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August Issue Of Natural Alternatives
July 31, 2015

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

August 2015

Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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by Becki Striepe

When we talk about superfoods, we tend to focus on expensive, exotic things like goji berries or aronia berries. But there are plenty of incredibly healthy foods that are within reach on a tighter budget. You can add cantaloupe to your growing list of affordable superfoods!

Superfood can be a confusing term, because it’s one that marketers often use to tout a food’s real or inflated health benefits. The meaning of the word superfood has been a bit altered by marketing efforts, and I think it’s time for us to co-opt it again. Can we just use superfood to mean food with proven health benefits? Isn’t that what we expect when we see “superfood” in the news or on food packaging?

We know that foods like quinoa, kale and collard greens are nutrient-dense, but there are lots of more humble fruits and veggies that deserve space on our plates. Cantaloupe is one of those unsung nutritional heroes, but not in the way that you might expect.

Cantaloupe’s Health Benefits: Just the Facts

A cup of cantaloupe has only 60 calories and is a good source of antioxidants. It delivers 120 percent of your daily vitamin A along with 108 percent of your daily vitamin C and 14 percent of your daily potassium requirements. It’s a good source of fiber, niacin, vitamin B6 and folic acid.

Cantaloupe is also an incredibly hydrating food, which is good news during this scorcher of a summer. A 177 gram serving of cantaloupe contains 160 grams of water, making it more than 90 percent water.

All of that is good, but overall it’s nothing to write home about. Lots of fruits and veggies provide these nutrients. What makes cantaloupe so special is its price point.

World’s Healthiest Foods explains that cantaloupe’s biggest benefit is that we tend to eat more of it than other fruits because it’s more affordable. I know that at my house we ration out the fresh berries, because a tiny pint-sized container costs a fortune.  A cup of cantaloupe costs 40 cents on average, while a cup of blueberries costs four times as much.

Consuming more fruits—including cantaloupe—is associated with a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome, according to a 2006 study. Metabolic syndrome is actually a blanket term for conditions that increase your risk of stroke, heart disease and diabetes. It refers to symptoms like high blood pressure, a high waist to hip ratio, and high cholesterol.

When 20 to 25 percent of Americans are suffering from metabolic syndrome, we need to promote healthy foods that are within reach, even on a budget. There’s a perception that eating healthy food has to cost a lot of money, and the way companies market pricey superfoods is part of what builds that false idea.

But wait! There’s more.

Cantaloupe seeds—which most people discard—are incredibly healthy, too. They’re a great source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. An analysis of a cantaloupe seed drink found that it was a good source of iron and magnesium, as well. There’s not a ton of research on the benefits of cantaloupe seeds, but what’s out there is definitely promising.

How to Eat Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe gets a bad rap as the boring part of fruit salad, but there are more ways to eat it than just chopped up in a bowl without any fanfare. My favorite cantaloupe preparation is as a whole-fruit juice. Just throw some cubes into the blender, puree until smooth, and chill until you’re ready to drink or serve it up over ice. If you want a thinner drink, just add water until you reach the consistency you’re going for. Since cantaloupe is so high in water, you can drink chilled cantaloupe puree without straining out its healthy fiber. It has the consistency of tomato juice, and it’s super refreshing on a hot day.

You can also try chopping it up into a cucumber salad, baking it into muffins, freezing into a sorbet, or blending into your next smoothie. If you want to tap into the benefit of the seeds, try roasting them.

by Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Nothing beats the feeling of pure, warm sunlight on your skin, especially after a cold and dreary winter. We often take for granted the life-giving power of the sun and completely ignore its many health benefits. On one hand, sun helps us to produce vitamin D, a hormone necessary for bone health and optimal immune function; on the other, too much sunlight can also cause deleterious effects on skin elasticity and function, aggressively facilitating the early signs of aging. Having these extreme oppositions means we need to find a balance between getting enough and avoiding damage resulting from overexposure. And, regardless of what you may have heard in the past, this doesn’t always have to require the use of sunscreen.

How to Protect Against Sun Damage from the Inside Out

The sun has been vilified for decades thanks to a number of past studies indicating sun exposure increases the risk for skin cancer. While it is certainly true that subjecting your skin to too much sunlight can elevate cancer risk, a stable approach to exposure can actually decrease mortality from all causes. In response to sunlight, our body produces a hormone commonly referred to as vitamin D, creating the starting material for the initiation of a complex metabolic process that supports immune health. Sunscreen can actually decrease our body’s ability to make this incredible “vitamin.” On top of that, many of the chemicals found in conventional sunscreens can actually increase the risk for a number of diseases.

Sun Protection Starts with Your Diet

Fortunately, there are effective approaches to protecting your skin against sun damage without having to entirely forgo outdoor activities. It turns out that what you put into your body may be just as important–or even more important–as the protection you place on your skin. Antioxidants are potent natural UV protectants, and specific sources of them may be helpful for protecting against accelerated skin aging due to UV exposure. Here are just a few of the many ways you can protect your skin while in the sun:

Spice Up Your Routine

Exciting research delving into plant biology has discovered the synergistic protective effects of turmeric and ginger on skin health. According to recent research, both ginger and turmeric extract exhibit powerful antioxidant and soothing qualities that, when taken orally or applied topically, protect the skin matrix from both UVA and UVB rays. Both extracts encourage the body’s production of Thioredoxin 1, a redox and antioxidant protein that guards against UV-generated skin damage.

Become a Tea Connoisseur

Short bouts of exposure is all that is needed for direct UV light to activate collagenase and elastase, two enzymes that catalyze the degradation of the skin’s collagen matrix. Studies have shown that white tea, one of the least processed varieties of tea picked from the Camellia sinensis plant, inhibit these two enzymes, likely protecting against early wrinkle formation. In addition, white tea provides a higher degree of antioxidants than the widely-consumed black tea, providing an even greater protection from sun-induced oxidation.

Load up on Tomatoes

One of the most heavily-researched compounds in tomatoes is lycopene, and for very good reason. A number of studies point to lycopene’s ability to protect against free radicals brought on by too much sunlight exposure. Organic tomato paste appears to show the highest levels of lycopene compared with raw tomatoes. Tomatoes also contain a number of other antioxidants, including a high amount of vitamin C, which acts complementary to lycopene’s protective action.

Incorporate Key Supplements into Your Daily Regimen

Supplementing a healthy diet is a great insurance plan you can take on your health. It turns out that using some key herbs and natural compounds can even be a great way to protect your skin from sun damage. Evening primrose oil contains essential fatty acids that aid skin repair, and it may also inhibit specific enzymes in the skin that break down collagen, possibly retarding wrinkle formation. Vitamin C is a strong free radical scavenger that is frequently cited as a potent defender against UV damage. Resveratrol is another powerful antioxidant that may inhibit DNA mutation following direct UV exposure. Promising studies show pomegranate extract may protect keratinocytes from UV-induced oxidative damage and photoaging. Fittingly, both resveratrol and pomegranate are found in Cell Fuzion™ , our most popular antioxidant proprietary blend.

Further Measures You Can Take

Some of the simplest methods for protecting against sun damage are also one of the most effective, and these include: wearing light, reflective clothing, staying in the shade after a maximum 30 minutes worth of sun exposure (depending on your skin type), wearing a hat to protect your face, and scheduling your outdoor work during the early morning or evening hours. Remember that you want to get just enough sun exposure to make vitamin D, and this will depend on your blood levels. While it’s important to expose your body to the sun, keep in mind that facial skin is typically thinner and more prone to damage, so take extra precaution to avoid direct contact. Moisturizing with olive oil, coconut oil, or rosehip seed oil at night may provide enhanced protection from the sun during the day due to their high levels of antioxidants.

Thank you for reading.

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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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 advises 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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