Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Avoid Colds and Flu: Maintain Immune System

Winter is here with its wind and snow and so is the flu and cold season. You avoid sniffling coworkers and children with runny noses, you go out of your way to bundle up and even increase your intake of vitamin C--but many times you still end up catching the cold! Why? Because your immune system may not be at its optimal state.

To make sure this winter your immune system is working at its best..
  • Nourish your body with Vitamin D. Research has shown that susceptibility to catching colds/flu may be a result of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Avoid sugar. Sugar suppresses your immune system.
  • Get enough sleep. Your immune system will be at a greater risk of viral or bacterial take over if you are deprived of sleep.
  • Manage your emotional stress. Mastering ways to deal with your everyday stressors and reactions to circumstances beyond your control will contribute to an irrepressible immune system.
  • Exercise regularly. There is evidence that regular exercise boosts your body’s immune response.

 

 

 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some Conditions Can be Managed Without Medications

Arthritis:
Loosing weight  combined with exercise that doesn't put stress on the joints can make arthritis less painful and can  increase mobility in those with the condition.

Cholesterol:
Avoiding foods high in saturated fat can make your cholesterol drop by about 5 percent.

Cognitive Decline:
Taking fish oil supplements and keeping your brain sharp by practicing mental exercises such as solving puzzles, stimulating your memory, etc, can help prevent mental decline.

Depression:
Once again, taking fish oil supplements, exercising, and getting enough sunshine can have a positive affect on those suffering with depression.

High Blood Pressure:  
Reducing your sodium intake, losing weight, managing your stress levels, and exercising can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Sources:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vitamin D Impacts Overall Health

Vitamin D is a prohormone that your body produces from cholesterol. Because of its properties, vitamin D influences your entire body, in fact there are receptors that respond to vitamin D in every type of our cells, even brain cells.  

Current research has shown that vitamin D does not just play a part in calcium absorption and bone formation, but it also helps in the repair and maintenance of our body, impacts thousands of our genes, regulates our immune system, etc.  Additionally, vitamin D helps you fight infections, as well as, it relieves and prevents chronic inflammation.

Your  body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine.  Thus, it is  very important to take vitamin D supplements during the winter months when you don't get direct sun exposure. Since vitamin D helps regulate serotonin levels in your body ( a chemical that regulates mood), it will prevent you from getting the winter blues.  Additionally, the immune system regulating properties of vitamin D will  guard your body against the flu.

Source:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nurture Your Wellbeing

Breathe:
Breathing deep immediately increases your energy levels.  Breathing shallow reduces the much needed oxygen in your body and makes you feel fatigue.

Laugh:
When you laugh, your body releases feel good chemicals called endorphins that reduce pain and stress. Make it a point to laugh everyday --watch comedies, play harmless pranks on your buddies, read funny books, etc.

Give Hugs:
Hugs are free, they nurture and build relationships, and they make you feel so good. So make sure you hug someone everyday...and if you don't have anyone to hug then give yourself a hug.

Commit to Being Kind:
Everyone needs kindness, and I believe being kind actually reduces your stress levels by making you feel good about yourself.  "Be Kind to Everyone" has been my motto for the past few years, and it has benefited me a lot.  Be kind to everyone you encounter, be it a homeless person, a telemarketer, or your coworker.

Get Sunshine:
Just twenty minutes of sunshine everyday gives our body enough vitamin D for the day.  Additionally, sunshine makes us feel happy and boosts our mood.

Get Enough Sleep:
Your body needs to rest and to rejuvenate.  You  will feel less tired, have more energy to exercise, and be more focused on your daily tasks when you get enough sleep.  Additionally, adequate sleep is necessary for your immune system to function optimally.

Wash Your Hands:
You can prevent a lot of diseases just by washing your hands.  Wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom, before touching your face, after sneezing or coughing, and even after using public computers.

Meditate:
Meditation reduces stress which is the cause of most illnesses.  Just 10 minutes per day of meditation can give you many benefits such as, increased intuition and decreased aches and pains.  I personally use meditation to ease migraine pain.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inflammation

Inflammation is the process that occurs when your body's white blood cells and chemicals protect you from the bacterial and viral invasions. Your body needs some level of inflammation to stay healthy.  Problems arise when your body's inflammatory response gets out of control. Did you know that excessive inflammation has been linked to conditions like asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, and even cancer?

What Increases Inflammation?
In his article, "What You Need to Know  About Inflammation?", Dr. Mercola, D.O. states that obesity, poor diet, existing heart condition, diabetes, lack of exercise, smoking, long term infections, gum disease, and stress, lead to a risk of developing chronic inflammation.

How to Treat and Prevent Inflammation Naturally Without Drugs?
Dr. Mercola, suggests making changes to your life style.  Some of his suggestions include:

  • Focus on a healthy diet - avoid trans-fats, fried foods, sugars, grains, and overcooked foods.
  • Take Omega 3 fats - he suggests krill oil
  • Optimize your insulin levels
  • Quit smoking
  • Optimize your vitamin D intake - best source of vitamin D is sun exposure, however, in the winter you may need to take D supplements.
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Sources:


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Probiotics

What Are Probiotics?
Putting it simply, probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that are present in the human gut.  They are also known as friendly bacteria.  These probiotics have several important functions in our bodies, for example, aiding digestion, keeping the harmful, disease causing bacteria in check, and even supporting our immune systems.  In fact, some studies have shown that probiotics can be used to prevent and control  conditions such as food and skin allergies in children,  recurrent bladder infections, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, etc.  

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, D.O. the best way to maintain these friendly bacteria is to reduce the intake of sugars and grains that promote the "bad bacteria" in your gut.  Instead he supports including fermented foods, rich in probiotics in your diet.

Yogurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are all fermented foods --my personal favorite is kefir, a cultured milk product.  Since it is readily available at most grocery stores, I would suggest you take your first step towards a healthy gut by including kefir in your diet.

Complete list of foods rich in probiotics is available at this webpage:  http://lymenaide.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/get-cultured-dietary-sources-of-good-bacteria/

Sources:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/10/Dietitian-Says-Eating-Right-Is-Best-Way-to-Optimize-Good-Gut-Bacteria.aspx

http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to many conditions such as anxiety, fatigue, early aging, nerve problems, migraines, kidney disease, liver disease, tooth decay,osteoporosis, etc.  In her article, "Miracle of Magnesium", Carolyn Dean, MD, ND stated that introducing magnesium, either by a high-magnesium diet, with green drinks, or magnesium supplements, can help alleviate these conditions.  She also pointed out that magnesium can heal the damage as a result of a  heart attack by causing the blood vessels to dilate, preventing spasms in the heart muscle and blood vessel walls, counteracting the action of calcium which increases spasms, helping to dissolve blood clots, lessening the injury site, preventing arrhythmia etc.

To include magnesium in your diet eat plenty of dark leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Organic foods, however, may be more rich in this nutrient.  You can also take magnesium supplements.  Please note that current research shows that magnesium and calcium are to be taken in a 1:1 ratio.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin---A Super Food!

October is here and so is the season of pumpkin pies, jack-o-lanterns, and roasted pumpkin seeds by the fire place.  Well, if you are a pumpkin lover, it will please you to know that pumpkins are actually very healthy and nutritionally dense foods.  In fact, in his book SuperFoods Rx:  Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, Dr. Steven Pratt wrote, "....pumpkin is one of the most nutritionally valuable foods known to man...."     The reason for the pumpkin having a super food status? Carotenoids -- powerful antioxidants that can erase the risk of various cancers, heart disease, even cataracts and macular degeneration!  

Sources:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Meditation

Don't brush off meditation as something that only monks and religious people practice.   Research is now showing that meditation is actually beneficial to your mind and your body.  It has been proven that meditation decreases stress in your body, relaxing it, and consequently relieving it from pain, discomfort, and even causing speedy recovery. Additionally, meditation has been known to increase your attention span, boost your immune system, and even help you get rid of migraines.

So several questions may now be popping into your heads such as, "how do I meditate?", "do I have to be religious to meditate?", or "how can I stop my mind from wandering while meditating?"  To answer these questions, firstly understand that meditation (without any religious connotations attached to it) is simply an activity of non-activity.  A simple and easy way to meditate is by sitting with your eyes closed in a serene, quiet spot, and focusing on your breathing.  Breathe deeply and relax every part of your body, starting from the head. And when your mind starts to wander, accept it, and go back to focusing on your breathing.  Strive to meditate at least 15 minutes per day, and you will notice that with practice your mind will wander less and you will actually feel healthier, more calm, as well as, more alert in your day to day activities. I am hoping the fact that I have personally experienced the above benefits from my recent practice in meditation will encourage you to try it out.

Here are some great webpages for you with more information on meditation:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/09/20/meditation-health.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/01/22/meditation-part-two.aspx
http://www.how-to-meditate.org/breathing-meditations.htm/

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Essential Oils Are Therapeutic

Essential oils are derived from flowers and plants and their parts such as, bark, leaves, etc.  They are the essence of the plant.  When essential oils are inhaled or absorbed through your skin they provide healing benefits. These flower essences have been used for healing since ancient Egyptian times. You can benefit from these concentrated essences of plants and flowers by aromatherapy treatments, adding them into your massage oil, and/or bathwater, using them in a compress, or simply just burning them in a diffuser.

In his book, The Maker's Diet, Dr. Jordan Rubin sheds light on the 14 essential oils that have amazing healing properties.  Here are three of the essential oils and some of their uses that  he recommends:

Lavender (my personal favorite) - relieves anxiety, depression, mental fatigue, stress, bruises, earaches, etc

Sandal Wood-  helps low self esteem, bronchitis, sensitive skin, urinary tract infections, etc.

Frankincense- for grief, insecurity, immune system stimulation, headaches, herpes, scars, stretch marks, etc

Please  don't mistake commercially available fragrances as essential oils. The fragrances are either synthetic, or have chemical additives, whilst the essential oils are purely derived from the plants.  Additionally, please make sure the essential oils you buy are 100% pure. And finally, since essential oils are very concentrated, always dilute them in carrier oils such as sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, etc.

Here are websites with more information on essential oils:
http://www.aromaweb.com/essentialoils/default.asp
http://www.essential-oil-recipes.com/
http://www.healingtherapies.info/Aromatherapy.htm

Source:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/03/13/essential-oils.aspx

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anti-Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis is the process your body uses to build blood vessels. Dr. William Li explains during his amazing TED lecture a new approach to treating cancer, as well as other diseases - by preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors and cancers, in other words "Anti-Angiogenesis.  According to him the most important step to beating cancer is to eat cancer-fighting foods.  These include but are not limited to:  green tea, nutmeg, garlic, parsely, turmeric (my favorite spice), red grapes, berries (especially blueberries).

Please listen to Dr. Willam Li's lecture to get detailed information:  Dr. William Li's Talk on Angiogenesis

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spice-up your Meat

It has been long known that cooking meats, such as beef at high temperatures, especially when grilling, broiling or frying  can produce cancer causing compounds called heterocyclic Amines (HCAs).  Research has now shown that adding certain spices to your meat can significantly reduce the HCAs formed while cooking meat. USA Today reported that rosemary, turmeric, and fingerroot were rated the highest in preventing the formation of HCAs.


Here is a list of spices  and their benefits for you to refer to when you are planning your next barbecue party!  This list was featured in the Huffington Post.
  • Rosemary and basil for their anti-inflammatory power
  • Cumin and sage for their dementia-fighting power
  • Cayenne and cinnamon for their obesity-fighting power
  • Coriander and cinnamon for their sugar regulating powers
  • Lemon grass, nutmeg, bay leaves and saffron for their calming effects on your mood
  • Turmeric for its cancer fighting power
  • Oregano for its fungus-beating power
  • Garlic, mustard seed and chicory for their heart-pumping power
  • Basil and thyme for their skin-saving power
  • Turmeric, basil, cinnamon, thyme, saffron, and ginger for their immune-boosting power
  • Coriander, rosemary, cayenne, allspice and black pepper for their depression-busting power

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Some Super Green Foods

Cabbage :
Has a powerful cancer fighting property.  It has abilities to prevent breast cancer.

Olive Oil:
Make sure the olive oil you use is green in colour.  It is high in antioxidants and it prevents DNA damage.

Cilantro:
Helps detoxify heavy metals out of your system.

Dandelion Leaves:
Known to reduce blood pressure when consumed in large amounts.

Mint:
It  is soothing, awakening, and cooling. Besides adding flavour to your food, it is good to chew on.


Fennel:
Helps digestion.

For more detailed information on green foods please visit the link below.

Sources:
http://www.kitchentablemedicine.com/greenfoods/#more-5592



Saturday, May 1, 2010

Detoxify yourself! Did you know about the algae Chlorella?



Chlorella is a simple single-cell algae plant coming from fresh water. Chlorella's most important aspect is that it helps your body get rid of heavy metals.  Many of us may not realize how we are being harmed by heavy metals lurking in our bodies!  If you have had vaccines, had silver fillings in your teeth, are consuming fish with high levels of mercury, there is a high chance that your health is being harmed in some way by heavy metal poisoning.  
I consider chlorella a super food!  It has such great health benefits for example, besides helping you detoxify from heavy metals, it also detoxifies pesticides in your body, improves the digestive system, decreases constipation, improves your energy levels - makes you feel rejuvenated, gets rid of bad breath, balances your body’s pH,  and normalizes your blood sugar and blood pressure.  Chlorella also fights cancer!
You can get chlorella from any health food store.
Sources:


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mint - My Favorite Herb

Stomach aches, digestion problems?  Mint relaxes the muscles in and around the intestines, thus it helps relieve symptoms of indigPublish Postestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and even relieve stomach aches.


Additionally, menthol, derived from peppermint oil is known for its healing properties on the respiratory system. Mint has been also proved to combat bad breath, detoxify the blood, clear up acne, relieve congestion and head colds, and it also acts as an antioxidant, protecting against the formation of cancer cells.


So how can you add mint to your diet?  
Mint is delicious and will add mouth watering flavor to your foods, add it to meats, soups, and even in desserts - add some mint into your chocolate sauce for example.  You can also make fresh mint tea, which is made by pouring hot (not boiling) water over fresh mint leaves.





Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ginger Tea: Benefits Digestion, Rids Toxins

Ginger tea is good for your digestive system and it also cleanses your system by helping  it eliminate toxins.  What's more, it also reduces your cravings for sweet and salty foods. For getting full benefits, I would suggest making ginger tea with whole ginger instead of the powdered.  Here is how I make my ginger tea:

To Make 1 cup of  Ginger Tea:
1 heaped teaspoon of grated unpeeled ginger root
1 cup of hot water
1 Tea bag (black tea) *optional

Stir ginger into a the cup of hot water and steep for 3 minutes. 
Strain or let the ginger settle at the bottom
Dip the tea bag 2 to 3 times into your ginger tea 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are you too Acidic?

'Your health depends on the balance of an alkaline environment, created by eating foods such as tomatoes, avocados and green vegetables...striking the optimum 80/20 balance and regulating your body's acid/alkaline chemistry through simple changes in diet can result in weight loss, increased stamina and strength,a stronger immune system and a greater sense of wellbeing.'    ~Dr Robert O. Young, author of The pH Miracle


As technology advances and life becomes more fast paced, we are starting to eat more fast foods that are high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat. Our intake of fresh vegetables and wholesome food has been declining, and correlating to that we are experiencing a rise of diseases such as cancer, diabetes,  and heart disease.   We are consuming more foods that cause our bodies to become acidic vs alkaline.


To maintain your overall health and prevent diseases make an effort to eat more alkaline foods. So how do you get more alkaline?  Consuming whole foods, fruits and seeds versus processed will help bring back your body's balance to more alkaline.  Typically you must try to have around 70% alkaline foods in your diet and 30% acidic foods    To test your body's Ph, there are special Ph strips available.  You can get them at any health food store.


Finally, here is a link to a list of alkaline and acidic foods, remember not all raw, healthy foods are alkaline, however acidic foods are not to be avoided completely, but rather a balance must be maintained:  http://www.essense-of-life.com/moreinfo/foodcharts.htm



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Almond Milk - Make your own

As promised in my last post, here is a quick way to make your own almond milk at home!
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3 cups of water
 Soak the almonds in a bowl overnight in the fridge.
 Rinse and then blend the almonds with 3 cups of water until smooth.How easy was that!

A quick fact about almonds:  They are not nuts, but seeds 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Calcium Sources



A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007, shows that calcium from food sources is more effective than calcium from supplements.  This is because calcium from food sources is usually absorbed more completely.


Best sources of calcium include:


* Raw milk and other raw dairy products, e.g. yoghurt
* Dark green, leafy vegetables
* Almonds - If you are allergic to dairy, you can have almond milk which is also rich in calcium. I will   
  be posting my personal recipe for almond milk soon.


Additionally, Vitamin D is very important for the absorption of calcium - make sure you get plenty of sunshine!


**Remember:  Getting nutrients the way nature intended is the best way to stay healthy

Friday, April 2, 2010

Don't 'Catch' Anything -Enhance Your Immune System Naturally

Here are the four things that I do to maintain my immune system - I haven't gotten sick, caught the flu or even a cold for the last two years! Try them, you may get the same results.

Lots of water - its a natural cleanser and it washes away toxins.  Have a glass before any meal - and you will find your digestion improve.

Probiotics - to maintain your gut's natural flora and prevent the grown of  harmful bacteria.  For my female readers, you can prevent yeast infections by taking these. Also, good quality yogurt has these healthy bacteria occurring in it.

Zinc and vitamin D supplements

Vitamin C - besides enhancing your immunity, it also deodorizes your body from inside out.