April 11, 2012
By Food Matters
“Eat superfoods – your body will love it.” –KTRN
Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients – nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. We all may be adding more salads and vegetables to our diets, but concern over the quality of foods grown on mineral depleted soils makes Superfoods an intelligent choice.
Forget Sports Drinks: Coconut Water Is The Perfect Fluid To Replenish Your Body’s Electrolyte Balance After Heavy Exercise
March 8, 2012
By Mike Adams
“If you are still drinking Gatorade, you are obviously not paying attention.” –KTRN
In most cases, the best way to restore your body’s fluids and electrolytes after exercise is simply with water and food, particularly fruit. In cases of severe exertion or illness, however, a quick electrolyte boost may be necessary. For those reluctant to consume sports drinks with all their added colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives, nature has provided the perfect rehydrating drink: coconut water.
Coconut water is found inside the cavity of a young, unripe coconut (in contrast with coconut milk, found inside the mature fruit). The balance of electrolytes in coconut water is nearly the same as that in the human blood — so close, in fact, that coconut water is the only natural non-blood substance that can be safely injected into the human bloodstream. Ancient peoples knew this, and sometimes used it as an emergency intravenous fluid.
Most of the time there’s no need to go to such lengths: just drink it, and you’ll be rewarded with 15 times as much potassium as a typical sports drink, along with potent antioxidants. And unlike sugary sports drinks or coconut milk, coconut water is low in calories and fat free.
January 31, 2012
By: Kerri-Ann Jennings
If you’ve been exercising more, you may be suffering from the aches and pains of having overdone it at the gym. I’ve been there. Making sure your workout is challenging without overdoing it is one way to prevent muscle soreness. But research also points to some foods and beverages that can help ward off and minimize exercise-related muscle soreness, which we’ve reported on in EatingWell Magazine.
New research out of New Zealand suggests that the antioxidants in blueberries may help ward off muscle fatigue by mopping up the additional free radicals that muscles produce during exercise. Try these delicious and healthy blueberry recipes for a better workout.
Tart Cherries & Pomegranates
British researchers recently found that people who drank one ounce of concentrated cherry juice twice daily for 10 days bounced back faster from their workout (an intensive leg-resistance training session on day eight) than those who skipped the juice. The reason: The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in tart cherries — and other fruit juices like grape, pomegranate, acai, blueberry and cranberry — essentially act as natural NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin), reducing exercise-induced muscle damage.
November 11, 2011
By Danna Norek
“There are many things you can do to feel better. Listen to your favorite music, play a game with friends, hang out with animals (there is a cat on my lap right now). There are simple things you can do to feel better. Life is not all roses, we all know that, and some days are tough. But instead of reaching for an anti-depressant, try moving your body. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel after a workout.” –KTRN
Happiness is the state in which we were all meant to live. When this state of being eludes you, there are several mood boosting activities you can take part in to ensure low moods are few and far between. Many can even produce identifiable changes in brain chemistry almost instantly.
Get close to the ocean, a waterfall or any moving water
Moving water creates an atmosphere in which it is nearly impossible to feel hopeless and deflated. The 5 great freshwater lakes of the US and the ocean all are bodies of water that are in constant motion. There are two reasons these large bodies of water have a positive impact on our mood.
The first is the power of negative ions that are generated from the movement of the water. Negative ions are very cleansing to the human body. They create a feeling of invigoration by refreshing and oxygenating the cells of the body. They are also antioxidants since they help to counter balance positive ions.
Positive ions are also known as free radicals. In today’s world of “dead air” in which we are subjected to buildings with recycled heat and air conditioning, positive ions are much more abundant. Positive ions damage our healthy cells and create the perfect environment for sickness and disease.
Mow the lawn
Studies have recently shown that the simple act of mowing the lawn lifts the spirits. It helps create a feeling of well being and accomplishment. You are also reaping the benefit of aerobic activity, which in itself elevates mood.
The aroma of cut grass has been shown to lower stress levels and calm the mind. The chemical released by the freshly mown grass directly affects two areas of the brain related to emotions and memory. They are the amygdala and the hippocampus.
These findings may also explain why getting outdoors in general helps to elevate mood and release stress. Studies have also shown that simply inhaling the scent of pine trees and other vegetation has relaxing effects on the brain.
September 28th, 2011
By: Danna Norek
Vitamin C is one of the most well known, cost effective and universally beneficial antioxidants that we know of today. This vitamin topically and internally encourages beautiful skin, helps boost the immune system, and aids in the prevention of several types of cancer.
Vitamin C and skin health
Vitamin C is a key component of collagen and elastin synthesis in our bodies. Collagen and elastin are proteins that make up our skin, muscles and other connective tissue.
Collagen essentially creates a “foundation” for our skin. When it begins to deteriorate with age, we start to see the sagging and wrinkles that are customary signs of aging.
Collagen and elastin are the two main reasons our skin remains smooth and resilient in our youth. Elasticity provides the ability to “bounce back” after repeated movements. Years of facial expressions, exposure to excessive UV light and other damaging dietary or environmental factors really start to show when this elasticity is compromised.
Boosting vitamin C intake can help you regain some of the lost collagen and elastin by encouraging the body to produce more. Since vitamin C is also a very important antioxidant, it helps the body to eliminate the free radicals, which compromise healthy skin cells.
In addition to its internal benefits vitamin C is also useful in external applications. It helps reduce age spots and darker pigmentation from sun exposure. It also helps to provide better skin tone and color.
This is due to its mild exfoliating capabilities, which help rid the skin of dead skin cells to reveal a fresher layer of healthy skin cells. It also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C and immunity
Aside from its skin health benefits vitamin C also enhances immune function. It has been shown to stimulate the production and enhance the function of white blood cells.
White blood cells are essentially our front line defense against infection and they protect us from bacterial and viral invaders. Vitamin C has also demonstrated protective qualities over white blood cells which may lengthen their life span.
Vitamin C and cancer prevention
Numerous studies have linked higher vitamin C intake to a lower occurrence of several types of cancer. In mice, these studies have shown that the vitamin can inhibit or slow the growth of cancerous tumors. These include cancer of the lung, stomach, mouth, throat, and breast.
These studies primarily point to a benefit in eating fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in numerous vitamins and minerals as well as vitamin C. Eating the whole food offers the greatest benefit since the vitamins and minerals complement one another and enhance overall absorption.
It is important that we replenish this vitamin every day. This vitamin is flushed out of the system daily by our natural bodily functions. Since the human body is not capable of synthesizing this vitamin on its own, it is replenished solely through diet and supplementation.
Preferably it is received via the diet as this is the most complete way to get your daily dose. Some great ways to include this in your diet include adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to your water, consuming citrus fruits and eating a variety of raw or minimally cooked fruits and vegetables.
However, you may also take a supplement. Since vitamin C is water soluble, it does not build to toxic levels in the body. Vitamin C also has the unique capability to “recycle” other antioxidants like vitamin e. This adds even more value to daily supplementation.
September 20th, 2011
By: Tara Green
Although the cosmetic industry would have us believe otherwise, beautiful skin doesn’t come from a jar full of perfumed chemicals. Beyond being born with great genes, the best thing you can do for your skin is to eat a healthy diet. Learn how to enhance your skin from the inside out by eating foods that will make your epidermis glow with health. Try adding these foods to your diet to both feel and look better.
Chia Seeds: Chia offers a multitude of health benefits. The word chia derives from the Aztec word for oily. Chia seeds offer high levels of omega-3 acids which the human body needs but cannot produce and which only come from a few dietary sources.
Without omega-3′s, people can suffer from poor circulation and dry skin, as well as heart problems, fatigue, depression and a feeling of mental fogginess. Chia seeds help keep skin (and the rest of the body) hydrated because they are hydrophilic, absorbing more than 10 times their weight in water. You can sprinkle chia seeds in your hot cereal, add a teaspoon of the tiny seeds to a glass of juice, or add a few to add extra texture to a salad or vegetable hot dish.
Almonds: These nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E which helps minimize the negative effects of sun exposure on the skin, as well as aiding against certain types of skin cancer. They also provide a quick source of strength and energy, providing fuel for exercise which also benefits the skin. Additionally, almond skins benefit human skin through their high levels of antioxidants.
Dandelions: If you look at dandelions as annoying weeds, you are missing out on a tremendous healthy food. Dandelions cleanse the liver of toxins. If you have a congested liver which cannot effectively cleanse the bloodstream, your skin is more likely to show wear and tear whether through breakouts or the effects of aging and pollution. Dandelion greens contain high levels of several of the vitamins and minerals known to contribute to healthy skin including Vitamin A, B, and C as well as copper and zinc.
Think of dandelions as the dietary equivalent of a refreshing face mask. Dandelions can easily be grown or foraged, so you can add them to your diet without adding to your grocery budget. Spring and early summer are the best times to harvest the greens. You can use them in salads or juice them. In early fall, gather dandelion roots which you can chop and dry-roast in the oven, then use to make a rich, chicory-like beverage. You can add honey plus coconut or rice milk for a dandelion latte. Just be sure not to use dandelions which have been sprayed with chemicals.
Cucumbers: These vegetables provide abundant vitamin C and silica. The trace mineral silica is essential for strong connective tissue and supports the ability of skin to heal. Without silica, skin loses its elasticity and becomes more prone to wrinkles and age spots.
Turmeric: The spice which gives curries an orangey hue derives much of its nutritional value from polyphenol anti-oxidant phytochemicals called curcuminoids. Curcuminoids provide as much as 8 times the antioxidant power as that found in most other antioxidant foods. Turmeric aids in the treatment of psoarisis, rosacea, acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. Plus, turmeric contributes to skin elasticity. It also helps to support the natural flora which can provide form a barrier on the skin skin protecting it from dangerous microbes.
September 15th, 2011
By: Paul Fassa
An old Ayurvedic (ancient Indian medicine) proverb says: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” It’s tragically ironic that one of nature’s most medicinal foods is under attack – pure raw milk. But one of its most magical ingredients, lactoferrin, is now available in FDA approved supplement form.
Lactoferrin has its highest content in mother’s first milk from human breast feeding or colostrum (first milk) from cows. The cows need to be humanely raised and grass or alfalfa fed. Those cows should also be free from antibiotic and hormone injections.
The milk needs to be pure and clean, but not pasteurized. Heat destroys most of milk’s beneficial nutrients, enzymes, and microbes. Many health experts consider pasteurized milk toxic.
Lactoferrin remains in cow’s milk after the baby calf’s early nursing period, but in lower concentrations. Circa 1960, a method of extracting pure lactoferrin was created, and the studies began, which have led to finding a plethora of health benefits.
Thus a new supplement has been created and is available on line and in some health food stores. Lactoferrin supplements are even approved by the same FDA that attacks raw milk production and sales. Go figure.
So if obtaining colostrum or raw milk is prohibitive for financial or legal reasons, you can order lactoferrin contained in capsules from your favorite online supplement source, where better prices are available.
Here are seven reasons why you should consider this option.
(1) As “first milk” for human and bovine infants, lactoferrin confers increased immunity protection to support their not fully developed immune systems. It’s part of the cytokine family, providing an immune booster for anyone. Cytokines coordinate appropriate cellular chemical responses to pathogenic invasions or other unusual activity.
(2) Concentrated enough in one’s blood, lactoferrin is antiviral, antibacterial (to only the bad bacteria), and anti-fungal. It also kills parasites.
(3) Lactoferrin is able to crack the cell walls of bacteria with tough outer cell walls, which are able to evade some antibiotics. This could be helpful for someone who has a difficult bacterial infection and wishes to avoid long term antibiotic use.
(4) Lactoferrin slows or prevents tumor growth. It modulates cell growth.
(5) Lactoferrin speeds up recovery from diseases, especially infectious diseases.
(6) Lactoferrin is an antioxidant. It scavenges free radicals from iron while ensuring cells are getting sufficient iron nutrition.
(7) According to recent research, lactoferrin can prevent or reverse osteoporosis without the dangerous side effects of bisphosphonate drugs. There are many reports of bones breaking too easily after using Big Pharma’s bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis.
All of these benefits and more are without negative side effects. Beneficial bacteria are preserved and enhanced while destroying harmful bacteria. And the same supplement is also antiviral and antifungal.
It’s a concentrated immune enhancer. In today’s toxic world, lactoferrin goes a long way to help create and maintain good health. If you’re able to enjoy raw milk and especially colostrum, you now know more reasons why you’re better off than those who don’t have the right to do so.
And if you’re not in a raw milk loop, or if the FDA and USDA get their way eventually, at least we all know there is one option left: Lactoferrin supplements.
September 12th, 2011
By: Dr. David Jockers
Melatonin is known as the regulator of the sleep wake cycle in the body. It is produced in the pineal gland of the brain and monitors sleep cycles while playing an important role in healing and anti-oxidant protection. New indicators are showing that it may play an even more important regulatory role in the digestive system.
The human digestive system is considered by many experts to be the ’2nd Brain,’ due to its ability to produce neurotransmitters. Additionally, the digestive system works off of similar rhythmic patterns as brain waves and has an advanced communication network that rivals that of the brain. The hormone melatonin appears to play a very important role in regulating much of these patterns in both the brain and gut.
The amount of melatonin in the digestive system is 400 fold greater than the pineal gland. Melatonin is produced in specialized cells called enteroendocrine cells of the gastrointestinal tract. This super hormone is present in all segments of the gastrointestinal tract as well as the pancreas & liver.
The mucosal membranes of the gut are packed with microbes. Most of these have a symbiotic relationship with the host individual. This inner world of thriving bacteria exudes endotoxins throughout the day. When the level of endotoxins reaches a critical mass concentration, it triggers an immune response led by cytokine interleukin-2. Sleep is thought to be that immune response.
This sleep cycle begins with the production of melatonin from the pineal gland. In the middle of the night, the hormone prolactin is secreted in large amounts. These two hormones promote an immune reaction that thins out the microflora in an attempt to restore a healthy balance. This process also targets viruses, pathogenic bacteria, man-made chemicals and foreign proteins in the body.
This entire cycle lasts 8 hours in order for the necessary amount of melatonin and prolactin production to occur. With inadequate sleep, these hormones are unable to effectively enhance immunity enough to clean up the microflora and other toxic debris in the gastrointestinal system. Each night of poor sleep cripples the immune system and leads to disabled T cell and natural killer cell formation.
Within the gut, melatonin is an important regulator of motility and inflammation. It modulates inflammation with its ability to control free-radicals and proinflammatory molecules through its powerful anti-oxidant function. Additionally, it influences intestinal bacteria and T-helper cell formation. Healthy gut bacteria and T-helper cells help to balance the immune system and to regulate inflammatory levels.
Melatonin is known to help improve microcirculation throughout the gut which helps foster epithelial regeneration. Additionally, it preserves glutathione levels and prevents lysosomal enzyme disruption. This is especially important because increased inflammatory levels in the bowel lead to leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, auto-immunity, etc.
When we sleep, the brain produces 90 minute cycles of slow wave sleep. This is then followed by periods of rapid eye movement (REM) during which dreams occur. During the night, the gut also produces 90 minute slow wave muscle contractions which are followed by short burst of rapid movement. When the gut is full at night, it can disrupt this process. Additionally, poor sleep cycles can dramatically affect digestive function and the healing process within the gut.
Melatonin was shown to significantly reduce the degree of proinflammatory cytokine release, cell apoptosis, and overall colonic injury. This is due to the improved blood flow, immunomodulation and anti-oxidant effects. It is clear that sleep and digestive function have a very intimate relationship and confer this relationship into the overall function of the immune system.
July 6th, 2011
By: John Phillip
Strawberries are shown to be a potent source of antioxidants in a body of research published in the journal Food Chemistry. In vivo studies confirm that regular consumption of the flavorful fruit raises antioxidant blood saturation levels. This can help to lower the risk of chronic diseases ranging from heart disease and cancer to metabolic disorders including diabetes. The study, conducted by Italian and Spanish researchers, demonstrated that eating two cups of strawberries daily for two weeks boosted the antioxidant status of red blood cells and improved the body`s immune response reaction to oxidative stress – lowering disease risk.
European researchers have demonstrated the antioxidant capacity of strawberries on human health using volunteers at the Marche Polytechnic University in Italy. Twelve healthy adults were fed the equivalent of two cups of strawberries over the course of a day for a period of two weeks.
Blood samples were taken after four, eight, twelve and sixteen days and then again after a month. Live blood analysis showed that regular consumption of this super fruit significantly increases the antioxidant capacity of blood plasma as well as the resistance of red blood cells to oxidative haemolysis in a process known as fragmentation.
Lead author and researcher, Dr. Maurizio Battino commented on the initial results: “We have shown that some varieties of strawberries make erythrocytes more resistant to oxidative stress. This could be of great significance if you take into account that this phenomenon can lead to serious diseases.”
Researchers are continuing to test a variety of strawberry strains and different consumption levels to determine optimal antioxidant levels. They note that strawberries should form part of a healthy, balanced diet and should be included as a daily serving of fruits and vegetables necessary to lower disease risk.
Strawberries contain a large concentration of phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids known to exert potent antioxidant properties. Flavonoid consumption triggers an extensive arsenal of antioxidant mechanisms that function at the cellular level to fight free radical production and to lower the risk from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia. Antioxidants promote normal cellular function and are either manufactured by the body or consumed through diet in the form of natural foods such as strawberries.
When the blood antioxidant capacity is lowered by stress, physical exertion or normal metabolic function, oxidative stress occurs and the risk of chronic disease increases exponentially. Many forward-thinking scientists posit that oxidative stress is a key factor determining how quickly we age, and foods such as strawberries hold the answer to slow this process and to prevent a host of deadly illnesses.
May 10th, 2011
By: Dr. Axe
Most of us know about the health dangers associated with consuming soda. From empty calories to actually compromising the body’s ability to stay healthy and fight off disease, soda is a well known health culprit. But there’s another drink on the market that many of us unknowingly not only consume, but give abundantly to our kids!
So what is this dangerous drink that the average American child consumes more than forty liters of annually? Fruit juice! Yes, that’s right, the fruit juice you’re giving your child may be doing more harm to their developing bodies than any good at all.
The United States, as well as most other Western nations, look to fruit juice as a healthy drink option for children. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Fruit juice is not a healthy drink choice for your child for a number of reasons I want to explore with you here.
Let’s first begin with taking a look at the Western world’s dangerous addiction to sugars, specifically fructose.
Are You Feeding A Fructose Addiction in Your Child or Self?
We hear about high fructose corn syrup and how it’s an unhealthy (and unnecessary) food ingredient in many of our processed and refined foods. In fact, it’s a challenge to find a boxed, bagged, or otherwise processed food product in the supermarket that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. From the obvious pancake syrups to the less obvious fruit juices, fruit chews, and cereals, high fructose corn syrup is found in abundance in processed foods.
In fact, I challenge you to take a trip to your local supermarket and try to find at least five foods that don’t have high fructose corn syrup on the label. You may think, “Dr. Axe, that doesn’t really seem that challenging. I’m sure I can do that.”
But seriously, try to do this and see what you find. Although eventually you’ll probably be able to find a few products without high fructose corn syrup it will really help to open your eyes to just how many products contain this dangerous additive. (On a side note, I’d wager that unless you’re in the fresh produce section or organic aisle, those foods that don’t contain high fructose corn syrup contain other ingredients like hydrogenated oils that are equally harmful to your health.)
So what’s the big deal with not just high fructose corn syrup but fructose in general in the foods we consume on a daily basis?
Fructose is a naturally occurring, simple sugar found in certain ripe fruits, a few root vegetables, and honey. So if it’s all natural, then what’s the problem you want to know?
Well first of all, when fructose is found naturally in whole foods such as fruits and root vegetables it comes with fibers, enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other important nutrients that help the body to properly assimilate the fructose. However, even too much of these whole food sources of fructose can present a problem, particularly in certain groups of people who are more sensitive to sugar than others.
Today’s typical Western diet involves an extremely high consumption of sugar, particularly fructose, mostly from highly processed food sources not whole food sources. Research clearly is showing a link between sugar (fructose) consumption serious health problems.
Diets High in Sugar can Lead to:
Certain chronic diseases
Weakened immune system
Hyperactivity (particularly in children)
Certain mineral deficiencies
Many more health issues
Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, mineral deficiencies, and a weakened immune system open the door to a host of chronic diseases and health issues. If I listed all the adverse health conditions that research shows are associated with a diet high in sugar it would take up several pages. But there’s simply no denying it, mounds of evidence shows clearly that a diet high in fructose, which is sugar, encourages serious health issues in both children and adults.
One of the most alarming revelations on sugar in the body is that the consumption of fructose elevates uric acid levels. The chief of the Division of Kidney Disease and Hypertension at the University of Colorado, Dr. Richard Johnson, has been involved in extensive research into fructose, uric acid levels, and overall health. He urges the public to re-consider their consumption of fructose to stabilize their uric acid levels.
According to his research there seems to be a strong link between fructose consumption and increased uric acid levels; there also is an undeniable connection between uric acid levels, toxicity from fructose, and cardiovascular disease.
Americans Consume a Whopping 150+ Pounds of Sugar on Average per Year
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Americans consume an average of between 150 to 170 pounds of sugar annually. That’s a lot of sugar – in fact, that’s way too much sugar to consume and not fall victim to any number of health issues.
It’s vital that you take a serious look at your own sugar consumption and that of your family. Remember in the beginning of this article when I mentioned fruit juice being as harmful as soda? It really is and if you’re drinking it and giving it to your family on a regular basis you should re-evaluate this product as a healthy drink choice as it simply is not.
Dr. Johnson has spent years researching the dangerous health impacts of consuming too much sugar. He urges the American people to save their lives, and heath, by eliminating fructose from their diets. I am doing the same.
Too much sugar from any source, whole foods or processed foods, is simply a bad idea. We must learn to live and eat with balance. Of course eating a whole food, such as an apple, is far superior to consuming apple juice. However it’s vital to keep track of just how much fructose you and your loved ones are consuming per day.
We forget that sugars are found abundantly in fruits and some vegetables. This sugar intake coupled with fructose from processed foods is what creates the scary, deadly statistic of annual sugar consumption in America. If you suffer from any form of insulin resistance it’s even more vital to cut back on your total intake of fructose.
Take a look at the following chart to see just how much fructose comes along with some popular whole fruits.