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, Natural Alternatives, Issue #02
July 01, 2005
Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

July, 2005

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

A worm welcome to new subscribers. I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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Nature is the Physician of all Disease ~ Hippocrates







The nutritional value of buckwheat as a possible prebiotic (a carbohydrate that prompts the growth of "friendly" bacteria in the digestive tract) was recently determined, but now a new study shows that buckwheat may also help diabetics lower blood glucose levels. And when you consider that buckwheat is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids, then you've got a food product that's primed and ready to become the next health- food superstar.

Something in the mix

Buckwheat is not a type of wheat or even a grain. In fact, technically it's a fruit. And because previous studies have shown that buckwheat may help increase insulin sensitivity, researchers at the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba (UM) in Canada devised a study to examine the effects of buckwheat on elevated blood glucose levels.

The UM scientists chemically induced type 1 diabetes in about 40 laboratory rats. The rats were fed either buckwheat extract or a placebo. When their blood glucose concentrations were measured, the rats given the buckwheat had glucose levels that were reduced 12 to 19 percent. There was no reduction of glucose concentration in any of the rats that received only placebo.

The next step for the UM team will be to duplicate the test in rats induced with type 2 diabetes. The researchers predict that buckwheat will also lower glucose concentrations in the type 2 test. This prediction is based in part on previous studies that have shown how a component of buckwheat called chiro-inositol may prompt cells to become more insulin-sensitive.

In a news release issued by the American Chemical Society, the lead author of the study, Carla G. Taylor, said their research demonstrates that buckwheat may provide diabetics with a "safe, easy and inexpensive way to lower glucose levels and reduce the risk of complications." But until research can be done with humansubjects, the researchers can't yet estimate just how much buckwheat would need to be eaten to create a beneficial effect on glucose levels.

Helping the good guys

Whether you eat buckwheat products to help with glucose concentrations or to reap the benefits of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, there is another potential health benefit to eating buckwheat. Researchers in Madrid, Spain, used a trial with rats to demonstrate that buckwheat may act as a prebiotic, encouraging the growth of probiotics - or friendly bacteria - in the digestive tract.

In a healthy individual, these beneficial bacteria inhabit the digestive tract in massive numbers, crowding out harmful bacteria, aiding digestion, and supporting immune function. This healthy "gut flora" produces valuable nutrients (including certain B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids), digestive enzymes like lactase, and immune chemicals that fight harmful bacteria and even cancer cells.

But this critical ecosystem is fragile and can be easily disturbed by any number of factors, including poor nutrition, stress, surgery, parasitic infestation, and synthetic drugs. When the number or activity level of your good bacteria drops too low, it opens the door for harmful bacteria to proliferate, allowing the opportunity for diseases to develop.

Sufficient amounts of intestinal flora can be maintained through dietary sources such as cultured products like yogurt and kefir, and lignans such as flaxseed, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, millet, and... buckwheat!

The way of the buckwheat

HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., sais that buckwheat reminded him of the acronym "BROW," which can help us remember which grains pose potential problems for diabetics. Dr. Spreen said: "Barley, rye, oat, and wheat (BROW) are the high-gluten grains, so buckwheat would be fine in their stead, as it is not a gluten-containing product. Buckwheat is agood flour to use for lots of purposes because it is difficult to refine, so to my knowledge they don't bother.”

"As an aside, for those who are trying to go 'gluten-free,' oat seems to not bother gluten-sensitive people that much, though it's in the BROW group. Personally, I've seen lots of people allergic to wheat but able to tolerate both barley and oat. Unprocessed forms are better, of course."

A search on the Internet will quickly turn up several sources that sell buckwheat. And many of those web sites also provide buckwheat recipes that go beyond pancakes, waffles, and noodles; the three food items that buckwheat is most well known for. But if you do whip up some buckwheat waffles, you might try sweetening them with buckwheat honey, which happens to have much higher antioxidant levels than typical lighter honeys.

It seems you just can't go wrong when you go with the buckwheat.


Some of today’s most serious health concerns such as heart disease, anxiety disorders, depression, obesity and immunity disorders, are caused by or are related to stress. Both conventional and non-conventional health professionals agree that lifestyle changes and stress management are essential to improving and maintaining our overall health.

Sensory input can stimulate our emotional and physiological responses. In today’s world we are constantly receiving sensory stimuli. On any given day, our eyes are overworked by computer screens, fluorescent light, television images and late-night driving. Our ears are stimulated by loud machines, the hum of a computer or refrigerator, television, a blaring radio, telephone conversation, sometimes all in the same room. Even our taste buds are overworked by the types of foods we eat. Likewise, our noses are bombarded with automobile exhaust, cleaning products and toxic chemicals.

Believe it or not, these types of stress affect our nervous system and result in physical disorders. The best way to relieve stresses and bring your body back into balance is through natural therapies such as aromatherapy. Of the five senses, our sense of smell is the most primitive and most closely associated with our emotions and how our body respond to them. Together with a balanced diet, nutrition, adequate exercise and water, aromatherapy can help you achieve a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. It can become a part of your daily routine.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are the volatile oils found in the seeds, roots, resins, flowers, trees, stems, bark and fruit of plants. These oils are the life force of the plants and have many beneficial and protective properties. Many oils have antiviral, antibacterial or antifungal properties. Some may also soothe inflamation, relax tense muscles or enhance breathing.

Essential oils are being used to treat physical, psychological and energetic imbalances and they have become very popular as interest in self-care and natural products.

In Japan workers exposed to jasmine, lavender and lemon fragrances seem happier and make fewer keyboard errors. New York medical researchers gave MRI patients vanilla fragrance - a comfort aroma- during their scans. They were feeling significantly less anxious. In Australia tea tree oil was used as a effective first aid treatment and used in medical treatments.

Blending essential oils is a form of art. The best way to learn is to practice. Choose a few oils that mach your physical and emotional needs and start blending!

Many home and beauty products contain harmful chemical that may damage our health when used long-term. You can even make your own natural products using essential oils which is not only fun, but safer for your health and environment.

Some Applications of Essential Oils

* Diffusions - the easiest way to benefit from aromas of essential oils in your home or office. A few drop can also be added to a potpourri of dried flowers.
* Mists - uplifting or calming body mist or a refreshing room fragrance.
* Massage - diluted with massage oil you can experience the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, which can be made for aches and pains, chest congestion, immune stimulation or simply for relaxation.
*Baths - are the most versatile and pleasurable ways to enjoy aromatherapy.
*Soaps - indulge yourself with your home made luxurious soap bars or give them as unique gifts.
*Body care - benefits for the entire body include weight management, detoxification, improved circulation, enhanced skin care, reduction of the appearance of cellulite.

*Facial care, Pedicures, hair care, Perfumery..

You can read more about aromatherapy


After Reading THIS, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again! Bananas. Containing three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of Hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist Learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool! temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.

These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine," eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"


Thank you for reading and have a nice day!

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is more than welcome.

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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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