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May Issue of Natural Alternatives
May 01, 2012
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) 5 HEALTH DANGERS OF HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
2) PUT THIS FOOD ON YOUR HAIR FOR A NEW LEVEL OF LUSTER
3) 9 NATURAL STRESS RELIEVER
1) 5 HEALTH DANGERS OF HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
It’s no secret that high fructose corn syrup is detrimental to your health. Unfortunately, it’s also no secret that it has replaced other forms of sugar in a disturbingly large number of manufactured foods. Even worse is that most high fructose corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn.
Since the late 1980s, HFCS has replaced regular table sugar, honey, and similar sweeteners in practically everything. Prolonged consumption of HFCS is now the topic of much debate and we are learning that it can cause long-term damage to the body.
A number of studies conducted over the past few decades indicates that consumption of HFCS is connected with a wide range of health concerns. Here are a few of the more important health dangers of high fructose corn syrup you should know about:
High Fructose Corn Syrup Dangers
1. Significant Risk of Weight Gain & Obesity
The list of studies that show HFCS to cause increased weight gain over other forms of sweeteners is much to long to put into this post. One of the better, and more recent ones, was conducted at Princeton University, and found that rats that were fed HFCS gained fat 300% more quickly than those fed an equal (or slightly larger) dose of fruit-derived sugar.
2. Increased Risk of Developing Type-2 Diabetes
Over the years, consumption of high-fructose corn syrup can lead to a huge increase in the likelihood of developing diabetes. The worst part about it is how easily this life-long condition can be avoided in most cases. Excessive amounts of soda, energy drinks and junk-food simply aren’t worth losing a foot or going blind or harming your children.
3. Hypertension and Elevated “Bad” Cholesterol Levels
High-fructose doesn’t just make your body fat. It makes your heart fat too. There is a strong link between the irresponsible consumption of high fructose corn syrup and elevated triglyceride and HDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Together these can cause arterial plague build-up and eventually lead to dangerous heart conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and even stroke.
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup & Long-Term Liver Damage
This is a big one that a lot people overlook. Like anything else you eat or drink, HFCS is processed by your liver, gallbladder and kidneys. And it’s especially destructive to your liver. When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, permanent liver scarring can occur. This greatly diminishes the organ’s ability to process out toxins and, over time, can lead to an expansive range of other negative health concerns. Another study suggests that HFCS may also cause fatty liver.
5. Mercury Exposure from HFCS
Even if you were already aware of previously mentioned risks associated with corn syrup, there’s a good chance that you didn’t know it also often loaded with alarmingly high levels of mercury. In a study conducted just last year they found mercury in over 50 percent of the samples tested. Mercury exposure can result in irreversible brain and nervous system damage – especially in young, growing bodies. This is especially worrisome with the abundance of HFCS in children-target foodstuffs.
Alternatives to High Fructose Corn Syrup
The dangers of high fructose corn syrup are both numerous and severe. Some estimate the more than one-third of the American food supply has been polluted by it. If you’re looking to cut back on your exposure to corn-sugar, I urge you to start really reading product labels if you don’t already. As an alternative, I would personally recommend zylitol, stevia or raw local honey as a sweetener.
2) PUT THIS FOOD ON YOUR HAIR FOR A NEW LEVEL OF LUSTER
Did you know one of the best personal care products you'll ever find may be sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now? I'm talking about coconut oil, which is equally beneficial externally as it is taken internally, and can be used for both skin and hair.
The featured coconutoil.com article written by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy discusses several of the lesser-known benefits of coconut oil for your hair.
According to one study, which compared mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil as possible products for nurturing and conditioning hair, coconut oil was the only oil that reduced protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hairi.
These findings were true when used as either a pre-wash or post-wash grooming product, but coconut oil achieved the greatest results when used as a pre-wash treatment. Part of the reason for this is because coconut oil is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water.
So when applied as a pre-wash conditioner, it inhibits the penetration of water into each strand, which would otherwise cause the cuticle, or surface of the hair shaft, to rise, making it prone to damage and breakage.
Furthermore, when applied as a pre-wash treatment, a small amount of the coconut oil is able to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft during the wash, when the hair fiber swells slightly. This can also explain why so many rave about the oil's ability to prevent "the frizzies" in humid weather—this is another feature of its hydrophobic activity.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Scienceii :
"The findings clearly indicate the strong impact that coconut oil application has to hair as compared to application of both sunflower and mineral oils. ...
Both sunflower and mineral oils do not help at all in reducing the protein loss from hair. This difference in results could arise from the composition of each of these oils. Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.
Mineral oil, being a hydrocarbon, has no affinity for proteins and therefore is not able to penetrate and yield better results. In the case of sunflower oil, although it is a triglyceride of linoleic acid, because of its bulky structure due to the presence of double bonds, it does not penetrate the fiber, consequently resulting in no favorable impact on protein loss." More porous types of hair may find coconut oil particularly beneficial, such as African- and chemically treated hair. The featured article on coconutoil.com includes a couple of videos demonstrating how some people are using the oil for hair care.
Can Coconut Oil Successfully Treat Head Lice?
Another interesting study relating to the use of coconut oil on hair was published in the European Journal of Pediatrics two years agoiii . Here, the researchers compared the effectiveness of a coconut oil and anise spray versus the commonly prescribed permethrin lotion for the treatment of head lice.
According to the authors:
"We designed a randomized, controlled, parallel group trial involving 100 participants with active head louse infestation to investigate the activity of a coconut and anise spray and to see whether permethrin lotion is still effective, using two applications of product 9 days apart. The spray was significantly more successful (41/50, 82.0%) cures compared with permethrin (21/50, 42.0%...). Per-protocol success was 83.3% and 44.7%, respectively. Thirty-three people reported irritant reactions following alcohol contact with excoriated skin. We concluded that, although permethrin lotion is still effective for some people, the coconut and anise spray can be a significantly more effective alternative treatment."
Isn't it wonderful to see how nature provides us with the answers to so many of our ills? And does so in a way that is oftentimes more effective than our chemical drug concoctions! Another anecdotal Hawaiian head lice treatment from a woman named Linda (quoted in the featured article by Brian and Marianita Shilhavyiv ) is to first soak your hair in vinegar and leave it in to dry (don't rinse). Next coat your hair with coconut oil over night. I'd recommend sleeping with a shower cap to protect your bedding. The following day the nits reportedly comb out easily.
Yet another anecdotal head lice treatment was received from one of my own readers, several years ago, named Patty. She suggests just using a nit comb in lieu of toxic chemical treatments like Kwell and Nix. However, in order to be really effective it's best if you can pull the comb through your or your child's hair quickly and smoothly. To address tangles, she suggests using two tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water. Rinse your hair with the solution after shampooing and leave in, which reportedly leaves your hair silky smooth and easy to comb through.
Coconut Oil as a Skin Moisturizer
One of the core principles to remember when it comes to skin care is that whatever you slather onto your skin will absorb into your body and enter your bloodstream. This is why it's so important to avoid personal care products containing questionable chemicals! Your skin is an excellent drug delivery system, so you should be just as careful with what you put on your skin as you are with what you eat, if not more so, as your gut actually helps protect you against some of the toxins you ingest by filtering them out...
I've long advocated using plain organic coconut oil for your skin care needs.
It's been used for decades by professional massage therapists to knead away tight stressed muscles, and coconut oil is well-known for its skin care benefits. It helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals, and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.
In fact, physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat, Ph.D. considers coconut oil an antioxidantv , due to its stability and resistance to oxidation and free radical formation. Plus, he believes it reduces our need for the antioxidant protection of vitamin E. Like Dr. Peat, many believe coconut oil may help restore more youthful-looking skin. When absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple. It also aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother.
A Most Beautiful Food...
Clearly, if you're looking for an alternative to toxic personal care products, it doesn't get much better than an otherwise health-promoting food. The naturally-occurring saturated fat in coconut oil has many amazing health benefits, including:
Promoting your heart health
Part of the "secret" that makes coconut oil such a healthful oil is its high lauric acid content—about 50 percent of coconut oil is lauric acid. This fat is quite rare in nature, and has a unique set of health promoting properties. For example, your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties,xii which may also help explain its potent healing powers when used topically for skin and scalp issues. Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, has also been found to have antimicrobial activity.
Monolaurin (converted from the lauric acid in your body) is potent enough to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as:
HIV, herpes Measles Influenza virus Various pathogenic bacteria Protozoa such as giardia lamblia
Feeding Your Skin from the Inside Out
Ideally, you'll want to avoid toxins and feed your body with proper nutrition both inside and out. If your diet and overall lifestyle is poor, it tends to be reflected in your skin and hair.
For example, if the skin on the top of your hand is not smooth as a baby's behind, it's a strong indication that your body is deficient in omega-3 fats. I believe most people need to be taking a high quality omega-3 supplement as omega-3 deficiency is as rampant as vitamin D deficiency. My favorite is krill oil, as its overall health benefits surpass that of regular fish oil, largely because it is far more bioavailable, better protected with antioxidants and therefore not rancid, and far more sustainable than fish oil.
Krill oil also naturally contains another excellent skin benefactor, namely astaxanthin—a potent antioxidant that has been identified as being beneficial for your complexion. Not only can astaxanthin give your skin an attractive glow, it may also help prevent wrinkles from the inside out, and can help protect your skin against a variety of radiation, both from medical scans and harmful UVA sun rays. Yes, it actually works like an internal sunscreen!
Get Your Glow On!
One of the most profoundly effective ways to improve your complexion is by consuming vegetables and fruits that are high in carotenoids. Carotenoids give red, orange and yellow fruits their color, and also occur in green vegetables. Astaxanthin, which is also part of the carotenoids family, is produced only by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. It is what gives shrimp and flamingos their pink color, courtesy of the astaxanthin in the algae that is part of their staple diet. Studies have shown that eating foods with these deeply colored pigments can help make your face actually look healthier than being tanned. In one study, the more red and yellow tones found in the person's skin, the more attractive they were found to bexiii. The redder tones are caused when people are flushed with blood, particularly if the blood has lots of oxygen in it. Dr. Stephan found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color, so if you want a healthier and more attractive skin color, you are better off eating a healthy diet. I'm also convinced that astaxanthin can be a profoundly beneficial supplement for most people, much like omega-3 fat, because of its multi-varied health benefits.
Not only is it a potent antioxidant, but it is probably the most potent natural anti-inflammatory we know of, and it is likely to help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the US. While krill oil contains astaxanthin naturally, it does not contain what is now believed to be therapeutic amounts, so I recommend taking a separate astaxanthin supplement for most people. Studies suggest the ideal dose is around 10-12 mg per day for clinically relevant benefits.
Everyday stresses are inevitable, most people say. Perhaps they are right. You may wake up one morning and realize you’re late for work. You have to prepare breakfast for the family and when you open the fridge, you see you have run out of orange juice. The children are fighting at the table, the little one is crying and your husband is asking you where his socks are. As you board the car, the gas tank is empty and so you decided to commute. The traffic jam greets you and when you get to the office, you have an email from your boss, saying your presentation is due in thirty minute’s time. Didn’t they also say that when it rains, it pours?
Everyday Stresses, and What You Can Do About It
Because stress is everywhere, we have to learn to cope with it. The stressors are just there, but what you choose to do about it would determine how well your day is going to turn out, or how bad the situation will be. People who choose to respond to everyday stresses in a healthy manner are healthy inside and out. Stress can suck the life out of you if you allow it to. Remember that this does not only affect one aspect of your life – stress can cause physical, mental and social deterioration if you succumb to it. It lowers your immune system; it harms the heart; it can raise your blood pressure levels; it can rob you of sleep and food; it can cause you to become anxious; you may get depressed; you will interest in all things beautiful. In the long run, you may be neglecting your personal hygiene, family and friends, all because you haven’t learned how to cope.
Yes, life can be a bit overwhelming. You have different roles to play: partner, parent, daughter/son, and friend. Each of these roles has their own demands, and you have obligations here, there and everywhere. It is easy to lose track of what is important: YOU. If you fail to cope, you will fall behind. Embrace everything, face the challenge, lo learn to de-stress and then get right back on track.
Here are some helpful tips that could help you de-stress. Stress relief need not be expensive. Go natural. You won’t regret it, for sure.
Green tea contains properties that help reduce stress. You may want to take green tea in the morning to give you the boost that you need. It will help you calm those restless nerves so that you may go through the day calm and energized. It also helps promote a sense of clarity.
If you started with green tea in the morning, you may want to end your day with mint tea as you unwind. Mint tea has relaxation properties. Its minty leaves have a beautiful aroma that helps your mind to relax, and soothing the stresses away by quieting the mind. Stress could also cause stomach upset – and mint tea can also help you deal with that.
Drinking ginseng tea is what a stressed out person actually needs. It can help clear your mind up and enhance your mental faculties, getting rid of the mental exhaustion that’s been bothering your brain because of stress. As a result, you become a more energetic and productive person. Then you may start to relax, but only if you choose to. Studies are ongoing regarding ginseng’s ability to increase the function of the brain, helping you to stay sharp. But until we hear the final verdict on it, let’s be happy over the fact that ginseng tea helps us de-stress.
A stressed out person could sometimes lie awake for hours at night because sleep just would not come. Difficulty in falling asleep is just one of the many symptoms of stress, and your body is telling it to you straight out. For this, drink chamomile tea before going to bed in order to help you fall asleep. This may help you deal with nausea, calm your restless nerves, soothe you and help you relax. When all these happen, your mind and your muscles will start to relax helping you enter a state where sleep comes so easily. Only then can you fall, and stay, asleep all through the night.
Just like chamomile, lavender can be used as a natural form of stress reliever because of its ability to soothe and relax a person. When you are stressed, nervous and anxious, drinking lavender tea can calm you and bring peace and quiet into a life ridden with stress.
Stress can cause you to tire easily so you would need something to counteract this. CoEnzyme Q10 helps provide you with the energy that you need to get you through the day, no matter how stressful it is. It helps by boosting the production of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is the source of energy of all cells in the body. Stress could rob you of energy, and CoEnzyme Q10 helps you deal with energy loss and prevent fatigue by providing you with sufficient energy your body requires.
Zinc supports your immune system. Remember that when you are way too stressed, your immune system becomes weak making you susceptible to almost any kind of illness. At a very stressful time in your life, you would want to keep your immune system healthy so that you don’t get sick easily.
Although the temptation to just stay in one place and probably curl up in bed is too great, force yourself to exercise. Exercise, especially when done outdoors, can trigger the release of endorphins, or what is commonly known as the happy hormone. Plus, the outdoor air and the sunshine are good for you.
In the midst of a very busy life, take time to meditate. Find a quiet corner and clear your mind of worries. Forget the demands of everyday life even for just a few minutes each day. Focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths. Enjoy the peace that solitude brings. You need this.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Thank you for reading.
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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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