Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Six Undeniable, Research-Proven Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily

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There have been many studies on green tea consumption’s health benefits as well as the benefits of green tea extracts. Obviously, drinking green tea has more traditional roots in Asian countries than in western nations.

Drinking green tea has become more popular in western countries, since its health benefits have been increasingly publicized over the past few decades. But along with those benefits, there have been concerns over tea’s fluoride content.

The youngest leaves cultivated properly with buds have the least significant amount of fluoride. Japanese jasmine green tea is made from young leaves grown seasonally at moderately high altitudes, making its fluoride content very low.

Tea bags with older tea leaves, black teas, decaffeinated and instant teas, as well as cheap brick package teas have the highest fluoride concentrations.

So a simple rule is to use high quality, young, loose-leaf green teas, such as jasmine and others grown in areas that don’t irrigate with fluoridated water, which is almost anywhere outside the USA. Besides, the compounds responsible for all the health benefits are fewer in older plant leaves than younger ones.

If you’re still not too keen on drinking substantial amounts of green tea, fluoride and caffeine free green tea extracts are available. Green tea extracts are often used in anticancer studies that prove green tea compounds’ efficacy on fighting cancer.

Research samples supporting green tea health benefits

(1) The 2009 journal, Phytochemistry, published a study that looked into the potential for green tea’s antioxidant catechin compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) to inhibit metabolic syndrome, the precursor of type 2 diabetes. The research team discovered promising potential for EGCG to create that effect.

(2) Also in 2009, a Japanese study recorded in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded: “A more frequent consumption of green tea was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms in the community-dwelling older population.”

(3) Another Japanese study, recorded in the 2008 Journal of Nutrition, determined from an epidemiological study (large population statistical analysis) and a review of several animal randomized control tests (RCT) that higher green tea consumption has a positive effect on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

(4) A New York in vitro (petri dish) study determined that immunoglobulin E (IgE), a principle allergen antibody, was reduced with green tea extracts, further supporting evidence of green tea’s anti-allergy capacity and immune system support. Recorded in the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science 2010.

(5) This study discusses the cancer preventative properties of green tea that are mediated by EGCG, which induces cancer cell apoptosis (cell suicide) and cell growth arrest. The research team delineate the biochemical activities of green tea’s preventative actions against colon, skin, lung, prostate, and breast cancer.

(6) A Hong Kong, China, study using both in vitro and in vivo human testing determined that green tea provides significant protection against DNA damage, or genoprotective effects. They used a “comet assay” to determine DNA damage from H2O2. Published in the 2011 British Journal of Nutrition.

Conclusion

Even more green tea studies are available if you can handle wading neck deep through intense medical and biological babble. They can be very educational if you take the time to look up some of those esoteric terms.

Consumer discretion is advised for researching, shopping, and sampling green teas for the optimum health benefits with minimal fluoride concerns as discussed earlier.

Green tea extract supplements may pack even more powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer, and immune system support than a few cups of green tea. But if you’re a tea lover, hold the sugar and drink up with the knowledge that you’re supporting your resistance to disease.

 

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Beating Chronic Stress Can be Fun, Easy and Creative: Here’s How

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Chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation, which leads to almost any disease you can think of including adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is usually not recognized or even considered in mainstream medicine.

The constant production and buildup of the “fight or flight” hormone cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue or burnout.

The resulting hormone imbalance also creates inflammation. When it becomes chronic, serious, sometimes fatal diseases are produced.

Easy quick fixes that are usually temporary

One tip for increasing production during a California real estate seminar for continuing study credit was to back off and forget it all for awhile by seeing a movie or going on a hike or accessing an immediate, desired diversion.

He cited the diminishing return standard for increasing production. If your efforts are spinning and aren’t producing anything but frustration and stress, take a little time off immediately. Of course overdoing this remedy will be counter-productive.

Most other stress reducing advice comes up with the same concept regardless of how different they appear: Go on a vacation, take a walk in nature, swim in salt water, go to a concert, or get together with good friends are among the list of similar temporary solutions for stress.

A few longer lasting solutions

Laughter is another commonly recommended stress remedy. If you have and enjoy any sense of humor, indulge and develop it more. Enjoy good comedies or stories often and laugh it up.

Learn to see the funny side of things in your life no matter how tense or grim they appear to be.

Gardening is relaxing and nourishing for many, and it may come in handy some day if there is a food crisis.

A commonly advised tip that can help you stop stressing is serving the community or others, even animals, without expecting something in return. The key is not expecting. This qualifies as “selfless service” and is considered a spiritual practice in several cultures.

Serving others for community recognition and pride will not serve to put your consciousness in a state beyond the grasp of stress. The spiritual and emotional rewards come from within naturally if your thrust is giving and not receiving.

One giving endeavor that helps create a better world is spending more quality time with your children or even home schooling them.

Advice often forgotten or ignored is one that’s been around for decades: Find a hobby within an activity you thoroughly enjoy. Regardless of job stress, you’ll have something to look forward to that arouses your strong interest and may be different than your job.

Many professionals and academic types, even those in the creative arts, engage in activities completely different from their professional life. Often those activities are more physically demanding than their work-a-day activities.

Amateur sports, rock climbing, cycling, dirt bike racing, boating, hang-gliding or sky-diving are a few commonly chosen activities.

Conversely, one whose occupation involves manual labor may find it stimulating and uplifting to engage in an intellectual or artistic endeavor, such as reading fine classical literature or learning piano.

Not everyone has the time, energy, or resources for a serious hobby. But most can incorporate yoga and/or meditation into their lives. A little instruction can go a long way if you imbibe what’s taught and practice daily on your own.

You don’t need a gym for yoga exercises. And the session-ending “corpse pose” (savasana) practiced diligently is a deeply relaxing and stress relieving mini-treat. It can resonate deeply to foster equanimity under trying circumstances (http://www.mindbodygreen.com).

The same is true for meditation. Both yoga and meditation require very little space and don’t require special equipment or conditions, but they need to be practiced daily. Once one gets into it, the practice’s calming effects become something to look forward to.

 

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Five Hust-Mave Herbs for Healing Your Body and Mind

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Mental health and physical health are so closely intertwined that properly addressing the ailments identified in one often requires also addressing potentially unidentified ailments in the other. In many cases, the most effective way to restore optimal health to both body and mind is to supplement with adaptogenic and other herbs that help balance both systems simultaneously and naturally, without causing harmful side-effects. Here are five must-have herbs that may be exactly what your body needs to achieve optimal mental and physical health:

1) Turmeric. Turmeric, the primary active component of which is curcumin, is one of the most clinically studied herbs today that contains powerful mind-body healing capacities. A common healing herb in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric possesses a unique ability to ease and even cure systemic inflammation, which is a common cause of many chronic health conditions and autoimmune disorders that plague people today.

Because of its natural ability to normalize various bodily processes commonly aggravated by stress and other life factors, turmeric is considered to be one of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs that helps promote systemic balance and facilitate the healthy metabolism and assimilation of nutrients. By counteracting these disease-causing physical, chemical, and biological stressors, turmeric can effectively heal and protect against illnesses that affect both mind and body.

2) Ginger. Often under-appreciated because of its relative commonality as a food, ginger is another powerful healing herb that has been used the world over to prevent and heal diseases of all kinds. Some of ginger’s many benefits include its ability to settle a nervous or upset stomach, which for some people can lead to persistent mental anguish and disruption of other bodily functions. Raw ginger has long been consumed for its general calming effect, which can help promote general healing while staving off disease.

Ginger helps specifically improve digestion by aiding in the breakdown of proteins and fats, which in turn helps prevent gas, food buildup, and other negative conditions that can decrease immune function and trigger disease. Supplementing with ginger can also help lower blood pressure, ease morning sickness, and lower bad cholesterol levels.

3) Aloe vera. Like ginger, aloe vera possesses an incredible ability to ease nausea, improve digestion, cleanse the colon and digestive tract, and maintain healthy elimination and bowel function. Consuming aloe vera can also help ease inflammation and improve the oxygenation of blood, two benefits that for many people can make all the difference in promoting lasting health.

There are so many benefits to consuming aloe vera, in fact, that simply adding the gel or juice of this powerful, succulent plant into your daily dietary regimen can effectively remedy a whole host of physical and mental illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, kidney stones, ulcers, high blood pressure, nutrient deficiencies, constipation, diabetes, candida and other yeast infections, skin disorders, and cancer.

4) Tea tree oil. Typically used topically to heal various skin conditions and infections, tea tree oil is considered by many to be “nature’s miracle healer.” A highly-versatile, all-purpose healing oil, tea tree oil, which comes from the Melaleuca tree, is an exceptionally powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, curative, bactericidal, fungicidal, insecticidal, stimulating, and sudorific herb capable of treating many different physical and mental ailments.

Drinking Melaleuca tea, for instance, especially when blended with other beneficial herbs like rosemary, passion flower, hibiscus, and ginseng, can help calm and soothe the nerves while providing sustained energy and motivation. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a diffuser by itself or with other essential oils can also help clear the lungs and airways of harmful buildup, promote alertness, and boost general feelings of health and well-being.

5) Holy basil. Another powerful adaptogenic herb, holy basil is known to help elevate mood and spirit while calming the mind. Like ginseng and licorice, holy basil is said to enhance the mind-body-spirit connection by addressing the underlying health conditions afflicting each of these important human systems. Besides generally relieving stress and boosting immunity, holy basil helps fight chronic inflammation, boost energy levels, promote clarity of mind and thought, and improve digestion.

Known more commonly as tulsi, holy basil is also recognized for its ability to fight various allergies and allergy symptoms, which often lead to feelings of “brain fog” and mental incapacity. Individuals that supplement with holy basil, particularly in conjunction with other adaptogenic herbs, have found that they are able to breathe better, digest food better, think better, and generally feel better, regardless of their particular health conditions.

 

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The Benefits of Going Vegetarian

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Weight loss, a healthier heart, drastically reduced cancer risk and more…

With the proper planning and education, research shows that going vegetarian is an excellent step to improve and protect your health. By minimizing processed foods and emphasizing whole plant foods, vegetarians enjoy a more nutritious and far less toxic way of eating than the average. The bottom line: As a vegetarian, you will be better protected from a range of major diseases, take in more nutrients and potentially lose a lot of weight.

Weight loss

The high water content and fiber in plant foods is probably to thank for the weight loss that occurs when an omnivore becomes vegetarian. Overweight people typically lose 10 percent of their body weight when they switch to a vegetarian diet, and the body-mass index (BMI) of vegetarians is generally lower as well. Vegetarian diets have less saturated fat and are likely to contain less fat overall.

Better digestion

Fiber, the indigestible matter that gives structure to plant foods, is essential for speeding waste out of the body. Virtually all whole plant foods have a positive impact on digestion. Animal foods, on the other hand, contain no fiber and move sluggishly through the digestive system. This results in constipation and putrefaction of meat in the digestive tract, letting harmful bacteria linger.

A healthier heart

Fiber has another health benefit – reducing cholesterol. One type, soluble fiber, actually pulls cholesterol out of the body. Vegetarians also have a head start on healthy cholesterol, since plant foods don’t contain any. As a result, cholesterol levels in vegetarians are typically 40 points lower than those of omnivores. Blood pressure is also lower overall, suggesting that vegetarians have a 20-40 percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 30-60 percent reduced risk of stroke. In fact, an analysis of five studies concluded that vegetarians have a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from a heart attack compared to omnivores.

Slowed aging

High antioxidant content in many plant foods like berries and raw chocolate combats the cellular damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals, which are ingested from cooked foods and polluted air (among other sources), are one of the main causes of aging. A diet high in whole and fresh foods can actually turn back the clock by knocking these down.

Reduced risk of cancer

One of the best reasons to go vegetarian is this: Vegetarians have a 40 percent reduced risk of getting cancer. There are several explanations for this statistic. Vegetarians tend to be thinner, and obesity in particular is associated with increased cancer risk. The high fiber content of plant foods speeds waste through your system, which cuts the risk of colon cancer. And diets high in fat and animal foods spike cancer risk, especially that of breast cancer, through their action on hormones.

A less toxic body

Since animals concentrate the toxins they ingest in their tissues, meat and milk is much higher in toxins than plant foods are. Wild fish contain alarming amounts of mercury; the FDA recommends eating fish only 2-3 times per week. And the EPA reports that 95 percent of human exposure to dioxin, a dangerous toxin, comes from consuming meat, fish and dairy. Animal foods are also often high in pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

Sources for this article include:

 

  • http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dxmarkers
  • http://healthluv.com
  • http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
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Plateau! How to Get Over the Flatline

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Every dieter’s experienced it: The dreaded weight loss plateau. You’ve been cruising along smoothly for months, and suddenly, your weight loss stops. Plateaus can be incredibly frustrating. You may not feel as though you’ve made any changes to your diet and fitness routine, but you’ve stopped dropping the weight. If you’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to check and recheck your behavior so you can jump-start your weight loss and get back in the game. Let’s look at some ways you can increase the effectiveness of your diet plan, so that you can continue to drop weight.

Revisit your food journal

Beginning dieters are often advised to keep a food journal, so that they can stay aware of what they’re eating each day. Often, though, as weight loss picks up, the food journal falls by the wayside. When you hit a plateau, it may be time to start writing down everything you eat again. You may find that certain foods trigger small binges that are holding you back, that you’re eating more calories than you’d estimated, or that you’re right on target. Keeping a food journal for a week or two will provide you with the information you need to start getting back on track.

Measure your portion sizes carefully

Once you’ve been dieting for awhile, it’s tempting to stop counting calories and measuring portion sizes. You’ve got the hang of the system, after all, and you understand the correct portion sizes for most of the foods that you eat. If you hit a plateau, however, it may be time to reevaluate your portion sizes and start to measure and count again. It only takes a few extra calories per day to stall your weight loss plan. You’ll quickly end up maintaining your current weight instead of dropping the pounds you want to lose.

Switch to a different physical activity

If you find yourself skipping workouts, having trouble dragging yourself to the gym or simply not exercising as much as you need to for weight loss, it may be time to consider switching up your physical activity. If you’ve been jogging, consider swimming or hiking instead. Regular cardiovascular exercise is key to weight loss, so choose a physical activity that you enjoy and will look forward to doing, instead of one that you hate the thought of. This will make it easier to exercise on a regular basis.

Check your food labels

Take the time to check your food labels thoroughly, even if they’re foods you’re familiar with. Manufacturers change package sizes from time to time, which could make a difference in calorie counts, fat content and more. If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, it may be time to assess the foods that you consume on a regular basis and re-read their labels. You may be surprised to learn that a serving size has changed, or that a food simply has more fat, calories or sugar than you’d remembered it having. Careful calorie counting is one important key to weight loss, and label reading is an important part of this process.

Diet plateaus are almost always temporary, so don’t stress too much about yours. Instead, focus on healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating cleanly and getting regular cardiovascular exercise. It’s only a matter of time before your weight begins to drop again, and you’ll soon be well on your way to achieving your weight loss goal.

 

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Sufficient Sleep is Essential to Fuel Weight Loss Efforts

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We all understand the importance of sleeping seven to nine hours each night to allow for adequate cellular housekeeping, as the body metabolizes and synthesizes enzymes and proteins that are critical to our survival. In the past, a sound sleep has been shown to lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and dementia in direct relationship to the number of hours slept each evening.

Canadian researchers publishing the Canadian Medical Association Journal have released the result of a study showing that adequate sleep is an important part of a weight loss plan and should be added to the recommended mix of diet and exercise. In addition to lowering caloric intake and increasing physical activity, the research team led by Dr. Jean-Phillippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa has provided sufficient evidence to show that inadequate sleep is an independent risk factor for overweight and obesity.

Scientists determined that lack of sleep increases the stimulus to consume more food and increases appetite-regulating hormones. Dr. Chaput explained “The solution to weight loss is not as simple as eat less, move more, sleep more… however, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.”

Seven to nine hours of sleep are needed daily to aid weight loss efforts

Many different factors affect body weight including predisposition to handling stress, depression and genetic individuality. Adequate and sound sleep can improve or eliminate each of these risk factors, and can also regulate the hormones leptin and ghrelin to lower food cravings and naturally promote a normal weight range. Naturally, reducing or eliminating insulin-producing processed carbohydrate foods and cutting sugar from the diet are necessary to stimulate weight loss in many people.

The authors of this study did not provide an exact mechanism to explain how adequate sleep assists weight loss, but they did explain that a lack of sleep affects the parts of the brain that control pleasure eating. Further, the scientists indicate that levels of the hormones leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and orexin, all of which are involved in appetite or eating, are affected by lack of sleep.

Dr. Chaput concluded “An accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.” Continuing research studies validate the critical importance of a sound night’s sleep of between seven and nine hours each night to protect against chronic disease and to aid weight management efforts.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917123926.htm

http://www.calgaryherald.com

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/cmaj-ash091112.php

 

Superfruit Diet Now Includes Garcinia Cambogia

The fat burning benefits of fruits like acai berry and african mango have been widely known for some time. More recently however, garcinia cambogia has been discovered to promote even more fat burning power for our metabolism. As you can see on FoodSecurity.org, the benefits of these compounds have been discussed thoroughly on the popular television program Dr. Oz.

In an effort to educate people on their fat burning effects, Dr. Oz has provided professional insight into the metabolic changes these fruits provide. The combination of these powerful fat burning compounds have been combined to produce the new superfruit diet.

Weight loss enthusiasts everywhere are well aware that many fad diets come and go. The superfruit diet is actually backed by real research as well as being created from ingredients applauded by Dr. Oz, who is well known for his highly objective and critical views of misinformed health practices.

Although they’ve all been endorsed by a reputable expert and backed by scientific studies, it’s understandable that today’s consumers need in-depth information on any prospective diet plan or supplements. You have to realize too, that superfruit diets are not entirely new.

The discovery of raspberry ketone’s metabolic activity is one of the latest advancements in superfruit research. This particular fruit compound has been found to work differently than previously used fruits like acai berry. While all ingredients within the superfruit diet are beneficial, the addition of raspberry ketone and garcinia extract provide a more universal approach.

It is unique in that it directly promotes the burning of belly fat on any body type. This universal target of abdominal fat adds exactly what many individuals have been lacking. While garcinia itself is a huge advancement in superfruit reasearch, it’s important to remember that every ingredient plays a crucial role in weight loss success.

Dr. Oz has supported the use of every compound included in the super fruit diet for specific reasons. The most well known of these is acai berry which suppresses appetite, increases metabolism and fat burning. This makes it an all around balanced supplement. Lesser known fruits such as the african mango provide additional hunger supressing benefits. Another important addition to the superfruit diet is not actually a fruit at all…

Green coffee extract. It has been added because of its ability to reduce the absorption of the fats you consume. Dr. Oz has discussed the benefits of green coffee extract quite extensively on his show because of this very reason.

These highly beneficial ingredients combined with the newly discovered fat burning power of raspberry ketone make the superfruit diet a powerful tool for successful weight loss.

By promoting appetite suppression, reduced fat absorption and increased fat burning, the superfruit diet is likely to become much more than just a passing diet fad. With the endorsement Dr. Oz and its proven ability to promote weight loss, the superfruit diet is here to stay.