle and headaches- Dizziness and numbness- Depression and hyperactivity- High blood pressure and brain tumorsCaffeine is also added to some soft drinks -- it stimulates the adrenal glands and gives you a "lift". The old saying "what goes up must come down," is true. Caffeine causes over stimulation followed by a slump, which often leads to mood swings, fatigue and nervous exhaustion.The average American spends $500+ a year on soft drinks. If you will just eliminate soft drinks from your lifestyle, your health and finances will improve dramatically.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Is Your House Healthy?

Sealing your home from drafts may lower your heating and cooling costs, but it can also cost you your health. In any structure—but especially those built after 1970—better insulation can make air inside the typical home more than 100 times more toxic than outdoor air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Blame it on the scores of chemical vapors that seep from building materials and household products—from cancer-causing formaldehyde in carpeting, furniture, and wood panels to asthma-inducing chemicals in air fresheners, cleaners, and paints.
To clear out those toxins, open windows and doors for about ten minutes each day in winter and summer, with the heat or air conditioning turned off, advises Alex Wilson, author of Your Green Home (New Society Publishers, 2006). For maximum cross ventilation, it’s best to keep all the windows and doors open at the same time, if possible. In spring and fall, when air doesn’t move as easily from indoors to out, run exhaust fans such as your stove, attic, and bathroom fans. (Springing for quieter fans might make you more likely to use them for this health-preserving purpose, Wilson adds.)
Another way to clear the air: get at least two tropical houseplants per 12-by-12-foot room. Palms, ferns, bamboo, and other tropical plants absorb airborne toxins into their leaves and roots, says Bill Wolverton, Ph.D., an environmental engineer and former NASA research scientist who pioneered the use of these plants as air filters in space stations.
Also, when you buy a television, computer, or piece of particleboard furniture, let it air out in the garage for a few days before setting it up indoors; when new, these items release their highest concentrations of pollutants.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Very Simple Steps to Health

Variety is the spice of life
If we all looked exactly the same life would be boring. Get into the uniqueness of you.

Appreciate your body
Reestablish a positive relationship with your body. Your body is the most valuable asset you will ever own. All of Bill Gates money could not recreate you. Begin viewing your body as an instrument and not an ornament. Learn to appreciate your body for what it can do, not for what it looks like. Make a list of those things you like about your body.

Pamper your body
Take a long hot bath and sooth yourself. Spoil yourself by getting a massage.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Are Carbs healthy?

(CBS) The "What America Eats" survey, published in this Sunday's Parade Magazine, revealed that most Americans are not as concerned about eating carbohydrates as one would think - especially considering the low-carb diet craze. According to Parade Magazine, over half of survey participants (56 percent) say they "don't think about carbohydrates when buying/eating foods". In fact, 38 percent consider low-carb diets unhealthy. However, more than a third - 38 percent - describe "reducing carbs" as a permanent change in their eating habits. American Dietetic Association spokesperson Elisa Zied says she is a little bit surprised because of the recent focus on high-protein diets and eating less carbohydrates. She says a lot of health professionals have always talked about the importance of carbohydrates in a healthy diet. Carbs are key for fuel. They are the foundation of a healthy diet - providing glucose, which fuel the brain and entire central nervous system. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals, as well, and are generally low in fat and calories (especially veggies and fruit). Many carbohydrate foods provide fiber to keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy. They play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer. Most people are not getting enough fiber. Eating carbs means everything else in balance - so you are not getting too much of the other food groups like, fat and protein. Carbs should make up half your calories each day. There are two types of carbs: simple and complex. The complex carbohydrates are the veggies, whole grains like whole wheat pasta, rice, and oatmeal. This group also includes sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Typically, they are high in fiber and take longer to digest. The simple carbohydrates can be good if they are orange juice and fruit. This category also includes candy, cookies, sugar, honey, syrup. Typically, they break down quicker. Sugar only provides calories and carbs. It is not as nutritious. The simple carbohydrates are the things we usually eat too much of. On average, people should have 250 grams of carbs per day, assuming they are on a 2000 calorie diet. That is the suggested caloric intake for most kids. Woman may consume a little less than that; and men may consume a little more than that. But generally most people need about 2000 calories per day. This is what 250 grams of carbohydrates over a day could look like. Breakfast 1/2 cup orange juice (15 grams) 1/4 cup low fat granola (15 grams) 8 ounces plain vanilla yogurt (12 grams) 1 cup (8 oz) low fat milk (12 grams) 17 green grapes (15 grams) Lunch 2 slices whole wheat bread at lunch (30 grams carbs) Turkey breast or fresh turkey for lunch (3 slices) - with tomato slice and mustard 1 cup shredded carrots (5 grams) 1 cup raw spinach leaves (5 grams) 1 cup romaine lettuce (5 grams) 1 cup cucumber slices (5 grams) Salad dressing (2 tbsp) (oil and vinegar) Snack 1/3 cup hummus (15 grams) 5 whole wheat/whole grain crackers (15 grams) 1 medium red apple (15 grams) Dinner 1 cups of whole wheat pasta, cooked (30 grams carbs) 1/2 cup tomato sauce (not marinara, though they look the same) (15 grams carbs) 1 cup broccoli (5 grams) 1 piece of grilled chicken (3-4 ounces or 1/2 breast) 1/8 of an 8-inch pumpkin pie (30 grams) In general, people over eat carbs. Many have given up eating things like pasta but when they do eat it they eat more than one cup of carbs. And most people are not eating enough of the right carbs. If you are changing from a low-carb or no-carb diet, do it slowly to prevent gastrointestinal upset, make most choices from veggies, fruit and whole grains, and limit sugar and refined carbs, and make sure to drink plenty of water as you add fiber to diet. The water helps the fiber past through the body. You may gain a little weight at first. But don't be alarmed. If your caloric intake has not increased - the pounds are probably water weight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

What is the Healthiest Fruit Juice?

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have ranked 10 beverages according to their antioxidant levels.Currently, claims of superior antioxidant activity on beverages can be misleading, as the testing is usually based on a limited spectrum of antioxidant activities.To get to the bottom of which beverages are best, they used four tests of antioxidant potency, a test of antioxidant functionality, and an evaluation of the total polyphenol content of polyphenol-rich beverages in the marketplace. Here is how the rankings turned out:
1. Pomegranate juice2. Red wine3. Concord grape juice4. Blueberry juice5. Black cherry juice6. Açaí juice7. Cranberry juice8. Orange juice9. Tea10. Apple juice

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How to Stay Healthy at Work

If you regularly load up on oatmeal for breakfast, eat salmon for dinner and jog using a heart rate monitor on the weekends, you probably think you're pretty heart smart.
But if during the work week you're stressed out, constantly hunched over your computer and eating erratically, experts say, you're not doing enough.
It's estimated that one in three American adults has one or more types of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association's 2008 statistics. If you want to avoid becoming one of them or, worse, one of the nearly 2,400 Americans who die each day from cardiovascular disease, you've got to find ways to make your work life heart healthy, too.

Top Tips Even if they work desk jobs, you can still accumulate 20 to 30 minutes of activity during the day--without changing into gym clothes.
The work day is full of opportunities for short bursts of exercise. That could mean walking briskly between your car or the train and your office, or taking the stairs, instead of the elevator. Bring sneakers and take a 15-minute walk at lunch, or use resistance bands while you're on a long phone call. Anything you can do to get yourself moving will have an impact on your heart.
The same is true of stretching, says Stefan Aschan, owner and founder of Strength123, which provides nutrition and fitness programs both online and in New York City. By targeting the muscle groups, such as the hip flexors, chest and abdomen, that are shortened by sitting for long periods of time, you'll help prevent aches and pains. Some research also suggests you'll increase blood flow, which may help expand your arteries and keep them pliable.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Is MSG Safe?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that is "generally recognized as safe," the use of MSG remains controversial.
MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. But subsequent research found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and the symptoms that some people described after eating food containing MSG. As a result, MSG is still added to some foods.
A comprehensive review of all available scientific data on glutamate safety sponsored by the FDA in 1995 reaffirmed the safety of MSG when consumed at levels typically used in cooking and food manufacturing. The report found no evidence to suggest that MSG contributes to any long-term health problems, such as Alzheimer's disease. But it did acknowledge that some people may have short-term reactions to MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex — may include:
Headache, sometimes called MSG headache
Sense of facial pressure or tightness
Numbness, tingling or burning in or around the mouth
Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Symptoms are usually mild and don't require treatment. However, some people report more severe reactions. The only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid foods containing MSG. When MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that "monosodium glutamate" be listed on the label — or on the menu, in restaurants.

Friday, August 1, 2008

How Toxic Are You?

Environmental control. There are many health threats in our environment - toxins in our food, air, water, homes and workplace. More critically, these toxins accumulate in our bodies. It is vital that we take steps to avoid toxins in our environment and food. Additionally, include nutrients in our diet which help our bodies get rid of accumlated toxins. Start with drinking lots of water, the easiest way to rid your body of toxins.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are Your Clothes Clean?

Wash up on washday
Just how clean are your just-laundered clothes? If you’re like most Americans, not very. Only 5 percent of Americans now regularly wash their underwear and towels in water that’s hot enough—at least 160° F—to kill bacteria, according to University of Arizona environmental microbiologist Charles Gerba, Ph.D. That means live bacteria can spread from one garment to another; when when you remove your wet laundry, those live germs can get on your hands. Touch your mouth or rub your eyes and you might get a cold, an infection, or even E. coli.
Your defense: unless you use bleach or your wash water is 160° F or hotter, head to the sink for a soapy hand wash immediately after putting laundry into the dryer (which is hot enough to kill bacteria). “In order to kill germs, you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and use plenty of soap and hot water,” says Gerba. It’s also wise to regularly use a commercial sanitizer to wipe the bottoms of handbags, which collect dangerous germs when placed on tabletops and public-restroom floors.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kids Need Our Help With Health

Top 10 Ways to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits
Be a positive role model. If you’re practicing healthy habits, it’s a lot easier to convince children to do the same.
Get the whole family active. Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
Limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Encourage physical activities that children really enjoy. Every child is unique. Let children experiment with different activities until each finds something that he or she really loves doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it.
Be supportive. Focus on the positive instead of the negative. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.
Set specific goals and limits, such as one hour of physical activity a day or two desserts per week other than fruit. When goals are too abstract or limits too restrictive, the chance for success decreases.
Don’t reward children with food. Candy and snacks as a reward encourage bad habits. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.
Make dinnertime a family time. When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Get the kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime.
Stay involved. Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of the heart. Make your voice heard.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are You Fishy?

Add Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet.
Fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon, are rich in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Foods such as tofu, soybeans, canola, walnuts, flaxseed, and their oils contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which convert to omega-3 in the body. Even though the benefits of ALA are controversial, the AHA still recommends foods containing it as part of a healthy diet.
In addition to their heart-health benefits, there is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may also soothe an overactive immune system, says Johnson. Even though this benefit is still being studied, she says there appears to be a link between getting more omega-3s in your diet and reducing allergies, asthma, eczema, and autoimmune disorders.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Food Additives and Childhood Hyperactivity

According to research recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2008; 336: 1144), eliminating food additives should be part of a standard treatment program. "Despite the lack of agreement on the effect of dietary modifications on hyperactivity in children, increasing evidence suggests that eliminating food preservatives and artificial colorings from a child's diet may help."

Another study published in the Lancet last year (2007:370:1560-67) found that artificial colors and/or sodium benzoate preservative in the diet led to increased hyperactivity in 3,8, and 9 year-old children who did not have ADHD - attention defecit hyperactivity disorder.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Are You Flexible?

Do you feel any pain in your lower back or legs when bending over to retrieve an object off the floor? If so, your low back and hips may be tight and lack flexibility. Back pain may soon be a problem. It's very important to have good flexibility in the spine, because excessive tightness in the spine can impede normal movement. Muscles weaken when movement is limited.
Flexibility allows muscles and joints to move through their full range of motion. It is joint specific. This means that a person may have excellent range of motion in one joint and be limited in another. Poor flexibility of the back and hips may lead to stiffness, poor posture, back problems, movement limitations, and a higher risk for injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
With ageing and inactivity comes less range of motion. What is unclear is how much of this reduction in joint flexibility is caused by ageing or by the reduced physical activity related to ageing. Anyone, regardless of age, can improve flexibility. Stretching is the best way to maintain good flexibility. It offers relief from muscle tension and stiffness. It allows us to move normally and without effort.
Stretch all the major joints at least 3 times a week for the best results. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort then ease off and hold for 30 seconds. It should not be painful. Do not pull hard or bounce, which may tear muscles or tendons. Bouncing while stretching may also cause hyperextension of a joint. This extends the joint beyond its normal limit. Serious injury to the soft tissues can occur as a result.
Many stretching exercises exist. A fitness instructor can show you safe exercises that will best suit your specific needs. A regular habit of stretching will enhance your mobility throughout life.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Healthy Sugar Substitutes

I use organic applesauce, apple butter, plum butter, mashed bananas and stevia powder for sweetening.The sweeter spices (vanilla, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, cloves). Orange squash and sweet baby carrots sometimes.I use almond flour instead of wheat for most baking. Dried currants pack a lot of flavor and their acidity makes apples taste sweeter without sugar. Stevia doesn't work with everything - sweetens acidic fruits, goes well with pumpkin (Thanksgiving pies, yum) but doesn't seem to help egg-heavy or chocolate things.I tried making a cheesecake with it once, bad idea, but it makes the most amazing lemonade you ever tasted. Try lemon-merengue pie sweetened with stevia, with a ground nut crust instead of wheat?Vegetable glycerine is supposed to be a low-glycemic sugar substitute, makes baked desserts nice and moist too.Many summer fruits are sweet enough not to need anything added. Slice an assortment with blueberries in a bowl. Cinnamon and a drizzle of unpasteurized honey in one dish, clotted fresh cream in another, a bunch of cocktail forks.. watch them disappear.From a macrobiotic point of view, cooking fruit makes it less yin as water is removed and the flavor is more concentrated. So cooked fruit tastes sweeter without adding sugar.Brown rice, pinch of salt, spices and stevia make a nice pudding.Barley and rice syrups tend to have mold toxins unfortunately so they are not a good choice

Friday, July 25, 2008

Prescription for Happiness

While laughter may not be a panacea, there's still much to be gained from it. And, truth be told, there's room for plenty of additional chortles in our lives: Fry found that by the time the average kid reaches kindergarten, he or she is laughing some 300 times each day. Compare that to the typical adult, whom Martin recently found laughs a paltry 17 times a day. (Men and women laugh equally often, Martin adds, but at different things.)
Fortunately, if you're attracted by the idea of using laughter to improve your spirit and health, chances are you've already got a good sense of humor. Meaning, of course, that you're just the type of person who might benefit from what Fry calls "prophylactic humor"—laughter as preventive medicine.
For people who want to inoculate themselves with laughter, Fry recommends this two-step process.
First, figure out your humor profile. Listen to yourself for a few days and see what makes you laugh out loud. Be honest with yourself; don't affect a taste for sophisticated French farces if your heartiest guffaws come from watching Moe, Larry, and Curly.
Next, use your comic profile to start building your own humor library: books, magazines, videos, what have you. If possible, set aside a portion of your bedroom or den as a "humor corner" to house your collection. Then, when life gets you down, don't hesitate to visit. Even a few minutes of laughter, says Fry, will provide some value.
"We're teaching people a skill that they can use when, say, deadline pressures are getting close," explains nurse/ clown Patty Wooten, author of Compassionate Laughter (Commune-a-Key) and president of the American Association for Therapeutic Humor.
"The deadline will remain, but by taking time out to laugh, you adjust your mood, your physiology, your immune system. And then you go back to work and face what you have to do."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do You Eat Breakfast?

Breakfast eaters are champions of good health. Research shows people who have a morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol. The result is often a leaner body, lower cholesterol count, and less chance of overeating.
"That one act [of eating breakfast] seems to make a difference in people's overall weight," says Melinda Johnson, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). She says breakfast can hold off hunger pangs until lunchtime and make high-calorie vending machine options less enticing.
Not only that, researchers at the 2003 American Heart Association conference reported that breakfast eaters are significantly less likely to be obese and get diabetes compared with nonbreakfast eaters.
Another study in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition showed that people who consumed breakfast cereal every day reported feeling better both physically and mentally than those who rarely ate cereal in the morning.
For kids, breakfast appears to enhance alertness, attention, and performance on standardized achievement tests, reports the ADA.
To get the full benefits of breakfast, the Mayo Clinic recommends a meal with carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. They say that because no single food gives you all of the nutrients you need, eating a variety of foods is essential to good health.
Yet, even with so much scientific support that breakfast does the body good; many people still make excuses not to eat in the morning. They include not having enough time and not feeling hungry. For these people, Johnson suggests tailoring breakfast to the day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is Plain Soap Better Than Antibacterial Soaps?

Antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps and, in fact, may render some common antibiotics less effective, says a University of Michigan public health professor.
In the first known comprehensive analysis of whether antibacterial soaps work better than plain soaps, Allison Aiello of the U-M School of Public Health and her team found that washing hands with an antibacterial soap was no more effective in preventing infectious illness than plain soap. Moreover, antibacterial soaps at formulations sold to the public do not remove any more bacteria from the hands during washing than plain soaps. Because of the way the main active ingredient---triclosan---in many antibacterial soaps reacts in the cells, it may cause some bacteria to become resistant to commonly used drugs such as amoxicillin, the researchers say. These changes have not been detected at the population level, but e-coli bacteria bugs adapted in lab experiments showed resistance when exposed to as much as 0.1 percent wt/vol triclosan soap. "What we are saying is that these e-coli could survive in the concentrations that we use in our (consumer formulated) antibacterial soaps," Aiello said. "What it means for consumers is that we need to be aware of what's in the products. The soaps containing triclosan used in the community setting are no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms, as well as reducing bacteria on the hands." The study, "Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky"" appears in the August edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. The team looked at 27 studies conducted between 1980 and 2006, and found that soaps containing triclosan within the range of concentrations commonly used in the community setting (0.1 to 0.45 percent wt/vol) were no more effective than plain soaps. Triclosan is used in higher concentrations in hospitals and other clinical settings, and may be more effective at reducing illness and bacteria.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Are Your Emotions Healthy?

Healthy Emotions: Healthy LivingWhat are healthy emotions? Do you know the difference? Why is it that it seems like we feel more than we think?
Knowing the difference between your thoughts and feelings is very important. We think therefore we feel. The challenge is to learn how to cope with emotions associated with our thinking in a more proactive rather than a reactive way. If we can learn how to first identify our emotions, we can then effectively cope/express or act on in a productive manner and let them go. For every emotion there is a healthy and unhealthy way to express that feeling (healthy sadness vs. unhealthy depression, healthy fear vs. unhealthy fear, healthy anger vs. unhealthy anger, etc.) Below listed are healthy emotions compared to unhealthy emotions.
Healthy Emotions
You are able to feel emotions and identify your feeling (I feel?)
You are able to communicate/express your emotions in a productive manner
Your feelings are appropriate in response to an event or situation
Your negative feelings go away after a short period of time
You are able to identify the thought associated with your feeling (Thinking about living healthy makes me feel happy)
Symptoms of Unhealthy Emotions
You are unable to identify your feelings (I feel fine or I don't know how I feel)
You are unable to communicate/express your emotions effectively
Your feelings are far out of proportion (over-reaction) to situations
Your negative feelings do not seem to go away
You are unable to identify the thoughts associated with your feelings
The above gives you some idea about recognizing if your emotions are healthy or unhealthy. The first step is awareness. Once we become aware of our problem areas, we can than implement change and new skills

Monday, July 21, 2008

Are You Enzyme Deficient?

Enzymes are energized protein molecules essential for the digestion of food, brain stimulation, tissue, cell and organ repairing and generating cellular energy. Even though they are a catalyst for many biochemical reactions they do not change or get consumed in the process.
There are three types: metabolic, digestive and food.
Digestive enzymes are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down the food in the body so that the nutrients can be absorbed. Enzymes are present in the food you eat which is why there is great importance placed upon having plenty of raw foods in the diet. The enzymes in raw food help start the process of digestion which reduces the body's need to secret digestive enzymes.
Food enzymes are destroyed when cooking at moderate or high temperatures. They are "turned off" at a dry-heat temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit and a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your body has to rely too much on its own digestive enzymes the result is more stress is placed on your system and organs leaving less time and energy for other jobs such as rebuilding and replacing damaged cells and tissue and keeping your immune system strong.
A diet that consists mainly of cooked food requires the pancreas to "work overtime" and the extra effort leaves it exhausted. If the pancreas is always having to produce enzymes that could come from food it will eventually cease to function properly. The late Dr. Edward Howell suggested that when a person eats an enzyme-poor diet consisting of lots of cooked food, the result is illness, lowered resistance to stress and a shortened life span.
Eating lots of raw foods and taking a high-quality enzyme supplement can help avoid depletion of the body's own enzymes thereby reducing stress.
In the book, The Healing Power of Enzymes, Dr. DicQie Fuller talks about the importance of enzymes and says:
"Eighty percent of our body’s energy is expended by the digestive process. If you are run down, under stress, living in a very hot or very cold climate, pregnant or a frequent traveler, then enormous quantities of extra enzymes are required by your body. Because our entire system functions through enzymatic action, we must supplement our enzymes. Aging deprives us of our ability to produce necessary enzymes. The medical profession tells us that all disease is due to a lack or imbalance of enzymes. Our very lives are dependent upon them!"
Importance of Digestive Enzymes
There are approximately 45 essential nutrients that the body needs to carry out normal bodily functions. Essential means that the body cannot manufacture them and they must come from outside sources.
There are at least 13 kinds of vitamins and 20 kinds of minerals, in addition to fats, carbohydrates and water that are required for proper metabolic function. When food is consumed it gets broken down for absorption and transported by the blood stream.
Nutrients, including enzymes, work synergistically which means they cooperate with each other acting as catalysts. This promotes absorption and assimilation. The importance of digestive enzymes resides in the fact that the human body cannot absorb nutrients in food unless digestive enzymes break them down.
The body progressively loses its ability to produce enzymes with major drops occurring roughly every ten years of life. At the beginning it may not be that noticeable, however, later on you will discover that you cannot tolerate or enjoy certain foods like you did before. This may also be accompanied by a feeling of reduced stamina. Yes, you're running low of enzymes.
How Do You Know if You Are Lacking Enzymes?
Heartburn, gas, constipation, bloating, allergies, ulcers, lack of energy and reduced functioning of the immune system may occur when there are not enough enzymes.
Digestive Enzymes Benefits
Digestive Enzymes can be beneficial for more things than most people think. They have been shown to benefit people with:
Acne rosacea
Crohn's disease
Food allergies
Low back pain
Rheumatoid arthritis...
among others.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Do You Know How To Reduce Stress?

Progressive Relaxation:
Progressive relaxation of your muscles reduces pulse rate and blood pressure as well as
decreasing perspiration and respiration rates. Deep muscle relaxation can be used as an “antianxiety
pill.” The body responds to anxiety-producing thoughts and events with muscle tension
which in turn increases the anxiety. Muscle relaxation reduces tension and is incompatible with
anxiety. Typically, it involves tensing individual muscle groups for several seconds and releasing
the tension -- allowing the muscles to gradually relax.
Deep Breathing:
Proper breathing is essential for good mental and physical health. The next time you feel a surge
of stress, try a few moments of deep breathing. Sit in a comfortable position and take deep,
measured breaths, e.g., inhaling while counting up from 1 to 4; exhaling while counting down
from 4 to 1. Do this 20-30 times and you=re sure to feel refreshed. Deep breathing assists in
relaxation by increasing the amount of oxygen in the body.
If you think anxious thoughts, you become tense. In order to overcome negative feelings, you
can use the power of your imagination to refocus your mind on positive, healing images. Get into
a comfortable position, close your eyes and visualize a scene or place that you associate with
safety and relaxation. It makes no difference what you visualize, as long as it=s calming to you.
As you relax your mind, your body also relaxes.
Thought Stopping:
Thought stopping helps you overcome excessive worry, repetitive thoughts, and negative
thinking, which may take the form of self-doubt, fear, and avoidance of stressful situations.
Thought stopping involves concentrating on the unwanted thoughts and, after a short time,
suddenly stopping and emptying your mind, by using the mental command “stop” or a loud noise
to interrupt negative thinking. Then, you may use thought substitution to focus on positive
thoughts and outcomes. If the thoughts can be controlled, stress levels can be significantly
Assertive Skills:
Being assertive can reduce stress as you express personal thoughts and feelings. You are
behaving assertively when you stand up for yourself, express your true feelings, and do not let
others take advantage of you. Be specific and clear about what you want, think, and feel; deliver
your message in a clear and non-blaming manner; make personal statements such as, “I want ... ,
I think ... , I feel ...” etc. Ask for feedback and cooperation. Being assertive means being able to
express yourself openly, honestly, and directly, while being considerate of others= feelings.
Being assertive increases self-satisfaction, respect from others, self-esteem and confidence.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How Is Your Breathing?

Oxygen is the most basic requirement for human life. Go without it for five minutes and you'll die. Yet most of us pay little attention to our breathing unless we are having respiratory problems. The fact is, an astonishing number of physical ailments and diseases are rooted in poor breathing and oxygen deficits. And even symptoms that are not caused by incorrect breathing can be eased and improved by conscious breathing practices.
Dr. Otto Warburg received the Nobel Prize, in 1931, for proving that cancer cells are anaerobic, which means they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. Cancer is fast becoming the number one killer in this country. Not surprising. As much as we humans fear death, more than 80% of us are breathing just barely enough to stay alive!
Add to the equation the oxygen-robbing pollutants we all inhale daily, and our modern-day "health crisis" is far less mysterious than the pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe.
"The simplest and most powerful technique for protecting your health is absolutely free - and literally right under your nose," says Harvard Graduate Andrew Weil, MD, author of the NY Times Bestseller, Spontaneous Healing.
Are you ignoring the most powerful muscle in your body - the diaphragm - and therefore getting only 30% of the oxygen your body craves? Are you holding your breath when under stress?

While not widely publicized, perhaps due to low profit potential, clinical studies with thousands of participants, provide strong evidence that the most significant factor in health and longevity is how well you breathe. The famous Framingham Heart Study, for example, focused on the long-term predictive power of vital capacity and forced exhalation volume as the primary markers for life span.
According to researchers Helen Hubert and William B. Kannel of Boston School of Medicine (1981), "This pulmonary function measurement appears to be an indicator of general health and vigor, and literally a measure of living capacity". These researchers could predict how long a person was going to live by measuring how well s/he breathes.
The study concluded that vital capacity declined at the rate of 9% to 27% per decade, depending on age, sex and the time the test was given.

What has been largely overlooked is the fact that vital capacity can be maintained or increased, even in severe cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Any opera (not necessarily voice) teacher will attest to the fact that breathing volume can be increased, as will Dr. Weil and many open-minded and well-informed health professionals.
Yet engaging in activities such as singing and sports does not necessarily lead to optimal breathing. In fact, they can aggravate existing breathing restrictions, (ie., gasping, forcing the exhale, and panting). Conversely, you don't have to be an opera singer to have a huge pair of lungs or to overcome restricted breathing patterns and increase oxygen intake.
Unlike all the other involuntary functions of the body, breathing becomes voluntary as soon as you make a conscious effort to breathe differently. We offer a variety of techniques and exercises that help restore natural, healthy breathing patterns, balance nervous system function and expand vital capacity.

You can get the complete Framingham Heart Study by visiting the National Institute of Health's database online at:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Benefits of Live Foods

I had always preferred the name Live Foods rather than Raw Foods. The name Live Foods is self-explanatory: We are alive, so eat live foods!
Some of the comments I get from people on the Raw/Live Foods diet are: "Boring, unpalatable, bland, unsustainable etc". Personally, I think it is just a question of how to, and whether you want to make an effort towards better health. After you take action to start, its impossible not to carry on because you taste the sweetness & power of superior Health, Energy AND Clarity!
There is an endless list of the benefits of going raw......When we first start on a clean & fresh diet, our magnificent body goes into the healing & re-building mode, where millions of chemical processes are carried out to rid our toxins, nourish our cells & heal the impaired organs for a maximum performing body. Behold the magic of our body!
Just for the fun of it, I always like to notice the positive benefits, list them down, and then think about how much I would love to share that with everybody I know :)
Today, let's just list 10 of them:
1) You literally jump out of bed every morning feeling vibrant, alive & totally awake.
2) You have more energy than you can remember before, AND you are more energetic than most people your age.
3) You have clear sparkling eyes. If you already have large, sparkling eyes, than eating live foods will give you the most beautiful pair of shutters!
4) You drop excess weight naturally, AND you maintain your ideal weight effortlessly. Ladies, imagine that! (Seriously, the benefit of weight loss & maintenance is a "by-product" that is good to have. People who have gone raw before will know exactly what I am talking about!)
5) You have clear, dewy skin that is the envy of all your friends. If your skin is already in good condition before, than eating live foods will give you young, firm skin which is irressistable to touch! Another bonus for the ladies ;)
6) You are already taking a road AWAY from the top killers like diabetes, cancer & heart diseases on a live foods diet, because the diet excludes all the causal factors by default. Goodbye to diseases & Hello to good health!
7) You have better stamina than before, even if you do not exercise that much. The first time i went raw, I could run 10 km all the way breathing through my nose. And if you are a weight-lifting fanatic, this is something you definitely want to try because you will have so much more energy to train and build your dream body!
8) This is my favourite: after about 4 months, my grey hair started turning black! I have personally come across people who was bald before had their hair grow back after 6 months on raw, and some others who reported disappearing of grey hairs after 30 - 60 days.
9) You feel happy, smiley & peaceful. There are countless raw foodies who experiences a natural & lasting "buzz" or "high" all the time!
10) It is fun & you get to eat a large variety of foods. Mother Earth has presented to us such a large array of fuits, vegetables, nuts & seeds that you can create new tasty dishes for every day of your life! Have you ever noticed how good a durian or mango taste the moment you cut it up & devour it? It does not need seasoning, cooking or additional ingredients to make it edible because that is what nature has given us.
Live today!
Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is Mystery, Today is a Present.
Cheers to Your Best Health & the Greatest Laughter Possible