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November Issue of Natural Alternatives
November 02, 2011

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

November 2011

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

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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ďThe natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.Ē ~Hippocrates






By Mark Hyman, MD

Medicine doesn't always come in a pill. In fact, some of the most powerful medicines are delicious and can be found at your local supermarket or "farmacy." Healing foods have been used for centuries in Asia as part of the cuisine. In Asia food and medicine are often the same thing.

Here are five foods you may never have heard of but can be found at most Asian markets and even places like Whole Foods. Try them. You might be surprised by their unique and extraordinary good taste. And they may help you lose weight, reverse diabetes, lower cholesterol and prevent cancer.

Konjac: The Asian Super Fiber

Long used to make konnyaku, a jelly prepared in Japan for over 1,500 years whose medicinal properties were appreciated as early as the 6th century, konjac fiber or glucomannan has multiple benefits. Konjac is much more viscous than usual fibers, retaining up to 17 times its weight in water.

Expanding in the stomach and the small and large intestine, it absorbs fat, accelerates elimination, reduces cholesterol, blunts sugar absorption and facilitates weight loss, in part by increasing feelings of satiety. You have it as jelly or noodles called shirataki.

Arame: A Wonder of the Sea

Arame is a marine brown algae or sea vegetable that can be added to soups, stir-frys or even made into a sea vegetable salad. It is rich in minerals calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, folate, vitamins A and K and iodine. It also boosts immunity and helps bind toxins in your body. Some even say it helps boost sex drive.

Shitake Mushrooms: Healing from the Earth

The earthy shitake or Chinese black mushrooms boost immunity through special polysaccharide molecules and can help prevent cancer. They are also full of minerals, especially iron, and they appear to decrease binding of immune cells to your arterial wall, preventing atherosclerosis. Aside from exposure to the sun and eating herring, mushrooms are one of the few ways you can get vitamin D. Think of them as the sunshine food.

Daikon: The Other White Meat

Daikon is a mildly-flavored large East Asian white radish. It looks like a giant white carrot. It contains digestive enzymes that help you break down food, and they contain myrosinase that boosts detoxification of environmental chemicals. Daikon is high in vitamin C and folate. Like its relatives broccoli, cabbage and kale, daikon is a cruciferous vegetable that offers cancer-protecting potential. It can be grated and eaten raw in salads, or in stir-frys or soups.

Umeboshi Plums: A New Kind of Pickle

These red little Japanese plums add a perky taste to stir-frys and soups. Besides their scintillating flavor, Japanese pickled plums have remarkable medicinal qualities. Their acidity has a paradoxical alkalinizing effect on the body, helping with fatigue, enhancing digestion and boosting the elimination of toxins. This is the Far Eastern equivalent to both aspirin and apple; it is a great hangover remedy for mornings after, and an umeboshi a day is considered one of the best preventive medicines around.
Mark Hyman, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The UltraWellness Center, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on YouTube, become a fan on Facebook, and subscribe to his newsletter at

By Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S.,R.D., L.D.

Do you feel like you've done everything you can but still don't seem to lose weight? Chances are, you're not doing the right things. Americans are more confused than ever about how to effectively lose weight and keep it off. Furthermore, many people are surprised to learn that the seemingly insignificant choices they make every day can negatively affect their goal of losing weight. Are you guilty of any of these behaviors?

You Rely on Convenient Transportation

You take the elevator when you need to go up a few floors, you get on the little motorized walk ramp at the airport, and you park as close to the front door as possible. At first glance, choosing these little convenient modes of transportation doesn't appear to make much of a difference in your daily life. The fact is, they do. A flight of stairs burns, on average, 15 calories. If you're taking stairs at work, the mall or in your home on an average day, that could add up to 225 or more extra calories burned. Walk a bit further to get to the front door when you're shopping and you could burn an extra 30 (bye bye little piece of candy that you snuck in during your work day). Forgoing the automatic walkway in the airport -- an extra 100! Now consider how many foods you have "just a nibble" on every day; a chocolate from your co-workers candy bowl, a handful of chips while making dinner, etc. These could all be wiped clean from the daily calorie slate if you just moved more! When given the opportunity, use your body, not the elevator or the car. That's what it's made for.

You Love Your Diet Cola

No calories mean no weight gain, right? This is the popular line of reasoning for many diet soda drinkers. Unfortunately, current research indicates a possible link between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain.

A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36 percent greater relative risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent greater relative risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared with non-consumption.

Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, in one group of study participants, consumption of artificially sweetened beverages was associated with Type 2 diabetes. The findings are mimicked in rat studies as well. A study in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners led to weight gain due to changes in the rat's normal physiological processes of sweets.

In addition to this, the presence of constant artificial sweeteners in the diet means you're never really letting your taste buds get a break from the sweet taste you love. The more you drink diet soda, the longer you'll remain trapped in the sugar cycle and continue to crave.

You're Off in Outer Space

Eating is awesome. The feel, smell and satisfaction of food are one of the main pleasures of life. You may miss these food advantages though if you're like most Americans and spend your meals and snacks in front of a TV, computer screen or newspaper. If this sounds like you, you're probably taking in way more calories than you think. A 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding stimuli during mealtime increased not only the amount of food an individual consumed at that particular meal, but also increased calorie consumption later in the day as well. Further, a 2004 study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found an association between television viewing and obesity and metabolic syndrome. Enjoy your food and the company of friends and family; it will help you lose weight as well as manage the weight you've already lost.

Your Friends Don't Support You

Have you ever had a friend who knows you're trying to lose weight and eat healthy, but still tempts you with "it won't kill you to have a few bites of (insert tempting high sugar, fat and calorie food here)." Support is crucial when it comes to successful weight loss and maintenance, and having a toxic person close to you can really throw you off. What you really need is a supportive buddy who you can lean on in good times and bad; someone who will keep you on track and compliment you when you lose weight. A 2005 study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that individuals were most successful with weight loss when they "buddied" up with like-minded people with the same healthy goals as they had.

You "Diet" During The Week -- But Go Hog Wild On The Weekends

So many of my patients come to me with the same complaint: "How come I'm not losing weight? I barely eat anything!" At the most basic level, weight loss is a matter of numbers; consume fewer calories than you expend and you'll lose weight. However, in this case, too much of a good thing can actually sabotage your weight loss effort. The daily functions of keeping you alive require calories for fuel (and I'm talking about the basics -- breathing, beating heart, etc.) and when you don't provide your body enough energy, it slows down. It's very much like filling up your car with gas. With a full tank, you can go for miles at any chosen speed. When the gas tank is nearing empty, there is the need to drive slower to conserve gas consumption until the tank is filled again.

Our metabolism works in much the same way. When we feed our body the proper fuel, we have endless energy. As the intake of calories drops to very low levels, our body moves into starvation mode. This starvation mode triggers a lower metabolism as the body becomes super efficient at using what little energy or fuel it receives. Fewer calories are burned and weight loss comes to a stop. A recent study in the American Journal of Physiology described an "energy gap" to explain the difference between appetite and expenditure requirements.

Researchers found that energy requirements after weight loss decreased, meaning you needed fewer calories to maintain your current weight loss. As you ate less, the cycle continued and, over time, biology would take over and your ability to continue to lose weight diminished. If, on top of that, you choose to give yourself a "pass" on the weekends for all your hard work starving yourself during the week, expect not only difficulty with weight loss; you may actually experience weight gain. Slow metabolism plus a Saturday/Sunday food and drink fest ... you do the math.

You're Getting Fewer Than 5 Hours A Night

Sleep is great for your brain, your skin, and, as it turns out, your weight as well. An abundant amount of research indicates that a lack of sleep alters the digestive hormones that are responsible for hunger and fullness. A lack of sleep may mean a loss of control of your portions the next day and an increased craving for sweets, fat and carbohydrates. Shoot for eight hours of sleep each night and you're more likely to achieve great skin, great productivity at work and home and a great weight! †
Follow Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., L.D. on Twitter:

By Mike Barrett/Natural Society

The ability to store, retain, and recall information could possibly be one of the most important aspects of success. If you are unable to remember appointments, meetings, peopleís names, or information in general, life will inevitably be a struggle to say the least. With eating habits down in the dump and food being tampered with, it is quite difficult to attain the necessary vitamins and nutrients to improve memory. Thankfully, improving memory can be as simple as making some dietary alterations.

Improving Memory By Changing what You Eat

If youíre consuming fast food, food made or brought to you by multi-national corporations, and processed food, then there is a good chance that your memory isnít as strong as it could be. Although memory-loss generally comes with old age, many people are suffering memory-loss while teenagers and young adults. The quest for improving memory doesnít need so be so difficult. As with almost all other health complications, the solution can be as simple as choosing the right foods.


The human brain is made up of 60 percent fat. Fish contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to not only help with memory and overall brain function, but also aid in depression and brains disorders such as schizophrenia. Fish contain docosaexaenoic acid (DHA), which is important for the normal functioning of neurons. Eating fish, however, can often be a health concern due to high toxicity. To avoid this issue, you may want to try a combination of supplementation and eating fish to reduce some toxicity while still receiving the benefits.

Apples and Blueberries

Two fantastic foods to improve memory as well as over all health, apples and blueberries contain a powerful phytochemical and antioxidant known as quercetin. Quercetin has been shown to protect against Alzheimerís as well as reverse a.ging, leading to a slowed escalation in age-related memory-loss. When consuming apples, it is important to note that much of the nutrients are found in the skin; quercetin is no exception.

Black Eyed Peas and Spinach

Folic acid has a direct relationship with memory and overall brain health. It has been shown to protect memory as well as make for faster processing of information and memory recall. One reason for folic acidís effectiveness is due to itís ability to lower blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid shown to cause health complications in high amounts.

Change the Way You Live

If you are seeking to improve memory, do not ignore these foods. Although it is great to know how to improve memory through the consumption of specific foods, the ultimate goal should be to live an overall healthy lifestyle so that memory-loss doesnít become an issue in the first place. Exercise regularly, eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, and avoid the disease-riddled food brought to you by mega-corporations.


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 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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