Archive for HOLISTIC HEALTH – Page 2

31 reasons why you should love garlic

garlic is an effective natural remedy to fight spring allergiesAt a time when antibiotics and other pharmacy products did not exist, a bulb of garlic represented a whole pharmacy industry due to the broad range of health benefits including antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, antioxidant, and immune stimulant.  In 1858 Louis Pasteur wrote about how garlic killed bacteria. Even back then, he realized that garlic was effective against strongly resistant bacteria.

The use of garlic for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years.

Ancient civilizations,  and even up until about 50 years ago so so have been using garlic to combat a long list of health concerns including plague, influenza epidemic, typhoid fever, diphtheria, cholera, tuberculosis, respiratory system diseases, inflammation, parasitic infestations, spider bites, snake bites, wounds and skin infections. 

Even though people have been using garlic for thousands of years, here in the United States, we supposedly have the FDA to protect us.  Many European countries have widely accepted the use of herbal medicine, and Germany has listed garlic on the Commission E (their regulatory agency for herbs) list of approved herbs and even has a suggested dosage to help reduce heart disease risk.  But despite modern empirical and clinical evidence as to the power of garlic in treating or reducing the risk of cancer, infection, heart disease, heart attack, reducing blood cholesterol and reducing frequency or duration of colds and flu,  the establishment power centers in our country are shutting out the truth about what we really need to know. In fact, because of the amazing healing properties of garlic as a medicinal herb, if fresh raw garlic were to be sold and labeled with what it actually can heal, such as  “Garlic helps prevents heart disease, cancer, and can cure bacterial infections”,  it would be yanked off the market.

Here are 31 reasons why you should love garlic:

  1. Garlic has antibiotic properties. This has been tested in vitro research studies.
  2. Reduces cholesterol. Proven in clinical studies.
  3. Strengthens the immune system-proven.
  4. It’s an  anti-cancer agent. Scientists from around the world are convinced that garlic contains compounds that are a potential remedy against cancer. Read More→

5 easy ways to boost your immune system

boost your immune systemFinally, after 7 months of winter in Minnesnowta, I finally am out on my deck, enjoying my coffee and writing a blog post.  I only wish it were a happier subject.   You see, just when you thought we were ‘out of the woods’ as far as cold and flu season goes, we have something new to worry about.  Mind you, I am not an alarmist.  I am cautious, and I am a realist.  I’ve been quietly watching the news, (not mainstream media, I get my news from alternate sources because I don’t trust the mainstream media).  I have been watching the rise of H7N9 bird flu, and it has me cautiously alarmed.  As of this writing, 140 people have been infected in China and Taiwan, and at least 24 have died.  I know that doesn’t sound like a very big number, compared to China’s huge population.  But H7N9 bird flu strain is transmitted from chickens that don’t get sick,  to unsuspecting people. The worrisome part is that there have been two confirmed cases of person to person transmission.   Another startling statistic, is that the kill rate of people dying from the disease is 20%, which is among the the highest ever witness in a bird flu strain.  In addition, the bird flu strain has spread outside of China and into Taiwan.  Needless to say, I am cautiously alarmed.  While I don’t think this will result in a global pandemic, it is in the back of my mind, and I am realistic enough to see the possibility.  Now is the time to prepare. What is it they say in sports? The best offense is a good defense?

Best defense:  boost your immune system before you get sick

It’s pretty easy to boost your immune system through diet, especially if you start before you get sick. The first thing you want to do is eat well.  Poor nutrition impairs immune function. French fries, soft drinks and alcohol don’t build strong immune systems or white blood cells(your immune system defenders). Rather,  diets high in fruits, vegetables and nuts and adequate protein are what  promotes immune health. Read More→

4 Foods that help with depression

In 431 B.C., Hippocrates, the father of medicine,  said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  If only he knew how true that would be in 2013.  Many people find benefit and help from what Westerners consider ‘traditional’ medicine, but often fail to recognize the power of food and Hippocrates’ philosophy has been all but forgotten.   Maybe we could paraphrase him and the power of food: Garbage in, garbage out.  

In the spirit of Hippocrates, let’s explore some foods that help with depression

Depression has become a huge problem in our culture.  In fact, according to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 10 U.S. adults report depression.  We can reverse this trend!  We all know that food has a major effect on the mind–just think “comfort food”.    Many of the symptoms of depression can be directly linked to vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the standard American diet, which is largely comprised of empty carbs, caffeine and sugar. Depression, mood swings and fatigue often have a common cause: poor nutrition. Avoiding depression or recovering from a depressive episode is often as easy as changing your diet and boosting your consumption of key foods that help with depression by delivering  brain-boosting nutrients and help regulate brain chemistry. Let’s look at some foods, that if consumed regularly and in their whole state, can help combat and prevent depression. 

Foods that help with depression are those high in B Vitamins

B vitamins play a major role is controlling mood. Vitamin B6, B9 (Folate), and B12 deficiencies have been linked to symptoms of depression, so getting enough of these vitamins may be a good place to start.  B6  is a key enzyme in the manufacturing of serotonin(regulates mood)  and norepinephrine (a stress hormone).   Both B12 and B9 (folate) are  important as they are needed for the manufacture of  SAMe, a chemical that the body uses to increase serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that  play a role in depression.

Sources of B Vitamins:  Good sources for B vitamins include kombucha, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, tempeh, beans, nutritional yeast,  brewer’s yeast, and molasses. However, while yeast used in beer making is high in B vitamins, the bioavailability ranges from poor to negative because  drinking ethanol inhibits absorption. Brewer’s Yeast contains vitamins B1, B2 and B3.  Brewer’s yeast should be avoided if you do not tolerate yeast well, but if you do, mix a thimbleful into any smoothie for your daily dose. This superfood packs a wide assortment of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Amino acids are vital for the nervous system, which makes brewer’s yeast a no-brainer for treating depression.

Whole Grain Foods help with depression 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netI’m wondering if increased depression in our society comes as a side effect of the ever-popular low carb diets.  Not only will the added carbohydrates of whole grain foods ensure you are not deficient (experts suggest at least 45-60 percent of your calories via macronutrients to come from carbohydrates), but the added fiber in your diet will help you get the most from your food. These foods are packed with nutritional value, including healthy sources of vitamins and amino acids. Make it a note to eat more complex carbohydrates!  These are known to raise the body’s levels of tryptophan, which is the amino acid that helps make serotonin. 

Whole grain foods: The ancient grains of quinoa, millet, teff, amaranth, spelt, barley are excellent because they are less likely to be man-modified or processed.  Also brown rice, whole grain wheat and oat. Brown rice contains vitamins B1 and B3, and folic acid. It is a low-glycemic food, which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sugar lows and mood swings. Brown rice  provides many of the trace minerals we need to function properly, as well as being a high-fiber food that can keep the digestive system healthy and lower cholesterol. Instant varieties of rice do not offer these benefits. Any time you see “instant” on a food label, avoid it.  Whole-grain oats contain folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6 and B1. Oats help lower cholesterol, are soothing to the digestive tract and help avoid the blood sugar crash-and-burn that can lead to crabbiness and mood swings. Read More→

15 Foods That Reduce Stress

You don’t need a doctor to tell you that stress is bad for you. Chronic, long term stress will take a physical toll on your body. It can cause sleeplessness, headaches, aches and pains, chronic back pain, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, weight gain and much more. Studies have shown stress to be one of the key factors in cardiovascular disease. Some studies suggest that stress can be one of the contributing components to 70% of all illness and disease. We are living in very stressful times and it is vital to learn to manage stress. I’ve put together a list of 15 foods that reduce stress, and why they work.

15 Foods that reduce stress:

Photo courtesy of flickr emmadiscoveryOatmeal: To reduce the stress in your life, focus on getting plenty of folic acid in your diet. Oatmeal is an energy food that provides plenty of folic acid. If eaten on a daily basis, oatmeal can also help reduce your risk for heart disease.

Bananas: Bananas are filled with potassium, the mineral essential to regulation of blood pressure (which can soar when you’re stressed). Bananas are also great in pacifying and soothing the mind since they are rich in tryptophan known as an amino acid which boosts the formation of serotonin hormone (makes you feel good) and melatonin hormone (makes you sleep well).

Blueberries: Blueberries are crammed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which are potent stress busters. Antioxidants fight free radicals that damage your cells and also help to repair and protect your body from the effects of stress. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber, which can help relieve the cramps and constipation that can occur in times of tension.  Read More→

5 Effective Natural Remedies to Fight Spring Allergies

Today, April 11, 2011, Minneapolis got 5 inches of snow.  Lovely.  So, feeling inspired, I shared on my Facebook page, a cartoon of a cow who tied up a snowman, holding him at hairdryer point, asking him what he’s done with all the grass.  As of this evening, that post was seen by 8,423 people and shared 123 times.  I guess I’m not the only one who thinks  this has been a LONG, cold, snowy winter that seems to never end.  Maybe talking about seasonal allergies will inspire spring to arrive. 

Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as spring allergies attack more than 35 million Americans every year as the seasons change, allergens blossom, pollens scatter through the air. People unknowingly breath them, allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, eye and nose irritation and runny nose are triggered.  It’s been such a long winter, I’m almost looking forward to hayfever!

There are many over-the-counter allergy medications on the market today. But these drugs can cause side effects including drowsiness, headache, dehydration, and occasional loss of appetite. Its really not necessary to deal with those side effects when there are scientifically proven natural remedies that can help fight spring allergies.

Here are 5 effective natural remedies for fighting spring allergies:

garlic is an effective natural remedy to fight spring allergiesGarlic: Garlic is a natural antibiotic that wards off infections, viruses and even allergies. On clinical studies, quercetin, a natural compound found in garlic and onion, is observed to mimic the antihistamine effect of certain drugs. Eating or juicing two raw cloves of this powerful antioxidant literally keeps the doctor away! While some people go for the supplements because they don’t want to smell like garlic, they aren’t getting the benefit because for full effect, it must be the fresh,  real herb, and if possible, get organic. It’s not that much more expensive, and has a higher sulfphur content (that’s good for you) and tastes better.  Raw garlic eaten every day will fight off all types of allergies because it boosts your immune system immensely. Garlic tincture is another alternative to raw garlic and is just as effective.  Garlic is definitely a superherb and it truly helps us to breathe better and live healthier lives. When regularly added to the diet, spring may just pass without causing sniffs and drips. Read More→

An Alabaster Jar of Essential Oil

Essential Oils in the Life of Jesus

Alabaster Jar of Essential OilSix days before the Passover, Jesus went to  Bethany and was in the house of Simon the leper (leprosy was a term for several skin diseases), because that’s where Lazarus was, who Jesus had raised from the dead.  They were giving  a dinner for him there and Martha served.   Lazarus was one of those reclining with Jesus at the table.  Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha,  came with an alabaster jar of 327 grams of  ointment of pure nard (essential oil Spikenard, Nardostachysys grandiflora), very costly, and she anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, who was also going to betray Jesus, said  “Why was the ointment wasted like that?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii (a danarii was a day’s wage for a laborer—so it’s evident how valuable that essential oil was!) and given to the poor?”  He didn’t say this because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief and having charge of the moneybag, and he used to help himself to what was put into it.   Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them.  But you will not always have me.  She has done what she could could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.  And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”     Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-8 Read More→

Starve a Fever

Starve a fever, feed a cold

Starve a Fever Up to about 50 years ago, nature was our medicine chest.  We had common and practical sense.   In days gone by,  fevers were respected and understood. People once knew that the fever would build and then break, like a wave rolling into shore. But now, with our our modern allopathic run-to-the-doctor-for-everything mentality, good old fashioned home remedies and folk remedies have become, well…old fashioned. 

One of the biggest misconceptions in health care today is the role of fevers and contrary to popular thought, one of the worse things to do for a fever is to suppress it.    A fever is an amazing healing processes that plays out like a well-choreographed dance.  A fever defined by an oral temperature exceeding 100.4°F.  They are usually self-limiting and short in duration.  It is important to understand that the fever itself is not a disease but rather a symptom of an underlying unbalance.  It is a physiologic process the body uses to fight infection.   When an invader (virus, bacteria etc.) enters the body, signals are sent to the brain to increase the body hypothalamic  “set point”.  This essentially turns up the thermostat for a few days to kill the intruder.  Inflammation is stimulated to protect the area, prevent the spread of infection and initiate the healing process. Read More→