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July Issue of Natural Alternatives
June 30, 2010
Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!
I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
IN THIS ISSUE:
1)THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GANODERMA (REISHI) MUSHROOM
2)8 FOODS THAT CAUSE ACID REFLUX
3)THE TOP VITAL NUTRIENTS FOR A HEALTHY, GLOWING SKIN
1) THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF GANODERMA (REISHI) MUSHROOM
What Is Ganoderma? More commonly known as reishi, ganoderma is a hard, bitter mushroom used to promote health and longevity in traditional Chinese medicine. Proponents claim that ganoderma can relieve fatigue, keep cholesterol in check, curb high blood pressure, tame inflammation, build stamina, and support the immune system.
An increasingly popular natural remedy, ganoderma is only used as a medicinal mushroom and isn't recommended for cooking.
Ganoderma shows promise in reducing cholesterol levels and easing allergy-related inflammation of the airways, according to preliminary evidence from animal-based studies. Here's a look at more of the science behind ganoderma's health-enhancing effects.
1) Cancer and the Immune System
Often used as an immune stimulant by people with cancer (as well as HIV), ganoderma has been shown to strengthen immunity as well as combat cancer-cell proliferation. In a 2003 study of 34 people with advanced-stage cancer, for instance, taking ganoderma in supplement form three times daily for 12 weeks led to a significant increase in T-cells (known to play a central role in immune defense).
Lab tests on breast cancer cells, meanwhile, found that combining extracts of ganoderma and green tea heightened the mushroom's ability to slow cancer-cell growth.
2) Antioxidant Benefits
Several small studies have suggested that regular use of ganoderma supplements may increase your levels of antioxidants, compounds thought to protect against disease and aging.
3) Relief of Urinary Tract Symptoms
In a 2008 study of 88 men with urinary tract symptoms, researchers found that ganoderma was significantly superior to placebo in providing symptom relief.
How to Use Ganoderma
Ganoderma is available in capsules and liquid extracts, both of which can be found at health food stores. You can also take ganoderma in tea or coffee form, but beware that the flavor may be bitter.
Some people experience dry nose, dry throat, nausea, and gastrointestinal problems (such as nausea) when taking ganoderma. Since the mushroom might interact with certain medications (such as anticoagulants and some chemotherapeutic agents), it's important to tell your physician if you're currently taking or considering the use of ganoderma.
2) 8 FOODS THAT CAUSE ACID REFLUX
When we eat alot of highly acidic foods, our body starts to become accustomed to this diet. In turn, our stomaches cannot sufficiently process the acid, and this burning liquid moves back up into the throat.
While there are many home remedies for acid reflux, knowing which foods cause acid reflux is your best bet from experiencing it in the first place.
If you frequently get acid reflux, I would recommend you follow a healthy, alkalizing diet. This will help you take great strides in bettering digestive function and reducing the overall symptoms of acid reflux, and prevent the uncomfortable feeling from ever starting.
List of Foods to Avoid if you get Acid Reflux
Below is a list of foods that cause acid reflux. While it may not always be easy, try to avoid these foods when possible.
1. Fried Food
More challenging to digest, fried foods, and foods high in trans-fats, wreak havoc on the digestive tract. These foods are heavy and slow down the overall digestive process, leaving excess acids that can eventually move upward into the esophagus. Fried fats also remain stuck in the digestive process for longer periods of time, and can create increased pressure in the stomach.
2. Processed Baked Goods
Sweets like brownies and cookies create an acidic environment, especially if they are processed baked goods that are full of artificial colors and preservatives. In general, avoid all forms of refined white sugar and enriched flour, as they rank highest on the “acidic” charts.
While coffee acts as a laxative, more often than not, the high levels of caffeine in coffee lead to an increased secretion of gastric acid in the stomach which may cause acid reflux.
4. Carbonated Drinks
Drinks like soda pop, tonic water and Perrier increase pressure levels in the stomach, which in turn increases the acidic response. As an alternative, try drinking more purified water that’s not too cold. Stay away from acidic fruit juices, like orange juice, especially before going to bed.
5. Hot and Spicy Foods
It may seem obvious, but spicy foods do not help acid reflux. Avoid chili peppers and hot/spicy sauces. When dining out in restaurants that offer Indian or Thai food, ask your waiter for “no-spice.” For many people, the Indian version of “mild” can still wreak havoc on heartburn.
Alcohol not only increases gastric acid in your body, but it also dehydrates you and may cause you to wake up in the crucial part of the night when our body detoxes from the previous day. In this sense, drinking alcohol today can set you up for poor digestion or acid reflux tomorrow.
Plain and simple, meat is one of the hardest things for the stomach to digest. In general, meat that is lower in fat (fish, lean chicken, turkey) creates less acid, whereas a thick juicy steak requires more acid in the stomach. Limit meat intake to 2-3x weekly and chew well before swallowing. Better yet, eliminate as much meat from your diet, and eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies.
Other Ways to Prevent Acid Reflux Symptoms
In general, it is a good idea to eat until you are about 3/4ths full. Chew food thoroughly and eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of two or three heavy meals. Focus on being present with your food. This will help you avoid over-eating.
I’d also recommend that you chew your food for at least twenty bites and do not lie down immediately after eating. Daily exercise (even just a nice brisk walk), can do wonders for digestion and circulation. With these simple changes, you can avoid acid reflux easily and without medications.
3) THE TOP VITAL NUTRIENTS FOR A HEALTHY, GLOWING SKIN
Diet is extremely important to skin care. Housewives, as well as those working in the business world, often fall into the trap of skipping lunch or relying on snacks or `processed` sandwiches. Much easier to prepare, and much healthier, would be a hard-boiled egg and a tomato, a piece of cheese and an apple, or a mug of milk and a piece of fruit.
Do not forget to drink plenty of water, it is not fattening and it helps to flush out and clear the system. Many women like to begin the day with a little freshly squeezed or bottled but unsweetened lemon juice. Some beauty therapists suggest adding to this a spoonful of honey if you are spotty; others suggest drinking no less than eight glasses of water per day between meals.
“Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs,” says Georgiana Donadio, PhD, DC, MSc, founder and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston.
Now that we know how important it is, what nutrients does your skin need the most?
Vitamins C, E, A
Vitamin C is our front line at reducing damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals destroy collagen and elastin – these are fibers that support our skin structure -which in turn directly relates to how youthful our skin looks. Free radicals are caused by over-exposure to the sun, environmental toxins and pollution. When you combine Vitamin C and Vitamin E, you have an effective defense against sun over-exposure. Foods high in vitamin C include bell peppers (red and green), turnips, kale, parsley, collard greens, guava, and broccoli.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which reduces the effect of sun damage on the skin. When you combine Vitamin E with Vitamin A, E is particularly effective at helping to prevent certain cancers of the skin. Vitamin E is also known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Oils of Wheat germ, safflower and sunflower, almonds, green spinach, peaches, sunflower seeds, prunes, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage, and avocados are all excellent food sources of Vitamin E.
Vitamin A supports and assists proper skin repair and maintenance. If you are deficient in Vitamin A, this can result in a dry and flaking complexion. Food sources of Vitamin A include liver (liver is also a major provider of iron), carrots, chili peppers, dandelion, collard greens, apricots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.
Selenium is another antioxidant, but this time a mineral, which is directly responsible for elasticity of tissue. Selenium also helps prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals with the added benefit of being connected to reducing your risk of breast cancer. This amazing mineral may also play a crucial role in skin cancer prevention due to the fact that it can protect your skin from damage caused by excessive ultraviolet light.
Sources of selenium in the diet include wheat germ, seafood (tuna and salmon), fresh garlic, Brazil nuts, rice (brown), eggs, and bread (whole-wheat). Eating onlyt 3-4 Brazil nuts a day will provide adequate selenium intake for most.
Zinc is a mineral which is very important to maintaining healthy skin – this is especially true for those suffering with acne as acne itself may be a symptom of a deficiency of zinc. Zinc’s effect on the skin includes controlling oil production in the skin as well as helping to control some of the hormones that trigger acne breakouts. Zinc is a crucial mineral for healthy immune function in addition to being necessary for healthy vision, taste and smell. Zinc-rich foods include pumpkin (the seeds), fresh oysters, ginger, eggs, Brazil nuts, oats, and pecans.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Skin which is inflamed, dry or suffers with frequent episodes of acne, blackheads and/or whiteheads can be greatly benefited by an increase in Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) intake – especially the omega-3‘s. EFAs have a direct impact for the repair of skin, the skin’s moisture content and tissue flexibility. Due to the fact our bodies cannot product EFAs, these essential fatty acids must be obtained via diet. Sources of EFAs include include chia seeds, flax seeds and flax seed oil, and, for non-vegetarians, wild-harvested fish oils.
Whenever possible, it is best to get necessary nutrients from whole food sources as these are more pure, complete and many times more effective – without the risk of being harmed by ingesting excessive amounts of a vitamin or mineral. However for many, lifestyle or other circumstances make maintaining a perfectly balanced nutritional diet a near-impossibility. For these, a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement is suggested.
Please be sure to ask questions and read labels. Also keep in mind that it is highly doubtful you will find a supplement which has what it says it has and does what it is supposed to do on the shelf of a department store or supermarket! The old adage “You get what you pay for” seems to be never so true as it is in the arena of department store health and beauty items.
About the author: Dee Braun, a single mom of 6 kids, is a Certified Aromatherapist, Certified Dr. of Reflexology and a natural health practitioner. You can visit her at Health or High Water – http://www.healthorhighwater.com/ – where you can find helpful information on ways to improve your health using natural and effective nutritional tactics to help battle the ravages of time, poor nutrition, toxins and stress as well as address many common health ailments and conditions.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.
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