Breakthroughs in Vitamin C
Oct22

Breakthroughs in Vitamin C

by Valerie Brooks America’s favorite vitamin just can’t seem to stay out of the limelight. The medical community and health experts just keep on boasting of its benefits. Most people’s first reaction to Vitamin C is that it’s a supplement to be taken to prevent or treat a cold. But its history actually has its roots in the treatment of scurvy, a serious disease that plagued sailors in the 1590s who didn’t have access to fruits and vegetables at sea because they were perishable. They started to notice that when they ate citrus fruits, their condition improved. It was then discovered that ascorbic acid (literally meaning “no scurvy”) was the specific nutrient that turned the disease around. That’s when its healing properties were first noticed. Since then, it has been in Linus Pauling’s microscopes as a possible cure for cancer and many other things. We may still only be scratching the surface of this vitamin’s true potential. Is There Anything Vitamin C Can’t Cure? Nutritionists and scientists are continuing to credit this miracle vitamin with being a great support in collagen production, which assists in the healing of wounds, burns, and minor injuries. Collagen is also vital to the health of your teeth, skin, and bones. But most popularly, it is known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and that is why it’s a popular choice for colds, infections, rashes, and sores. The latest studies indicate that the vitamin may be an aid in heart disease, cancer prevention, colitis, allergies, respiratory illness, and other serious conditions. If a person were to research the uses of Vitamin C, he or she just might find claims that it can cure any existing condition. Studies are now being done to test the efficacy of Vitamin C for reducing hypertension, complications due to diabetes, and its ability to heal arthritis. The Best Ways to Consume Vitamin C Vitamin C is water soluble, which means that the body does not store it and use it later. The body uses what is consumed and then passes the rest out through urine. That is why there is controversy over whether extremely high doses of the vitamin actually yield any more benefit. But many experts believe that taking vitamin C injections, higher doses can be absorbed by the body. The best way to consume Vitamin C is through food. If you do not eat foods rich in the vitamin on a daily basis, you should take a supplement, especially since the nutrient is not saved by the body. The foods richest in Vitamin C are citrus fruits, and vegetables—particularly oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, red bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus,...

Read More
Health Benefits of Chocolate
Oct02

Health Benefits of Chocolate

Recently, chocolate has been getting a lot of attention not only as a yummy snack food, but also for its benefits to our mental and physical (not to mention sexual) well being. It seems that the special bean the god Quetzalcoatl gave to the Aztecs more than 800 years ago is rather magical indeed. Chocolate, or more specifically the Cacao fruit, first appears in historical records in Egypt in the 16th century BC. Little is know of its use in Egyptian culture, but we know that the Mayan culture used it and called it xocoatl, from which we get its current name. The Aztecs and Mayans believed that their ancestors brought the Cacao seeds from paradise. This fruit bestowed wisdom and power upon all who ate it or, in most cases…drank it. It’s suspected that the Cacao tree originated in the Amazon region. Chocolate for Heart Health As reported in the article Chocolate and Cardiovascular Health, chocolate’s rich flavonoid content is being recommended by medical professionals for heart health. The phenols contained in one chocolate bar are comparable to those in a glass of wine or cup of green tea. The article states, “Chocolate protects the development of heart disease by oxidizing LDLs (bad cholesterol) which protects them from damaging artery walls and helps reduce the chance of heart disease.” The article cites many studies that support the heart healthy benefits of chocolate. But this tasty treat has other health benefits. Other Health Benefits of Chocolate Among the more recognized health benefits of chocolate are those associated with its antioxidant content. In the article My Favorite Power Foods & Superfoods”, the author states that “Flavonoids reduce risk of heart disease and help clean the bloodstream and arteries of fat and other toxins. Cocoa also helps keep blood pressure down and regulates blood flow, not unlike a low dose of aspirin.” In her article Chocolate for Coughs and Other Medicinal Purposes, writer Annmarie Kostyk, cites many studies related to chocolate’s health beneifts, including its effectiveness as a cough syrup for children, its use in restoring memory in Alzheimer’s patients and its potential use in fighting cancer. All this and it tastes great too! Chocolate for Love Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t possibly get any better…we bring you a few of its less “technical” aspects. Chocolate has long been recognized as a natural aphrodisiac. It is known to regulate blood pressure, which can help with sexual performance and it releases endorphins. As one article puts it…”[chocolate] improves circulation, stimulates the nervous system and enhances the production of endorphins in the brain.” That’s a powerful combination for love. But chocolate has...

Read More
Green Tea and Health
Sep13

Green Tea and Health

by Valerie Brooks Green tea is no longer confined to the beverage arena. Its myriad medicinal and curative effects include acting as an immunity booster, offering anti-cancer properties, improving insulin sensitivity, assisting with balancing cholesterol levels, and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. To reap the most benefit from this wonder leaf, a host of products now contain green tea. While its ingestible form is usually seen in powder (great for mixing into beverages) or extract, which may come in liquid or pill form, now you can wear it, eat it, or even brush your teeth with it. Skincare Proactiv Solution Green Tea Moisturizer–very lightweight, great for acne-prone skin H2OPlus–offers an array of antioxidant products that includes Japanese green tea: Antioxidant Face Complex–hydrating formula for sensitive skin Urban Defense Lotion–Neutralizes free radical production using Japanese green tea antioxidants, which are reportedly 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times more effective than vitamin E. Green Tea Antioxidant Serum–helps premature aging by protecting skin from environmental damage. Green Tea Skin Natural Anti-Aging Cream–this paraben and petroleum-free product uses green tea for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and rejuvenating properties. Haircare Abba Pure Shine Conditioner–this vegan and sulfate-free conditioner is ideal for dull, coarse hair, and uses a blend of green tea, tropical fruit extracts, and banana. June Jacobs Green Tea and Cucumber Conditioning Shampoo–this is a gentle shampoo with powerful antioxidant properties that is ideal for chemically treated hair. Aubrey Organics Green tea Finishing Cream Rinse–featuring organic green tea and nettle extract, this detangler is ideal for oily hair. Edibles Sencha Naturals Green Tea Bars–these gluten and wheat-free desserts contain 225 milligrams of polyphenols (potent antioxidant compounds) along with rice, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Three flavors include original, pear, and lemongrass. Green Tea Mints–these sugar and caffeine-free treats contain a blend of teas, botanicals, and mint oils create these innovative mints in original, pear, lemongrass, and lychee. The Cozy Tea Cart–An excellent comprehensive site offering a variety of green tea foods from a wide array of brands. www.thecozyteacart.com Tea-Infused Chocolates–From Keiko, these indulgent organic treat double packs the antioxidant benefits because of the tea and the chocolate. Caramel Green Tea Chews–these organic sweet delights are a great alternative to a sugar-filled treat. Tea-Infused Caramels–offered in cranberry or gingerbread orange, these hand-made fudge-like deserts melt in your mouth. Toothpastes Dr. Ken’s Toothpaste–offered in a variety of flavors, Dr. Ken’s Toothpastes are infused with green tea. Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste–this fluoride-free toothpaste uses tea tree oil, neem, and baking soda. Jason’s Tea Tree Toothpaste–with tea tree oil to prevent plaque and decay, this natural toothpaste also has a kick...

Read More
All About Pomegranate for Health
Sep13

All About Pomegranate for Health

The World’s Oldest Fruit Considered the world’s oldest fruit, the pomegranate is a long way from extinction. In fact, it’s making a major comeback as one of our healthiest and most versatile foods…and considered by many to be one of the Earth’s healthiest things. First, the delightful red juice of this timeless fruit is one of our best sources of antioxidants and many of the new anti-oxidant “red drinks” coming onto the market include pomegranate in their formulations. You can also find pomegranate juice with nothing but…pomegranate juice in it. One great source is POM juice. But pomegranate is finding its way into more than just anti-oxidant juices. Now you can find pomegranate in skin care products. This is not only because anti-oxidants are great for the skin, but also because pomegranate has special rejuvenating and healing qualities all it own. The skin of this fruit can be dried and used in tinctures as an antiseptic spray and it makes a natural sunblock. Here are a couple of tips about these special uses: antiseptic tincture pigment problems Plus here’s an article about Spa Trends and pomegranate spa treatments: Spa Trends. This article offers a look at several new pomegranate beauty products, from skin creams to soap: www.thecancerblog.com And here’s a jaw dropping discovery regarding the healing properties of pomegranate seed oil: www.ats.org Any way you squeeze it, the pomegranate — from the seeds to the juice to the skin — is abundant with health and healing powers. Don’t miss this...

Read More
All About Probiotics
Aug23

All About Probiotics

by Valerie Brooks Bacteria received a really bad rap until probiotics became all the rage. Now we know that there are good bacteria and bad. Probiotics, of course, are the good guys—those live microorganisms that live in the gut and balance the flora, which, health professionals are now learning, may be doing a world of good for us. So much so that nowadays, there are probiotic supplements galore. There’s also a great deal of emphasis on pro-probiotic foods. Some health professionals believe that many diseases begin with a reaction to what’s going on in the gut, so the popularity of probiotic continues to expand daily, gaining the interest of those with serious illnesses and those looking to ward them off. What Will Probiotics Do? Prevent or treat yeast infections. People taking antibiotics should especially take probiotics to prevent this condition, which commonly follows antibiotic intake. Probiotics may treat diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. And, very importantly, it may treat inflammation. This is why probiotics are now being studied for their efficacy in auto-immune disorders. People with autoimmune disorders such as lupus or antiphospholipid antibody are hyper-sensitive to inflammation because their immune systems often attack without warning. Even though a common area for this inflammation is the lungs, there is some belief that taking care of bacteria in the gut is the place to begin prevention. Probiotics may have a role in cancer prevention as well, particularly colorectal cancer. Some studies show that cancer-promoting enzymes are abated by the presence of the probiotic, lactobacillus acidophilus. Most Common Probiotic-rich Foods The foods richest in probiotics include: Yogurt milk miso soy-based products kefir some cereals olives fermented cabbage These are some of the more popular probiotic products: Attune Chocolate Probiotic Wellnes Bar, Attune Granola Probiotic Wellness Bar – I’ve had the chocolate bar and it is quite the mouth pleaser. It comes in four chocolate varieties and the granola version has six. See attunefoods.com. Dannon Activia Yogurt, DanActive – This is the product Jamie Lee Curtis has been endorsing all over the media. Activia is the yogurt form and DanActive is the drink. Both offer a number of flavors, with Activia doling out 17 grams of sugar. That’s high but then again, some yogurts are much higher. Check labels. See activa.com. Kashi Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal – The name is quite a mouthful but it also packs a lot of crunchy nutrition. I actually tried this cereal and although I don’t exactly taste the vanilla and graham it boasts of, it’s not bad. For a double whammy, I add it to yogurt. This cereal has only 10 grams of sugar but...

Read More
Snacking for Better Health
Aug13

Snacking for Better Health

by Christopher Van Buren Are you a snac-aholic? Well, you’re not alone. Snacking is where most Americans get all the worst things in their diets…like too much sugar, processed foods, fats and chemicals. Snack foods are known for being the worst foods health-wise…and our weakness for snacks is making us sick! So instead of fighting the snacking impulse, try going with it…but substitute healthy snacks for the unhealthy ones. Here are some tips: Nix the Chips If your preference is for salt-and-fat, then you probably have a weakness for things like potato chips and french fries. Ahhhh, that’s it, isn’t it! Can’t resist those hot, salty morsels. Well, try substituting some healthy ones instead. One idea is to use popcorn. Pop some corn in a little bit of olive oil or use a hot-air popper. Now, instead of loading the popcorn with butter, try using a healthy topping. There are several ideas, including sprinkling seaweed on top…but there is also a company that makes a healthy popcorn topping, called SuperFood Seasoning. You can find it at Pot of Gold Products. Stop the Sweet Tooth Not the salt-and-fat type? You’re probably more into sugar then. Am I right? Gotta have that brownie or chocolate bar for a snack every day? Well, you’re like a lot of people. So here are some ideas: First, make sure you have tons of fruit around at all times. Now, it’s true that a lot of fruit has fructose in it and that’s fattening…but it’s a lot better than eating a bag of cookies. The fiber and nutrients in the fruit will help your body and give you more energy and health. Another idea is to use dark chocolate with low sugar content. Get yourself some good dark chocolate and use it to make other snacks. Pure cocoa or high-percentage chocolate products are also very good for you and, while not eliminating sugar, they help you reduce it. The idea is not to try to go cold turkey…but to reduce the amount of sugar you get, while still satisfying your craving. Don’t Feed Them…It Just Encourages Them Ok…now to the hard part. If you have overwhelming cravings for your snack foods, be they sweet or savory cravings — it’s possible you need a cleanse. If you have not cleansed your body (colon and digestive tract mostly), then the craving you feel could very well be those vermin inside your body telling you they’re hungry for more. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, don’t let them get the best of you. Get a good cleanse and make it work for you…then reduce the snacking or even eliminate...

Read More