Monday, March 30, 2015
If you suffer from allergies you are not alone. It's estimated one out of every four people suffers from either pollen from trees, which is common in the springs, grass in the summer or weed pollen in the fall. Some people, poor things, deal with all of the above!
CHECK THE FORECAST
If you tend to sneeze and wheeze, check your local weather forecast to see when the pollen is going to be the highest. Rainy days, or shortly after a rain are the times when it's the lowest, as well as days when there isn't much wind.
CLOSE THE WINDOWS
Since pollen is in the air, close your windows and use your air conditioning. It helps to cool, dry and clean the air. Same thing with your car: windows up, air conditioning on.
KEEP POLLEN OUT OF YOUR HOME
Change your clothes when you come inside, because you're likely covered in pollen, which you don't want to bring into the house. Don't forget to wash your skin and hair. Also wash your bedding frequently in hot water.
MANAGE OUTDOOR TIME
Pollen is at its worst from 5:00 to 10:00 in the morning. So if possible, wait until later to go outside. Go the extra mile if you will be outside for a long time doing an activity such as gardening or mowing the lawn, by wearing an N-95 mask for added protection. You can find these at most home improvement stores. They're especially useful if you plan on mowing the grass or gardening, although if you can afford to, it's best to pay someone to perform these tasks and save yourself the discomfort.
Believe it or not, your diet can help reduce outdoor allergy symptoms. Adding Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly fish oil, can reduce inflammation. The best fish are cold water ones, such as salmon or tuna. Fish oil supplements also do the trick.
Antioxidant foods can relieve your allergic symptoms, too. That includes a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Topping the list are broccoli and blueberries.
Also quercetin helps. This is found in foods like onions and apples and is also available in supplement form. Vitamin C, in foods or supplements, including the powdered form, is also helpful for combatting allergy symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications sometimes help allergy sufferers, although many people do not find relief from them. Claritin and Allegra are popular because they typically do not cause drowsiness the way some other allergy medications do. Be careful not to over-use nasal sprays, because they can lead to dependence on them. Those warnings are listed on the product's package.
If over-the-counter drugs don't relieve your symptoms, see your doctor. Sometimes prescription medications work.
However, the most effective treatment is immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots. The injections contain tiny, but increasing, amount of the allergen, which increases the immune system's tolerance so over time you can decrease or eliminate your symptoms altogether. Patients start off by getting a shot once a week, then taper-off to once every six weeks.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Now that the weather is turning nice, make a point to walk barefoot outside. It’s so good for you!
Most of us just call it “walking barefoot,” but the health experts have fancy names for it such as “grounding” or “earthing.” No matter what you call it, it’s simply connecting your bare skin with the earth.
It makes sense for most people to just walk barefoot, but you’ll get the same benefits by lying on the ground in a t-shirt and shorts staring at the clouds (remembering doing that as a kid?) and so forth.
Obviously, “grounding” or “earthing” is a great stress reliever, just think about how your cares melt away during a walk on the beach. We all know that stress is a major killer. But the benefits go way beyond stress relief.
Walking barefoot actually reduces inflammation, according to 30 years of research on the subject. Inflammation is now considered to be the No. 1 cause of heart disease, which kills more Americans than anything else. Inflammation is blamed for many other health problems from cancer to arthritis. Knowing that a simple walk in your bare feet can reduce inflammation sounds almost too good to be true.
Scientists say the reason “grounding” reduces damaging inflammation is because the earth contains electrons, which are negatively charged. These electrons are constantly replenished into the earth through solar radiation and lightning strikes.
We need these electrons in our body. The good news is our bodies naturally absorb these particles when we make physical contact with the ground.
The reason we need these electrons in our bodies is to neutralize all the harmful free-radicals racing around inside our bodies. These free-radicals are highly inflammatory. They come from things like trans fats and pollution. They happen to be positively charged. So the negatively charged electrons from the ground neutralize or “cancel-out” the positively-charged free radicals.
The electrons gained through grounding also helps keep your body’s innate electrical circuitry properly balanced. All of these effects of grounding are extremely beneficial to heart health.
Without a regular connection to the Earth, people can develop an electron deficiency. In turn, this can lead to imbalances in the body and potentially to significant health problems. For example, many health experts believe chronic inflammation, which is increasingly being identified as the cause of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, may be a result of a lack of connectedness.
In addition to stress relief and lowered inflammation, grounding also has been shown to thin the blood, which improves blood pressure and circulation.
If you are interested in partaking of this old, yet new, health practice, just make sure you do it long enough. Simply walking in your yard from the porch to the curb won’t cut it. You need to spend about 40 minutes a day walking in the grass, sand, or dirt. You actually don’t need to be moving…but that exercise certainly is a good thing.
Some health professionals say walking on concrete works, such as the sidewalk, but NOT wood or concrete. These are the same folks who say if you can’t get to the great outdoors a warm basement with a concrete floor will also work.
Sit there and read or just relax with your bare feet resting on the ground.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Lack of sleep is a serious problem in the United States. Recent surveys indicate almost half of all Americans do not get enough shut-eye. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems. Lack of sleep often causes us to overeat because when we’re tired the hunger hormone kicks into high gear.
Some people get less sleep than they need by choice. These are the people who make the conscious decision to stay up late working (or playing) then get up early. Those people would be wise to re-think their choice to burn the candle at both ends and exercise self-disciple by getting the proper amount of sleep.
In the short-term as well as in the long-run, they will reap the health benefits. You know you are not getting enough sleep if your do not feel refreshed in the morning. Other clues are irritability, grogginess, difficulty concentrating, or staying awake during meetings or classes, and trying to catch-up on sleep on weekends.
Aside from people who choose to get less sleep than their body requires, there are millions of people who would like to get a full eight hours of sleep and try to do so but can’t. This is called insomnia. There are two types of insomniacs: people who can't fall asleep to begin with, and people who fall asleep just fine but who wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.
Since so many people have difficulty sleeping, sleeping pills are some of the most widely prescribed medications in America and some of the best-selling over-the-counter medications. Sadly, however, sleeping pills usually do more harm than good. For many, the first step tends to be sleeping pills when, in reality, it should be one of the last. According to sleep experts, this medication is addictive, can have serious side effects, and can cause drowsiness during the day.
Instead of taking a sleeping pill, it’s better to figure out what’s causing the sleep trouble and fix that. Many sleep disorders are brought on by underlying physical problems, like obesity or emotional issues like depression. Doctors say by addressing those root causes and changing some lifestyle choices, you can get the sleep you want and need without drugs.
One reason for sleeplessness can be eating or drinking the wrong things. Too much caffeine can be a culprit so cut out coffee, tea, soda, even chocolate, eight hours before bedtime or better yet, altogether. Don't eat within two hours of bedtime and avoid big meals and alcohol, which can knock you out but later wake you up. Nix the spicy or fatty foods. They cause heartburn, which interferes with sleep.
In order to really get a great night's sleep, turn your bedroom into a true sleep chamber. That means eliminating anything your brain associates with wakefulness. So when you're in bed, don't do things like watch TV, pay the bills, or have tense conversations.
In fact, if you worry in bed, think about something calm or get out of bed and go to another room. Then once you are in that other room, get a pen and literally write down your problems. This subconsciously transfers them from your mind to the paper, relieving stress so you can go back to bed.
Prayer before bed and when you have difficulty sleeping is very effective. As the Bible says, “cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.”
Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can have you sleeping like a baby. Many people find they no longer need sleep aids or anti-depressants after starting and sticking to a regular exercise program that involves at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily as well as weight training. Finish your work-out at least two or three hours before bedtime.
Taking a warm shower or bath before bed is a great way to calm and soothe. Using fragrant bath products can also help.
Make sure your bedroom is cool. The temperature should not exceed 68 degrees. Do not use a lot of heavy blankets. A cool temperature aids a good night’s sleep. Many people don’t realize they wake-up because they are too hot. There are even cooling pillows available at home stores.
SIGHT AND SOUND
Make sure your bedroom is dark. Avoid night lights, light from other rooms or the hallway and electronics. Make sure no light is coming in from outside the window. You may want to invest in some thick curtains or blinds. Use a sleep mask or earplugs if necessary.
White noise machines are very helpful to block out sounds that might wake you, such as traffic, snoring, or the air conditioner or heater turning on and off.
Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Our bodies do better when we stick with the same schedule.
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a stimulant, meaning it keeps us awake, just like coffee.
If these tips don't work, see your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea. This is a condition where a person’s oxygen supply is cut-off many times during the night, preventing a restful night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by the airway closing during sleep.
A good way to recognize sleep apnea is the person gasps and chokes during the night. People with sleep apnea are usually prescribed a C-PAP machine to use at night, that keeps the airway open. People with sleep apnea often find that when the use the C-PAP machine they experience restful sleep and have increased energy and lose weight.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Many people would like to lessen sugar's impact on their body to lose weight and reduce the risk of many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, even colds and flu.
However, there appears to be a lot of confusion about which foods have the greatest sugar impact. Below are some foods that have a low sugar impact, as well as some ones with a high sugar impact that may be surprising.
This is a great substitute for regular spaghetti, which has a high sugar impact. Just cut it in half (carefully!) scrape out the ;seeds and pulp, oil the cut part, then put each half, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast at 375 for 40 minutes.
HOMEMADE SALAD DRESSINGS
This is a lower sugar impact substitute for bottled salad dressing. Just whisk together one part vinegar (not balsamic) and three parts olive oil and season to taste. Salt and pepper are fine, I also add some Dijon mustard, crushed garlic and Italian Seasoning.
HOW TO SOAK BEANS
(excerpted from JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet)
If you can, buy your beans dry, and rinse and soak them before cooking them. They'll be more nutrition, lower in salt, and less expensive than canned beans. Soaking also ensures they'll cook evenly and cuts down on the gas they generate.
There are two main ways to soak beans: the long soak methods and the quick soak method.
- LONG SOAK
To long soak, rinse the dried beans, put them in a bowl, and add enough water to cover them by about 3 inches. Then just put them in the fridge overnight, and they'll be ready for you to drain, rinse, and cook in the morning.
- QUICK SOAK
When you're in a hurry, pour the bean into a large pot and add water until they're covered by about 3 inches. Boil for 1 minute, then cover and let stand for an hour. When the beans are tender and have doubled in size, they're done and ready to drain.
Here are the sugar impacts of several types of foods
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Acorn squash
• Bok Choy
• Brussels Sprouts
• Butternut squash
• Kale chips
• Snow peas
• Spaghetti squash
MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Sweet potatoes
HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• Beet Juice
• Carrot juice
• French fries
• Mashed potatoes
• Potato chips
• Root veggie chips
• Sweet potato fries
• White potatoes
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Acai berries (no sugar added)
• Raspberries Star fruit
MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Fresh figs
• Sundried tomatoes
• Tomato juice
• Tomato paste
• Tomato sauce
• V8 juice
HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• All dried fruit
• Fruit leather
• Fruit juices
• Preserves and conserve
• Fruit juice concentrates
• Canned fruit cocktail
• Fruit juice Popsicles
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• 100% dark chocolate
• 85% dark chocolate
• Monk fruit
MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• 70% or higher dark chocolate
• Blackstrap molasses
• Cane syrup (non-GMO)
• Coconut palm sugar
• Coconut sugar
• Glucose (aka dextrose(non-GMO)
• Local organic raw honey
• Raw brown sugar (nonprocessed)
• Rice syrup
HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• 70% dark chocolate
• Caramel sauce
• Chocolate syrup
• Crystalline fructose
• Fruit juice concentrate
• High fructose corn syrup
• Honey (processed)
• Maple syrup
• Milk chocolate
• Processed brown sugar
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Flax milk (unsweetened)
• Full-fat cheeses (avoid blue cheese due to gluten)
• Full-fat cream cheese
• Full-fat grass-fed milk
• Full-fat organic milk
• Full-fat plain cottage cheese
• Monk fruit sweetened coconut ice cream
• Coconut creamer (no sugar added)
• Coconut, cashew or almond milk (no sugar added)
• Organic creamer
• Organic, plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt
• Plain dairy or coconut kefir
• Ricotta cheese
MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Cream cheese spread (low-fat or full-fat)
• Low-fat cheese
• Neufchatel cheese
• Organic low-fat or non-fat plain Greek-style yogurt
• Part-skim mozzarella
• Part-skim ricotta
• Soy cheese
• Sweetened coconut milk creamer
• Unsweetened rice milk
• Whipped cream cheese
HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• 94% fat-free microwave popcorn and/or kettle corn
• Breakfast bars
• Carnation Instant Breakfast
• Dried fruit snacks
• Fat-free baked chips
• Fat-free muffins
• Fat-free pudding
• Flavored almond milk yogurt
• Flavored kefir
• Frozen yogurt
• Fruit-added cream cheese
• Granola bars
• Hot cocoa
• Ice cream
• Lite Cool Whit
• Low-fat and Fat-free cookies
• Low-fat graham crackers
• Low-fat or fat-free ice cream
• Low-fat or light frozen dinners
• Low-fat Oreos
• Low or reduced-fat crackers
• Non-fat cheeses
• Non-fat cream cheese
• Pineapple cottage cheese
• Protein bars
• Reduced-fat macaroni and cheese
DRESSINGS AND CONDIMENTS
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Avocado oil
• Hot sauce
• Macadamia nut oil
• Olive Oil
• Sour Dill pickles
• Walnut oil
• Wheat-free tamari
MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Bread and butter pickles
• Caesar dressing
• Fish sauce
• Green curry sauce
• Italian dressing
• Marinara sauce (no sugar added)
• Pickle relish
• Red curry sauce
• Sweet pickle relish
• Sweet pickles
• Tomato sauce
HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• Asian-style salad dressing
• Balsamic vinaigrette
• Balsamic vinegar
• BBQ sauce
• Blue cheese dressing
• Brown sauce
• Catalina dressing
• Cocktail sauce
• French dressing
• Hoisin sauce
• Honey mustard
• Honey mustard dressing
• Hot and sour sauce
• Marinara sauce (sugar added)
• Peanut sauce
• Ranch dressing
• Raspberry vinaigrette
• Steak sauce
• Sweet chili sauce
• Tartar sauce
• Teriyaki sauce
• Thousand Island dressing
• Worchestershire sauce
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• All teas
• Green drinks (greens only-no fruit, carrot, or beet added)
• Green tea (no sugar added)
• Coffee and decaf coffee
• Sparkling mineral water
• Unsweetened coconut water
• Unsweetened fruit essence teas
MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Tomato juice
• V8 (not with fruit juice)
• Kombucha tea (no sugar added)
HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• Capri Sun
• Carnation Instant Breakfast
• Carrot juice
• Commerical "smothies"
• "Enhanced" waters (with sweeteners)
• Fruit juices
• Rockstar energy drink
• Sweet tea
• Sweetened coconut water
• Vitaminwater and most vitamin-supplemented waters
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Americans have a serious sugar addiction. The worst part is that we don’t even realize the horrific amounts we consume and how it is destroying every part of our lives.
Right now many Americans consume a cup of sugar every day. That has doubled in the last 100 years. Almost everything we put in our mouths contains sugar, including foods that we think are healthy. We may feel good about ourselves when we eat a food with whole grain, for example, or something with calcium or Vitamin C, not realizing it is also super-charged with sugar. The manufacturers don't advertise that fact on the label.
Food manufacturers don't want you to know the bad things about their foods. So in a sense, that sugar is hidden, even though it is, by law, on the Nutrition Facts and in the list of ingredients. You have to look for it.
So what's so bad about sugar, anyway? Why all the fuss?
First, sugar is a highly addictive substance. In fact, scientists discovered it’s as addictive as cocaine! Brain scans reveal the pleasure and reward centers light-up in the exact same way when people consume cocaine as they do sugar.
Furthermore, we become a slave to sugar. It puts us literally in bondage, both physically and emotionally. When we eat sugar, it raises our blood sugar level, which causes insulin to be released. This is what we call a "sugar high" followed by a "sugar crash."
That sugar crash causes us to crave more sugar, and so the cycle continues. That's the physical component.
The emotional aspect is that sugar affects our mood the same way. We’re energetic, then lethargic. We're not ourselves. Sugar controls our behavior…the way we work and relate to others.
Sugar has been linked to some deadly health problems like cancer and heart disease. Researchers tell us that cancer cells thrive on sugar. Sugar "feeds" cancer cells. Many doctors tell their patients to abstain from sugar because this literally starves cancer cells.
I have witnessed patients who have taken that advice and their cancer has not returned. One man had such severe bone cancer he was only given months to live. In desperation, he cut-out all types of sugar and is still alive and kickin' years later.
Sugar is now considered to be the true cause of heart disease. Many doctors say it's sugar, not cholesterol, that destroys our arteries.
Sugar causes inflammation, obesity, and weakens our immune system, putting us at risk for dozens of health problems, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, even the common cold and the flu.
So how do we get rid of sugar? Obviously, we stop eating desserts like ice cream, cake, cookies, and candy. But that's only part of the problem. We have to tackle those hidden sugars in places you’d never suspect.
Low-fat and fat-free foods have very high amounts of sugar, because when you take the fat out of something, you are either left with just concentrated sugar, or you add sugar to what remains to give it the flavor that's missing because the fat is gone.
Skim milk actually contains a surprising amount of sugar, just like lots of other dairy products such as fat-free cream cheese. Certain fat-free yogurts contain as much sugar as one-and-a-half ice cream cones. Many fat-free salad dressings are one-third sugar.
Products that boast "fruit" and "juice" or "no sugar added" on the labels are perhaps the biggest scam. People think if they see those words, a product is healthy. Not true! They contain highly concentrated fructose, which is arguably even worse than straight-up sugar!
Food manufacturers take actual fruit, which is good for us, but they take out the best parts, the nutrients and the fiber. What's left is the super-sweet fructose in highly concentrated forms.
This is what you find in all those juices, fruit leathers, fruit snacks and so-forth. Parents think they are giving their kids healthy foods, when they might as well be giving them candy. The same thing goes for dried fruits, too, the raisins, dried cranberries, pineapples, and so on.
Refined carbohydrates are often a huge source of sugar. These are the white breads, bagels, pizza crust, pretzels, pita chips, tortillas, white flour, white pasta, crackers and so forth.
Even though these foods do not taste sweet, when you eat them, your body responds to them just like you ate pure sugar. That's because they are made with grains that have been stripped of the fiber and nutrients, so what remains is pure starch, which your body reads as pure sugar.
Be careful when switching to whole grains, because even though these are better than the refined carbohydrates, whole grain foods are often loaded with added sugar. For example, two slices of whole wheat bread can contain the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar.
Foods that appear healthy, such as instant oatmeal, often contain lots of added sugar. One pack of it can contain 12 grams of sugar. If you want oatmeal, the slow-cook oats, which have just one gram of sugar per serving are better.
Protein shakes and bars as well as lots of healthy-sounding breakfast foods like muffins are too frequently jam-packed with as much sugar as a hot fudge sundae.
If you're confused about a food's sugar content, look at the "Nutrition Facts" label and go to the "Sugars" line. Aim for two grams or less. Get ready to be shocked at how high some of those numbers go. Recently I saw a protein shake with 44 grams of sugar!
Another great resource is the book, J.J. Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet. She divides foods into high, medium and low sugar impact, to help you decide what’s best. For instance, a white potato is high, a sweet potato is medium, and pumpkin is low.
White rice is high, brown rice is medium, and wild rice is low. Pasta sauce with sugar added is high, pasta sauce with no sugar added is medium, and crushed tomatoes with olive oil and basil is low.
Monday, February 16, 2015
The more researchers investigate how stress destroys the body, the more they realize it is one of, if not the, greatest risk factors for disease and death. That's why many healthcare experts say reducing stress is the best thing we can do to improve our health, even more important than diet and smoking.
Scientists tell us there is a direct link between stress and cancer, heart attacks, and stroke. Stress also leads to obesity and the fallout from being overweight such as diabetes and arthritis. Stress even contributes to Alzheimer's disease. It also weakens our immune system, so when we're stressed-out we're more likely to get sick from a cold or the flu.
The reason stress is so deadly is because when we experience negative emotions our body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which over time, shut-down our body's ability to function normally. Stress also increases damaging inflammation.
Stress comes from feeling negative emotions like worry, fear, and anger. However it may surprise you to know that the most destructive form of stress is the combination of grief and loneliness, including depression.
The good news is that there are many ways to effectively reduce stress.
Exercise is one of the best ways to effectively reduce the deadly effects of stress. Exercise increases oxygen levels throughout the body, which relieves stress and stimulates endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. Exercise also increases brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which help to reduce anxiety and minimize feelings of depression.
You can also reduce stress by regular prayer. In one experiment, people who meditated over an eight week period made more antibodies than those who didn't. they also maintained a stronger immune system four months later.
Unforgiveness is a powerful form of stress. It destroys you from inside. Therefore, some medical facilities actually use forgiveness therapy as a form of treatment for diseases like cancer. Many people have difficulty forgiving others because they think in doing so, they are condoning, or approving-of, whatever the person did to them. The truth is, if you were wronged, forgiveness does not mean agreeing with what has been done to you. Forgiveness means LETTING GO of it, not dwelling on it, or holding it against the person.
Interacting with others in a way that lets them know you care about them is an excellent stress-reducing mechanism. When we are in social situations, such as caregiving or volunteering it provides us internally with a sense of well-being. If you are lonely or grieving, getting your focus off of yourself and onto others less fortunate is a great way to lift your spirit and alleviate stress. A study of people between the ages of 18 and 55 found that those who had six or more close friends were four times better at fighting off viruses than people with fewer connections.
A simple touch from another person reduces stress. A gentle hug releases the stress-relieving hormone, oxytocin.
According to various studies, laughter activates disease-fighting T-cells and increases the production of immune-strengthening antibodies. Even just thinking about a funny even can have a positive effect. In one study, men were told three days in advance that they were going to watch a funny video Their stress levels dropped immediately.
Monday, February 09, 2015
There are many ways coconut oil can benefit your health. It strengthens the immune system, softens the skin, and best of all, boosts the brain.
Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal. It's a natural antibiotic without the negative side effects. Dr. Beverly Teter, a lipid biochemist researcher at the University of Maryland, is an expert in the area of dietary fat. She says coconut oil helps defend against viruses like HIV and herpes viruses.
"The coconut oil tends to keep the bacteria down so that if you're assaulted with a virus, your immune system can concentrate on the virus. It doesn't have to concentrate on 27 other bacteria that day," she explained.
Coconut oil is also an excellent moisturizer for the face and body because of its superb absorption rate. Not only does it provide natural oils to the skin, but unlike other lotions that linger on the skin's surface, coconut oil is remarkably effective at sinking deep into the tissue to provide lasting softness.
The best thing about coconut oil is the way it energizes brain cells. In fact, hundreds of Alzheimer's patients recorded how their symptoms actually reversed after taking coconut oil. The benefits of coconut oil for Alzheimer's patients was first documented by Dr. Mary Newport, a Tampa physician whose husband was battling Alzheimer's.
Dr. Newport's exhausting research led her to conclude that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetes of the brain, sometimes known as "Type 3 Diabetes."
What that means is, an insulin-uptake problem prevents glucose from getting to the brain cells. Glucose is the primary fuel for brain cells. Therefore, if they receive fuel properly, they eventually malfunction and die.
However, Dr. Newport discovered coconut oil provides an alternate fuel to brain cells that are unable to receive glucose. This alternate form of energy to the brain cells is ketone bodies, which come from eating coconut oil.
Dr. Newport tested her theory on her husband, who showed dramatic improvement shortly after taking coconut oil.
Before taking coconut oil, he was asked to draw a picture of a clock. He drew circles and several numbers just in a very random pattern, that didn't really look anything like a clock. Then Dr. Newport began feeding coconut oil to her husband.
Two weeks later he was asked to draw a picture of a clock and demonstrated stunning improvement. At that point, Dr Newport recalls being encouraged, but not convinced.
"I thought at the time, was it just good luck? Was it a lot of prayer? Was it the coconut oil? And I thought, well, we're going to keep the coconut oil going," she said.
Three weeks later, Steve took drew yet another clock. It was remarkably improved.
In addition to the clock test, Dr. Newport noticed the reversal of other Alzheimer's symptoms her husband was experiencing.
"He was not able to run, he was able to run again," she recalled, "He could not read for about a year and a half, but after two or three months he was able to read. Instead of being very sluggish, not talking very much in the morning, he would come out in the morning with energy, talkative and joking, and he could find his water and his utensils."
Dr. Newport documented Steve's success in a book called, Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was A Cure?
She received a stack of thank-you letters from people whose loved ones' Alzheimer's symptoms were reversed after adding coconut oil to their diet. In fact, so many Alzheimer's patients noticed this kind of improvement that The Byrd Alzheimer's Institute is currently conducting a human study on the effect of coconut oil on Alzheimer's patients.
Coconut oil has also been shown to reverse the symptoms of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and ALS.
Dr. Newport points out that brain cell problems often begin years before a person begins showing the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Therefore, she suggests taking coconut oil as a preventive measure to guard against developing Alzheimer's or other types of neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
The best thing you can do for heart health is to stop eating processed foods. What are processed foods? They are foods that have had something "done" to them. Processed foods are the prepared foods that are in packages. They are fast foods and in most cases, restaurant foods.
The reason processed foods are so bad for your heart is that almost all processed foods contain at least one of these damaging ingredients, oftentimes all three: sugar, trans fat, Omega-6 fat. All three of these ingredients have been proven to cause inflammation, which leads to heart disease.
Remember, sugar is not only the obvious high fructose corn syrup, but also refined carbohydrates, which have the same effect on your body as actual table sugar.
Refined carbohydrates are things like white flour. It's gotten to the point that when I see a product containing a refined carbohydrate, in my mind's eye, I no longer see wheat, but sugar. Therefore, it really helps to avoid the temptation to eat such products, if you get in the habit of, when you look at one, say to yourself, "That's just sugar."
Trans fats are "hydrogenated oils." As the name suggests, they are oils that have been infused with hydrogen in a lab somewhere. Trans fats are not found in nature. They are highly industrialized products. Trans fats were formulated so foods would retain their shelf life.
Trans fats are the reason processed foods do not "go bad" as quickly as foods containing natural fats do. So if you think it's a good thing that you can buy your packaged cookies, crackers, cereals and pastries on one day, put them in your cupboard, and pull them out two months later (or much longer!) and eat them....think again. It's actually a very bad thing.
The trans fat that allows that to happen is only good for people who make money selling these foods, as long as they don't eat them. The fact is, molecularly, trans fats are very similar to PLASTIC. Our bodies do not recognize plastic, and do not know what to do with it. Therefore, it's little wonder trans fats cause internal inflammation and ultimately heart disease.
Omega-6 fats also cause inflammation. These are the vegetable oils. The most common vegetable oil in processed food is soybean oil. It's been said that most Americans eat soybean oil every day. The real problem with Omega-6 fats is the same as the problem with sugar. That is, we consume too much of them.
In other words, a tiny bit of sugar and a tiny bit of Omega-6 is OK. Most Americans, however, consume massive amounts of both, which our bodies are nowhere near equipped to handle, and that overload causes deadly inflammation.
The reason overconsumption of Omega-6 fats, the vegetable oils, is bad, is because our bodies are designed to operate efficiently with about EQUAL AMOUNTS OF OMEGA-6 FATS AND OMEGA-3 FATS. Omega-3 fats are found in fish oil). The problem is, most Americans consume 20 times the amount of Omega-6 fats compared to Omega-3s, which leads to massive inflammation.
Many Americans hardly ever eat Omega-3 fats. Since Omega-6s and Omega-3s actually compete against each other within your body, even if you are eating some Omega-3s, you might not get the benefit if your are loading-up on too many Omega-6s.
Another problem with most vegetables oils is the way in which they are processed. Most of the vegetables oils, such as the ones in the clear, plastic bottles lining the grocery store aisle, are heated and refined to the point that they are damaged, distorted, and dangerous to our bodies.
So stay away from packaged foods because they likely contain sugar, trans fat, or Omega-6 fat....often all three.
Be on your guard in the grocery store. But that's not all. Sadly, most restaurants use lots of sugar, trans fats, and Omega-6 fats. This goes for fast food restaurants, as well as the sit-down type.
So the bottom line is, for heart health, eat whole foods that you cook at home. This requires more time and energy than eating processed foods, but isn't it worth it?
By the way, watch out for trans fats and Omega-6 fats even if you plan to cook at home. Most margarines, "spreads," oils and shortenings at the grocery store fall into those categories.
The exceptions include avocado oil, which is good for cooking at high temperature. Coconut oil and butter are good at medium temperatures and olive oil is good at low temperature or raw, such as in salad dressing.
Monday, January 26, 2015
February is almost upon us, and that means American Heart Health Month. The prevailing wisdom about heart health makes my heart heavy. It's distressing that despite recent headlines to the contrary over the last few years, most Americans, and more disturbingly, most American doctors, continue to fasely believe that high cholesterol causes heart disease.
This is a dangerous misconception, because the truth of the matter is that, on the whole, cholesterol is actually good for us, and the real cause of heart disease -- inflammation -- is being ignored. In other words, we've falsely accused cholesterol of the crime of heart disease when the real perpetrator, inflammation, is literally getting away with murder.
The good news is more and more people are catching on. It's additionally encouraging to see doctors, especially heart doctors, who admit they were wrong about thinking high cholesterol causes heart disease. Unfortunately, that misconception has been so thoroughly drummed into our collective conscious that it is going to take a long time to reverse.
There is extensive literature and scientific studies that disprove the high cholesterol/heart disease hypothesis. After all, that is what it always was: a hypothesis.
The latest science tells us what really causes heart disease is inflammation. Inflammation is caused by eating too much sugar, too many refined carbohydrates like white bread, and too many Omega-6 fats, such as soybean oil.
Sadly, the misinformation about saturated fat leading to high cholesterol and therefore causing heart disease, led to the low-fat craze of the 90s and beyond. That craze consisted of replacing saturated fat in our diet with sugar, refined carbohydrates and Omega-6 fats (vegetable oils).
As a result, heart disease increased, along with obesity and cancer.
Many doctors, such as cardiovascular surgeon Stephen Sinatra, could not ignore what they were seeing with their own eyes. Many of their heart patients had low cholesterol. Many also had high cholesterol. This led to the undeniable conclusion that cholesterol levels generally do not factor into heart disease risk. It had to be something else that was causing it.
They discovered it was inflammation. Dr. Sinatra details his "conversion" from blaming cholesterol to blaming inflammation for heart disease in his excellent book, The Great Cholesterol Myth.
Other doctors who understand that saturated fat does not lead to heart disease include Dr. Dwight Lundell, Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Mark Hyman and many, many others.
In fact, they will tell you that saturated fat is actually good for you. For instance, saturated fat raises your HDL cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol, which all doctors agree is healthy, more effectively than anything else.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat and is widely considered one of the most beneficial substances we can consume. It has even helped people with Alzheimer's regain cognitive functions. For more on this, check out the book, What If There Was A Cure For Alzheimer's And No One Knew? by Dr. Mary Newport, a Florida neonatologist, whose husband experienced remarkable improvement with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is also a natural antimicrobial, useful in preventing infections like the cold and flu.
Fat is essential for our brains. It helps us have beautiful hair, skin, and nails. Fats make and properly regulate hormones, which are essential for every aspect of life and are particularly important for those who are trying to conceive a child.
Fat makes us feel full so we don't overeat and crave carbohydates. Fats are essential to healthy cells in every part of our body, because the cell membrane is made of fat.
Not only is saturated fat good for us, such as coconut oil, butter and animal fat (but make sure the animal is grass-fed in the case of beef, or pasture-raised in the case of poultry and free of antibiotics and steroids) but other types of fat are essential.
These include Omega-3 fats, which are in fish oil. Most people are deficient in Omega-3s, which is why a fish oil supplement is so important. Try to take a supplement that lists the amount of EPH and DHA on the label, and make sure to take about one gram of DHA per day.
Omega-3s can also be found in walnuts and flaxseed, and as mentioned above, grass-fed beef. Fish, however, is the best source. Aside from fish oil, other natural sources include salmon, tuna and sardines.
Other healthy fats include avocados and olive oil. Many physicians who understand the importance of healthy fats recommend a daily intake of coconut oil, olive oil, and fish oil as well as daily servings of walnuts and avocados.
Try it and see how satisfied you feel. You will notice your cravings for sugar and starches disappear.
Obviously, if high cholesterol does not cause heart disease, this means that millions of people taking statins (cholesterol-lowering medications) don't need them. Since an estimated one-quarter of the American population takes statins, getting off them would be a death blow to the pharmaceutical industry, which operates in conjunction with the medical establishment.
However, the side-effects of statins, such as leg cramps and brain fog are often minimized, when they can in fact, be quite debilitating.
The bottom line is, listen to the latest science and the growing number of physicians who are big enough to admit they were taught wrong, they believed wrong, and they advised wrong, when they espoused the notion that high cholesterol causes heart disease.
Pay attention to the increasingly expanding pool of medical experts who say the real cause of heart disease is inflammation. That means instead of cutting out saturated fats such as steak and eggs, eliminate the real culprits: sugar, refined carbohydrates, and vegetable oils.
And oh, by the way, no surprise here...you can find those inflammatory ingredients in most processed foods. So the simple solution is to eat whole, natural foods that you make at home.
Admittedly, while it is a simple solution, it is more time-consuming than eating packaged foods, fast foods, and most restaurant foods. But it's worth it in the long run.
Monday, January 19, 2015
January is Thyroid Awareness Month. At least 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder.
But get this: half of them, a whopping 15 million people, don't even know it, according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist.
Women are ten times more likely to have thyroid problems than men. The No. 1 symptom is depression. Often people are diagnosed with depression when the real culprit is a thyroid problem.
Could you have a thyroid problem? It's a huge problem, but it is treatable so you should not suffer in silence. If you have been having difficulty getting pregnant, it could be your thyroid.
The thyroid gland is enormously important. It's responsible for our metabolism. It affects every organ in our bodies.
Thyroid problems are a result of the thyroid hormone released being too high (hyperthyroidism) or too low (hypothyroidism).
If you think you might have a problem, get your doctor to check your TSH levels, which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. T3 and T4 thyroid hormones should be checked as well.
SYMPTOMS OF A TOO-LOW THYROID:
- Memory Problems
- Weight Gain
- Hair Loss
- Always Cold
SYMPTOMS OF A TOO-HIGH THYROID:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Heart Palpitations
- Bulging Eyes
If you are diagnosed with a thyroid problem, and your doctor gives you medication for it, be prepared to go back and tweak the dosage. Don't be surprised if the medication makes your thyroid output go too far in the other direction.
Long-term use of thyroid medication can cause osteoporosis. Sometimes non-prescription cures help, alone or in combination with medications.
NATURAL REMEDIES TO TREAT THYROID PROBLEMS
- Reduce your intake of sugar and grains, particularly refined carbohydrates (white breads).
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink (or eat, as chocolate contains caffeine).
- Increase the amount of good fat you eat. This includes olive oil, avocados, walnuts, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, fish and pastured-raised chicken and eggs.
- Increase your intake of vitamins and minerals. This can be accomplished by eating more vegetables but also by taking nutritional supplements. Make sure you are getting enough iodine, which is found in most ordinary table salt. Consider vitamin D and omega-3 supplements as well as a complete multivitamin (I like Damage Control Master Control by Primal Blueprint).
- Increase your healthy bacteria. Make sure to take a probiotic or get enough probiotics in foods (fermented foods like kim-chi are best) because thyroid problems often originate in the gut.
- Exercise: Stress is often a trigger for thyroid problems. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers.