Friday, May 25, 2012

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center


You lie out in the sun hoping to get a golden tan, but instead walk away from your lounge chair looking like a lobster that's been left in the pot too long.
Despite health warnings about sun damage, many of us still subject our skin to the sun's burning rays.
More than one-third of adults and nearly 70% of children admit they've gotten sunburned within the past year, according to the CDC.
Here's what you need to know about how to keep your skin safe and where to find sunburn relief if you do linger on your lounger too long.

What Causes Sunburn

You already know the simple explanation behind sunburn. When your skin is exposed to the sun for a period of time, eventually it burns, turning red and irritated.sunburn
Under the skin, things get a little more complicated. The sun gives off three wavelengths of ultraviolet light:
  • UVA
  • UVB
  • UVC
UVC light doesn't reach the Earth's surface. The other two types of ultraviolet light not only reach your beach towel, but they penetrate your skin. Skin damage is caused by both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunburn is the most obvious sign that you've been sitting outside for too long. But sun damage isn't always visible. Under the surface, ultraviolet light can alter your DNA, prematurely aging your skin. Over time, DNA damage can contribute to skin cancers, including deadly melanoma.
How soon a sunburn begins depends on:
  • Your skin type
  • The sun's intensity
  • How long you're exposed to the sun
A blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman sunbathing in Rio de Janeiro will redden far sooner than an olive-complexioned woman sitting out on a sunny day in New York City.

Signs of Sunburn

When you get a sunburn, your skin turns red and hurts. If the burn is severe, you can develop swelling and sunburn blisters. You may even feel like you have the flu -- feverish, with chills, nausea, headache, and weakness.
A few days later, your skin will start peeling and itching as your body tries to rid itself of sun-damaged cells.


Sunburn treatment is designed to attack the burn on two fronts -- relieving reddened, inflamed skin while easing pain. Here are a few home remedies for sunburn:
Compresses. Apply cold compresses to your skin or take a cool bath to soothe the burn.
Creams or gels. To take the sting out of your sunburn, gently rub on a cream or gel containing ingredients such as:
  • Menthol
  • Camphor
  • Aloe
Refrigerating the cream first will make it feel even better on your sunburned skin.
NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen or naproxen, can relieve sunburn swelling and pain all over your body.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and other fluids so that you don't become dehydrated.
Avoid the sun. Until your sunburn heals, stay out of the sun.
You may be able to treat the sunburn yourself. But call for a doctor's help if you notice any of these more serious sunburn signs:
  • Fever of 102 degrees or higher
  • Chills
  • Severe pain
  • Sunburn blisters that cover 20% or more of your body
  • Dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, dizziness, and fatigue, which are signs of dehydration

Preventing Sunburn

Here are some tips for keeping your skin safe when you're outside:
Watch the clock. The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you can't stay indoors during that block of time, at least stick to shady spots.
Wear the right clothes. When you have to be outdoors, wear sun-protective clothing, such as:
  • A broad-brimmed hat
  • A long-sleeved shirt and pants
  • UV-blocking sunglasses
Use sunscreen. Cover any exposed areas of skin liberally with at least 1 ounce of broad-spectrum sunscreen. That means sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
The sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Follow these tips for applying sunscreen:
  • Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Use sunscreen even on overcast days because UV rays can penetrate clouds.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours -- or more often if you're sweating heavily or swimming.
Continue to Read more ...

Muscle Strain

Muscle Strain Overview

Muscle strain -- or muscle pull or even a muscle tear -- implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks.
Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).

Recommended Related to Fitness & Exercise

Fitness Basics: Dance Your Way to Fitness
Salsa, techno, swing, hip-hop, ballroom dancing: Whatever you love, it's all good. Good exercise, that is. Just about any dance style can rev your heart rate, burn calories, and tone muscles. "Any form of dancing is good for your heart, improves balance and joint stability, helps prevent osteoporosis, burns calories ... I'm all for it," Laurence Sperling, MD, medical director of preventive cardiology at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta, tells WebMD. The beauty is that, for many folks, dancing just...

Muscle Strain Symptoms

  •  Swelling, bruising or redness, or open cuts due to the injury
  • Pain at rest
  • Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
  • Weakness of the muscle or tendons (A sprain, in contrast, is an injury to a joint and its ligaments.)
  • Inability to use the muscle at all

When to Seek Medical Care

If you have a significant muscle injury (or if home remedies bring no relief in 24 hours), call your doctor.
If you hear a "popping" sound with the injury, cannot walk, or there is significant swelling, pain, fever, or open cuts, you should be examined in a hospital's emergency department.

Exams and Tests

The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. During the exam, it’s important to establish whether the muscle is partially or completely torn (which can involve a much longer healing process, possible surgery, and a more complicated recovery).
X-rays or lab tests are often not necessary, unless there was a history of trauma or evidence of infection.

Muscle Strain Treatment Self-Care at Home

The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened. However, the early application of heat can increase swelling and pain.

Note: Ice or heat should not be applied to bare skin. Always use a protective covering such as a towel between the ice or heat and the skin.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and improve your ability to move around. Do not take NSAIDS if you have kidney disease, a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, or are also taking a blood thinner -- such as Coumadin -- without first talking with your doctor. In that case, it is safer to take acetaminophen, which helps lessen pain but does not reduce inflammation.
  • Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here's how: First, remove all constrictive clothing, including jewelry, in the area of muscle strain. Then:
  • Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
  • Rest the strained muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are painful.
  • Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever. Small ice packs, such as packages of frozen vegetables or water frozen in foam coffee cups, applied to the area may help decrease inflammation.
  • Compression can be a gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can provide both support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
  • Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. Prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting, for example.
  • Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected body part are not recommended until the pain has significantly improved.

Medical Treatment

Medical treatment is similar to the treatment at home. The doctor, however, also can determine the extent of muscle and tendon injury and if crutches or a brace is necessary for healing. The doctor can also determine if you need to restrict your activity, take days off work, and if rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy are required to help you recover.

Next Steps Prevention

  •  Avoid injury by stretching daily.
  • Stretch after you exercise.
  • Establish a warm-up routine prior to strenuous exercise, such as gently running in place for a couple of minutes.
  • Start an exercise program in consultation with your doctor.


In most cases, with proper treatment, most people recover completely from muscle strain. More complicated cases should be handled by a doctor.
Continue to Read more ...

Sepsis (Blood Infection) and Septic Shock

Sepsis is a serious medical condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. Chemicals released into the blood to fight infection trigger widespread inflammation.
Inflammation may result in organ damage. Blood clotting during sepsis reduces blood flow to limbs and internal organs, depriving them of nutrients and oxygen. In severe cases, one or more organs fail. In the worst cases, infection leads to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure, called septic shock. This can quickly lead to the failure of several organs -- lungs, kidneys, and liver -- causing death.

Recommended Related to Infectious Diseases

Understanding Bladder Infections -- the Basics
Bladder infections are known as cystitis or inflammation of the bladder. They are common in women but very rare in men. More than half of all women get at least one bladder infection at some time in their lives. However, a man's chance of getting cystitis increases as he ages due to in part to an increase in prostate size. Doctors aren't sure exactly why women have many more bladder infections than men. They suspect it may be because women have a shorter urethra, the tube that carries urine...

Sepsis occurs in 1% to 2% of all hospitalizations in the U.S. It affects at least 750,000 people each year.
The term sepsis is often used interchangeably with septicemia, a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly and is often fatal.

Sepsis Causes and Risk Factors

Bacterial infections are the most common cause of sepsis. However, sepsis can also be caused by other infections. The infection can begin anywhere bacteria or other infectious agents can enter the body. It can result from something as seemingly harmless as a scraped knee or nicked cuticle or from a more serious medical problem such as appendicitis, pneumonia, meningitis, or a urinary tract infection.
Sepsis may accompany infection of the bone, called osteomyelitis. In hospitalized patients, common sites of initial infection include IV lines, surgical incisions, urinary catheters, and bed sores.
Although anyone can get sepsis, certain groups of people are at greater risk. They include:
  • People whose immune systems are not functioning well due to illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or cancer or use of drugs that suppress the immune system, such as those to prevent rejection of transplanted organs.
  • Very young babies.
  • The elderly, particularly if they have other health problems.
  • People who have recently been hospitalized and/or had invasive medical procedures.
  • People with diabetes.

Sepsis Symptoms

Because sepsis can begin in different parts of the body, it can have many different symptoms. Rapid breathing and a change in mental status, such as reduced alertness or confusion, may be the first signs that sepsis is starting. Other common symptoms include:
  • fever and shaking chills or, alternatively, a very low body temperature
  • decreased urination
  • rapid pulse
  • rapid breathing
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea

Sepsis Treatment

The first step to successful treatment for sepsis is quick diagnosis. If sepsis is suspected, the doctor will perform an exam and run tests to look for:
  • Bacteria in the blood or other body fluids
  • Source of the infection, using radiologic imaging such as X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound
  • A high or low white blood cell count
  • A low platelet count
  • Low blood pressure
  • Too much acid in the blood (acidosis)
  • Altered kidney or liver function 
Other tests of bodily fluids and radiologic tests, such as X-ray or CT scan, can help in diagnosing the cause of the infection. People diagnosed with severe sepsis are usually placed in the intensive care unit (ICU), where doctors try to stop the infection, keep vital organs functioning, and regulate blood pressure.

Sepsis treatment usually begins with:
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics, which kill many types of bacteria
  • IV fluids to maintain blood pressure
  • Oxygen to maintain normal blood oxygen
Once the infectious agent is identified, the doctor can switch to a drug that targets that particular agent. Depending on the severity and effects of sepsis, other types of treatment, such as a breathing machine or kidney dialysis, may be needed. Sometimes surgery is necessary to drain or clean an infection.
Often doctors prescribe other treatments, including vasopressors (drugs that cause the blood vessels to narrow) to improve blood pressure.
Permanent organ damage can occur in people who survive sepsis. Death rates are 20% for sepsis and over 60% for septic shock.
Continue to Read more ...

Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh-Eating Bacteria)

What is necrotizing fasciitis?

Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection caused by bacteria. It can destroy skin, fat, and the tissue covering the muscles within a very short time.
The disease sometimes is called flesh-eating bacteria. When it occurs on the genitals, it is called Fournier gangrene.

Recommended Related to Oral Health

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Heart?
Paying attention to your dental hygiene and health -- especially your gums -- may pay you back with more than a gleaming, healthy smile and manageable dental bills. It may keep your heart healthy too. However, experts emphasize that the keyword is may. Cardiologists and periodontists, the dentists who treat gum disease, have long debated the link between dental health and heart disease. But the issue still isn't completely resolved, says Robert Bonow, MD, past president of the American Heart Association...

Necrotizing fasciitis is very rare but serious. About 1 out of 4 people who get this infection die from it.1 Many people who get necrotizing fasciitis are in good health before they get the infection.
Your risk of getting this infection is higher if you:
  • Have a weak immune system.
  • Have chronic health problems such as diabetes, cancer, or liver or kidney disease.
  • Have cuts in your skin, including surgical wounds.
  • Recently had chickenpox or other viral infections that cause a rash.
  • Use steroid medicines, which can lower the body's resistance to infection.

What causes necrotizing fasciitis?

Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by several kinds of bacteria. Some of these bacteria also cause infections such as strep throat and impetigo. Usually the infections caused by these bacteria are mild. But in rare cases they can cause a more dangerous infection.
You can get necrotizing fasciitis when bacteria enter a wound, such as from an insect bite, a burn, or a cut. You can also get it in:
  • Wounds that come in contact with ocean water, raw saltwater fish, or raw oysters. You also can get it through injuries from handling sea animals such as crabs.
  • An intestinal surgery site, or in tumors or gunshot injuries in the intestines.
  • A muscle strain or bruise, even if there is no break in the skin.
Bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis can be passed from person to person through close contact, such as kissing, or by touching the wound of the infected person. But a person who gets infected by the bacteria is unlikely to get necrotizing fasciitis unless he or she has an open wound, chickenpox, or an impaired immune system.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms often start suddenly after an injury. You may need medical care right away if you have pain that gets better over 24 to 36 hours and then suddenly gets worse. The pain may be much worse than you would expect from the size of the wound or injury. You may also have:
  • Skin that is red, swollen, and hot to the touch.
  • A fever and chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
The infection may spread rapidly. It quickly can become life-threatening. You may go into shock and have damage to skin, fat, and the tissue covering the muscles. (This damage is called gangrene.) Necrotizing fasciitis can lead to organ failure and death.

How is necrotizing fasciitis diagnosed?

The doctor will diagnose your infection based on how suddenly your symptoms started and how quickly the infection is spreading. The infected tissue may be tested for bacteria. You also may need X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI to look for injury to your organs or to find out how much the infection has spread.

How is it treated?

Early treatment of necrotizing fasciitis is critical. The sooner treatment begins, the more likely you will recover from the infection and avoid serious complications, such as limb amputation or death. You may be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital.
Treatment may include:
  • Surgery that removes infected tissue and fluids to stop the spread of infection. Surgery is almost always needed. Most people need several surgeries to control the infection. Removing limbs (amputation) or organs may be done to save the person's life, depending on how severe the infection is and where it has spread.
  • Medicines (such as antibiotics). These kill the bacteria causing the infection.
  • Procedures to treat complications such as shock, breathing problems, and organ failure.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This can help prevent tissue death and promote healing.

What if you have been near someone who has the disease?

Necrotizing fasciitis is very rare. Bacteria that cause the disease usually don't cause infection unless they enter the body through a cut or other break in the skin.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has necrotizing fasciitis, your doctor may give you an antibiotic to help reduce your chances of getting the infection. If you develop any symptoms of infection (such as pain, swelling, redness, or fever) after you've been in close contact with someone who has it, see your doctor right away.
To help prevent any kind of infection, wash your hands often, and always keep cuts, scrapes, burns, sores, and bites clean.



Continue to Read more ...

Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning doesn't really mean you've been poisoned. It is often the term used for a severe case of sunburn. This is a burn from ultraviolet (UV) radiation that inflames your skin. Sun poisoning can also refer to other reactions. Two examples are polymorphous light eruption and solar urticaria.

Signs and Symptoms of Sun Poisoning

Within just 15 minutes of being in the sun, you can become sunburned, but you might not know it right away. The redness and discomfort might show up a few hours later. You can become severely sunburned if you stay in the sun a long time and don't wear protection. You are at greater risk if you have light skin and fair hair.
Severe sunburn or sun poisoning can cause symptoms such as:
  • Skin redness and blistering
  • Pain and tingling
  • Swelling
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration

Other Types of Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning may also refer to two types of reactions to sunlight. The cause is unclear, although the immune system is believed to play a role. This may occur after exposure to certain drugs or chemicals or as part of a systemic disease. But sometimes the cause is unknown.
Polymorphous light eruption (PMLE). At least one in 10 Americans is affected by PMLE, a reaction that does not appear to be linked to drugs or diseases. More common in women than in men and beginning at any age, PMLE occurs in people who are susceptible and are exposed to intense sunlight that they are not used to. For example, people living in northern climates could experience this if taking a winter vacation in a tropical climate.
In some cases, this reaction gets better each year, but some people have reactions that become more extensive without treatment. And, how much sunlight individuals can tolerate varies from person to person.
Symptoms are a severe skin rash, usually appearing within 30 minutes to several hours of going out in the sun. The rash may be itchy and have these characteristics:
  • Small bumps all over the body
  • Dense clumps of bumps
  • Hives, usually on the arms, lower legs, and chest
A hereditary form of PMLE occurs in Native Americans. It can last from spring until fall. Symptoms at first include redness, burning, and itching, which usually last two or three days, but can persist for weeks. Other symptoms may begin within a few hours of sun exposure but go away within hours. They include:
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea
Solar urticaria. Symptoms may develop within minutes of exposure to sun. If large areas of skin are involved, symptoms may include:
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Raised areas on the skin (wheals) or blisters
  • Wheezing
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
Although the blisters usually go away within hours, you may experience the reaction off and on throughout the years.

Treating Sun Poisoning

For severe sunburn, these simple remedies usually do the trick:
  • Get out of the sun.
  • Take a cool (not cold) shower or bath or apply cool compresses.
  • Drink extra fluids for a few days.
  • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain.
  • Use aloe gel or another moisturizer.
  • Completely cover sunburned areas when going outside.
Seek immediate medical care for these symptoms:
  • A sunburn that forms blisters, covers a large area, or is very painful
  • Facial swelling
  • Fever and chills
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache, confusion, or faintness
  • Signs of dehydration
Treatment for PMLE depends on its severity. Other than staying out of the sun and protecting yourself when you are, you may not need treatment. The rash can clear by itself within seven to 10 days. For solar urticaria, antihistamines are effective in some cases.
Other treatment or prevention for either type of reaction may include:
  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Sunscreen with both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) protection
  • Phototherapy with psoralen UV light (PUVA) to desensitize skin to UV light
  • Low-dose antimalarials (for PMLE)
If you are on medications, check with your doctor to see if any might be making your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Here are examples of drugs that might do that:
  • Acne medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Diuretics
  • Heart drugs
  • Birth control pills
  • Topical antibacterials, fragrances, or antifungals

Preventing Sun Poisoning

Don't forget the basics of sun safety. Apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed areas of skin. Make sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Do this15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply about every two hours.
Limit exposure during the hottest hours of the day -- between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And remember that water, snow, and sand can intensify damaging rays of the sun. Finally, make sunglasses, a hat, and protective clothing standard sun gear.
Continue to Read more ...

Health Benefits Of Cordyceps mushrooms

You will probably never accidently experience the health benefits of cordyceps mushrooms. That's because you simply don't find them in your grocery aisle or sitting next to the portabellas that you love. They're really rather creepy looking mushrooms that exist on their host, caterpillars early in their life. Chinese medicine reveres the cordyceps mushrooms for their medicinal properties and used them nearly two thousand years. It does bring a question to mind. Who first noticed the fungus growing on the back of a caterpillar and decided it might cure something and who was the first brave person to take it?

Aside from those questions that we'll never answer, there are some facts we do know about the health benefits of the cordyceps mushrooms. Cordyceps live on the body of a wintering caterpillar six inches underground. When spring hits, the caterpillar comes out of its shell and leaves the mushroom behind. It then sprouts from the ground, looking a bit like the caterpillar it inhabited.

There are many different health benefits from these ugly fungi, which make you overlook their less than attractive appearance. These little guys are power packed with hydroxyl Ethyl Adenosine, HEA and Cordycepin. Both of which help enhance the performance of athletes and increase their endurance. Perhaps this is why the Chinese revered the mushrooms more than gold and used them as an anti-aging supplement.

In the 1950's scientists investigated the element cordycepin from the mushroom as a potential cure for cancer. The cordycepin, however, degraded easily in the body once scientists removed it from the mushroom. The test results showed little effect.

It wasn't until recently that the scientists decided to try cordycepin again. Instead of simply using the mushroom, the used the extract again but in order to prevent degradation of the compound, they combined it with a second drug that has potential side effects. This time it worked.

Scientists tried the cordycepin a second time because they found that it blocked the growth and functioning of the cancer cells in the body. In high doses, this mushroom element stops the development of the protein and therefore makes the cancer cells unable to function or survive.

Of course, the scientists used the cordycepin directly and did not use the mushrooms. Had they, they might not have had to use the strong drug. The problem with the use of the mushroom for cancer is it's impossible to patent a fungi used in medicine for thousands of years.

There is good news for all that believe many of the cures for disease are already available to man, and they don't come in pill form. The study by Dr Cornelia de Moor published in "The Journal of Biological Chemistry" helps confirm that fact when it comes to cordyceps and cancer treatment.

Scientist investigating the cordyceps medical uses also found other significant benefits for people who take it. Shanghai University researchers found that cordyceps might promote liver health. University of Macau, China researchers studied the use of cordyceps for diabetes and showed that the mushroom lowers blood sugar. Researchers at the China Agricultural University in Beijing also concluded the same results. Researchers also found that it contains powerful antioxidants. Western medicine is just now catching to what the Chinese doctors knew thousands of years ago; there are many health benefits of cordyceps mushrooms.
Continue to Read more ...

Health Benefits Of Mushrooms

There are so many health benefits of mushrooms that it's difficult to believe these tiny power packed fungi taste good too. Mushrooms contain multiple nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as have antioxidant and anti biotic qualities. There are many different types of edible and medicinal mushrooms but they all have one thing in common. They are Saprophytes. This means they have no chlorophyll to make their own food so they live off the nutrients found in decaying plant and animal matter.

Adding a few mushrooms to your meal can do so much for your health besides simply add more flavor. Mushrooms help prevent breast and prostate cancer, lower blood cholesterol levels, are beneficial for diabetics, improve the immune system, aid in weight loss and provides selenium to build bones, nails and teeth.

The Chinese and Japanese have used many different types of mushroom in their medical treatments. Recent studies in Japan led their equivalent to our FDA to declare the Shiitake mushroom as an anti-cancer nutrient. The shiitake contains lentinan. In various studies, the lentinan reduced benign tumor also.

The populace of Asian countries has long revered both the healing qualities and flavor of the Maitake, also known as the Rams head or dancing mushroom. In fact, it was once a form of currency. They used the maiitake mushroom as a remedy for various ailments and today shows promise as not only a method of lowering blood pressure but also warding off cancer. 

Mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin D. New studies show that increased amounts of vitamin D in the body might help curtail certain forms of prostate cancer. In fact, it's only second to cod liver oil and it is far more palatable. The potassium in the mushroom is also heart healthy in that it lowers the blood pressure.

Not only do mushrooms provide antibacterial properties, they also boost the immune system by aiding the body in increasing with the abundance of vitamin B-complex, vitamin A and vitamin C. The anti-oxidants protect the cells and prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer, aging and other diseases. One study with mice by Dr. Keith Martin and his colleagues of Arizona State University in Mesa showed that mushrooms helped the rodents fight tumors. The mushrooms found most effective weren't exotic mushrooms that require a huge outlay of funds but common white button mushrooms.


The ability to aid dieters is another desirable quality of mushrooms. Sarah Schenker, a leading UK dietician, created a diet for one group that used mushrooms instead of meat in four of their meals a week and a low fat meat in the other group's meals. Everything else in the two diets was the same. The group that added mushrooms to their diet shed far more weight far quicker than the group whose meals contained meat. The mushrooms were relatively inexpensive compared to the meat and the diet, except for the mushrooms was not dramatically different from the normal eating patterns of the participants.

There are many more reasons to add mushrooms to your diet but the best is that they taste good. A yummy sautéed portabella sandwich provides you with a wealth of nutrients and vitamin B as well as selenium and protein. Not only are the health benefits of the mushroom remarkable and the flavor delightful but the more you eat, the less you'll have to worry about your weight.
Continue to Read more ...

Health Products Online

Finding health products online is one of the great "miracles", one of the great benefits and gifts, of the Internet. Not just health products--we have websites where we can go and find health information like never before. Much of this information is endorsed, edited, commented upon, and otherwise given the seal of legitimization by professional health practitioners. Even more exciting, a lot of the health information out there is at least a little "alternative" to what our mainstream doctors and hospitals try to tell us.
Maybe herbs for our stress really _would_ work better than that side-effect riddled, expensive pharmaceutical. (At the very same time, we can glean more information to see if, in fact, that strong pharmaceutical would best suit our needs.) And if we need some guidance, - we can Get Suggestions from the Supplement Advisor and we don't have to pay for a doctor's visit.

Doing our health shopping online, we can find products, including highly personal or sensitive products, that are packaged discreetly and shipped the same way.

We can order them without any embarrassment from our online shopping cart. Bad breath help products, infertility products, body odor difficulty products, unsightly (or not enough) hair products. All these and so many more are here to be found, packaged, shipped without any personal touch (something usually decried about the Internet or health care, but this time glorious!).

There's another great thing about finding our health products online. Oh, yes: price! There is incredible competition on the Net for all things in every industry. Health and medical products, of course, are in incredible demand and they can cost a shiny, pretty penny. But on the Internet incredible deals can be found.

You see, many manufacturers (predominantly supplements/alternative treatment products such as herbs) sell directly on the Net. "Middle men", who are needed to make things more convenient and efficient but who, needless to say, need to be paid for what they do, are not needed in many instances on the Internet. The Internet's facilitation of direct selling from manufacturers has wondrous financial consequences for "the common man".

Shipping costs can also be reduced for health products sold online. But, there are things to look for. Look at the fine details of your shipping detail. Are you within the right geographical region (and, is there one?). Did you need to order a certain volume of product? Are you told about the totality of the shipping costs before you point, click, and ask to be shipped?

You just need to be careful, that's all.

"Consumers need to be aware that the Internet has also created a marketplace for unapproved medical products, illegal prescribing, and products marketed with fraudulent health claims. And the unique qualities of the Internet, including its broad reach, relative anonymity, and the ease of creating and removing Web sites, pose challenges for enforcing federal and state law.

Many sites are connected to other sites and have multiple links, which makes investigations more complex. And there are jurisdictional challenges because the regulatory and enforcement issues cross state, federal, and international lines," says William Hubbard, who is associate commissioner for policy and planning at the Food and Drug Administration.

So, when it comes to buying health products online, remember it's "buyer beware."
Continue to Read more ...

Obesity Cure

the classic giant food firm cover up

You can't be hungry right? You just finished that super sized meal and your still famished. You can eliminate this sensation and lose pound after pound just by saying no to this make-you-hungry "drug" that they are sneaking into your food.

New study just released it's findings and 9 out of 10 adult men, 7 in 10 women are destined to become obese before they die. Fit and trim now, be careful-You're destined to balloon. Here's why!

I'll grant you that some people lack self-control and could do with more exercise. But that doesn't explain the oncoming trail of obesity that is sweeping across our county. Many of our kids already have adult diabetes and if we don't do something about this silent killer chances are it will get you.

Think I'm kidding? Eli Lilly is spending upwards of $325 million to build one of the largest insulin manufacturing plants. They don't spent that kind of money on a wild card chance, they see the writing on the wall and are getting ready to cash in. So what's this all about?

HINT: It's not carbs, it's not fat and it's not refined sugar...

Silently it being added to countless thousands of our most popular foods. It's almost impossible to find a condiment without it. Already we consume, per person, more than 56 pounds of this killer chemical a year.

What they have done is quietly replaced the refined sugar in these food with...

THE "ANTI-DRUG": High Fructose Corn Syrup

I know you have been told that fructose is a natural food and is better for you than refined sugar. But the problem is...

High Fructose Corn Syrup(HFCS) is in no way a natural product. It's a genetically modified, chemically tweaked concoction that acts exactly like a "anti-diet pill" It raises your levels of the make-you-fat-hormone that diet pills are formulate to block.

This is why your hungry after eating that supersized meal. It doesn't trigger the release of leptin-that's what makes you feel full. And worse it doesn't hold back ghrelin, which is what makes you hungry.

Originally HFCS was used because it's much cheaper to use than sugar. The food companies found out later that it makes you ravenous. Instead of stoping production of this chemical or at least warning people of the situation they decided that greed was the watch word of the day and started adding it to more and more foods.

You see HFCS helps them sell billions of dollars worth of food you would never crave without the chemical.

Want to do something about it...

Starting now, refuse to use or buy foods with HFCS as an ingredient. You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll lose weight and blood sugar problems will improve.
Continue to Read more ...

Mercury Poisoning - How it effects us all

Mercury is an element that is found in water, air and soil. It is a naturally occurring element and exists in several forms: elemental mercury and organic as well as inorganic mercury compounds.

Elemental mercury is used in fluorescent light bulbs, thermometers and some electrical switches. Exposed elemental mercury evaporates into an odorless, invisible toxic vapor.

Mercury can affect a person's health as well as the ecology. You do not want to expose yourself to high levels of mercury as it can harm the brain, kidneys, heart and lungs as well as the immune system for people of all ages.

Pregnant women should not consume a lot of fish as high levels of methyl mercury in the fish can cause harm to the developing nervous system in unborn babies. This may have an impact on cognitive thinking, attention, fine motor skills, memory, language and visual spatial skills.

You want to avoid any place or situation where you may be exposed to elemental mercury. Exposure is likely to occur when it is spilled or when products that contain this element break and then expose the mercury to the air.

Occasionally you will see on the nightly news where a school had to be evacuated due to breakage of thermometers and the spilling of mercury. Elemental mercury causes significant health effects when a person breathes in the vapor and it is absorbed through the lungs. Mercury poisoning symptoms include: tremors, mood swings, nervousness, insomnia, neuromuscular changes such as muscle atrophy, weakness and twitching, disturbances in sensations, poor performance on tests of cognitive function, emotional changes, headaches and changes in nerve response.

Other mercury poisoning symptons include the following: peripheral vision impairment, "pins and needles" feeling usually felt in the feet, hands and around the mouth, and impairment of hearing, speech and walking. At even higher exposures the kidneys may be affected, there may be respiratory failure and even death. People who are concerned that they have been exposed to elemental mercury should definitely consult their doctor.

For a complete explanation of what mercury poisoning does to the brain take time to watch the video at the bottom of this page. The University of Calgary has done extensive research on the effects of mercury on the brain.

There are certain organic and inorganic mercury compounds that you also do not want to risk prolonged exposure to. These compounds are generally ingested through the gastrointestinal tract and may affect other organs and systems via this route.

If you have been exposed to high levels of inorganic mercury, you may experience some of the following mercury poisoning symptoms: dermatitis and skin rashes, memory loss, muscle weakness, mood swings, and mental disturbances.

Besides affecting people, there can also be ecological effects of mercury. Mammals and birds that eat fish containing methyl mercury are more likely to suffer exposure from mercury poisoning than are other animals in water ecosystems.

Predators that feed on fish-eating animals may also run the risk of being highly exposed to mercury. The harmful effects on these animals may include reduced reproduction, abnormal behavior, slower growth and development and even death.

You would not think that an element such as mercury could cause so much trouble! In our world today, we want to do whatever we can to avoid prolonged exposure to this element. We certainly do not want to suffer the consequences of mercury poisoning.
Continue to Read more ...

Give A Healthy Food Gift Basket - The Gift Of Life And Encouragement

Give A Healthy Food Gift Basket - The Gift Of Life And Encouragement


A couple of years ago I never would have thought of giving a healthy food gift basket or for that matter writing a article on health foods. A trip down the highway with sirens screaming and the paramedics giving you nitroglycerin changes your prospective on life.

One of those perspectives you learn to change is what to give a friend or co-worker as a gift especially if they are going through similar life changing circumstances. You want to encourage them and let them know that there is hope and that you really care.

One of the best things you could give that person is a health food gift basket full of delicious, good for them, foods. Here are four reasons to give that gift of life.

Sign Of Encouragement

Being diagnosed as having cancer or just coming through a heart attack can be downright discouraging. You have the doctors and nurses sticking you all over with needles and instruments and then they give you all this literature to read telling you what you can't eat or do.

Then you have all your family and friends telling you the stories of people they know who have been through similar circumstance and the diet changes they have made or didn't change.

Every one is suddenly an expert on your situation and just full of "can't-do's", and your stuck in that silly gown, can't go hide and can't make the world go away. You just want to know that the worlds not coming to an end and that life can still be good and exciting.

Nothing will encourage you like good healthy food that not only looks good but tastes great. The type of food you like to eat. Let's get on with life. I can make it now.

 The Gift Of Life
Food is what gives us energy, gives us life. Without food you will die. So when you give a Heart Healthy Gourmet Food Basket you are giving a basket of life. And what a life it can be when you see all the great tasting foods you "can eat".

Doctors and nutritionist and friends are quick to tell us what we can't eat which gives us the impression that there ain't much good tasting food left for us to eat.

The health food gift basket brings that myth to a sudden end. Meats, cheeses, nuts, fruits and vegetables all there to savor and enjoy. A whole new perspective on what enjoying life can entail.

 Start a Good Habit
I like nuts, alway have, so when I was told to eliminate the salt I thought to my self there goes eating nuts because they don't taste good without salt. Boy was I wrong. Nuts are great just by themselves.

As a matter-of-fact they taste even more nuttier without the salt. The salt takes away some of the flavor of nuts and replaces it with the sharpness of salt. When you first taste the nuts by themselves you miss the saltiness and think they are bland and then the great flavor of the nuts themselves kicks in and "walla, What A Great Taste".

Unsalted roasted nuts are the "boss" and I enjoy a handful every night before I go to bed.

That's how you start a new habit - one handful at a time. When that health basket arrives and they start to enjoy the great taste of pure food, good eating habits are easily established.

We have been so ingrained as a nation by the fast food industry to believe that all good things need to be fried and salted to death - quite literally.

  A Sign You Really Care
When you really care for someone you naturally want to help them do whats best for themselves. Sending a health food gift basket is shouting "I want you to be around a looong time, so here's something special to get you started in achieving that long life".

You naturally want to do what's best for your friend or family member so what could be better than to give them a healthy food gift basket.

Continue to Read more ...

Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

There have been a number of studies on dark chocolate health benefits these last few years and they all agree on one thing.

Eating dark chocolate can be good for you.

Minimally processed cocoa - dark chocolate is the least processed of all chocolate - contains antioxidants just like those found in green tea.

Some of the benefits of antioxidants are:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Improved circulation
  • Helps the cells that line the blood vessels due their job
  • Destroys free radicals in protecting against stroke and heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • lowers the death rate from heart disease
  • Ignites the kidneys
"A cup or two of hot cocoa every once in a while can
provide a delicious, warm and healthy way to obtain
more antioxidants"
Dr Chang Yong Lee,
Cornell University


These antioxidants appear to be present in only the dark chocolate, not the white chocolate or the milk chocolate as the antioxidants are processed out.

If your eating for the dark chocolate health benefits then stay away from milk when eating the chocolate. Milk has been found to block the absorption of antioxidants while eating chocolate.

This would eliminate any dark chocolate health benefits.

Researchers are also considering the case for milk having the same effects on other antioxidant rich foods like
green vegetables,fruits and green tea.

Dark Chocolate and Blood Pressure

Cocoa phenols are known to lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is loaded with these cocoa phenols which will help lower your blood pressure just make sure to make up for the extra calories by eating less of something else.

Who said you can't have your candy and eat it too?
Continue to Read more ...

Anti Aging Foods

Anti aging foods fall into several categories. Some supply the building blocks for the body to build cells to replace those that die. Other anti aging foods offer the body the energy to fuel the tasks necessary for living. Still other anti aging foods stimulate the body to produce enzymes and chemical reactions necessary for it to function. When man first walked the earth, they scavenged for food. There were no processed meals or microwaves to zap a dinner in 2 minutes or less. In order for modern man to survive and live longer, he needs to look back at the food of early man.

All foods provide a certain amount of energy, but not all foods provide the appropriate building blocks necessary to maintain the body. When you consider the foods found in nature, you probably think of berries and nuts first. Scientists have proven that there are immense benefits from the consumption of fruits and vegetables that are deep purple, red or orange. Fruits and vegetables are all good sources of nutrients and phytonutrients. So, if we all ate like the cave man, would we all live to 150?

Things aren't as simple as they were in the days when Fred Flintstone roamed the earth. There are more toxins in the atmosphere, more chemicals in the food and water and more stresses on the body than in any other period. While some of the new super foods promise to turn back the clock, they only fight the free radicals while they're in the body. They don't continue to work around the clock. The body depends on its own internal security system to protect its cells.

Free radicals connect to the outer shell of the cell and form a waxy build-up, eventually blocking the supply of food and finally damaging the DNA that contains the code to reproduce. Once cells no longer reproduce, you start to age. Even if you eat healthy, if your body doesn't produce antioxidants to combat the free radicals, you'll have cell damage. You can reduce the damage by eating well, supplying food that contains the building blocks and providing enough energy for the body to work efficiently, but you still need the body's security system to protect it's cells.

The perfect anti aging food is one that stimulates the body's security system to create more of it's own antioxidants to slow cell destruction and breakdown. Foods that act as a catalyst to this system are just as necessary as those that provide building blocks or give energy are.

Luckily, there are scientists that study the causes of aging and investigate the effect of food on the body's ability to fight the ravages of oxidation. They've found that the necessary ingredients to a longer life have been around for centuries. Green tea and food supplements that stimulate the body into producing it's own antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT); show great promise in the fight against disease and aging.

Anti aging foods are all around you. They are foods that come straight from the field. They're colorful, fresh and definitely not fried. They are seeds, like whole grains or nuts. Water, an especially important part of maintaining the efficiency of the body, is also one of the anti-aging foods. When you want to find anti aging foods, think colorful, fresh and unprocessed.
Continue to Read more ...

Froot Loops - Healthy Fakes

Froot Loops-healthy fakes that received the bright green check mark showing the endorsement of the Smart Choices program, may have received its check mark on shaky ground. The Smart Choices program may have a special reason for making Froot Loops one of its choices. While the board of the Smart Choice program insists that the reason was the fiber, vitamin A and C in the cereal, when asked about the high sugar content, they simply remarked that it was better for your children than some other breakfast choices were. The explanation for the decision came from the president of the Smart Choice program, Dr. Ethel Kennedy.

"You're rushing around, you're trying to think about healthy eating for your kids and you have a choice between a doughnut and a cereal. So Froot Loops is a better choice."

Using that same logic, a number of "unhealthy foods" surpass the health benefits of a donut. However, no one extends their standards to consider these foods a "smart choice." The funding of the Smart Choice program might give valuable information on how products receive their attractive green check mark.

The companies participating with the Smart Choice program pay as much as $100,000 every year. If their product bears the green check mark, the fee increases or decreases according to the sale of the product. Since not all companies participate, you'll not see a green Smart Choice check on some extremely healthy foods. At present, there are only ten companies involved in the program. These companies include Kraft foods, Unilever, General Mills, Tyson, PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods and of course, Kellogg's.

Even though there were representatives for advocacy groups on the panel to set the nutritional criteria to receive the Smart Choice endorsement, many found that most of the panel came from the food industry and because of that, skewed the results with their domination of numbers. Michael Jacobson, one of the representatives from a health advocacy group, Center for Science in Public Interest, quit for that very reason.

Aside from the fiber and the addition of vitamins and minerals to the cereal, what does Froot Loops contain? They have numerous chemicals to give the cereal its artificial color and flavor, added sugar, more than most cookies and very little else except the potential for faulty packaging. When you read the ingredients on the back of the package, they are placed with the first ingredient being the highest the food contains by weight. That's sugar and it gives the product 44 percent of the calories it contains.

The question now becomes, should you simply give your child a vitamin supplement, feed him oatmeal and fruit and avoid the urge to give him sugary foods such as Froot Loops, which have high concentrations of food dyes with the potential of causing hyperactivity among other things. Besides the high sugar content, recently there was a problem with the packaging. To Kellogg's credit, they recalled it as soon as they found the problem. There was a higher concentration of chemicals in the liner. These chemicals release when it's heated to seal the package. While it isn't normally a problem, the higher concentration chemicals created stomach problems and vomiting because the cereal absorbed the gas. There is no FDA study on the effect of the packaging materials over a long period.

While Froot Loops may be better for you than a donut, are they really deserving of the Smart Choice green check mark? They contain enough chemicals to start a science lab and only have nutrients because of supplementation. A far better start for your child's day would be hot oatmeal and fresh fruit instead of Froot Loops-healthy fakes.
Continue to Read more ...

Healthy Oils

Healthy oils are only healthy if you use them correctly. There are some oils that can tolerate the heat of the frying pan and others that just need to rest lightly on a salad with a little vinegar and spice.

Some oils don't pass as healthy whether you sauté, flambeau or simply use them cold. Healthy oils are those that fit the criteria for essential fatty acids, are lower in unsaturated fats, lower the blood cholesterol or at least not raise it, have little pesticide in them and are processed properly so the oil's integrity is maintained and the nutritional value isn't lost.

Oil is nothing more than liquid fat. The body needs to have fat to help it absorb nutrients, maintain the integrity of the cell membrane, insure proper nerve transmission and perform other important tasks. You can get too much of a good thing however. You also can choose the wrong type of oil and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you use the oils improperly, you also increase a potential for cancer.

Some oils are hydrogenated. Hydrogenation creates a longer shelf life but also makes the trans fatty acids that you hear so much about today. When you look at vegetable shortening, stick margarine or even the oil in microwave popcorn, you're looking at samples of hydrogenated oils.

There are oils that are polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, totally unsaturated and saturated fats. Each type of healthy oil has some saturated fat and some unsaturated fat. The chains of fat in the oil also are mixed. Saturated fat is what you need to avoid. Studies found that diets high in saturated fats are linked to a higher incidence of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. The studies also found that saturated fats negatively effected the cholesterol profile of the individuals that ate them regularly in their diet. Experiments that replaced the saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat reduced the likelihood of a second stroke or cardiac death significantly. Oils that contain high saturated fats include butter, coconut oil, cottonseed oil and palm kernel oil.

Polyunsaturated fat lower both the total cholesterol and the LDL, bad cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats, however, actually raise the HDL, good, cholesterol level. The highest oil in unsaturated fat is canola followed closely by sunflower and safflower oil. However, if you divide the groups up between polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, olive oil ranks the highest with canola oil right behind it.

Oils that don't fare well when heat is applied include those that contain the omega 3 fatty acids. The heat changes the fatty acids and even makes them harmful. In this case, oils that are higher in saturated fats or monounsaturated fats tend to be higher when you use them for cooking. These include the ever-popular olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, high oleic sunflower oil, butter and peanut oil. Of course, coconut oil is high in saturated fat.

There's a technique that preserves the flavor and nutrition of oils that you use for cooking. It involves sautéing the food first in a small amount of water heated slightly below the boiling point. Cook the food for a while and then later add the oil. This practice is wet sautéing the food. Since the oil has a limited time in the heat, it helps maintain the integrity of the oil.

The way the manufacturers process the oil also makes a difference. Remember that some oils are damaged by heat that creates a toxin. Some manufacturers use heat or chemicals to process their oil. Always look for oils that are cold pressed to maximize the health value of the oil. Healthy oils are those from organic sources; contain lower saturated fats and where the manufacturer uses natural processing methods.
Continue to Read more ...

Beware Of Healthy Fakes

There's so many healthy foods out right now, but beware some of these are healthy fakes.

Let's start with the foods that you pick up as a healthy alternative to a fatty snack like potato chips, rice cakes. Frankly, rice cakes taste healthy. There's very little to them, they're bland and one mini cake isn't nearly enough to curb an appetite. Rice cakes contain no nutrition, just sodium. If you select one of the tastier types, you'll find these have the bad fat, Trans fat.

Therefore, you pass on the rice cakes but decide a health food bar is more to your liking. Beware, there's a lot that these bars hide underneath their packaged promises.

First, if they taste good, they contain sugar, but that's mostly in granola bars. Sugar raises the insulin level, which stops the body from releasing growth hormones. In turn, the reduction growth hormones released causes the immune system to be depressed. Sugar also elevates your blood sugar level, makes the pancreas work frantically to produce insulin and then the level drops dramatically. These rapid changes in the blood sugar add additional stress on your body.

Okay, you don't want a healthy fake no matter how good it tastes so you check the ingredients for every type of sugar that you know and your bar passes with flying colors. However, the label shows the bar contains soy rice crisp or soy protein.

Soy is healthy, right? Wrong! According to a not for profit nutritional education organization, the Weston A Price Foundation in Washington DC, processed soy protein and soy oil that you find in many health food products shows a direct link to problems with the thyroid, digestive tract, reproductive organs including infertility, dementia, heart disease, ADD/ADHD and even a direct link to cancer.

Women that are at risk for breast cancer are warned to cut back on soy products because of the ever increasing evidence that diets high in soy products causes a greater amount of cells to multiply in the breast.

What can you eat as a healthy snack? Either select something that your mother made, by that I mean Mother Nature, or make it yourself so you know what the snack contains. Good wholesome fresh fruit, nuts, berries and seeds. Mix them together with some shredded wheat and you have homemade trail mix you can trust.

Drinks are deceptive also; there are many healthy fakes that pass themselves off as "good for you" and nutritious. Vitamin drinks offer a lot of healthy vitamins but also have an abundance of sugar.

These drinks contain as much as 8 teaspoons of sugar. Even though the vitamins enhance your immune system, the sugar in the drink suppresses it. Three teaspoons of sugar can suppress your immune system for up to four hours.

These have almost three times the amount of sugar. Twenty years ago, the average consumption of sugar was 26 pounds a year. Today the consumption has risen to an unprecedented 135 pounds per American, per year.

Is it any wonder that cancer and heart disease is on the rise, not to mention the increased number of Americans that even make their sweat pants scream under the strain of the extra body weight.

Bottled tea, even the unsweetened type, is also another healthy fake. Studies show that bottled tea contains no where near the antioxidants that brewed tea contains.

There are so many healthy fakes on the market everywhere you look. Why? Marketing. Manufacturers and fast food restaurants all know Americans want to eat healthy and now promote that with somewhat deceptive labeling. The easiest way to healthy eating is making the food, reading all labels and avoiding anything with sugars or corn syrup in the first 8 ingredients on the label. Next time you go shopping, read the labels and find some healthy fakes yourself.
Continue to Read more ...

Health Benefits Of Herbs & Spices

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils.

If you'd really like to add more nutrition to your family's fare, you simply need to go gourmet and add herbs and spices. That doesn't mean you'll need to purchase exotic foods from the high priced selection at your grocery. Most spices come as a power package of nutrition, don't cost that much and a very little goes a long way. Something as simple as a hamburger cooked on the grill can be packed with extra nutrition if you mix a few spices into the meat. These flavor-enhancing additions bring great reviews from those that consume the delectable packages that carry a big nutritional punch.

For thousands of years man has used herbs in medicine and also to improve the flavor of the foods. Today, scientists find that the early doctors and herbalists knew a lot more than the credit they previously received. Most historians believed that many of the herbs were assigned their roles as medicine because they either resembled a part of the body or by simple observation when the user showed improvement after taking the herb.

According to Alison Gernand from the School of Public Health at the University of Texas, "People who generally cook at home and use fresh spices tend to be healthier and have less disease." Why? Because many of the herbs used in household cooking provide the nutrients that the body needs to improve health.

One of the shortcomings of the fast food life is that everything is stripped from the flavor to the nutrition when they're cooked. America's favorite spice is salt and pepper because they're the only ones that most people ever get to taste. If a fraction of a cent is saved on each dish served at a fast food chain, it translates into millions of dollars across the nation.

America has become obese and there are several reasons. One important and often overlooked reason is the body's need for nutrition. Aside from exercise and fried foods, two of the most obvious reasons for increased weight, the body has specific nutritional requirements. If you don't eat the foods that fill these requirements, often the hunger sign remains in on position and eating continues until that need is satisfied. In earlier times, Mothers had herb gardens that supplied the extra boost of vitamins, minerals and photonutrients to help satisfy the body's quest. Today, most working mothers barely have the time to swallow their coffee in the morning, so the herb garden and many of the benefits remain only a memory.

The addition of herbs to meals brings more nutrition without adding more bulk or calories. If you have a fussy eater in the family that only wants potatoes, supplement the nutrition in their food selection by adding the antioxidant oregano or lower the risk of heart disease by flavoring the potatoes with some garlic.

Long gone are the days where a shaker of cinnamon and sugar was on the shelf as the staple treat on toast and oatmeal but they need to be revived. If you choose to raise an herb garden to get fresh herbs like oregano or rosemary, it's simple and easy to do, but not necessary. In fact, you don't even have to do the cooking. If you simply add a few shakes of your favorite herbs onto fast foods, you'll put extra nutrition into dishes not known for their high nutritional quality. The term "tasting healthy" takes on an entirely new meaning when you consider the addition of herbs and spices to make it that.
Continue to Read more ...

Magnesium Benefits

Unless you live under a rock, you've heard about the link between calcium and strong teeth, but did you know you need magnesium to get the benefit of calcium? Magnesium obviously doesn't have the huge PR that its partner calcium does. The milk industry pushes calcium as the huge benefactor to your health but there's no lobby for buckwheat flour, so you don't hear all the wonderful health benefits of magnesium.

Magnesium is necessary to operate many of the functions in the body. Magnesium is an activator. It makes over 76 percent of the body's enzymes go to work. A deficiency in this seldom praised mineral often doesn't show itself in the form of a craving like many minerals but plays an important role in your health. In fact, people with heart arrhythmias can often get relief with the addition of magnesium to their diet. While most doctors recommend the supplementation of potassium if you take water pills, many forget that magnesium depletion also occurs.

People with depression often display lower amounts of magnesium. Other conditions that tend to accompany depression include ADD, mitral valve prolapse, fibromyalgia, asthma, allergies and migraines. Most of these conditions come in clusters and all have a relationship to low magnesium levels.

While it's important to have enough calcium in your body, you also need a balance with the magnesium. If you're out of balance, it slows down the use of the body's calcium and the cells begin to calcify because of its excess. Calcification leads to cell death and eventually the death of an organ and aging.

Studying the geological anomaly of higher incidence of Parkinson's-dementia and ALS on the Western Pacific areas, scientists noted high amounts of aluminum, iron and manganese but low amounts of magnesium and calcium resulted in another observation. When the introduction of food and water from a different area occurred, the incidence of ALS-PD decreased dramatically.

Not only did that information link magnesium shortage to mental conditions, an experimental study showed that rats with a high aluminum intake had no problem but if they had the high intake and low levels of magnesium, it increased the calcium levels and aluminum levels in the nervous system. This increased the development of hydroxyapatites causing the neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease.

Magnesium also might take the grouchiness out of PMS. Scientists find that patients with PMT, premenstrual tension, have a deficiency of magnesium in their blood serum. While there was no further study or recommendation by the scientists, it seems that every smart husband would put a bottle of magnesium pills on the shelf or hide some in the food of a wife with PMT.

Studies with lab rats deprived of magnesium show increased histamine levels similar to those when someone has an allergy. Low levels of magnesium increase the incidences of TMJ, tooth grinding and low levels of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is necessary for skin repair and other functions throughout the body.

Until magnesium hires a better PR team, it will sit at the sideline watching calcium and potassium get all the fame and fortune. However, as soon as people realize all the benefits of magnesium and the conditions and diseases an adequate supply of magnesium could prevent, a grass roots movement will put it right on the path to celebrity. Magnesium truly is one of the unsung heroes of the path to wellness.
Continue to Read more ...

Honey Health Benefits

Honey health benefits were known to healers for centuries, yet today, Americans are just discovering them. This delicious nectar is a creation of the bee to provide nutrients and food when normal sources are scarce. It has qualities that few other sugars contain. For instance, honey is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. This not only gives it a long shelf life, it makes honey a natural antiseptic.

Honey also provides some protection against cancer, particularly colon cancer. A study from the University of Zagreb, in Croatia, used several different bee products on rats injected with cancer cells. If the researchers gave the rats honey orally before the injection, it caused the growth of the cancer cell to slow or not grow at all. However, if they administered the honey after the injection, it actually increased the spread of the cancer. However, other bee products like Royal Jelly, made by the worker bees to feed the young, injected at the same time as the cancer, inhibited its growth and spread.

Several studies show that specific types of honey, created from the bees' consumption of different nectars, may aid cancer patients. A study published in the international medical journal, "Medical Oncology" outlined the benefits of honey from bees fed specific types of nectar. The results showed that honey from bees fed Echinacea, Siberian Ginseng and Uncaria Tomentosa produced honey that provided cancer patients an increase in blood cell production. This aided those patients depleted by the stress of chemotherapy.

Other studies removed the active ingredients in the honey. There are four of them. These are caffeic substances, which are phytonutrients. Two of them, I. ipoxygenase and phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C act on the substances that cause the development of cancer in the colon. Unfortunately, processing often destroys the substances so the best choice is always raw honey. The immunity properties of honey also help cancer patients. When scientists conducted a study, they found that cancer patients given honey had 32 percent fewer infections and an improved quality of life.

Honey also provides a powerful antibacterial aid on wounds when applied topically. Many mothers from earlier centuries used honey as their method to prevent wounds from infection. It also speeds the healing process because it stimulates the new tissues to grow faster. It works to promote the healing of burns, too. A bottle of honey provides not only for sweet flavoring in tea but also replace many of the substances in the medicine cabinet.

Honey's healing properties vary by the type of food the bees receive, as mentioned previously. Acai honey shows many of the powerful antioxidant powers its berry shows. The honey from bees that consume buckwheat is a better cough remedy for children between two and eighteen than some many of the commercial blends of cough syrup, including those containing dextromethorphan.

No article on honey would be complete without mentioning the breakfast partner cinnamon. Studies show that a daily paste of honey and cinnamon on bread or toast not only helped reduce cholesterol build up in the arteries, it also increased the stamina so there was a stronger heartbeat and reduced fatigue which causes loss of breath.

These are just a few of the benefits. Beware; honey is still a sugar that contains calories. As part of a normal diet, it helps, but it shouldn't be used to the exclusion of vegetables, fruits and protein foods that make up a good diet. Honey health benefits are great and as a substitute for other sugars, it improves your health, therefore, the quality of your life.
Continue to Read more ...

Health Supplement

A Health supplement becomes mandatory as the food supply demonstrates it contains fewer and fewer nutrients. Fruits and vegetables show signs that the nutritional quality is fast sliding downhill and what Grandpa ate, was far more healthful.

Depleted soil with just enough nutrients to grow genetically altered fruits and vegetables produce less vitamin charged foods for our consumption. Baby boomers approach the age where the body no longer processes foods as efficiently as it did when it was younger and find that what kept them healthy years ago, no longer suffices. Busy schedules mean meals on the run, which often contain empty calories. All of these instances scream out, "nutritional supplements, please."

Scientists now discover that certain diseases might be forestalled or eliminated if only the individual would have added a nutritional supplement to their diet. India has a lower incidence of prostrate cancer, lung cancer and breast. Why? There is a direct correlation to their prevalent use of turmeric in Indian foods. This is just one indicator that food makes a difference and something is missing from the American diet.

The average family no longer sits around the supper table and discusses the day's events while munching on a delicious home cooked meal made from the family garden. Meals come in containers that might be plastic, flat and square or even cute little square containers with handles.

Many of these foods are over-processed, overcooked, and lack all forms of nutrition, except they're crunchy, easy and the family likes them. It isn't that the meal planner doesn't try, it's simply that there's no time and everyone arrives home at a different time.

Sometimes the traditional meal planner, the Mom, arrives home long after the rest of the family and, if they wait, they're ready for dinner the minute she walks through the door. Who wouldn't want to put something on the table that doesn't take an hour to chop, sauté, steam or prepare?

Studies now show what once was thought as a normal part of the aging process is nothing more than lack of nutrition. People don't have to become senile when they age. Mental confusion, depression and even Alzheimer's might be linked to the senior's nutritional health.

As people age, more and more cells begin to die, many because of the oxidation process caused by free radicals. This action doesn't have to take place if the individual supplies antioxidants for their body to help fight the battle at a cellular level. Premature wrinkling, increased joint damage, extra weight, debilitating disease and mental degeneration all have links to the nutritional intake of the individual.

It isn't enough just to take a health supplement; you need to take the right nutritional supplements. Not all vitamin and mineral supplements are alike.

Even with the best vitamins, you may need combinations found only in herbs. Many of the ancient remedies now find their way into the laboratory. The reason is that they work. They don't work because they're shaped like an organ, but because of the combinations and micronutrients they contain.

Many of these herbs are not used frequently in foods as they once were and because of that, modern man misses the benefits they bring to table. Often the only way to include them in your diet is through a health supplement.
Continue to Read more ...

What Are Probiotics?

You may have heard the term probiotics on television, the radio or read about it on a pop-up on the Net, but few people realize not just what it is but also why probiotics are so important to continued health. Probiotics, to put it simply is bacteria. In the world of bacteria, you have beneficial bacteria and those that cause harm. Most people are aware of the harmful bacteria. If you have a cut or abrasion, you put an antibiotic on it. Some people use antibacterial hand lotion to kill any bacteria on their hands. If you're ill, you run to the doctor to get medication to kill the bacteria. What they don't know is that bacteria are necessary for a healthy body. That's where the beneficial bacteria enter the picture.

Our media and medical world has made us very aware of the dangers of bacteria. They created the image of bacteria as "the bad guy" waiting to take over your body and fill it with disease. In reality, bacterium can be both beneficial and harmful to the body, depending on the type of bacteria. Without bacteria, we would be up to our elbows in garbage and waste, lack a multitude of nutrients, be overrun by yeast and cease to existent. You cannot live without friendly bacteria. The body contains 10 trillion cells. The intestines, however, have 60 trillion bacteria. The intestinal bacteria help break down the food that you eat to usable nutrients that the body can absorb.

Bacteria are specialized. Each one does a different job and helps produce a variety of nutrients. While you may have more than 60 trillion in your intestines, you may not have all the necessary bacteria for good health. The first scientist to investigate probiotics was Eli Metchnikoff, a Russian scientist and Nobel Prize winner in the late 1800's and early 1900's. He relocated to the Pasteur Institute in Paris where he began his work with beneficial bacteria.

Metchnikoff formulated that many of the diseases come from proteolytic microbes. These produce toxins in the large intestines from the food people eat. Some of the toxic substances are ammonia, phenols and indols produced from the consumption of proteins. He hypothesized that these toxins were the initiators of the aging process. Since the scientific community already knew that milk fermented with lactic-acid stopped these microbes by lowering the pH, he proposed that in order to extend life, seeding the intestines with that same beneficial bacteria should help.

He looked beyond the lab for part of his findings. There was visible proof in the Steppes of his country and in Bulgaria. The peoples of those areas were long-lived and consumed a diet high in lactic-acid fermented milk. He created a sour milk diet and found that it worked to improve his own health. Soon many of the Parisian physicians also prescribed the sour milk diet, particularly for those patients with diarrhea.

While later findings indicated the strain of bacteria recommended by Mechnikoff could not exist in the intestines, the study of beneficial bacteria was now all over the world. In the pre-antibiotic days of WWI, scientists made huge leaps in solving intestinal disorders caused by salmonellosis and other harmful bacteria that was food borne. From those studies came the first probiotic recognizable to many Americans, lactobacillus acidophilus. By the year 1953, Kollath coined the term probiotics as the label for these beneficial bacteria.
Continue to Read more ...

Health Food Drink

Probably the best health food drink you'll find is the least expensive. It's not fattening, instead increasing its consumption may actually help you lose weight. It contains no artificial ingredients. Sometimes this beverage contains mineral and sometimes it contains contaminants and toxins. The problem is, the government hasn't perfected the labeling process for this health food drink, so you don't know which choices are the best. The drink is water.

Your body is made of about 70 percent water. If you don't drink enough water, you'll dehydrate. Early signs are headache, joint pain, muscle pain, lower back pain and constipation. If you want to know approximately how much water you need daily, simply find your weight, divide it by two and you'll have the number of ounces necessary for a healthy survival. A person that weighs 128 pounds needs 64 ounces of water or about 8 cups. Some of the water can come from foods and other drinks. You also need to increase the necessary amount if you perspire heavily.

To filter or not to filter, that is the question. You'll always find someone to sell you a machine, offer bottled water or some other additive for your water to make it healthier. Some water is toxic; there is no doubt of that. However, unless you have reason to believe you're drinking contaminated ground water, most water purifiers are notnecessary. If you have well water that contains a lot of minerals and lime, all the better. You don't need to take a calcium supplement. If you're worried about fluorine and chlorine in your tap water and decide to drink bottled water, find out where its source. It may simply come from a neighboring tap.

While water is the healthiest of all drinks, there are other health drinks on the market. The latest craze is acai berry juice. The acai berry contains a multitude of antioxidants, so the craze is not without foundation. The claims, however, from that point on are speculation with no scientific study backing them. One claim is a cure for aging; another for a cancer cure and like many of the super drinks, there's always a claim for weight loss involved.

Another healing juice is noni juice. Just like acai berries, noni juice hasn't been popular, in fact, probably not heard of by many, until recent years. There's probably good reason. The Morinda Citrifolia or noni fruit looks a bit like the blob or an alien pod. The fruit has a strong smell and natives call it cheese or vomit fruit. Hawaiians used the noni fruit for centuries as medication. Sometimes they applied as a poultice to draw out toxins from an infected sore, other times they ate the fruit. It contains a vast amount of phytonutrients and proponents claim it cures everything from obesity, a very popular claim, to asthma and arthritis.

You'll find other health food drinks on the market. Some as simple as cranberry juice, now used in nursing homes to prevent bladder infections. Others far more exotic such as goji berry juice. Goji berries, an import from China, contain antioxidants. Like other berries such as blueberries and strawberries, they also contain powerful phytonutrients that help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Teas of varying sorts are also health food drinks. has many uses and provides the body with an increased ability to metabolize fat and lower blood sugar. There are a number of which offer aid for maladies as diverse as the types of teas. Many of the people that require a cup of coffee in the morning claim it has health benefits also. It keeps the people close to them safe.

You'll find a health food drink stand at almost every gym. These delicious drinks are often packed with a variety of fresh fruit, wheat germ and supplements. If you've ever worked out, just to justify getting one of the drinks afterward, you know how delightful they taste. If not the drink, then the workout surely had health benefits.

Even though healthy drinks are important supplements for your diet and excessively better than a soft drink, make sure you choose wisely when it comes to health food drinks, and don't forget, water's the best of them all.
Continue to Read more ...

Healthy Benefits of Resveratrol

If you want any of the healthy benefits of resveratrol found in grapes, don't lay there on the couch and allow your spouse to feed you peeled grapes. The resveratrol is in the skin of the grapes. Let them bruise the grapes for you instead, before they delicately drop them into your mouth. Okay, the practice isn't probably one seen in America, but it is a way to point out the fact that resveratrol is abundant mostly in the skin of grapes.

Resveratrol is found heavily in red wine, which is the best source of this phytoalexin. The longer the skin remains on the grapes while it's fermenting, the more resveratrol you have in the final product. This explains why white wine doesn't contain as much and grape juice, with no fermentation contains very little.

You may wonder why the attention to resveratrol, besides another good excuse for a glass of red wine. It's simple. It is one additional protection against heart disease, clogged arteries and cancer. It does occur in other natural products like eucalyptus, lilies and spruce, their consumption is dubious at best. It also is in edible products such as mulberries and peanuts but they don't contain as much.

The scientific community discovered resveratrol when it looked at the "French Paradox". The French, noted for their consumption of rich fatty foods, don't have a high incidence of heart disease. Scientists wondered why and discovered it was their habit of including red wine with the meals.

Resveratrol is produced by some plants as a way to protect itself from fungi or other pathogenic organisms or after an injury. It produces a chemical substance called phtoalexinsare to ward off damage. This substance is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges artery-damaging free radicals.

When it was put to the test against a synthetic antioxidant and vitamin E, resveratrol lead the scavenging pack as the best defense for your arteries. It not only stopped the cycle of the formation of plaque and scar tissue on the artery, it increased the nitric oxide, which relaxes the vessel walls and increases the blood flow. Scientists discovered that when you eat a high-cholesterol diet, your nitric oxide is reduced by a third.

People taking resveratrol supplements reversed the decrease in their main arteries. It also keeps the blood cells from getting sticky. It inhibits thrombin and another polyphenol in wine, quercetin inhibited 12-HETE a different chemical that makes blood cells stick together. When blood cells stick together, it creates another potential factor for heart attacks.

But the heart is not the only organ that gets protection. Many different studies find increasingly optimistic information on the potential of resveratrol for the fight against cancer. It has the ability to differentiate between a cancer cell and a normal cell and protect the normal cells while it fights the cancer cell. Unlike the chemotherapy offered today, it doesn't damage healthy cells. It also plays a role in activating certain hormones, enzymes and genes while turning off those that are not beneficial. In fact, studies done with yeast shows that it activates the yeast's longevity gene.

When it was discovered that Resveratrol activated the longevity gene a number of anti-aging products came on the market to take advantage of this fact.

Other studies show that it might be beneficial to the control and prevention of Alzheimer's by controlling the abnormally high level of beta-amyloid, an abnormal peptide produced in abundance by Alzheimer's patients, which causes oxidative stress and eventually kills brain cells. It also might protect stroke and spinal cord injury victims from more damage from the complications of their injury or stroke.

While there are other questions about the potential for liver damage, breast cancer and long-term effects, a glass of wine with a meal isn't as damaging as once thought and the healthy benefits of resveratrol may even make you a little healthier.
Continue to Read more ...

Healing Foods

Until recently, modern medicine wrote off the use of healing foods as a treatment to combat illness or prevent it as "old wives' tales." Today, however, there is scientific evidence verifying the foods we eat have a definite affect on our health more than just to provide nutritional balance. Labs all over the world now study the effects of specific phytonutrients and compounds in fresh fruits and vegetables as cures for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. However, even though these studies often show the whole foods provide protection and cure, many times it's when the ingredients are separated from the whole to isolate the beneficial substance, the effect is either less powerful or non-existent.

Unfortunately, you'll seldom read all the information found in these studies, which drug companies often fully fund. The reason is obvious. You simply can't put a patent on fresh fruits and vegetables. It costs pharmaceutical companies a great deal of money to research health benefits or introduce a new medication so the cures must have a potential to show a profit. Broccoli spears or grapes are available at your local grocer where everyone can purchase produce at reasonable prices. Even weekend gardeners can plant a tomato plant or two for their supper table. Healing foods show no potential for profit. 

In an era where a quick burger made of unknown meat sources is the staple of the diet of many Americans, it's no wonder that diseases such as cancer and heart disease seem to increase every year. Statistics show that there is a race and ethnic difference in the rate of cancer. African Americans have a substantially higher death rate from cancer than white men and women according to a study to the data shown in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Statistics also show that Asians and Pacific Islanders have lower rates of other cancers but higher rates of stomach, liver and cervical cancer than other groups. Are the statistics pointing to bad genes or does the food we consume cause the problem? Diet varies dramatically among these groups and only further study will show the true cause. Until there is a definitive answer, eating healthy is one way to insure proper nutrition and potentially stave off devastating disease.

In basic family living classes across America, teachers instruct students in simple meal preparation and menu planning. While it's not scientific, one rule of thumb was always to include fruits and vegetables and make the meal a rainbow of colors. It seems this planning technique not only makes an attractive meal, it also provides valuable nutrients in balanced amounts. Many of the healthy foods derive their nutritional benefits not just from the vitamins and mineral they contain, but also from phytonutrients, sometimes referred to as phytochemicals. Many of these disease- fighting phytochemicals also give color to the plants. By varying the food color at meals, the potential for including more of the "hidden" nutrients increases.

While the news may have us believe there is a new super food every week, it just isn't so. While these foods may contain high amounts of antioxidants, a disease fighting substance, there is no one magic food that will make all your ailments disappear. Fresh fruits and vegetables tend to lead the pack on nutrition but there are also benefits from whole grain foods, nuts, some oils and fish.

Those that have a particular family history or suffer from a disease should focus on increasing their intake of foods that attack a particular problem.

Heart healthy foods are those that either increase the flow of blood in the system, reduce inflammation that causes plaque build up or lower cholesterol levels. Some of these foods include fish, nuts and oatmeal. They work in a variety of ways to do each task.

Cancer fighting foods are those that either cause cancer cell death or stop cancer cells from dividing and creating more cells. Broccoli and cauliflower contain indole-3-carbinol that combats breast cancer. They also contain sulforaphane a phytochemical that inhibits the growth of cancer cells and lutein and zeaxanthin two other cancer fighters.

Carrots and other vegetables that contain beta-carotene, helps to reduce the incidence of certain cancers according to some studies. When you eat raw carrots, you're also ingesting falcarinol, a phytonutrient shown to slow the growth of cancer cells.

Grapes and deep purple fruits and vegetables have the substance resveratrol, which gives the fruit the deep purple color. Resveratrol is highly praised as a heart healthy phytonutrient and cancer fighter. Even spices add to the body's protection against cancer. Turmeric, chili peppers, garlic and other spices contain valuable disease fighting and cancer fighting agents.

Whether the problem is Alzheimer's disease, cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease or any other, there's a food that contains nutrients that could help you live longer or even overcome the disease. By simply eliminating some foods from your diet and replacing them with others, you may find that you'll live healthier and prevent many of the diseases that plague our nation. The best part of healing foods, unlike many prescription drugs, is that there are no side effects.
Continue to Read more ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts