Gut Issues And Ginger

Posted: July 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Nearly everyone experiences some sort of gastrointestinal discomfort at one time or another. It can show up as a bloated belly, rumbling, cramping, gas or constipation. Most of those who suffer say they can’t find an effective solution that eases their symptoms.

The first thing that is recommended, is to eliminate sugars and processed foods as they will cause pathogenic disease causing microbes to flourish. Once, we have achieved that, it is important to nourish our gut flora with friendly probiotic bacteria, either from eating fermented foods or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.

It may come as a surprise to learn that even those with a healthy gut microbiome can suffer from time to time with digestive discomfort. There are many reasons why:

  • A stressful or demanding lifestyle
  • Undiagnosed food sensitivities, intolerances or allergies
  • A fructose/other sugars excessive diet is linked to loose stools, flatulence, and tummy noise
  • Inflammation in our stomach from taking over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Women are 2-6 times more likely to experience gastrointestinal issues than men as their thoughts, feelings and emotions affect their GI function. However, there are other physical reasons why women may be prone to more tummy troubles than men:

  • Women secrete less stomach acid and experience slower gastric emptying
  • Women tend to use more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs over their lifetime
  • Women have slower emptying from the large intestine that can cause occasional issues with regularity, and it tends to worsen with age
  • Women have slower gallbladder emptying that can lead to occasional discomfort.
  • Women’s enzyme systems in their livers and small intestines differ from men’s and can affect how their bodies break down medications

With many digestive issues, our intestines can become damaged or shortened, making it difficult for our body to take advantage of the beneficial nutrients in the foods we eat. What happens in our brain affects our gut, and vice versa. When psychosocial factors like stress affect our brain and central nervous system, our vagus nerve and gut function can be negatively impacted.

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In the same family as turmeric and cardamom, ginger has played a vital role for over 5,000 years in Ayurvedic and other medicine practices worldwide. Here are some of the therapeutic benefits of ginger. It helps:

  • Protect gastric mucous membrane
  • Stimulate the emptying of our stomach
  • Support a normal inflammatory response
  • Prevent excessive gas in the alimentary canal
  • Prevent spasms by soothing our intestinal tract
  • Support normal fat digestion and absorption
  • Support normal healthy carbohydrate and lipid metabolism
  • Reduce feelings of hunger

 

Relationships Matter

Posted: July 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Our brain works in mysterious ways, many of which we’re only beginning to understand. Research suggests people may not be mentally focused on the present moment, the world around them or a particular given task, but rather on their own thoughts nearly half the time. This mental state of blase, generally makes us unhappy, likely because our minds turn to unsettling thoughts, past arguments, worries or other stresses events that are not currently happening.

In the realm of relationships, our mind also likely has a tendency to associate our partner with either good or bad feelings. If our gut-level feelings about our spouse are positive, we’ll be more likely to overlook minor issues and interact in a more positive way. Negative gut-level feelings, however, may cause us to easily take offense and escalate arguments.

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In a relationship, we have a lot of great experiences with our partner and we learn to associate our partner with those experiences and when we see our partner, we feel good. If thinking about our partner doesn’t automatically invoke such positive vibes, as may be the case if our partner is deployed and we only talk amid stressful situations, might it be possible to create them even if our partner is away.

Living in an unhappy relationship isn’t only unsettling for our emotional health, it’s dangerous for our physical health as well, making it all the more important to address any problems. For instance, a negative marriage may influence our health by triggering depression or increasing self-sabotaging health habits via a number of mechanisms, i.e. cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, neurosensory and otherwise. Negative and hostile behaviours during marital conflict discussions are related to elevations in cardiovascular activity, alterations in hormones related to stress, and dysregulation of immune function.

The bottom line is that our level of relationship satisfaction very much matters when it comes to health and happiness, which is why interventions that may increase it are so important. People who viewed photos of their spouse alongside positive photos increasingly viewed their spouse in a positive light and reported greater relationship satisfaction. Exposure to passive positive information may improve, even change relationship satisfaction.

Open the lines of communication. This refers not only to discussions about the big issues but also the mundane details of our day. What did we have for lunch? How was the morning workout? What else happened in the time spent away from the spouse? Sharing these details help us to stay connected. If we can’t talk throughout the day, we must at least try to send a text message or two and make a point to reconnect at the end of our day.

Another important aspect; staying mentally monogamous. In some cases, people may be closer emotionally to their work spouse than to their actual spouse, setting the stage for emotional betrayal that can be as damaging, or more so, than a physical affair.

There are steps we can take starting today that may make a difference in our “gut-level” feelings regarding our spouse, for instance, simple acts like kissing may fall by the wayside. But, like hugging and sex, kissing prompts our brain to release a happy elixir of feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. This isn’t only important for our happiness, it also may help to strengthen our relationship. And speaking of sex, couples who had sex once a week reported the highest levels of happiness.

Couples who shared positive moments, had lower reactivity to daily relationship threats than those with lower emotional capital, showing that making an effort to enjoy everyday moments together may be key in building and maintaining a happy marriage. Another important aspect is taking time to care for ourselves, including getting regular exercise, eating right and sleeping enough. These factors give us the basic building blocks for emotional and physical health, which will directly influence our relationships.

While marital satisfaction generally tends to decline over time, this can be buffered by not only supporting joint and individual goals, but also by being flexible in our expectations of the relationship. Over time, as specific aspects of the relationship change, with some parts becoming more positive and some becoming more negative, the couples who stay happiest overall are the ones who change their beliefs about what is important in their relationships accordingly, deciding that whatever aspects of the marriage have declined must not be so important after all.

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Oral Health

Posted: July 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Taking good care of our teeth, which includes brushing them twice a day, affects not only our oral health but also our physical health and well-being. Failure can result in bad breath, plaque, yellow teeth, tooth decay and other health problems. Some of the mistakes we make include, not brushing long enough, using the wrong technique, failing to replace our toothbrush regularly and using fluoride toothpaste.

If we’ve ever overlooked brushing our teeth before leaving the house for the day, we have probably already experienced the most common side effect of ignoring our oral health:bad breath. Food odors linger in our mouth, causing foul odors to emit as we breathe and speak. To prevent bad breath, not only is it important to brush our teeth twice a day, but also our tongue as it is actively involved in the chewing and swallowing process, food particles and odors can easily remain on it. Brush the tongue using either the regular toothbrush or an instrument designed specifically for tongue brushing.

Tea has the potential to stain the teeth worse than coffee as it contains acid, as well as plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to the teeth. Acidic foods can lead to teeth yellowing/staining due to the ability to wear down our tooth enamel.

Plaque is the sticky film that forms when the bacteria in our mouth build up on our teeth;if plaque remains on our teeth for too long, it begins to eat away and make them weak. Untreated plaque sets the stage for tooth decay and gum disease. While plaque is mostly colorless and may be hard to see, we know it’s there because of how it feels.

Tooth decay often results in the presence of cavities and it is primarily driven by the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and acidity. If we’re continually lowering the pH in our mouth, we start losing calcium, necessary for strong, healthy teeth and it results in more porous teeth, which allows plaque to attack a weak tooth.

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Once certain types of bacteria are able to penetrate our tooth enamel, they release enzymes that begin to break down the collagen in the inner structure of the tooth. Besides ensuring we brush and floss regularly, we can keep tooth decay in check by:

  • Avoiding processed foods and sugar, which help reduce the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
  • Eating a diet rich in fresh, whole foods, grass fed meats, which will get us plenty of minerals for strong bones and teeth.
  • Balancing our consumption of acid and alkaline foods.
  • Brushing with baking soda at night to alkalize the pH of our mouth.
  • Using a water-flossing system to remove smaller food particles that may not be removed with conventional dental floss alone.

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Young children must consume any chewable vitamins prior to brushing their teeth as these can be acidic, leaving the acid on the teeth for long periods of time and will very often result in tooth decay. Brushing our teeth regularly is important because when bacteria in our mouth isn’t removed, it taxes our immune system. When our immune system is burdened, we are at potential risk for health problems in other areas of our body.

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Having been around since the late 1800s, pasteurized milk has been widely utilized by the population because of the “safety” it provides, as it’s said to minimize the risk of contracting milk-borne bacteria and diseases. But while this may seem like a valid idea, it has been observed to lower or even extinguish the nutrients found in milk. Aside from this, toxins and harmful chemicals have also been introduced to conventional pasteurized milk, which compromises our health instead of providing a better choice.

Pasteurization was first applied to dairy products after the spread of numerous milk-borne infections in the population. It refers to the heating of milk to a temperature higher than the boiling point, and then rapidly cooling it. This supposedly removes the bacteria and other harmful particles found in conventionally produced milk.

But is ultra-pasteurized milk good for us? No, it isn’t. Because of the extreme process, ultra-pasteurized milk contains fewer nutrients than pasteurized milk, and even fewer when compared to raw milk. The ultra-pasteurization is extremely harmful to milk, as it was found to flatten milk molecules and cause immune responses in the body when digested.

Because of pasteurization and other filtering processes, factory milk producers are allowed to raise cows in unhealthy, cramped environments, where they are fed an unnatural diet of grains and corn because they are dependent on pasteurization’s ability to kill off pathogens or filter antibiotics that may have leaked into their milk products.

While they claim that this is entirely safe, the nutrient content and the overall quality of these milk products may be compromised. Pasteurization removes the essential nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to the human body and deactivates the enzymes that are necessary for the human digestion of milk, kills off the good bacteria, alters the calcium content and removes most of the vitamin C.

By switching to raw milk, we get a whole food filled with minerals, proteins, vitamins and beneficial bacteria that assist digestion and metabolism. The only issue that is often held against raw milk is that it supposedly increases our risk of ingesting pathogens or harmful bacteria, but this can easily be dealt with by sourcing our raw milk from trustworthy producers.

Due to the numerous chemically manipulated components of pasteurized milk, it may pose numerous threats to our health, i.e. the hidden exposure to pesticides, drugs and other harmful chemicals that may have seeped into the milk. The conventionally sourced milk had high amounts of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, natural hormones, anti-malaria drugs, steroid hormones, and anti-fungal drugs. Antibiotics are usually given to cattle to treat mastitis, but this eventually seeps into the milk. The consumption of this type of milk eventually leads to acquire these harmful chemicals. Pesticides and herbicides are applied to genetically engineered crops, which are fed to the cattle.

Milk has always been packaged as the primary source of calcium, helping preserve bone density and skeletal health. However, pasteurization has been observed to destroy phosphatase in milk, an enzyme that is crucial for the absorption of calcium. This renders the calcium in milk indigestible and basically useless.

While pasteurization was initially done to protect the population, the process has allowed dairy corporations to hide unnatural and chemically-based milk production processes. Instead of providing a healthier and safer choice for people, pasteurized milk has become a lesser version of what milk is supposed to be, endangering the public and simultaneously depriving people of essential vitamins and minerals.

Instead of consuming pasteurized milk, consider switching to raw milk to ensure to get all the nutrients and enzymes that are supposed to be in dairy. This will guarantee that we’re getting whole and healthful milk, in contrast to its sterile counterpart.

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The short answer is yes, coconut oil is healthy. It’s been a dietary staple for millennia, providing us with high-quality fat that is important for optimal health. It supports thyroid function, normalizes insulin and leptin function, boosts metabolism, and provides excellent and readily available fuel for our body in lieu of carbohydrates.

A really important benefit of coconut oil is related to the fact that the ketones our liver creates from it, are the preferred fuel for our body, especially our heart and brain, and may be key for the prevention of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It truly is a healthy staple that belongs in everyone’s kitchen.

Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), and their smaller particle size helps them penetrate our cell membranes more easily. Normally, a fat taken into our body must be emulsified with bile from our gallbladder before it can be broken down and properly absorbed. Long chain fats therefore frequently end up being stored in our fat cells.

Part of coconut oil’s health benefits also relate to its beneficial impact on our thyroid. Unlike many other oils, coconut oil does not interfere with T4 to T3 conversion, and T4 must be converted to T3 in order to create the enzymes needed to convert fats to energy. The processed vegetable oils are so damaging to the thyroid as they oxidize quickly and become rancid, which prevents the fatty acids from being deposited into our cells, thereby impairing the conversion of T4 to T3. This is symptomatic of hypothyroidism. Coconut oil is a saturated fat and therefore very stable and not susceptible to oxidation. The fact that it doesn’t go rancid helps boost our thyroid function. Eliminating processed vegetable oils from our diet and replacing them with coconut oil can, over time, help rebuild cell membranes in our liver and increase enzyme production.

The most common fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, often considered a “miracle” fat because of its unique health-promoting properties. Our body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties. Thyroid problems can often be traced back to chronic inflammation, which the lauric acid in coconut oil can help suppress.

Science has revealed the low-fat diet to be corporate-promoted misinformation, yet the big authorities keeps insisting it’s the heart-healthy choice. Why? The quick answer is money. In other words, a whole bunch of stuff we really shouldn’t eat if we care about our health in general and our heart in particular is on the list. Heart disease is primarily caused by chronic inflammation, which is caused by excessive amounts of omega-6, dangerous trans fats, processed vegetable oils and excessive sugar in the diet. Saturated fats, on the other hand, have been repeatedly exonerated, with studies showing they are in fact a very important source of fuel for our body.

 

 

TURMERIC – THE MAGIC HERB

Posted: June 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

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One frequently overlooked way to enhance and optimize health with organically grown food is the use of herbs and spices, unprocessed and organic, of course. One amazing benefit of the herbs is that they’re very low in calories, while being dense in vitamins and minerals. They’re thermogenic, i.e. naturally support our metabolism to help us burn calories. We feel satisfied more easily, so we eat less. Consuming certain herbs and spices before each meal can potentially reduce our caloric intake. Due to their nutrient-dense status, they promote our overall well-being with antioxidants more potent than many fruits and veggies. Herbs and spices promote health and well-being in our entire body, not just in a particular area.

India is the home of Ayurveda, recognized as an authoritative source of knowledge and truth in natural health promotion; with herbs and spices lying at the very heart of Ayurvedic practice. And of the many herbs, turmeric provides us with these whole-person benefits:

  • Supports our skeletal system and healthy joint function
  • Supports our antioxidant protection against free radicals
  • Promotes a healthy inflammatory response
  • Supports our overall eye health
  • Promotes radiant skin, cleanses and maintain its elasticity
  • Helps maintain our healthy immune and digestive system
  • Helps maintain normal cholesterol levels to support our cardiovascular system
  • Promotes healthy blood and liver functions
  • Helps neutralize substances that can cause cellular stress
  • Maintains cells’ integrity when threatened by environmental stressors
  • Promotes a healthy female reproductive system
  • Helps maintain blood sugar levels already within the normal range

Turmeric, is a principle herb in Ayurveda; India’s ancient holistic health system. Ayurveda means “knowledge of life” with herbs lying at the very heart of Ayurvedic practice. In Ayurvedic terminology, turmeric includes the following:

  • Verdana Sthapana: promotes healthy nervous system and helps with occasional discomfort
  • Sangrahani: Supports absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Anulomana: Helps in purging out wastes and building healthy blood
  • Rakta stambhaka: Promotes the wellness of circulatory system

 

Turmeric has been used in Indian culture for thousands of years for a multitude of health-promoting reasons. An estimated 500 million Indians still use the spice today. One of the most exciting aspects of turmeric is its promotion of a healthy inflammatory response. A lot of people don’t know that inflammation doesn’t just affect our joints, but our entire body has an inflammatory response. When this response is overactive, it can contribute to a wide range of health problems. This makes turmeric a supernatural supplement for our overall well-being.

 

Vitamin B12

Posted: June 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

As we age, it becomes more difficult to get a good night’s sleep as our body becomes less efficient at making this vitamin and taking this can help fix the problem while also boosting our energy, improving our mood and memory. 1 in 4 is deficient in Vitamin B12 in the over 60 population.

Our body depends on vitamin B12 for helping to maintain normal energy levels, promoting healthy neurological activity including mental alertness, supporting healthy cardiac function, helping to ease stress and sleeplessness, maintaining healthy cell growth/repair, promoting normal immune function, supporting normal metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

Without adequate blood levels of B12, we can experience symptoms related to low energy, mental fatigue, mood changes, sleep difficulties, and even indigestion. It plays a major role in conversion of carbohydrates to glucose. Vitamin B12 enables our body to convert fatty acids into energy as well. Overall, vitamin B12 is a nutrient our body cannot do without, for efficient, healthy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.

The older we get, the more likely we are to have a vitamin B12 deficiency; we become deficient from not getting enough in our diet and from losing the ability to absorb it. The older we get, the more our digestive system breaks down. The use of antacids/anti-ulcer drugs also lowers our stomach acid secretion and decrease our ability to absorb vitamin B12. The main cause of vitamin B12 deficiency results when our stomach lining loses its ability to produce intrinsic factor which is a protein that binds to vitamin B12 and allows our body to absorb it at the end of our small intestine.

India is primarily a vegetarian based culture and studies suggest that about 80% of the adults are deficient in vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is also needed for proper digestion and food absorption. It helps in cell formation and cellular longevity. Plus, it can support female reproductive health, and promote normal nerve growth and development by maintaining the fatty sheaths which play a vital role as they cover and protect our nerve endings. It is critical to our circulation and adrenal hormone production and helps boost our immunity.

Vegetarians have an increased need for vitamin B12 because plant sources have virtually no vitamin B12; they should take this essential micro-nutrient to ensure an adequate supply of it as it is found almost exclusively in animal tissues. Vitamin B12 deficiency can have other annoying consequences like tiredness and weakness, less-than-optimal nervous system/liver/eye & heart/memory functioning, loss of appetite and weight loss, constipation and gas, feelings of moodiness, nervousness, digestive issues etc.

One can eat plenty of meat, poultry, lamb’s liver, brewer’s yeast, eggs, kidneys, milk, dairy products, or seafood and still have low levels of B12. It could be because our body is unable to absorb it from our gut as B12 needs the help of a protein in order to be absorbed. And because the lining of our stomach makes intrinsic factor, people with less-than-optimal gastrointestinal health often need to supplement with B12. Likewise, most people over the age of 50 have a limited ability to absorb B12, too. Thus, the need for supplementation.