Viruses Aren’t the Bad Guys and Here’s Why

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In these last 2 years the world’s focus has been on health and not necessarily in a positive light.  Our focus has been on the dangers of viruses, sterilization, wearing masks, isolation and social distancing.  However, I think it’s an important time to talk about the Virome and why it is essential.

What is the Virome?

You might be wondering what a Virome is? Well, just as we have a microbiome made up of trillions of bacteria hanging out within us, so too, do we have viruses.  In fact, the Virome is not only within us but it is also part of our air, water and soil, about 1030 .  , that’s 10 million times more viruses in the air, water, and soil then there are stars in the universe.

What are Viruses?

Viruses are not living organisms, it is a small collection of genetic code, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat. They are secreted from bacteria, fungus, plants, and humans.

The History of Viruses

Viruses helped shape our evolution and make us who we are. The placenta’s formation, for example, is reliant upon a retrovirus gene insert that happened in mammals millions of years ago. We would not have emergence of mammals and mammalian birth without the genomic insert of a retrovirus.  We wouldn’t have a stem cells and their function without a viral insert.

Why Do We Need Them?

More then %50 of the genome that makes up humans and other living organisms are made up of viral inserts into our genome.  So, viruses are a part of our make up, they don’t attack us, they don’t take over our genome.  They are available for genomic updates.  Not every virus that comes into our system is going to be taken up by our genome.  Only a small fraction become part our human genome.  So, there is a constant adaptation of the body to the virome and they become essential to our functions.

The body has been in a state of balance with viruses since the beginning of humankind.  In a newborn- 7 days old, there are 108  viruses in every gram of stool.  This is before the child has its own innate immune system.

Benefits 

In an article from BBC.com the author states that the vast majority of viruses are not pathogenic to humans, and many play integral roles in propping up ecosystems. Others maintain the health of individual organisms – everything from fungi and plants to insects and humans. “We live in a balance, in a perfect equilibrium”, and viruses are a part of that, says Susana Lopez Charretón, a virologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “I think we’d be done without viruses.”

Ecosystems:  viruses keep the delicate balance of life in check in the world’s oceans and other ecosystems.  They regulate bacterial populations. If this delicate balance were disrupted some bacterial populations would disappear while others would proliferate.  When viruses are part of the cycle of balancing life it allows the oxygen-producing plankton to undergo high rates of photosynthesis which sustains life on Earth.

“If we don’t have death, then we have no life, because life is completely dependent on recycling of materials,” says Curtis Suttle, an environmental virologist at the University of British Columbia.

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Protective to humans: Stated in the article Why the World Needs Viruses to Function on BBC.com…”GB virus C, a common blood-born human virus that is a non-pathogenic distant relative of West Nile virus and dengue fever, is linked to delayed progression to Aids in HIV-positive people. Scientists also found that GB virus C seems to make people infected with Ebola less likely to die.

Likewise, herpes makes mice less susceptible to certain bacterial infections, including the bubonic plague and listeria (a common type of food poisoning). Infecting people with herpesvirus, bubonic plague and listeria to replicate the mouse experiment would be unethical, but the study’s authors suspect that their findings in rodents likely apply to humans”.

These few examples are reminders to us that viruses are not always the bad guy.  In fact, for the most part viruses play and have played an essential role to evolution of humankind and in the delicate balance of earth’s ecosystems.  We mustn’t forget the innate intelligence of nature that has been choreographing this delicate balance of living things for millions of years.

 

https://www.amnh.org/explore/viruses-vaccines-pandemic-science/virus-virome

https://zachbushmd.com/knowledge-virome/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150430170750.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,current%20literature%20on%20beneficial%20viruses.

http://www.eebweb.arizona.edu/faculty/saleska/SWES.410.510/Readings/Suttle2005-NatureVirusReview.pdf

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200617-what-if-all-viruses-disappeared

Why Red Light Therapy is the Secret to Better Health

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What is Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a type of treatment that uses low levels of red or near-infrared light to treat skin, muscle and other parts of the body. You may have also heard it been called Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or low-power laser therapy (LPLT) and photobiomodulation (PBM).

When you are exposed to this light that is not seen but felt as heat, the mitochondria (power generators of your cells) absorb it and makes more energy.  This energy boost energizes cells, creating a ripple effect: as individual cells work better, they improve the functioning of various bodily systems that work together to support healing.

Red light activates stem cells in the bone marrow, which causes the cells to mobilize to the site of the injury. This is important because emerging cells take cues from their neighbors; if new cells take on the characteristics of damaged cells, then they will function as damaged cells. Sending in healthy cells is required to “teach” the emerging cells to adopt the desired characteristics of healthy cells.

The History of Light Therapy

Using light as healing therapy has a long history that dates back to ancient times when they used the sun’s healing rays.  Throughout history we can find examples of light being used in different forms to heal the body and even grow plants in outer space!  So, it should come as no surprise that it’s now used in a wide variety of practices across various sectors of professions.  You can now purchase home devices as well.

Some Uses for Red Light Therapy

  • DementiaIn one small study, people with dementia who got regular near-infrared light therapy on their heads and through their noses for 12 weeks had better memories, slept better, and were angry less often.
  • Dental pain. In another small study, people with temporomandibular dysfunction syndrome had less pain, clicking, and jaw tenderness after red light therapy.
  • Hair Loss. One study found that men and women with androgenetic alopecia (a genetic disorder that causes hair loss) who used an at-home RLT device for 24 weeks grew thicker hair. People in the study who used a fake RLT device didn’t get the same results.
  • Osteoarthritis: One study found red and infrared light therapy cut osteoarthritis-related pain by more than 50%.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1727843/
  • Tendonitis. A very small study of 7 people suggests RLT lessens inflammation and pain in people with Achilles’ tendinitis.
  • Wrinkles and other signs of skin aging and skin damage. Research shows RLT may smooth your skin and help with wrinkles. RLT also helps with acne scars, burns and signs of UV sun damage.  Red light simulates normal functioning in fibroblasts, the cells responsible for collagen and elastin synthesis. Increasing fibroblast proliferation increases and normalizes collagen and elastin production.
  • Boosting the circulatory system (blood) and the lymphatic system (lymph) supports proper healing. According to a 2017 study by Austrian researchers, red light promotes the proliferationof endothelial cells, which make up capillaries in both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems.

red light therapy, red light therapy benefits, red light therapy before and after, red light therapy at homeWhat Are the Risks?

Red light therapy is generally considered safe, even though researchers aren’t exactly sure how and why it works. And there are no set rules on how much light to use. Too much light may damage skin tissue, but too little might not work as well.  However, you can find more information on dosing by clicking here https://redlightman.com/blog/complete-guide-light-therapy-dosing/

Where Can You Find It?

It’s usually done in a doctor’s office. But some salons, dental offices and other healthcare practitioners have it, too. You can also buy your own red light therapy device. Do you research before choosing the right option for you and always contact a health care professional.

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/red-light-therapy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926176/

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZKl5Me4XwPj4YgJCBes3VSCJjiVO4XI0tIR0rbMBj08/edit#gid=0

https://www.degreewellness.com/2020/08/research-shows-red-light-therapy-may-aid-memory-recovery-and-prevent-cognitive-decline-from-alzheimers-and-dementia/#:~:text=Lab%20Dementia%20Models%20Show%20Both,levels%20and%20restored%20memory%20function.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/prt/2019/8578703/

https://www.degreewellness.com/2020/01/red-light-therapy-for-hair-growth-and-baldness/#:~:text=Researchers%20concluded%20that%20red%20light%20therapy%20treatments%20were%20effective.,on%20women%20experiencing%20hair%20loss.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4846838/

 

5 Ways Alkaline Water Can Boost Your Life

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We’ve all heard the suggestion to drink 8 glasses of water a day because water is good for you.  To put it simply, our body needs water in order to function properly since 60% of our body is water! As studies suggest, staying hydrated can improve your productivity, mood, memory, energy level, and clarity. So what is the big hype about alkaline water?  The idea that alkaline water is medicinal, curative, and able to bring about optimal health seems to be based on the belief that acidic properties in the body and blood are the cause of ill health and disease and need to be neutralized. Therefore, a more alkaline body will lead to better health.

What is Alkaline water?

Alkaline water has a higher PH level then regular drinking water. The pH level is a scale and the lower the PH the more acidic it is. High concentrations of hydrogen ions yield a low pH (acidic substances), whereas low levels of hydrogen ions result in a high pH (basic substances).

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Anything below 7 (ranging from 0 to 6.9) is acidic, and anything above 7 (ranging from 7.1 to 14) is basic. The blood in your veins is slightly basic (pH = 7.4), whereas soap (pH = 12) and bleach (pH = 13) are highly basic. On the other hand, coffee is slightly acidic (pH = 5) and tomato juice (pH = 4) and lemon juice (pH = 2) are highly acidic.

Alkaline compounds (alkali) are substances, like salts, metals, and minerals, that, when added to water, make it more basic. Water always contains some amount of dissolved solids including minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, but alkaline water tends to have a higher amount of total dissolved solids, which increases its pH level. Regular drinking water is typically neutral with a pH level of 7 and alkaline water is slightly basic with a pH level of about 8 or 9.

Alkaline water contains four major minerals that contribute to its remarkable health benefits:

  1. Calcium: Important for bone health, as well as heart, muscle, and nerve function.
  2. Magnesium: Helps turn food into energy and is necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
  3. Sodium: Regulates blood pressure and volume, and supports nerve/muscle function.
  4. Potassium: A type of electrolyte that is essential for muscle function and promotes healthy digestion.

The claims that Alkaline water is beneficial to one’s health is controversial in that some claims lack proven scientific research.   But those that have been scientifically proven are:

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Improve Bone Health

Some research has been done on the effects of alkaline intake on bones. A study published in the scientific journal Bone found a positive effect on bone resorption with people who consumed alkaline water rich in bicarbonate. Bone resorption is the process where old bone cells are broken down and replaced by new ones. Less bone resorption and more mineral density resulted in better bone strength. The authors of the study concluded that “a bicarbonate- and calcium-rich alkali mineral water decreased bone resorption more than a calcium-rich acidic mineral water.”

Soothe Acid Reflux

A study published in Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology found that drinking alkaline water at pH 8.8 can help soothe acid reflux because the higher pH level kills pepsin, an enzyme involved in breaking down food proteins and a main cause for acid reflux. Acid reflux is when the contents of the stomach, which are acidic, splash back up the food pipe. Acid reflux that keeps happening for a long time can cause damage and a disease known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Reduce High Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, and Cholesterol

In 2016, scientists in Shanghai found that three to six months after drinking alkaline water, people with high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar (diabetes), and high blood lipids (cholesterol) had lower measures in each of these factors. Researchers found that a high-pH electrolyte water reduced the thickness and stickiness of your blood, in 100 adults after exercising. This may help reduce cardiovascular strain due to dehydration.

Enhance Hydration

A 2017 study published in Biology of Sport found that drinking alkaline water shows a positive effect on hydration status after anaerobic exercise with a significant decrease of specific urine gravity. Intake of alkaline water also shows a positive effect on urine pH during the anaerobic test protocol, and much more efficient lactate utilization after the high-intensity interval exercise. In addition to enhanced hydration, efficient lactate utilization results in increased energy, as lactate serves as an energy source in skeletal muscles.

In contrast, subjects who consumed regular drinking water showed no changes over the same period of time. These results indicate that the habitual consumption of alkaline water may be a valuable nutritional vector influencing both acid-base balance and hydration status, as well as energy levels in active healthy adults.

Increase Longevity

A study published in 2016 looked at the effect of consuming alkaline water on 150 mice over a period of three years. Results suggested that those who drank alkaline water had signs of greater longevity, in other words, they aged less and were more likely to live longer. Histological examination of mice kidneys, intestines, hearts, livers, and brains was performed in order to verify the risk of diseases correlated to drinking alkaline water. No significant damage, but aging changes, emerged; organs of alkaline watered animals resulted to be relatively superimposable to controls, shedding a further light on the benefits of alkaline water consumption in humans.

 

https://quenchwater.com/blog/what-is-alkaline-water

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/ph-and-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/acids-bases-the-ph-scale
 https://sciencing.com/alkaline-vs-basic-6132782.html
 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alkali
 https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002415.htm
https://medlineplus.gov/potassium.html
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S8756328208007813
 https://www.mybiosource.com/learn/conditions/bone-resorption/
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/000348941212100702
https://gi.org/topics/acid-reflux/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/symptoms-causes/syc-20361940 h
 https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0153-8
 https://www.cvphysiology.com/Hemodynamics/H011
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5676322/
 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003587.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24950803
https://www.nal.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fnic_uploads/energy_full_report.pdf
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5676322/

 

 

The Joy, Comfort, and Heart-Healthy Power of Dark Chocolate

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With Christmas around the corner, we are all looking forward to spending time with friends and family.  We often think of it as a tradition or perhaps a must-do.  But we should be reminding ourselves that connecting at the heart level with loved ones is good for the mind and body and now more then ever, we need to make connections and re-establish old ones. Christmas is also traditionally a time of year for lots of goodies!  And one favorite is CHOCOLATE! But can we still indulge and be healthy? Yes, we can, because dark chocolate does have some health benefits, especially for the heart.

The History of Chocolate

Dark chocolate has been around for over 3,000 years. Around 1900 B.C in Central and South America it was consumed as a drink. Later, it was also made into a drink for the Aztecs and Mayans for ceremonial purposes. The Spanish encountered chocolate in the early 1500s and brought it back to Europe.

Where Does Chocolate Come From?

Chocolate is made from the fruit of cacao trees, which are native to Central and South America. The fruits are called pods and each pod contains around 40 cacao beans. The beans are dried and roasted to create cocoa beans.

Most dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, particularly a subtype called flavanols that is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Some studies suggest chocolate or cocoa consumption is associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance and high blood pressure in adults.

What are Flavanoids and Flavanols?

Flavonoids are various compounds found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. They’re also in plant products like wine, tea, and chocolate. There are six different types of flavonoids found in food, and each kind is broken down by your body in a different way.

What do Flavanoids do?

Flavonoids are rich in antioxidant activity and can help your body ward off everyday toxins. Including more flavonoids in your diet is a great way to help your body stay healthy and potentially decrease your risk of some chronic health conditions.

Different flavonoids can help the body in different ways. For one, including foods with flavonoids in your diet may be an effective way to help manage high blood pressure. At least five subtypes of flavonoids have a demonstrable effect on lowering high blood pressure, according to a reviewTrusted Source published in 2015.

Also, the flavonoids found in tea, coffee, and soy may help lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. One study published in the Journal of Translational MedicineTrusted Source found that people who consumed higher levels of flavonoids as part of their diet had a lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event. However, more research is needed to prove the cardiovascular benefits of flavonoids.

When we look at cardiovascular health and the connection to dark chocolate there are 2 factors to consider – blood pressure and cholesterol.

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How Does Dark Chocolate Affect Blood pressure?

The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate, or widen, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

2015 studyTrusted Source investigated the effects of chocolate consumption in 60 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The researchers found that participants who ate 25 grams (g) of dark chocolate daily for 8 weeks had significantly lower blood pressure than those who ate the same quantity of white chocolate.

The findings of a 2017 reviewTrusted Source showed that the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure might be more significant in older people and those with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, as opposed to younger, healthy individuals.

How Does Dark Chocolate Affect Cholesterol?

Dark chocolate also contains certain compounds, such as polyphenols and theobromine, that may lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body and increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Doctors often refer to LDL cholesterol as “bad cholesterol” and HDL cholesterol as “good cholesterol.”

2017 study reported that eating dark chocolate for 15 days raised HDL cholesterol levels in people living with HIV. However, dark chocolate consumption did not affect LDL cholesterol levels in the study participants.

Shopping for Dark Chocolate

  • Fair trade sourcing means not only are workers paid fairly but also, they have safe and environmentally friendly working conditions.
  • Dig dark chocolate. Grab a bar with 70% cocoa or higher (more cocoa equals more flavonoids). If dark chocolate tastes too bitter for you, dark milk chocolate is a pretty sweet compromise—it has less sugar and more cocoa than traditional milk chocolate, which may have as little as 10%. If it says “milk chocolate” but has a cocoa percentage of 38% or higher, you’ll know it’s dark milk.
  • Read the ingredients. Chocolate, cocoa, or cacao should appear first in the ingredient list, meaning there’s more of it by weight. If sugar is firs on the list or you see unfamiliar ingredients, steer clear, says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., R.D.N., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.
  • Know your source. Dutch-processed cocoa tends to have a reduced flavonoid content because of how the chocolate is processed, while one recent study found that cocoa beans from Colombia had the highest flavonoid content, likely because of things like plant variety and geography.

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dark-chocolate#anti-inflammatory-effects

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/02/12/are-there-health-benefits-from-chocolate#:~:text=Most%20dark%20chocolate%20is%20high,high%20blood%20pressure%20in%20adults.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_chocolate#:~:text=Dark%20chocolate%20has%20been%20around,brought%20it%20back%20to%20Europe.

https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-americas/history-of-chocolate

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-are-flavonoids-everything-you-need-to-know

https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/fair-trade-chocolate

The Stress-Reducing Power of Adaptogens

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It seems that these days, given the state of our world, people are naturally searching for ways cope with all the stressors surrounding them.  So how can we do this naturally?   Well, we all know that eating well, moving our bodies and sleeping are top priority.  But sometimes we could use a little more help and that’s where Adaptogens come into play. Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical, or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions.

Some adaptogenic herbs are too bitter, so they are made into powdered supplements (and taken as a capsule), smoothies, teas, or herbal drinks or integrated into tinctures (herbal supplements dissolved in alcohol and ingested in a liquid form). A person can still experience a stressful events, but adaptogens are said to improve the way the body responds physically to stress.

Stress is considered a physiological condition, associated with the nervous, endocrine (hormones), and immune systems. Stress can be brought on by an external event, environmental condition, or a chemical or biological agent that triggers the body to release stress hormones which result in physiological changes.

Examples of changes that occur due to the release of stress hormones include an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This sudden flood of hormonal changes is called the fight-or-flight response.

The fight-or-flight response in the body include can be brought on by:

  • Environmental factors, such as extremely high or low temperatures
  • Biological factors, such as an illness or injury
  • Chemical agents, such as tobacco, alcohol, or drugs
  • Mental issues (such as focusing on negative events [like the loss of a job or a divorce] or perceived threats)
  • Physical events, such as chronic loss of sleep
  • Day-to-day stressful events, like driving in heavy traffic

When stress is too overwhelming or prolonged, it can contribute to disease and may even reduce life expectancy. This is referred to as maladaptive stress, and it’s what adaptogens are said to help the body overcome.

Examples of Adaptogenic Herbs

There are many different adaptogens, each said to have its own specific action. But keep in mind that there are still only limited clinical research studies supporting the safety and effectiveness of these natural supplements.

Examples of common adaptogens and the action they are said to produce in the body include:

  • Astragalus root: to help reduce stress and aging by protecting the telomeres (structures linked with aging, located at the end of each chromosome)
  • Ashwagandha: to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic
  • Siberian ginseng: to provide energy and help overcome exhaustion
  • Holy basil: to promote relaxation, relieve stress and anxiety
  • Rhodiola rosea: to lower anxiety, fatigue, and depression
  • Cordycepsa specific type of mushroom which is said to fight stress and help balance hormones
  • Reishia specific type of mushroom which is said to help the body adapt to stress and promote a healthy sleep pattern
  • Maca: to improve mood and increase energy
  • Wild yamto regulate female hormone levels
  • Licorice: to increase energy and endurance and help boost the immune system, stimulate the adrenal glands and promote healthy cortisol levels
  • Bacopa Monnieri: to protect the brain and improve memory and improve other aspects of cognitive function

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Potential Risks and Side Effects of Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs are nontoxic plants with gentle effects. However, some factors should be taken into consideration before you start consuming them.

  • They may react with other medications.If you’re taking prescribed medication, integrative health experts suggest talking with your doctor or consulting a naturopath or herbalist before adding any adaptogens into your routine. Your adaptogen of choice may react with the effects of your other medications.
  • They aren’t universally applicable.Don’t take an adaptogen just because your best friend took it—adaptogens can react differently from person to person, so research which one(s) could work best for your health. Further, consult your doctor or a knowledgeable health care professional if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or immunocompromised and considering taking adaptogenic herbs.
  • They are better in lower doses.Experts recommend ingesting adaptogenic herbs in small doses each day over the course of six to 12 weeks (unless you’re directed otherwise by your doctor). Taking larger doses in a single sitting may result in adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness or headaches.

How to Add Adaptogens to Your Diet Safely

If you make most of your own meals, you can add adaptogens in their raw forms or as powders to your favorite recipes. You can also find adaptogens in the form of teas, tinctures and supplements.

Whichever route you go, always do your research before buying so you know you’re ingesting a safe product. Learn about each brand, such as where they source their herbs, whether they are GMP (good manufacturing practices) certified and if they use third-party testing. ConsumerLab.com can be a great resource of information for a fee, but you can also call a company directly to ask questions. Natural supplement store staff members might also provide helpful information.

Start slowly and stick to one herb at a time instead of trying several all at once. This way you can determine how each one does or doesn’t affect you before deciding whether to try another one.

Remember, adaptogens aren’t meant to be a quick antidote to anxiety or fatigue. Rather, they help your body build resilience over time.

“Adaptogens are meant to be taken consistently for several weeks at a time,” says Dr. Fossati. “They are also meant to be stopped for a week or so, so you can stop and reacclimate.”

Adaptogen Supplements

Supplement capsules may be one of the easiest ways to integrate adaptogens into your diet. However, the dietary supplement industry is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means the quality of what you find on shelves can vary dramatically. Some may consist of a mix of several herbs, which may not produce an optimal effect.

When researching supplement companies, also be sure to check for any heavy metals in their products, which you definitely don’t want to ingest. Researchers have found certain dietary supplements contaminated with heavy metals like cadmium, lead and arsenic beyond daily intake recommendations, which can accumulate in the human body to a level of toxic exposure.

Sources used:

https://time.com/5025278/adaptogens-herbs-stress-anxiety/#:~:text=Adaptogens%20are%20non%2Dtoxic%20plants,re%20having%20a%20renaissance%20today.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-adaptogens-4685073

https://www.forbes.com/health/body/what-are-adaptogens/

10 Surprising Ways Chamomile Can Affect Your Health

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Today, the health industry is exploring every nook and cranny of the natural world to find products that work for everyone. Many of these are seemingly benign but actually possess incredible amounts of nutrients and other active ingredients which aid the immune and other systems. One of the most effective of these natural treatments is chamomile.

Chamomile is great because it includes several great oils like bisabolol oxides, biabolol, and matricin, as well as apigenin, which is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. Chamomile is often used both externally and internally; the most popular ingestion method is oral, as chamomile tea has a pleasant flavor. It can also be used in a tincture form for many topical creams as well.

Chamomile is High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are extremely important because they aid in preventing cell damage. Free radicals from pollution and bad dietary habits can wreak havoc on many of the bodies’ systems, including the immune system, but chamomile helps fight off these free radicals and keeps your body in check.

Antioxidants like terpenoids are preserved well in alcohol and essential oils, such as chamomile. In addition, it possesses quercetin, apigenin, and patuletin, which can provide a litany of health benefits for your body, such as improved immune function and reduced inflammation.

Counter Stress and Depression

Chamomile helps to promote relaxation, which can often counter stress and anxiety. When people feel more relaxed and less prone to mounting stress, they often feel less anxious and depressed. It is one of the most popular ingredients used for aromatherapy because of the many benefits and boosts it gives your emotional wellbeing.

In fact, chamomile can also provide relief to other stress-related maladies, such as headaches and insomnia. Vapors travel directly to the brain during aromatherapy and can greatly aid the body and mind quickly.

Chamomile can Soothe Your Digestion

In addition to providing great benefits to the mind, it can also soothe the body. Digestive issues such as indigestion, diarrhea, and bloating can be soothed with a frequent ingestion or inhalation of chamomile.

Children and other young people can also be safety given chamomile if they’re having colic or digestive discomfort as well. If you have children who are susceptible to frequent stomachaches and nausea, you can try providing them with a dose to soothe them. Chamomile soothes stomachs because of anodyne compounds with antispasmodic properties.

Provide Pain Relief

Many in the health industry refer to chamomile as herbal aspirin because of the effective and rapid pain relief it can provide to the body. Many home remedies for pain include chamomile because it’s simple to use and can be added to most remedies to enhance flavor and reinforce the pain relief properties of the remedy.

You can use it on its own or choose to mix it in with other ingredients depending on your type and severity of pain. Chamomile is a great remedy if you have irritated skin, a swollen face, or a toothache, in addition to other forms of persistent pain. Those with back pain or arthritis also use chamomile often because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

 

chamomile tea, chamomile, chamomile tea benefits, chamomile flowerChamomile can Help Aid Congestion

If you’re often congested, you should consider taking a healthy dose of chamomile every two to three days. It can help clear your congestion and keep your sinuses in check, which means winters and summers won’t be as unbearable.

The sinuses can easily flare up and keep you in immense pain, but chamomile will help relax your sinuses and keep your congestion to a minimum. It is often a natural ingredient in nasal sprays for this very purpose, as it prevents a rapid and severe build-up of mucus in those who ingest it. Drinking the tea can also ease the pain and severity of a cold because of the soothing vapors.

Benefits Your Skin

Many people around the globe suffer from irritated and itchy skin. There are many skin remedies offered by the beauty industry, but if you want something that’s effective while being affordable and natural, you should try chamomile. It can help swollen, red, itchy, or irritated skin safely and naturally.

It is often used as a soothing remedy to many types of burns, bruises, canker sores, and wounds. Even if your skin is fine, you can still use chamomile to erase fine lines and wrinkles. This works so effectively because of the many antioxidants found within it, which have been shown to reduce skin irritation and redness.

Chamomile for Oral Health

Having oral pain, such as an achy tooth or another form of pain in the mouth, can be incredibly irritating and frustrating. Simply gurgling chamomile can help with this oral pain, as many of the natural vitamins and minerals can soothe an achy mouth.

You can also ingest it to help with infection and other factors of an achy mouth. If you don’t want to gargle it straight, you can also mix it with essential oil and water to help ease the taste and pain.

Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Finally, chamomile can be used to keep your heart healthy and ticking longer and stronger. The many flavonoids found within are great for heart health because they help prevent heart disease.

Other Benefits

It can also be used to soothe hemorrhoids, eye infections, and menstrual cramps.

5 Amazing Facts About Coffee

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Do you look forward to your morning coffee? If so, that may not be a bad thing! Coffee has been stigmatized in our society as something unhealthy or something that should be avoided. Though this may be true for the fancy and sugary coffee drinks like iced mocha lattes, plain coffee itself actually has numerous health benefits.

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. As such, researchers have dug deep to look at the components of coffee and how they can affect our health. Several research studies have actually suggested that coffee can very much be a part of a healthy lifestyle and can even help reduce your chances of developing certain health conditions and enhance your health. In this article, we’ll explore the many health benefits of coffee.

Nutrients in Coffee

Though coffee is often mislabeled as unhealthy, coffee actually contains several great nutrients. An average cup of coffee contains about 11% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, 6% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B5, 3% of the recommended value of manganese and potassium, and 2% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B3 and magnesium. While these may seem low or insignificant, many coffee drinkers tend to drink several cups throughout the day, which can be beneficial in obtaining good levels of these important nutrients.

Energy

This is one health benefit you can see within a short time frame of drinking coffee: more energy. The caffeine contents in coffee can wake you up, thereby increasing your mental clarity and encouraging more productivity. Coffee, when consumed in moderation, can safely be used for this purpose. The caffeine content in coffee quickly absorbs into your bloodstream, which then travels to your brain. In turn, you’re left with that feeling of an increased mood and clarity. Though caffeine can be a dangerous stimulant when overused and relied upon, consuming a moderate amount of coffee regularly can help increase your productivity levels.

The energy-consuming coffee gives your body is not limited to brain function, though. You may also benefit from increased physical performance after consuming coffee. Again, this is due to the caffeine content, which stimulates your nervous system to break down fat. This chemical reaction allows for fatty acids to be released, which your body can use for fuel in your physical activities. For this reason, many people use coffee or coffee-type beverages as a pre-workout before hitting the gym or performing physical activities. The “fight or flight” hormone that is activated during this process, known as adrenaline, helps you get pumped and increases your physical performance. When used in moderation, coffee can help you level up your workouts and get the most out of your physical activity.

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Reduces Risk of Cancer

Everywhere we turn, it seems another health product is claiming to help reduce your risk of developing cancer. While it can be difficult to incorporate all of these superfoods into your health and wellness routine, you’re likely to already be consuming coffee anyway! Evidence that coffee can help decrease the likelihood of developing certain types of cancers is still weak, though some studies suggest encouraging correlations. Research has been conducted specifically on colorectal and liver cancers. We are hopeful to learn more about the connection between cancer prevention and coffee in the coming years.

Brain Health

Did you know coffee may help in decreasing your risk of developing common neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia or Alzheimers? This may be linked to the caffeine content contained in coffee. One study conducted in Finland in Sweden followed a group for about 20 years that were frequent coffee drinkers (3 to 5 cups daily) and determined that they were 65% less likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases, as opposed to people who did not drink coffee.

Though researchers are still determining the mechanisms, it seems that caffeine intake may also be linked to a decreased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that attacks the neurons in your brain. It is important to note that the caffeine in the coffee is thought to help reduce your risk, so be careful if you’re a frequent decaf coffee drinker. You may not be achieving the same health benefits. If you can enjoy your daily coffee, while also preventing these conditions, that’s surely a win in our book!

Protecting your Liver

Coffee may also help prevent your liver from damage. Your body’s liver is essential to good health. As such, protecting your liver is important as you age. Several studies have found that frequent coffee consumption may decrease the risk of developing liver conditions, such as cirrhosis.

The listed health benefits are only a few of the copious health benefits that moderate consumption of coffee can have. Be mindful of the amount of sugar and cream you consume when drinking coffee, as these can dampen the health effects within coffee itself.

 

 

 

6 Ways Chia Seeds Can Help You Live to 100

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Ch-ch-ch-CHIA! Remember the commercials for Chia Pets — the terra cotta animals that grew “fur” from chia seeds? While that fad has passed, people have started to realize that chia itself is no joke. Chia seeds are small yet mighty, packed full of nutrients. They’re perfect for adding to smoothies, topping your yogurt or cereal, or sprinkling on your salad. No matter how you use them, they offer some wonderful health benefits! Here’s why you should pick up some chia seeds on your next grocery run.

Mega-Fiber, Minimal Calories

Fiber is crucial to your overall gut health. Although your body doesn’t digest fiber, your gut’s microbiome — the beneficial bacteria in your intestine — will love it. They feed on it, growing their population. By consuming enough fiber, you ensure that your gut has enough probiotic microbes to efficiently break down your food.

Fiber also soaks up excess liquid and keeps things moving along, as it were. IF you struggle with bowel movements, you probably need more fiber in your diet.

Unfortunately, many fiber-rich foods are also high in carbohydrates. Your body converts carbs to sugar, which is normally a good thing. If you’re trying to lose weight, though, you definitely don’t want those extra carbs.

Chia contains just one digestible carb per 28 grams — 12 grams total, 11 of which are fiber. That high fiber content allows chia seeds to soak up liquid and expand in your stomach. This helps you feel fuller, absorb more nutrients from your food, and avoid sugar overload from excess carbohydrates.

Fiber also promotes cardiovascular health, both indirectly through weight loss and by lowering the amount of LDL — the bad cholesterols that impacts blood pressure.

In short, chia is a fiber-rich food that should absolutely be in your diet if you wish to lose weight, improve your gut health, or both.

Chia vs. Cancer

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which prevent fats and proteins from breaking down. That’s what oxidation is, and when it happens too much in your cells, cancer can develop. The basic chemistry is that electrons detach from the molecules that drive your cellular function. These are called free radicals and they can tear apart cells and lead to cancerous growth.

Antioxidants intervene by reversing the oxidation process and keeping your cells intact. These days, we face unprecedented levels of exposure to UV and carcinogenic chemicals. Chia relies on antioxidants to protect its sensitive husk and oils. You can benefit from these cancer-fighting compounds by making chia a regular part of your diet.

Seeds For Smarts

While yes, chia seeds contain fat (they are seeds, after all), it’s the good kind of fat. Out of a single ounce’s 9 grams of fat, 5 are omega-3s, which boost cognitive power and protect your neurological system. Now, these omega-3s aren’t as easily converted to DHA as those found in fish, but every little bit counts.

Studies have also shown that omega-3s seem to lower cholesterol levels, blood vessel plaque, and your overall risk for cardiac disorders.

Chia is rich in vitamins B1, which creates helpful neurotransmitters, B2, which promotes energy production, and B3, which helps with cell communication and expression. Altogether, B vitamins keep your body ticking and your brain humming. So, if you need to focus on a project or ace that exam, toss a handful of chia into your snack to fuel your mind and body!

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Protein Power

Many people assume you can only get protein from meat. Nope! Despite being part of a plant, chia packs a punch. Its seeds are 14% protein, which means a single ounce of chia provides 4 grams of protein. You need 46-56 grams of protein per day, depending on your body composition and activity level, so a handful of chia in your smoothie is a great way to start your day or follow up a workout!

Protein also satisfies your appetite sooner, so again, look to chia as a beneficial food for a weight-loss program.

And of course, if you don’t eat meat, chia can be a great way to boost your protein intake in a plant-based diet.

Speaking of getting strong: An ounce of chia provides 30% of your recommended daily magnesium plus a helpful dose of potassium, both of which support bone health, muscle function, and energy. Keep your body strong and healthy with a dose of chia!

Bone-Building Benefits

Vegetarians will also appreciate chia’s impressive calcium content, which is proportionately higher than most dairy products. A single ounce of chia seeds contains 18% of your recommended daily calcium. By contrast, an ounce of milk provides just 3.45%. This makes chia a powerful bone-booster for people who don’t consume dairy, whether due to ethical concerns or lactose intolerance!

Chia is also rich in phosphorus, which may not be as famous as calcium but is just as important for healthy bones! One ounce of chia seeds provides 27% of your recommended daily phosphorus. Like calcium, phosphorus is most often found in meat and dairy products, although you can also obtain it from beans, legumes, and grains.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, have Alpha-gal, or are sensitive to tyramine, purine, or FODMAPS, you probably want to avoid meat, dairy, wheat, and legumes. Chia can be an excellent alternative.

Blood Sugar Stability

We all know the importance of regulating our blood sugar, especially for diabetics and those at-risk for diabetics. High-carb meals are known to cause blood sugar spikes. However, chia seems to modulate blood sugar levels by boosting insulin sensitivity. This means you can still enjoy your carbs — as long as your bread is sprinkled with chia seeds!

Ways to Use Chia

Chia may be nutrient-rich, but they’re also relatively tasteless. This is a good thing — it means you can add them to anything! Here are some ideas for incorporating chia into your diet:

  • Sprinkle on top of cereal, yogurt, or muesli.
  • Add them to your smoothie or milkshake.
  • Soak them in juice or milk to make a jelly topping for bagels, biscuits, or muffins.
  • Sprinkle on top of your stir-fry, roasted vegetables, or rice dishes.
  • Use as a substitute for eggs in baking.
  • Thicken sauces while adding some nutrients.

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Don’t go overboard, though: suddenly adding so much fiber to your diet can backfire! Nutritionists recommend about 20 grams of chia (1.5 tablespoons) twice a day to start. Always mix your chia seeds with liquid before you attempt to swallow them! They turn into a gel very quickly. Otherwise, be creative! Even a small amount of chia adds a nutritional boost to any of your meals or snacks.

 SOURCES USED:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/291334#tips

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1

https://www.thehealthy.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-beans/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/what-is-phosphorus

 

Spilling the Tea on All Things Green Tea

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Green tea has been promoted as a health superfood for many years. We’ve all heard the claims from protection against cancer, improved brain health, and so much more! But which one of these frequently touted health benefit claims are really true? Keep reading this article to learn more about the many ways green tea is thought to have powerful health benefits. After reading this article, you’ll see why so many people make it a daily habit to have a cup of green tea each and every day.  Not a tea drinker?  No worries, you can also take green tea as a supplement or incorporate green tea powder into your food.

What is Green Tea?

Before you can understand the many health benefits of green tea, it is critical to understand what it actually is. There are a variety of different teas that have several different origins. Green tea has the most flavonoids of any tea, which are powerful antioxidants that naturally occur. In this article, you will learn how antioxidants can have powerful health benefits.

Anxiety

Green tea contains several compounds which can improve and enhance brain function. L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, can help reduce anxiety by increasing the activity of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that has many positive effects on reducing symptoms of anxiety. In addition, the L-theanine found within green tea can help increase your dopamine production and encourage the production of brain alpha waves.

When consuming your green tea, do not boil the water too hot. Warm water should suffice. This is because the catechins, or healthy chemicals found in green tea, can be harmed by having tea in water that is too hot. Another great tip is to add lemon to your green tea to not only enhance the taste, but also add a Vitamin C boost. The vitamin C from lemon helps the catechins in the green tea absorb easier in your body. When choosing green tea, be careful to choose a trusted brand with high-quality ingredients, as the nutrient levels in green tea can greatly vary from product to product.

Optimal Brain Function

Incorporating green tea into your health and wellness routine may also have preventative effects for your brain in the long term. Several studies have shown that catechin compounds found within green tea can protect neurons, which in turn could have an impact on lowering the risk of dementia with aging. This may also play a role in preventing other brain-related conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

The caffeine contained in green tea also acts like a stimulant, which in turn can help make tea drinkers feel more energetic, without the shakiness or jitters some people get after drinking a cup of coffee. Green tea is found to help increase productivity and reaction time of the brain, including some people reporting an increased mood.

Cancer

Green tea contains powerful antioxidants which may contribute to reducing cancer. While this research is not definitive, incorporating green tea into your lifestyle may have positive effects in preventing cancer. One thing to note is that adding dairy, such as milk or creamer, is not recommended to add to your green tea. This is because dairy can impact the powerful antioxidants found within the green tea.

There have been a wide variety of studies conducted relating to the effects of green tea on various types of cancer. One cancer study suggested that women who regularly consumed green tea had about a 20 to 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer, which is one of the most commonly occurring types of cancer in women. Another study suggested that drinking tea may help reduce the risk of developing prostate or colorectal cancer. While this is anecdotal findings, it is still quite encouraging to explore the many health benefits of green tea.

 

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Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes in our population is increasingly alarming, as it now affects approximately 1 in 10 Americans. Diabetes is a disease related to too high blood sugar levels, which causes issues with insulin sensitivity. One of the great health benefits of green tea is that it can help to improve insulin sensitivity and promote lower blood sugar levels. A meta-analysis conducted through the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed several studies with evidence that suggests tea drinkers had an 18% less risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Heart Health 

Drinking green tea may also help your heart. Cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, are some of the most commonly seen causes of death in the United States. The polyphenols contained in green tea may help to reduce blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and reduce mortality associated with heart conditions. Green tea may help improve your total cholesterol due to the powerful antioxidants it contains. The antioxidant protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which is one cause of heart disease. One study even indicates that people who regularly consume green tea may have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from heart disease.

From heart health to optimal brain function, drinking green tea is an inexpensive and healthy habit for almost everyone to try. In the coming years, more green tea-related research could reveal even more powerful health benefits we don’t even know yet!

5 Bizarre Peppermint Facts You Need to Know

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Did you know peppermint is actually a hybrid type of plant? The herb with a minty fresh after-taste is an aromatic plant that is created from the blending of two other types of mint, known as watermint and spearmint. While originally from Europe, peppermint is now cultivated in many different parts of the world.

Many of us associate a specific smell and taste with peppermint. This is because peppermint is widely used in a variety of soaps, candies, teas, fragrances, and much more. The oil from the peppermint is extracted and used in these types of products. While you may associate peppermint with candy canes or peppermint patties, peppermint can actually be used in a variety of forms to promote natural health. Peppermint is both a cost-effective and natural option for those looking to try holistic approaches to alleviate symptoms associated with health conditions.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the many health forms and health benefits of peppermint.

Different Forms of Peppermint

As mentioned above, peppermint is used in a variety of different food or health and beauty items. Peppermint can come in either fresh or dried leaves, which are often used in various foods or herbal teas. Peppermint can also come in essential oil form, which is generally used in products such as creams, lotions, or tinctures. One other form of peppermint available is via capsules. The capsules can be taken to help alleviate symptoms associated with certain medical conditions.

 

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Health Benefits of Peppermint

  1. Skin Conditions- Peppermint has successfully helped provide relief for symptoms associated with certain skin conditions for many people. This is due to its ability to help calm skin irritation or itchiness and reduce patches of redness. To use, rub peppermint oil that has been diluted for topical use into the affected area. While this is not proven, it is a natural remedy worth trying if you’re experiencing any type of skin irritation.
  2. Helps in Cold & Flu Season- Peppermint contains several chemical components, which include menthol as the primary ingredient. Menthol makes up approximately 41% of the chemical makeup of peppermint. Menthol is both a decongestant and an expectorant, which are things often seen in cold & flu medications. If you’re looking for a natural cold and flu remedy, peppermint can help due to its natural menthol content. The menthol in peppermint has been shown to help shrink swollen membranes inside your nasal passages and loosen and bring up mucus from the lungs.
  3. Nausea- Another health benefit of peppermint is that it is often used to soothe the stomach for people who have an upset stomach from certain medical conditions. Oftentimes, patients who are undergoing chemotherapy experience episodes of serious nausea and vomiting. Some studies have suggested that peppermint can have a profound effect on reducing the intensity and number of nausea-related events in cancer patients. Many cancer patients choose to opt for natural relief such as peppermint to aid in their nausea. Peppermint oil can also be used for natural relief for nausea caused by other conditions, such as pregnancy nausea. However, this is still undergoing research to evaluate its effectiveness.
  4. Digestive Conditions- irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most commonly seen digestive conditions in the U.S, with approximately 10 to 15% of the U.S population impacted. Several studies have documented a positive association between peppermint oil and the relief of symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating, abdominal pain, or gas. Many people with IBS choose to try enteric-coated peppermint capsules, which are capsules that are specifically designed with a protective coating that allows the peppermint oil to transit through the stomach to the small intestine before it is released.

For those with general indigestion, peppermint oil may also be effective in calming the stomach during flare-ups. This may be because of peppermint oils’ ability to improve the flow of bile and calm stomach muscles. However, check with your doctor before trying peppermint capsules if you have GERD, as peppermint oil can worsen symptoms in people with specific digestive conditions.

  1. Headaches & Migraines- Suffering from chronic headaches that just don’t seem to go away? Give peppermint oil a try as a natural remedy for headache and migraine relief. While still fairly new research, some studies have shown that peppermint oil can help encourage relaxation of the smooth muscles in your forehead to help relieve tension headaches. One interesting study even showed that peppermint oil may even be as effective as Tylenol for pain relief associated with headaches.

From relief of digestive problems to encouraging healthy skin, peppermint oil has a wide variety of important health benefits. Try incorporating peppermint into your wellness routine today to see for yourself some of its amazing holistic benefits! Plus the added benefit of minty fresh breath!