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October Issue Of Natural Alternatives
October 01, 2007
Hello, and welcome to this edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1) THE FUTURE OF NUTRITION
2) CRYSTAL HEALING
3) VITAMIN D
To see what the future holds in the field of nutrition, let’s take a quick journey through some fascinating new scientific discoveries and developments. The profound impact these factors will have on human health and disease is a very exciting aspect of our dynamic progression towards wellness.
This journey will focus on the healing properties of foods and end with developments that will have a direct influence on the state of our health, the cost of healthcare, and the spawning of new business opportunities. We will learn of new discoveries that can potentially s.ave millions of lives and increase our vitality, longevity and quality of life.
An important starting point for achieving optimum health is through utilizing optimum nutrition. Optimum nutrition helps maintain good health in a dilapidated environment, fights off disease, corrects imbalances in the body and provides energy and enthusiasm for life. Each year the average American eats twelve pounds of food additives and a gallon of pesticides, not to mention all the air-born pollutants that are inhaled! It’s no wonder our bodies are overworked, overburdened, and no longer able to adequately eliminate all these foreign substances.
Diet-related diseases include, but are not limited to, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, non-insulin dependent diabetes, various cancers and osteoporosis. These diseases take the lives of millions of people each year and cost us billions of dollars in healthcare.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, 60 percent of all cancers in women and 40 percent of all cancers in men may be due to dietary and nutritional factors. Consequently, diet and nutrition are the principle preventative measures against cancer, and the ones over which people have the most control. It is this consistent correlation between diet and disease that offers not only nutritional challenges but also great opportunities for the future.
In actuality, there are two very different ends to the nutrition spectrum. On one side, more and more processed and fast foods are showing up on the market and consumer demand and ignorance are on an increase with respect to compromising health for convenience. But on the other side, there is also a growing number of people who are shunning the mainstream supply of “dead” foods and turning instead towards organic whole foods that nourish their bodies instead of poisoning it. You may have noticed new and exciting varieties of foods that are enriched with different herbs, vitamins and minerals. In all probabilities this industry will continue to grow and prosper and many foods will be specially tailored to improve health and extend life.
History in the Making
Modern scientific advances have a huge impact in the area of discovering the healing potential in foods. You may be aware that there have been three phases in our understanding of the role of foods and nutrients and their biological processes.
Firstly, the issue of sustenance, the understanding that humans, like other biological systems, require a daily intake of particular nutrients to support fundamental activities -- for example energy is essential for growth, development and daily activities.
Secondly, a recognition that deficiency disorders may occur when one or more specific nutrients necessary for health and life are absent from the diet. For example, up until the 18th century many people on long ocean journeys would die of scurvy.
Today we are entering the third phase, the recognition that certain constituents in food have a health potential that goes beyond sustenance and differs from deficiency.
We now know that there are many foods which can actively improve health. A great amount of this understanding is a consequence of discoveries in the areas of nutrition, biochemistry and physiology. For example, there is ample evidence to suggest that humans, as well as other living creatures, are exposed to substances called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can bind to and destroy cellular compounds. Free radicals may be derived from our environment (sunlight, X rays, pollution), ingested in our food, or produced within our bodies during chemical reactions. Many of them are derived from oxygen and they can be damaging to our cell membranes, proteins and genes.
These unwanted free radicals have been linked to a number of human diseases, including atherosclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis and immune deficiency.
How can we minimize the effects of these dangerous free radicals? One possibility is to look and see how other organisms tackle such a process. Plants, for example, are also exposed to free radicals, often as a consequence of exposure to and utilization of ultraviolet light but they have developed special molecules known as phytochemicals which have the ability to destroy unwanted free radicals.
The potential now exists to identify particular plants that have these special agents that can act in unison with our immune system to reduce the impact of free radical damage and thereby lower the risk of degenerative disease. We are now aware that many fruits and vegetables contain not only important vitamins and minerals, but also powerful compounds called antioxidants.
Broadly speaking, there are three major categories of foods that possess great healing properties. The first category is made up of foods (and drinks, e.g. red wine and tea) that contain the previously mentioned antioxidants. These are currently being studied for their ability to prevent the unwanted oxidation process in the early stages of diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
The second category is composed of foods that contain essential fatty acids, such as certain vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and fish. These help protect our blood vessels from the effects of cholesterol, help lower blood pressure, nourish the brain, and protect the cardiovascular system.
The third category of foods that are very important for prevention, maintenance, and the reestablishment of health consist of foods that are rich in fiber. These include whole grain breads, pastas, rice, cereals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. High-fiber foods help protect our gastrointestinal tract, keep us regular and ward off deadly diseases like colon cancer.
In the next few years the discovery (or rediscovery) of the healing properties in foods will certainly have a tremendous impact on our lives, health and economy. This knowledge will help not only extend our longevity and improve our quality of life but also reduce the direct and indirect health care costs attributed to diet-related diseases in America.
We can definitely expect a continued discovery of foods that have a positive influence on our health. There will also be an increasing number of people taking personal responsibility for their well-being, opening the way for new market segments and stimulating the development of new industries, products, and services in the field of nutrition.
Twenty-two centuries after Hippocrates, the golden era of nutrition was ushered in by the British naval surgeon James Lind in 1747. In the first recorded controlled clinical investigation, Lind investigated the potential for dietary treatment of the devastating epidemic of scurvy in seamen on the British ship Salisbury. Lind provided two oranges and one lemon to two scorbutic sailors every day for 6 days and cider, vinegar, nutmeg, or seawater to other groups of two each. The sailors who received the orange and lemon diet were cured of all signs of scurvy and resumed full duties, whereas those consuming the other diets became sicker or died.” A disease such as scurvy was obviously of economic importance since often half the crew or more would die on long voyages. We now know that scurvy can be prevented by dietary intake of Vitamin C. Lind didn't know that because Vitamin C wasn't discovered until the 1930's. After this, Admiral Cook of the British navy ordered all sailors to eat limes each day while on sea voyages, and the incidence of scurvy dropped dramatically.
2) CRYSTAL HEALING
Why is it that we, as human beings, have such an inexplicable attraction to crystals? Is it simply their beauty or their mystical connotations?
To most, crystals and precious stones are simply inanimate decorative objects. But to some, they are the most mystical and profound "energy medicine" tools that bring amazing benefits to the healing arena - they are mother nature's natural healers.
Lilli Makinson, founder of Lilli's Shanghai, discovered the healing properties of crystals and various stones through her jewelry business.
"I used to work till very late around 3am everyday. I was so hyperactive and yet I never got sick," the Swiss-Japanese says. "I was always touching and threading these different stones then I realized there must be something more to these beautiful objects."
She started to learn about the stones afterwards. The result of her research was the opening of Frank 'n' Sense urban retreat two years ago, a home of true healing and sanctuary for the international community in Shanghai.
As one of the certified therapists, Makinson provides crystal healing therapy. With her vast knowledge about power stones, she expertly lays healing crystals upon the customer's seven chakras and other specific areas of the body.
The personal reaction to the crystals is dependent upon the willingness of each individual to sit, to be still, to clear the mind and open their heart. It is a fascinating treatment which serves to accelerate the person's natural ability to heal and grow. The idea is to allow the passage of energies too or from the body through these crystals.
Why crystals work? Makinson explains that "crystals supposedly contain the vibrational frequencies that mystically interconnect with the earth's and the individual's energy field."
"Illness often originates from disturbance in the energy bodies and crystals are natural transmitters, receivers and repositories of energy," Makinson says. "Crystals can be used to ensure the body's energy flows in a positive way to promote optimum health and vitality."
Crystals have a piezoelectric effect. Compression produces the release of electrons, release of compression allows expansion of the crystal and then the re-absorption of crystals so producing mechanical energy (vibration). When a crystal is heated it gives off energy and when it cools the energy contracts and remains within the structure.
Each stone stores the energy built up over 20 million years that can replenish the human body in different ways depending on its composition. They owe their unique qualities to their mineral content, their inherent geometry and the color frequency they emit. But some stones have higher vibrations than other especially with crystals. Stones that are a mixture of more than one mineral have more energy.
"It is a very individual therapy and you are likely to find that you have a natural affinity to certain crystals," Makinson said. "People come to me when they want to make a change in their life with holistic healing or crystal healing and take positive action towards achieving their goals."
There seems to be a new age starting on our planet: the re-discovery of the ancient and forgotten healing arts that use crystals, oils, herbs, meditation and the merging of ones self with nature. As more people look for alternatives, the ability of stones to help us is becoming more evident. "We don't call it 'new age,' but 'the revival of the old age' instead," Makinson says. The use of power stones can be traced to Ancient Egypt. India's Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine also used crystals as far back as 5,000 years ago. Native American Indians, Tibetan monks, Druid priests and many other groups proclaimed the sacred power of crystal.
They have always been used by ancient civilizations in religious ceremonies, for the diagnosis of disease or for protection.
In the 21st century, the advancement of technology has seen modern science embrace the use of crystals and magnify energy in many different ways. Ruby crystals are used in lasers for microscopic surgery. Quartz crystals are employed to transmit energy from one system to another and can be found in watches, computer chips and ultrasound machines.
Cosmetics companies use powdered crystals when developing skin care products due to their ability to recreate beauty, vitality and youthfulness. Many spas provide treatments using crystals such as rose quartz for facial or body treatments.
In various parts of Asia such as Japan, they strike two crystals together to cause sparks to purify the air in temples and to rid their homes of negative energies. The Japanese also burn incense and aromatic oils as well as using various stones as talisman and to bring peace and harmony to their homes.
In some other civilization amber was burned to vanquish negative energy from sacred places. Entire temples were carved out of lapis lazuli as it has always been used for purifying and for peace of mind and tranquility. Many new age shops and spas have lapis lazuli all over the rooms. One sits there with relaxing music and soaks up the gentle energies of the stones.
In more recent times, many books have been written on the subject and there are many courses and workshops becoming available too. A glance through many crystal reference books will illustrate the vast number of minerals used therapeutically across the world.
Crystal healing is the belief that crystals have energies and properties that are able to improve health. It is not part of standard medical theory, but it is included in a broader view of crystal power that says crystals, which are minerals with a specific atomic structure, possess metaphysical abilities.
For additional information about crystal healing, follow this link.
3) VITAMIN D
Vitamin D may help you live longer. People who take regular doses of vitamin D have a lower risk of dying compared to those who don't take supplements, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study looked at 60,000 people and found that those who took an average of 500 IU of vitamin D had a 7% lower risk of dying.
Vitamin D appears to be critical for optimal immune function, bone, muscle, and gum health, and cancer and diabetes prevention. What's surprising is that researchers are finding that vitamin D deficiency is quite common among the general population and that the current recommendation of 200 IU per day for adults may be too low.
In fact, the Canadian Cancer Society announced earlier this year that adults in Canada consider taking a 1,000 IU vitamin D supplement during winter months (the main source of vitamin D is the sun's ultraviolet rays). The Canadian Pediatric Society just recommended that pregnant and nursing women take a 2,000 IU vitamin D supplement during the winter. The U.S. vitamin D guidelines are currently being re-evaluated
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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