The human brain – even with the tremendous leaps in science and medicine – remains largely a mystery. Neuroscientists barely comprehend which hemispheres of the brain control which functions of the human body and what causes some of the most common disease like Alzheimer’s.
The amount of false information on the brain and how it works could literally reach the moon and back laid-out on stationary paper and stacked. We do know, however, that there are exercises that can sharpen the human mind.
Now, according to new research published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, there could be another way of keeping human brains youthful.
Jeanyung Chey, a researcher at Seoul National University in Korea, decided to investigate the link between subjective and real brain age. She and a team recruited from her University 68 healthy people aged 59 to 84 years and performed MRI brain scans to analyze the amount of grey matter in different areas.
The participants also completed a questionnaire about how old they were and whether they felt older or younger; their cognitive abilities and perceived health was also assessed.
The people who said they felt younger than their age were more likely to get a better score on a memory test. Also, they appeared to consider themselves healthier, and were less likely to be depressed.
It wasn't just down to performance, as those who felt younger also had increased grey matter volume in the inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus – areas associated with language, speech, and sound.
"We found that people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain," Chey said in a statement.
"Importantly, this difference remains robust even when other possible factors, including personality, subjective health, depressive symptoms, or cognitive functions are accounted for."
The researchers don't know for sure whether younger brain characteristics are responsible for someone's subjective age or not, but they think those who feel older may be more aware of the aging process of their brains.
Another possible explanation is people who feel younger engage in more physical and mental activity and lead a generally more stimulating life, which improves their brain health.
Those who feel older may have resigned themselves to their age and stopped being so agile and spritely, which impacts their cognitive abilities. According to Chey…
"If somebody feels older than their age, it could be a sign for them to evaluate their lifestyle, habits, and activities that could contribute to brain aging and take measures to better care for their brain health."
A connection between obesity, anxiety, and depression has long been suspected by physicians and medical researchers, but the exact reason for the connection in human beings has yet to be proven. However, researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center have released a new animal study that is thought to give a better understanding of the connection between diet, gut bacteria, and mental wellness.
The Joslin Diabetes Center study focuses on Microbiome research and the intriguing subset of research into the growing connections that link gut bacteria and the brain. Research in this area focuses on the neurochemical effects stemming from the unique makeup of the gut microbiome and the connection to mental illness caused by everything from PTSD to depression.
The new study results indicated that when mice were fed a high-fat diet, they exhibited substantially greater depressive behaviors until microbiome-altering antibiotics returned their behavior back to normal.
It’s been long established by physicians that sufferers of type 2 diabetes and obesity all too often suffer with depression and anxiety at an exponentially higher rate than the rest of the general population. The direct cause of these debilitating psychological effects, however, has yet to be proven. However, many physicians and medical researchers have opined that it’s connected not only to diabetes, but to diet and excess weight.
There have been a handful of animal studies that have indicated that anxiety and or stress-related behaviors of mice can be reduced by changes in the gut microbiome via different bacteria. The Joslin research study was designed to examine how mice on high-fat diets react to microbiome alterations in hopes of proving that their moods can be altered.
Joslin Diabetes Center has already conducted prior research that proved the onset of disease could be modulated by specific changes in gut bacteria of mice both fed a high-fat diet and bred to develop various metabolic diseases such as diabetes. This new Joslin study was designed to specifically examine the influence of mood affected by high-fat diets and if microbiome alterations could be used to moderate mood.
The Joslin study showed at first, mice on a high-fat diet exhibited more clinical signs of depression and anxiety than control mice fed a normal diet. Then, researches administered antibiotics to those mice on a high-fat diet and saw their behaviors return to normal.
This was tested by giving the mice on high-fat diets two different broad antibiotics: vancomycin, with the goal of destroying gram-positive gut bacteria, and metronidazole, which is known to kill anaerobes. The researchers found that both antibiotics appeared to reverse any dietary-induced negative behavior, which improved insulin-signaling in the brain disrupted by the high-fat diet.
The researchers tested several different microbiomes by transferring gut bacteria from the test mice into mice genetically engineered to have absolutely no natural gut bacteria of their own. Mice that had transplanted gut bacteria exhibited the exact same behavior of the donor mice.
The Joslin study zeroed in on specific brain mechanisms that were affected by these microbiome alterations. The researchers found compelling observational evidence that many brain changes in the mice were clearly brought on by the high-fat diet and were reversed when the antibiotics were administered.
"We demonstrated that, just like other tissues of the body, these areas of the brain become insulin resistant in mice on high-fat diets," says C. Ronald Kahn, senior author on the new Joslin study. He went on to say…
"And this response to the high fat is partly, and in some cases, almost completely reversed by putting the animals [on] antibiotics. Again, the response is transferrable when you transfer the gut microbiome from mice on a high-fat diet to germ-free mice. So, the insulin resistance in the brain is mediated at least in part by factors coming from the microbiome."
The Joslin study did not specifically identify which bacteria triggered neurochemical changes or what physiological mechanism in the test mice may have generated improved mood. Yet, it's an exciting first step and yet another piece of strong observational evidence suggesting the bacteria in our gut could have a more profound effect on human mental well-being than medical science has ever believed.
C. Ronald Kahn, however, opined in this new Joslin study that antibiotics can be used to alter a broad spectrum of gut bacteria, but would never be an end result for human treatments. More research is needed…
"Antibiotics are blunt tools that change many bacteria in very dramatic ways," says Kahn. "Going forward, we want to get a more sophisticated understanding about which bacteria contribute to insulin resistance in the brain and in other tissues. If we could modify those bacteria, either by putting in more beneficial bacteria or reducing the number of harmful bacteria, that might be a way to see improved behavior."
The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Source: Joslin Diabetes Center via EurekAlert
For the first time, there’s hope that within a few years you’ll be able to immunize yourself against the ugly and dangerous effects of stress.
There have already been a good number of scientific studies exploring the complex links between the human brain and gut bacteria.
In one such study, co-author Dr. Gerard Clarke, of the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork in the Republic of Ireland, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Microbiome which suggest the absence of certain bacteria in our guts could alter areas in our brains that are involved in anxiety and depression.
Another study released in 2014 by Premysl Bercik, associate professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGrotte School of Medicine at McMaster University in Canada, and colleagues suggests stomach acid drugs may actually induce depression by disrupting the gut-brain axis.
Still another study has identified a link between gut bacteria and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which could bring us closer to understanding the mechanisms of the complex condition. Researchers, including a team from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, reported their findings on the link between gut bacteria and PTSD in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the association between human gut bacteria and our emotional well-being may be tied together. Not only does the absence of certain beneficial microbes lead to mood disturbances, but stress, for instance, has been shown to harm gut health just as much as junk food.
Laura Bridgewater, of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology of Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and her colleagues report that their findings indicate the gut microbiota may play a role in gender-specific health outcomes in response to stress.
This Brigham Young University study indicates that stressed female mice experienced changes to their gut microbiota — the community of microorganisms that reside in the intestine — comparable with what is seen in response to a high-fat diet. In male mice, however, stress appeared to have no effect on gut microbiota.
With all of these studies and data on the link between gut bacteria and mood disorders, is there a way to harness bacteria in our guts so we can immunize ourselves against stress?
The University of Colorado indicates there may be. Another recent study — led by Matthew Frank, a senior research associate in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience — uncovered a potential beneficial bacterium that has anti-inflammatory properties that the researchers believe could be harnessed to stave off stress.
It looks like frequent hand washing or covering your mouth when sneezing may not be the only way to protect yourself from catching a cold or the flu.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have uncovered an unexpected way of preventing these all too common maladies -- one you may have never considered.
In a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, initial findings suggest that meditation or exercise may lower how often you come down with the flu or common cold -- as well as how long it lasts and how severe the flare up. (1)
The focus of the study was intended to discover how to reduce the incidence of employees taking sick days during cold and flu seasons. Sick leave amounts to billions of dollars to businesses and society in terms of lost production and healthcare costs.
There were 149 participants, randomly split into three groups, which were then studied for a total of nine months. One group consisted of participants who meditated on a regular basis, another group exercised regularly and the control group neither meditated nor exercised.
The exercise and meditation groups took classes for 8 weeks, one for meditation and the other for exercise. They were then asked to keep up their activity regularly for several months afterwards during the peak of Wisconsin's cold and flu season.
The results were telling. Among the group that meditated, there were 27 bouts of colds or flu. The exercise group had 26 bouts. The group that did neither had 40 bouts.
What's more, the inactive group missed 67 days or work, the exercise group missed 32 days while the meditation group missed only 16 days.
"The results are remarkable; we saw a 40 to 50 percent reduction in respiratory infections," said Dr. Bruce Barrett, a UW Health family physician that headed up the research. He goes on to say that, "The bottom line is both the mental health and physical health matter in helping improve (the) flu and cold".
Fighting the Flu with Probiotics
Another effective way to ward off colds and the flu is to take probiotics. A double-blind and placebo controlled study reported in the medical journal Pediatrics that taking probiotics may help immune response and speed up recovery time. (2)
The study, which took place during the winter flu and cold season, was conducted on 326 children in China, aged three to five years old. They were given milk containing either one or two probiotic strains twice daily and followed for six months.
These two groups were compared with the placebo group, which didn't take any probiotics.
Results from this study are impressive. The group taking a single probiotic had 53% less fevers, 41% less coughs and 28% less runny noses than the placebo group. Their illnesses lasted 32% LESS time than the placebo group as well.
At the same time, the group taking two probiotics had 72% less fevers, 62% less coughs and 59% less runny noses. Their illnesses lasted 48% LESS time than the placebo group... and they used 84% LESS antibiotics compared to the placebo group.
If you're concerned about catching a cold or coming down with the flu, the combination of either meditation or exercise along with taking a probiotic supplement like Prosentials can help.
Prosentials is not only important for healthy digestion; it helps promote a healthy immune system as well. Take it daily for optimal digestive balance and overall health.
(1) Miller M, Mangano C, Park Y, et al. Impact of cinematic viewing on endothelial function. Heart 2006; 92:261-262.
(2) UMM/News: University of Maryland School of Medicine Study Shows Laughter Helps Blood Vessels Function Better. 7March2005. Retrieved from: http://www.umm.edu
Think about the language you sometime use... and you'll see the connection between stress and digestive health. For example, have you ever had to make a "gut-wrenching" decision? Perhaps you've "choked" under pressure at some time in your life?
The relationship between your emotional and digestive functioning is important to understand.
Digestion is controlled by hundreds of millions of nerves that communicate within the central nervous system. When you're stressed out, the "fight or flight" response is activated and a cascade of biochemical reactions takes place.
For example, your central nervous system shuts down blood flow, which can affect the contractions of your digestive muscles, and decrease the secretion of enzymes needed for digestion. Stress can also cause your gastrointestinal system to get inflamed and make you susceptible to infection.
"Stress can affect every part of the digestive system," says Kenneth Koch, MD, medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Wake Forrest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Koch goes on to explain that "Stress can cause your esophagus to go into spasms. It can increase the acid in your stomach causing indigestion. Stress can cause your colon to react in a way that gives you diarrhea or constipation."(1)
Reducing stress can go a long way towards improving your digestive health. In addition to moderate exercise, other stress reducers include relaxation therapies like yoga and meditation, and seeking the help of a mental health professional when needed.
One study found that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) found significant relief from pain, bloating and diarrhea from a therapy called Relaxation Response, developed at the Harvard Medical School.(2)
In another recent study, 70% of people with IBS saw improvement in their symptoms after 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy.(3)
Probiotics Reduces Stress-Induced Intestinal Problems In a third study, researchers at the University of Michigan found that while stress does not cause IBS, it does induce intestinal inflammation that can lead to chronic belly pain, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
According to findings published in Gastroenterology, stress suppresses an important component called an "inflammasome" which is needed to maintain normal gut microbiota. However, probiotics reversed the effect in animal models.
Probiotics are live bacteria cultures that help grow the "good" bacteria that live in your gut and keep pathogens in check, aid digestion and promote healthy immune function. University of Michigan researchers were able to identify the way stress significantly altered the composition of gut bacteria.
According to senior study author John Y. Kao, M.D., "The effect of stress could be protected with probiotics which reversed the inhibition of the inflammasome. This study reveals an important mechanism for explaining why treating IBS patients with probiotics makes sense."
At the end of the day, a certain amount of stress in life is unavoidable. If you are having symptoms of stress that are interfering with digestion, talk to your doctor. You may have a digestive problem that needs treatment.
In addition, take a probiotic supplement like Prosentials every day. According to The World Health Organization, consuming probiotics on a daily basis helps strengthen the body’s natural defenses by providing friendly bacteria for the intestinal tract.(5)
What makes Prosentials unique is that it contains 6 potent probiotic strains to replenish your good bacteria, plus the fungal-fighting S. boulardii probiotic yeast. It works to neutralize and kill the toxins that can cause all sorts of digestive issues. Take it every day for optimal digestive health.
We’ve all heard that fish is brain food, especially the kind that is rich with omega-3s. Blueberries and spinach also have notable brain-boosting abilities. However, these aren’t the only foods which can help keep your brain strong and free of disease.
Certain compounds found in grape seeds may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that in mice, these compounds helped prevent the formation of proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. Those same grape seed compounds are found in red wine, so wine may help protect the brain when consumed in moderation. If drinking wine does not appeal to you, a high quality resveratrol supplement like Revatrol may provide the same results.
Fully caffeinated coffee may also help protect against Alzheimer’s. A study done at the University of South Florida fed caffeine to mice specifically bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they aged; some mice received caffeinated coffee, some received decaf, and others were given plain caffeine. The mice who received regular coffee showed higher levels of a hormone called granulocyte colony stimulating factor, which reduces Alzheimer’s symptoms by increasing neuron production and connection. For humans, the useful dose would translate to about four cups of coffee spread throughout the day.
While the vitamin C in citrus may or may not be useful in preventing colds, it seems that citrus fruit may help to prevent strokes. Flavones, found in oranges and grapefruit, seem to act as anti-inflammatories and improve the function of blood vessels. A study in Stroke reported that people who ate two or more servings of citrus each day over a period of 14 years had a 10% lower risk of a stroke than people who ate less. Be wary of choosing juice instead of whole fruit; many juices contain added sugar and the flavonoids are found in the pulp of the fruit.
Onions are full of antioxidants which may help prevent brain damage if a person has a stroke; the antioxidants can work to block the formation of oxygen compounds which damage the barrier between blood and brain. A study published in Nutrition reported feeding some mice an onion supplement. When researchers induced stroke in all the mice, the control group showed significantly higher brain damage than did the onion-fed group.
Eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient which is required to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is linked to brain health and memory. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at nearly 1400 adults and found that those who consumed the most choline performed best on memory tests. The subjects with high choline intake were also less likely to have signs of potential dementia such as blood vessel disease in the brain.
We've been told that the only sure things are death and taxes. But just as creative accountants have helped many men triumph over their 1040s, we can help you outrun the reaper. Maybe it's a game you can't ultimately win. But by following these tips, you can send it into overtime.
Drink 5 8-Ounce Glasses of Water a Day Scientists at Loma Linda University found that men who drank this amount of H2O were 54 percent less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or less daily.
Take a Laugh Break Watching 15 minutes of funny video can improve bloodflow to your heart by 50 percent, report researchers at the University of Maryland. "This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation," says study author Michael Miller, M.D.
Don't Go to Work Sick Over a 3-year period, men who clocked in despite feeling under the weather had double the heart-attack risk of guys who stayed in bed, according to a U.K. study.
Put Out the Fire in Your Chest Untreated heartburn can lead to a heart attack, according to a study in the International Journal of Cardiology. Scientists discovered that as acid levels in the esophagus rise, the incidence of blocked bloodflow to the heart also rises by 20 percent. A natural remedy: Analyze your diet. Don't make a habit of drinking wine, juice, or carbonated beverages, all of which are highly acidic and may trigger heartburn, say South Carolina researchers.
Indulge Your Chocolate Craving In a 15-year study, Dutch scientists determined that men who ate just 4 grams of cocoa a day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That's the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey's Kisses – an amount that can fit into any diet – even better, go for dark chocolate.
Say No to Froot Loops In a review of 53 studies, Australian researchers found that regularly eating cereal made from refined grains raises insulin and C-reactive protein, and lowers good cholesterol – all factors that boost your odds of developing heart disease. A better choice for your morning bowl: Post Shredded Wheat cereal, which is made from 100 percent whole grains and contains no sugar.
Take a Magnesium Supplement Over an 18-year period, French researchers determined that men with the highest blood levels of magnesium are 40 percent less likely to die of any cause than those with the lowest levels. Magnesium can make multivitamins too bulky, so add a 250 milligram (mg) pill to your daily regimen.
Burn 1,100 Calories a Week Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue – the dangerous belly fat that causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Falling short? Join a league: A recent British Medical Journal study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average calorie burn by 500 a week.
Take a Daily Multivitamin Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that this helps prevent the DNA damage that causes cancer.
Hit the Weights University of Michigan scientists found that men who completed three total-body weight workouts a week for 2 months lowered their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That's enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40 percent and heart attack by 15 percent.
Set a 3-Drink Limit Harvard researchers determined that downing more than three drinks in a 24-hour period increases your risk of atrial fibrillation, a condition that may boost your odds of a stroke fivefold during that time. An important note: When the average man pours himself a glass of wine, it's typically twice the size of a standard drink (4 ounces), report researchers at Duke University.
Plop an Alka-Seltzer If you think you're having a heart attack. It contains 325 milligrams of aspirin, the same as a regular aspirin, and begins fighting blood clots almost 3 minutes faster than a pill, according to a study in Thrombosis Research.
Call a Ride Walk-in patients wait almost twice as long in the E.R. as those who arrive by ambulance, according to a University of New Mexico study.
Treat a Killer Bee Sting You may not know if you're allergic to the venom of a bee, wasp, or hornet until you've already been stung. But if you start to experience the symptoms of a life-threatening reaction – hives, wheezing, abdominal cramping – you can save yourself in 3 steps: Step 1: Call 911. Step 2: Take a Benadryl. Step 3: Lie on your back and elevate your legs while you wait for help, says Steven Kernerman, D.O., an allergist at the Spokane Allergy and Asthma Clinic. An allergic reaction can constrict your blood vessels, and this three-step strategy counteracts that by improving blood flow to your heart.
Eat Produce at Every Meal If you consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, you have a 26 percent lower risk of stroke than people who eat fewer than three servings, according to a recent U.K. study.
Monitor Your Blood Sugar Johns Hopkins University researchers recently determined that people with the highest blood-sugar levels have twice the risk of heart disease as those with the lowest. A warning sign: fasting blood sugar that's greater than 100 mg per deciliter.
Think Positive Purdue scientists discovered that constant worrying shortens your life span by 16 years.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), TMJ disorders are the second most common pain-causing musculoskeletal conditions after chronic low back pain.(1)
Temporomandibular joint disorders, commonly known as TMJ disorders or just TMJ, refer to a number of health conditions that involve the joints around your jaw and the related areas around the joint.
These include the joint cartilage, muscles of the jaw, face and neck, nearby ligaments and nerves, along with your teeth. You can feel these joints move when you place your fingers in front of your ears while you open and close your mouth.
TMJ disorders affect millions of Americans, with estimates that as many as 1/3 of all adults report having one or more of the symptoms.(2)
While the cause of TMJ is not entirely clear, injury to the jaw or temoromandibular joint as well as trauma to the muscles of the head or neck can trigger TMJ. TMJ can also arise from grinding or clenching of the teeth, which puts pressure on the jaw joints.
Poor posture can contribute to TMJ symptoms as well. For example, if you work at a computer, or if you're on the telephone a lot, holding your head forward or in an awkward angle strains the muscles of the face and neck. Other causative factors may include stress or anxiety, poor diet, and lack of sleep.
For example, if you suffer from chronic stress, your facial and jaw muscles can tighten up. When this happens, you may start grinding your teeth, which then affects the jaw joints. Sometimes TMJ can result if you habitually chew gum or bite your nails.
How to Recognize TMJ Symptoms and Manage the Pain
The severe pain and discomfort associated with TMJ can be temporary, or it can last for many years. For many people, the symptoms don't last long and may go away little or no treatment. Some of the common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
• Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders
• Pain or tenderness around the ear when you chew or open your mouth wide
• Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth
• Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite
• Swelling on one or both sides of your face
Toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitis) may also be symptomatic of TMJ.(3)
To minimize TMJ pain, rest your jaw and make a conscious effort to not open your mouth too wide when yawning or laughing. Avoid any harmful chewing or nail-biting habits you may have. Eating soft foods like yogurt, soup, mashed or pureed vegetables and fruit can also provide some relief.
Sleeping with or wearing a mouth or bite guard can prevent you from grinding your teeth at night and reduce pain. Stress management techniques like yoga, deep breathing and meditation can also help, as can getting massage for the neck, shoulders, face and head.
Lastly, for pain relief, choose Isoprex. Isoprex helps relieve joint pain without any side effects. It is an all natural supplement that contains powerful ingredients scientifically proven to help relieve neck aches and sore muscles.
The ingredients in Isoprex have all been shown to be safe – and many of them work as well or better than dangerous over-the-counter and prescription pain pills. Keep a bottle in your medicine cabinet at all times.
"Ooh, my aching . . . " When gripped by chronic pain, reach beyond the medicine chest -- for the right foods at the grocery store. What you eat can directly and indirectly help reduce pain in three ways: by controlling inflammation, which contributes to the nagging pain associated with some chronic diseases like arthritis; by reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress, which occurs when the body is exposed to more cell damage than it can handle; and by helping to regulate your body's immune response, which helps manage inflammation more effectively.
"We get in the habit of taking Advil or Aleve to treat pain symptoms, without getting at the underlying cause of pain. Over time these medications, because of their side effects, can do more harm than good," says integrative nutritionist Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine, part of the Duke University Health System. "Changing your diet, on the other hand, protects your cells from damage and reduces the number of inflammatory compounds the body produces." Bonus: An anti-inflammatory diet is an effective path to weight loss, which reduces pain that's caused by extra stress on joints. New research in the journal, Cancer Research, links losing just 5 percent of body weight to significant reductions in biochemical markers for inflammation.
These six food categories -- and six standout examples -- can result in meaningful changes for your pain level:
More non-animal sources of protein
Such as: Canned salmon. The fish highest in inflammation-busting omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, is available in cans year-round. And it's the most affordable source of wild salmon. Wild-caught is healthier than farm-raised salmon, which may contain toxic chemicals and antibiotics, depending on their feed and the conditions in which they're raised.
Other examples: Cold-water fish that supply omega-3 fatty acids include black cod, tuna, sardines, halibut, mackerel, herring, and anchovies. And for protein don't overlook legumes and dried beans, such as lentils, soybeans, and black beans, and ancient grains including quinoa, millet, and spelt. Plant sources of omega-3s include pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed.
Why: Replacing animal protein with proteins from fish increases your consumption of DHA and EPA, so-called "long chain" omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improvement in symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Plant sources provide also-essential "short-chain" omega-3 fatty acids.
Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices
Such as: Turmeric. Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin. (In fact, turmeric is sometimes simply called curcumin.) This deep yellow-gold spice has a smoky, peppery flavor and is used in curries and mustard. "It's such a powerful anti-inflammatory, it's one of the spices I recommend eating every day," says Reardon, who adds it to almond milk with cinnamon and a touch of honey.
Other examples: Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, tart cherry, curry, rosemary. (Dried tart cherries, while not technically a spice or herb, are another antioxidant-superstar way to "spice up" other foods.)
Why: Several studies have shown an anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. These spices and herbs help inhibit the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins and COX inhibitors (the same enzyme-inhibiting substances in medications such as Vioxx or Celebrex). Healthy fats
Such as: Coconut oil. Available in specialty groceries (such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods), coconut oil provides good fuel for the cells that line the gut, which is fundamental to proper immune system functioning. You can use coconut oil in cooking and baking where a light, slightly sweet flavor is desired, or to pop popcorn (another plant food high in antioxidants).
Other examples: Olive oil, grape-seed oil, avocados, ground flax, nut butters (especially almond, almond-flaxseed, cashew, or sunflower seed, which are less inflammatory than peanut butter), omega-3-fortified eggs.
Why: You'll be displacing unhealthy, omega-6 saturated fats (found in highly processed foods), which far outnumber good-for-you omega-3 fats in most American diets -- a backwards ratio that fans inflammation. Healthy fat sources fuel both pro-inflammatory hormones, which fight stresses to cells, and anti-inflammatory hormones, which regulate the healing process after a threat (injury or infection) is gone.
A wide variety of plants
Such as: Kale. It's fibrous, low in calories, rich in dozens of beneficial flavonoids, and is one of the most nutrient-dense greens. Chop it into vegetable- or bean-based soup, blend it in a smoothie, or add it to salad or pasta dishes. To bake kale chips, tear leaves into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle or spray on olive oil (one tablespoon per cookie sheet), and add some sea salt. It's a pretty awesome vegetable.
Other examples: Whole grains, beans, lentils, and all dark green, red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables -- the whole rainbow. Rule of thumb: The more intense the color, the more antioxidants are packed inside. But even whites (cauliflower, garlic, onion) and blacks (black beans) provide plenty of benefits.
Why: A plant-based diet emphasizing whole (unprocessed) foods is like a force field, or sunglasses, protecting your lipid membranes and DNA from oxidative damage. Ideally, amp up the plant foods at the same time you eliminate refined and processed foods (such as white flour, sugar, and packaged goods like cakes, cookies, chips), which can raise blood glucose, increasing insulin production and, in turn, inflammation.
Variety is the key word, because the cumulative effect of many different nutrients is what creates the beneficial synergy. It really does take a village.
Such as: Greek yogurt. This thick type of yogurt packs more than twice the protein of regular yogurt, and it contains probiotics -- live microorganisms that help supplement the healthy bacteria already in your digestive tract. It's also a good source of vitamin D.
Other examples: Probiotics are also found in any yogurt containing live cultures (check the label for Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus, two common types) and in any fermented food -- such as kimchee, sauerkraut, and kefir. Probiotics are also available in supplement form.
Why: Probiotics help your gut preserve a healthy balance of good bacteria, which are often under siege from factors ranging from poor nutrition and stress to smoking and pollution. A healthy population of bacteria needs a plant-based diet to survive -- it's its own biosystem that needs to be cultivated. This dairy food is another way to supplement that healthy ecosystem. It's especially beneficial after finishing a course of antibiotics, which can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria.
Lots of supplemented water
Such as: Green tea powder. Also called matcha, powdered green tea -- basically the tea leaves, finely ground -- provide the same powerful antioxidants that green tea beverages do, but in a more concentrated and versatile form. In steeped tea, the liquid contains the water-soluble antioxidants from the tea leaves, but in tea made from green tea powder, you're literally consuming the whole leaf. Stir it into water (hot or cold) for tea, or add to smoothies or lattes. It can even be added to baked goods or soups.
Other examples: Black tea and coffee also contain anti-inflammatory properties, but in lesser amounts. However, their caffeine can help treat headache pain. Why: The vital organs and blood supply are composed of as much as 90 percent water. Water is needed by the liver to help detoxify chemicals and the other compounds we come in contact with. Water helps all the body's processes work, right down at the cellular level.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, close to 60 percent of individuals across the United States say they have a problem sleeping every night. While it can be frustrating tossing and turning, you’ll find that a sleepless night can also cause certain health issues and weight gain, especially in the abdomen. Failing to get enough sleep is a unique form of stress that causes the body to respond with a chronic one. However, an overlooked approach to sleep restoration is through a healthy diet. The following foods will contribute to a restful evening of sleep and allow you to remain that way throughout the entire night.
If you’re anticipating a good night’s sleep, you can begin with a sleep-inducing evening meal. Salmon is an excellent form of omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s crucial in lessening the stress hormones that can be keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. If you’re not a fan of salmon, you’ll find other varieties of fish such as halibut to be just as beneficial.
2. Tart Cherry Juice
Before you’re hit with a bout of insomnia, you may want to think about having a drink. While alcohol can disrupt your normal sleep patterns, a glass of tart cherry juice can reduce your symptoms of insomnia significantly. This natural source of melatonin makes the ideal bedtime companion when you mix it with almond or soy milk, ice and mix it in the blender. If you can’t find tart cherry juice at your local retail establishment, you can exchange the juice for dried or fresh cherries.
Finding it difficult to get to sleep? You may want to try eating a banana. In addition to be full of potassium and helping to calm restless legs, bananas can help combat nasty leg cramps that can plague restless sleepers. Studies published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2007, a correlation has been shown between getting enough potassium and obtaining the highest level of restful sleep. This amazing yellow fruit is also chalk full of magnesium to aid in promoting circulation, digestion and helping the muscles and nerves to relax. To get your recommended dose of magnesium and potassium, you can peel and place the banana in a favorite smoothie recipe or cut it up and serve over cereal.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a delicious, healthy and inexpensive staple to keep in your pantry. Known as a good source of potassium, sweet potatoes can aid in digestion, circulation and help promote relaxation. In addition to baking, you can make homemade sweet potato fries by cutting them into slices, laying them on a cookie sheet and drizzling with a little olive oil. Other excellent sources of potassium include white potatoes, papaya or lima beans.
Biochemists sing the praises of this cruciferous vegetable for its sleep inducing properties. Known for being high in both calcium and potassium, kale can contribute to a peaceful night of sleep. Whether you include it in your evening meal or munch on it as a pre-bedtime snack, this leafy green is great for a good night’s rest. If you aren’t a fan of kale, never fear. Green veggies such as spinach and Swiss chard contain a healthy dose of potassium and host the same benefits as kale.
A handful of almonds before you hit the sheets can help promote a restful night’s sleep. Because they contain proteins that help stabilize your blood sugar levels while you rest, you’re able to switch from a stage of alertness to drowsiness. If your tastes lean toward something more substantial, you can spread a tablespoon of almond butter on a piece of whole-grain toast for a night of good slumber.
Also referred to as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are instrumental in relieving stress and elevating your mood because of its high levels of vitamin B-6. Adding chick peas to an evening meal can help promote a better night’s sleep. You can best utilize this healthy melatonin producer by placing them on top of a salad. You can also make it into a hummus spread and dip crudité such as red peppers, carrots, celery and cucumber spears.
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore. High in protein and used to keep your blood sugar levels stable, eggs can also help you catch enough Zzzs at night. Whether you hard boil a few eggs ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator or scramble them with a little cheese, this protein enriched gem can make an easy evening snack. If you’re not a big fan of eggs, you can find protein in other places such as lean meat or cottage cheese mixed with fresh fruit.
Movies, T.V. shows and advertisements have sung the praises of milk when it comes to getting some sleep. While some individuals swear that a glass of milk contains enough melatonin to lull a body to sleep, the lack of evidence has caused some experts to back off on these statements. If you’re looking to fall asleep at a faster rate, soy products have been shown to place an individual into a deeper sense of slumber.
10. Herbal or Decaffeinated Green Tea
While you may be used to combating bouts of tiredness throughout your busy day with a cup of coffee, you want to put down your cup of java in favor of decaf tea in the afternoon. Because green tea contains sleep inducing ingredients such as theanin, you’re sure to feel the relaxing effects into the evening hours. In addition to being able to lessen the amount of time it takes to get to sleep, decaf tea can also increase the number of hours you stay asleep. Combine the warm mug with a comfy chair or bed, and you have perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep.
Low-sugar cereals that are rich in whole-grains can set the stage for a slumber-filled night. Tryptophan isn’t just for Thanksgiving and turkeys. A carb-rich bowl of cereal can also have sleep inducing effects on the brain. In addition to cereal and milk, other carb-protein mates can include cheese and crackers or peanut butter and toast.
While a delicious bowl of warmed oatmeal before bed can be a satisfying way to end your day, you’ll find this soothing snack to aid in helping you get to sleep faster. Because it contains nutritional resources such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, you’re sure to conquer any late-night jitters with this super food. However, topping your bowl of oatmeal with too much sugar can be counter-productive. Blueberries, raspberries, walnuts, almonds and cinnamon make better alternative toppers.
We've all heard that fish is brain food, especially the kind that is rich with omega-3s. Blueberries and spinach also have notable brain-boosting abilities. However, these aren't the only foods which can help keep your brain strong and free of disease.
Certain compounds found in grape seeds may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A 2011 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that in mice, these compounds helped prevent the formation of proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s. Those same grape seed compounds are found in red wine, so wine may help protect the brain when consumed in moderation.
Fully caffeinated coffee may also help protect against Alzheimer’s. A study done at the University of South Florida fed caffeine to mice specifically bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they aged; some mice received caffeinated coffee, some received decaf, and others were given plain caffeine. The mice who received regular coffee showed higher levels of a hormone called granulocyte colony stimulating factor, which reduces Alzheimer’s symptoms by increasing neuron production and connection. For humans, the useful dose would translate to about four cups of coffee spread throughout the day.
While the vitamin C in citrus may or may not be useful in preventing colds, it seems that citrus fruit may help to prevent strokes. Flavones, found in oranges and grapefruit, seem to act as anti-inflammatories and improve the function of blood vessels. A 2012 study in Stroke reported that people who ate two or more servings of citrus each day over a period of 14 years had a 10% lower risk of stroke than people who ate less. Be wary of choosing juice instead of whole fruit; many juices contain added sugar.
Onions are full of antioxidants which may help prevent brain damage if a person has a stroke; the antioxidants can work to block the formation of oxygen compounds which damage the barrier between blood and brain. A study published in Nutrition reported feeding some mice an onion supplement. When researchers induced stroke in all the mice, the control group showed significantly higher brain damage than did the onion-fed group.
Eggs are rich in choline, a nutrient which is required to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is linked to brain health and memory. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at nearly 1400 adults and found that those who consumed the most choline performed best on memory tests. The subjects with high choline intake were also less likely to have signs of potential dementia such as blood vessel disease in the brain.
Individuals over the age of 55 were the subjects of a new study and found that those who consumed an average glass of wine per day were found to be less clinically depressed than people who either drank more alcohol or those who didn’t drink any. This poses a direct contrast to earlier findings that concluded a correlation between alcohol and an increased risk of depression. Before you head to your favorite local restaurant for happy hour, you need to understand the risks involved and reasons behind the latest study.
Approximately 5,000 men and women of Spanish decent were followed, between the ages of 55 and 80 for approximately seven years. They were asked a series of questions periodically about their habits and lifestyle by way of questionnaire and physician visits. At the very start of the study, there were no reports of any of the individuals suffering from depression. By the culmination of the seven year period, it was found that over 443 people had shown signs of depression.
As it turned out, alcohol consumed in low to moderate levels were found to have a reduced risk of depression. For those who consumed between two and seven glasses of wine during the course of the week, they experienced the greatest benefit with only a third of the risk of depression. While it wasn’t dramatically reduced as the low to moderate groupings, moderate drinkers were proven to have a lower risk of depression. Lifestyle factors such as marital status, smoking, diet, exercise and age can influence the risk of depression, but the results held true.
If there is a connection, the effects of antioxidants in wine such as resveratrol could have a lot to do with it and provide protection similar to the way it does for those with heart disease. Many believe that heart disease and depression share similar mechanisms related to inflammation. The antioxidants in wine could prove helpful in repairing brain damage where the depression has occurred.
Previous studies concluded that hippocampal complex can play a key role in major bouts of depression. When the neuroprotection is applied, it can prevent individuals who consume alcohol on a regular basis from showing signs of depression.
Social factors have nothing to with the content of wine, but they have been shown to affect depression. Individuals who indulge in a glass or two of wine may be doing so with friends or family members. People who enjoy a social setting surrounded by friends and loved ones can significantly reduce their risks of depression, and the studies could be influenced by this.
Another factor to keep in mind is the effects of alcohol and depression on each other. Hereditary, genes and environment are predisposed issues to both and could play a significant role in this equation. This could increase the chances of an individual experiencing the use of alcohol and depression.
Because of the above reasons, the findings should be taken with a grain of salt. The people involved in the study were taken from a restricted populace in the Spanish Mediterranean where nobody over the age of 55 had been showing signs of depression.
Looking for a single answer in this study is naïve and other variables need to be taken into consideration when looking for conclusions. Other factors come into play when determining the correlation of alcohol and depression such as the person’s health, mental wellness, type of alcohol and quantity. Moderation holds the key to happiness and enjoying an occasional glass of red wine for individuals who find it pleasing to the palate might benefit brain and heart health. However, for those who don’t have a fondness for the taste, you probably don’t want to pick up the habit because it carries a significant amount of risks.
As we age, you’ll find your circle of friends to be ever changing, and the people who were once your best friends may no longer qualify to hold that job title. As with friends, foods can hold the same significance, and the items that cause interrupted sleep, clogged arteries and an increase in blood pressure are no longer welcome in your inner circle.
The following five foods are a mid-lifers worst nightmare and experts advise you to stay clear of them.
1. Skip the Salt
Salt could have a negative impact on your body and increase your blood pressure. The white stuff can cause your body to keep excess water, and that extra bodily fluid could contribute to a rise in your blood pressure levels. As your blood pressure soars, you’ll find that your kidneys, heart, brain and arteries have to work harder. This could pose a significant strain on these important organs. High blood pressure could also lead to a host of problems such as kidney disease, heart attacks and strokes. An increased salt intake could further your problems by wreaking havoc with some blood pressure medications that include diuretics and cause them to not work as efficiently as they should.
2. Just Say” No” (to Bacon)
Approximately one in three adults across the nation can suffer from some form of joint related problems such as arthritis and specific foods can aggravate these issues. Studies have shown that COX-2 enzymes are more active and can cause a flare up when you consume foods that are higher in omge-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Foods high up on that list you want to avoid include bacon, meats, egg yolks and margarine.
3. One More Glass of Wine
Wine enthusiasts can verbally site the findings that wine in moderation may hold significant benefits for the heart. However, most individuals need to revisit what the word moderation actually means. Per the National Institute of Health, having between two to seven alcoholic beverages a week is light to moderate usage. Anything heavier than that can damage your liver and heart, with heart disease leading the pack in deaths among individuals who abuse alcohol.
4. The Two Faces of Sugar
In order to lose weight, most individuals find that they need to get rid of any sugar in their diet. However, there’s another evil side to sugar. Studies have shown that consuming too many delectable sweet treats can contribute to the aging process in numerous ways. Sugar in the form of candy, cookies, cake or ice cream is converted into glucose, which has been linked to diabetes. On its own, diabetes can be extremely dangerous. However, it could lead to further health complications such as heart disease and kidney and nerve damage. Those who suffer from diabetes can also experience issues related to their mouth, skin and bones that make them feel years beyond their actual age.
It’s recommended that individuals limit their consumption of sugar laden beverages to aid in the prevention of diabetes. A regular 12-ounce can of soda contains approximately 150 calories and at least 10 teaspoons of sugar. Sports drinks and energy beverages can be equally sweet, so you need to read the labels before purchasing the product.
There’s no truth behind the statement that a body is only able to process so much protein at one time, and it’s interesting to surmise as to what happens when you exceed that number.
The topic of protein is a very misunderstood subject. Most of this stems from the way we use it in our diets to stave off a deficiency instead of its optimal amount. To make sure that you’re getting a sufficient amount of the vital amino acids, you’ll need to ingest between 50 to 60 grams of protein daily. Many nutritionists feel that to exceed that number is a waste.
Most individuals find they want to utilize protein in a way to train at peak levels, optimum performance and lose weight. In order to do this, you need to look beyond the deficiencies to see what is needed to build muscle. Protein synthesis is at the center, and the force needed to ignite the process.
Studies from the University of Texas are looking into perfecting the process and trying to determine if timing can affect your protein intake. One group of volunteers consumed a high protein meal of 90 grams at the end of the day, while another consumed 30 grams of protein throughout the day. Eating protein at every meal yielded greater success at increasing the protein synthesis.
It would seem that 30 grams of protein is the ideal amount to achieve maximum protein synthesis and any more at one sitting would do nothing to further increase things. Fortunately, protein has a number of uses and any excess can be used for other things such as energy.
Protein is a metabolic nutrient and estimates have shown that it can take twice the number of calories for your body to break down than it does with a meal high in carbohydrates.
Protein also exudes different hormonal elements than it does with carbohydrates and can create and keep a lean body. Insulin and glucagon are released when an individual consumes carbs and puts the brakes on fat release. The insulin also moves sugars in the muscle cells, resulting in low-blood sugar. As your body releases the glucagon, it takes the stored sugar from your liver and places it into your system to help maintain a normal blood sugar level. Glucagon also satiates your hunger and may stimulate your cells to release fat.
This is more than a collegiate introspection because protein is extremely effective in every day life. A diet high in protein has been shown to achieve greater weight-loss results and better body composition. However, any increase in your protein synthesis can be put to good use, and your body will find other ways to utilize it.
Whole foods have been shown over and over again to help our bodies function more efficiently, but some can do more than just provide the body with nutrients. The twelve foods on this list actually have properties that can help the body prevent and recover from illness, from cancer to heart disease. These healing foods can also help ease traits that can lead to serious illness, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The very same yellow flowering plants which give gardeners fits has actually been used as a healing herb by cultures around the world for centuries. Traditional Chinese medicine uses a concoction of dandelion mixed with other herbs to ease bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses, and the white sap from the stems and roots can be used to treat warts.
Dandelion greens are packed with nutrients; one cup of raw greens contains 112% of the RDA for vitamin A and 535% of the RDA for vitamin K. Dandelion is actually one of the best food sources for vitamin A and beta-carotene. The greens also contain copious amounts of potassium, calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamin C.
Dandelion is a natural diuretic. The increase in urine production helps flush the kidneys of toxins and excess salts which may develop into kidney stones and provides relief to patients suffering from high blood pressure, bloating, edema, and water retention. Not only that, but the potassium in the greens helps a person on any kind of diuretic to maintain a healthy level of potassium in the body. Dandelion is also used to treat liver disorders like jaundice and hepatitis.
Dandelion has digestive benefits as well. It can act as a gentle laxative by stimulating bile production, but it also has anti-diarrheal properties; like apples, dandelions help the digestive system maintain balance. The leaves and roots can both be used as a treatment for indigestion and heartburn, and the inulin fiber found in the leaves provides a healthy probiotic meal for the useful digestive bacteria in the gut. Inulin also helps balance blood sugar levels, which prevents diabetes, and increases the efficiency of calcium absorption. The vitamin C and pectin in dandelions work together to reduce cholesterol.
Kale, a relative of broccoli, is full of nutrients and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. Chinese healers have traditionally used kale as a treatment for lung congestion. In just one cup of cooked kale, you can find 89% of the RDA for vitamin C, 192% of the RDA for vitamin A, and a staggering 1,328% of the RDA for vitamin K, plus loads of iron and calcium. The bountiful vitamin K helps skeletal strength by anchoring calcium to bone. It also protects the heart and helps blood platelets clot more efficiently.
Kale contains high levels of a compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to help protect against cancers of the colon, cervix, and breast. It provides large amounts of beta-carotene and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, kale gives its eaters more antioxidants than spinach or broccoli.
Eastern medicine looks to cabbage as a treatment for colds, whooping cough, irritability, depression, constipation, and stomach ulcers, and they’re onto something; the glutamine in cabbage acts as a natural remedy for peptic ulcers. Cabbage also promotes general intestinal health, along with easing allergic reactions, reducing inflammation, and strengthening bones.
Cabbage is another leafy green full of important vitamins. One cup of cabbage can provide 50% of the RDA for vitamin C, which is actually 11% higher than oranges. That serving of cabbage can also supply 91% of the RDA for vitamin K along with abundant manganese, folate, vitamin B6, and fiber.
Like kale, cabbage contains high levels of sulforaphane antioxidants which neutralize free radicals harming DNA. Sulforaphanes also cause the body to release enzymes which nullify carcinogens trapped in the body. Cabbage and related vegetables are better at reducing cancer risk than any other fruits and vegetables, and researchers believe this dual-action attack is the reason.
For being as remarkably low-calorie as it is, watercress provides an amazing array of nutrients. Compared on a calorie-to-calorie basis, watercress supplies four times as much calcium as milk, more iron than spinach, and as much vitamin C as oranges. Like other leafy greens, it’s full of carotenoid antioxidants and vitamins A and K.
The combination of nutrients in watercress help strengthen the immune system, build healthy bones, and transport oxygen through the body more efficiently. Some compounds in watercress help to block carcinogens and protect healthy cells; there’s even evidence that watercress can help to destroy cancer cells.
Natural health proponents use watercress to treat urinary problems, jaundice, mumps, sore throat, and bad breath. Traditional Chinese medicine uses watercress to improve night vision, reduce tumors, and improve digestion.
Spinach can do quite a lot. It contains 1111% of the RDA of vitamin K, which helps calcium stick to bone. Popeye’s favorite snack is also a great source of iron, folate, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. It contains a carotenoid antioxidant which destroys prostate cancer cells and keeps them from spreading, and the large concentration of folate lowers the risk of breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers. The vitamin C and beta-carotene reduce inflammation and work to prevent colon cancer.
Aside from all that, spinach also helps to prevent heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure, protect against dementia and promote general brain health, and prevent eye disorders.
If you’re asked the question about which food you’d want with you if stranded on an island, beans should be one of top choices. Beans are a very complete food; they contain protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. Red beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans are in the top four on the USDA’s list of most antioxidant-rich foods. They also provide good amounts of vitamins B1, B2, and K as well as folate, magnesium, and potassium. Soybeans even supply omega-3 fatty acids.
Harvard researchers found that women who have two or more servings of beans per week have a 24% lower chance of developing breast cancer. Many studies have linked beans to reduced risks of breast and colon cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
Beans have many functions in Chinese medicine; various forms have been used to treat rheumatism, alcoholism, food poisoning, diarrhea, edema, high blood pressure, kidney stones, and myriad other disorders.
Sure, they have a strong odor and flavor, but onions are also strong in antioxidants. They contain a natural antihistamine called quercetin, which reduces allergy symptoms, and large amounts of vitamin C to fight off colds and flu. Onions provide a peptide which helps prevent bone loss and sulfides which lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Eating onions lowers the risk of prostate, esophageal, and stomach cancers as well as the risk of death from heart disease. They’re even a pain reliever; onions contain anti-inflammatories which help ease arthritis.
Chinese medicine uses carrots as a sort of all-purpose medicine; it treats night blindness, ear infections, indigestion, tumors, rheumatism, and many other ailments. Given the high number of caretenoid antioxidants delivered by carrots, this is not surprising. Studies have linked caretenoid-rich diets to lower risk of cancers of the breast, cervix, prostate, bladder, esophagus, and larynx. Some studies indicate that carrots also reduce the risk of kidney, ovarian, and lung cancers. On the other hand, people whose diets are low in carotenoids have a higher risk of chronic diseases, such as various cancers and heart disease.
One compound in carrots, alpha-carotene, may be able to prevent tumor growth. Carrots are full of vitamins A and C, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Nutrients provided by carrots help to maintain healthy ears and eyes, boost the immune system, protect the colon, and work against cardiovascular disease.
Broccoli combines an amazing amount of nutrition into one simple food. A cup of steamed broccoli provides about twice the RDA amounts of vitamins C and K, 50% of the RDA for vitamin A, and a strong supply of B vitamins, fiber, sulfate, folate, and iron. It also contains protein; in fact, it contains almost two times as much protein as steak.
Broccoli is full of anti-cancer nutrients called indoles, which inhibit tumor growth and help the body rid itself of carcinogens. Research has shown that broccoli can be linked to reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, lung, esophagus, stomach, breast, cervix, and skin. Other studies have found that eating broccoli can reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%.
Cherries can fight bacteria and viruses, and they also contain a multitude of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Anthocyanins act as natural painkillers. They also reduce the risk of colon cancer and lower uric acid in the blood, which cuts the risk of gout. The quercetin and ellagic acid found in cherries can help reduce tumors and cause cancerous cells to self-destruct.
Cherries are used to treat anemia, arthritis, and gout in Chinese medicine.
Guavas are still somewhat rare in the U.S., but they’re worth looking for. They are full of vitamin C and potassium; in fact, a serving of guava contains 60% more potassium than a serving of banana.
Guavas are also a wonderful source of lycopene, an antioxidant which fights cancer. Guavas actually contain 20% more lycopene than tomatoes.
Lycopene defends cells against free radicals which can cause cancer, clog arteries, cause joint pain, and irritate the nervous system. Lycopene has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and lower the risk of prostate cancer. In men who had already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, men who took lycopene supplements improved more quickly than men who did not. Some research suggests that lycopene may also work to prevent coronary artery disease.
Kiwifruit has a unique property; it actually makes itself more edible when someone cuts into it by releasing enzymes which cause the flesh to become more tender. This is a fortunate thing; kiwifruit is one of the most nutrient-rich fruits around. It supplies more potassium than bananas, more fiber than apples, and more vitamin C than oranges.
Kiwifruit is also a natural blood thinner without the stomach-irritating side effects of aspirin. It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and lessen the formation of dangerous blood clots. The antioxidants in kiwifruit reduce the oxidation which damages DNA and even encourage the damaged cells to heal themselves.
Sometimes the things everyone knows aren't exactly true, and that holds as well for health and beauty treatments as well as for anything else.
Chocolate is good for your skin
The National Institute of Health explains that chocolate’s reputation for causing breakouts is completely undeserved. “Chocolate and greasy foods are often blamed, but there is little evidence that foods have much effect on acne in most people.” In fact, dark chocolate contains antioxidant flavonoids which reduce inflammation of the skin and help acne heal. Keep portion size in mind; chocolate has health benefits, but it is still a fattening food.
Too much shampoo damages your hair
Too much cleaning can be a bad thing; shampoo strips the natural oils from hair, leaving it dry, brittle, and easy to break. In fact, hair health experts recommend shampooing only once every two to five days depending on your hair texture and scalp. The products which are supposed to add shine to hair don’t do much good either; most of them are silicone-based and cause a dull layer of build-up in your hair over time. The best ways to keep hair healthy and shiny are to use a deep conditioning treatment, allow time between washes, and keep the use of hot styling tools to a minimum.
Too much brushing can weaken and damage your teeth
Many people believe they need to brush their teeth after each meal and snack, but the truth is that the American Dental Association advises patients to brush only twice a day. Frequent brushing can wear away tooth enamel, making the teeth susceptible to cavities and discoloration. Brushing within a short time of having acidic foods or drinks is also a bad idea. The physical brushing can actually move the acid more deeply into your teeth, leaving the enamel at greater risk of erosion.
Bacteria in your gut help reduce the smells of flatulence
Thousands of bacterial species are living in your digestive system as you read this, and they’re absolutely supposed to be there. They actually aid your body to digest food for the most effective absorption of nutrients. One of the early signs of an imbalance in the bacterial ranks is an increase in the unpleasant odors of flatulence. The imbalance, most often caused by antibiotics or an unhealthy diet, can be corrected with a probiotic supplement or fermented foods like yogurt with active cultures.
Drinking more water reduces water retention
Water retention and bloating are actually caused by your kidneys going into a panic mode when they detect a drop in your overall fluid levels and cause your body to keep all of its current water. To keep your kidneys happy and prevent bloat, drink water during the day. The eight glasses a day rule is not hard and fast; any increase in your fluid intake will help. In fact, it doesn't even have to be water. Flavored and caffeinated beverages also count towards your total daily fluid intake.
Keeping the right kinds of food around helps you make healthy eating choices
Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell University discovered a strong link between visual cues and choices about eating while researching his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Each person makes over 200 decisions about eating every day, and a pleasing package or food appearance can influence a person to eat junk food or eat more than they intended. Dr. Wansink recommends that people buy healthy, convenient snacks and leave them in plain sight while hiding the treats away.
Gaining weight helps you burn fat
At least, gaining weight helps the body burn fat more effectively if the weight is lean muscle mass. Muscle is denser and weighs more than fat. More than a few women have found that after they start a weightlifting program, their weight on the scale goes up a little, even though they look more toned and their clothes are starting to fit more loosely.
Less repetitions with heavier weights increase strength
The common advice tells us that if women do weight training, they should do more reps with lighter weights than a man would use so they don’t bulk up. This is actually a very inefficient way of building strength, and women don’t develop bulky muscles without using steroids or having a terrible hormonal imbalance to start with. The small brightly-colored weights have their place for people who are just starting weight training or rehabilitating an injury, but real gains in strength come from pushing harder with heavier weights.
Unlike cardio exercise, frequent workouts are not good in weight training. Muscles should be allowed to rest between workouts so they can rebuild themselves; a good rule of thumb is to work the muscles every other day.
Adding walking to your training can improve your marathon time
Olympic runner Jeff Galloway popularized this method of training. His strategy is to walk one minute of each mile during his training runs. The rest before the body is worn out helps increase endurance and hasten recovery, which eventually shortens the marathon running time. Tim Deegan, a skeptic of Galloway’s method, tried the run-walk training and shortened his marathon time by 20 minutes.
Talking about your problems can make you unhappy
Dr. Guy Winch told Psychology Today that frequent complaining can cause someone to develop a learned helplessness which leads them to believe they can’t have any effect on their problems. “When we become convinced our actions will not have the impact we desire, we cease our efforts and become passive and helpless,” Dr. Winch explained.
On the other hand, a certain amount of venting can be helpful during times of stress. The key is to blow off the steam and be done with it, not complain continuously. Examining and being grateful for the good things in your life can also increase your happiness.
People suffering from chronic pain have options besides rummaging around in the medicine cabinet or visiting a doctor to try to figure out which painkiller works best for them. Certain foods have the ability to diminish pain over time. Foods containing antioxidants can help reduce the damage the body goes through when food and oxygen react and create free radicals as byproducts. Some foods have the ability to reduce the inflammation causing the body’s pain response. Still other foods strengthen the immune system, which helps to prevent and reduce illness as well as to limit inflammation.
Beth Reardon, the director of nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine, claims that dietary changes are much healthier in the long term than the extended use of painkillers. “We get in the habit of taking Advil or Aleve to treat pain symptoms, without getting at the underlying cause of pain. Over time these medications, because of their side effects, can do more harm than good,” she explained. "Changing your diet...protects your cells from damage and reduces the number of inflammatory compounds the body produces."
Anti-inflammatory foods have also been linked to weight loss, which makes the pain reduction even more effective. A recent study published in the journal Cancer Research found that losing 5% of body weight eases joint strain and reduces inflammation.
Choosing more foods from the categories below can make a real difference in a person’s pain level.
Fish and plant protein
Protein from fish and plant sources provide far more omega-3 fatty acids than typical protein sources like beef and chicken. Fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and herrings are a good source of the long chain omega-3s which have been linked to reductions in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Protein-rich plants provide a good supply of essential short chain omega-3s. Vegetable sources of protein can include legumes, such as beans and lentils; seeds and nuts; and ancient grains like spelt and quinoa.
Salmon is by far the most omega-3 laden of fish, but fresh salmon can be pricy. Canned salmon, however, is less expensive and may even be healthier, since it uses wild-caught salmon instead of farm-raised salmon which may be contaminated with toxins.
Herbs and spices
Certain spices, including garlic, turmeric, dried tart cherry, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, and curry, act to prevent inflammation by decreasing the body’s production of COX inhibitors and prostaglandins, a similar mechanism to the painkiller Celebrex.
Reardon particularly recommends turmeric as a pain-killing spice. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain.
Certain oils, like olive, coconut, and grape seed, contain a high number of omega-3s, as do flaxseeds and nut butters, particularly almond butter and cashew butter. Most Americans have an unhealthy ratio of omega-3s to the unhealthy omega-6s found in processed foods and red meats. By replacing unhealthy fats with these healthy ones, the ratio can be reversed, which will help the body better regulate the hormones which produce and reduce inflammation.
Coconut oil has the added advantage of being a good food for the cells of the stomach lining, which aids in efficient digestion and keeps the immune system running well.
Fruits and Vegetables
A diet consisting primarily of unprocessed, plant-based foods creates antioxidant protection for your cell membranes and DNA. Processed, high-sugar foods are already well-known for increasing blood glucose and eventually leading to type 2 diabetes, but the extra insulin the body creates to try to deal with the extra glucose can also cause inflammation.
When looking for fruits and vegetables, it’s important to select a wide variety; good health requires a number of different nutrients from different sources to work in harmony. A good rule of thumb is to select food of different colors: green spinach, yellow squash, purple eggplant, red grapes, and so on. As a general rule, plants with more intense color have a higher number of antioxidants, but even naturally pale foods like cauliflower will provide many benefits.
Kale is one of the most beneficial vegetables around. This dark leafy green is full of fiber, nutrients, and beneficial flavonoids. It’s also easy to prepare; it can be chopped fine and included in soups or sauces, used raw in salads and pasta, or baked into crispy kale chips.
Probiotics are beneficial to the bacteria which live in the digestive system and help break down food. These good bacteria can lose population from stress, pollution, or poor nutrition. Antibiotics prescribed for illness kill the good bacteria right along with the ones causing infection, so additional probiotics can be useful once the infection has cleared. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as kimchee and sauerkraut and in yogurts which have live cultures; Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus should be listed on the label.
Greek yogurt contains all the probiotics of regular yogurt, but it also contains extra vitamin D and nearly twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Greek yogurt can be eaten plain, but it does have a sour taste so some people mix fruit or honey into it.
Plenty of Fluids
Plain water is an absolute necessity to the human body. The body’s organs and blood are comprised of nearly 90% water. The liver and kidneys need water to detoxify the blood of chemicals which shouldn’t be there. Even cellular processes require water. Good hydration is essential to keeping the body’s internal processes running smoothly.
Coffee, black tea, and green tea work against inflammation, and their caffeine content can help ease headache pain. Green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea or coffee. Powdered green tea, a finely ground version of the tea leaves, provides more benefit than regular green tea steeped from a tea bag. The steeped tea contains the tea’s water-soluble antioxidants, but consuming the powder provides the benefit of all antioxidants in the leaf. Green tea powder, or matcha, can be added to soups and baked goods or mixed in to beverages.
Have you ever been concerned that sex may be cutting your ability to grow muscle? If so, you are not alone. This is an age old concern, and many have sacrificed their bedroom time in order to maximize their gym time. There is a connection, but it may not be what you expect. Here are some important points on sex and muscle building.
Possibly the most important relationship between sex and muscle building is the affect your activities have on your zinc levels. Every time a male has an orgasm some zinc is lost in his semen. Zinc is needed for sperm growth and development but also affects testosterone levels.
Reduced testosterone will often lead to diminished muscle growth, and eventually a lower sex drive, too. Without properly resupplying zinc lost through sex and your workouts, it is possible to become deficient. To achieve libido and muscle building balance, a diet high in zinc rich foods like oysters, pecans, cashews and more may be appropriate.
Sex vs Strength
Many sports coaches warn their athletes to abstain from sex before competition. The feeling is that burning your energy in the bedroom will sap your strength on the field. This may have to do with relaxation hormones, such as oxytocin, that are released after sex. The stereotypical image of a tired and sleepy post-sex male holds some truth in this case.
Needless to say, going from the bedroom to the gym may result in a flat workout.
Testosterone and Your Libido
Aside from zinc depletion, there is a close relationship between testosterone levels and libido. More frequent sexual activity often elevates libido. Less sex will often lead to a lower libido. In turn, higher testosterone levels often raises libido as well. Maintaining high testosterone should benefit both sex and your workout, meaning an active sex life may actually lead to muscle growth if everything else is in balance.
Sexual deprivation can cause a lack of focus for many people. Excessive amounts of sex may do the same. For many, this is a non issue, but maintaining a proper balance between your sex life and gym time is essential for your quality of life.
The next time you question the impact sex has on muscle growth, consider these points. A healthy balance between sex and gym time can lead to the best of both worlds.
The U.S. government announced it allocated millions of dollars to fund new research into the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, enabling scientists to launch ambitious new testing. The National Alzheimer’s Plan has a goal of finding effective treatment for the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s related dementia by the year 2025. The plan is funding research that has never been done before, including testing possible therapies in people who are not yet showing severe symptoms. The theory behind the research is to stop the advancement of the disease before the brain is severely destroyed and dementia has set in. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and it’s estimated that 16 million will have the disease by 2050 if effective preventative treatments are not discovered.
Top Alzheimer’s scientists met just this past week to discuss research and possible treatments. Their consensus was that treatment of the epidemic will require the development of a cocktail of treatments, such as those used to help AIDS patients. Since Alzheimer’s affects the brain in different ways, multiple drugs are needed to aggressively prevent the ravages of the disease.
Two Landmark Studies
The initiative will fund two new research studies. First, a $7.9 million clinical trial will test an insulin nasal spray as a treatment. Separate research links diabetes with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, prompting scientists to theorize that sending insulin to the brain could help people who are showing early signs of memory loss.
A second study, costing an estimated $16 million, is the first prevention trial of its kind. It will monitor people with the highest risk for developing Alzheimer’s based on genetics. As part of the research, about 300 people in Columbia that form an extended family and share the gene that triggers Alzheimer’s will test an experimental preventative drug called Genentech’s crenezumab. Researchers hope to see a delay in the onset of symptoms in the group, comprised of people in their 40s. The research will also include family groups of Americans with the same genetic mutation.
Prevention studies are critical to developing treatments because the disease starts causing brain damage about a decade before symptoms appear. “Once the train leaves the station of degeneration, it might be too late to stop it,” says Dr. Reisa Sperling of Harvard Medical School. Physicians and scientists recognize early treatment is crucial just as it is for disorders such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
Today there are just five medications available to treat Alzheimer’s and they only mildly and temporarily delay the advancement of the disease. Sperling further emphasized the need for more research by pointing to the fact that 10 drugs have been tested and failed over the last decade. A new breakthrough is desperately needed.
Increased Support and Awareness
Two of the major goals of the National Alzheimer’s Plan is to provide more resources and better support for families who are caring for Alzheimer’s patients, as well as raise awareness within the community. Families will now be able to access www.alzheimers.gov, a “one-stop shop for families,” according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In addition, the plan funds new training to help doctors and other health care providers identify patients in the beginning stages of the disease and what treatments are best for them.
Six million dollars has been allocated to educate caregivers, physicians and hospital administrators. Additionally, $8.2 million will go toward an outreach program to improve public awareness. Patient advocates feel this step is important to overcoming the stigma associated with the disease that causes many to be diagnosed in the late stages. One report estimates 85 percent of Americans can identify symptoms, but misconceptions lead to late diagnosis.
Causes of the Disease
Further emphasizing the need for research is the fact that scientists still do not know what exactly causes Alzheimer’s. They theorize that abnormal amounts of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, causing neurons to malfunction. As the disease progresses, neurons lose more and more functionality and the ability to communicate with each other, eventually dying. The damage then spreads to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that forms memories. Based on this theory, scientists have tested anti-amyloid drugs but found they failed to stall the disease.
Known Prevention Techniques
For those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s or in the beginning stages, Dr. Carl Cotman, with the University of California, suggests three “brain-protective steps” to take now.
- Exercise your brain. Cotman says you can build your “cognitive reserve,” the ability to prevent dementia, through intellectual and social stimulation.
- Exercise your body. Heart and brain health are directly related. Clogged arteries prevent or slow blood flow to the brain. Getting healthy in your middle age years will lower your risk of Alzheimer’s later in life.
- Eat healthy. Foods good for your heart are also good for your brain, such as fruits, vegetables and fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
The search for an HIV vaccine has taken a major step forward with the discovery of a potential Achilles heel of the virus that causes Aids.
Two powerful antibodies that attack a vulnerable spot common to many strains of HIV have been identified, improving the prospects for a vaccine against a virus that affects an estimated 33 million people and kills over 2 million each year.
The discovery is important because it highlights a potential way around HIV’s defences against the human immune system, which have so far thwarted efforts to make a workable vaccine. The hope is that a vaccine that stimulates the production of these antibodies could remain effective against HIV even as the virus mutates.
A new study released by Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group, Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, RKCSB, LRI, University of Leicester, Leicester LE2 7LX, United Kingdom indicate that daily doses of at least 0.5 g resveratrol were enough to produce an anticancer effect, and suggest that the drug may have potential as a chemopreventive agent. Researchers recruited 20 patients with resectable colon cancer who were scheduled to undergo surgical resection into the study. Ten patients were assigned to 0.5 g resveratrol prior for 8 days to resection and 10 were assigned to 1 g.Resveratrol sulfate glucuronide was a prominent metabolite in colorectal tissue of five patients assigned to the 0.5 g dose and nine patients assigned to the 1 g dose.In most cases, researchers said concentrations of resveratrol and its metabolic conjugates were higher in samples taken from the cecum, ascending colon and hepatic flexure/transverse colon compared with concentrations found in the splenic flexure, descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum.The highest mean concentration of parent resveratrol was 18.9 nmol/g in the 0.5 g group and 674 nmol/g in the 1.0 g group, assuming 1 mL weighs 1 g, in normal tissue localized proximal to the tumor on the right side. In right-sided tumors, the highest mean concentration in the 8.33 nmol/g in the 0.5 g group and 94.1 nmol/g in the 1.0 g group.
Overall, tumor cell Ki-67 staining declined from 88.0% ± 6.64% in predose biopsy samples to 83.2% ± 10.0% in samples taken following surgery. When researchers analyzed the dosing groups separately, resveratrol decreased tumor cell Ki-67 staining by 5.6% in the 0.5 g group and 1.9% in the 1 g group, though the reduction was not considered significant.
A new study by the National Institutes of Health reveals that a key antioxidant contained in red wine, resveratrol may provide a defense against inherited breast cancer.
Investigators from the National Institutes of Health looked for the method by which mutations in tumor suppressor genes such as BRCA-1 lead to breast cancer. They found the normal form of BRCA-1 helps maintain the expression of a protein called SIRT1. SIRT1 in turn inhibits the expression of Survivin, an apoptosis inhibitor suspected of maintaining tumors and helping them grow. However, when BRCA-1 is mutated, SIRT1 levels drop, allowing Survivin to increase.
The researchers found resveratrol, a key component of red wine and grapes, strongly inhibits the growth of BRCA-1 mutant tumors in both cultured cells and animal models. The compound wards off the cancers by enhancing the activities of SIRT1, thus reducing the expression of the cancer booster, Survivin.
“Resveratrol may serve as an excellent compound for targeted therapy for BRCA1 associated breast cancers,” study author Dr. Chu-Xia Deng was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Molecular Cell, published online October 9, 2008
Interplay among BRCA1, SIRT1, and Survivin during BRCA1-Associated Tumorigenesis
Rui-Hong Wang,1 Yin Zheng,1 Hyun-Seok Kim,1 Xiaoling Xu,1 Liu Cao,1 Tyler Luhasen,1 Mi-Hye Lee,1 Cuiying Xiao,1 Athanassios Vassilopoulos,1 Weiping Chen,2 Kevin Gardner,3 Yan-Gao Man,5 Mien Chie Hung,6 Toren Finkel,4 and Chu-Xia Deng1,
1 Genetics of Development and
Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD
2 Microarray Core Facility,
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National
Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
3 Laboratory of Receptor Biology
and Gene Expression, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of
Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
4 Cardiology Branch, National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center
Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
5 Department of Gynecologic and
Breast Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC
6 Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
The velocity of scientific breakthroughs is accelerating in literally all fields of study. The rapid growth in medical research should not be ignored. The day is fast approaching when the human life span will be substantially lengthened by breakthroughs in pharmacology. Instead of treating disease we will soon see major advancements in preventing disease. Another fascinating area of development will come from replacing worn out, diseased or otherwise damaged organs with organs that are literally grown in laboratories. This article appearing in the Times of London reads like a Philip K Dick novel. Perhaps real life is finally catching up with the science fiction on the 1950’s?
Huddled at the back of her shed, bleating under a magnificent winter coat and tearing cheerfully at a bale of hay, she is possibly the answer to Japan’s chronic national shortage of organ donors: a sheep with a revolutionary secret.
Guided by one of the animal’s lab-coated creators, the visitor’s hand is led to the creature’s underbelly and towards a spot in the middle under eight inches of greasy wool. Lurking there is a spare pancreas.
If the science that put it there can be pushed further forward, Japan may be spared an ethical and practical crisis that has split medical and political opinion.
As the sheep-based chimera organ technology stands at the moment, says the man who is pioneering it, the only viable destination for the pancreas underneath his sheep would be a diabetic chimpanzee.
THE PROBLEM OF PAIN
The problem isn’t pain. The problem is pain that doesn’t go away. Pain is a natural signal from the body that there is something wrong. You stub your toe—pain! You sprain your ankle—pain! Inflammation is destroying cartilage in your knee—pain! Lack of circulation causes nerve damage in your feet—pain! When you are in pain, you are motivated to solve the problem. That’s good.
Unfortunately, there are problems that are not accompanied by pain. One of them is internal bleeding. Later in this article you’ll learn why NSAIDS pain medications are so dangerous. One of the reasons is that there’s often no pain signal to sound the alarm that you may be bleeding to death. That’s bad.
NATURAL SOLUTIONS TO END YOUR PAIN
TWO KINDS OF CHRONIC PAIN
There are two main types of chronic pain. One is continuing pain that is clearly associated with a known physical problem. Arthritis, or pain in joints, is an example of chronic pain that is connected to a known physical problem.
The second type of chronic pain is pain that is not associated with a clear physical cause—the “nothing wrong” kind of chronic pain. Lower back pain is frequently in this category. All-over bodily pain (musculoskeletal pain) is another type of agonizing pain without apparent cause that doctors frequently dismiss, misdiagnose and mistreat. These kinds of pain can be extremely frustrating for doctors and patients. You know you’re in pain, but doctors can find “nothing wrong.” Fortunately, the latest research discoveries reveal there are real causes and natural solutions to these kinds of pain.
In this article you will learn about the latest research on safe, effective solutions to both kinds of chronic pain. One of the most exciting discoveries in recent years is the powerful effect of natural vitamin D3—the sunshine vitamin—on pain. Knowledge about vitamin D3 is one of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the decade and my personal top health story for 2007. For complete news about vitamin D3, look for the full report in the next issue of Natural Health News Report. Boswellia serrata is another natural solution to inflammation and pain with powerful new research to back up its effectiveness.
You have a greater risk of dying if you have a heart attack in December than any other month of the year. Why? Doctors don’t know. Researchers found that December heart attack patients had the same standard of care—but more died. Protecting your heart—in December and throughout the year—is the single most important thing you can do to stay alive and well. This special report will give you the latest news on how you can improve your chances of surviving a heart attack—in good shape.
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. In fact, more women than men die from heart attacks. Unfortunately, they may also get worse care from their doctors. Less than half the doctors in a survey even considered heart disease a threat to their women patients! Since they don’t think it’s a problem, many doctors don’t talk to their women patients about how to recognize and respond to heart attacks. So women—pay especial attention to this report. You are at greater risk.
The Truth About Heart Attacks
For many years, doctors and scientists believed that arteries got narrow from eating foods high in cholesterol and this caused heart attacks. You eat too many steaks and buttered baked potatoes, cholesterol builds up, the artery gets too narrow for blood to flow through, and bang! You have a heart attack. Now, scientists have discovered that it’s not that simple.
- Half of all heart attacks happen in people with normal levels of cholesterol.
- Only 14% of heart attacks occur where the artery is the narrowest.Most heart attacks occur in fairly clear locations of the artery.
- Damage to arteries by oxidizedcholesterol and inflammation triggers the process that leads to heart attacks.
- Most heart attacks are caused by a piece of inflamed or “vulnerable” plaque that suddenly ruptures, forms a clot, and blocks circulation to the heart.
- Standard testing by angiography and stress testing cannot detect vulnerable plaque.
- You may not know it’s coming. Sixty-four percent of women and 50% of men who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms.
A shocking report was published in the prestigious Journal of Urology in May, 2006. Middle-aged and older men who take aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), or naproxen (Aleve) have twice the risk for impotence as men who don’t! The researchers concluded that the use of NSAIDs increased the risk of erectile dysfunction. The study estimated that nearly 17% of erectile dysfunction could be due to the use of NSAIDs. The researchers proposed that the NSAIDs may block the body’s release of nitric oxide, a natural body chemical needed to achieve erections.[i]
5 Worst Medications for Healthy Male Sexual Function[ii] [iii]
2. Blood pressure medications, especially beta blockers and diuretics
4. Anti-anxiety medications
Caution: Do not discontinue any medications without first consulting with your physician. There may be alternatives, both natural and pharmaceutical, that can replace them under your doctor’s supervision. For example, a recent study found that almost all anti-depressants were no more effective than a placebo.[iv] Alternatives such as St. John’s Wort may help depression as well, or better, without the side effects.[v] However, withdrawal from prescription anti-depressants must be done under your doctor’s care as there may be severe side effects.
Prevent Pain Without Impotence
If you are in pain, you probably reach for a bottle of aspirin or Advil. Who would ever have thought that common over-the-counter pain pills could cause impotence? Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that may be just as effective—without the side effects of impotence and GI bleeding. If you are taking NSAIDs for arthritis or other pain and inflammation, consider taking a natural alternative such as boswellia, turmeric, hops extract, ginger, vitamin D3 or a formula that combines several of these natural pain and inflammation relievers. Scientific research has shown that they can be as potent as NSAIDs, without the dangerous side effects.
Boswellia, for example, has been shown to be as effective as an NSAID for osteoarthritis in the knee. It is a potent anti-inflammatory.[vi]
[i] Shiri R, et al. Effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use on the incidence of erectile dysfunction J Urol. 2006 May;175(5):1812-16.
[ii] Viera AJ, et al. Newer pharmacologic alternatives for erectile dysfunction. Am Fam Phys. 1999 Sep 15: (60)4.
[iii] Shiri (2006).
[iv] Kirsch I, et al. Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Medicine Vol. 5, No. 2, e45.
Published online: February 26, 2008. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045 Available from: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get- doi
[v] Kirsch I. St Johns wort, conventional medication, and placebo: an egregious double standard. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 193-195.
[vi] Sontakke S, et al. Open, randomized, controlled clinical trial of Boswellia serrata extract as compared to valdecoxib in osteoarthritis of the knee. Indian J Pharmacol. 2007;39(1):27-29.
Good news on the swine flu. Mexican officials lowered their swine flu alert level in the capital today and are allowing cafes, museums and libraries to reopen this week, even as WHO (world health) officials weighed raising their pandemic alert to the second highest level this past week.
Mexican health officials declared the epidemic to be waning at its epicenter, announcing this coming Wednesday will conclude a five-day closure of nonessential businesses. They’ve credited the reducing the spread of the new flu virus with this closure so allowing commerce to resume appears to be a good sign.
It’s important to how ever note that Mexican health authorities haven’t decided when to reopen schools across their country and are insisting that inspections are necessary before students can return to class.
Meanwhile World Health Organization officials as well as health officials across the globe remain vigilant insisting the swine outbreak’s spread around the world remains in its early stages, but there were no imminent plans to raise the pandemic alert level from the level 5 it is currently set at.
Medical research isn’t perfect. Government regulatory agencies aren’t either. Unfortunately, the combination of poor research plus a government agency’s failure to correct the researchers’ errors resulted in one of the biggest public health disasters in modern history. The mistake? Believing that taking adequate amounts of vitamin D3 is dangerous. The consequences? Millions of Americans are deficient in vitamin D3. How important is that? Very, very important.
Breast Cancer Reduced Up To 77%
with Higher Levels of Vitamin D3
A recently published four-year, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial—the “gold standard” of clinical trials—studied over 1,000 postmenopausal women in Nebraska. The researchers found that women who received 1100 IU of vitamin D3 during the entire four-year period had 60% less breast cancer than the placebo group who took no vitamin D3. When the first year was “washed-out” due to the chance of some women already having breast cancer, the reduction in breast cancer was an amazing 77%![i] (The women also received 1500 mg calcium. Calcium alone had no effect on cancer.) I know of nothing else that has this kind of “gold standard” proof in preventing breast cancer—safely and economically. The dose of 1100 IU of vitamin D3 was almost three times what the government agency recommends.
To fully understand how this could affect you and your family, let me explain the statistics of this. First, one out of three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. So, you or a loved one has a very good chance of getting cancer. According to this study, if you line up 100 women who would have gotten breast cancer— and they are all taking 1100 IU of vitamin D3—77 of these women who would have gotten breast cancer won’t.
BRONX, NY – Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have linked resveratrol, a chemical compound found in red wine, to improved health of patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), also known as “pre-diabetes.”
The results of the small pilot study presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) earlier this month showed promise. Among 10 patients with IGT given resveratrol supplements at concentrations higher than those normally found in wine, grapes or peanuts, all demonstrated lower post-meal glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity – an encouraging outcome with potential implications for those with type 2 diabetes or at high risk for the condition. The study was led by Jill Crandall, M.D., associate professor of clinical medicine and director of the Diabetes Clinical Trials Unit at Einstein.
“The results of this pilot study are preliminary and need to be confirmed in larger numbers of patients,” said Dr. Crandall. “However, we are encouraged by these findings and plan to conduct additional studies to further explore the potential utility of resveratrol in improving glucose metabolism”
Also presented at the meeting was a related study by Meredith Hawkins, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Global Diabetes Initiative at Einstein. She reported on the effect of resveratrol in overweight, middle-aged subjects who were insulin resistant. Using a highly sensitive measurement technique, Dr. Hawkins detected a 40 percent increase in insulin sensitivity, as well as improvements in mitochondrial function. An unrelated, non-Einstein resveratrol study presented at the ADA meeting showed the substance may prevent harmful blood vessel growth in the retina of mice.
Everyone would love to be able to rip off their shirts and feel confident because they have a great set of abdominal muscles. The problem is that many people who try to build up their “6 packs” aren’t able to achieve their goals. And some of these folks have done quite a bit of exercise…maybe you’ve tried to build up your abs but didn’t have the results you’d been hoping for?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. The reason that most people who try to develop their abdominal muscles and aren’t successful is that they quite simply aren’t doing the right kinds of exercises. I’ll explain in a moment why that’s the case, but let me start out by giving you a little bit of information about my background.
I’ve been training for the last 24 years and have owned my own fitness training facility for the last ten years. I started out as amateur boxer, then I moved to martial arts. I recognized the need for fighters to be well conditioned, so I earned a certification in fitness training.
I’m proud to say I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of men and women from all walks of life get into shape. Let me make one thing clear. It’s a myth that it’s hard to get six pack abs!
It doesn’t require massive stomach work outs with hundreds of repetitions and tons of time. The reason so many people have trouble getting a great stomach is quite simply that they are doing exercises that aren’t the right ones. Sure sit ups can help you, but here’s what you’ve got to understand. Your stomach muscles essentially are comprised of three parts:
- rectus abdominus – the large ab muscle that covers the body’s midsection
- external obliques – located on both sides of the rectus abdominus and on top of the internal obliques
- internal obliques – located directly beneath the external obliques
The problem with most people’s work outs is that they aren’t doing a combination of exercises that pinpoints the different muscle groups in the right quantity. In fact, some people are doing too many reps and are actually causing muscle degradation. If you use an exercise system that does this, you actually don’t need to exercise more than 5 minutes a day, three to four times a week.
The only exercise programs that will maximize your stomach muscles so you have a flat stomach with the six pack are the ones that do what I said above. So, if you want to have a stomach you can feel proud of just click onto the link below to get my free report on how you can get 6 pack abs in only 5 minutes a day. For more information on this subject click the link below…