Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spinach is very valuable to our diets.

Spinach is considered to be one of the healthiest foods on earth, with researchers identifying more than a dozen different types of flavonoid antioxidants alone that are present in spinach, not to mention all of its other nutrients. Spinach nutrition has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities, and if you combine that with its very low amount of calories, it is easily one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.

Spinach is a vegetable that belongs to the Amaranthaceae family food group, which also includes other nutrient-rich plant foods such as beets, Swiss chard, spinach and quinoa. Foods in this family have been shown to be helpful with protecting the central nervous system, reducing inflammation, and delaying the aging process by protecting cells.

Spinach contains special protective carotenoid compounds that have been linked with decreasing the risk of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and obesity.

Spinach’s phytonutrients include such carotenoids as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, the same time of antioxidants found in other vegetables like carrots, kale, and broccoli. Spinach also supplies flavonoids, which are a type of powerful antioxidant that protect against disease by fighting free radical damage within the body. These protective compounds make spinach on of the best anti-aging foods there is.

Aside from supplying high levels of antioxidants, spinach nutrition also offers an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals overall. It’s considered a good source of vitamin C,  vitamin A, and minerals manganese, zinc, and selenium. This makes spinach useful in protecting various systems and functions within the body, everything from digestive health to eye sight.

Spinach Nutrition

According to the USDA 1 cup of raw spinach has the following nutrients (based on daily recommended amounts for adult females over 18): (1)

7 calories
1 gram protein
1 gram fiber
1 gram carbohydrates
145 mg Vitamin K (223% DV)
141 mg  Vitamin A (28% DV)
58 mg Folate (18% DV)
.27 mg Manganese (15% DV)
8.4 mg Vitamin C (14% DV)
0.8 mg Iron (10% DV)
24 mg Magnesium (7.5% DV)
30 mg Calcium (3.75% DV) 800
0.167 g Potassium (3.5% DV)
It’s important to note that although spinach nutrition contains iron and calcium, these nutrients are not well absorbed by the body. In fact, spinach is thought to be one of the least bioavailable food sources of calcium. (2)

This is because spinach contains absorption-inhibiting substances including high levels of oxalic acid. (3) Oxalic acid molecules, also referred to as oxalates, are able to bind to calcium and iron in the body and prevent the body from actually absorbing them. High levels of oxalates are known to make iron and calcium far less absorbable, to prevent their use, and to help remove them from the body by increasing their presence in the urine.

10 Health Benefits of Spinach

1. Protects Against Cancer
Studies show that consuming leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables – including such kinds as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, and kale – can dramatically protect against the occurrence of various types of cancers, especially colon, breast and prostate cancers.

Spinach is able to slow down cancerous cell formation because it defends against DNA damage and limits oxidative stress through the presence of such antioxidants as neoxanthin and violaxanthin. (4) According to studies, spinach’s carotenoids protect cells from mutations which can ultimately lead to cancerous tumor growth.

Spinach nutrition also contains both chloroplast and chlorophyll. Studies have found that because of these properties, spinach acts as a cancer protector by pulling out carcinogenic substances from the body, detoxifying the body, reducing inflammation, and slowing free radical damage. (5)

2. Defends Against Heart Disease
Spinach limits inflammation in the body, which is one of the main risk factors associated with heart disease development. Studies show that spinach can protect heart health by improving the functions of nitric acid, which improves circulation, blood pressure, and blood vessel health. (6) Spinach  contains two antioxidants called neoxanthin and violaxanthin which researchers have identified as being extremely useful in lowering body-wide inflammatory responses. Spinach is one of the best known sources of these specific compounds.

Spinach nutrition is able to help heal blood vessel-related problems, including atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. The protective compounds found in spinach work together to keep arteries clear of dangerous plague build up, to lower cholesterol levels, fight high blood pressure, increase blood flow and to maintain healthy, strong blood vessels.

The fiber found in spinach also works to reduce high cholesterol levels and slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream. Together these factors greatly reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

3. Boosts Immunity
Spinach supplies high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C, which are actually both considered antioxidants that are especially useful in maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin C and vitamin A’s antioxidants keeps your immunity strong against bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other harmful invaders which can cause disease and illness.

Spinach protects immunity by lowering inflammatory responses, reducing cell damage, and aiding in digestive health too, which is very important for absorbing immunity-boosting nutrients from food.

Spinach’s antioxidants also protect skin, eyes, and oral health by protecting from tooth decay and gum disease or infections. They also protect against more serious conditions including free radical damage, which can result in heart disease, cancer, autoimmune responses, and cognitive disorders.

4. Can Protect Against Diabetes
Spinach contains protective steroids called phytoecdysteroids. In studies, this steroid has been shown to increase glucose (sugar) metabolism and to help keep blood sugar levels stable. This is extremely beneficial for people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or other forms of metabolic syndrome, since it minimizes the requirement for the critical fat-storage hormone insulin.

Compounds found in spinach have also been found to lower the risk for complications that can arise when someone has diabetes. (7) Diabetic patients can experience heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, numbness in limbs, and other complications which spinach and other vegetables can help protect from.

5. Protects Eye Health
Spinach nutrition contains vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, which benefit eye sight by preserving the health of the retina, macula, and cornea. Two of spinach’s carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin are primary antioxidants needed to prolong eye health, especially as someone ages.

Spinach is correlated with decreasing the risk for age-related eye disorders including macular degeneration. For example, zeaxanthin found in spinach works to filter out harmful light rays from entering the cornea. And spinach’s other carotenoids protect vulnerable tissues of the retinal area from oxidative stress that can result in blindness, cataracts, and other complications.

6. Helps Maintain Bone Health
Spinach supplies a high amount of essential bone-building vitamin K. Vitamin K is needed to keep the skeletal structure healthy and helps to prevent conditions related to loss in bone mineral density, especially as someone ages. This includes warding off osteoporosis and bone fractures. Vitamin K also has the roles of helping with blood clotting and turning off inflammation in the body.

7. Preserves Skin Health
Vitamin C and vitamin A found in spinach nutrition can help to fight UV light damage which can lead to skin cancer or the appearance of aged skin. Frequently eating foods such as spinach which contain antioxidants is helpful in fostering new skin cell growth and supporting the production of collagen, one of the main building blocks of skin that is responsible for its elasticity and youthful appearance.

Therefore a way to naturally slow aging and to increase skin’s immunity is to eat spinach and other antioxidant-rich vegetables.

8. Helps with Detoxification
The phytonutrients found in spinach can help to detoxify the body and support liver function by preventing bacterial overgrowth from occurring in the gut microflora. Reduced inflammation of the digestive tract has been associated not only with the flavonoids found in spinach, but also with its carotenoids.

Lower levels of inflammation protect the vulnerable lining of the digestive tract and stomach, reducing the chances of developing leaky gut syndrome or other digestive disorders.

Spinach is also a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber is needed to maintain digestive health because it helps with regular bowel movements, carries waste and toxins out of the body, prevents constipation or diarrhea, and can detoxify the digestive tract.

9. Defends Against Cognitive Decline & Neurological Disorders
Studies have shown that vegetables including spinach can help slow the aging process. According to studies, spinach can protect brain health from age-related diseases and even reverse existing damage that has taken place in the cerebral cortex of the brain following a stroke. (9)

Antioxidants found in spinach work to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that is associated with a decline in cognition, behavioral, and motor skills. (10)

In animal studies, the group given spinach supplements, the animals showed reversal in age related signs of cognitive impairment and overcame some of the difficulty with and motor skills.  The group given spinach experienced improvements in the ability to complete behavioral tasks and improvements on scores for cognitive tests. This suggests antioxidants found in spinach can delay both mental and physical signs of aging.

10. High Source of Magnesium
According to researchers, spinach is one of the best sources of magnesium. And very importantly the magnesium in spinach stays intact after being cooked too. (11) Magnesium is a vital nutrient within the body that contributes to overall cellular health and plays a part in more than 300 different bodily functions. Unfortunately however, many adults in developed nations are actually experiencing a magnesium deficiency – and most aren’t even aware of it.

Magnesium is needed to regulate calcium, potassium, and sodium which together all control neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions. This is why a magnesium deficiency can sometimes result in muscle pains and cramps. Magnesium deficiency is also associated with insomnia, mood disturbances, headaches, high blood pressure, and an increased risk for diabetes.

Organic spinach in particular, as opposed to conventional/non organic, can be a good source of magnesium- and studies have shown its one of the most absorbable food sources of magnesium too. While some people do best by taking magnesium complex supplements to overcome a deficiency, regularly consuming foods high in magnesium like spinach can also offer help in reducing these negative symptoms.

History of Spinach

Spinach is a member of the plant family called Amaranthaceae that is native to central and southwestern Asia where it has been grown for thousands of years. Modern day spinach was believed to first grow in parts of India and Iran. Arab travelers brought spinach to the Mediterranean region sometime around the eight century A.D where it is still commonly cooked with today, frequently making an appearance in Greek, Italian, and French cuisine.

Although spinach does not grow well in hot, humid climates, farmers in the warm Mediterranean region used irrigation systems in order to harvest spinach plants in large quantities. As spinach became grown in larger yields, it spread to Persia, Spain, Turkey and further East to other nations in Asia and across the Middle East.

Purchasing Spinach

Fresh spinach is available throughout the year, although its primary season runs from about early spring in March through May, and then again in the fall from September through October. Aside from buying fresh spinach, it can also be found in frozen or canned varieties in most grocery stores any time of year.

There are three main types of spinach: savoy, flat spinach, or semi-savoy. Savoy is the kind most commonly found fresh in grocery stores; it has curlier leaves than other types and a mild taste. Flat spinach (also called smooth leaf spinach) is usually grown to use in canned or frozen spinach products. And semi-savoy spinach is used in both ways but less commonly than the other two types.

When purchasing spinach, look for leaves that have a vibrant, deep green color. Avoid any leaves that already look wilted or have wet, brown spots. Spinach is known to attract and hold bacteria somewhat easily, so wash it well before using it. It’s also best to buy organic spinach whenever possible, because conventionally grown spinach is one of the most pesticide-sprayed vegetable crops there is. According to The Environmental Working Group, most spinach contains multiple pesticides, some reports even showing it often has more contaminants than 320 other commonly eaten foods. (12)

It’s not recommended to wash spinach before storing it in the refrigerator since exposing the leaves to water can make them wilt and go bad quicker. Fresh spinach is believed to only retain its nutrients best when it’s used within a few days after purchasing, so try using it somewhat quickly. You can prolong its freshness by storing it in a plastic storage bag and squeezing out as much of the air as possible.

Spinach Recipes

The flavor of spinach will become stronger and seem more acidic once it is cooked. Spinach is known to actually be a vegetable that becomes more beneficial when it is cooked because some of its nutrients become more absorbable by the body. Sautéing or boiling spinach for just 1 minute can improve its nutrient absorbability while not destroying its antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Spinach can be prepared from fresh, frozen, or canned varieties, but I always recommend using organic fresh or frozen spinach whenever possible to ensure the most nutrients remain in intact and the least amount of pesticides and toxins are present. You can prepare spinach in multiple ways, most of which take little to no time at all.

Spinach can be eaten completely fresh and raw, or steamed, boiled, sautéed, or baked with. If you do want to use raw spinach, it has a mild taste that works well in salads or even smoothies. Because spinach’s taste isn’t bitter like some other greens can be, it’s easily disguised in smoothies by the taste of other ingredients like berries or a banana.

This Benefits of Spinach

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why You Eyes Are More Important Than You Might Think

Protect your eyes people

I recently had a heard about a person in my home town of Charlotte, NC having a stroke in their eye. This is very possible people!!! And the warning sounds can be hidden behind a headache or a mild irritation that you may just write off as some you can just to take a pill for and it will go away. Your eyes do much more than just allow you to get around. In the current world, the visual facilities take up around 70% of the information that the brain receives. Here are some of the reasons that you must keep your eye health up to par.

Low-cost way to stay away from fines and penalties

If you are caught driving without healthy eyes, the penalties can be worse than you might think. The reasoning behind this is obvious, and you definitely do not want to face a judge that considers you negligent driving without being able to see, especially if you ended up in court because you hit something. You could also injury yourself and other others in auto accidents that is completely preventable with glasses or contacts.

Your eyesight links directly to your balance

If your eyesight is not good, then you risk not having a full balance spectrum in your day-to-day life. This brings with it many risks, especially if you have employment that requires physical movement. If you want to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, be sure that your eyes are checked regularly and wear glasses when needed.

Bad eyes can get worse more quickly

If you want to maintain your eyesight over a long period of time, it is best to get your eyes checked on a regular basis. The worse that your eyes are, the more quickly they will become worse over time. Not wearing glasses when needed can cause unnecessary eyes strain that can even cause headaches and more. Having an updated eye prescription can help in more ways than one.

Illnesses in the eye tend to escalate quickly

Illnesses in the eye that are familiar to the mainstream such as cataracts can advance quite quickly if they are not caught in their beginning stages. However, there are some illnesses that can advance even more quickly and with more detrimental results. Having your eyes checked on a routine basis is essential to getting yourself a leg up on these conditions.

Proper eyesight helps brain function

Because 70% of the conscious mind is connected to visual functions, being able to see properly and having good ocular health will help to maintain mental functionality overall.
There are simply too many financial and medical advantages to keeping your eyes healthy on a routine basis. You will save yourself a great deal of hassle if you make the investment in your eyesight and in the overall health of your eyes. Make sure that you are seeing an optometrist regularly and following their instructions concerning your eye health.
Here are some things you can add to your diet that can help you eyes

Top 5 Foods to Help Improve Eye Health (Organic Please)

Green tea
Researchers have linked green tea consumption with the ability to reduce oxidative stress and protect structural tissues in the eye, suggesting that it can be a helpful way to bolster eye health.(1) Antioxidants in green tea called catechins are responsible for this benefit, which can be very long-lasting.
When it comes to eye health, two nutrients to be aware of are lutein and zeaxanthin. If you see them on labels, it’s a safe bet that they’re effective in keeping eye health in tact, as it’s been shown that they help keep the retina safe from oxidative damage while also reducing the risks of age-related macular degeneration (AMD, or ARMD).(2)
Avocados, a healthy fat, are rich in both nutrients, and touted as an ideal food that can help improve vision.(2) They’re great with eggs, another food source said to be effective when it comes to eye health, and are also a healthy, homemade alternative to commercial spreads and dips.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that this cruciferous superstar helps protect the retina against free radicals, even days after it’s been in the system.(3) The reason? Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound that has been found to be effective in treating human retinal cells.(3)
Jokes about breath aside, garlic can work wonders when eye health is a concern. It contains vitamin C, selenium, and quercetin, all beneficial to help reduce eye swelling and eye infections.(4)
Last but certainly not least: carrots.
Time and again, they have been the go-to choice for helping to keep eyes functioning optimally. It’s not without reason; carrots are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which boost eye health by providing necessary nutrients throughout the body.(5)
Furthermore, it’s been discovered that getting the most out of their nutrients takes place when they are combined with a healthy fat source, so consider eating them with one that’s already listed here – avocados.
All of these foods are a healthy addition to any diet, but when it comes to boosting eye health, they’re worth eating more frequently.

Five Ways Fish Oil Protects Your Heart and Body

Five Ways Fish Oil Protects Your Heart and Bodyimage

With problems like obesity, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease rampant in modern society, the search is on for natural ways to help people deal with these conditions without expensive medical treatments or prescription medications which come with undesirable side effects.
One answer to this problem could be fish oil. Fish oil has been touted by everyone from nutritionists to nurses and doctors as a powerful tool for promoting both cardiac health and the health of the entire body. It is not just the heart which benefits from Omega-3 fatty acids but the joints, muscles, brain and skin, so the beneficial effects are felt by the nearly every system. Below is a break-down of five ways in which fish oil protects the heart and body.

Reduces Inflammation

Two of the active ingredients in fish oil, known as EPA and DHA, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are useful for chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain and lupus. Since there is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that diabetes and cardiac disease, among others, are related to chronic inflammation, this is one way in which fish oil helps protect against those conditions, too.

Lowers Cancer Risk

In a 2010, researchers from Seattle conducted a study which looked at the effects of fish oils rich in EPA and DHA on women’s health in regards to breast cancer. The results, published later in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found that women who were compliant with a regimen of fish oil supplementation had a 32% less chance of developing breast cancer. In a similar study, it was found that fish oil is also effective at preventing the onset of prostate cancer in men, though in this case it was believed that the fatty acids were responsible for this benefit.

Slows Aging

One mark of aging at the molecular level is the shortening of telomeres, chromosomes located at the end of strands of DNA. As these telomeres shorten, the body is less able to divide the chromosomes, which is necessary to sustain health. Fish oil comes into play here by helping to retain the structural integrity of the telomeres, preventing them from being shortened and thus helping the body to age more slowly.

Supports Healthy Joints and Muscles

Athletes who work out regularly and those suffering from arthritis can both benefit from fish oil supplementation. In regards to arthritis, not only does the DHA and EPA help reduce inflammation of the joint, but they also are able to lubricate it. Fish oil can also help build muscles, due to the fact that it facilitates the making of proteins, which are the building blocks of muscle.

Promotes Cardiac Health

Fish oil also promotes cardiac health. Omega-3 fatty acids, in multiple studies, have shown consistently to be able to protect the heart against the onset of serious illness. This is not only because fish oil is able to reduce inflammation, but because it also has a regulating effect on both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are important in the prevention of heart disease.
In conclusion, supplementing with fish oil truly does have some amazing benefits, from reducing chronic inflammation to promoting good cardiac health and function. It is an inexpensive and easy way to greatly improve one’s overall health.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Healthy diet at midlife lowers risk of dementia by 90%


Healthy diet at midlife lowers risk of dementia by 90%

While studies in the past have acknowledged the role that specific foods play in mental wellness and the reduction of age induced problems such as dementia, a new study looks at the diet as a whole.

The findings are a strong indicator that what you eat during midlife will have a powerful impact on brain activity, strength and function as you enter your senior years.

Simple summary of the study

A doctoral thesis by Ms. Marjo Eskelinen, MSc, shows the results of a 14-year study on the effects of overall diet and how nutritional choices during middle-aged years influences chances of developing dementia.

The thesis, published at the University of Eastern Finland, is groundbreaking in the sense that previous case studies have looked at how individual foods and even singular nutrients within certain foods can lower the risk of dementia. However, Ms. Eskelinen sought to greatly expand on such findings, recognizing that no single food makes up a person's daily food intake.

Results of the research

The results of the research confirm yet another benefit to healthy eating habits. Wise dietary choices at midlife (average age of 50) reduces the probability of developing dementia by as much as 90% when compared to those who eat high fat, sugary foods during their middle age years.
A nutritious daily diet consisting of plenty of vegetables, berries and other fruits, as well as the consumption of foods like fish and healthy dairy products, were among the notable similarities in those who maintained better cognitive function as they grew older.

On the opposite end of the scale, the unhealthy diets included generally accepted unhealthy habits like eating sweet and sugary foods, fatty foods, particularly food high in saturated fats and sodium.

In a separate 21-year follow up, results indicated that high saturated fat intake makes a person particularly vulnerable to developing dementia, especially if they have a genetic predisposition to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

A healthy diet decreases risk to those without a potential genetic inheritance, but also shows significant benefit to those with a family history of dementia and Alzheimer's.

What to do to improve your life

Eat wide variety of healthy foods daily! Avoid high fat, high sugar, highly processed foods as much as you possibly can. Of course, this is obvious. Still, realize that early intervention into your diet is essential. Beginning healthy eating habits in young adulthood and certainly by midlife is an essential ingredient toward the prevention of a multitude of diseases, not just dementia.

Most people understand that you just can't go wrong by eating a clean, healthy diet. Yet, so many of us falter in our efforts. It is important to mentally register consistent poor eating habits as an act of self-sabotage.

For example, when you know you are overdoing the junk food, say to yourself, "By eating this, I am engaging in a blatant act of self-sabotage." Own it. Then, begin to wonder why you are knowingly doing something harmful to yourself; something that may deliver temporary pleasure (which is overrated) and certainly will doom you to feeling bad in just a few minutes. Beyond feeling bad in a few minutes, you are headed toward an extended period of misery in your later years.

Even this awareness is not enough for some of us. We seem hell bent on steering our lives toward negative outcomes. Why do we do this? There is a reason. To discover that reason, watch this enlightening and free video about how self-sabotage operates on the subconscious level.

Ginger has many health benefits let's take a look at a few

10 Medicinal Ginger Health Benefits

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is surprisingly the most widely used dietary condiment in the world today. It’s actually part of the plant family that includes turmeric and cardamom, which may explain why the health benefits of ginger are so extraordinary.
The Chinese and Indians have been using ginger tonics to treat ailments for over 4,700 years and it was a priceless commodity during the Roman Empire trade around the coming of Christ because of its medicinal properties.
So, what makes ginger so good for us?
In one word: Gingerol.
Of the 115 different chemical components found in ginger root, the therapeutic benefits come from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that acts as a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These bioactive ingredients, especially [6]-gingerol have been thoroughly evaluated clinically and the research backs up why you should be using ginger on a regular basis.

Top 10 Ginger Health Benefits 

Here are the top ginger health benefits proven by medical studies:

1.     Stroke and Heart Disease

Two of the biggest killers on the planet may be kept at bay with regular ginger use; especially when it is eaten with other key Superfood. Garlic, ginger and onions all have an anti-blood clotting ability, yet when they are eaten together they are a powerful mainstay against heart attacks and stroke!

2.     Indigestion and Nausea

Whether we’re talking about curing a simple tummy ache or severe morning sickness, ginger has been used for thousands of years as an effective digestive aid. Recently, Taiwanese researchers discovered that 3 capsules (1.2 g total) of ginger can actually help the stomach release its contents into the small intestines in people with dyspepsia – a condition where 40% of patients suffer from abnormally delayed gastric emptying.
This is one reason why ginger helps people who are bloated, constipated, and with other gastrointestinal disorders. It relaxes the smooth muscle in your gut lining and basically helps the food move along throughout the system.
Key Takeaway: Eating whole ginger, drinking fresh ginger juice and inhaling diffused ginger essential oil are all highly effective ways to curb stomach disorders.

3.     Malabsorption

Proper food transport (and nutrient absorption) from the mouth out through your colon is the mainstay to health. If food gets stuck somewhere in between, it can ferment, rot or (even worse) cause obstruction, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Improper digestion can also cause improper assimilation of the nutrients in your food. Either way, both cause malabsorption and your body will suffer from a nutrient deficiencies. This is why ginger is so important. Like we’ve seen above, it helps promote regular digestion and metabolism of your food and is largely responsible for promoting a strong immune system.

4.     Compromised Immunity & Respiratory Function

Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help to break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It is also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system.
Combining ginger oil and eucalyptus oil is an effective remedy to boost immunity and improve breathing.

5.     Bacterial Infections

The Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobials published a study in 2011 that tested just how effective ginger can be in enhancing immune function. Comparing the ability of ginger to kill Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes with conventional antibiotics, Nigerian researchers discovered that the natural solution won every time!
The drugs, (chloramphenicol, ampicillin and tetracycline) just couldn’t stand up to the antibacterial prowess of the ginger extract. This is important because these two bacteria are extremely common in hospitals and oftentimes cause complications to an already immune-compromised patient.
Key Takeaway: if you ever need to go to the hospital for surgery or to visit a friend, make sure you bring some ginger essential oil with you and add a couple drops to your water. You’re less likely to get a dangerous staph infection and it can help speed the healing process! Other healing remedies that are effective against infections include oregano, clove and melaleuca oil.

6.     Fungal Infections   

One of the trickier issues to control because they are increasingly becoming resistant to conventional medicine, fungal infections don’t stand a chance against ginger. Of the 29 plant species evaluated in a Carleton University study, ginger won the prize for having the extract most effective at killing fungus.

Key Takeaway: For a powerful anti-fungal punch, mix several drops of pure ginger essential oil with tea tree oil with 1 tsp of coconut oil and apply up to 3 times a day.

7.     Ulcers and GERD

Since the 1980s, researchers have known that ginger can cure stomach ulcers. More recently, Indian scientists have been able to more closely quantify this medicinal effect. In a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, they discovered the ginger was 6 – 8 times more potent than Prevacid, the drug of choice to treat GERD!

8.     Pain

Ginger is becoming known for its anti-pain property. Very similar to how capsaicin works to relieve pain, gingerol acts on vanilloid receptors, which are located on sensory nerve endings. Similar to the initial intense burning feel you get when you consume spicy pepper, ginger’s burn only lasts but a second and researchers have discovered that it “affects the pain pathways directly but also relieves the inflammation which in itself causes pain.”

9.     Cancer

Working with mice without an immune system, University of Minnesota scientists discovered that three weekly feedings of [6]-gingerol delayed the growth of colorectal cancer cells. University of Michigan researcher confirmed these results with ovarian cancer. In fact, they found that, “Ginger treatment of cultured ovarian cancer cells induced profound growth inhibition in all cell lines tested.”
Key Takeaway: Executive Director of the Herbal Medicine Research and Education Centre Basil Roufogalis advised that, “The most likely way to administer ginger as a painkiller would be in the form of a tea taken several times a day, but more work needs to be done on the amount of ginger powder needed per dose to take effect, and the time required between doses.”  For most people, taking 1,000mg of powdered ginger root is effective or doing 2 drops daily 2x daily of ginger essential oil.

10.  Diabetes

Gingerols are widely known to improve diabetes and enhance insulin-sensitivity. Building off this knowledge, a 2006 study out of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry discovered that they could also suppress sorbitol accumulation in human blood cells and in sugar-fed rats. Simply put, ginger not only helps prevent and reverse diabetes itself, it can help protection against and improve diabetic complications like diabetic retinopathy!

Best Ways to Use Ginger
There are many forms and ways you can use ginger to benefit for your health.  The most common forms ginger come in include:
Raw Ginger – You can put raw sliced ginger (the size of your thumb) in a smoothie every morning or use it in making homemade vegetable juice.
Ginger Essential Oil - The most potent form of ginger is ginger essential oil because it contains the highest levels of gingerol.  This is the #1 way ginger can be used as medicine.  It can be taken internally to treat health conditions or rubbed topically with a carrier oil on an area of pain. Typically, 2-3 drops of essential oil is the recommended therapeutic dose.
Ginger Tea – This form of ginger in liquid form is commonly used to relieve nausea, settle the stomach and relax the body.  Have one cup, 2-3x daily to reduce inflammation.  Also, adding a bit of raw honey and lemon to the tea makes it taste great!
Ginger Powder – Using ground ginger powder for cooking is an excellent way to take advantage of this super spice. I use it in making chicken curry, homemade pumpkin pie and a ginger berry smoothie for breakfast. Also, it can be taken in supplement form as a capsule with the recommended dose being 1,000mg daily.

Vitamin C for taming tension, burning fat, and much more

vitamin C

Vitamin C for taming tension, burning fat, and much more

If you have undesirable fat around your midsection or would like to support cardiovascular health or reduce diabetic symptoms, vitamin C can help. Not only does it improve stamina, boost immunity, lessen stress response and curtail inflammation, but it also encourages insulin sensitivity and lowers concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) -- a biomarker which suggests heart disease risk.

A case in point is research from the University of California (Berkeley), which found participants who took approximately 500 milligrams of vitamin C each day experienced a 24 percent drop in plasma CRP levels after two months of the protocol. According to a press release:

"C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation, and there is a growing body of evidence that chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and even Alzheimer's disease," said Gladys Block, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and public health nutrition and lead author of the study. "If our finding of vitamin C's ability to lower CRP is confirmed through other trials, vitamin C could become an important public health intervention."

As a defense against infection or injury, the body triggers inflammatory cytokines, which then prompts the production of CRP by the liver. The researchers are unsure as to how vitamin C is able to lower CRP levels but suspect that the mechanism might be the suppression of cytokine production.

Moreover, vitamin C also influences insulin sensitivity. A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that vitamin C decreased blood glucose and lipid levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. A total of 84 patients were randomly given either 500 mg or 1,000 mg of vitamin C each day for six weeks. At the conclusion of the study, the team discovered that those who were given the 1,000 mg dosage experienced significant declines in blood glucose and serum insulin levels, whereas the 500 mg group did not have any noticeable difference.

The connection between stress, weight gain and vitamin C deficiency

When we are exposed to persistent stress -- whether from daily frustration or more extreme examples such as losing a job, home or loved one -- our adrenals become dangerously depleted due to a near constant output of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Eventually, adrenal fatigue sets in, which is characterized by exhaustion, hair loss, acne, muscle soreness, susceptibility to illness, anxiety and depression. Weight gain, especially around the midriff, becomes particularly problematic because of heightened cortisol levels circulating throughout the system. When the adrenals are imbalanced, the thyroid glands are also affected, which further aggravates unwanted weight gain. However, an encouraging study has established that vitamin C can minimize the stress response, which in turn helps protect the adrenal glands.

Science Daily reports that a team at the University of Alabama (Huntsville) found that rats who were fed 200 mg/day vitamin C experienced reduced levels of plasma stress hormones, as well as lowered indicators of physical and emotional stress. Lead researcher of the study, P. Samuel Campbell, Ph.D., believes that our prehistoric ancestors most likely consumed sizable amounts of vitamin C through a diet rich in tropical fruits. "If so, the physiological constitution we have inherited may require doses far larger than the present RDA to keep us healthy under varying environmental conditions, including stress."

Does A Laptop Harm Your Sexual Health?

Does A Laptop Harm Your Sexual Health?


Men often worry about their sexual health especially as they grow older, but now it is becoming a growing concern among the younger generation. While problems with performance and even penile size will always be some of the most common concerns of men at any age, fertility is now becoming an issue with men under the age of 40. A man’s sperm count is not only important to their sexual health, but also for their emotional well being. It is often seen as a sign of a man’s virility and it also affects his ability to father a child.
There are several different factors that can affect a man’s sperm count, including diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits. While all of these contributing issues can be addressed and corrected, many men never consider whether or not their laptop could also be affecting their sexual health. This everyday device that almost all men use continuously, could be having a negative effect on a man’s sperm count.
Does a Laptop Harm Your Sexual Health?
In a study performed by researchers and urologists in 2004, it was discovered that holding laptop computers on the knees could be affecting male fertility. With an estimated 20 percent of all couples who are trying to become pregnant unable to do so, it was noticed that a majority of the problem with infertility could be traced to men and had been occurring only in the past few decades. One of the main causes of low sperm counts are temperatures around the scrotum that are higher than his core body temperature. The higher temperatures can be caused by wearing tight, restrictive underwear and frequent prolonged use of hot tubs and saunas. While these causes for elevated scrotum temperatures are already well documented, researchers also found another way more men are experiencing low sperm counts. In the study researchers included 29 physically healthy men aged 21 to 35 for one hour periods in a controlled environment.
What the Study Learned
With all of the men participating in the study dressed similarly, researchers recorded their body temperatures and then allowed them fifteen minutes to become adjusted to the constant room temperature. To ensure accuracy in their results, all of the men were given laptop computers with only some of them actually in working order. Once the participants had balanced the devices on their laps, researchers removed the non functioning computers. This was done to ensure that body temperature did not change according to which subject’s laptop would be turned on.
For the hour long session, participants help the computers on their laps with their scrotal temperature being automatically recorded every three minutes. At the end of the hour long period, the results of the test were recorded. Researchers were surprised to discover that both groups of men experienced a rise in scrotal temperature, which adds more support to the theory that sitting for long periods of time can cause a man to experience a decline in his sperm count. It was noted that the men who did hold a working computer in their laps experienced a more drastic increase in scrotal temperature, around 2.7 degrees Celsius or 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preventing Infertility Problems From a Laptop
Researchers with the study are also quick to point out that will holding a computer on the lap can cause a decrease in a man’s sperm count, it is normally not the only factor. Several things can also cause the temperature to rise in his scrotum, and laptops normally only add to the existing problem. One way to help prevent laptops from causing a problem is to not place it across the upper legs or groin area. While using a desk or table is not always an option, placing the laptop closer to the knees can help prevent a dramatic rise in scrotal temperatures.
Laptop computers are a integral part of daily lives, and the chances of men never placing these devices on their laps is rather slim. While it is always best to never restrict air flow to the testes, there are times when it can be difficult to avoid. For men who are worried about their sperm counts and ability to father a child, simply remember that only a one degree change in temperature can cause up to a 40 percent decrease in your sperm count.

Organic Farmers

Organic Farmers Must Do These 11 Things Just to Avoid GMO Contamination

One lesser-known aspect of the growing movement for food integrity is the ongoing, time-sensitive threat posed to organic and natural farmers — and the plant world in general — by cross-contamination from genetically modified crops.
The mainstream media rarely if ever mentions it, but the fact remains that genetically modified organisms are capable of altering the very nature of nature itself, and our food, over time.
Co-existence between organic and GM crops is virtually impossible unless they’re widely separated, but so far organic farmers have been offered little if any protection from contamination risks by U.S. government organizations, severely limiting their freedom of choice.
Cross-contamination of natural plants by genetically modified crops has been found as many as 13 miles away from the source (and 60 miles through multiple pollinations in Mexico) and while the “safe distance” varies by crop, one thing’s for sure: organic and non-GM farmers must take the cross-contamination threat very seriously.
Those who don’t risk having their crops rejected by both domestic and overseas markets (and their livelihoods taken away from them).
They could also find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit for “patent infringement” over the “theft of intellectual property” that may be alleged against farmers who unintentionally end up with GMO (genetically modified organism) “technology” on their own farms, GM material that they never wanted in the first place.
Every farm is different, but most organic and non-GM farmers have no choice but to foot the bill for several different expensive precautionary measures that must be taken in order to maintain and verify the purity and non-GM status of their crops and seeds.
To force these restrictions upon organic and non-GM farmers flies in the face of hundreds of years of common English law (particularly the well known phrase “A Man’s Home is his Castle”), according to Jim Gerritsen, the president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, who used the following analogy.
“If I decided to spray my house purple and I sprayed on a day that was windy, and my purple paint drifted onto your house and contaminated your siding and shingles, there isn’t a court in the nation that wouldn’t in two minutes find me guilty of irresponsibly damaging your property,” he said.
“But when it comes to agriculture (since the advent of GMOs), all of a sudden the tables are turned.”
The following is a list of the precautions these farmers often make in their best effort to avoid being contaminated by their neighbors growing GMOs, as found in OSGATA’s ‘Protecting Seed Integrity’ handbook, with comments and insight from my interview with Gerritsen included.
1. Identify At-Risk Crops and Potential Points of Contamination-
“The first thing you do is identify what crops your neighbors are growing in the area that are GMO,” Gerritsen said.
But as Gerritsen noted, it can still be very hard for non-GMO farmers to tell what types of crops really are in the area due to the unregulated and growing number of GMO test plots.
“There are thousands of test plots all of the country and the USDA system seems to be anarchy, there’s little oversight, no public identification of where the crops are,” he said.
He mentioned the infamous GMO wheat cross contamination episode in Oregon as one example of how GMOs in the environment can cause havoc (and badly damage or ruin an organic or non-GMO farmer’s bottom line, since their markets, especially internationally, depend on them being GMO free).
2. Creating a Buffer on Your Side of the Fence-
Organic farmers must keep a safe distance from neighboring GMO farms, and because of this, the best and most trustworthy growers often end up moving or creating their farms on sites bordered by geographical features like large forests, mountain ranges and other barriers to provide cover from cross contamination by wind-blown GM material.
The USDA mandates a 25-foot buffer zone between organic farms and possible sources of cross contamination but Gerritsen says the actual distance needed is far higher.
Even farms that positioned miles away can be at risk, as mentioned earlier.
3. Test Any At-Risk Seed Prior to Planting-
“This is another good rule because otherwise should you end up with a contaminated crop, you won’t know when the contamination occurred,” Gerritsen said. “Contamination could occur in the current season or through the seed that you (originally) planted.”
“Economically this is the industry-wide standard: the seed grower does the original testing (and shares the cost with seed buyers)…”
“This should be paid by the Biotech industry, we should not have to be responsible for testing seedlots because we’ve been responsible citizens, so why does the cost fall upon the innocent farmers and seed companies?”
4. Delayed Plantings-
“Most of these, we’re not sure that they’re really all that effective. For example the word last year was that there was widespread contamination,” Gerritsen said. “Staggering your planting only works when a neighbor plants GMOs first and you hold back and take a significant yield loss by planting later.
“But last year there was a wet spring and the pollination windows overlapped, so there was a significant increase (of cross-contamination by GMOs of natural crops).”
5. Implement an Individualized Testing Plan Based on Scale and Pre-Determined Contamination Thresholds-
Putting such a plan into practice can be quite costly for natural and organic farmers, as Gerritsen noted.
“Imagine you’re a tiny grower, it takes approximately seven pounds to a 10,000 kernel PCR (DNA) test on your crops.
“If you’re growing scores of acres, hundreds of acres of crops, and many varieties in any given year, it becomes problematic as to what test you do…do you have enough seed?
“So there’s an impact on the farmer who must grow more seed than a market needs, just for testing, as any certified organic seed that enters the marketplace needs to be tested or it should not be sold as organic seed.”
Gerritsen said there’s a tremendous cost on farmers that see their original seed stocks contaminated as they have to start all over again after years of saving them and protecting their organic purity.
The costs of these tests alone for natural and organic farmers is also a major financial strain, and they must cover the costs, while GMO companies and farmers get off scot-free.
“Contamination by the Biotech industry, it cannot be overstated as to how damaging it is,” Gerritsen said.
6. Use Scale-Appropriate Sampling Methods to Collect a Representative Sample of the Largest Number of Seeds Acceptable to Your Operation-
This is especially hard on smaller growers, Gerritsen said, who have a wide variety of seeds.
7. Work with a Trusted Lab to Determine Which PCR Test is Best for Your Situation.-
This is especially tricky in the arena of GMO cross contamination because many of the labs nationwide are licensed by (Biotech industry power players), Gerritsen said.
“You need to have faith in the lab you’re dealing with (or that lab could “rat out” a farmer and put them in jeopardy of being sued over GMO contamination they never wanted in the first place).
“You need to know that the lab has integrity, and loyalty to you as the client and not some large multi-national bully.”
Gerritsen said that there are many labs doing testing for cross contamination but only a handful that he would trust.
“There are extremely high stakes, you have to trust who you’re dealing with,” he said.
8. Understand the Potential for Gene Flow and Avoid Renting Pollinators That Have Been Used in Proximity to GM Fields-
Farmers must determine where neighboring or feral beehives that may have pollinated GMO crops exist, and also advise their neighbors of this risk.
Not all farmers have to worry about this, depending on what types of crops they grow, but it can be another source of stress and a potentially serious problem for farmers like non-GMO corn growers who need to be cognizant of this issue.
9. As Appropriate, Implement Isolation Distances When Planting. Plan Isolations for Time as Well as Space if Possible-
As a rule of thumb, Dr. John Navazio, author of the invaluable organic farming and seed producers’ book ‘The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production’advises doubling or even tripling or quadrupling the normal isolation distance from GMO crops.
“For example for corn the recommendation might be 660 feet, so you might want to triple or quadruple that to about half a mile,” Gerritsen said.
“But in some areas such as the Willamette Valley in Oregon, some of the European and Asian companies have dropped their contracting, they’re so paranoid of getting contamination from GM crops nearby they’re not willing to risk it.”
10. Control Any Volunteers, Feral Populations, and/or Wild Relative (Plants) in Proximity to Fields-
Sometimes, GMO crops escape farming plots and end up cross contaminating plants in the wild, which is where an even more serious risk to natural crops comes into play.
“For example the feral GE canola is absolutely out-of-control in North Dakota and Saskatchewan,” Gerritsen said, noting it contaminates wild mustard, wild kale and similar non-GMO weeds and crops in the same family.
“These plants are very promiscuous, they go on and reproduce even more, contaminating wild weeds…It’s like a science fiction movie and the federal government is not doing their job.”
He said that one of the Biotech industry’s main talking points is that the organic community has not proved any economic harm from cross contamination but Gerritsen disagrees.
“The fact is it collapsed the organic canola industry, if the collapse of an industry is not economic harm then I don’t know what economic harm could be,” he said.
“The AC21 (Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture created by the USDA) committee studied the issue of GM contamination and the falsity of co-existence, and half of the committee was stacked with Biotech scientists.”
He added that the committee and other decision makers ignore many incidents, including ones where organic soybean farmers are tested “hot” for GMO material and have to pay to have entire shiploads sent back to them.
11. Avoid Mixing During Harvest, Cleaning, Storage, Transport, and Sales. Clean All Equipment and Facilities Prior to Use-
Gerritsen simply calls this a “good management practice,” but notes that it is especially challenging for farmers that grow a wide variety of different types of crops.
He laments the approval of common crops like yellow corn that are virtually impossible for natural farmers to detect (as to whether they contain GMO material) without expensive testing.
According to Gerritsen the Biotech industry is quick to point out that organic farmers may be able to keep their certification even after cross contamination from GMOs occurs.
But this is merely an industry talking point, he says, as the main economic damage comes when the organic market is not willing to accept such crops that have been grown due to contamination.
“If your seed becomes contaminated, all the certifications in the world won’t sell it,” he said, especially in the highly important overseas markets that value genetically pure non-GMO crops.
“Since we can’t see it, we always have to be on guard.”
How Some Farmers Are Forced to Abandon Planting
In addition to the high monetary costs of the above precautions, some organic farmers are being forced to simply give up planting the types of crops they would like to grow.
“Some members of OSGATA have had to abandon growing crops like organic corn, soybean and canola due to the certainty of them being contaminated by neighbors, so, how do you evaluate that situation monetarily?
“It’s hard to try to assess a monetary value (in this case),” Gerritsen said.
“Canola for example was not only a wonderful crop for rotations before the Biotech industry collapsed it, but it was also valuable to sell it.
“These crops are valuable because they help to fumigate the soil, lessening the pathogenic fungi that can harm other crops; it also can kill up 15% of the weed seed within a rotation for potatoes.
“Having to eliminate something like that (because of GMO cross contamination) which improves the farm ecosystem, it’s hard to place an economic value on that.”
Final Thoughts on the Challenges and Damage Caused by GMO Cross Contamination
“As one fellow farmer said, tongue in cheek: ‘You could put a dome over your farm to prevent it from being contaminated,’” Gerritsen said.
“That’s sort of a dark comedy way of looking at it, but it’s almost what we have to do in an age where Biotech is not willing to restrain itself, and in collusion with the government does not feel that organic or non-GMO farmers should have property rights to restrict contamination from coming onto their farms.”
In a ruling upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto ruled recently that farmers can have up to a “trace amount” of GMO material in their own crops without being sued, but that amount is just 1 percent, a number Gerritsen says is quite easy to go over, especially since it’s so difficult to be certain even via expensive testing if a whole lot of seeds and/or crops is clean.

Vitamin D deficiency more than doubles risk of Alzheimer's, dementia

Vitamin D deficiency more than doubles risk of Alzheimer's, dementia

(NaturalNews) The most comprehensive study yet to be conducted on the subject has revealed that vitamin D levels really do affect dementia risk. An expert, multidisciplinary team of researchers hailing from some of the best schools in the world found that elderly folks severely lacking in vitamin D are more than twice as likely as other adults with normal or optimal vitamin D levels to develop Alzheimer's disease or other similar forms of mental illness.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology, the study involved looking at 1,658 adults aged 65 years or older. All of the participants were healthy at the beginning of the study, able to walk without a walker and free of heart disease. Researchers tracked all of them for six years, paying close attention to those who developed some form of dementia and comparing vitamin D levels across the board.

What they found was a strong association between low vitamin D levels and elevated risk of dementia. Among those who were moderately deficient in vitamin D, for instance, a 53 percent increased risk of general dementia was observed. And specifically for Alzheimer's, those with moderate vitamin D deficiency were found to be 69 percent more likely to develop the condition than others were.

The risk was even higher for those with vitamin D levels in the "severely deficient" range, which is somewhere between 25 and 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) of vitamin D. For Alzheimer's, the risk was 122 percent higher among those with a severe deficiency. And for general dementia, the risk was a whopping 125 percent.

The researchers involved had expected to observe some correlation between low vitamin D levels and dementia. But they admit that they were unprepared for the drastic variance they observed, which serves as a wakeup call for the millions of aging "baby boomers" who already have an elevated risk of mental illness.

"We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but the results were surprising -- we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated," stated Dr. David Llewellyn from the University of Exeter Medical School, one of the study's authors.

Elderly folks need to get more sunlight, take vitamin D3 supplements to avoid disease

The results are hardly surprising when considering the vast benefits already associated with vitamin D intake, however. The Vitamin D Council outlines more than 40 health conditions that modern science has identified as being associated with low vitamin D levels, which is easily correctable through increased sunlight exposure and supplementation.

"Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia," added Dr. Llewellyn. "Our findings are very encouraging, and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia."

While the authors stopped short of actually recommending vitamin D supplementation and increased sunlight exposure as an effective prevention method, Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer's Society, suggests otherwise.

"During this hottest of summers, hitting the beach for just 15 minutes of sunshine is enough to boost your vitamin D levels," he is quoted as saying by the University of Exeter.

Since there is no adverse risk involved, why not bring your vitamin D levels into optimal range?