Lorie Johnson

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Danger of Sugars and Where They're Hidden

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.

posted @ Tuesday, February 24, 2015 6:51 AM | Feedback (0)

Monday, February 16, 2015

6 Ways to Reduce Stress and Improve Your Health

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.
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.

Prayer.
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.

Forgive.
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.

Connect.
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.

Touch.
A simple touch from another person reduces stress. A gentle hug releases the stress-relieving hormone, oxytocin.

Laugh!
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.

posted @ Monday, February 16, 2015 11:02 AM | Feedback (0)

Monday, February 09, 2015

Coconut Oil May Reverse Alzheimer's and Prevent It

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.

posted @ Monday, February 09, 2015 1:34 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The No. 1 Thing to Do for Heart Health

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.

posted @ Thursday, January 29, 2015 11:58 AM | Feedback (0)

Monday, January 26, 2015

High Cholesterol Is Not the Cause of Heart Disease

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.

posted @ Monday, January 26, 2015 12:18 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Feeling Blue? Before You Pop That Antidepressant, Check Your Thyroid

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:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Depression
  3. Memory Problems
  4. Weight Gain
  5. Hair Loss
  6. Always Cold

SYMPTOMS OF A TOO-HIGH THYROID:

  1. Jittery
  2. Anxious
  3. Difficulty Concentrating
  4. Heart Palpitations
  5. Flushed
  6. Bulging Eyes
  7. Sweating

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

  1. Reduce your intake of sugar and grains, particularly refined carbohydrates (white breads).
  2. Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink (or eat, as chocolate contains caffeine).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Exercise: Stress is often a trigger for thyroid problems. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers.

posted @ Monday, January 19, 2015 12:00 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cold Feet? 10 Ways Cayenne Pepper Improves Your Health

Winter weather got you down? Spice up your life with Cayenne pepper!

Forget those foot warmers you see in the "impulse aisle" while waiting to check-out at the mega discount store. Save money by simply sprinkling cayenne pepper into your socks. That'll warm those tootsies in no time! Just make sure you don't have any open cuts or blisters on your feet, or you'll get too much heat!

Cayenne pepper is extremely hot to the touch. Pepper Spray is made with cayenne pepper and is an effective method to fend-off attackers when sprayed in the assailant's eyes. The intense, burning sensation on the eyes is overwhelming, thus allowing the victim time to escape.

Cayenne peppers are ten times hotter than Jalapeno peppers. In fact, the Scoville heat measurement scale, which rates the heat emitted from a spice, rates Cayenne peppers at 40,000 units, compared to Jalapeno peppers, which rate a mere 4,000.

The ingredient that causes the fiery sensation is the wonderful capsaicin, which benefits us in a number of ways. Most of us use cayenne pepper dried, out of a bottle. But if you ever actually touch the pepper itself, wear gloves or you will burn your hands when you touch the inside of the pepper, particularly the seeds.

As it turns out, the heat in Cayenne peppers is very good for us for both the prevention and treatment of many things that cause us health problems.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAYENNE PEPPER

1. Lowers Inflammation.
Cayenne pepper inhibits "substance P," which is associated with inflammation, both the type that cannot be felt (such as the kind of inflammation that causes heart disease) and the kind that can be felt (such as the kind that causes arthritis).

2. Cardiovascular Health.
When we eat cayenne pepper the amount of heat our body emits is increased. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs, which means oxygen and nutrients are delivered more efficiently.

3. Weight Loss.
Cayenne pepper boosts metabolism and supresses appetite.

4. Lowers Blood Pressure.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke.

5. Improves Liver Function.

6. Helps Regulate the Digestive System.

7. Pain Reliever.
Used topically, cayenne can be used for back pain and cluster headaches.

8. Ulcers.
Cayenne Pepper Tea (steeping 1/4 tsp. in 1 cup water) relieves ulcers.

9. Immune System Booster. Cayenne contains carotenoids, including beta carotene and high levels of vitamins A, B6, C, E, K and manganese.

10. Treats Upper Respiratory Infections.
Cayenne with lemon juice and honey is an effective syrup for sore throats.

There are many ways to add Cayenne pepper to your diet. For example, add it to hot chocolate for a bit of kick. When combined with lemon juice it is an exciting way to prepare vegetables. Obviously, cayenne can be added to Mexican dishes like tacos and enchiladas.

So spice up your life with cayenne pepper! Ingested or placed on the skin, it can improve your health in a variety of ways.

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2015 4:22 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Top 10 Healthy Habits for the New Year

Is your New Year's Resolution to live healthier in 2015? Me too! Studies show health-related resolutions top the list.

However, it's important to know that research also shows that the more specific you can be, the more likely you will reach your goal.

Here are the Top 10 Healthy Habits for the new year:


1. Exercise.
Exercising has both short-term and long-term benefits. Right away, it can improve your mood, reduce stress, and even make your brain work better. Over time, exercise can prevent health problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and even cancer.

This is a result of what exercise does inside your body, according to Dr. Harry Lodge, author of the bestseller, Younger Next Year.

"It turns out that your cells really don't age," he said. "They either grow or decay."

"And if you do things in your life that trigger growth in the cells, then your body gets stronger, younger, fitter, healthier, better able to resist disease," he continued. "And you live life as functionally a younger man or woman until very late in the game."

Even with all these benefits, some 60 percent of Americans stay on the couch.

If you'd like to be in the 40 percent of regular exercisers, psychologists say to focus on the first three weeks. Be encouraged that it will get easier! Studies have shown that any activity repeated daily becomes a habit after three weeks.


2. Eat a healthy breakfast.
Remember, a healthy breakfast contains protein. Eat within 90 minutes of waking-up. This starts your metabolism for the day and also prevents you from getting too hungry and overeating later in the day.


3. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Make sure you don't eat just fruit. Even though fruit contains natural sugar, too much of it can raise your blood sugar levels too high.

To avoid this, stick to eating berries, which are low in sugar and high in antioxidants. Instead of fruit, focus on trying to consume more vegetables, especially leafy green ones. A good plan is to eat a salad every day (with olive oil dressing!)


4. Avoid trans fats.
Trans fats are found mostly in processed foods, so if the list of ingredients includes the word, "hydrogenated," stay away.

Ironically, trans fats prolong a food's shelf life, but they have the opposite effect on our bodies, according to Dr. Michael Aziz, author of The Perfect 10 Diet.

"Trans fats are really like plastic," he said. "And when we eat them they incorporate in our cells and the cells cannot communicate or talk to one another."

"In turn, hormones are disturbed, weight gain follows. But more troubling, the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, infertility goes up," he added.


5. Eat good fats.
Omega-3s are found in foods like fish, especially salmon, sardines, and fish oil supplements. Other choices include walnuts, almonds, and flaxseed. These have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve your immunity, and reduce inflammation.

Coconut oil helps ward-off colds and flu because of its natural anti-microbial properties. Olive oil and avocados are also good-for-you fats.


6. Avoid sugar.
This is one of the toughest. Its negative laundry list runs from obesity to diabetes to heart disease and cancer. The average American consumes 135 pounds of sugar a year, compared with 109 pounds 20 years ago and only five pounds in the late 1800s!

This includes hidden sugars like corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, and lactose. Celebrity diet coach Joy Bauer, author of The 90/10 Weight Loss Plan, says start by going cold turkey.

"The first seven days I eliminate all sugars, both real and artificial," she said. "Because when you remove the taste of sweet from your mind and your taste buds, eventually it gets much easier and you stop craving it."

"And so many people, when you start week two and you're allowed to have sugar, they don't even want it because they feel great without it," she continued.


7. Cleanse your hands often.
Eating right and exercising aren't the only habits that keep you healthy. Did you know the best way to avoid getting sick is to keep your hands clean?

When using hand santitizer, make sure it's at least 60 percent alcohol, get in all those nooks and crannies, and rub your hands until they're dry.

When using soap and water, lather-up for a full 20 seconds.


8. Practice good dental health.
Believe it or not, periodontal infection contributes to heart disease, diabetes, and even premature, underweight births.


9. Get regular screening.
The type of screenings you need depend on your age and gender, so consult with your doctor about which ones you need.

Some of the most important ones include an annual physical, blood pressure, and cholesterol test, colonoscopy, mammogram, pap test, and prostate and skin cancer screening.


10. Get enough sleep.

According to Dr. James Maas, author of Sleep For Success, if you don't get your ZZZs, you're setting yourself up for a whole host of health problems.

"You're going to be irritable, anxious, depressed," he said. "You're going to gain weight, you have a greater risk for hypertension, that's heart attacks and strokes, type 2 diabetes, obesity, skin problems, and cancer."

"And your cognitive performance slows down," he continued. "You can't think, you can't remember, you're not creative, you can't think critically, it affects how long you're going to live. And if you're an athlete, it just ruins your motor coordination and your reaction time."

So at this time of year, when many of us vow to start afresh, take note of these habits to make 2015 your healthiest year yet.

posted @ Wednesday, January 07, 2015 1:08 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Severe Flu Season: What You Need to Know

This year's flu season could be severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control, so we should all do what we can to avoid getting it.

If, however, you fall victim to the flu, it's important to contact your doctor because there are things that can help.

The flu season lasts through April. Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer with the CDC's influenza division, said most people who should be vaccinated have not done so.

"We're not even halfway through the flu season," he said. "It's certainly not too late to get vaccinated."

Unfortunately, one of the most virulent strains of the flu, H3N2, is not in this year's flu vaccine. That's because it takes months to manufacture the vaccine, and the H3N2 became widespread after the flu vaccine was already in production and it was too late to include the H3N2 strain.

Nevertheless, there are still other flu strains circulating in America that are covered in the flu vaccine. Doctors estimate the vaccine is about 50 percent effective this flu season.

So the bottom line is, even if you have gotten your flu shot, you should not enjoy a false sense of security. We should all be extremely vigilant in our efforts to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the flu.

However, if we fail at protecting ourselves against getting the flu, with the advent of highly effective flu anti-viral medications, if you or a loved one gets the flu, call your doctor immediately. It's important to make that call as soon as possible because in order for the anti-viral medications to work, they must be administered within 48 hours of the development of symptoms.

These anti-virals can be life-saving for people at high-risk for developing fatal complications from the flu include the elderly, young children, and people with chronic medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, arthritis, and HIV/AIDS.

Clean Your Hands

The best way to prevent getting the flu is to keep your hands clean. Washing hands is the best way to do that, but it's important to wash your hands thoroughly. Use warm water and lather for 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.

If you are not able to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is an adequate substitute. Just make sure it contains at least 60 percent alcohol. More is better.

Remember to clean your hands before touching anything that will enter your mouth. That includes all food. Not just meals, but snacks.

Avoid Touching Your Mouth, Nose, Eyes

Furthermore, refrain from putting your un-cleansed fingers on your lips or in your mouth, nose and eyes. This is a tough one for those of us who wear contacts and eye makeup. We have to remember to clean our hands before we rub our eyes or the germs on our hands can enter the body.

Beware of Surfaces

Beware of surfaces that are touched by a lot of people, such as door knobs, refrigerator handles and remotes. Germs can live on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours.

By all means, do not share cups, glasses and utensils with other people.

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Defenses

You can strengthen your immunity, your body's ability to fight-off infection, by taking some sensible precautions.

1. First, make sure to get plenty of rest. Eight hours or more per night will go a long way to protecting your and your family against sickness this flu season. While we sleep, our bodies repair themselves. Conversely, when we're sleep deprived, our resistance is low and we are more susceptible to illness.

2. Drink plenty of water. This flushes out any toxins that might wish to remain in our body, and keeps our organs functioning properly. Stay away from other types of liquids if possible such as sugary sodas and fruit juice, caffeine and alcohol, which all hinder good health.

3. Speaking of sweets, stay away from sugar, too. Time and again, too much sugar been proven to weaken the immune system.

4. Reduce stress. Stress also wreaks havoc on your immune system. So make sure to de-stress by exercising, praying and spending time reading God's Word, as well as practicing all the admonitions not to worry.

5. Finally, get all the vitamins required to stay healthy this winter. Load up on fruits high in anti-oxidants and vitamin C, such as berries.

Better yet, every day eat as many low-glycemic (not the starchy ones like potatoes and peas) as you can, such as green, leafy ones like kale and broccoli.

Supplements are a great idea because most of us don't get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our diet. Vitamin D, a good multi-vitamin (I take Damage Control Master Formula and LOVE IT because it's very comprehensive) fish oil, coconut oil and a probiotic.

It's worth the time and effort required to prevent getting sick. According to the CDC, last year there were 109 flu-related deaths in kids, and 171 in the 2012-13 season.

The CDC does not compile similar data for flu-related deaths in adults because it's too difficult to trace, as the flu is usually the precursor to a condition that kills.

For instance, many of the deaths from pneumonia actually started with the flu. That said, it's estimated that deaths stemming from the flu number into the tens of thousands each year, mostly among the elderly.

posted @ Wednesday, December 31, 2014 10:58 AM | Feedback (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

High Blood Pressure: Sugar, Not Salt No. 1 Risk Factor

For years now, we've been told that in order to avoid high blood pressure we need to avoid salt. But now it appears it is sugar consumption, not salt, that is the greater concern.

According to a study published in the journal, Open Heart, scientists discovered high amounts of sugar, not salt, puts us at greater risk of developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure is also called hypertension.

This information is critically important because high blood pressure is the No. 1 risk factor for the leading killer of men and women in America: heart disease.

One easy way to stop eating sugar is to stop eating processed foods, including fast food. In other words, switch to whole foods, prepared at home.

Most people cringe at the idea of cooking the food they eat because of the time involved. However, when it comes to your health, it's well worth the effort. Furthermore, there are many items that don't take very long to prepare, such as eggs or salad.

Food manufacturers add astronomical amounts of sugar to their products. This is often in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is arguably worse than table sugar because some experts say high fructose corn syrup disables the body's ability to feel fullness, even having the opposite effect as an addictive element. So the more we eat, the more we want.

Processed foods that contain obscene amounts of sugar aren't just found in the soda or cookie aisle. They are everywhere. Sugar, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is added to yogurt, bread, pasta sauce, soup, salad dressings, and so on -- many foods that we don't even consider sweet and may even mistakenly consider healthy

As a general rule, if it's in a package, a staggering amount of sugar has probably been added to it. Therefore, avoid food in packages. However, if you are tempted to purchase processed food, at least check the list of ingredients. Look not only for high fructose corn syrup, but also any of its approximately 40 cousins.

Yes, there are dozens of types of sugars that food manufacturers don't want you to recognize on their labels. Most ingredients that end in "ose" such as dextrose and maltrose, are sugars.

Also when you see the word "syrup," it's usually a sugar. If you see sugar of any type, especially in the first three ingredients, put it back on the shelf. (Food manufacturers have to list their ingredients in the order of what the items contains the most of. For instance, if the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, that means the item contains more high fructose corn syrup than anything else.)

In addition to outright sugars, we must remember that refined carbohydrates are also considered sugars because they turn into sugar as soon as we eat them. Refined carbohydrates are processed starches, the most common being white flour, which is usually called "enriched" flour.

Refined carbohydrates are considered sugars because they have the exact same effect on your body as sugars do, the moment you eat them.

Now that we know sugar is the main risk factor for high blood pressure, that does not give us license to pile on the salt. Doctors say we should avoid both salt and sugar in large doses.

Interestingly, it's not the salt shaker and the sugar bowl at home that we need to steer clear of. When we prepare food at home we generally use a small fraction of salt and sugar compared to the insane amounts we find in processed foods.

So again, the rule of thumb is: avoid processed foods and you'll drastically reduce your intake of salt and sugar.

One more thing about high blood pressure: denouncing processed foods is the major battle. But exercise is also crucial to achieving healthy blood pressure numbers. Start by simply walking 30 minutes a day and go from there. That little bit of discipline will pay dividends when it comes to your heart health.

posted @ Monday, December 15, 2014 9:04 AM | Feedback (0)