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Rolnick Chiropractic - Health Tip of the Week

If you think that you have a bit of a problem drinking enough water on a daily basis, you are probably right. Even worse is the lack of water that is occurring with children.

According to recent statistics that I have found on the internet, more than half of American children are dehydrated, which can have repercussions for their health and academic performance. About one-quarter of children in the US do not drink water on a daily basis. To show you how dehydration severely effects function in the body, research shows dehydrated drivers make twice the amount of errors compared to hydrated drivers — an effect similar to driving drunk.

The best thing you can do, obviously is to drink more water. Your best bet is trading sweetened, bottled beverages like soda, iced tea, fruit drinks to PURE WATER which can significantly improve your health. A major rule of thumb is to drink water on a regular basis throughout the day, regardless of thirst. Drink at intervals when you are not thirsty. This ensures that your body has enough water and can support internal functions for optimal health.

 

Weekly Thoughts and Tips Health Tip of the Week | Thought for the Week | Chiropractic Thought for the Week

 

 

Previous Health Tips:

Nuts to you!!! According to Mercola.com (the world’s largest natural health website), people who ate at least 1/3 oz of nuts per day had an average 23% reduced risk of death due to cancer, diabetes, respiratory and neurodegenerative disease during a decade–long study. Previous research found that eating nuts at least five times a week lead to a 29% reduction in mortality risk due to heart disease; a 24% reduction for respiratory disease; and an 11% reduction for cancer. Most nuts’ nutritional makeup closely resemble an ideal ration of the basic building blocks - fat making up the greatest amount, followed by a moderate amount of protein and a low amount of non-vegetable carbs. The healthiest nuts to eat are raw almonds (with skin on), macadamia nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, pecans, pistachio, hazelnuts and cashews.

Skin cancer is a huge problem. The problem begins with sun exposure. This is where the topic can get tricky. Experts agree that over exposure to the sun, via burning of the skin is a catalyst for many skin issues including skin cancer. The conundrum is that exposure to the sun is of extreme benefit to the body.

This is in fact due to vitamin D3. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. It is created in the body by the sunlight’s radiation on the skin. Vitamin D is important to the body due to its beneficial effect on the immune system. Vitamin D3 improves the effectiveness of the immune system and is known to help the body prevent viruses such as the flu. This is why there is a flu season in the winter and not the summer. Also, vitamin D has been shown to decrease the risk of certain cancers.

The problem then becomes how do we balance our sun exposure to get the proper amount of vitamin D without increasing our risk of skin cancer? The answer is not tricky, but the solution can be difficult and requires effort on your part. First off, the body needs sun exposure for optimum health. The sun’s rays cannot be blocked by applying sun block and sun lotions. The sun’s rays need to hit the body to create vitamin D.

There is a way to do this without increasing your risk of skin cancer. This is called healthy sun exposure to the skin. As we enter the warmer months, the body needs to be slowly introduced to the sun’s rays. Initially, the body’s unprotected sun exposure should be about 10 minutes. That is it. For the body to maximize vitamin D creation, your body needs to be fully exposed to the sun. This means, you need to be in a bathing suit with most of your body exposed to the sun. After a few days of 10 minute sun exposure, you can gradually increase your exposure time to 20 minutes of unprotected sun. 20 minutes a day is enough time to get the full health benefits of the sun without damaging the skin. Once the 20 minutes is up, it is time to get out of the sun and protect your body from further exposure.

There are many ways to do this, such as covering up with shirts and hats, sitting under an umbrella and adding sun block to your skin with an SPF of at least 30. Sun block has also become an issue, as there is legitimate debate that most sun blocks contain harmful chemicals that are being absorbed into the skin, which some scientists think can lead to skin cancer. That being said, there are plenty of safe sun blocks and skin protection on the market made with 100% natural ingredients and/or organic ingredients. These are much better to use on your skin.

Lastly, recent research is showing that certain vitamins may help the skin prevent sun related skin cancer. Turmeric is a spice that is extremely popular in Asian countries. Studies show that people who consume turmeric on a daily basis have a lower risk of skin cancer. Lastly, as reported recently in the news, niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) has been shown to decrease the risk of skin cancer. One study showed that people who have had skin cancer treatments were less likely to have reoccurrences of skin cancer while taking daily doses of niacinamide.

As a chiropractor, I am often asked two questions. The first is, “What is that noise that occurs when some chiropractors do an adjustment?” And number two, “Will cracking my knuckles give me arthritis?” Years ago, the common belief was that the sound your joints make when “cracked” is due to the popping of bubbles in the fluid between the joint. Recent research backs up the answer that I give to my patients (who would have thought I would have figured this out years ago!).

The researchers using MRI video determined why joints make a popping sound when they crack. It’s not the bubbles popping, the sound comes from a gas. Lead study author Greg Kawchuk, a professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta, said: “It’s a little bit like forming a vacuum... As the joint surfaces suddenly separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created and that event is what’s associated with the sound.” Another similar explanation suggests that when the spine is given a traditional chiropractic spinal adjustment or when you “crack” your knuckles, the joint space between your bones is expanded, creating less pressure. This pulls joint fluid into the joint gap. The entrance of joint fluid is what causes the popping sound sensation when the spine is adjusted or the knuckle is “cracked.”

If I am losing you on this topic, this will make it much clearer for you. Years ago, a friend of mine was on a local radio station in the morning discussing chiropractic care. He even brought his portable chiropractic table and demonstrated a spinal adjustment live on the radio. Afterwards he was asked the question, “What is that cracking noise that comes from the chiropractic adjustment?” He went on to give the escaping gas answer. As this was one of those morning, “shock” type radio shows the reply he received (broadcast all over Southern New Jersey) was priceless. The DJ said, “So, it’s like a spine fart?” Funny. He could only answer, "Yes"!!

As far as acquiring arthritis from cracking your knuckles, the answer is no. There is a membrane covering your joints that holds the joint fluid, this membrane protects your joints from harm. A study of over 200 people showed that the rate of arthritis in the hands occurs equally when compared to groups of people who crack their knuckles and those who do not. Some research even indicates that periodically cracking knuckles in hands that do not have arthritis, may prevent arthritis from occurring. So, never fear. A manual chiropractic spinal adjustment and knuckle cracking are safe and sound. Just don’t do it in a crowded elevator!!

Antibiotics are possibly the greatest discover of all time. Medication that attacks and destroys harmful bacteria in the body at a time when the body is not able to do it on its own is a wonderful thing. Antibiotics have saved countless lives and are one of the most important tools that doctors have in their disease treating arsenal. That being said, it is a known fact that in today’s society antibiotics have become over prescribed, misused and over utilized. There was a period of time when doctors would give antibiotics like candy. Almost any visit to the doctor for a cold ended up with a prescription for an antibiotic.

Sadly enough, this was an abused situation as antibiotics do not treat colds. Antibiotics are useless against viruses (viruses are what cause the sniffles and congestions of a cold). Antibiotics only work on bacteria. The most common reason a doctor would prescribe an antibiotic was “just in case.” Just in case there was a bacteria in the body. Thankfully, the last few years doctors have waken-up and stopped catering to the demands of patients who actually didn’t know better, but just wanted to feel better.

There has been a widespread decrease in the unnecessary prescription of antibiotics. This is very good news. You see, the body adapts to the usage of antibiotics. The more you take, the greater the body’s resistance and the less effective the antibiotics become. This means that if you have a life threatening bacterial infection in your body, the antibiotic would not be able to help. That is why it is important to limit antibiotic usage to absolutely necessary times.

Even though doctors are prescribing less antibiotics and contributing to the anti-antibiotic solution, there is a much bigger antibiotic usage problem. Farm animals. 80% of the antibiotics given in this country are given to mostly healthy farm animals on a “preventative basis.” Over time, the prescription of antibiotics to farm animals is creating supergerms that are resistant to antibiotics and are putting human lives at risk. Our government is not helping this situation as they are bowing to industries that profit from the status quo.

The only way to change this situation is to hit these industries where it hurts. In the wallet. If more people would purchase organic antibiotic free meats, industry would be forced to eliminate preventative antibiotics in the raising of their animals. You can contribute to the health and sustainability of the human race by making better food choices, purchasing organic meats. The good news is that markets like Shop Rite carry a full line of organic, antibiotic free beef, pork and chicken. Even hot dogs and bacon! Save the world. Eat antibiotic free.

For this week’s health tip, I will list the generally considered top 10 healthiest foods of all time. Here we go. 1. Avocados, which are actually classified as a fruit, are low in fructose and rich in healthy monounsaturated fat and potassium, and research has confirmed the avocado's ability to benefit vascular function and heart health. Avocados also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. 2. Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and A (in the form of beta-carotene) along with the minerals manganese and zinc. When you eat Swiss chard, you get a wealth of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The betalin pigments in Swiss chard also support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process.

3. Garlic is rich in manganese, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins B6 and C, so it's beneficial for your bones as well as your thyroid. It's thought that much of garlic's therapeutic effect comes from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are also what give it its characteristic smell. 4. Fresh broccoli sprouts are far more potent than whole broccoli, allowing you to eat far less in terms of quantity. For example, research has revealed that three-day old broccoli sprouts consistently contain anywhere from 10-100 times the amount of glucoraphanin–a chemoprotective compound–found in mature broccoli.

5. Aside from being rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and minerals, mushrooms are excellent sources of antioxidants. In addition, some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and this is one reason why they're so beneficial for both preventing and treating cancer. 6. Just one cup of kale will flood your body with disease-fighting vitamins K, A, and C, along with respectable amounts of manganese, copper, B vitamins, fiber, calcium, and potassium. With each serving of kale, you'll also find more than 45 unique flavonoids, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Kale is also a good source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.

7. Spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including folate, vitamin A, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and selenium. Spinach also contains flavonoids that may help protect your body from free radicals, while offering anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant support. 8. Rich in vitamin K and phytonutrients – caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol – collard greens help lower oxidative stress in your cells while fighting inflammation. Other phytonutrients in collard greens, specifically diindolylmethane and sulforaphane, have been clinically proven to combat cancer.

9. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C (which is most concentrated in the jelly-like substance that surrounds the seeds), as well as vitamins A, E, and the B vitamins, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Tomatoes are also a particularly concentrated source of lycopene – a carotenoid antioxidant that may significantly lower your risk for stroke and cancer. 10. One serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development, and contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients. In future weeks, I will give you the next top ten healthiest foods.

A lot of stuff happens in the health field. Everyday research comes out giving us new information to help us live healthier lives and improve our quality of life. Some of this news falls on deaf ears and people ignore the science of good health continuing detrimental habits and eating rituals that contribute to ill health. Here is the good news: an ever increasing segment of the population is listening to the latest health news and applying it to their own lives. This is evidenced by the fact that all of the major supermarket chains and grocery outlet stores all have organic food sections. The organic selections are growing larger each month with bigger and better choices in the meat, dairy and produce departments. Even drug stores are selling alternative treatments for common every day illnesses. Homeopathic remedies are readily available in CVS and Walgreens. And both of these stores along with the big supermarkets have huge vitamin supplement sections and healthy food and snack aisles.

In addition, annual office visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists and massage therapists have increased exponentially over the last few years as people are searching for drug-free approaches to health care. Memberships in fitness centers have reached record numbers. Fitness is no longer a fad or trend. It has become an essential life style ingredient that fosters good health. 10 years ago, yoga was a small part of the fitness industry. Now, new yoga studios are in every town and flourishing. Exercise classes are full and personal training is a legitimate profession where a certified practitioner can make a living helping people exercise their way to good health.

Time magazine recently reported that one day the life expectancy may reach 142. In our generation, we will see more and more people living active, productive lives at the age of 100. And it’s all because of the latest advances in the health field. Positive research in nutrition and exercise are helping us to be healthier and live longer. The key is paying attention to the info and applying it to your own lives. Eat healthy organic foods, exercise, take vitamins, drink good water, get plenty of rest, manage stress and nurture your nervous system. Paying attention to all of these areas will get you to the healthy age of 100!

Most people think of inflammation as the byproduct of a muscular injury, tendonitis or bursitis. A large, puffy, swollen body part is what usually accompanies these conditions. There is another type of inflammation. And in the overall scheme of things, this type of inflammation is much more important to the health of the human body. Chronic inflammation is the shared common link in many health conditions. Conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The less overall inflammation in the body, the less likely you are to suffer from adverse health conditions. The good news is that chronic inflammation is influenced by diet. There are foods such as high fructose corn syrup, soy, processed vegetable oils (trans fats), and other chemical additives that trigger inflammation in the body.

And there are other foods that reduce inflammation in the body, balancing the unique body chemistry that promotes health. The top inflammation reducing foods are: 1. Omega 3 fats. These are the fat’s that come from fish oil such as wild caught salmon. 2. Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, chard and collard greens. 3. Blueberries. 4. Matcha and Tulsi tea. 5. Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut and olives. 6. Shitake mushrooms. 7. Garlic. In addition, there are a few very powerful spices that should be added to the daily diet that have strong anti-inflammatory properties. These spices are: Cloves, Cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, Apple pie spice, Oregano, Pumpkin pie spice mixture, Marjoram, Sage, Thyme, Gourmet Italian spice, Curcumin and Turmeric.

If you add these foods and spices to your diet, while replacing processed foods and foods with refined sugars with organic and fresh whole foods, you will have taken a major step towards building health in your body.

I have written many times about High Fructose Corn Syrup. In light of new findings, this topic needs to be revisited. High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance.

It is extracted from corn stalks through a believe it or not, “secret process.” That alone should raise some eyebrows. Once the sugars are extracted, what remains is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The chemistry of HFCS is not that difficult to understand.

Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made up of two types of sugar – glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body.

HFCS is made up of the same sugars, but not the same ratio, with there being more fructose in the mixture than glucose. Fructose is sweeter than glucose.

Products with HFCS are sweeter and cheaper than products made with cane sugar. HFCS is cheaper than sugar because of the government farm bill corn subsidies. This allowed for the average soda size to balloon from 8 ounces to 20 ounces with little financial costs to manufacturers.

The main problem with HFCS is that the fructose and glucose are not bonded together, so once in the body no digestion is required and they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol). This is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more.

Ok, so now that we understand the make-up of HFCS, here is the biggest concern. Excessive amounts of sugar in your diet has toxic effects, and processed high fructose corn syrup is far worse, from a metabolic standpoint, than refined sugar. Female mice fed a diet that contained 25 percent of calories from corn syrup had nearly twice the death rate compared to those fed a diet in which 25 percent of calories came from table sugar. Mice fed corn syrup also had 26 percent fewer offspring than their sugar-fed counterparts. The bottom line is that reading food labels is extremely important. It is the only way you will avoid HFCS in your diet. Organic foods do not contain HFCS.

When the conversation turns to a health care crisis, a couple of topics immediately pop-up. The most common being the flu, ebola virus and how obesity is the leading cause of disease in the United States. All important topics. One of the most important topics and one that is rarely discussed involves the use of antibiotics. Information that I have gathered this week from many sources (thank you Dr. Mercola for putting all of the sources together in a concise, understandable way) is quite shocking.

Antibiotic resistance has turned into a worldwide health threat of massive proportions. Two million American adults and children are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year; 23,000 die as a direct result. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) kills more Americans each year than the combined total of emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide. Solutions include improved infection prevention, more responsible use of antibiotics in human medicine (antibiotics do not treat viruses like upper respiratory infections, but are typically prescribed), limiting use of antibiotics in agriculture (our livestock is treated with antibiotics in their feed, preventatively), and finding innovative approaches to treat infections.

As a population we have to stop taking antibiotics needlessly for every illness. Question your doctor if its use is necessary. One time, I was told that my symptomless child had an ear infection (redness was observed in the ear). The doctor started to write an antibiotic prescription. I told the doctor, “No thank you, we will wait and see.” He replied that my decision was probably wise as 85% of ear infections resolve on their own and he only writes them because parents are not happy unless they leave with a prescription.

This is crazy stuff. It is time for all of us, doctors and patients to take responsibility for this problem and stop the insanity.

As 2014 comes to a close, I would like to present to you my top 3 healthy living tips that I have personally found to be essential for every single living person on our entire planet. If the population would adhere to the advice offered below, I am quite certain that health care costs in our country would plummet.

The number one health tip is increasing the serum levels of vitamin D3 in our bodies. This could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives worldwide each year. Vitamin D3 can significantly lower your risk of a variety of cancers, including bladder, colorectal, and breast cancer. There appears to be a causal relationship between vitamin D3 levels and death; this relationship is strongest when it comes to death from cancer. In addition, D3 is a potent immune system enhancer and has been shown to prevent and reduce severity of the flu and common cold. D3 is the sunshine vitamin and is the reason why there is a flu season in the winter time, not the summer season. Healthy sun exposure creates vitamin D3 in the body. Scientists suggest that the optimal D3 supplement dosage during the winter months is 35 units per pound of body weight (ex. 150 lb. person would need just over 5000 units a day).

The next two health tips involve weight gain. Obesity is the leading cause of overall ill health and disease in the United States. By paying attention to the following health tips, the general population would lose weight, thus improving health and lowering health care costs.

Research shows that the artificial sweetener aspartame (as in Nutra Sweet) worsens insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar. Artificial sweeteners promote weight gain by tricking your body into thinking it will receive sugar (calories); when the sugar doesn’t arrive, carb cravings can result, making you even hungrier. Artificial sweeteners likely also cause weight gain by disrupting your intestinal microflora, thereby raising your risk of both obesity and diabetes. In addition, aspartame is a neurotoxin and can lead to the same symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Popular artificial sweeteners to avoid are Nutra Sweet (aspartame), Sucrolose and Splenda.

The last tip for promoting health involves exercise and boosting the metabolism for weight loss. Interval cardio training has been shown to be the most effective form of cardio training for the entire body. Not only is it the most effective way of increasing the body’s metabolism (the ability to burn calories at rest), interval training increases heart and lung volume, improving cardiovascular health more than typical endurance training like distance running, distance biking or distance swimming. The whole idea of interval training is that you do an exercise that gets the heart pumping for 20-40 seconds non-stop. You than take a 10-15 second rest break and repeat. Beginning trainers would do this for only 6 minutes a day. As endurance improves 12-20 minutes is all that is needed for optimal benefits.

Researchers in Japan have found that 5 minutes of high intensity interval training is the equivalent of jogging / biking/ swimming for 40 minutes. So not only is interval training better for you, it saves you time! Example exercises include running, swimming and biking (run, swim or bike hard for 20-40 seconds than rest 10 and repeat). Skipping rope, jumping jacks and or a combination of calisthenics could also be performed in this style of training.

In summary, these three health tips could have a major impact on your personal health and wellbeing as well as the having an impact on the ever increasing health care costs in our country. The only problem is the old horse adage about leading the horse to water!!

We all know how important it is to eat vegetables. Vegetables contain the nutrients that keep us healthy and even fight off disease. According to experts, 6-8 servings of fruit or vegetables are needed each day for optimal health. Sometimes this is very difficult for most of us.

Case in point. I make a huge effort everyday to make sure my husband and I get enough vegetables, but sometimes this healthy regimen can even slip away from me. We recently attended a family function. There was an amazing selection of pot luck foods: meatballs, lasagna, potato salad and pasta salad. Afterwards, there was a delicious frosted cake and ice cream. We took leftovers home and ate more of the same for dinner . Yikes! No fruits or vegetables the whole day! How many of you have days like this for yourself and/or your kids? Not good.

There is one way to make sure you are getting all of your servings of vegetables a day, juicing. Juicing takes many servings of vegetables and puts them in one glass. There are three basic types of juicers: centrifugal type juicers, auger or masticating types of juicers, and grind-and-press juicers. Masticating juicers tend to give you more juice than a centrifugal juicer and can therefore end up being a less expensive choice over time. They also tend to be easier to clean and reassemble.

Juicing reduces large amounts of vegetables into a small manageable glass. It also makes the nutrients more bioavailable for quick absorption. Using organic produce is very important when juicing. One inexpensive alternative is to grow your own. Even if you choose not to juice every day, doing a juice fast once a month is a great way to detox and maintain health. Vegetable juice also qualifies as water, and it is some of the absolute best water you can get as it is structured—essentially high-quality living water.

We purchased a ‘Vitamix’ in the spring and we now juice one to two times a day. It has made such a difference in our health and in our lives. It was expensive up front but has been a great investment since. For some great juicing recipes, search for ‘1 Degree of Change’ at www.standardprocess.com. If you’re interested n doing a 10 day cleansing program talk to one of the doctors and we’ll get you on the right track!

When a blood vessel leading to or in the brain bursts, the brain is deprived of vital oxygen and nutrients. This incident is called a stroke. Strokes are the #3 killer in the United States, affecting over 700,000 people each year. A stroke can leave you with weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, speech difficulties, balance issues and memory loss. A severe stroke can kill you. If it doesn’t, it may leave you paralyzed and in a coma. The bottom line is that a stroke is a condition that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Melanie Haiken from Caring.com has compiled a list of five foods that can lead to a stroke. Learn this list and avoid these foods:

(1) Crackers, chips, store bought pastries and baked goods and fried fast foods (like chicken nuggets, fries and onion rings). These types of foods contain hydrogenated oil (trans fats). Trans fats are dangerous artery blockers that not only contribute to strokes, but they also cause heart disease.

(2) Smoked and processed meat. Processed meats like bacon, sausage and cold cuts contain preservatives, sodium nitrate and nitrite. Sodium nitrate and nitrite cause blood vessels to harden and narrow.

(3) Diet soda. The reason diet sodas are a trigger for strokes is not exactly known, but Columbia University recently presented a paper at an American Stroke Association conference that said that diet soda drinkers had 60% more strokes than those who didn’t drink diet soda.

(4) Red meat. Red meat is high in saturated animal fat. Saturated animal fat clogs blood vessels by building up protein plaques in the arteries. If you eat meat, choose the leanest cuts available.

(5) And lastly, canned soup and prepared foods (frozen, store made). Why? Salt. High salt intake leads to high blood pressure, which is a major factor in stroke. People, who consume over 4000 mg of salt per day double their risk of stroke. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Americans average close to 3500 mg per day, which is entirely too much sodium in the daily diet.

A stroke is not only devastating to the person it happens to, but it also has a major impact on the entire family. If you can avoid having a stroke by avoiding these five types of foods, I would make a huge effort to eliminate or decrease your consumption of them considerably, for your sake and for your family’s sake.

According to Dr. Robert Lustig, a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at UC San Francisco, low-fat recommendations have led to a dramatic increase in sugar consumption, and it is in fact sugar, not fat, that drives heart disease. According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s 2013 study on sugar consumption, up to 40 percent of US healthcare expenditures are for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar.

Clinical trials have shown that those who consume high fructose corn syrup tend to develop higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease within as little as two weeks. The main problem with sugar, and processed fructose in particular, is the fact that your liver has a very limited capacity to metabolize it. According to Dr. Lustig, you can safely metabolize about six teaspoons of added sugar per day. But the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. The low-fat craze has been particularly harmful, because when the food industry removed the fat, they replaced it with high amounts of sugar to make the food palatable.

To make matters worse, Oncologists will surely have to start paying closer attention to the issue of sugar if they want to purport to practice science-based medicine. Not only is there a solid scientific basis for the claim that sugar feeds existing cancer; according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in January, sugar also appears to initiate cancer growth. As reported by GreenMedInfo.com.

As a general rule, a diet that promotes health is high in healthful fats and very, very low in sugar and non-vegetable carbohydrates, along with a moderate amount of high-quality protein. This means, lot of vegetables, lean protein, nuts, beans, some fruit and complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, brown rice, Quinoa and oatmeal.

It's time to cut out the processed foods with added sugar and severely limit your intake of pasta, bread and cereals. I cut out sugar and processed carbohydrates from my diet earlier this year and I am now 20 pounds less without "dieting" or going hungry. It was easy.

Kale is a powerhouse veggie loaded with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals. Kale has anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases, plant-based omega-3 fats for building cell membranes, cancer-fighting sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, and an impressive number of beneficial flavonoids. Kale comes in curly, dinosaur, Russian, and ornamental varieties, each with a slightly different taste and texture.

Try Roasted Squash and Kale Salad, Braised Kale, Tuscan Kale with Almonds, Plums and Goat Cheese. I like Kale chips - here is a recipe for kale chips. Thanks to Dr. Joe Mercola for all the helpful information on how healthy kale is for our bodies (and the recipe!). 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of tamari, 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar, 1/2 pound of kale (stems removed, leaves torn), 2 tablespoons of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Preheat oven to 425°. Combine all the ingredients and toss with the kale leaves. Divide mixture into two shallow baking pans, bake until crisp and golden (about 15 minutes), stir occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

Why are so many people gluten intolerant? 5- 10 years ago, the average person didn't even know what gluten was and now it seems that more and more people are getting sick from gluten. First, what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping the dough rise and gluten gives the dough it's chewy texture. So, naturally it is found in all baked goods and anything else made with the above grains, like pasta.

The problem with gluten sensitivity may not actually be the gluten. It turns out, according to recent research performed at M.I.T., scientists have found that glyphosate may be the culprit. Glyphosate is a weed killer, herbicide that is extremely potent and has been shown to cause health problems. Companies like Monsanto include this chemical in their weed killers and supply those same weed killers to farms as well as the average household consumer.

Even though wheat is not a GMO crop, glyphosate is widely used to harvest it and it is typically heavily contaminated with glyphosate. Glyphosate exposure appears to be strongly correlated with the rise in celiac disease. Glyphosate has been shown to severely damage your gut flora and cause chronic diseases rooted in gut dysfunction. The use of glyphosate on wheat crops has risen in tandem with the rise in celiac disease. In fact, it correlates to a greater degree than glyphosate usage on corn and soy.

So, once again man messes with nature and then man becomes messed up as a result. That is why it is extremely important to purchase your wheat products as organic and to not purchase GMO products to help eliminate your exposure to glyphosate.

I love cucumbers! Loads of them. I like to eat them. I make cucumber salad. I put them in smoothies, in tomato salad, as a side on a plate and even as pickles. But believe it or not, my health thoughts about cucumbers were not that high. I thought they were just a tasty low calorie food with a good amount of fiber in the skin. Well guess what? Cucumbers just took a huge jump up on my list of healthy foods. I just found out that cucumbers do way more than just fill your stomach.

Cucumbers are made up of 95 percent water, making them an ideal hydrating and cooling food. Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an import ant role in your brain health. Cucumbers also contain polyphenols called lignans, which may help to lower your risk of breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Cucumber extract helps reduce unwanted inflammation, in part by inhibiting the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes (including cyclo-oxygenase 2, or COX-2). Cucumbers are low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them useful for both weight loss and digestive health.

Based on this info, I think cucumbers should be a part of your daily diet.

Astaxanthin (as-tax-an-thin) is an ingredient found in extremely small algae that live in the sea. Astaxanthin is a member of the nutrient family called carotenoids. Carotenoids are the naturally occurring pigments that give foods their colors. For instance, carotenoids are what give the yellows, oranges and reds to foods such as peppers and carrots. Astaxanthin is the carotenoid that gives the red color to salmon and the pink to flamingos. How so? Shrimp and Krill, high in astaxanthin are the main food sources for flamingos and salmon, thus their vibrant color. Carotenoids are very powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent and fight cell damage in the body.

Cellular damage is a precursor for disease. Here is the amazing thing. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 more times more powerful than beta-carotene and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E. Aside f rom being extremely powerful and healthy for the body, one of astaxanthin's main benefits is that it has the ability to cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers. This unique ability brings superior protection to the eyes, brain and central nervous system.

A diet that contains astaxanthin has been shown to have a positive effect in people with conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal arterial occlusion, venous occlusion, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), cystoid macular edema, injuries to the brain and spine, inflammatory eye diseases (i.e., retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis) and Parkinson's, Huntington's and Lou Gehrig's (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) diseases, as well as Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

As you can tell from the above list, one of the body parts that seem to get a tremendous benefit from carotenoids is the eyes. Speaking of eyes, the old adage that eating your carrots is good for your eyes is true, because carrots are a carotenoid with eye protective anti-oxidants. While astaxanthin seems to trump carrots for eye health, eating carrots is another way to make sure your body is getting eye protective antioxidants.

Another important eye nutrient is lutein. Lutein is another carotenoid that protects the eyes in a very big way. Lutein is the carotenoid that produces the yellow pigment. It is found in yellow peppers, carrots and in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. The macula of the eye contains the highest concentration of lutein, making lutein an important nutrient to consume for macular health.

Since this week's Health Tip has become an eye health discussion, I would be remiss to leave out two very important foods for healthy eyes... bilberries and black currants. The anti-oxidants found in bilberries (also known as huckleberries) and black currants have been shown to protect and enhance vision. Eye health is an often neglected part of the average person's health care program, but most of us value our eye sight beyond measure. Taking the steps now to include these nutrients in your diet will help to ensure that your eyes are working fine, well into the future. Do you think it would have helped us be more aware if Bugs Bunny had held a cup full of Krill in one hand and a carrot in the other?

I am a huge proponent of reading labels on food products. It is extremely important to know what is in the food that you eat. There are certain ingredients that need to be avoided at all costs to ensure that the food you are eating is not negatively affecting your health. Two such ingredients are trans-fats (hydrogenated oils) and corn syrup. When choosing foods to eat, my advice is to choose the food with the least amount of ingredients. The least amount of ingredients almost always ensures that you are getting less harmful additives in your food.

For instance, if a food product has 5 ingredients on the label and another one has 25 (and the majority of those 25 ingredients are words that you cannot pronounce), the odds are the food with 5 ingredients is the food that is much healthier for you. I purchase foods with the least amount of ingredients on the label and I personally look for foods with the healthiest ingredients.

The biggest issue I face in reading labels is the ingredient called "Natural Flavorings." The words natural flavorings tends to appear on all food products, healthy or junky. The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).

There is a food flavor industry. Scientists work hard in their laboratories trying to concoct flavors to attract us to food products and not only eat them, but crave the flavors they invent and eat a lot more of the foods that contain these flavors. Givaudan is the largest flavor manufacturer in the world. They are based in Switzerland and their talent is creating "natural flavors" to attract us to the foods produced by companies that purchase the flavorings from them. The food flavors are manufactured to trick your mind into wanting more and more. For instance, they do not manufacture foods to taste like a strawberry, they manufacture foods to taste like the one millionth best tasting part of the strawberry to get you to keep eating and eating, sort of becoming addicted to the taste. These flavor companies do this with "artificial flavors and natural flavors."

The words artificial flavors are easier to understand for me. Artificial means man-made chemicals. I avoid them like the plague. Natural flavorings is the tricky part. I look for foods that are natural. Well, in the case of natural flavoring, natural doesn't necessarily mean good things. Here is an example of some "natural" flavorings included in the ingredient "Natural Flavors" on the back of your favorite foods. Castoreum is a "natural flavor" found in foods that taste like vanilla or raspberry. It is made from the excretions and secretions of a gland from a beavers rear end!! No kidding. Cochineal and Carmine are natural colors that give food an orange and red color. It has been used in apple sauce, baked goods, meat and spices. Guess what it is made from? Insects. The natural flavoring in confectioners glaze is also made from insects. It is a bug juice that protects an insects eggs. Confectioners glaze is used in candy, cosmetics and chewing gum.

I can go on and on. My point with this week's Health Tip is to create awareness how important it is to read labels and to try to find the healthiest foods for you and your family. It's tough! Maybe that is why shopping in the market takes me a really long time!!

According to world renown medical doctor, Joe Mercola, an estimated 13 percent of Americans suffer from migraines. Cluster headaches are far less common, affecting maybe five percent of people, or less. Headaches, especially migraines, are typically caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) will help regenerate your mitochondria. The reduced form, ubiquinol, tends to work best for most people. About 50 percent of those with recurrent headaches are deficient in magnesium. Vitamin B2 deficiency can also contribute to headaches and migraines. A gluten-free diet tends to support both brain and gut health, thereby reducing headaches. Stress, cortisol, and thyroid hormone also play a role in headaches and migraines, making stress relief and addressing your thyroid function essential components of a more comprehensive plan.

In addition to this important information, the cervical spine has been shown to play a major role in the cause of headaches. Cervicogenic headaches are headaches that occur due to tension in the neck. Structurally speaking, if the bones in the cervical spine (neck) are not properly aligned, the resulting tension in the musculature leads to headaches. Also, when the spinal bones are subluxated (misaligned), nerve pressure results which then can cause headaches. As mentioned above, dietary changes can have a positive impact for headache suffers as well as a visit to your chiropractor.

I have been publishing Dr. J. Zimmerman’s weekly health tips for several years. That's a lot of health tips. If I were to go back and review all of the articles, I would find quite a few repeating topics. Some of the things he writes about are too important to only touch on once. Others are simple easy tips that could benefit your health with little effort. Here is a topic that he wrote about a few times in the past and is also simple and easy to implement into your daily health regimen.

“Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in bioactive components like acetic acid, giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial properties. This means that the vinegar has nutrients in it that repair damaged cells and tissues in our body and it has the capability to kill germs and bacteria.

Vinegar is anti-diabetic and may help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Vinegar also has anti-cancer properties and shows promise for helping with heart health, acid reflux, brain health, and weight loss.

When purchasing apple cider vinegar for consumption, look for a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as “mother,” and it indicates your vinegar is of good quality. Your apple cider vinegar should be organic, unfiltered, unprocessed and not distilled. It must be murky looking, not clear. The two most popular brands are Bragg's and Spectrum Apple Cider Vinegar. You can purchase them at most large supermarkets and at health food markets.

I have been consuming vinegar since I was in High School when I read a book called Vermont Fold Medicine. The book extolled the benefits of apple cider vinegar and raw honey (another great health tip!). Two tablespoons of vinegar mixed into a 8 ounce glass of water, taken daily is all you need. If you don’t enjoy vinegar, you can consume fermented foods (like yogurt and sauerkraut) to get many of the same beneficial acids while also helping to recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria.”

Dr. Joe Mercola recently wrote a thought provoking article on how observing stress in other people can caused stress reactions in the non-stressed person. The article reported that stress is highly contagious. Simply observing someone else in a stressful situation typically elicits an empathic stress response in the observer. Empathic stress can be felt whether you’re observing a stranger or an intimate partner, and via direct observation or television.

Happiness is contagious too. People who are surrounded by many happy people are more likely to become happy in the future. While stress may damage your health, positive thoughts are able to prompt changes in your body that strengthen your immune system, boost positive emotions, decrease pain and chronic disease, and provide stress relief. While you can create happiness artificially by taking drugs or drinking alcohol, for instance, the same endorphin and dopamine high can be achieved via healthful habits like exercise, laughter, hugging and kissing, sex, or bonding with your child.

Daily stress from all the nuances of living life is one of the most negative things that can happen to the health of the body. Too much stress in our lives contributes to many diseases including heart disease. One of the pitfalls of stress is that for a lot of us, stress causes us to eat more than we normally would. Stress gain lead to massive weight gain. Thankfully, there are certain foods we can eat when under stress that have a calming effect on the body and help to ease stress. Here are the top ten foods to fight stress as complied by Dr. Joe Mercola.

  • 1. Dark Chocolate. Chocolate has feel good nutrients that affect the mood chemicals in the brain.
  • 2. Protein. A small amount of high-quality source of protein like a piece of cheese, or a handful of macadamia nuts or pecans &ndas h; helps keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.
  • 3. Bananas. Bananas contain dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood. They're also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which help soothe your nervous system, and magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive mood.
  • 4. Coffee. Coffee appears to affect a number of neurotransmitters related to mood control, so drinking a morning cup could have an effect on your general sense of wellbeing.
  • 5. Turmeric (Curcumin). Curcumin, the pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow-orange color, is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. Among them, curcumin has neuroprotective properties that may enhance mood and fight depression.
  • 6. Purple Berries. Blueberries have antioxidants that aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood.
  • 7. Omega-3 Fats. Found in salmon or supplement form, such as krill oil, the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being. One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity5 showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3, while past research has shown omega-3 fats work just as well as antidepressants6 in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects.
  • 8. Oolong Tea. Sipping oolong tea might help you feel calm, as it contains high levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that helps inhibit the firing of neu rons in your brain for an overall calming, anti-anxiety effect.
  • 9. Fermented Foods. Fermented foods like fermented vegetables and kefir are rich in beneficial bacteria that have a marked impact on your gut health, which in turn impacts your mood. Your gut is literally your second brain – created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation – and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control.
  • 10. Kiwi. One kiwi contains more than 85 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, and that's good news for your stress levels. Vitamin C actually helps reduce your body's production of stress hormones8 while boosting your immune function (so much the better for warding off stress-induced illness).

A recent trend I have noticed in health and wellness is that more and more people are interested in "cleansing" their body. It seems overall awareness has increased in the knowledge that the body is exposed to many toxic substances through diet and the environment. The average person is likely to have more than 500 – 1,000 times higher levels of toxic chemical in the fat compartment of their bodies, which includes all fatty adipose tissues, brain and lipids in blood, than what is revealed in their blood.

Chemicals and preservatives in food are built up over time in the body and stored in the body's fat tissue. Exposure to chemicals in the environment (water and air) and occupational toxins (fumes from paints, sprays, etc) are also built up over time in the bod y and stored in fat tissue. Many people are now using whole juice fasts, supplemental drinks, dieting and colonics to rid the body of toxins.

Dr. Joe Mercola, a leading authority in natural health says that a simple way to “detoxify” the body is to optimize your lean body mass through exercise. Most of the toxins are fat soluble and are released when the fat is burned for fuel or energy to maintain the body functions. He goes on to say that the commonly used term “detoxification” is the mobilization and elimination of toxic chemicals, either through your skin and/or GI tract, which are the two organs that have the largest surface areas compared to other organs. Other organs also assist in the elimination process, but they are s lower.

A safe and effective way to detox is to use a combination of niacin (vitamin B3, 100 mg), exercise, sauna therapy, and any instrument to generate heat and promote sweating. A intense exercise session combined with niacin and a sauna, performed twice a week will help to detoxify the body. In addition, substances such as activated charcoal and zeolite clay (and even oils) will also help bind toxic chemical that are then eliminated through your GI tract.

Do you have family members or friends with Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia? Are you getting a little older now and worried about the health of your own brain? Here is some very important information based on new research that shows a direct correlation to what we eat and the development of brain disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

Recent research from the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found that diets rich in carbohydrates are associated with an 89 % increased risk for dementia. Meanwhile, high-fat diets are associated with a 44 % reduced risk. Carbohydrates, when broken down by digestion causes an increase in blood sugar. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels are directly related to Alzheimer's disease. That is why diabetics have double the risk of acquiring Alzheimer's disease.

A diet consisting of vegetables, beans, lean proteins and less carbohydrates is the way to go to ensure brain health. Boosting your intake of healthy fats, the kind found in fish, nuts and olives has been shown to lower your risk of brain disorders. In addition to eating those healthy foods whole, it is easy to add fish oil, walnut oil and olive oil to your diet. It is very important to try and eliminate or drastically cut back on breads, cereals, pasta and other processed carbs (SWEETS, JUNK FOOD) in your diet.

If you are worried about not getting enough carbohydrates in your diet, there are healthy carbohydrate alternatives that do not spike the blood sugar levels as much as other carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes, yams, plain oats and quinoa are lower on the glycemic (blood sugar) index and are full of vitamins and minerals as well as complex carb fuel to help you get through your busy day.

The importance of the proper amount of sleep cannot be ignored. Yes, not getting enough sleep in a night results in a very tired day. But new research shows if your overall pattern of quality sleep is lacking, the negative impact on your health can be huge. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, without sufficient sleep, the neurons in the brain show signs of degeneration.

Interestingly, "catching" up on sleep, like a weekend of sleeping in, does nothing to repair the damage. In the journal, Neurobiology of Aging, research shows that poor sleeping habits cause brain damage and even accelerate onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep deprivation causes disruption of certain synaptic connections that can impair your brain's ability for learning, memory formation, and other cognitive functions.

Maintaining a natural rhythm of exposure to sunlight during the day and darkness at night is a crucial component of sleeping well. Suggestions for improving your sleep include keeping the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees F, and avoiding electromagnetic fields near your bed. This means that you have to keep cell phones and other wireless devices, like modems away from your bed.

Over use of common over-the counter and prescription medication is a huge problem, not only in the United States, but in every industrialized nation in the world. More and more, people are relying on pharmacology to cover-up symptoms and support failing body parts. To the unsuspecting population, reliance on over-the-counter medications doesn't seem so bad. If you have an ache, take something; you'll feel better. One of your body parts not working properly? There are a variety of drugs to take over its job. Sad, lonely, depressed? There are pills for that.

The bottom line is that health does not come from a drug-filled capsule. Health comes from within. Relying on drugs and medications for even the simplest conditions (e.g., colds headaches, sore muscles), overtime, leads to health problems. No matter how you look at it, drugs are toxic to our lives. They build up in our body and overload the kidneys, liver, digestive tract and autoimmune system with dangerous levels of stress. Drugs cause a variety of reactions ( just read the little white pamphlet in the box). They also interact negatively with one another, causing additional stress and illness.

Over time, I suspect that drugs are more responsible for ill health than the actual symptoms that they are covering up. As a matter of fact, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, injuries from medications will soar over the 1.5 million mark this year and cost the healthcare system over 3.5 billion dollars. Staggering. Certain medications save lives. It is vitally important to have these medications in our health care system. Other medications do nothing more than cover-up symptoms, while they secretly make you sick.

In my opinion, other than in an emergency, a health care crisis, or to support a failed system in the body, drugs should be avoided at all costs. The solution is to put time and effort into building the health of the inside of the body. If you are suffering a symptom of ill health or discomfort, find the cause and correct it. Health is accomplished through proper nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, adequate sleep and a properly functioning nervous system. Is it hard work? Yes, but it can be done, it needs to be done and you can do it.

Let's talk about anger today. Not the kind of anger that makes you upset and angry. Not the kind of anger that has you sitting around the house moping. I'm talking about the full blown yelling and screaming kind of anger. We have all seen it in action, maybe its been us doing the screaming.

I used to hear all the time that the people doing the yelling were the lucky ones, they let all of their stress out of their bodies by yelling and the ones who kept it inside were the ones who were going to drop dead of a heart attack. Well, guess what? Wrong.

According to a study from Washington State University as reported on by Mercola.com, when a person is angry, their risk of heart attack increases by nearly five-fold and their risk of stroke by more than three-fold in the two hours following an angry outburst (compared to when they are not angry). The risk was even greater among those who had a history of heart problems or frequent episodes of anger. Intense emotions like anger trigger a cascade of physical reactions, including increases in stress hormones, heart rate, arterial tension, and blood pressure, prompting changes in blood flow that encourage blood clots and trigger inflammation.

While negative emotions may harm your heart, a positive outlook has been linked to a one-third lower risk of cardiac events. After reading this study, calmness is the order of the day! Now you know why meditation is so helpful for fighting stress, calming the body and fostering health.

The onion family of vegetables (the allium group) have been showing promise for fighting cancer. It turns out that these vegetables are high in a natural compound called flavonoids. The flavonoids are what is responsible for having the positive affect on destroying cancer cells. One study said that onion flavonoids slowed tumor growth in mice 67%. The mice were injected with an onion extract. This extract was just as effective as the chemotherapy given to the mice in the control group, with none of the chemo side effects. The onion extract even lowered the mice's cholesterol levels.

According to Natural News, Onions fight multiple cancers - at the right dose. Garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, onions and scallions (or green onions -- which are just young onions), are all allium vegetables. Previous studies have shown that these vegetables protect against multiple cancers; however, onions often emerge as the most powerful single vegetable, simply because we eat more of them.

A recent study from Switzerland and Italy has shed light on just how much we need. Eating up to seven portions of onion per week had mostly minimal effects. However, eating more than seven portions weekly (one portion = 80 grams) had the following remarkable risk reductions for cancers at these sites:

  • Mouth and pharynx: -84%
  • Larynx: -83%
  • Ovarian: -73%
  • Prostate: -71%
  • Large Bowel: -56%
  • Kidney: -36%

Once again, we see that the healthy, whole foods we commonly eat can have a major impact on our health and cancer risk, if we just eat enough of them. Perhaps food really is the best medicine.

Curcumin—a derivative of turmeric, and the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color—has been extensively researched. Curcumin appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer, and has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer of any nutrient. It has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression, both by destroying cancer cells, and by promoting healthy cell function. Research has also shown that it works synergistically with certain chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.

~ Dr. William Lavalley, M.D.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I have to say that there is nothing better than a good kiss. Let me take the romance out of kissing and add some good old fashioned science. The following list complied by Dr. Mercola, extolls the biological virtues of kissing.

Kissing dilates the blood vessels which may help to lower blood pressure. The blood vessel dilation can also relieve headaches and menstrual cramping. When you kiss, your mouth makes more saliva, which then can help fight dental cavities. Kissing activates the brain to release the "happy hormones," helping to elevate your mood. A vigorous kiss can burn 8-16 calories, while not a replacement for the gym, it definitely helps me to keep my boyish figure!

Passionate kissing can boost your self-esteem. One study found that a passionate make-out session before leaving for work caused men to earn more money, increasing work productivity. Kissing will tone your facial muscles. Good kissing is important in finding a compatible mate. Women and men surveyed say that a "bad" first kiss is likely to turn them off as far as pursuing a relationship. Practice, practice practice. Kissing has a beneficial affect on the immune system and reduces allergic responses.

And lastly, psychologists say that women use the intensity and frequency of kissing to evaluate a man's suitability for relationships. In the "duh" portion of the psychologist's findings, men use kissing to increase the likelihood of having sex.

Honey bees are responsible for producing one-third of your fresh fruits and vegetables, but they're disappearing at a startling rate. Since the mid-2000s, honey bees all around the world, including the US, have been dying in unprecedented numbers—many hives literally disappearing without a trace—in a mysterious phenomenon dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Some 130 different kinds of crops require honeybees to transport pollen between flowers, prompting fertilization and jump-starting the production of seed and fruit. As they buzz around in flight, the bee's hair develops static electricity. When a bee lands on a flower, this static charge attracts pollen to the bee like a magnet. Honey bees from one hive can visit more than 100,000 flowers in a single day. Without honey bees, farmers would have to resort to pollinating their crops by hand, which is no quick and easy task.

Certain pesticides called neonicotinoids have been identified as having a particularly devastating impact on bee health and survival. Bee colonies began disappearing in the US shortly after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market. Even the EPA itself admits that "pesticide poisoning" is a likely cause of CCD. Two prominent examples, imidacloprid and clothianidin, are used as seed treatments in hundreds of crops, and virtually all of today's genetically engineered Bt corn is treated with neonicotinoids. One of the observed effects of these insecticides is weakening of the bee's immune system.

The question now, is what can we as a society and as individuals do to help?   1. Support organic farmers and shop at local farmer's markets as often as possible. 2. Cut the use of toxic chemicals in your house and on your lawn, and use organic pest control. 3. Plant a Garden. Both flower and vegetable gardens provide good honey bee habitats. It's also recommended to keep a small basin of fresh water in your garden or backyard, as bees actually do get thirsty! Thanks to the documentary "Queen of the Sun" (Awesome movie on our bee situation) and Dr. Joe Mercola for sending me the information to put this article together.

"Exercise is the best preventive drug we have, and everybody needs to take that medicine." And, as stated by Dr. Timothy Church, Director of Preventive Medicine Research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge: "Exercise strengthens the entire human machine — the heart, the brain, the blood vessels, the bones, the muscles. The most important thing you can do for your long-term health is lead an active life."

"Exercise helps normalize your glucose, insulin, and leptin levels by optimizing their receptor sensitivity. This is one of the most important factors for optimizing your overall health. Compelling evidence also suggests that even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting is itself a risk factor for chronic disease and reduced lifespan. Standing up at regular intervals throughout the day can effectively counteract such ill effects. Researchers have stated that exercise is the “best preventive drug” known. One recent meta analysis found no statistically detectable differences between exercise and medications for prediabetes and heart disease. Exercise affects your entire body—from head to toe—in beneficial ways. This includes changes in your muscles, lungs, heart, joints, bones, and brain."

~ Dr. Joe Mercola

Thousands of food additives are added to US foods, but seven of the worst include high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic trans fats, artificial flavors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Many of the food additives that are perfectly legal to use in US foods are banned in other countries due to health concerns.

  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup is damaging to the liver and leads to obesity due to the fact that it is converted into fat cells directly by the liver. Research also shows that corn syrup can block messages to the brain that communicate "fullness." This then allows you to over eat or drink.
  • Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Nutrasweet) are neurotoxic and have negative affects on the nervous system and over time ingestion can mimic symptoms of MS. Sucrolose (Splenda) is made from chlorinated sugar and disrupts the digestive tract by messing with intestinal flora (an important part of immune system function). Splenda use may also lead to inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Trans fats (any fat / oil with the word hydrogenated in front of it) contributes to cancer, diabetes, reproductive issues and cardiac disease which may lead to heart attacks.
  • Artificial colors and food dyes have been linked to cancer, brain tumors and hyperactivity in children.

  • Artificial Flavors (usually listed in ingredients as "artificial flavors" can contain at least 50 chemicals to make up the desired flavor. One flavor chemical used in "buttered" popcorn has been shown to cause brain disorders.
  • MSG, a flavor enhancer found in countless food products and snack foods is another known neurotoxin, disrupting brain and nervous system function. Use of MSG can lead to symptoms of Parkinsons, Alzheimers and Lou Gerhrigs disease.
  • Food preservatives such as BHA, BHT can cause severe brain disorders. Preservative TBHQ can actually kill you in high doses (5 grams). And sodium nitrate, found in most processed meats is carcinogenic and may lead to cancer.

These are the seven ingredients that I look for on the back of every food label and I will do my best to avoid these additives like the plague!! If you want to read a very thorough article on these ingredients, click here.

Attention. Attention. Listen up people. I am about to beat the drum for the umpteenth time on how to enhance your immune system so that you could prevent the flu and or limit the severity of colds and flu, 100% naturally without costly or dangerous drugs. These techniques, which I have talked about many, many times, will keep you healthier during the winter months. Please follow this simple advice.

First off, please note that every country has a flu season. Ours is November through March. The winter months. Why does the flu attack us during the winter months and spread its nasty virulent germs? It is because we are mostly indoors and we are not exposed to proper levels of sunshine. Sunshine is the catalyst in our body for manufacturing Vitamin D. Vitamin D is made in our body by sunlight exposure. I call Vitamin D the Superman vitamin. Superman gets his powers and extraordinary abilities from Earth's yellow sun. (Yes, I know that I am a geek. Thank you.) Vitamin D has been thoroughly researched and has been found to have huge beneficial affects on the body's immune system. Therefore, in the summer months, with more sun exposure and more vitamin D production, people are typically healthier. In addition, Vitamin D has been shown to have anti-cancer properties and can help the body to prevent cancer. Once again, I call vitamin D the Superman vitamin.

Vitamin D3 (D3 is the form that is best used by the body) is an essential part of the anti-flu program. Everyone needs to be taking this vitamin in the winter time. Vitamin D3 is my family's flu shot. The latest research says that when there is limited sun exposure in the winter time, the body should be takin g 35 units of vitamin D3 per pound of body weight. If you are 150 lbs, 400 units a day is not cutting it. From Dr. J. Zimmerman: “I take 7400 units a day at 205 lb bodyweight. My kids get 1000 units a day at 60 lbs body weight. Personally, I find Carlson's brand of Vitamin D3 to be the best (It is not expensive either).” In our office we carry Vitamin D3 from Anabolic Labs, also relatively inexpensive and easy to take. Stay Healthy Tip #2 > Tip #3

Who would have thought that sitting could be really bad for you? Bad. I mean like kill you bad. I read the sitting story in the news a few months ago, but it never really hit me till I read the following excerpt from Dr. Joe Mercola. It turns out that sitting for extended periods of time is an independent risk factor for poor health and premature death.

Even if you exercise regularly, if you uninterruptedly sit for a great percentage of the time, you’re still at an increased risk of dying prematurely. So, that means if you have a desk job, you could be in real trouble. Research shows that seniors who live a generally active life have better heart health and live longer than those who remain sedentary for most of the day. This holds true even in those who do not engage in a regular exercise routine.

Simply standing up 35 times or more spread throughout the day is a powerful antidote to long periods of sitting and is more effective than walking. Proper posture and properly using your body to work against gravity is foundational for good health.

The Jolly Green Giant's sidekick was a little kid named Sprout. Little Sprout may now be more important than the big ol' giant. According to an article I found on Mercola.com,

"In 1992, Johns Hopkins researched natural ways to squelch cancer. A diet high in cruciferous vegetables was identified as a factor that lowered the incidence. Additional research identified broccoli as having some of the most potent anti-cancer activity. Since then, when they finally looked into sprouted broccoli seeds, researchers discovered that the phytochemical in the sprouts killed cancer dozens of times more effectively than mature broccoli! The reason why they teach that sprouts are a core food at the Institute is because sprouts, depending on the variety, are anywhere from 10 to 30 times more nutritious than the best organic vegetables you can grow in the best organic soil in your yard. Sunflower seed and pea sprouts tend to top the list, in terms of their nutritional profile, each being typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables. While you can sprout a variety of different beans, nuts, seeds and grains, sprouts in general have the following beneficial attributes: Support for cell regeneration. Powerful sources of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes t hat protect against free radical damage. Alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic). Abundantly rich in oxygen, which can also help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses and bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment. Phytonutrients, found in raw foods such as sprouts, are key for reversing disease with food. This is such a common-sense approach to health."

Brushing your teeth with chocolate? Sounds like every kids dream. It could even be a scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A recent study presented at the American Dental Association (ADA) 2013 Annual Session pitted fluoride toothpaste against a new toothpaste that contains the naturally-occurring cacao extract theobromine, found in chocolate.

Toothpaste that contains the naturally-occurring cacao extract theobromine was more effective at repairing and re-mineralizing exposed dentin (the tissue that makes up the bulk of your teeth below the enamel) than fluoride toothpaste. People who brushed their teeth with cacao-extract toothpaste twice a day for one week had “100 percent dental occlusion” with the tooth dentin becoming re-mineralized or repaired. Past research has also shown that the phytocompound found in chocolate known as theobromine works better than fluoride at repairing lesions in artificial enamel.

This should fall under the category, " Warning, Extremely Important Info." The drug industry has really tried to ram the HPV Vaccine, Gardisil down our throats with endless media promotion. Their lobby is so strong that the Texas governor tried to make this vaccine Mandatory and when extreme right wing conservative, Michelle Bachman spoke out against it, she was viciously attacked for her anti-vaccine opinion.

The facts remain that this vaccine is being promoted as a cervical cancer prevention vaccine. This is far from the truth. The vaccine is designed to prevent the disease HPV, not cervical cancer. In some cases of HPV, the outcome may lead to cancer. Most cases of HPV resolve on their own and the ones that do not can be easily treated when caught early enough. This vaccine is marketed to wards girls, but since girls are only 50% of the population, the drug industry is now recommending it for boys (100% is much more of the market share!).

Anyway here is the warning. Please read the following. In my opinion, if you have children this vaccine should be avoided. According to Judicial Watch, 26 children died after receiving the HPV vaccine between September 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011. Other serious side effects reported during that time frame included paralysis, speech problems, memory loss, blindness, pancreatitis, ovarian cysts, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

According to one of the world’s top experts on HPV, the HPV vaccine is associated with enough serious side effects that it could prove riskier than the cancer it is supposed to prevent in women, as cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detect ed early enough through normal PAP screenings.

On November 5, Washington State voted on a law to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) foods. This is a huge deal as more and more studies are showing that genetically engineered foods can have a negative impact our health and the health of the environment.

Most other countries require labeling so that consumers are aware of what types of food they are eating, which allows them to have a choice as to whether or not to purchase foods made from GMO sources. To take control of your health, you need to address your diet. Processed foods are one of the primary drivers of chronic disease, so switching from processed foods to natural (ideally organic) whole foods is the first step.

Planting your own can go a long way toward healthier eating, and in the long run, it can provide incentive for industry-wide change, and a return to a diet of real food, for everyone, everywhere. Regardless of the season, where you live, and how much space you have, you can grow your own food. one of the simplest and most inexpensive alternatives is to grow sprouts. Whatever veggies you have left over you can easily ferment, which will provide you with superior, nutritious foods year-round.

How many people do you know are taking a drug called Statins. Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol. The two main side effects of statins are abnormal stress on the liver and muscle aches and pain. In a recent article on Mercola.com, it was revealed to me that people taking statins need to be adding a vitamin supplement to their diet. Read this very important information from the article.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has become one of the most popular and well-researched supplements in the US, and for good reason – it's used for energy production by every cell in your body, and is therefore vital for good health, high-energy levels, longevity, and general quality of life. But while it can be beneficial for virtually everyone, especially if you're seeking to combat the natural aging process, it's absolutely vital for those taking a statin drug.

One in every four Americans over 45 is on a statin, and every single one of these individuals needs to be taking CoQ10 to replenish that which is depleted by the drug. CoQ10 can also help protect your body from free radical damage. What you might not be aware of however, is that there are two forms of CoQ10, and the better, far more effective alternative is its reduced form, called ubiquinol.

Ubiquinol is the form your body actually uses to achieve it benefits. Substantial research shows that if you are over 25, this reduced form is superior for your health in a number of ways. Ubiquinol has only been commercially available for about six years, but already there are well over 100 studies demonstrating its many health benefits. One area of intense research is ubiquinol's effect on statin-induced muscle pain. Ubiquinol is a critical component of cellular respiration and production of cellular energy. When you consider that your heart is the most energy-demanding organ in your body, you can surmise how potentially devastating it can be to deplete your body's main source of cellular energy!

So while one of statins' claims to fame is to ward off heart disease, you're actually increasing your risk when you deplete your body of CoQ10. Hence, if you're on a statin, you MUST take supplemental CoQ10 – ideally in the form of ubiquinol – to counteract the damage being inflicted by the drug itself.

Exercise is great for your heart. Exercise helps maintain body weight. New research on exercise reported on in Forbes magazine explains that exercise has some other very important benefits that we were not aware of.

Recent research reveals that exercise promotes a process known as neurogenesis, i.e. your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, regardless of your age. During exercise, nerve cells release proteins that stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, which in turn helps preserve existing brain cells and stimulates the growth of new neurons.

There’s compelling evidence showing that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia. Workouts using nothing but your own body weight are an efficient way to get fit. You can even fulfill the requirements for a high intensity exercise using nothing more then your own body weight, a chair, and a wall.

A recent interview with Dr. Christine Horner, specialist in alternative health care revealed that thousands of studies show simple lifestyle strategies can be tremendously protective against cancer. This includes food, supplements, herbs, exercise and sun exposure. Many lifestyle strategies tested have the ability to cut your risk of cancer by about 50 percent; sometimes more.

Optimizing your vitamin D levels, for example, has been shown to cut breast cancer incidence by 77 percent in four years. Protective strategies that are effective against breast cancer also work on these other types of cancer. Cancer prevention strategies will also virtually eliminate most other chronic disorders.

She also states that advances in breast cancer diagnosis using thermography (heat and temperature readings from under the skin) are safer and more accurate than mammography. Thermography can be an empowering screening tool, as it can detect the potential for cancer. By identifying areas of high inflammation, you can address the underlying cause of the inflammation before cancer has a chance to develop.

There are many good reasons to become a vegetarian. There are ethical reasons. The majority of animals raised for human consumption are treated inhumanly. There are health reasons. Study after study shows that diets primarily made of vegetables and fruits contribute to a healthy, long life. Now we can also add a scary reason to the list. Agricultural usage accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the US, so it's a MAJOR source of human antibiotic consumption.

Animals are often fed antibiotics at low doses for disease prevention and growth promotion, and those antibiotics are transferred to you via meat, and even through the animal manure that is used as crop fertilizer. Antibiotics are also used to compensate for the crowded, unsanitary living conditions associated with large-scale confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

According to a new Center for Disease Control report, antibiotics used in livestock plays a role in antibiotic resistance and “should be phased out”; 22 percent of antibiotic-resistant illness in humans is in fact linked to food. MRSA infection has been rapidly increasing among people outside hospital settings as well. Increasing evidence points to factory-scale hog facilities as a source.

Previous research suggests you have a 50/50 chance of buying meat tainted with drug-resistant bacteria when you buy meat from your local grocery store. Based on this information, if you continue to eat massed produced meat (beef, pork, chicken), you will contribute to immune system breakdown in the body and ill health.

If you are going to buy meat products, you must purchase organic, grass fed, free range animal meat from organic farms. These farms do not use antibiotics on the animals or in their feed.

This article comes from my colleague, Dr. Jay Zimmerman: ‘My wife has been yelling at me for being lazy this entire summer. "Jay, stop peeing in the garden, please use the bathroom." What if I wasn't being lazy, what if I was using one of the most effective garden fertilizers in existence, my pee! I am only kidding about this, as I have never pee'd in the garden. Yet! But it may be happening soon. Read the following excerpted from Mercola.com.

Beets fertilized with human urine were 10 percent larger, and those fertilized with urine/ash were 27 percent larger than those grown with conventional fertilizer. Urine is naturally rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – the same ingredients in conventional fertilizers. As far as the yuck factor goes, urine is sterile when it leaves your body and carries none of the bacteria in feces (like manure, which has been used for centuries. Urine is also free and readily available, although urine-separating toilets required for widespread collection are rarely used.

Urine represents a viable natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, as do other sustainable options, like enriching the microorganisms in the soil. I, for one, will be saturating my soil this fall and winter to ensure a nutrient rich garden this spring. Just don't tell my family or dinner guests! Oh, one more thing, this type of fertilizer brings growing peas to a whole new level!’

Get your vitamin D3 level checked with a simple blood test. D3 is at least as important as calcium for strong bones, and most Americans don't get enough. Get a minimum of 1,000 IU a day through supplements and food. Recent research says that one should actually take 35 units of D3 per pound of bodyweight. Which means a 200 pound person, for example, would need 7000 units a day.

D3 is probably the most important vitamin to take. D3 is nature's flu shot. Sunshine exposure produces vitamin D in our bodies. This is why there are much lower cases of colds and flu in the warmer months. When fall and winter arrive we are not outside as much and do not have the proper amount of vitamin D exposure.

This is when it is very important to start D3 supplementation in the colder months to keep your body's immune system functioning properly so it can help prevent colds and flu.We then cut back on D3 supplementation in the warmer months due to sun exposure. If you never go outside in the summer, you need D3 all year round!

Are you a gum chewer? Chewing gum ingredients, many of which are potentially dangerous, enter your body directly through the walls of your mouth, bypassing your digestive system, which would ordinarily help to filter some of the toxins.

Common ingredients in chewing gum linked to cancer, organ toxicity, weight gain and more include aspartame, BHT, calcium casein peptone, gum base and titanium dioxide. Chewing gum has also been linked to disruptions to digestion and dental erosion, while doing nothing to curb appetite or weight gain. Yikes!

This year, my friend’s basil crop has been outstanding. Huge bushes full of flavorful leaves! We know basil tastes great in Italian sauces and tomato salad, but what most people aren't aware of is that basil is very good for you.

Basil promotes heart health and healthy skin. Basil has been shown to have promise in cancer prevention as well as improving digestive function. Lastly, oils in the leaves have antibacterial properties and help the immune system fight bacteria. Now it's time to make a large batch of pesto for the winter time!

I don't know if this is a good idea or a bad one, you can let me know. Our fast paced society seems to dictate how much time we can spend on reading. So, in the interest of the time consumed society, I am going to shorten my health tips into short, readable paragraphs.

In the documentary Fast Food Baby (available to watch on You Tube for free), three families struggle with feeding their kids an unhealthy diet and start the journey toward healthier eating. Many diseases that once only plagued middle-aged or older adults, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even liver disease, are now plaguing kids, largely due to poor diet.

The best time to shape your kids' eating habits is while they're still young, as kids learn very quickly to prefer certain tastes and textures, and these can last a lifetime. Offering healthy foods to your children regularly is one of the most important parenting decisions you can make; and remember that it can take up to 15 ‘exposures’ before your child accepts a new healthy food.

How about we put the Brigantine Dog Park inside the Brigantine Elementary and North School? Right in the playground area. Crazy idea? Maybe not. According to Dr. Joe Mercola, most dog owners are aware – from personal experience and scientific research – that canines have a positive effect on human health. But a new study suggests interacting with pooches has the potential to actually alter brain chemistry.

Once a week, Lindsay Ellsworth, a doctoral candidate at Washington State University, takes shelter dogs to a residential treatment center for teen boys with drug and alcohol problems. While there, she measures the mood and emotions of the teens selected to spend time with the dogs, as compared to a group of teens who play sports or video games instead. The boys who spent time with the dogs brushing, feeding and playing with them reported increases in cheerful feelings, attentiveness and serenity. They also reported a decrease in feelings of sadness. Teens with ADHD, PTSD and depression also showed dramatic improvement while interacting with the dogs.

Ellsworth believes dopamine is released in the teens’ brains as they await the arrival of the dogs. She believes interacting with the dogs socially may also trigger release of nature’s feel-good hormones. These responses to the dogs may help restore normal function to brain chemistry that has been altered through drug use. Ellsworth plans to increase visits to the treatment center this summer. She wants to investigate how the dogs impact the teens’ involvement in group therapy and cooperation in structured activities.

Actress Jenny McCarthy was recently called a “blonde idiot” and “a threat to the survival of mankind” in a mainstream media article for speaking out about her son’s vaccine reaction, as ABC TV executives back Barbara Walters hire of McCarthy for daytime talk show "The View." Why was this attack so blatantly aggressive and mean spirited?

I know there is a constant debate on the mandatory vaccine issue in our country and both sides of the issue really battle it out (I know this from my own personal experience). The bottom line is that our country is a free country and we have rights as people to give our opinion. In my opinion it is a shame that the vaccine industry feels that this actress is such a threat that they would double down and hit her with low blows through popular media.

While many in the medical field argue that vaccines are needed and that they are the greatest boon we have to fighting disease, it also can't be argued that medical literature (mostly from the vaccine's own manufacturers) spanning a century, documents the fact that vaccines can cause: brain inflammation, chronic nervous system dysfunction, seizures, arthritis, vaccine strain, viral infection, shock and “unusual shock-like state,” and death. Is pointing this information out a bad thing? I think most people would want to know the risks of taking a drug. Afterall, we are not sheep being led around the pasture. Information allows people to make educated decisons and weigh the risk / benefit ration to decide what is best for them and their family.

Recently published medical literature points out there is insufficient evidence to determine whether the current recommended schedule of 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age six is or is not associated with the development of serious health problems in children, including learning disabilities, asthma, epilepsy and autism. While there is not solid evidence that this schedule is or is not harmful, it cannot be debated that since the vaccine schedule of shots has increased in our country, so has other health conditions.

One out of every six American children is learning disabled, 1 in 9 has asthma, 1 in 50 develops autism. There has never been a large, well-designed study comparing the health outcomes of highly vaccinated children and those remaining unvaccinated or using fewer vaccines. And in my opinion, I think a study like that is well warrented. Thanks to Mercola.com making the public aware of this issue.

If you are like me and take omega-3 fatty acid supplements, you were a little freaked out over recent news reports. I held my breath and waited for Dr. Joe Mercola and his team of researchers to review the paper. You and I can breath easier now. Here is the latest news and a much needed interpretation from a natural health perspective.

A recent case study found that men with higher blood concentrations of omega-3 fat had a 44 percent increased risk of developing low-grade prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest levels. Specifically, higher blood levels of the omega-3 fat DHA correlated to higher prostate cancer risk, while no correlation was found for EPA and ALA. They also had a 71 percent higher risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer. The elevated blood levels of DHA found in the featured study is not necessarily indicative of higher fish consumption. In fact, low-fat diets can increase DHA levels in much the same way omega-3 supplementation can. While the researchers warn that fish oil supplements may be dangerous based on their findings, this study cannot show causation.

Furthermore, here is the most interesting fact of this research, there were absolutely no fish oil supplements given as part of this study! None what-so-ever. On the bright side, previous studies on patients actually given fish oil found that foods rich in omega-3 fats have been shown to prevent prostate cancer from spreading, and one recent meta-analysis found that fish consumption was associated with a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality.

Did you ever wonder how the big drug companies come up with their wonder drugs? A BBC documentary, Pill Poppers shed some light on this amazingly dysfunctional topic. In one major drug company, a laboratory has 2 million chemical compounds in a secure vault. Scientists spend their days introducing disease molecules into each of the 2 million molecules, hoping to see if anything happens. If anything happens, the scientists conduct further testing to find out what has happened and why it happened.

Poppers reported that hundreds of millions of these tests are conducted and it takes $ 1 billion and around 15 years to achieve an approved drug. The scary part is that once the drug is approved by the government, there is no guarantee of its safety. Most information about a drug is learned after it has been released to the general public. A typical clinical trial while the drug is being developed does not give the proposed drug any widespread exposure due to the limited number of research subjects. It is usually after millions of people start taking the drug that the side effects are observed.

Here is a quote from the movie, " Drugs are not designed but discovered, and we only find what they really do to us when we take them. The difference between a drug and a poison is basically the dose." Popular press and TV commercials constantly preach drug usage to us. Over the course of our lifetime, the average person has taken 14,000 pills and by the time a person reaches their 70's they could be taking five or more pills a day. The question that is asked of us in this movie is, are these pills really beneficial and are they doing more harm than good?

The ever evolving field of nutrition does not stand still for a single moment. Each year writers can use new information to reform topics that have been written about in the past. It is with great joy that I am able write once again about one of my favorite topics, the tomato. In regard to summertime treats, one would be hard pressed to find a more satisfying food than tomatoes. Tomato sandwiches, tomato salad, Gazpacho, a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced tomato on a big burger, nothing beats a tomato. Tomatoes are loaded with folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A. Tomatoes are high in carotenoids.

Carotenoids are the chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their yellow and red colors. The four main carotenoids found in tomatoes are beta-carotene, lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene. These carotenoids are what give tomatoes anti-cancer properties. Studies show that eating tomatoes on a regular basis can reduce the risk of cancers, such as ovarian cancer, digestive tract cancers and prostate cancer. As a matter of fact, men who eat four servings of tomato product per week were shown to have a 40%-less risk of developing prostate cancer. One study even showed prostate cancer regression after only three weeks of eating 3/4 of a cup of tomato sauce per day! In addition, eating tomatoes decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and asthma and lung disease. Blah, Blah, Blah. This is the stuff we knew already.

Here is the new information on tomato nutrition. Or should I say, here is the skinny on tomatoes. Eating tomatoes can help you lose weight. Tomatoes contain chemicals in their skin called bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are naturally occurring plant compounds that help fight disease in the plant, itself, and give plants their pigment. The two main bioflavonoids in tomatoes are quercitin and kaempferol. The main selling point of these bioflavonoids is that they may counteract inflammation in the body.

When inflammation is reduced, the body manufactures more of its weight loss hormone, leptin. Leptin plays a major role in suppressing appetite and regulating metabolism, which are both important components of losing weight. So the next time you are trying to decide whether to have a second helping of pasta salad or tomato salad at a backyard barbecue, go with the tomato salad. Not only will tomato dishes taste great but, in the long run, they can help you be healthier and slimmer!

Many foods sold in the US are banned in other countries due to harmful additives, growth promoters, genetically engineered ingredients or other dangerous practices. This includes farm-raised salmon, Hawaiian (GMO) papaya, artificial dyes, arsenic-laced chicken, ractopamine-tainted meat, bromate-containing drinks and bread, olestra, carcinogenic preservatives, and rBGH-laced milk.

To avoid potentially hazardous foods and harmful ingredients permitted in the US food supply, ditching processed foods entirely is your best option. Also swap out your regular meat sources to organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised versions of beef and poultry. The same goes for dairy products and animal by-products such as eggs. As far as salmon goes, farmed salmon are raised on a wholly unnatural diet of grains along with a concoction of antibiotics and other drugs. This diet leaves the fish with unappetizing grayish flesh, so to compensate, they're fed synthetic astaxanthin made from petrochemicals, which has not been approved for human consumption. Farmed Salmon fed these chemicals are banned in Australia and New Zealand.

And get this, If you live in the US and drink Mountain Dew and some other citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks, then you are also getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which was originally patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant. BVO has been shown to bioaccumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses. Bromine is a central nervous system depressant, and a common endocrine disruptor.

And lastly, here is the reason not to eat non-organic chicken. Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. "fresher"). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen. The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. The inorganic arsenic also contaminates manure where it can eventually migrate into drinking water and may also be causing heightened arsenic levels in US rice. The preceding information was given to me from a great article on Mercola.com - search 10 American Foods That are Banned in Other Countries.

Super germs are antibiotic resistant bacteria that have developed from the over use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are a powerful drug that is used when the body cannot fight a bacterial infection on its own. Antibiotics are an important tool in the medical arsenal that have saved many a life since their inception. The problem is that this potentially life saving drug is overutilized, over prescribed and just plain misused. Antibiotics only kill bacteria. They do not kill viruses. Viruses are the germs that cause upper respiratory infections like head colds.

Here is a fact that most people do not realize. Our body's are filled with so much bacteria that it is not even funny. Most of this bacteria exists normally in our body and serves healthy functions. Some of the bacteria in our body that is there on a daily basis can make us sick if our immune systems are not functioning properly. This happens when the bacteria becomes stronger than the body's immune response. When a person is given antibiotics every time they go to the doctor, the bacteria in the body becomes stronger and learns to resist the antibiotic. This is bad. This means that when a germ over takes the body and the body is having a hard time recovering, antibiotic resistant bacteria will flourish and you will become sicker. That is why it is important to avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily. Let the body fight the germs naturally.

Save the antibiotics for when they are really needed, such as when you have developed a bad bacteria positive infection. Remember, it is also not just over using antibiotics when you are sick. In addition to oral medication, the antibiotics are in our foods. Meat, fish, chicken and even plants are treated with antibiotics. When we eat them, the effect is the same. Our body's bacteria becomes more resistant to treatment and the situation, down the road, may be life threatening. Last but not least, avoid overuse of anitbiotics and always try to eat organic meats and produce.

Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey has brought out the best in people, as have other disasters nation wide. We know that volunteering gives us a great amount of personal satisfaction, but now studies show it is even good for our health. People who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not. Separate research has shown that states in our country with a high volunteer rate have lower rates of mortality and incidences of heart disease, while volunteering is also linked to lower rates of depression and a greater sense of well-being. Volunteering is beneficial for a number of reasons, including providing a sense of purpose and new social interactions as well as adding many hours of non-exercise activity into your schedule. Brig Strong!

Since it is summer time and so many of us swim in pools and live near the beach, here is an excerpt from Mercola.com on swim safety. What Makes Spinal Cord Injuries More Likely at the Beach? Playing in the surf is a favorite pastime for many, but aside from drowning, one of the greatest risks it poses is spinal cord injuries that can occur when a wave picks you up and throws you head-first into the sand.

The spinal-cord injuries that follow can lead to paralysis or even be fatal, and Paul Cowan, head of the emergency room at one Delaware hospital, noticed that they often come in waves. He and a team of researchers are now trying to track down whether certain environmental factors, such as wind speed, air or water temperature, or the angle and height of waves, make these traumatic injuries more common, but so far the research hasn’t revealed an obvious pattern.

Others, however, believe that beach replenishment, in which sand is pumped onto beaches to help stop the erosion process, may be creating steep slopes and waves that break close to shore, creating the perfect storm for spinal cord injuries. While this issue has yet to be formally studied, data from the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) shows that major medical injuries often rise on beaches following replenishment projects. For instance, in Ocean City, Maryland after a beach replenishment, major medical injuries rose from 87 in 2006 to 345 the following year. Veteran lifeguard Peter Hartsock said the dangers prompted him to quit bodysurfing altogether.

“I’m not going to tell anybody else not to bodysurf, but as far as me, I stopped during my first year of lifeguarding. Sure it’s fun, but you have nothing between you and the bottom (of the ocean) … I saw so many people get hurt bodysurfing. You don’t know where you’re going to hit, and you’re going headfirst. It’s like diving off a pier when you can’t see the bottom.”

6 Top Water-Safety Tips - If you plan to spend any time in a pool or natural body of water this summer, keep the following tips in mind. They could save a life:

  • Learn to swim; formal swimming lessons have been shown to cut the risk of drowning among small children by up to 88%
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Supervise children when in the water (including in the bathtub); supervisors should be in arm’s reach of preschool children at all times, and should not be involved in other distracting activities, such as reading or talking on the phone, when watching children in the water
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Avoid alcohol when swimming or supervising other swimmers
  • If you have a swimming pool, install a fence completely around the pool and remove toys after use (they may encourage children to enter the pool area); also be aware that air-filled and foam toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe, nor are they an acceptable alternative to a life jacket

Sitting seems like a relaxing thing to do. Most people complain about jobs where they have to stand on their feet all day long. After you review the following facts taken from an article by Dr. Joe Mercola, you may have to rethink the whole standing too much thing!

Sitting for extended periods of time is an independent risk factor for poor health and premature death. Even if you are very fit, if you uninterruptedly sit for a great percentage of the time, you’re still at an increased risk of dying prematurely. Research by the NASA scientist responsible for monitoring the astronauts, shows your body declines rapidly when sitting for long periods.

Simply standing up over 30 times a day is a powerful antidote to long periods of sitting and is more effective than walking. There are virtually unlimited opportunities for movement throughout the day, from doing housework or gardening, to cooking and even just standing up every 10 minutes. It’s not how many hours of sitting is bad for you; it’s how often you interrupt that sitting that is GOOD for you.

The study of aging in medicine continues to amaze me. In the quest for eternal life, science has determined that we can take certain hormonal supplements that diminish in our body as we get older to recapture the glory days of our youth. Naturally, the medical prescription of these hormones tends to be a little more than what was naturally diminished. This way we can "feel younger" than we actually are. Oh, did I mention that to recapture our youth, you have to be fairly wealthy, as these hormonal treatments with growth hormone and testosterone are pretty expensive.

The good news is that I have a prescription for healthy aging that will help you to feel younger, keep you healthier and not really cost you too much more than you already spend. The key to aging well involves three main areas; movement, hydration and nutrition.

First, motion is the key. I had an elderly patient in his 80's who looked like he was in his 60's tell me, if you don't move around, you will rust. Exercise is the key. You have to move everyday. Not work type move, like at your job, but something else in addition to your regular activities. Walk, bike, swim, yoga, weight train, pilates, jog. Just do it. You have to move. In addition, if you work out first thing in the morning and do not eat anything other than a protein food for the first two hours after training, the human growth hormone in your body will be more readily produced, helping to combat the effects of aging. For free, no less!!

Our body's are made up of 70% water. As we get older, our tissues and cells tend to dehydrate more easily. Replace these lost fluids with plenty of water throughout the day and not only will cell aging slow down, your skin will wrinkle less and your muscles and nerves will work better. That's another free one!!

The adage, you are what you eat is very true. Eat high salt, chemical laced food and your body will respond with decreased health and performance. Eat fresh, lively foods without chemicals and you will be healthier and have less illness. Here is some advice that is not free, but well worth the expense to ensure a long healthy life. Take some vitamins every day. Even one multi-vitamin daily was shown to improve the health of people over 55. Fish oil supplements improve heart health, prevent stroke and keep the brain functioning to ward off senile issues like dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Also, take some anti-oxidant supplements like C, E, selenium and astaxanthan to help the cells in your body be healthier and help prevent diseases like cancer.

If you pay attention to these three important areas, getting older won't be a bad thing, it will be a cool thing filled with fun and good health. Click here for the fourth thing to do to help the body age well.

As we age, the joints in our body show signs of degeneration. No kidding. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that as we get older, our joints tend to suffer from aches and pain. Depending on the lifestyle that you have or had, joints can even wear down faster. A life of physical labor, contact sports and repetitive motions can really lead to some achy, stiff joints. Add a few bouts of trauma in there and you can be heading for or have already arrived into "painville."

The good news is that supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and MSM have been able to supply much needed nutrients to these worn our tissues in our joints and prolong their life and usefulness. A sort of new supplement has had promising results with worn joints as well. Egg shell membrane contains many of the nutrients found in ligaments, tendons and cartilidge. A recent study found that after seven days use of egg shell membrane supplement capsules, patients shown increased joint mobility. After 30 days, patients reported that they had less pain and joint discomfort. While egg shell membrane is virtually safe for everyone, the one draw back is that if you are allergic to eggs, naturally you would be allergic to egg shell membranes. For those that aren't, it is worth a try.

Spring and Summer are highly anticipated by all us Northerners who survived a lousy winter. While I can't wait for the warmer weather, there is one thing about warm weather that annoys me. Ticks. Hate them. Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease spread by the bites of ticks. Mice and deer are the animals that are most commonly infected with Lyme disease, and ticks that bite infected mice or deer pass the bacteria on to humans. Lyme disease was first reported in the United States in 1975 in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Once typically found in the northeastern United States, Lyme disease is now reported in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Mid-Atlantic region and the Pacific coast.

The first sign that you have been bitten by a Lyme infected tick is a bull's eye shaped rash circling the bite area. It is extremely important to begin antibiotic therapy at the first sign of the rash. Subsequent symptoms that may develop include chills, fever, headache, lethargy and muscle pain. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause itching, joint inflammation, neck stiffness and erratic behavior. Advanced symptoms from undetected Lyme disease include memory disorders, nerve damage, numbness, sleep disorders, decreased concentration and vision problems. A simple blood test will detect Lyme disease. Then a doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that is causing the disease. When diagnosed and treated early, the body can cure Lyme disease with antibiotics. If left untreated, Lyme disease symptoms may become permanent.

In addition to antibiotic therapy, there are natural treatments that can help to ensure a complete recovery. Omega 3 fats (the fats found in fish & krill oil), ginger root and reishi mushrooms are anti-inflammatory in nature. Since Lyme is an inflammatory disease, it makes sense to boost your intake of one or more of these supplements. Garlic has been shown to have strong immune system support. In addition, vitamin C has anti-viral and anti-bacterial components and maybe helpful in the fight against the Lyme bacteria. Multiple doses throughout the day are the best way to supplement vitamin C.

Once antibiotic therapy is complete, it is extremely important to supplement probiotics in the diet. Probiotics, such as acidophilus found in yogurt, will replenish the friendly bacteria killed off by antibiotic therapy. Chiropractic adjustments have a beneficial effect on the nervous system and can help the immune system work more effectively. Also, chiropractic adjustments are of benefit to people who have late stage Lyme disease that was previously undetected and untreated. The spinal adjustments improve nerve flow through the body and also help with the muscle aches, pain and soreness.

Be conscious of the fact that the best defense against Lyme disease is a good offense. Whenever you are in the woods, grass or doing yard work, afterwards it is important to inspect your body for ticks. If you have been bitten by a tick, be on the lookout for the bull's eye rash or other symptoms, as a rash or red circle does not always appear around an infected bite. Get a blood test as soon as possible if you suspect you may have been exposed to Lyme disease and, if you have been exposed, treat accordingly.

The average American eats about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt a day, the equivalent of 3450 mg each day. The recommended daily allowance of sodium is about 1 teaspoon a day (2300 mg). And if you have high blood pressure, the recommendation is even less, 2/3 teaspoon per day (1534 mg). Too much salt in the daily diet leads to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Salt intake will increase blood pressure; the more salt in the diet, the higher the blood pressure goes.

Once your blood pressure reaches a certain level, your risk of stroke increases dramatically. Lowering salt intake is a proven and simple way to decrease risk factors for suffering a stroke, which can be extremely devastating to your life and your family. Another reason to avoid high salt food is that salt retains water in the body. Too much salt in the diet can cause weight gain and puffiness.

So where does all the salt come from? I mean, if you are not sprinkling salt on your food, how does 3,450 mg of sodium end up in your diet each day? The answer is processed and manufactured food. Seventy-five percent of our average daily sodium intake comes from processed foods, such as tomato sauce, soup, prepared mixes, canned food, condiments, and processed meats, including sausage, bacon and cold cuts. Another culprit for high levels of sodium in our food is all the chemicals that are added to processed and manufactured food. In addition to the directly added salt, chemicals such as baking soda, baking powder, sodium benzoate, MSG, sodium alginate and disodium phosphate all contain high levels of salt. To give you an example of how much sodium can be in a little portion of processed food, one slice of Kraft American Cheese has 290 mg. Ketchup is a big offender as well, with 190 mg per tablespoon. As far as processed food with way too much sodium goes, here is a list of the biggest offenders: Frozen dinner, 780 mg. Ready to eat cereal, 390 mg. Canned vegetables, 700 mg. Dry roasted salted nuts, 190 mg /per ounce. Potato chips and pretzels, 200-400 mg. The types of foods from chain-type restaurants can contain as much sodium as the daily recommended allowance of 2300 mg in one meal!

So, how do we avoid the salt? First, start eating naturally. Naturally means fresh food, such as fresh vegetables and fruit. Stay away from food in a can, bag or box. If you have to use a canned or box food, look for the sodium-free or low salt versions. Adding your own pinch of salt to sodium-free products results in way less salt than would be contained in the 'regular' salted product.

Possibly the most important thing you can do is to look for the sodium content on package labels. If the sodium content is 12% or more of the RDA, then that product has too much salt. As far as enjoying the food we eat goes, salt tastes like salt. Too much salt in or on food makes all food taste the same, salty. So, do yourself a favor, enjoy food the way it tastes naturally and, at the same time, preserve the kind of health that makes life worth living.

This could be the quickest and easiest health tip I have ever written. I literally could be finished in 2-3 sentences. But, knowing me, I will probably go on and drag my health tip out until you stop reading somewhere in the middle of the paragraph. I'll start with the short, quick, easy version of my health tip and see if I have to go on. Ok, here it goes.

Do you want to be healthier and lose weight in one easy step? When you go food shopping at the market, stop buying junky, high sugar, high salt, high fat foods. Purchase wholesome nutritious foods. That's it, simple as that. That's your health tip. Now, here is the part where I go on and drag this tip out. Most people, myself included, have some degree of mental weakness. Meaning, if we have a choice between something that is low calorie, healthy and tastes ok or something that is higher calorie, not as good for you and tastes awesome, we will choose the latter.

At the end of the night or anytime for that matter, if you open your cabinet or fridge and there is junk food in there, you are going to eat it. You can remedy this situation by not purchasing any junk food. Replace the unhealthy food with more nutritious options and now you have eliminated choice. By eliminating choice, you made your home lifestyle a much healthier one, and you will lose weight. I always say, If you don't buy it you can't eat it. My friend says ‘one is too many and 100 is never enough’ about junk food that she can’t stop eating, especially when she’s stressed. Don't buy them and it won't be a problem.

Here is an example with me as the unhealthy eater. One day I was driving home from work and I was planning the salad I was going to make for dinner. My husband told me that our sons were ordering pizza for their dinner. I said that's ok, I'll just make salad for us. I walked in the door and there was half a large pizza left in the box. I walked by the pizza all smug and cocky. "I defy you pizza! I am having a salad." I walked by it again. "You can't make me crack pizza, it's salad for me." We'll, needless to say, I ate four slices of pizza before I made my salad. Darn it. If the pizza wasn't there, I wouldn't have ate it. So, there you go. If you want to be healthier and lose weight while at home, you have to eliminate choice. Make your house a healthy safe haven with good food. Lord knows, you will have plenty of chances to screw up when you are not home!

This is the time of year when allergy sufferers feel the brunt of mother nature. Pressure in the head, sinuses clog, eyes water and noses sneeze. Not to mention headaches and mucous filled coughs. Instead of reaching for that over-the-counter drug, here are some natural remedies that have been deemed successful treatments for allergy sufferers.

  • Try eating locally produced honey. The honey will contain pollen from local plants and trees. This could cause an immune response that will toughen up your immune system and curtail and allergic reaction. Just make sure you don't eat honey if you are allergic to it! And do not give to two year old or younger children, as their bodies may have allergic reactions.
  • Try flushing your nose with a neti pot. This will irrigate the sinuses and clear our a lot of allergens that have built up in the nasal cavity. Please use distilled water, or boil your water first to kill any bacteria that may be in the water.
  • Acupuncture may be expensive, but weekly treatments have shown to reduce breathing problems associated with allergies. Chiropractic care is a natural for allergy sufferers.
  • While not a treatment for allergies, chiropractic adjustments improve nerve flow to the sinuses and allow them to function better at their job (which is filtering and clearing out the gook). Many chiropractic patients immediately feel a release in their nostrils after an adjustment and breath easier through the nose.
  • Lastly, it is important to eat right.

According to Mercola.com, 80 percent of your immune system is located in your gut, so supporting your digestive health is essential to also supporting your immune system, which is your primary defense system against ALL disease. Processed food, GE ingredients and synthetic additives all decimate the beneficial bacteria in your gut, thereby having a negative effect on your immune system. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid processed foods, focusing on organic, locally-grown foods instead (both to optimize your nutrition and avoid pesticides), and include fermented foods in your diet to optimize your gut flora, or use a high-quality probiotics supplement.

Additionally, as it pertains to your diet: about one-third of seasonal allergy sufferers have something called "oral allergy syndrome," in which your immune system is triggered by proteins in some foods that are molecularly similar to pollen. Your immune system looks at the protein molecule and says, "Close enough!" and attacks it. If you are allergic to ragweed, for example, you may have cross-sensitivity to melons, bananas, tomatoes, zucchini, sunflower seeds, dandelions, chamomile, and Echinacea. If you have a grass allergy, you may also react to peaches, celery, tomatoes, melons and oranges. If this applies to you, you’ll want to avoid such foods.

Did you ever hear of the "French Paradox?" No, it is not an action thriller movie. It is the fact that the French, despite their creamy high fat diet, cigarette smoking and wine consumption, have a considerably lower risk of heart disease and obesity than people in many other countries. Even though it seems on the surface that the French are doing everything wrong, a little investigation shows that they are doing everything right (except for the smoking part).

The French diet, while high in fat, is mostly made up of healthy fats. Dairy and vegetable fat, as well as fat from fish, make up a major portion of the fat French citizens consume. The French also eat little to no trans fats, which are the fats that come from hydrogenated oils (the majority of fats consumed in the USA). Trans fats cause heart disease. The French also eat less sugar, more fish, and snack less than people of other countries. They eat smaller portions of food and eat their food more slowly, allowing for proper digestion. The French drink plenty of water and eat more mindfully. They sit and relax while eating, instead of multi-tasking. Also, Central and Southern France have a climate of warmer weather. The comfortable temperatures allow the French to enjoy outdoor activities such as sports and exercise, which the French seem to participate in with zeal.

Another factor in France's overall low levels of heart disease may be the red grape. Red grapes contain high levels of the antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown in studies to lower the incidence of cancer and heart disease. Some suggest that the French predisposition for drinking red wine may contribute to the French Paradox. While resveratrol is contained in red wine, studies have shown that red wine contains low levels of resveratrol. The wine may be a factor in decreased heart disease because of two other ingredients, procyanidins and polyphenols. Researchers feel that these two ingredients provide human blood vessel cells high levels of protection. Researchers have also found that consuming 200-300 mg of these nutrients can help to lower blood pressure.

Interestingly enough, a Red Delicious apple contains 200mg of polyphenols and procyanidins. And, before you start jugging bottles of wine, procyanidins and polyphenols are found in the highest concentrations in European red wines (mostly in wines from southern France) due to the Tannat grape, which is indigenous to that area. Unfortunately, the Tannat grape is usually not found in American, Australian or other wines. Also, you must note that drinking more than 2 small glasses of wine (4-5 ounces) each day can negate the health benefits of drinking the wine.

Nevertheless, after careful investigation, the French Paradox isn't actually a paradox. It is the result of smart dietary choices. Eat healthy fats, drink plenty of water, eat less, eat foods high in antioxidants, get plenty of exercise and relax while you are eating. Sounds like a smart way to be healthy and happy.

Is Mayor Bloomberg of New York a bad guy for trying to cut down on the size of his city's soft drinks? I think not. After the following facts are presented, you may not think so either!

Preliminary research suggests sugary beverages are to blame for about 183,000 deaths worldwide each year, including 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths. Among the 35 largest countries in the world, Mexico had the highest death rates associated with sugary beverage consumption. The US ranked third, with an estimated 25,000 annual deaths from sweetened drinks.

Fructose has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the rise of obesity and related health problems, and while the majority of the problem is caused by the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup added to so many processed foods and sweetened beverages, naturally-occurring fructose in large amounts of fruit juice is also a problem.

Coca-Cola recently released its latest enhanced water product called “Fruitwater.” Despite its name, the product does NOT contain any juice. Rather it’s sweetened with the artificial sweetener sucralose and synthetic chemical “natural fruit flavors.” Your most cost effective ideal beverage is plain filtered tap water. If you want a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice.

I read the above facts in an article posted on Dr. Mercola's website, Mercola.com. I knew high fructose corn syrup was very bad for the health and I knew sugar is a close second ( I have wrote about both many times), but when the number of deaths per year is presented, Mayor Bloomberg becomes my hero. I know it is a touchy subject. Do we want politician's making choices for us and controlling our lives?

The other option is having major corporations, whose sole objective is too make money, pollute our bodies with ingredients that are bad for us just because they are cheaper or make us crave the foods they manufacture? In this case, I am happy with some political oversight!

Since the egg is a symbol of Easter and the beginning of spring, this week's Health Tip is going to be all about the egg. First off, eggs are probably the most misunderstood of foods. It is constantly vilified for being harmful to the heart by raising cholesterol levels. The truth is that eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. As far as cholesterol goes, only a small amount of cholesterol from food is passed into the blood stream. Trans-fats and saturated fats are far worse for the heart. Eggs have numerous vitamins, including vitamin A, potassium and many B vitamins like folic acid, choline and biotin.

Research has shown that cage-free hens have produced eggs higher in various vitamins. Chickens packaged tightly in cages undergo stress, lowering their immune systems and raising their likelihood of infection. Frequent infections are a common problem for animals raised in cramped quarters. Many times, chickens are given regular antibiotics to help keep down infection rates. These antibiotics may lead to stronger, more resistant bacteria in the feces of the chicken and even in that of the farmer who raises them.

Eggs lose some nutritional value when cooked. Regular egg eaters should choose not to scramble their eggs every time. When the yolk of the egg is broken (when the eggs are scrambled) and exposed to high heat, the proteins and fat of the eggs are damaged. In this case, the fat does become unhealthy. Eating scrambled eggs occasionally is not a major problem, just don't make it your routine. Poached eggs and or sunny side up have the most health benefits due to the above mentioned yolk issues.

Here are the top ten reasons to include eggs in your diet.

  1. Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day may prevent macular degeneration. In another study, researchers found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts.
  2. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.
  3. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.
  4. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
  5. They contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.
  6. New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person's lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it.
  7. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
  8. Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.
  9. Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals.
  10. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

From my friend, Dr. J. Zimmerman:   There is a plant that not many people know about that could make a radical difference in your weight loss program. The konjac is a perennial plant that grows on the east coast of Asian countries such as Japan and China. The plant has a part of it called a corm. The corm is very starchy and is used to make flour and gel. Why is that important? The starchy, gelatinous flour can be made into noodles or any other "pasta" type shape. Here is the kicker. Konjac has almost no calories, yet when eaten as a noodle it is very filling due to its high fiber content. A serving size of noodles made from konjac flour has 20 calories per serving and only 4 carbohydrates as opposed to pasta which has 240 calories per serving and 40 carbohydrates.

Not only is konjac noodles great for dieting and maintaining proper weight levels, konjac is awesome for diabetics and people with blood sugar issues as it does not raise the blood sugar levels substantially. The konjac noodle is sold in stores by the brand name Shiritaki Noodles. Shiritaki makes two types of noodles, one made from konjac and the other made from tofu. The tofu one is made out of soy which is not too good for you due to its negative affect on estrogen levels in the body. Stick with straight Shiritaki noodles from konjac flour.

Last week, I sautéed vegetables in olive oil. I then added chicken breast pieces and seasoned the pan with Mrs. Dash garlic and herb spice and a little crushed red pepper. I then added the shirtaki noodles and kept stirring till all was well heated. I topped the dish with sprinkle, romano cheese. It was to die for. The kids couldn't get enough and I ate a full plate or two. I figure I had a very filling dinner with only a couple hundred calories. This is the way to go. We even tried it "Italian" style with tomato sauce and meatballs. Just as good. The only warning I can give you is that when you open the bag of noodles, they stink. Yes, they smell bad. Put them in a colander and run cold water over them. The stink goes right away. Then you can cook with them. Add them to a hot pan or boil for two minutes before pouring sauce over them.

Here is a great story that I found on Dr. Joe Mercola's website. It proves that desire and ingenuity are two traits that can help to overcome many obstacles. Pancreatic cancer is a devastatingly fatal form of cancer, and is typically regarded as the most deadly and universally rapid-killing form of cancer.

A 15-year-old freshman high school student, Jack Andraka, invented a dipstick-type sensor to detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer that is 168 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive, and 400 times more sensitive than the current standard of detection. The test costs three cents, takes five minutes, and has a 90 percent accuracy rate. His primary research tools were Google, Wikipedia, and freely available research studies—online resources available to virtually anyone on the planet with an internet connection.

Once he had locked down his theory, he needed a lab space. He applied to 200 laboratories working with pancreatic cancer and promptly received 199 rejections. But there was one “maybe.” He “hunted down” the professor and eventually landed a meeting. And a place to work. Seven months later, after countless trials and errors, he had created his first paper sensor. The sensor has now been tested in blind studies on humans, and has been found to have a 90 percent accuracy rate.

“Through the internet anything is possible,” Jack says. Jack's primary motivation for this project was that a family member had pancreatic cancer. There are four lifestyle issues known to contribute to pancreatic cancer. They are cigarette smoking, sugar/fructose consumption, lack of exercise, and vitamin D deficiency.

Antibiotics do not treat viruses and colds. They treat bacterial infections and are useless for the flu, head colds and other upper respiratory illnesses. That being so, I find it completely strange and baffelling that when most people go to the doctor they leave the office with a prescription for an antibiotic that will have no influence on what is going on in their body. On the other side of the affect coin, the prescribed antibiotics will have negative effects in the body.

First and foremost, overuse and misuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance. This means that the germs and bacteria that exist in your body will become used to the drugs and resistant to future use of the antibiotic. This makes a "real" bacterial infection very difficult to treat. In addition, antibiotic use disrupts the balance of the intestinal flora. Intestinal flora are the "good guys" of bacteria. This friendly bacteria is extremely important for digestion and helping your immune system to function normally.

According to a report in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr Jonny Anomaly, of Duke University, Durham in North Carolina, says that concerted collective action is needed to tackle the excessive and casual prescribing of antibiotics, which has led to a worrying rise in resistance to these medicines. He goes on to say that antibiotic resistant infections have the power to harm others and make illness more costly to treat, and they can often kill, he warns.

He puts forward several possible ways of tackling antibiotic resistance. These include phasing out the use of these drugs in farming, along with factory farming; cash incentives for pharmaceutical companies to conserve existing drugs; banning over the counter sales of antibiotics in developing nations; and global surveillance of resistant bacteria, spearheaded by the world's wealthy nations.

So the next time you are given a antibiotic prescription for a virus, question the doctor as to why. If at all possible, ask for a bacterial culture so that you can find out if there is bacteria involved and more importantly the specific antibiotic that would be helpful in treating that bacteria if bacteria is present. A virus is best treated with rest, plenty of fluids, extra vitamins, and some of Grandma's chicken soup!

I am a firm believer in the use of vitamin C. Each morning I take 3000 mg. If I feel the early warning signs of a cold or some other virus, I take 3000 - 4000mg three to four times a day. In my case, every single time the cold nerve materializes and if it does it is very, very minor. According to an updated Cochrane Review on vitamin C and the common cold, regular doses of vitamin C of one gram per day (1000mg) or higher have reduced the average duration of colds in adults by 8% and in children by 18%.

Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration and severity of colds in the regular supplementation studies, and the safety and low cost of vitamin C, the authors of the study reported on five randomized trials of participants with heavy short-term physical stress, vitamin C halved the incidence of the common cold. Three of the trials studied marathon runners, one studied Swiss school children in a skiing camp and one studied Canadian soldiers during a winter exercise. Furthermore, in a recent randomized trial carried out with adolescent competitive swimmers, vitamin C halved the duration of colds. (Reported on by Science Daily. com)

I have written about this topic in past Health Tips, but new research is forcing my hand to report on this amazing supplement once again. Astaxanthin is believed to be the most potent antioxidant nature has to offer. In terms of antioxidant power or potency, astaxanthin is 550 times stronger than vitamin E, and 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C. While it is related to other carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and canthaxanthin, it has a unique structure, and works in some very unique ways.

It acts on at least five different inflammation pathways, and can handle far more free radicals at any given time. The combination of its high-potency antioxidant- and anti-inflammatory properties allows it to address a vast array of health concerns, including joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow; protection from UV radiation; improved athletic performance; heart health; brain health, including protection against age-related dementia; and protection against age-related macular degeneration—the most common cause of blindness in the US.

Thanks to Dr. J. Mercola for summarizing this important supplement. Here is the last word, by Dr. Mercola himself, "As an antioxidant, astaxanthin has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, which makes it useful for a number of diseases associated with inflammation, such as arthritis. However, it's not a magic cure. Not mistaking astaxanthin for a cure is an important point. However, it can effectively relieve symptoms when taken consistently over several weeks (effects are usually noticeable after about two to four weeks). And in many cases it can do so more effectively than far more expensive and potentially toxic prescription anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain killers. If you decide to give astaxanthin a try, I recommend starting with 2 mg per day, and working your way up to about 4 mg per day, or more if you're an athlete or suffering from chronic inflammation."

It's cold outside!! Most people hunker down when the temperature drops. They turn the heat up on the ol' thermostat, throw a log on the fire and cover up with a blanket on the couch. We are the lucky ones. For those of you that work outside all day long or for those who get their enjoyment from winter outdoor sports like skiing, you have to know how to dress to thrive and survive. When the body gets too cold, bad things can happen.

Hypothermia is the condition when your core body temperature drops below the needed temperature to maintain the normal functions in your body. For example, the heart, lungs and all the other organs function best when the internal temperature does not drop below 95 degrees. If your temperature drops below 95 and stays that way for a while, you will start to shiver and then mental confusion will set in. Stay out much longer past that and then your muscles stop working properly. Next, the blood flow slows down causing a drop in blood pressure and then the heart starts to act up, leading to eventual cardiac arrest and death. Ironically, the brain is so cold that it takes much longer to undergo brain death. The trick is to dress for success. The Mayo clinic lists ways to prevent hypothermia. Here you go:

  • Cover. Wear a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping from your head, face and neck. Cover your hands with mittens instead of gloves. Mittens are more effective than gloves because mittens keep your fingers in closer contact with one another.
  • Overexertion. Avoid activities that would cause you to sweat a lot. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause you to lose body heat more quickly.
  • Layers. Wear loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material is best for wind protection. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat better than cotton does.
  • Dry. Stay as dry as possible. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible. Be especially careful to keep your hands and feet dry, as it's easy for snow to get into mittens and boots.

Thank heavens for science. Scientists have figured out why I, and so many others, feel great when we walk barefoot in the grass and on the beach sand. In the olden days, people had continuous contact with the Earth. Our feet touched the ground, most of the time barefoot. Today our feet are separated from the Earth by layers of concrete, flooring, rugs and our shoes. Science has found that direct contact with the flesh of your feet to the Earth grounds your body.

Direct contact with the Earth produces electrophysiological changes that protect the body from electromagnetic fields (EMF). EMF's are all over the place and come from Smart phones, computers, modems and all wireless equipment. Contact with the Earth helps to invigorate and supply the body with electrons. Electrons from the Earth are incredible anti-oxidants and can act as an anti-inflammatory.

The process of purposely spending time in contact with the Earth as a health regimen is called Earthing. Earthing will ground the body and decrease potentially harmful electromagnetic fields. So, the more you walk in your barefeet with direct contact to the Earth the healthier you will be. Now, who is going to be the first one to report back to me how the grass feels in 25 degree temperatures?

Did you ever why the flu is rarely mentioned during the summer months? Have you ever asked yourself why there is a flu season? The answers to these questions both have to do with one thing, the sun. In the warmer months, our bodies are outside hanging out, playing sports, doing yard work, going to the pool or the beach. We are soaking up vital sun rays that when absorbed into our body, produce ample amounts of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is a crucial vitamin as far as our overall health is concerned and the only way to acquire Vitamin D3 is from the sun or vitamin supplements. Vitamin D3 research shows that D3 increases immune system function. The immune system is what fights off unwanted germs and viruses in our body. In addition, vitamin D3 has shown that it has very strong anti-cancer properties.

The obvious conclusion is that since we do not produce Vitamin D3 in the colder months due to lack of sun exposure, our immune systems are not as protective against the germs that cause colds and flu. The best thing to do in the winter season is to take supplemental Vitamin D3 on a daily basis. Research shows that the effective dosage is 35 units per 1 pound of body weight. Take your weight and multiply by 35 and that is your optimal dosage. It is also very important to take Vitamin K with D3, as vitamin K has beneficial effects that ensure the effectiveness and safety of using vitamin D3 supplements on a daily basis.

January is typically the time for reflection and time to reorganize many aspects of life. While I am not an expert on goal setting and organizational skills, I am pretty good at health and wellness issues. January is the perfect time to rethink your health. If your eating habits aren't the best, paying attention to what you put into your body would be a great New Year's resolution. Limit the the junk, knock out the sugar, stop the soft drinks, eat more vegetables and healthy fats, cut out the processed carbohydrates like bread, cereal and pasta. If you pay attention to your diet in the coming year, I can guarentee that you will be healthier and lose a few pounds too!

I'm one of those persons who exercises regularly. For some people the word regularly can also be substituted with the words fanatically, insanely and notoriously. Although that doesn’t describe me, I do my best to I never miss a scheduled workout. When I’m in a regular routine, work week or vacation, doesn't matter. I also exercise when I don't feel good. Head cold, sore throat, nausea. I just do it. I always thought that I could ’sweat it out’ that way.

Based on new evidence, I have to rethink my exercising while sick regimen. It turns out, as per Dr. Joe Mercola and his team at Mercola.com, "Too much exercise, especially intense exercise, should be avoided, as it will place more stress on your already stressed system and worsen or prolong your recovery. Generally it is wise to avoid all but gentle exercise when you are sick as it will be an additional stressor that your body will not respond well to. If you have a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, headache, nasal congestion, it’s usually ok to exercise, but you should reduce the intensity, aiming at a moderate level of exercise. If your symptoms are primarily below your neck with fever, fatigue, body aches, vomiting, rather than the ones listed above, exercise should generally be avoided. No matter what your symptoms, you need to be very careful and listen to your body. If you don’t feel up to exercising, don’t; get some rest instead."

I found this essay written by health advocate Chet Day. I thought it was worth sharing with you. "I don't diagnose or prescribe, and what you do with your body remains entirely up to you and your doctor, but I'll gladly tell you what I do regarding flu shots and flu snorts... I avoid them like the plague! In fact, at age 61, I've never had a flu shot, and it would take a Marine nurse and at least four burly wrestlers the size of Jesse Ventura to hold me down for such an injection. And you'd have to add Mike Tyson to the above list to get a snort of FluMist™ in me since I think you'd have to be out of your mind to purposely accept delivery of a live virus that close to your brain.

Perhaps you already sense I have negative feelings about flu shots and flu snorts? You're right, I do. And these feelings stem from personal opinion, reading, and a little common sense. You see, I don't think toxic chemicals and virus strains grown on living tissue and/or genetically modified in sterile laboratories belong in the human body, even when they're packaged in glass vials or nasal inhaler mechanisms and "delivered" into your body by a medical doctor, registered nurse, or licensed pharmacist. Interestingly enough, I'm not alone in this thinking.

You see, in the fall of 2006 the prestigious British Medical Journal published a paper by respected vaccine researcher Dr. Tom Jefferson. Entitled Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence, the paper supported my long-held personal opinion that flu vaccine programs may be worthless. In his paper "Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence" Jefferson concluded that influenza vaccination programs, which cost nations hundreds of millions of dollars every year, could be a waste of time and money.

Jefferson examined all the research previously published in the world on the effects of inactivated vaccines (vaccines with dead viruses). And what did Dr. Jefferson learn?Quite simply... In children under 2 years inactivated vaccines had the same field efficacy as placebo (sugar pill), and in healthy people under 65 vaccination did not affect hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its complications. You can be sure these findings cemented in concrete my annual decision to avoid a flu shot! I URGE parents whose doctors are telling them their babies or children need a flu shot to consider Jefferson's eye-opening conclusions."

A new report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology claims that 90 percent of melanoma surgeries are actually unnecessary removals of benign lesions, raising questions about the accuracy of the “melanoma epidemic.” The report highlights the necessity to get a second, and perhaps even a third opinion from a specialized clinic before going under the scalpel.

It is very important to find a dermatologist that is more interested in your health than the amount of money they are able to acquire from preemptive slicing of your skin. Also, the State Board of Medical Examiners has stated that it is very difficult to prove that doctors are performing unnecessary melanoma surgeries as the procedure is based on doctor opinion. For example, "This skin lesion seems suspicious to me, let's take it off and have it tested."

As per Dr. Mercola.com, Propolis, the "caulk" honeybees use to patch holes in their hives, has been used as a natural remedy since ancient times, treating ills ranging from sore throats and burns to allergies. New research has revealed another exciting use for this seemingly miraculous substance, this time in the fight against cancer.

  • Propolis, the “caulk” honeybees use to patch holes in their hives, may slow the growth of prostate cancer
  • When low oral doses of a propolis extract were given to mice with prostate tumors, tumor growth slowed by 50 percent, and feeding the substance to mice daily caused the tumors to stop growing
  • Propolis has powerful immune-modulating effects, along with potent antioxidant and anti-microbial action, and healing, analgesic, anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Like propolis, a handful of additional natural compounds have been discovered that show promise for treating cancer without the toxic effects caused by chemotherapy; bromelain, vitamin C, turmeric (curcumin) and eggplant extract are among them

I am sure I am not the only one who has heard this before. Many various, unverified sources over the years have told me that people who hold their anger, tension and stress on the inside of their body are heart attacks waiting to happen. The people who vent (ok, scream and yell) suffer the least from stress born illnesses like heart disease.

While there is no substantiated truth to these statements, it is a known fact that stress, in addition to diet and other unhealthy choices, is a leading factor in heart disease. So, in my effort to help the people who do not have the inborn talent to vent, it has come to my attention that screaming is a very good stress and tension releaser. I don't mean screaming at another person (even though that can feel good). I mean screaming or yelling at the top of your lungs in private.

The screaming releases a lot of pent up stress and anxiety and the oxygen used screaming leads to a post scream, euphoric calm. If you embarrass easily and don't want anyone to hear you, scream into a pillow. While screaming may be good for relieving stress, it is not for everyone. If you have a health condition that screaming could affect, don't do it. For everyone else, just shout it out! AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

A recently released documentary, the film Doctored reveals the hidden truth behind the chiropractic profession’s struggle against ignorance, and the systematic and deliberate campaign by the American Medical Association (AMA) to destroy complementary medicine. In 1984, the US Supreme Court found the AMA guilty of an illegal conspiracy to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession, and ordered the AMA to cease its illegal boycott of chiropractors. Conventional medicine, backed and ruled by the pharmaceutical industry, is corrupt to the core and frequently does more harm than good, while simultaneously protecting their business and hiding its ineffectiveness by suppressing legitimate, safe, and effective alternative or complementary practices.

~ Mercola.com

According to an article published by Dr. J. Mercola, "Last year, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec made the disturbing discovery that Bt-Toxin from genetically engineered Bt corn accumulates in the human body – contrary to industry assurances.

The toxin was identified in 93 percent of pregnant women tested; 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies; and 67 percent of non-pregnant women. The study blew a giant hole in safety claims over genetically engineered Bt crops. Now, results from a German study shows that people who have no direct contact with agriculture have significant concentrations of glyphosate in their urine.

It's becoming quite apparent that genetically engineered crops are a source of multiple toxins, in addition to having been found to contain far lower levels of nutrients. So much for saving the world from starvation. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, which is sprayed in large quantities on genetically engineered, so-called "Roundup Ready," crops. Such crops are genetically engineered to withstand otherwise lethal applications of the herbicide." This issue brings to light the importance of food labeling and the major amount of influence corporations like Monsanto have on our government.

Currently, in our country, genetically modified (GM) food has no food labeling requirements. This means that consumers, whether they want to eat GM food or not, have no idea that they are. California has a proposition on this November's ballot to require GM food labeling. Monsanto is spending millions to defeat it. This is one argument where consumers need to be on the same side of this issue and voice their support of GM food labeling or even outlawing GM food (as it is done in several other countries).

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that is highly contagious, especially in young children. The medical profession states that whooping cough affects unvaccinated children. The bottom line is that there are an equal number of whooping cough cases in fully vaccinated children.

The illness causes a severe cough, which is the reason for the name, "whooping" cough. It starts like a cold, with congestion and upper respiratory symptoms, and then progresses to a cough. The cough can become very severe, causing the child or adult to not be able to catch their breath. The symptoms are pretty nonspecific, and so doctors don't always suspect it. The whooping noise comes from the patient trying to suck air back into their lungs. The “whoop” sounds like a sharp gasping intake of breath after all the air has been coughed out of your lungs. If there is not a "whoop," it's likely to go unrecognized because there aren't really other signs and symptoms that are as characteristic.

Whooping cough spreads through close contact with oral secretions or respiratory droplets. So it's easily spread through the cough, especially when people are in close contact, like living in the same house with a person who has whooping cough. It can also be spread through sneezes - anything that spreads respiratory secretions. The highest incidence is in infants, and they're also at greatest risk for complications if they develop the disease.

Whooping cough is typically treated with antibiotics, since it is a bacterial infection. In addition, there are many different natural remedies that can help the body rid itself of this infection. The homeopathic remedy Drosera Rotundifolia will provide relief for many cases of whooping cough. In addition, foods or supplements that help boost the body's immune system will be extremely beneficial to a child or adult with whooping cough. Liquid vitamin C taken multiple times per day is a big help as are garlic supplements, elderberry extract, vitamin D3 and other antioxidants like pomegranate concentrate. Oregano oil diluted with water or juice also has many anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Treat the cough symptoms with organic raw honey.

Lastly, chiropractic spinal adjustments have been shown to boost overall immune system function and improve overall health.

As reported on in the article Less Can Be More, by Dr. Joe Mercola, a recent study found that men who exercised at medium intensity for 30 minutes, several times a week, shed two pounds more weight over the course of 13 weeks than those exercising for 60 minutes at the same intensity and frequency. Evidence suggests there may be a “Goldilock’s Zone” when it comes to exercise. “Just enough” boosts your overall energy levels, spurring you to be more active during non-exercising hours (taking stairs, getting out of your office chair more frequently, walking longer distances).

“Too much” exercise might actually lead to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle outside of exercise hours, likely due to a combination of exhaustion and inadvertently eating more to compensate for the high calorie expenditure during exercise. The types of food you eat, may play a significant role in decreasing or heightening sensations of hunger afterward, which will affect your overall calorie intake for the day.

Eating carbohydrates for breakfast will promote fat storage, making weight loss more difficult despite exercise. Avoiding fructose and other grain carbohydrates is a critical element of a successful weight loss strategy. This includes sports or energy drinks and fruit juices (even if they’re freshly squeezed). Abstaining from food altogether for certain periods of time, known as intermittent fasting, can help boost exercise results even more.

The common cold is one of the most common infectious diseases shared by Americans and can be caused many different types of viruses. Unlike bacteria, colds are usually spread by hand-to-hand contact between people, or by touching objects that the viruses may be living on. The spread of these viruses occurs more by touch than by coughing or sneezing. Since colds are viral in nature, antibiotics are absolutely useless and should be avoided unless your doctor diagnoses a serious bacterial infection that is occurring along with the virus. Antibiotics overuse contributes to the problem of drug-resistant bacterial infections.

The key to preventing colds and recovering from them quickly is to maintain a strong immune system, which means getting enough sleep and exercise, optimizing your diet, avoiding sugar, managing your stress, practicing good hand washing technique, and maintaining an adequate vitamin D level.

Vitamin D is a potent antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Suboptimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections. Besides vitamin D, a few other natural supplements, like vitamin C, elderberry extract and oregano oil can be very helpful in fighting off or preventing a virus from overcoming your body.

In addition, since your nervous system controls your immune system and is an extremely important part of immune system function, chiropractic spinal adjustments can help to boost your immune system.

Broccoli has always had a well deserved reputation for its nutritious benefits. Love it or hate it, broccoli can not be denied its status as a superfood. A new study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, has found even more evidence to support eating broccoli as much as possible. An ingredient in broccoli called glucosinolate, produces a nutrient called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is the nutrient that gives broccoli its super powers. As a matter of fact, Sulforaphane is also found in cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish and arugula. However, broccoli contains the highest amount of sulforaphane.

What makes sulforaphane so beneficial, you ask? Sulforaphane has been shown to have anti-diabetic and anti-bacterial properties, and also kill cancer stem cells. By eliminating cancer stem cells, the growth of tumors can be slowed down. Cancer researchers believe killing cancer stem cells may be the answer to controlling cancer. In addition, the new study also found that the sulforaphane in broccoli improves blood pressure and kidney function. So, if you don't like to eat your broccoli, it may time time to squeeze your nostrils together and power it down. This vegetable has the potential to add years to your life!

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is such a common health problem that one out of three of you reading this has it. Uncontrolled hypertension is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. Hypertension is especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. Doctors will diagnose you with high blood pressure if your blood pressure reading is anything above 140/80.

One of the most common risk factors for high blood pressure is body weight. So if you are over weight, your risk for developing high blood pressure increases. Recent research is now showing that for the most part, high blood pressure is related to your body producing too much insulin. As your insulin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase. Research published in 1998 in the journal Diabetes reported that nearly two-thirds of the test subjects who were insulin resistant also had high blood pressure.

For some people, lowering blood pressure can be achieved by implementing five techniques that address high insulin levels. One of the most effective ways to lower insulin levels is with a regular exercise routine. Additionally, it is important to avoid foods that cause insulin levels to rise. If you have high blood pressure, breads, pasta, rice, cereal and potatoes should be limited or avoided altogether. Too much fruit can also cause a spike in insulin levels. Reducing stress levels is also an important factor in lowering blood pressure. Prayer, meditation and deep breathing techniques all seem to help. Vitamin D3 supplementation also has an affect on blood pressure, as levels too low can increase risks for heart disease and diabetes. Lastly, making sure that you have an adequate intake of omega 3 fats such as fish oil, krill oil and walnut oil all seem to have affect on blood pressure levels.

One last bit of advice. If your blood pressure is very high, it is extremely important to be on a blood pressure lowering medication. Very high blood pressure can lead to stroke with associated brain damage. The long term goal would be to address all the natural ways of lowering blood pressure, by applying the five items just talked about, so that you can eventually get off of the medication.

A new report from the Health Care Research Collaborative, reported on my Dr. Joe Mercola of Mercola.com, has ruled that the impacts of mercury in dental fillings on human health and the environment far outweigh those posed by safer alternative materials. This echoes findings from the World Health Organization (WHO), which, in its final report on dental amalgam, also took a stance against the use of mercury in dentistry, urging "a switch in use of dental materials" away from amalgam." Mercury vapor from the amalgams passes readily through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier, and into your central nervous system, where it causes immunological, neurological, and even psychological problems; it also poses a significant environmental burden. Safer alternatives, such as resin composite or atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) are now widely available. If you’re thinking of having your mercury fillings removed, get healthy first, as you want your detoxification mechanisms optimized prior to removal, then seek out a qualified biological dentist.

In third-world countries, sunlight exposure is often used to help make water safer, but this natural disinfection process can take anywhere from six to 48 hours (depending on cloud cover and so on). Researchers have discovered that adding lime juice to the water, and then exposing it to sunlight, make this disinfection method even more powerful, significantly reducing levels of bacteria like E. coli in just 30 minutes. Natural disinfection processes like these could have an extremely beneficial impact in countries that don’t have ready access to clean drinking water. Implications for use of a squirt or two in a glass of your drinking water are also beneficial. Lime juice will act as a disinfectant and also add needed electrolytes and vitamins to your water. When you are in a restaurant, ask for a lime wedge instead of a lemon. If you have any doubt of the water's safety, this little trick should ease your mind.

The last few weeks I have been on an informing mission concerning genetically modified soy. This week, I feel the need to continue the discussion on soy in general. Medical News Today reported on a paper published in the Journal of Biology of Reproduction. The paper stated that plant estrogens, such as that found in soy, can have profound detrimental effects on a developing fetus.

Exposure to estrogenic chemicals in the womb or during childhood has the potential to negatively affect a woman’s fertility as an adult, and has previously been linked to an increased chance of breast cancer. Earlier research has found that a compound found in soy called genistein can impair sperm motility. Tiny doses of this genistein compound in the female tract could destroy sperm and impair your ability to conceive.

There are two main actions to take after digesting this information. One: avoid feeding your baby soy infant formula as it can equate to giving her an estimated four to five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day and soy infant formula can contain potentially dangerous levels of aluminum and manganese—both of which are linked to reduced IQ. Two: eliminate or limit your soy consumption to protect yourself from increasing estrogen levels and potential fertility problems.

The Monsanto corporation is at it again. In conjunction with the soy bean industry, Monsanto is trying to position genetically modified (GM) soy beans as a prime choice for the aquaculture industry. What this means is that GM soy would be used as fish feed for fish farms. Fish farms grow fish for human consumption, such as bass, trout, catfish, salmon, tilapia and many others.

Consuming farmed fish is already a controversial subject, as farmed fish tend to be more exposed to man-made contaminants. A GM soy based diet would be more icing on the cake. Soy is not a natural food found in the oceans and lakes, it poses risks of polluting the water due to the herbicide that is contained in the GM soy. Adding GM soy to another human food supply (it is already added into processed food and factory farmed meat), raises even more concerns.

Who wants to consume animals or food that is laced with herbicide in its genetic make-up? Personally, I boycott all farmed fish and only purchase fresh and local fish. I try to boycott GM Soy whenever possible. It is very hard to do, as soy is added into everything and our country does not require the labeling of genetically modified products as most other countries do.

Boycotting GM soy and farmed fish sends a very important message, as it shows your support for natural, organic foods and local farms and fisherman.

One of the most horrific words a person can hear concerning their own health is cancer. Cancer will scare the daylight out of you. While cancer treatments have come a long way in prolonging and saving lives, the mainstay of cancer treatment, chemotherapy is downright barbaric. I say barbaric, not in a mean spirited way (it has saved many lives), but a factual way. Chemotherapy is designed to kill the body's cellular tissue. Along the way, the body can become deathly ill. The theory is that the cancer cells will be killed off before the body is negatively harmed.

A recent survey of oncologists found that they would choose not to have chemotherapy if they were diagnosed with terminal cancer. They have seen first hand how the treatment can negatively affect the body. An article published July 11th, 2012 on Mercola.com stated that "chemotherapy destroys healthy cells throughout your body right along with cancer cells, a “side effect” that often leads to accelerated death, not healing; it is also known to encourage the growth of the treatment-resistant cells within tumors, making the cancer more deadly as a result."

The killing off of body cells is called cytotoxicity (Cyto ~ cells, toxicity ~ death). Some major inroads have been made in the field of "selective cytotoxicity." Selective cytotoxicity is the ability to target specific cells (cancer cells) and leave other cells (healthy cells) alone. Have you ever eaten pineapple? Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple stems was found to be selectively cytotoxic. In fact, when compared to the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorauracil, bromelain was found to be superior in treating cancer in animals. Bromelain can be helpful in treating cancer because it helps restore balance to the immune system as well as targeting cancer cells with its selective cytotoxic ability.

An apple a day keeps the doctor way. How about a pineapple a day?

In past health tips, I have written about the benefits of organic coconut oil for improving overall health and specifically brain function. Coconut oil has been shown to have positive affects on improving cognitive function in people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Well, after you read this week's Health Tip you can add astaxanthin to that very important list of nutrients that have shown benefit to people suffering from senile dementia and Alzheimer's type conditions.

Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful antioxidant. It is a fat soluble nutrient responsible for giving flamingos and salmon their vibrant pink color. This nutrient has properties that easily cross the blood-brain barrier, helping to prevent neuro-degeneration associated with cellular damage. Basically, astaxanthin becomes an essential brain food, helping to preserve the brain's many thought processing areas.

Besides astaxanthin and coconut oil, other key approaches to prevent and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and dementia include a healthy diet, regular exercise ( including physical and mental exercises), eating enough B vitamins, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E and omega -3 fats from fish, krill and walnut oils.

Drugs for the most part are very harmful and need to be avoided at all costs. Certain drugs support a failed system in the body and are required for that body to continue living. Think organ rejection drugs, insulin, high blood pressure medication (if a person's BP is dangerously high), thyroxin (for people without a thyroid gland) and others.

One drug that fits into the category of both harmful and life saver is antibiotics. Antibiotics are designed to save lives. They are extremely important when the body has an infection that it cannot heal itself. The problem with antibiotics is that they are over prescribed and our bodies are becoming antibiotic resistant. This means that when the antibiotic is needed most, it will not be effective. Antibiotics do not treat viruses. At all. Do not let a doctor talk you into a prescription for a head cold or flu. They have no affect on those germs. Antibiotics only work on bacteria.

One of the greatest problems that occurs as a result of antibiotics is not from actually taking the drugs. The problem comes from antibiotics that are used in conventionally grown meats and produce. The indirect consumption of these antibiotics throws off intestinal imbalance and causes the immune system to not work properly. This is one of the main reasons to eat organic meats and vegetables.

One last warning. The antibiotic Azithromycin has been shown in recent research to increase your chance of dying from a cardiovascular event by 250 percent within the first five days of usage as compared to taking amoxicillin. Beware.

The giant corporation Monsanto continues to pile up the negative press. This mega company is responsible for the artificial sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet), Genetically Modified food products (GMO) and Roundup, the herbicide.

Nutrasweet is a hot topic because many scientists feel that consuming its main ingredient, aspartame, can lead to many health related illness and even mimic the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Genetically Modified Foods have been found to also cause health problems and in certain countries they are banned for consumption. Some countries have consumer protection laws that food labels must state whether or not the food came from genetically modified seeds.

The latest Monsanto debacle surrounds the use of Roundup. Roundup contains Glyphosate, which is a major hazard to the environment and animal and human health. A recent study on Glyphosate concluded that there is no solid evidence linking Glyphosate exposure to adverse reproductive system issues. The kicker is that the recently released study was funded by Monsanto.

The crimes against humanity just get deeper and deeper.

Science Daily (May 15, 2012) - Surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have restored some hand function in a quadriplegic patient with a spinal cord injury at the C7 vertebra, the lowest bone in the neck. Instead of operating on the spine itself, the surgeons rerouted working nerves in the upper arms. These nerves still "talk" to the brain because they attach to the spine above the injury.

As you can tell from past Health Tips, I am disillusioned with the practice of everyday medicine. The art of prescribing drugs for every symptom imaginable has taken a bit of the shine off of the medical apple for me. I have also noticed that quite a few of my practice members and Health Tip readers feel the same way. People are sick and tired of taking drugs and medications. They do not want the side effects of medications and are quite aware of the ill effects of taking drugs. That, and the extremely close proximity of the drug companies to your local doctor's office will make even a pro-medicine junky wary.

My point is that no matter how sorry the shape of standard medical practice is today, the above caption from Science Daily illustrates exactly where modern medicine does shine. When it comes to saving lives and performing miracles, the surgeons in the United States and the technology they have, are for the most part brilliant. The amount of research, skill and precision involved in re-routing tiny nerves in the arm to where they can communicate with the healthy part of a damaged spinal cord is simply amazing.

So, if I am usually standing on a soap box and talking about the "evils" of taking medicine and the perceived corruption of the pharmaceutical industry, I want to take a moment and applaud the many miracles and the saved lives that happen every day in hospitals all around the country. Here, here!

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, April 2012, found eating foods at breakfast that are low on the sugar (glycemic) index may help prevent a spike in blood sugar throughout the morning and after the next meal of the day. These breakfast foods can also increase feelings of satiety and fullness and may make people less likely to overeat throughout the day.

The glycemic index ranks foods on the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high index are rapidly digested and result in high blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels and are considered healthier, especially for people with diabetes.

Low glycemic foods include rolled oats, whole grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, flax seeds, barley, chickpeas, grapefruits and apples. When paired with a protein such as eggs, breakfast can be filling, nutritious, satisfying and help you lose weight.

Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that has been getting a large amount of attention recently due to a pharmacuetical company developing a vaccine designed to prevent the disease. The vaccine is intended for young girls. The state of Texas signed a Governor's bill into law mandating that all young school girls were to be given the vaccine. An inordinate amount of propaganda has surrounded the HPV vaccine.

The drug company's main promotional effort is based on their claim that the HPV vaccine will prevent cervical cancer. After doing some research (unbiased research, as there will be no monetary profit from the effort), here are the facts concerning HPV. HPV infection is naturally cleared by more than 90% of sexually active women and men but, rarely, HPV infection can become chronic. High risk factors for HPV are smoking, having herpes, HIV or Chlamydia, long term use of birth control pills and multiple births.

Women who have chronic HPV and do not get pre-canerous cervical lesions identified and treated (via regular Pap test screening), can get cervical cancer and die. After pap test screening became routine in the 1950's, cervical cancer cases dropped 74%. Less than one percent of all diagnosed cancer cases and cancer deaths in the United States every year involve cervical cancer.

Merck's Gardasil vaccine was studied for several years in less than 1200 girls under age 16 and a few hundred girls age 11 or younger. Gardasil vaccine only contains 2 of the 15 HPV types associated with cervical cancer and it is unknown if it will prevent cervical cancer in the long term. Reported Gardasil reactions include sudden collapse, seizures, facial paralysis, arthritis and Guillain Barre Syndrome. It is unknown if Gardasil will casue infertility, cancer or damage genes. There is also no pre-licensure data proving it is safe to give Gardasil with most of the other vaccines given to children.

This information was found at the National Vaccine Information Center in Virginia. It is very important, when making health care decisions for your children, all of the facts are at your disposal. If the only information presented to you is sensationalized "news" reports put out by the industry manufacturing the drug, it is impossible to make an educated health care decision.

Lately, I have had lots of patients complaining about side effects of cholesterol medication. Some of these effects include muscle pain, tenderness and weakness, widespread swelling and inflammation, skin rashes, stomach pain, constipation, fatigue, unusual bleeding, bruising and many other symptoms. When I was a student in chiropractic school 25 years ago, the magic number for overall cholesterol levels was 300. Now the level is 200 or lower. Millions of people are taking cholesterol drugs and they are also being prescribed to children whose levels are not in the 200 or lower range. I think it is about time to dispel a few myths.

First, the facts. Cholesterol is neither good or bad. It is what it is. Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. It's main function is to manufacture cell tissue linings, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help the body digest fat. Cholesterol is essential for neurological function and even serves a purpose in the formation of memories. HDL cholesterol is the High Density Lipoprotein that keeps cholesterol from building up in your arteries. LDL cholesterol is the Low Density Lipoprotein that can build up in the arteries and cause heart disease.

In addition to HDL and LDL, triglycerides and lipoprotein {a} levels are factored in the total overall cholesterol number. Triglycerides are the dangerous fats that contribute to heart disease and lipoprotein {a} is a combination of LDL with another protein molecule. High levels of lipoprotein {a} is considered one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease, yet most doctors rarely check your body's blood levels for this serum level.

The total, overall cholesterol number is not a good indicator for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone's total level be below 200, but what they don't tell you is that unless your cholesterol level is above 330 it is useless for determining your risk for heart disease. For a more accurate guideline as to your heart disease risk, divide your HDL by your overall cholesterol number. It should be above 24 percent. In addition, divide your triglyceride level into your HDL level. It should be below 2 for less heart disease risk.

The big question, is why do "they" keep lowering the cholesterol level guidelines and who actually are "they?" Eight out of the nine doctors on the cholesterol guideline panel are making money from the drug companies that manufacture the cholesterol lowering drugs. Ka-ching!! To make matters worse, there is absolutely zero evidence that getting your bad cholesterol level (LDL) below 100 will decrease your risk of heart disease. Yet, the American Heart Association continues to recommend that the LDL number should be below 100.

Sadly, the standard medical way of doing that almost always includes drugs. It is not even known if the drugs actually even prevent heart attacks. According to the ads for a popular cholesterol medication, Lipitor, Lipitor reduces the risk of heart attack by 39-60%*. The little * asterisk when followed to the small print says that in their drug study 3% of the people taking a sugar pill had a heart attack and 2% of the people taking Lipitor had a heart attack. This means that taking Lipitor for three years in this study resulted in just one fewer person having a heart attack out of every 100 people on the medication. The other 99 people got to spend a lot of money and have possible side effects.

The key to healthy cholesterol ratios, not total cholesterol levels, lies in diet and exercise. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, less sugar, zero smoking and plenty of healthy fats from olive, fish, and coconut oils. Everyone with a cholesterol issue needs to read the following article, The Truth About High Cholesterol at the following link: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/10/making-sense-of-your-cholesterol-numbers.aspx?np=true

Safflower oil is a light tasteless, odorless oil that is extracted from the Safflower plant's seeds. The safflower is thistle plant, probably not unlike the ones that Eeyore cobbled up in the Hundred Acre Wood. One of humanity's oldest crops, the safflower plant is primarily used for its oil.

Safflower oil is a good choice for cooking oil. It stands up to high heat and does not lose its nutrients when used in a frying pan. The nutrients of Safflower oil have been the subject of much recent dietary research and the results are very good. Daily consumption of safflower oil has been shown lower internal body levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation. Safflower oil is high in linoleic acid which is very good for heart health and explains why consuming safflower oil can help lower cholesterol.

Safflower oil was also shown to increase insulin sensitivity. An increase of insulin sensitivity is responsible for sugar being converted directly to energy in the blood stream. High insulin sensitivity decreases the chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes. As mentioned above, daily use of safflower oil decreases inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a benchmark for most diseases, including cancer. An important lab test for measuring inflammation in the body, C-reactive protein, was shown to decrease with safflower use.

All of this news is great as far as overall health is concerned, but I am sure the following fact will be most interesting to my readers. Safflower oil, when added to the daily diet, was shown to decrease abdominal fat. Women, in one study, who added safflower oil to their diet for a 16 week period were shown to have a reduction in total body fat and a decrease in their body mass index.

That being said, it can't hurt to add safflower oil to your diet, the health benefits alone are worth the effort. Try adding it to your salad dressings or in your sauté pan for good health.

Asparagus is the one of the many vegetables that I associate with spring and summer. Perfect steamed, sautéed and grilled, asparagus is a nutrient dense treat. Asparagus is a stem vegetable. Other than the tiny, flowery tip at the top, asparagus stems are the abundant, edible part of the vegetable.

Asparagus has many unique nutritional properties. It's most valued nutrient is the anti-oxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is an extremely powerful oxidation reducer (prevents damage to the body's cellular tissue) and has anti-inflammatory properties. Oxidation and inflammation of the body's cells have been strongly linked to many types of cancers. Therefore, glutathione has strong anti-cancer properties, making asparagus an ideal healthy food to eat. In addition, asparagus is high in folate, a B-vitamin that helps to prevent heart disease and birth defects.

Asparagus also has diuretic properties and eating asparagus can help the body rid itself of excess water and reduce swelling, which can be beneficial to women who suffer from pre-menstrual bloating. Asparagus is also high in the hard to find vitamin K. Vitamin K has a protein component that helps to strengthen bones as well as preventing calcium from building up in the body's arteries. This can help prevent heart disease and stroke. Another unique nutrient found in asparagus is inulin. Inulin encourages the growth of the healthy digestive bacteria (probiotics) that are found in our intestines, helping to prevent digestive diseases and boost the body's immune system.

Recently, I was experimenting in the kitchen with asparagus. I cut the stems into small circular pieces, sort of like carrot slices. I sautéed the asparagus rounds in a ceramic frying pain with olive oil and freshly chopped garlic and a touch of ground sea salt. Once the asparagus was soft and tender, I sprinkled a little grated parmesean cheese on top. This was so tasty and delicious, my 4 year old and 7 year old asked for seconds!! Give it a try!

Honey is the by-product of bee poop. Not really, but now that I have your attention, bees manufacture honey by mixing the nectar from flowers with bee enzymes (which I guess you could consider bee poop!). Honey is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and has been used as a food source for over 2500 years.

35% of honey is protein and half of all of the amino acids are contained in honey. High in carbohydrates due to the concentrated sugars, honey is also full of the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, D and E. Honey is a great energy boost. The B vitamins and the sugar content make a quick pick-me-up. According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon. The carbohydrates in the honey can be easily converted into glucose by even the most sensitive stomachs. Hence it is very easy to digest.

Medicinally, honey has been used to heal wounds. Recent research has found honey to be extremely effective in healing hard to heal wounds such as the kind that occur in people with poor circulation like diabetics and burn patients. The Waikato Honey Research Unit provides details about the world-wide research that is being carried out on the benefits of honey in medicine. Furthermore, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) reported that doctors at the Christie Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester are planning to use honey for faster recovery of cancer patients after surgery.

The best kind of honey to purchase is organic, unfiltered, unprocessed, raw honey. Raw honey looks nothing like regular store bought honey, which makes me question the nutritional and healing capabilities of "normal" jarred honey.

One thing to remember is never give honey to an infant 1 year and under. Honey can contain a bacteria that can cause botulism. This only occurs in infants and does not present a risk for adults or bigger kids.

When we think of addiction, the first offenders that pop into our mind are drugs, alcohol and tobacco. If we think on this topic a little further, we can come up with gambling and sex. It is very rare to think of sugar as being the source of a psychological addiction. Well, guess what? It is very easy to become addicted to sugar.

Sugar addiction is likely to be blamed for the rapid rise in obesity and heart disease world wide. Just recently on the television news show 60 Minutes, a California endocrinologist showed, via brain scans, that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Sugar triggers the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that controls the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. The same chemical that is triggered by addictive activities like recreational drugs, alcohol and gambling.

Research shows that the average American eats 1/3 of a pound of sugar each day or the equivalent of 130 pounds per year. Sugar consumption is linked with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Sadly, it is not sugar we add to our own foods, like table sugar, that is causing the problem. The problem is the unseen, unsuspected sugar that is placed in all of our foods by food manufacturers. This secret amount of sugar is what is causing the sugar count to blow through the roof. Ironically, sugar consumption is down by 40% since the 1970's.

What has increased in record numbers is the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup or just plain Corn Syrup. This sweetener is artificially processed and is multiple times sweeter than ordinary sugar. Years ago, health experts told us that high fat diets were bad for us. Food manufacturers cut out the fat, but added sugar to make up for the taste. Now, we as a population, are paying for it with our health. According to recent research, when a person eats too much sugary food and drink, the liver converts some of that fructose to fat. This fat can lead to an increase in dangerous LDL cholesterol that can form plaque in the arteries and cause heart disease.

That being said, what is the solution? The answer is simple. Cut back on your sugar consumption by reading labels. Look for foods that contain 10% sugar or less. Avoid any food that contains High Fructose Corn Syrup or its new attractive name, Corn Syrup. By cutting back on sugar and eliminating as much of it as possible in your pre-manufactured foods, you can still enjoy the occasional home-made desert or treat without sacrificing your health and your weight!

You have to seriously be thankful for investigative reporters. If it wasn't for their exposes, we would be left in the dark about a lot of serious topics that affect our lives. In addition to Watergate, Iran Contra and steroids in baseball, we now have the "Pink Slime" scandal. It turns out that 70% of all ground meat has a secret filler amongst the beef. This filler was named pink slime in 2002 by US Food and safety inspector Gerald Zirnstein.

Pink slime is made from low grade beef trimmings that come from connective, spinal, intestinal and rectal tissue of a slaughtered cow. To make matters worse (did you think it could get worse?), the pink slime is heated with very high heat, then spun in a centrifuge to remove the liquid. Once the liquid is removed, the pink slime is treated and sprayed with ammonia to kill food borne germs and bacteria that lead to illness. The ammonia treatment makes the pink slime a legally edible food product. Once the slime has been treated with the ammonia, it is shaped into pink bricks and sent to meat packing plants, supermarkets butcher shops and other places that process the meat into hamburgers or ground meat.

The crazy thing is that the pink slime manufacturer, a company called Beef Products Inc., officially calls the slime product, "Lean Finely Textured Beef." This stuff has been sold as a ground beef additive for years and 900,000 pounds are made on a daily basis.

An investigative report by ABC News in early March has led to consumer outrage and as recently as March 12th, numerous supermarkets have discontinued using this product. Costco, Safeway, Publix and Whole Foods Market will not be purchasing pink slime for their ground meat....anymore. This stuff is so bad, even McDonalds has opted out of using it in their hamburgers. McDonalds!! It's gotta be bad if McDonalds is shying away. Sadly, the meat by-product is still used in many other supermarkets and beef manufacturers that process frozen burgers. Even in public school systems. The USDA has recently given public schools a choice between using pink slime meat or unadulterated ground meat. Check with your school system to find out which meat your kids are eating.

This issue belabors my usual point of how important it is to know what you are eating each day and how reading labels should be part of the normal shopping regimen. The days of "reach, grab, throw it in the cart" are over. Thankfully we have investigative reporters to break important news to us. The shame of it all is that if companies were more concerned about the quality of food they process and less about profit, the world would be a healthier, happier place.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an increasingly common diagnosis among school children. ADHD is a behavioral disorder that statistics claim to affect 8-10% of the school age population. Children with ADHD have a difficult time focusing on specific activities, paying attention to details, and tend to act without thinking. As the name suggests, there is also an issue with hyperactivity. The child tends to be "all over the place" and cannot sit still for any length of time. ADHD tends to affect boys more than girls.

The diagnosis of ADHD is not a simple act. There is no medical test and it requires a complete evaluation by medical doctors, psychologists and counselors. At this time, the exact cause of ADHD is not known, but continuing research has linked ADHD symptoms to various biological causes.

Deficiency of essential omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to affect brain function. Omega 3 fats are essential in brain and nerve development. When children's diets have been supplemented with these fats (fish oil, flax oil), research studies have shown marked improvements in behavior.

In some instances, ADHD type symptoms have been related to cranial subluxations. The bones of the head are joined together by sutures. These "joints" are moveable and if they become fixated or stuck due to head trauma, the result has a negative effect on the cerebrospinal system. Correction of the cranial fixations via cranial / sacral therapy or cranial adjusting has been shown to help children with ADHD and other various learning disorders.

It is also well known that certain food additives like artificial colors, dyes, artificial sweeteners and sugar may affect behavior. Eliminating these additives should be the first step in a successful ADHD care plan. A team approach, involving a pediatric chiropractor, nutritionist, behavior counselor and holistic minded pediatrician, may be the best approach to eliminating ADHD from a child's life.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is typically associated with aging, but it can also develop due to joint trauma and repetitive motion to the joints over a period of time. Repetitive motion can be from activities such as sports or work related activities. Two examples would be throwing a baseball for 20 years or using a hammer to bang nails for 20 years. Osteoarthritis is caused by the cartridge over the joints deteriorating. As the bones start to rub together this causes pain and swelling. As time goes on, the bones begin to misshapen, which can lead to bone spurs. This causes more pain and discomfort. Further pain increases due to cartilage breaking off in the joint.

Sadly, Osteoarthritis, also know as Degenerative Joint Disease is also part of the normal aging process. As we get older, joints start to wear down. The main problem with bone and joint degeneration is related to acceleration. The more friction on the joint, the more accelerated the degeneration. As far as osteoarthritis in the spine goes, spinal bones that are out of alignment cause excessive friction on the spinal joint, accelerating the degenerative process. This is why in some cases a 35 year old may have the spinal deterioration of a 60 year old. A traumatic accident that injures the neck or the back when someone is in their 20's will cause spinal misalignments which then leads to friction on the spinal bones that over time will show up as arthritis.

To keep the joint surfaces healthy, Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements have been shown to provide the nutrition for healthy joint surfaces. Omega 3 fats, as found in fish oils provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the joints, easing discomfort. SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) has been shown to be just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, but without the obvious health risk to the stomach, kidneys and liver. Resistance exercise strengthens bone density and helps keep motion in the joints.

Smokers have an increased risk of arthritis due to toxins from the nicotine building up in the body, increasing inflammation.

One of the most famous foods in Ireland just happens to be a seafood delicacy. The oyster, popular all over the world, is especially fond of in Ireland. The clean, unpolluted waters around Ireland’s 8000 miles of coastline are an exceptional environment for growing and farming oysters. The rough Atlantic Ocean waters which form the Irish coastline are mixed with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the fresh water flow off of the Irish bog lands making oysters one happy bivalve. Oyster farming is extremely friendly to the environment. Once oysters are harvested, "baby" oysters are replanted to keep the oyster culture populated. The oyster farmer’s task is to simply accompany the natural growth of oysters by managing the population.

Irish oyster farmers place their efforts on obtaining oysters of high quality by choosing growing sites in areas of clean waters which are rich in the oysters food of choice, phytoplankton. Oysters have a unique taste. Oyster meat is delicate with a succulent texture and a crisp briny flavor. Oysters are considered a culinary delight. In Ireland, oysters are enjoyed with a pint of Guinness and buttered brown bread. The taste of the oyster is enhanced by the dryness and roasted grain flavor of the Irish Stout.

Oysters are celebrated throughout Ireland with Oyster Festivals. The oysters are enjoyed in many different recipes and celebrated with music, dancing and copious amounts of stout. The most famous and largest oyster festival in Ireland is the Galway Oyster Festival located in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland.

I thought this was the Health Tip of the Week? Where are the health benefits of oysters you ask? Well, oysters are indeed a very healthy food to eat. Oysters are low in fat, high in protein and a good source of essential nutrients such as zinc, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium. Oysters are a low-energy-density food, meaning they have few calories in a large portion. By including more such foods in your diet you can make it easier to lose weight as you will be "filling up" with a low calorie food. A 3-oz. serving of moist-cooked oysters harvested from the eastern United States contains 87 calories. By comparison, a 3-oz. portion of roasted white meat chicken contains 130 calories. In addition, oysters are high in omega-3 fatty acids which, in addition to the other minerals previously mentioned, can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Oh, and did I mention that there are boat loads of unsubstantiated claims that oysters are an aphrodisiac and enhance sexual prowess? I can't back that up, but it sounds like it is worth a try! In honor of St. Patrick's Day, pour yourself a pint of Guinness and have a few oysters. At the very least, you will be relaxed and a bit healthier.

When you think of Irish culture and all things Irish, healthy food probably does not top your list. In my own mind, I can imagine TV presenter (that is Irish for host) David Letterman poking fun at Irish health food by performing one of his famous top ten lists. That being said, the staple foods of Ireland are quite healthy. Who can deny the health benefits of root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, Brussels' sprouts, onions and potatoes? These vegetables provide many different nutrients, which keep the body healthy through many a cold, damp season.

As for our discussion today, let's take a look at four Irish food staples. Lamb is often thought of as fatty meat. But, in reality, less than half of the fat that comes from lamb is saturated fat. Lamb is high in protein, A and B vitamins, zinc, copper, magnesium, selenium, potassium and phosphate. Lamb is also an excellent source of iron. According to the American Medical Association, sixteen percent (16%) of women of childbearing age suffer from iron deficiency. This deficiency makes lamb a great meat dish.

Potatoes are a great source of complex carbohydrates. A major plus to potatoes is that they release their energy slowly into the body, providing fuel for activity. Not to mention they are very filling and make a great comfort food. They are cholesterol and sodium-free, and full of anti-oxidants. Potatoes have more protein than corn and a fair amount of calcium. Potatoes also contain iron, potassium, zinc and vitamin C. The skin of the potato is also rich in fiber and many vitamins and minerals.

Cabbage is used as an ingredient in many Irish dishes. Cabbage is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage also contains small nutritious chemicals called glucosinolates. According to the National Cancer Institute, glucosinolates have been shown to slow the spread of colon cancer. Other nutrients in cabbage have also been shown to heal stomach ulcers.

Lastly, we have Guinness Stout. Guinness Stout is high in an anti-oxidant called flavonoids. University of Wisconsin researchers have found that, because of all the flavonoids contained in the Irish brew, Guinness may reduce the risk of blood clots that can cause heart disease. Their research also seems to show that Guinness, in moderation, may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Scared because you think Guinness is fattening? Don't Be. When analysts compared 12 ounces of Guinness to the same amount of Budweiser, Guinness turned up with fewer calories per ounce. And it's comparable to many brands of light beer, with a fairly low alcohol level per volume (3-8-4.0%), making it the perfect beverage of moderation. Slainte!!

It's almost St. Patrick's Day, that magical time of the year when all good adults turn their thoughts to the color green and wee little leprechauns. For my Health Tip readers, it means it is time for my Irish Health Tips of the Week. Here's the first: one of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise for burning calories and toning up the body is walking. As a matter of fact, a recent trip to Dublin, Ireland proved that point. Dublin is the perfect walking city. An average person can traverse through City Center in a few hours time. The walking benefits, while substantial, are often cut in half for the over zealous tourist who starts each morning with a full Irish breakfast and frequent stops for the liquid "black stuff." Throw in some Irish stews and plates of bangers and mash and you can see why walking is an extremely important activity.

Walking has many advantages. It does not require the purchase of expensive equipment (apart from appropriate footwear) or club memberships; it can be enjoyed by all, young and old alike; and you can walk at a time to suit your own, individual schedule. According to IrishHealth.com, for those starting off, "a general guideline for time and distance is to walk one mile in 20 minutes. A fitter walker could walk one mile in 15 minutes, but it is better to start out slowly and enjoy the experience than to try to accomplish too much at the start. Aim to build up your walk to the guidelines recommended by the Irish Heart Foundation of 30 minutes per day for most days of the week."

Ireland has made it very easy for the healthy walkers who use walking as their exercise program. In 1996, Paddy Murphy, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation started the "Sli Na Slainte" program. Sli Na Slainte is Irish for "the pathway to health." The program placed distinctive signs placed in walking areas around the country to mark distances walked. The signs are located about one mile apart and are very colorful, with a bright yellow sun and a human figure in yellow, blue and red that represents the energy and vitality of life. The signs are all over the Irish countryside, seaside, walking paths, city streets, canals, riverbanks and all over the city's neighborhoods. They are a big encouragement to get outside and walk.

Even though we are not physically in Ireland, we can be Irish in spirit and start our own walking program. As I mentioned at the top of this week's Health Tip, walking is great exercise. Walking burns calories, tones muscles, and benefits the heart and lungs. Walking is a relatively safe, "low stress" exercise with huge health benefits. Walking is the answer to many health conditions. Adult diabetes? Walk. Fibromyalgia? Walk. High blood pressure and cholesterol? Walk. Overweight? Definitely walk. Just dhéanamh! That is Irish for "Just do it!!"

The health scourge of past and future generations has always been cancer. The source of many debates on whether or not there is or ever will be a definite cure, it goes without saying that it would be best to avoid cancer outright. Cancer treatments, have advanced with time and have saved many lives, but none-the-less, cancer treatment is rough and harsh on the body. To kill cancer, in many instances, the breakdown of the body goes hand and hand with the treatment. If a person has a choice as to having cancer or avoiding cancer, avoidance trumps the disease every time.

That being said, The American Institute for Cancer Research has released a 517-page report detailing the medical view of what your main risk factors for developing cancer, and what you can do to reduce your risk. The most interesting finding in the report is that being overweight increases your risk of developing many different types of cancer. Excess bodyweight has been touted as the number one cause of ill health in the United States. Excess body weight leads to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Now it is a major cause of cancer. (Spoiler Alert: The health care crisis in our country isn't about the lack of insurance coverage, lack of medical funding or the cost of prescription drugs, it is truly about being over weight!)

The report also made a list of recommendations on how to avoid cancer. Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. Be physically active as part of everyday life. Limit consumption of "energy-dense foods," foods that are high in calories, fat and sugar. Avoid sugary drinks. Eat mostly foods of plant origin, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Limit intake of red meat and avoid ALL processed meat. Limit alcoholic drinks to one per day for women, two per day for men. Limit consumption of salt. Avoid moldy grains or legumes. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone, without dietary supplement.

As you can see, the list of recommendations makes sense. It may take a big effort to accomplish sticking to the list, but it is worth it. Just ask someone who has gone through chemotherapy.

Viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses are like foreign invaders in the body. As soon as an invading germ enters the body, the body's innate intelligence mobilizes the body's immune system forces for attack. The plan of action is to fight off the bacteria and render it harmless. This way the body can remain healthier or recover from the illness that was brought into the body by the invading germ. Sounds like warfare doesn't it? It is.

The intelligence in your body is so impressive that it will remember the invading germ forever and develop specific weapons (anti-bodies) that make that particular germ useless the next time it invades your insides. According to German philosopher Nietzsche, "That which does not kills us makes us stronger." In the case of the immune system, this is exactly correct. The immune system is programmed to become tougher and more efficient with each germ that it is exposed to. Every illness that your body fights, prepares the body to be a better weapon against cold and flu viruses the next time it is exposed to them.

That may make you wonder, why do we get sick at all? If the immune system becomes tougher and more efficient with each illness, we should never get sick. Sounds like a great idea. But the truth of the matter is that no matter how well the immune system functions and adapts to fight different germs, each year viruses and bacteria mutate and become just a little bit different. That difference in the germs will trigger the immune system for another battle. Another factor in how well the immune system functions is how well it is being nurtured and cared for by its host (that's you!).

Not sleeping enough, too much stress, not enough exercise, eating unnatural and processed foods, lack of proper vitamins and minerals in the diet all factor in on how well your body's immune system functions and therefore how often you acquire illnesses. Another major factor is spinal nerve stress. According to Guyton's Textbook of Medical Physiology, innate immunity is controlled and coordinated by the nervous system.

If there is stress on the nervous system as in improper nerve flow, the immune system will not be able to function at 100% of its ability. The lesser the percentage the immune system is functioning dictates whether or not you will get sick when exposed to a virus or bacteria. That being said, the proper functioning of the nervous system is paramount for the body to be healthy.

So, next time you are wondering why you are getting a lot of pesky colds or illnesses, take a look at your lifestyle habits. Make sure you are doing the things you need to do to be healthy. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, minimize stress and free up your spinal nerves with a chiropractic adjustment.

The spine is one of the most neglected aspects of a child's health care. As it should be, careful attention is paid to pediatric well visits, eye, hearing and dental exams. The child's spine is often relegated to scoliosis screenings at the school nurse's office. Scoliosis screenings at the child's school provide a very important service, helping to detect many early spinal curvature problems. But scoliosis screenings do nothing to detect and correct vertebral subluxations.

As adults, we tend to take the spine for granted. We think of the back and neck as a glob of muscles that can cause us periodic aches and pains. What we tend to forget is that the spine is the life-line of the body. All of our school children are taught at an early age that the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves) controls and co-ordinates every function in the body. When I say every function, I mean every function. Lungs breathing, heart beating, digestion, circulation, muscular performance, hormone production, cell creation and immune system function, to name just a few of the many thousands of bodily functions controlled by the nervous system.

Even as you sit at your desk reading this Health Tip, your eyes are blinking, nails and hair are growing and lungs are breathing. All these functions are controlled by your nerves. Think of your spine and brain as a computer-controlled communication center. The brain, as the computer, communicates with the systems of the body, sending messages as nerve impulses through the spinal cord and spinal nerves. When the intended organ or system receives the message, it sends a reply message back to the brain through the nerves and spinal cord. This exchange of operating information is called a feedback loop. The brain-to-body and body-to-brain messaging through the spine is is how the body works. For the body to be 100% healthy, this communication network must function at 100%. If there is any less than 100% nerve impulse flow, the body loses a degree of function. A loss in function equates to a loss in health.

If the nervous system is not working properly, body chemistry can be thrown out of synch, not only affecting many important chemical equations in the body but also affecting how the immune system works. As we all know, a strong, vibrant, healthy immune system means less colds and illnesses from viruses. As far as the boney spine is concerned, there is a direct relationship to nerve flow and spinal bone alignment. In between each vertebra are little openings from where the spinal nerve reaches out. If the vertebra (bone) is not in its proper position (a vertebral subluxation), the nerve is irritated and the flow of the nerve impulses are impeded. The decline in "messaging" through the spine that results from the subluxation directly affects the function of the nervous system. If the nervous system is not functioning properly, the body cannot perform as it is meant to, and health is lost.

Subluxations are caused by muscular stress to the spine. Has your child ever fallen down? Played a sport? Bumped their head or had an accident? The major concern with subluxations is that symptoms do not usually develop until the subluxated vertebra has been present for quite awhile. (Think adults with back problems!) Chiropractors can detect and correct subluxations as soon as they occur, which can prevent a symptom or unhealthy condition from developing.

A chiropractic examination should be a regular part of your child's healthcare program. Chiropractors have many non-invasive ways to check for subluxated vertebra. Motion palpation reveals fixated spinal joints. Surface Electromyography testing finds asymmetrical muscle patterns along the spine that can suggest abnormal spinal alignment. And lastly, spinal thermography can reveal irritated nerve impulses by detecting temperature differentials along the surface of the skin. Chiropractic exams for children are extremely important. They are safe for children and will help your child's body to be as healthy as it can be.

One of the most important areas of interest to me in health care is the prevention of cancer. I am a strong believer in being proactive rather than reactive. Why wait around for disease to strike and then have to react to it with medical treatment to eradicate the disease? Isn't much better to act now and take steps to reduce the risk of having a terrible illness such as cancer?

Modern society has severely cut back on many habits that are protective of the body's ability to prohibit cancer development. In general, today's culture favors processed foods as opposed to whole, natural foods. In addition, the average population gets very little, if any exercise. Many doctors, Dr. Christine Horner in particular, feel that if we clean up our lifestyle, we could cut our risk of developing cancer in half. Dr. Horner is a best selling author on fighting breast cancer and a strong advocate and former spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Dr. Horner feels that by eliminating foods and products that fuel cancer, we could easily reduce the risk of developing cancer by over 50%.

Dr. Horner's top four enemies of health and contributors of cancer are processed food, soft drinks, trans fats ( hydrogenated oils) and xenoestrogens. Processed foods contain very damaging chemicals that cancer cells feed on. The preservatives in food like sodium nitrite and nitrate are extremely carcinogenic. Soft drinks are very high in sugar. Cancer cells thrive on sugar. In addition, diet type soft drinks and foods are filled with artificial sweeteners which have been shown in numerous studies to be neurotoxic. Trans fats, villainous for having a very ill affect on heart health, are also bad for developing cancer. Every cell in the body is lined with healthy, protective fat. Trans fats are a harmful fat that becomes lined in the cells membranes. Xenoestrogens are foods or products that cause an increase and or mimic estrogen in the body. BPA, the lining found inside of cans and in plastics is a known xenoestrogen.

Dr. Horner feels, as do I, that if these foods or products were eliminated from the diet, a person's cancer risk could drop significantly. In addition, if a person were to add the following rituals to their lifestyle, their cancer risk would drop even further. Vitamin D3 should be taken on a daily basis when natural exposure to the sun is limited. Vitamin D3 has been found by numerous research studies to be one of the most powerful vitamins for preventing cancer. As far as diet is concerned, if more people would move towards a plant based diet (fruits, nuts, beans, vegetables) cancer risk would decrease even further.

Dr. Horner also feels that by making sure one gets enough sleep, exercise and less stress, cancer rates would drop dramatically in our country. While cancer does, in cases, have a genetic component, Dr. Horner feels that most cancer is lifestyle based. She states that if an Asian women (Asian women have a much lower rate of cancer) were to move to the United States and adopt our lifestyle, her risk of developing cancer would increase to the same rate as an American women's within ten years.

That being said, as I mentioned at the top of the article, it is much better to be proactive then reactive. If you make changes now to your lifestyle, there is a good chance you could be extending your life.

There is nothing like a steaming hot, rib sticking bowl of oatmeal on a cold winter day. Talk about a power breakfast, oatmeal itself is full of energy providing carbohydrates. And the "other stuff" you put into it can easily make this meal the most nutritious meal of the day. The health benefits of oatmeal are long.

Oatmeal helps to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. A daily dose of oatmeal has been shown in some studies to lower cholesterol 23%. In addition, oatmeal contains a special anti-oxidant that prevents damaging free-radicals from attacking the good cholesterol. This can also help to prevent heart disease. Oatmeal is high in the mineral magnesium which helps the body to use glucose properly and secrete insulin. This means that oatmeal can be a major help in preventing Type II, adult onset diabetes.

Also, oatmeal is high in fiber, so in addition to improving the elimination of digested foods, the fiber prevents blood sugar levels from spiking too quickly. When blood sugar spikes quickly, it also drops quickly which leads to an energy crash. A diet high in fiber, such as the fiber in oatmeal has been shown in studies to prevent certain types of cancer, like breast and colo-rectal. Another plus concerning oatmeal consumption is that oatmeal fiber contains beta-gluten fiber. Beta-gluten fiber has been shown to enhance and improve immune system function.

As I mentioned at the top of the article, what you put into the oatmeal can turn the bowl of plain oats into an extremely nutritious, health enhancing meal. Here is my personal recipe: 1 cup of rice milk brought to a slow boil in a pot. As the milk boils, add the pieces of one chopped banana and one apple. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a handful of raisins. As the mixture is simmering, mash with a hand held mash potato masher. The mashing releases the sugar from the fruit. Once mashed, add 3/4 cup of oats ( I use the quick oats), turn the heat way down and constantly stir. Sprinkle flax seeds into the oatmeal and add some crushed walnuts. Scoop into your bowl and add a teaspoon full of coconut oil to the top of the oatmeal. The coconut oil will melt into the oats just like butter. It's taste is to die for! But not only will it not kill you, it will help you to have a long, healthy life!

It's tough to be on the fringe. When viewpoints are in the minority, a little heckling can be expected. When your viewpoint directly conflicts with a sacred cow, like vaccinations, suffice it to say, one should be prepared for a lot of scrutiny. As a chiropractor I am used to being in the minority. A relatively new profession (112 years old), compared to medicine, but one that has climbed the ladder to become the third largest health care profession in the United States. As I was saying, it is tough to be in the minority.

The majority of parents in the United States vaccinate their children without question. The medical profession has a timeline and vaccine schedule. Parents bring their children in for vaccination shots and "just do it" as the commercial says. Forty years ago, when I was a young child, children were vaccinated with five different vaccines. Today, children receive 20 injections before the age of two and some vaccine schedules suggest that between birth and the end of the teenage years a child will have received 75 total injections of a combination of vaccines.

The biggest question to ask oneself is what has changed in the last 40 years that has caused our children to be vaccinated time and time again? Are we not healthier as a nation? Is there more disease now then there was then? Or has the bottom line become the bottom line? Vaccines are a cash cow. Where is there anywhere in the world where a product is manufactured and that said product is mandated to be given to every single child in the country, multiple times? The amount of money that comes from vaccines is astronomical. Maybe, that is why pharmaceutical manufacturers are constantly coming up with new conditions to vaccinate for.

So what's the problem? If vaccinations prevent disease and we can find new vaccines for new diseases, what is wrong with that? You know what? Nothing. If that is the case, then I am all for it. Sounds great. The problem is that according to vaccine researchers (the ones who don't work for the drug companies), repeated doses of vaccines are an assault on the immune system. According to these same scientists, ingredients in vaccines cause the inside of the body to attack itself and produce autoimmune diseases. Let's say this is hogwash and there is no direct proof of this happening, even though independent scientists say there is a direct connection.

Thirty or forty years ago, when there were only five vaccines, we never really heard of autism and ADHD. Flash ahead forty years and autism is now as common as any other ailment. Recent research is saying that 1 out of every 50 children may have some form of autism. ADHD afflicts 1 in 10 children according to the Center for Disease control. And auto immune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease and asthma have increased dramatically in children over the last decade or so. It sounds to me, if the only thing we are doing differently is giving children more vaccines and multiple injections, than there may be a definite relationship to the rise in all of these conditions.

Am I saying don't vaccinate your children? That would be your decision, not mine. But, maybe it is time we start to ask more questions. Maybe there is a better way to do this. Does there have to be this many shots? Do infants have to be vaccinated the day they are born, before they even have a functioning immune system? According to Japanese health officials, when their country delayed infant vaccinations to the age of two, there was a dramatic decrease in vaccine related adverse side effects. Why can't we do that? Does it make sense to vaccinate a child on the day they were born for a disease that is typically spread by promiscuous sex and I.V. drug use? Couldn't it wait a few years?

Here is some food for thought. A German study, released in September 2011 found that vaccinated children have 2-5 times more diseases and disorders than unvaccinated children. 8000 unvaccinated children (an extremely large study group) were compared to vaccinated children in this study.

The bottom line, not the drug companies, but mine, is that we as a population need to demand more knowledge and accountability concerning vaccines from the pharmaceutical industry, our doctors and the politicians that give these companies cart blanche as far as mandates and corporate protection goes. If we don't do this, in my opinion, the health of our children and the health of our nation will only get worse.

One of the most common, yet least talked about bodily injuries, is the brain concussion. Inside the skull, sits the brain. The area between the brain and the skull is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The cerebrospinal fluid protects the brain from light trauma, acting as a cushion between the soft brain and the hard skull. When the head is struck by force, the brain moves within the skull. The harder the force, the greater the movement and the less the CSF can absorb or cushion the brain from the solid skull.

There are two types of forces that can cause concussions. The first is impact force, when the head itself is exposed to blunt trauma. The second type of force is impulsive force. In this type of force, the head is not exposed to blunt trauma, but the head and neck are forcibly thrown forward and backward, as in a whiplash type accident. In both types of trauma, the brain is first affected by changes in intracranial pressure, blood flow, decreased oxygen and brain cell death.

The most common symptoms associated with concussion are headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, tinnitus and balance disorders. In conjunction with these symptoms, MRI and, or CT scans are usually performed to check for potential brain lesions. In accidents and in today's society, physical activities (sports, recreation), head trauma is a fairly common occurrence. It is vitally important to monitor all head injuries with care and due diligence.

Most concussion injuries heal with proper rest and conservative management, but it must be noted that, depending on the type of trauma and how it affects the individual's brain, more serious complications, including death could result. In addition, When any athlete suffers a concussion, the athlete must be medically cleared before participating in sporting activities. Another bump on the head, before complete concussion recovery, could be catastrophic to the individual.

Each week, the Health Tip delves into ways to improve health and avoid things that may hamper or harm your health. Over the years, I have written helpful articles on vitamins, herbal supplements and natural foods. On the negative side of the discussion, health tips have featured harmful chemicals in foods and potential environmental hazards that impact your well being. That being said, as a practicing chiropractor, I have not dedicated much written word discussing chiropractic in the Health Tip of the Week (the Chiropractic Thought of the Week is another matter).

This week's Health Tip will discuss the recent proven benefits of chiropractic maintenance care. Maintenance or preventative care is chiropractic care that is taken on a regular basis, when a person does not have a health issue or complaint. Maintenance care is primarily dictated by lifestyle. The average chiropractic practice member who partakes in maintenance care, usually receives monthly spinal adjustments or check-ups. If a person has a more strenuous job or stressful lifestyle, that person may require more frequent care to maintain a healthy body. In that person, spinal adjustments may occur weekly or every two to three weeks.

The Rand Corporation (a non-profit think tank that provides research for decision and policy making), conducted a study on senior citizens and chiropractic care. The Rand study found that patients who were seen on a regular basis by chiropractic doctors were 15% less likely to visit a nursing home, 25% less likely to be hospitalized and 22% more likely to be mobile in the community. The Rand Study also found that patients who were under regular chiropractic care were more likely to report a better health status and also exercise more vigorously.

Another study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics, found that regular chiropractic care increased productivity and decreased lost work time. As far as elite athletes goes, regular chiropractic care was found to reduce injury incidence. This study, presented in Portugal at the Congress of the World Federation of Chiropractic, compared athletes undergoing regular maintenance chiropractic care with a group of athletes who were not. The chiropractic group, over a four month period of time, had less incidence of injury compared to the control group.

How about the work place? Workers Compensation data from Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Wisconsin reveal lower disability recurrence for patients under regular chiropractic maintenance care. Lastly, a large retrospective study conducted by Robert Blanks PhD and colleagues studied 2,818 individuals undergoing regular chiropractic care - these individuals reported an average overall improvement, ranging from 7-28%, in a battery of physical symptoms including stiffness/lack of flexibility in the spine, physical pain, fatigue, incidence of colds and flu, headaches, menstrual discomfort, gastrointestinal disorders, allergies and dizziness. More importantly, the incidence of colds and flu was reduced by an average of 15% in this large population who were undergoing regular chiropractic care.

The fact that needs to be taken from this week's Health Tip is that chiropractic is not a treatment for disease or specific health conditions. Chiropractic is way of improving function in the body. Regular spinal adjustments reduce friction on the spinal joints improving mobility. Chiropractic adjustments balance the musculature attached to and coming from the spine, enhancing performance. Last but not least, the spinal adjustment removes pressure on the spinal nerve roots allowing the nervous system to flow freely, improving function in the body and improving quality of life. Regular, maintenance chiropractic care, does a body good!

A very important topic in health care is intestinal flora. Flora is a nice, easy sounding word for bacteria. You are probably wondering why a nice and easy word like flora is being used to describe bacteria. In this case, the reason is because the bacteria in question is friendly. Intestinal flora is the helpful bacteria that is found in your gut. Unlike bacteria that can lead to disease, intestinal flora is a probiotic that exists in a symbiotic relationship with our body. Symbiosis is when two living organisms, in this case intestinal bacteria and the human body, live together to benefit each other. The bacteria feeds and multiplies in our digestive system (which is good for them) and provides the human body with needed health benefits (which is good for us).

Intestinal flora have been popularized in the media through the marketing of products called probiotics. Probiotics are foods that contain living bacteria that support digestive health. Foods that include yogurt, kefir, miso and sauerkraut. Probiotics help to maintain and promote the intricate balance between good and bad bacteria in the stomach and intestines. A healthy amount of intestinal flora contribute to the body's optimal state of health by enhancing immune system function, preventing a build-up of "bad" bacteria, producing certain vitamins and hormones for the body and defending against some diseases.

Recent, cutting edge research on intestinal flora is finding that gut bacteria can have an affect on the central nervous system and may even help to dictate your mood and mental health! Science has found that your gut lining is literally your second brain. The gut lining is made up of the same tissue as your brain tissue and has been found to contain more serotonin ( a neuro transmitter associated with mood control) than the brain itself. The latest research found that probiotics have a direct effect on brain chemistry.

The probiotic lactobacillus (found in yogurt) was found to reduce anxiety and depression related behavior due to the bacteria's high content of a neuro transmitter called GABA. GABA is one of the main neuro transmitters found in the brain. This is very exciting because this research may lead to ways of treating depression by supporting and building upon the friendly bacteria that exists in our intestinal flora. In the long run, this could mean certain psychological drugs might not be needed. In the meantime, think of adding daily yogurt to your diet or taking probiotic supplements. They may make you a happier person!!

Many people choose not to have the flu vaccine injected into their bodies. Reasons range from potential toxic hazards that may exist in every vaccine dose to the fact that the vaccination is not reliable protection from the flu. Even though there are two camps with distinct opinions concerning the pros and cons of the flu vaccine, it is 100% agreed that no one wants to get the flu virus and suffer through the sickness that occurs with the flu.

That being said, a study published in the May 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low doses of vitamin D3 supplementation reduced children's risk of contracting the flu virus by 42%. Researchers theorize that higher doses of the supplement (higher than those given in the study) would further reduce the risk of contracting the flu virus. The study, conducted by the Department of Epidemiology at Jikei University, School of the Medicine in Japan, found that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter months could reduce the incidence of influenza A.

In this study, children were given 1,200 international units of vitamin D3 per day. Leading researchers in the field of vitamin D3 supplementation believe the optimal dosage for children would actually be closer to 35 units per pound of bodyweight. Adults may need as much as 8,000 units per day in the winter time. It must be noted that the best way to acquire vitamin D3 is through safe sun exposure. Many experts agree that the reason we have a flu season during the winter time is the lack of sun exposure caused by being indoors in the cold weather. The warmer weather and sun exposure during the spring and summer allow the body to manufacture its own vitamin D3 and, therefore, the supplementation requirements are much less during that time frame.

The fact that vitamin D3 may be the answer for fighting off the flu virus is very good news, considering that The Cochrane Summaries (distributed by an independent company that specializes in high-quality evidence for health care decision making) recently reviewed a flu vaccine database. The Cochrane Summaries examined vaccine data collected between the years 2006-2010 and reported that the flu vaccine is not the best and most effective flu prevention strategy available.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many other doctors and medical researchers, the best flu fighting strategy is not the flu vaccine, but a sound regimen of proper nutrition, vitamin supplementation, exercise, enough sleep and vitalistic ways to keep your immune system working properly, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage and meditation to reduce stress.

Hot beverages are very enjoyable to many people. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cider top the list of hot beverages that people enjoy, especially in the cooler months. If I told you that there is one hot beverage that stands head and shoulders above all the rest, one that was the drink of pharaohs in ancient Egypt and revered in many cultures, such as China, Mexico and Africa, would you be interested in giving it a try? There is a shrubby, tropical plant that grows in North Africa, Latin America, Thailand and the Caribbean. This plant has beautiful flowers with reddish, purple centers. When the leaves fall and the purple center is left, the red calyces center makes hibiscus tea.

The hibiscus plant has been used for centuries, not only in cultural ceremonies but to improve health. Only now, research shows that there are definite benefits to drinking hibiscus tea on a regular basis. Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea, which means it is caffeine free. Steeping hibiscus tea leaves in hot water for only a few minutes allows the flavor and nutrients of the hibiscus flower to fill your cup, and makes a beverage that is extremely beneficial to the function of the human body. Hibiscus tea has been shown to support healthy blood pressure, promote healthful cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, help support memory and concentration, promote a healthy heart, help support the immune system and boost the effectiveness of vitamin C in the body.

Hibiscus tea has lipid enzymes (amylase inhibitors) that affect the way the body absorbs fats and carbohydrates. Amylase is an enzyme inhibitor that the body uses to break down complex sugars and to cut carbohydrate absorption. These same enzymes and inhibitors are also present in kidney beans. A study on extract from the kidney bean was published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences in 2007. The study concluded that amylase inhibitors produce significant weight loss, while helping to maintain lean body mass.

Since hibiscus tea is herbal and caffeine free, you can drink it multiple times throughout the day without any negative side effects. The tea will provide your body with nutrients that improve health and will help you limit your absorption of starches, allowing you to cut calories and therefore lose weight. If you are looking for a "new" beverage this holiday and winter season, give hibiscus tea a try. It has a great fruity flavor and will contribute to making this season a healthy one.

This is the time of the year when people from all over the world decorate their homes for the Christmas holiday. The center piece of the decorations is the Christmas tree. Christmas trees can be artificial or live, natural trees. The decision to have a live tree or an artificial tree is a personal choice. As with all choices, there are a number of facts to consider before deciding which tree you would like to use to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Artificial trees are fashionably decorative and they last for years. A major benefit is that one doesn't have to worry about sweeping up pine needles all over the floor. Sadly, artificial trees are produced using fossil fuels and eventually end up in a landfill, adding to the offset of carbon emissions and the overall pollution of the environment. In addition, most plastic trees are manufactured in China, which also leads to high transport emissions during importation. Also, artificial Christmas trees are made of non-biodegradable plastics and may even have toxic metals in them, such as lead.

As far as live Christmas trees go, 34 million live Christmas trees are purchased each year in the United States alone. Christmas tree farms are a major contributor to the fight against global warming. Christmas trees absorb CO2 ( almost 6 tons per acre) and release oxygen into the environment, enough oxygen for 18 people to live and breathe for one day. Many people worry that cutting down a tree, only to discard it at the end of the holiday season is a waste of natural resources. But live trees are renewable; and Christmas trees are not usually cut from 'naturally' forested areas. Most trees come from specially planted Christmas tree farms. When one tree is cut down, the business owner plants more to replace the purchased tree.

Consider then, how much of a benefit to our environment the Christmas tree farming business is. A newly planted Christmas tree contributes to a healthy environment for over ten years before it reaches a mature size and is able to be cut down. Another major benefit to having a live Christmas tree is, once the holiday is over, the tree can be recycled and used for landscaping, gardening, playground material and even to help replenish beach dunes. In addition to the environmental benefit, Christmas tree farms are necessarily local businesses. So the money you spend on a locally grown tree supports residents of your area, who then contribute those dollars to the local economy. Lastly, fresh cut Christmas trees fill the house with that special aroma that enhances the holidays.

If you are in need of a Christmas tree this holiday season and you are on the fence as to which way to go, give a fresh, live Christmas tree a chance. It will smell nice and help the environment too!

Artificial sweeteners are one of the most commonly used ingredients in food today. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are also one of the biggest offenders to our body's overall health. Developed as a marketing ploy and designed to appeal to the calorie conscious consumer, artificial sweeteners were fast tracked for public consumption with little to no long term testing on their affect on health. In past columns, we have discussed the dangerous side effects of the use of aspartame (brand name, Nutrasweet). In this column, I would like to shed some light on a newer product that was designed to appeal to consumers who would like a more "natural" artificial sweetener.

Splenda, also known as sucrolose, is being marketed as an artificial sweetener "made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar." In reality, Splenda is an artificial sweetener derived from chlorinated sugar. It was released to the public with only two human research trials, the longest of which was conducted for only four days. In a recent study reported on in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Splenda reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increased intestinal ph levels and contributed to overall weight gain. One of the more shocking revelations was that Splenda affected glycoprotein levels in the body which could cause certain medications to be blocked by the digestive system so that they are not absorbed by the body.

According to James Turner, Director of Citizens for Health, a consumer education group, the most common consumer complaints concerning Splenda are: gastrointestinal problems, migraines, seizures, dizziness, blurred vision, allergic reactions, blood sugar increases and weight gain. In conclusion, this research report is one of many that validates avoiding the use of artificial sweeteners. If you want to feel good and be healthy, just say no to the sweet stuff. For more information, visit the website, www.truthaboutsplenda.com.

Growing up as a child and teenager, my parents and grandparents often told me I needed to put on my coat or jacket so I did not catch a cold. For the same reason, I would also hear that I shouldn't go out with a wet head in the winter or swim in ocean or pool water that was too cold. A lot of the time, being the rebel kid that I was, I would do exactly what they told me not to do and never caught a cold. But sometimes I went out with a wet head and did not wear a jacket in the cold, and guess what? I did catch a nasty cold. Then, immediately afterward, I would hear the barrage of "I told you so's." (Could you imagine if I went out without a jacket and jumped in the pool at the same time?) So, what gives? Why did I occasionally get sick from being out in the cold and other times I did not?

The bottom line is cold temperatures and wet heads do not cause colds or illness. They do, however, have an indirect effect on whether or not a person gets sick. Cold temperatures can lower the body's core temperature. We know that this ‘lowering’ isn't so bad in the short term. Recent research by the Army Institute of Environmental Medicine found that a short term, immediate exposure to cold temperatures activates the immune system in healthy individuals by circulating certain hormones of the body that act as nasal decongestants (thus the runny nose when first going outside in the cold). The paradox occurs when a person is exposed to cold temperatures for a longer period of time.

As mentioned above, the cold lowers the body's core temperature from its normal average of 98.6 degrees, and that decrease has a negative effect on the body's immune system function. If the body's immune system is not working properly, a person is more susceptible to a germ or virus. Does this fact mean that you will catch a cold if you are outside all day without a jacket in cold weather? Not necessarily. If your immune system is functioning at 100%, probably not. The cold temperature would be just a small factor, as it may not be enough to dent your body's ability to fight off exposure to a germ or a virus.

Now we go to the flip side of the story, when someone's immune system is not functioning at 100% and they are exposed to cold temperatures or have a wet head in the cold air for more than a short period of time. Let us say that this person eats a lot of junk food, is poorly nourished, does not get enough sleep or exercise and/or is under a lot of stress. In addition, maybe he or she does not drink enough water, smokes cigarettes and/or is constantly exposed to toxicities in his or her food or environment. Bingo. Now combine a drop in core body temperature with this person's deficient immune system and he or she is going to get a cold from a germ that is a block away!

The fact of the matter is you do not need to be afraid of cold, wet, winter days. Cold temps will not cause a cold in your body. But if you are not taking care of yourself and are not doing things to enhance your immune system, you better bundle up in a coat and scarf and make sure you come in quickly from the cold this winter.

Flu Vaccine Update: This just in from the British Medical Journal (Lancet, published Oct. 26, 2011): British medical doctors and PhD researchers concluded a systematic review of randomized clinically controlled studies from 1967-2011, assessing post vaccination flu shot risk. Their conclusion, once the author's math was converted from "relative risk reduction" to the more accurate "absolute risk reduction," was that the flu vaccine only prevents the flu in 1.5 out of every 100 people vaccinated. Based on the review study, this gives the flu shot 70% ineffectiveness.

In keeping with the spirit of the fall season, autumn not only gives us the holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, but we also have favorite fall pastimes, including Indian summer, harvest moon, bon-fires, football games and home-coming. With all this great stuff, one of the best things about autumn is not an event or happening; it is a vegetable! Pumpkins may be the smiling face on your porch at Halloween but, more importantly, they are the scrumptious filling in your holiday pies and the flavorful ingredient in your soups and casseroles. Oh, and don't forget those seeds; 30 minutes in the oven with a little sea salt and viola, a terrific crunchy snack. Did you know that pumpkins are very good for you? The pumpkin is a member of the squash and cucumber family. It got its name from the Greek word "pepon," for large melon.

Pumpkins were first introduced to us by Native Americans during the time we colonized our country. America’s native people used pumpkins for practical purposes. They dried thin strips of pumpkin and used them as mats. More importantly, Native American tribes were well aware of the pumpkin's healing properties. Some tribes created salve from pumpkin seeds and pumpkin meat to help heal wounds. Native Americans also used pumpkin seed oil to treat burns and wounds.

Some folk healers believe that pumpkin can help with menstrual cramping, provide urinary and kidney support, and can even help rid the body of intestinal worms. In addition, research is linking pumpkin seed consumption to healthy prostate function. Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, which are protective compounds that may help prevent enlargement of the prostate gland. Research has demonstrated that pumpkin seeds also slow down the progression of arthritis, due to the anti-inflammatory effect the phytosterols have on the body.

Pumpkins are very nutritious and are high in potassium, vitamin A, zinc and beta-carotene (an important anti-oxidant). They are also low in calories, about 49 per 1 cup serving. One cup of pumpkin contains 12 carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber. So, know that the next time you bite into a slice of pumpkin pie or eat a handful of pumpkin seeds, not only are you celebrating autumn by eating something tasty, you are doing something good for you!

It is time to talk about cigarettes. Most of us know that cigarette smoking is extremely dangerous to our health. Those who smoke cigarettes and know the risks choose to ignore the dangers for many reasons. Some of those reasons are apparent. Cigarettes provide a moment or two of pleasure. Tobacco, like alcohol, can relax the body and create a peaceful feeling. Cigarettes are still glamorized today by a segment of our youth. Teenagers think they look cool while smoking. (I know this idea is an old one, but it still holds true). Cigarettes may even help some teenagers "feel" more grown-up. Sadly, I have never met one person who thought the first time he or she tried a cigarette was a pleasurable experience, which brings us to the last 'reason' people smoke. The last entry on our list is likely the weightiest reason people continue to smoke: Cigarettes are addicting.

Gradually over time, cigarettes become a very expensive, dangerous habit that not only affects the life of the person who smokes, but the people around them as well. Generally, people think they are smoking tobacco, when in fact they are smoking tobacco with 599 additives added to the mix. The United States government approved 599 additives in the manufacturing of cigarettes. In the very old days, one just grabbed some dried tobacco, rolled it in paper and had a smoke. Not so much anymore.

These additives have been approved for food by the government, but these additives were never tested to see what would happen to them when they are burned. And that is the problem. The burning of these 599 additives changes their chemical properties and creates over 4,000 different chemical compounds found in cigarette smoke, many of which are toxic to the body and/or carcinogenic (cancer causing). Carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide are found in all forms of cigarette smoke, including first-hand and second-hand smoke.

Just so you are aware, hydrogen cyanide was used as a genocidal chemical weapon during World War II and ammonia is a poison used mainly as a cleaning agent. The main advantage of ammonia use by tobacco manufacturers is that ammonia boosts the impact of tobacco, so that it enhances the pleasurable effect of smoking. Another additive, carbon monoxide, is a colorless, odorless gas that reduces the amount of oxygen carried in the blood stream. Carbon monoxide also leads to heart disease because it accelerates the layering of cholesterol in the arteries. Carbon monoxide is a very potent poison. That is why carbon monoxide detectors are required in homes.

Statistically speaking, each year cigarette smoking kills the equivalent of three jumbo jet airliner crashes every single day. If three jumbo jets were to crash every day, I am quite certain I would not be flying on one. That being said, if 438,000 people are killed each year from smoking cigarettes, why continue? Why even start for that matter?

Knowledge is power. Maybe a majority of smokers do not realize that addictive and extremely harmful additives are mixed with their tobacco. If that is the case, share this info with everyone that you know and care about who smokes cigarettes. Maybe, just maybe, this information might help them to quit the cigarette habit.

I don't know if it is just me and my hyperawareness to health issues, but it sure seems that the flu shot is being heavily promoted this year. Everywhere I turn I see a sign that says, "Flu Shots Here!" Years ago, people would have to go their doctor to get a flu shot. Now flu shots are available at the pharmacy, your local church and even in supermarkets, of all places. My biggest issue with flu shots is not that people get them (if you want to have a flu shot, it is your choice, as it should be). But the issue is one of informed consent.

Informed consent takes place when people receiving a product or service have information that allows them to make an educated decision about whether or not they should utilize the product or service. For instance, we all watch those crazy drug commercials on TV. The commercial advertises what condition a drug is used for and then, as required by our country's drug advertising laws, it lists all of the possible side effects of the drugs, such as depression, kidney and liver disease and death. All drugs even contain literature that lists every possible side effect and what the drugs are made from. Once you have all this information, you make the decision whether or not to take the medication with knowledge of the drug, the risks and the proposed benefits. You have been informed and now you have the right to consent or not consent.

The flu shot seems to ignore the informed consent rule. All consumers are told is the good stuff. "Get this shot; avoid the flu." Seems like a no brainer. Who would want the flu? Maybe that is why millions of people line-up to receive this vaccination, which is really good news for the drug companies that manufacture and sell this product! This week's Health Tip will now shed some light on important information about the flu vaccine that may give you pause before you consent.

First, if the theory behind the flu vaccine was sound and the flu shot offered protection from the flu, the protection would be minimal, if at all. Why is that you ask? The flu vaccine is based on last year's strain of flu virus. The drug laboratories analyze flu viruses and come up with a drug to help the body knock them out. The only problem is that the viruses mutate from year to year and are never the same. This year's flu virus is not the same as last year's. Therefore, the shot cannot offer protection from this year's strain of virus.

Second, before electing to get a flu shot, you should know that flu vaccines contain harmful additives that are toxic to our body and, most importantly, toxic to our neurological system. The most common additives to the flu shot are thimerosal, mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury and thimerosal are added to the flu shot as a preservative. Thimerosal, a known cause of birth defects, is still detectable in trace amounts in vaccines that advertise themselves as thimerosal-free. Also, hold on to your seat...thimerosal contains 49% mercury by weight. What's more, a thimerosal-free label still allows manufacture's to add mercury, which is a fixture in the flu shot. Mercury is a known neurotoxin with a toxicity level 1,000 times greater than lead. Due to its high toxicity, a few years ago the government mandated the removal of mercury from all vaccines, except the flu shot. Formaldehyde is used to embalm dead people and is a known cancer causing agent. It is used in the flu shot to inactivate the virus. Aluminum is added to promote an antibody response. It is also a neurotoxin and is linked to Alzheimer's disease. In addition, here is a list of some other common ingredients: Triton X-100, a detergent and ethylene glycol, which is the same as anti-freeze used in cars.

Manufacturers also add various antibiotics to the flu shot, such as neomycin, streptomycin and gentamicin. It is no wonder a lot of people become sick within a day or two of a flu shot! The best way to avoid the flu is to keep your immune system working at its highest level. Do this by eating right, taking vitamins, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. These steps are a lot safer than a chemically, hazardous injection. This week's Health Tip gives you information you need about the flu shot. So the ability to make an informed decision is now yours...

Recently, I listened to an inspiring sermon by a gifted minister. His sermon imparted the topic of this week's Health Tip, which is the fact that mental and spiritual health are important aspects of over-all health. Many feel that one cannot disconnect man the physical from man the spiritual. Along that line, I would like to discuss Teshuva. Teshuva is the Hebrew word for repentance.

Repentance is defined as a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who has been wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to the confession of a sin. As far as health goes, I know from personal experience that when you correct a wrong and are granted forgiveness you "feel" much better emotionally, and that translates into a more relaxed physical state. According to the Hebrew faith, there are seven steps to Teshuva.

The first step is an ad-mission of a wrongdoing. One has to recognize that he or she has done something wrong and admit it to his or herself. Next, there has to be remorse. Remorse is not only being aware that you did something wrong, but also feeling it deeply inside yourself. Some would call that feeling "guilty." Once you feel remorse, then you would confess your internal sorrow and apologize, which allows you to take responsibility for your act. The fifth step to Teshuva is to make restitution. You have to repay the cost of what you did wrong; the matter has to be made right. Once you have made up for what you have done, it is time for reckoning. Reckoning is the contemplation or soul searching that you do within yourself. Reckoning is taking an honest look at yourself and having the intro-spection to ask, “Why did I do that in the first place?” Last, the seventh step to Teshuva is transformation. Trans-formation is the act of changing yourself to act in a new and better way, to become a new creation, an improved person.

So, now that I have the seven steps down, I will put them together in a fictional example. Let's say one night I come home late and I am backing my car into its parking spot. I misjudge the distance and run over the neighbor’s new sapling, completely snapping the tree in half. I get out of my car to take a look at the accident and think to myself, “If I move my car to the other side of the street, they will never know I did it.” After moving my car, I go into my house. Once inside, the feeling that I am doing something wrong comes over me. I admit that I have made a mistake. Now I start to feel remorse over the situation. I decide that as soon as day breaks, I will confess what I have done and apologize to my neighbor for running over his tree. If I am really brave (and to have com-plete Teshuva), I confess that I moved my to hide the accident and tell him that I am honestly sorry I did that. I then make restitution, not only by buying him a new tree, but by digging up the broken tree and planting the new one. Once that is done, I sit back and contemplate everything that has happened in this situation. I ask myself why I tried to hide the accident from my neighbor in the first place. Lastly, I learn from this experience that elimi-nating deception from my life will make me a better person and bring me less strife.

Utilizing the seven steps of Teshuva can be an important part of a person's emotional health. To admit, feel remorse, confess, apologize, restore, search yourself and transform your actions can make you a more complete person. It will allow you to be more in touch with your spiritual and emotional side, and will also allow you to become a better person for your family, friends and neighbors. As for your physical health, these steps will reduce stress and anxiety, and will re-place them rather immediately with acceptance and satisfaction. You will thus avoid heightened anxiety, blood pressure, digestive disorders and stress, and the variety of maladies that accompany those conditions. All these health gains are to be had by choosing positive action over a negative loop.

This week, we are going to talk about pee-pee. Since this is a serious forum and it is written by an educated healthcare professional, I will refer to pee-pee by its proper name, urine. Since we all urinate numerous times a day, it will be good to know exactly what is happening down there. Urination is the act of urinating. (So much easier to say pee!) Urine is the excess liquid wastes eliminated by the body. Humans eliminate liquid wastes in one of two ways, urination and perspiration (sweating). There is an entire system in the body dedicated to the elimination of soluble wastes. This system is called the urinary system.

The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. When food, liquids and drugs are taken into the body, they first pass through the digestive system, where they are broken down for absorption. The nutrients and chemicals then circulate through the blood stream. The body then sends excess liquid and nutrients that are not needed to the kidneys for filtration. The excess includes chemicals from drugs and medications. That is why so many drug side effects concern the kidneys and may eventually lead to kidney damage. The kidneys spend their entire life filtering waste products such as drugs. The fluid that remains after kidney filtration contains a variety of compounds, but is mostly made of a substance called urea.

Urea is actually odorless until it mixes with the water left over in the kidneys and then it has an ammonia type smell. The urea, water and other compounds are what forms urine. The urine passes from long tubes called ureters that are connected from the kidney to the bladder. The bladder is a small sac that contains all of the urine. When the bladder is full, nerves in the lining of the bladder send a signal through the spinal nerves to the spinal cord, up to the brain. Your brain then lets you know that it is time to empty the bladder or, as we educated healthcare professionals say, void the bladder. On a side note, the nervous system (brain, spinal nerves and spinal cord) not only controls this important response, but also controls the function of the kidneys and, for that matter, the function of every other system in the body. Ok. Back to the bladder. Once the bladder is full and it is time to void, the urine flows through a small tube called the urethra. The urethra connects to the outside of the body via the genitals and that is how urine is eliminated.

Despite what you may think, urine by itself is not toxic to the body. It does have some components that can be irritating to the eyes and skin but, overall, it is not harmful. Water treatment plants can process urine and extract suitable water for drinking. (And they do. My father, who ran a large water treatment plant, once said that the city water we are drinking has been drunk before. Yuck!)

From a healthcare perspective, urine is an extremely important window into how the body is functioning. A urinalysis can reveal hidden problems with a person's overall health, not to mention show drugs a person has taken into his or her body. So, the next time you have to go wee, you will know exactly how the process takes place. That knowledge is good to have because, after all, each of us is the owner of one body. We all should read the owner's manual every now and again.

When a blood vessel leading to or in the brain bursts, the brain is deprived of vital oxygen and nutrients. This incident is called a stroke. Strokes are the number three killer in the United States, affecting over 700,000 people each year. A stroke can leave you with weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, speech difficulties, balance issues and memory loss. A severe stroke can kill you. If it doesn’t, it may leave you paralyzed and in a coma. The bottom line is that a stroke is a condition that needs to be avoided at all costs.

Melanie Haiken from Caring.com has compiled a list of five foods that can lead to a stroke. Learn this list and avoid these foods:

(1) Crackers, chips, store bought pastries and baked goods and fried fast foods (like chicken nuggets, fries and onion rings). These types of foods contain hydrogenated oil (trans fats). Trans fats are dangerous artery blockers that not only contribute to strokes, but they also cause heart disease.

(2) Smoked and processed meat. Processed meats like bacon, sausage and cold cuts contain preservatives, sodium nitrate and nitrite. Sodium nitrate and nitrite cause blood vessels to harden and narrow.

(3) Diet soda. The reason diet sodas are a trigger for strokes is not exactly known, but Columbia University recently presented a paper at an American Stroke Association conference that said that diet soda drinkers had 60% more strokes than those who didn’t drink diet soda.

(4) Red meat. Red meat is high in saturated animal fat. Saturated animal fat clogs blood vessels by building up protein plaques in the arteries. If you eat meat, choose the leanest cuts available.

(5) And lastly, canned soup and prepared foods (frozen, store made). Why? Salt. High salt intake leads to high blood pressure, which is a major factor in stroke. People, who consume over 4000 mg of salt per day double their risk of stroke. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Americans average close to 3500 mg per day, which is entirely too much sodium in the daily diet.

A stroke is not only devastating to the person it happens to, but it also has a major impact on the entire family. If you can avoid having a stroke by avoiding these five types of foods, I would make a huge effort to eliminate or decrease your consumption of them considerably, for your sake and for your family’s sake.

As far as overall health goes, one cannot attain, maintain or enhance health without a steady supply of plant based food (fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes). For sake of simplicity in this week's Health Tip, I will refer to these foods as vegan. Vegan foods will provide the body all that it needs to be healthy. They are high in vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber, and are low in unhealthy saturated fat. Research shows that incorporating vegan foods into your daily diet will lower your risk of certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and eye disorders, and will also help you prevent high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some of the physical benefits to eating the vegan way are more energy, healthier hair and skin, less body weight and fewer allergies.

The typical American diet contributes to many diseases. Many of our population rely too much on animal protein, dairy products and foods containing added sugar. By eliminating these types of foods, or reducing their intake and substituting with fruits and vegetables, average people can do much to reclaim their health and fitness. Most animals raised for meat consumption take in antibiotics or hormones, either directly or in the food that they eat. These harmful chemicals pass into our bodies in the digestive process. The accumulation of these chemicals over time can lead to disease.

In addition to eating a diet made up mostly of vegan foods for health reasons, there are also ethical concerns about a non-vegan diet. Animals raised for mass consumption often are treated inhumanely. Chickens and other fowl are crowded together in very small cages their entire life, never seeing the light of day. Young lamb are chained, immobile to very small pens and are given an extremely limited amount of food in order to make their meat more tender, so that it can be sold as veal. Cattle are no better off and are usually electrocuted as the method of slaughter. If you are a meat eater, you can eat meat without supporting animal cruelty by eating free range meat products. Free range animals are livestock that were raised on a farm and lived a healthy, relatively happy life before becoming our food.

In addition to concerns about cruelty, another big concern about a carnivorous diet is the environment. It is much more costly and detrimental to the environment to raise animals than to grow plants. Growing plants requires fewer resources and does not leave as much of a carbon footprint as raising livestock. Livestock produces substantial amounts of animal waste. Decomposing cattle poop produces methane gas, which is harmful to the ozone. In addition, the amount of grain needed to feed our cattle could literally feed all the population of third world nations that are threatened with starvation.

So, as you can see, eating meat does produce a bit of an ethical, as well as a health dilemma. That being said, last week I discussed the benefits of having meat in your diet and, as promised, this week we discussed the advantages of the vegan diet. Now, the rest is up to you. Read and reread these latest two Health Tips; give them serious thought and make the best decision for you and your loved ones. As with everything else in life, it may be (as Aristotle counseled us centuries ago) that moderation and reflection in all things is the key to health and happiness.

Astaxanthin (as-tax-an-thin) is an ingredient found in extremely small algae that live in the sea. Astaxanthin is a member of the nutrient family called carotenoids. Carotenoids are the naturally occurring pigments that give foods their colors. For instance, carotenoids are what give the yellows, oranges and reds to foods such as peppers and carrots. Astaxanthin is the carotenoid that gives the red color to salmon and the pink to flamingos. How so? Shrimp and Krill, high in astaxanthin are the main food sources for flamingos and salmon, thus their vibrant color.

Carotenoids are very powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent and fight cell damage in the body. Cellular damage is a precursor for disease. Here is the amazing thing. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 more times more powerful than beta-carotene and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E. Aside from being extremely powerful and healthy for the body, one of astaxanthin's main benefits is that it has the ability to cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers. This unique ability brings superior protection to the eyes, brain and central nervous system.

A diet that contains astaxanthin has been shown to have a positive effect in people with conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal arterial occlusion, venous occlusion, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), cystoid macular edema, injuries to the brain and spine, inflammatory eye diseases (i.e., retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis) and Parkinson's, Huntington's and Lou Gehrig's (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) diseases, as well as Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. As you can tell from the above list, one of the body parts that seem to get a tremendous benefit from carotenoids is the eyes. Speaking of eyes, the old adage that eating your carrots is good for your eyes is true, because carrots are a carotenoid with eye protective anti-oxidants. While astaxanthin seems to trump carrots for eye health, eating carrots is another way to make sure your body is getting eye protective antioxidants.

Another important eye nutrient is lutein. Lutein is another carotenoid that protects the eyes in a very big way. Lutein is the carotenoid that produces the yellow pigment. It is found in yellow peppers, carrots and in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. The macula of the eye contains the highest concentration of lutein, making lutein an important nutrient to consume for macular health.

Since this week's Health Tip has become an eye health discussion, I would be remiss to leave out two very important foods for healthy eyes... bilberries and black currants. The anti-oxidants found in bilberries (also known as huckleberries) and black currants have been shown to protect and enhance vision. Eye health is an often neglected part of the average person's health care program, but most of us value our eye sight beyond measure. Taking the steps now to include these nutrients in your diet will help to ensure that your eyes are working fine, well into the future. Do you think it would have helped us be more aware if Bugs Bunny had held a cup full of Krill in one hand and a carrot in the other?

In our last "Health Tip of the Week," we discussed the top three nutritional items that you need for optimal health. In this week's column, I will bring to your attention the top three things in the daily diet that you need to avoid. These three food ingredients stand out among the things that are detrimental to health and well-being. As with the top three things needed for good health, these bad guys have shown up year after year with more and more research proving how bad they are for you. The common factor these items share is that they are all ingredients in food that we eat; and they are all added to food because they are cheaper and less inexpensive to produce than the healthy ingredients they are replacing. Ok, are you ready? Here we go.

The number one item on my list is trans fats. Trans fats are hydrogenated oils food manufacturers add to food to increase its shelf life and decrease refrigeration requirements. These hydrogenated oils, most commonly hydrogenated soy, vegetable, coconut and palm oil are linked to heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and liver dysfunction. The evidence proving that trans fats lead to heart disease is irrefutable. If you want to avoid heart disease and keep your heart healthy, you need to avoid foods with hydrogenated oils at all costs. Check the ingredient list in bread, granola bars and snack food, cereal, desserts, basically all pre-packaged food. It's usually in there, but there are more and more brands that steer clear of hydrogenated oil. Look for them; they're out there.

The number two item is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is used as a sweetener in food. It is very cheap to manufacture, has zero nutritional value and is sweeter than sugar. When corn syrup is processed using certain enzymes, what is left over becomes one of the most common ingredients in all manufactured food eaten today. The problem with high fructose corn syrup is that HFCS elevates cholesterol levels, dampens immune system function, scars the walls of arteries in our circulatory system and severely interferes with the body's ability to produce insulin, which leads to weight gain. In addition, eating foods with high fructose corn syrup tends to make you hungrier and causes you to eat more, leading to weight gain. A new study has found that children who eat large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (it's in everything!) are showing signs of early liver cirrhosis. If you think children today are heavier than the children of yesteryear, the culprit may well be HFCS! Just as hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup is in most pre-packaged or processed food, but more and more companies are making products without it. Look for them; they're out there.

The number three item on my list of detrimental food products is artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners such as Nutrasweet, Aspartame, Sucrolose and Splenda have been thoroughly researched, and the research has found them to be excito-neuro toxins. These are toxins that have a negative effect on brain and nervous system function. Consumption of products containing artificial sweeteners can lead to symptoms that mimic multiple sclerosis. In addition, muscle aches and pain, memory loss and brain fog have all been reported with overuse of these products. The nervous system is the most important system in the body, as it controls all systems, cells and tissues. Therefore, disrupting nervous system function can lead to every symptom imaginable. You need to avoid artificial sweeteners for your body to work properly. If you are dedicated to avoiding them (check candy and gum, soda, all sugar free or 'diet' items, yogurt, etc), after a period of time your taste buds will no longer be desensitized to taste of it. You will realize that good old natural sugar tastes better and keeps you slimmer than its artificial rival.

Hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners are the top three food products that negatively affect health. There are many more out there, but if you take steps to eliminate these three, your body will thank you by being much healthier. And remember, if you're healthier, you're happier.

As I sit at the computer, pondering the next weekly installment of the "Health Tip of the Week," it has dawned on me that certain topics resurface periodically due to the ever evolving world of nutritional research. Each week we learn about the health benefits of certain vitamins, foods and other nutritional supplements. Some weeks the news tells us foods or products are good for us and other weeks it tells us that those same products may not be as good for us as we thought. Having published the "Health Tip of the Week" for several years now, I have been able to narrow down a list of nutrition absolute do's and don'ts for health and disease. Researchers have studied the following suggestions thoroughly over the years, and it is an unchanging fact that they are basic for the optimal health of you and your family.

In no order of importance, here is my personal list of essential health guidelines: Vitamin D3. D3 is the wonder vitamin of the new millennium. Shown to enhance immunity and strengthen bones by helping calcium become more absorbable, vitamin D3 has shown promise in preventing cancers, cardiovascular disease, regulating blood sugar and working as an anti-inflammatory aid. D3 has also shown itself to be helpful in improving cognitive function. Experts in Vitamin D research believe the ideal dosage is 35 units per pound of bodyweight, depending on sun exposure. If you are outside a lot in the spring, summer and fall, you need less Vitamin D3 due to your body's ability to manufacture D3 from the sun.

Next on my list of essential health ingredients is Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fats are the essential fats found in fish, krill and flax seed oil. These fats have extreme anti-inflammatory properties. It is important to realize that inflammation is an important marker in all disease, from cancer and heart disease to arthritis and muscular skeletal issues. Omega 3 fats are also essential for brain function and healthy nerves. Daily dosages have been shown to reduce neuropathy symptoms and calm children with ADHD. Experts agree that liquid oil is the best source of Omega 3 fats due to its absorbability. One teaspoon per fifty pounds of body weight is the optimal dosage.

Lastly, probiotic supplementation has shown indisputable promise in helping the body to be healthy. The human digestive tract contains millions of normal, healthy bacterial cells, which it uses to maintain the health of the body. Today's average diet, stressful lifestyles and drug usage destroys the intestinal bacteria. When this degradation happens, the immune system doesn't function normally and frequent illnesses and sicknesses can occur. Recent research has even shown that probiotics can positively influence our DNA and have an effect on genetic markers that influence disease. Probiotics are the bacteria that are present in yogurt, keiffer and other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut. Probiotic supplements are also available in capsule form from the health food store.

As far as essential health ingredients go, the bottom line is that an effort to include these three supplements in your daily diet will give you an outcome for greater health in the lives of you and your family. Next week I will talk about the three things that you need to eliminate from your daily diet. No worries, though. It's three in and three gone and the health you get out of it will be worth the effort!

As most of us know, regular exercise is essential for improving and maintaining overall health. Regular exercise not only helps you to maintain or lose bodyweight, exercise is extremely important for enhancing the performance of all of your bodily systems. For instance, exercise helps to regulate blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Exercise increases the body's metabolism, immune system capabilities, cardiovascular function and bone density. In addition, exercise has a positive effect on a person's mental outlook. The body produces certain hormones during exercise that elevate mood and emotional well being. Not to mention that exercise is the perfect way to reduce the negative effects of stress.

The biggest problem with exercise is, not so much exercise itself (exercise is as simple as walking), it is allotting the time to do it. Fitting an exercise program in an already hectic and busy day can seem impossible. Juggling kids and house work, long hours at work and doing errands and chores always seem to put exercising on the back burner. According to Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, Chief Exercise Physiologist of the American Council on Exercise, one of the best times to exercise is first thing in the morning. "Starting your morning with physical activity, you set the day's pace," Bryant says. "Morning exercisers tend to stick with their exercise habit," he says. "By doing the bulk of exercise first thing in the morning, you get your exercise in before other distractions can intrude. We can all relate to that because once the day gets going, it's hard to get off the treadmill called life."

According to Bryant, research suggests that morning exercise improves sleep, a benefit that could also promote weight loss. One study of overweight women between the ages of 50-75 showed that those who engaged in consistent morning exercise (about four hours a week) slept better than those who exercised less. In addition, exercise in the morning has a profound effect on the body's metabolism. Studies show that the body will continue to burn an excess of calories hours after the exercise session, promoting further weight loss.

Often the biggest concern among people who do not exercise is that they have too much to do in the morning before getting out the door. They feel they don't have time to fit in an exercise session. The solution to that problem is to wake up 30-40 minutes earlier, just for the exercise routine. Get out of bed, freshen-up and exercise. The first few sessions may be tough, and you will be more tired at the end of the day, but guess what? You'll sleep better through the night and may even end up going to bed a little earlier. A little more quality sleep, coupled with your new exercise routine can only mean one thing...a healthier, happier life!

The adrenal glands are walnut sized glands that sit on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands primarily produce three main hormones, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and adrenaline. Glucocorticoids help the body convert food into energy. Minerlocorticoids help keep your blood pressure in the normal range. And adrenaline is in charge of the blood flow to your heart, muscles and brain. Because they manufacture these three hormones, your adrenal glands are responsible for maintaining metabolism, managing blood sugar levels, regulating inflammation in the body, balancing the body's salt and water, maintaining pregnancy, producing sex hormones and controlling the body's response to stress.

Eighty percent (80%) of Americans, at one point in their lifetime, suffer from a condition called adrenal fatigue. One of the main functions of the adrenal gland is its ability to help the body cope with stress. Conversely, too much stress can cause the adrenal gland to break down and suffer fatigue. The most common factors that "stress out" the adrenal glands are anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, depression and other negative emotions, overwork, excessive exercise, sleep deprivation, shift work, surgery, trauma or injury, chronic inflammation, infection, illness or pain, temperature extremes, toxic exposure, nutritional deficiencies and/or severe allergies. When the adrenal glands become depleted, hormone production levels decrease. This decrease then can lead to many different conditions, which affect the body of each individual in different ways.

Some of the most common symptoms and signs of adrenal fatigue include: fatigue and weakness, especially in the morning and afternoon; suppressed immune system function; increased allergic reaction; muscle and bone loss and muscular weakness; depression; cravings for foods high in salt, sugar or fat; hormonal imbalance; skin problems; autoimmune disorders; increased PMS or menopausal symptoms; low sex drive; lightheadedness; decreased ability to handle stress; trouble waking up in the morning, despite a full night’s sleep and, lastly, poor memory.

Detection and diagnosis of adrenal fatigue is fairly simple. There is an inexpensive test that you can purchase online and perform at home, called a salivary cortisol test. This test is more accurate than the blood test called ACTH, which most medical doctors prescribe. The ACTH test only recognizes extreme underproduction and over production of adrenal gland hormones, while the salivary cortisol test recognizes more particular hormone production.

If you do suffer from adrenal fatigue, it can take your body 6-24 months (depending on severity) to right itself when you take the proper steps to restore adrenal function. These steps include listening to your body and resting when you feel tired, sleeping-in when needed, exercising regularly (but not extremely), eating a healthy whole-foods diet, avoiding stimulants such as coffee and soda and, most importantly, maintaining proper blood sugar levels. You can achieve regular blood sugar levels by eating wholesome, nutritionally dense, small meals at consistent intervals throughout the day. The adrenal glands are extremely important to your health and well being. By taking the steps needed to improve their performance, you can eliminate and prevent many illnesses.

Food products made with soy can be dangerous to your health. This is a shocking statement, as almost every processed food contains some form of soy and 85% of all consumers believe that soy is a health food. Popular processed soy products like soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers and soy ice cream are commonly thought of as healthy alternatives to the non-soy variety. The trouble begins with the processing of the soy bean into separate components that are used as food ingredients. The soy bean is most commonly processed into soy protein, soybean oil and soy lecithin. Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, says “Today's high-tech processing methods not only fail to remove the anti-nutrients and toxins that are naturally present in soybeans but leave toxic and carcinogenic residues created by the high temperatures, high pressure, alkali and acid baths and petroleum solvents."

Findings from numerous studies have found that processed soy ingredients raise homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can build-up excessively in the body and can lead to heart disease, stroke and birth defects. In addition to the threat posed by processed soy protein, a high soy diet has been linked to thyroid problems, cancer, brain damage, reproductive trouble (soy increases estrogen levels), kidney stones, weakened immune system and food allergies. Sadly, you are consuming soy whether you are buying soy products or not. Ten percent of the average person's calories come from soybeans, usually in the form of soy oil. The typical list of ingredients on any processed food box may contain 2-3 different soy ingredients.

The soy bean has become a billion dollar business and is one of the largest cash crops in the nation. The Monsanto Corporation has genetically modified the soybean (which has its own negative health effects) and owns the patent on the soybean seed. Monsanto has even taken mid-west farmers to court for failing to follow its soybean seed rules. Many cases involve the Monsanto Corporation suing farmers for using soybean seeds harvested from plants grown from Monsanto soybean seeds. Even though this practice of using harvested seeds to plant crops has been used by farmers for thousands of years, Monsanto would like farmers to use only its seeds. There is so much money involved in the soybean industry, corporations will go to extreme lengths to extend and protect their profits. That is why millions of dollars are spent on marketing and advertising the soybean as a "health food product."

The only way to completely avoid soybean additives is to eat whole foods and prepare them yourself. One important fact in this story is that not all soy is bad for you. Fermented soy, such as miso, soy sauce and natto are healthy for you because the fermentation process reduces the harmful toxins in soy and also increases probiotics, which are important for healthy digestion. However, before eating soy beans or products containing soy protein, soybean oil or soy lecithin, consider the current research involving soy; and do not accept the label of soy 'health food' without taking a closer look. If you have the facts, you'll choose good food that will help build good health.

The average American eats about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt a day, the equivalent of 3450 mg each day. The recommended daily allowance of sodium is about 1 teaspoon a day (2300 mg). And if you have high blood pressure, the recommendation is even less, 2/3 teaspoon per day (1534 mg). Too much salt in the daily diet leads to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Salt intake will increase blood pressure; the more salt in the diet, the higher the blood pressure goes. Once your blood pressure reaches a certain level, your risk of stroke increases dramatically. Lowering salt intake is a proven and simple way to decrease risk factors for suffering a stroke, which can be extremely devastating to your life and your family. Another reason to avoid high salt food is that salt retains water in the body. Too much salt in the diet can cause weight gain and puffiness.

So where does all the salt come from? I mean, if you are not sprinkling salt on your food, how does 3,450 mg of sodium end up in your diet each day? The answer is processed and manufactured food. Seventy-five percent of our average daily sodium intake comes from processed foods, such as tomato sauce, soup, prepared mixes, canned food, condiments, and processed meats, including sausage, bacon and cold cuts. Another culprit for high levels of sodium in our food is all the chemicals that are added to processed and manufactured food. In addition to the directly added salt, chemicals such as baking soda, baking powder, sodium benzoate, MSG, sodium alginate and disodium phosphate all contain high levels of salt.

To give you an example of how much sodium can be in a little portion of processed food, one slice of Kraft American Cheese has 290 mg. Ketchup is a big offender as well, with 190 mg per tablespoon. As far as processed food with way too much sodium goes, here is a list of the biggest offenders: Frozen dinner, 780 mg. Ready to eat cereal, 390 mg. Canned vegetables, 700 mg. Dry roasted salted nuts, 190 mg /per ounce. Potato chips and pretzels, 200-400 mg. The types of foods from chain-type restaurants can contain as much sodium as the daily recommended allowance of 2300 mg in one meal!

So, how do we avoid the salt? First, start eating naturally. Naturally means fresh food, such as fresh vegetables and fruit. Stay away from food in a can, bag or box. If you have to use a canned or box food, look for the sodium-free or low salt versions. Adding your own pinch of salt to sodium-free products results in way less salt than would be contained in the 'regular' salted product. Possibly the most important thing you can do is to look for the sodium content on package labels. If the sodium content is 12% or more of the RDA, then that product has too much salt. As far as enjoying the food we eat goes, salt tastes like salt. Too much salt in or on food makes all food taste the same, salty. So, do yourself a favor, enjoy food the way it tastes naturally and, at the same time, preserve the kind of health that makes life worth living.

Research shows evidence that the long-term accumulation of aluminum in the brain can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a common type of dementia resulting in a decline in intellectual function. The average person ingests 3-10 milligrams of aluminum a day, which totals 90-300 milligrams each month. Aluminum toxicity can lead to colic, rickets, stomach trouble, nervousness, headaches, kidney and liver conditions, memory problems, weak bones and aching muscles.

Aluminum is a naturally occurring element present in the earth’s crust. It is found in our soil, air and water. The trouble begins with the “addition” of aluminum into our bodies from unnatural sources, which can occur through diet and exposure. Many manufacturers use aluminum to make cookware, utensils and foil wrap. It is found as an ingredient in over-the-counter pain pills and anti-inflammatory medications. Aluminum is also a main ingredient in baking powders, toothpaste, deodorant, table salt, grated cheese and bleached flour. Many municipal water supplies are treated with aluminum sulfate and fluoride. The two combine to make aluminum fluoride, which is very difficult to pass out of the body. If aluminum fluoride is absorbed into the body’s cells and tissues it stays there, negatively impacting health. One of the biggest sources of ingested aluminum is antacids used for digestive problems, which include brands such Tums, Mylanta, Maalox and Rolaids.

If you question whether you suffer from aluminum toxicity, a hair analysis can determine aluminum levels in your body. You can detoxify aluminum from the body with certain nutritional supplements, such as apple pectin, and/or by using an intravenous mineral treatment called chelation therapy. If you would like to avoid aluminum toxicity altogether, maintain a diet high in fiber (aluminum can bind to the fiber and portions may pass through the bowels), use only stainless steel, iron or glass cookware to prepare, bake and cook food (check the materials stamp on the underside of the pan) and avoid the use of products that contain aluminum. For instance, aluminum-free baking powder, flour, toothpaste and deodorant are all available at the health food store or online from various vendors.

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to living a healthy life style. The more you know, the more you are able to apply beneficial health practices to your daily life, helping your body to be as healthy as it can be. When I go out and about, it is tough not to notice that the average person's build is not fit and slender. The average person is overweight. I would even say that the average body build borders on obese. (Obesity is defined as over weight by 30 pounds.) And there is a very large (no pun intended) segment of the population that is morbidly obese (over 40 lbs). It is no surprise that being over weight is a huge (again no pun...) contributor to disease. Excess weight leads to heart disease, diabetes, circulatory problems, digestive trouble and the development of cancer, just to name a few maladies. I sincerely believe people want to be healthy and they do not want a life-threatening disease, yet most people continue on the weight-gain trail.

This reality brings me back to the original point that I was trying to make. Knowledge or, to put it more aptly, lack of knowledge is the real cause of being over weight. Thus, it is the real cause of disease in society today. A trip to the supermarket and a few minutes of observation will lead you to the same conclusion. Look around and watch what people put in their carts. The amount of "junk" food that is sold is astronomical. Even the so-called "regular" food that we consider normal, the stuff in boxes and cans, is so full of chemicals, preservatives, trans fats and omega 6 fats that it is literally sickening. There is a reason that these foods are called processed. Jack Lalanne, the famous fitness pioneer who recently passed away at 93 years old once said, "If man makes it, leave it alone." Naturally, he was referring to processed food.

The determinative question is, if there are certain chemicals and ingredients in food that lead to disease and cause weight gain, and if you knew what these ingredients were, would you knowingly eat them? I don't think so. The problem is that most people don't know. They are not aware of what is actually healthy and what isn't. The study of nutrition needs to be practiced and applied on a daily basis. There needs to be more of an emphasis on nutrition in our school systems. Not just the basics, but the science of nutrition. And it shouldn't be one or two lectures a school year, but it should be taught on a daily basis, like reading, writing and arithmetic.

For the grown-ups out there, it is not too late. Go to the book store and grab the latest healthy eating book. You will learn a lot and be able to apply what you learn to help you and your family live long, healthy lives. What's more, when you go to the supermarket armed with greater knowledge of nutrition, you will undoubetly find shopping (and eating) more interesting, satisfying and even fun.

According to researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, and as reported in USA Today and on Mercola.com, flip-flops may throw off your stride and cause pain in your lower legs and feet. University researchers recruited 39 college-age men and women and measured the gait of those participants as they walked on a special platform wearing flip-flops. On another day, the same participants walked across the platform wearing their own athletic shoes. When the participants wore flip-flops, they took shorter strides and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force. When people walk in flip-flops, they apparently alter their gait, which may explain why lower leg and foot problems occur in people who wear flip-flops frequently.

Tony Bruno, a certified Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist, says that wearing flip-flops can not only cause dysfunctional changes and pain in your foot, these changes can resonate all the way up to your head, neck and jaw. The main reason for this problem is that the toes try to grip the bottom of the flip-flop to hold them on your feet. If you observe your toes in flip-flops, the far end (top) of your toe is trying to flex down to hold the flip-flop on, while the other (middle) part of your toe is trying to bridge up. This is the exact opposite of what the toe muscles are supposed to do. The effect is the improper toe action shortens your walking stride, preventing the natural “locking” of the foot. This result forces your hip and leg musculature to work harder, and even forces some muscles to shut down. If you wear flip-flops or a flip-flop type sandal as your main shoe in the summer and you suffer from unexplained ankle, knee, hip or back pain, the flip-flop may be the culprit.

Walking barefoot is actually the healthiest for your feet. In cultures in which the people walk barefoot, conditions such as bunions and hammer toes are non-existent. Barefoot walking builds greater agility, denser muscles on the bottom of the feet, less deformed toes, greater flexor strength, more ability to spread the toes and more flexibility of the gluteal and hamstring muscles. While walking barefoot is not practical or safe all of the time, it is an ideal activity you should incorporate into your day when possible. When not able to go barefoot in the summer months, wear sandals that have straps over the top of the foot and the back of the ankle. These sandals will allow your toes to function properly and you will still have a fashionable, cool summer shoe!

"Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider who sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffet away." A very strange "whey" to start a health tip... unless you are going to talk about whey protein! Whey is the liquid material left over when cheese is produced, and is mostly utilized for its protein content. Its major selling point is that it is digested and absorbed into the body rapidly. This quick absorption rate appeals to bodybuilders and athletes, as the protein is readily available for muscle building.

Whey protein also has ingredients that allow for a better flow of nutrients to the areas of the body that help to rebuild and repair muscle tissue. For non-athletes, the amino acids in whey protein have been shown to have anti-cancer properties and the benefit of boosting the immune system. In addition, research shows that whey protein may improve cognitive function and memory, contribute to wound healing and body detoxification, and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Type 2 diabetes.

For those of us who exercise first thing in the morning, a recent study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal demonstrated that consuming whey protein (20g protein / serving) 30 minutes before resistance training boosts your body's metabolism for as much as 24 hours after your workout. Thus, it enables you to burn additional calories while you are at rest. Interestingly enough, if you consume an additional 20 grams of whey protein an hour after exercise, the effect on your body's metabolism and calorie burning efficiency is even more positive.

Whey protein is available in powder form as a protein supplement. The best whey proteins are all natural, sugar-free and do not have artificial sweeteners. The Healthy and Fit company (available at Vitamin Shoppe and online) manufactures an all-natural whey supplement that contains stevia leaf as its sweetener. Dr. Joe Mercola also sells an all-natural, organic whey protein supplement on his website, Mercola.com.

As I sit here in 100-degree heat, slaving over my lap top computer to type my weekly Health Tip, the only thing I can think of is a cool glass of water. When air temperature rises, the body's innate response is to cool itself. The body reduces its internal temperature through perspiration. Sweating cools off the skin and helps to keep the body's temperature where it belongs, at 98.6 degrees. This cooling process is why it is extremely important to drink water at regular intervals during hot, sweltering days. If the body perspires too much and water is not replaced, the body will show signs of dehydration. Initial signs of dehydration may include joint and muscle pain, muscle cramping, backaches, headaches and constipation. In addition, the odor of urine will become stronger and the color will also become more yellow, or amber.

If dehydration is sudden and acute, it is called heat stroke. Heat stroke is very dangerous and will cause the body to shut down. If heat stroke is not caught immediately, death may occur. Signs of heat stroke include cold and clammy skin, incoherent speech and unconciousness. The body is made up of 60-70 percent water, with most of the water contained in the blood. Your muscles, lungs and brain also contain a lot of water. While the body loses water while perspiring, it also loses water through urination and breathing. Naturally, active people use more of the body's water supply than sedentary people. Caffeine and alcohol consumption also reduce the body's water supply and can contribute to dehydration.

The bottom line? In "normal" temperatures, the average person needs to drink frequent glasses of water at regular intervals throughout the day. Some experts believe you can estimate the amount of water your body needs each day by taking the total pounds of your bodyweight and dividing that number in half. The divided number would be the number of ounces of water you need to drink per day. For instance, if a person weighs 160 lbs, he or she should drink 80 ounces of water each day. (A serving-size cup of water holds 8 ounces; a pint glass holds 16 ounces.) At any rate, drinking water is one of the most important things a person can do to be healthy. In the heat of a hot summer day, it tastes great and it can save your life!

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease spread by the bites of ticks. Mice and deer are the animals that are most commonly infected with Lyme disease, and ticks that bite infected mice or deer pass the bacteria on to humans. Lyme disease was first reported in the United States in 1975 in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Once typically found in the northeastern United States, Lyme disease is now reported in Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Mid-Atlantic region and the Pacific coast.

The first sign that you have been bitten by a Lyme infected tick is a bull's eye shaped rash circling the bite area. It is extremely important to begin antibiotic therapy at the first sign of the rash. Subsequent symptoms that may develop include chills, fever, headache, lethargy and muscle pain. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause itching, joint inflammation, neck stiffness and erratic behavior. Advanced symptoms from undetected Lyme disease include memory disorders, nerve damage, numbness, sleep disorders, decreased concentration and vision problems. A simple blood test will detect Lyme disease. Then a doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that is causing the disease.

When diagnosed and treated early, the body can cure Lyme disease with antibiotics. If left untreated, Lyme disease symptoms may become permanent. In addition to antibiotic therapy, there are natural treatments that can help to ensure a complete recovery. Omega 3 fats (the fats found in fish & krill oil), ginger root and reishi mushrooms are anti-inflammatory in nature. Since Lyme is an inflammatory disease, it makes sense to boost your intake of one or more of these supplements. Garlic has been shown to have strong immune system support. In addition, vitamin C has anti-viral and anti-bacterial components and maybe helpful in the fight against the Lyme bacteria. Multiple doses throughout the day are the best way to supplement vitamin C.

Once antibiotic therapy is complete, it is extremely important to supplement probiotics in the diet. Probiotics, such as acidophilus found in yogurt, will replenish the friendly bacteria killed off by antibiotic therapy. Chiropractic adjustments have a beneficial effect on the nervous system and can help the immune system work more effectively. Also, chiropractic adjustments are of benefit to people who have late stage Lyme disease that was previously undetected and untreated. The spinal adjustments improve nerve flow through the body and also help with the muscle aches, pain and soreness.

Be conscious of the fact that the best defense against Lyme disease is a good offense. Whenever you are in the woods, grass or doing yard work, afterwards it is important to inspect your body for ticks. If you have been bitten by a tick, be on the lookout for the bull's eye rash or other symptoms, as a rash or red circle does not always appear around an infected bite. Get a blood test as soon as possible if you suspect you may have been exposed to Lyme disease and, if you have been exposed, treat accordingly.

The end of the world did not occur yet, so if you were thinking it was a good time to give up doing all of the difficult things it takes to be healthy, you can think again! Now it is time to focus on living longer, but more importantly, living longer and healthier. After all, if you are going to live longer, you want to spend your days living life the way you want, rather than in a nursing home or hospital. Focusing on health should dramatically improve your quality of life in the golden years.

For instance, in a 15-year study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Omega 3 fats were found to decrease the risk of dying from inflammatory diseases. Inflammatory diseases include heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and a host of other illnesses. Omega 3 fats are the fats that are contained in fish oil and krill oil. Omega 3 fats release a substance called resolvins that control inflammation in the body.

According to Dr. Joe Mercola, of the famed Mercola Wellness Center in Chicago, "When your body's inflammatory process works correctly, it prompts your body's white blood cells to protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses through a type of inflammation. This type of acute inflammation will help heal your body of injuries and infections, and is responsible for the redness, pain and swelling that often accompanies such conditions during recovery. There are times, however, when your immune system may mistakenly trigger an inflammatory response when no threat is present, leading to excess inflammation in your body that can fester silently for years until disease develops."

When we eat a diet high in omega 6 fats (saturated animal fats) or we eat fats that are oxidized (fats from processed foods, such as hydrogenated oils) we increase inflammation in the body. A diet high in sugar will contribute to inflammation as well. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, when we eat healthy fats like fish oil and krill oil we can reduce inflammation in the body, preventing disease and promoting health.

A good rule of thumb for individuals is to supplement the diet with one teaspoon of liquid fish or krill oil per fifty pounds of body weight. If you don't mind the taste, you can power it down by the spoonful. If the "fishiness" gets you, you can mix your omega 3 fats in orange juice or a bowl of yogurt. My kids have been getting a teaspoon of fish oil (and their liquid vitamins) mixed in juice every day since they were babies. While we are far from babies, good nutrition now will help give all of us good health later.

In light of the record setting pollen counts and the greater than normal sinus issues that are occurring, this week's health tip is devoted to allergies. According to Pollen.com, an allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (an allergen) that causes the body's defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself. Normally, the immune system would only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. In people with allergies, their immune system is working too hard, and it reacts even to relatively harmless substances, such as pollen.

The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations. Allergens can stimulate an immune response when you breathe in or touch an allergen, or when you ingest a certain food or beverage, or when you take a certain drug or medication. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hay fever, asthma and hives. Common triggers are food allergies, pet dander allergies and reactions to the venom of stinging insects, such as wasps and bees. The most common medical treatments for allergies include avoidance o known allergens, use of anti-histamines, steroids or other medications, and immunotherapy to desensitize the allergic response.

On the other end of the spectrum (the end that I think is best), there are the following commonly employed natural treatments. First, you may use a neti pot. Neti pots rinse away allergens from the sinuses with salt water. A recent study found that flushing the sinuses with salt water was an effective way to fight allergies. Also, the study found that neti pot users were less likely to use medication. Second, there is Quercetin, a plant compound that is a natural anti-histamine, which inhibits allergic responses. Quercetin is found in citrus fruit, onions, apples, tomatoes and broccoli, and is also available in supplement form. Third, Omega 3 fats, found in fish oil, walnuts and flax seeds, have also been shown to lower inflammation that occurs with a allergy attack. Fourth, Stinging Nettle and Butterbur weeds are herbs that have large anti-histamine qualities, but have none of the dangerous side-effects of anti-histamine medications. Stinging Nettle and Butterbur are also sold in health food stores in capsule form. Last, but certainly not least, is chiropractic care. Chiropractic care, while not a treatment for allergies, improves the function of the immune system.

As discussed above, the immune system defends the body against allergens. In addition, spinal adjustments to the upper neck, open up the sinus passages and allow the sinus mucous to drain. When spinal nerve pressure is removed from the upper cervical vertebra, the sinuses are better able to receive their nerve impulses from the spinal cord. When the clarity of nerve impulses increases, the function of the sinuses improves and the sinuses work better. The bottom line? While sinus allergies are nothing to sneeze at (I couldn't resist), there are definite ways to help your body adapt to the runny situation without relying on dangerous drugs and medications.

Did you ever hear of the "French Paradox?" No, it is not an action thriller movie. It is the fact that the French, despite their creamy high fat diet, cigarette smoking and wine consumption, have a considerably lower risk of heart disease and obesity than people in many other countries. Even though it seems on the surface that the French are doing everything wrong, a little investigation shows that they are doing everything right (except for the smoking part). The French diet, while high in fat, is mostly made up of healthy fats. Dairy and vegetable fat, as well as fat from fish, make up a major portion of the fat French citizens consume.

The French also eat little to no trans fats, which are the fats that come from hydrogenated oils (the majority of fats consumed in the USA). Trans fats cause heart disease. The French also eat less sugar, more fish, and snack less than people of other countries. They eat smaller portions of food and eat their food more slowly, allowing for proper digestion. The French drink plenty of water and eat more mindfully. They sit and relax while eating, instead of multi-tasking. Also, Central and Southern France have a climate of warmer weather. The comfortable temperatures allow the French to enjoy outdoor activities such as sports and exercise, which the French seem to participate in with zeal.

Another factor in France's overall low levels of heart disease may be the red grape. Red grapes contain high levels of the antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown in studies to lower the incidence of cancer and heart disease. Some suggest that the French predisposition for drinking red wine may contribute to the French Paradox. While resveratrol is contained in red wine, studies have shown that red wine contains low levels of resveratrol. The wine may be a factor in decreased heart disease because of two other ingredients, procyanidins and polyphenols. Researchers feel that these two ingredients provide human blood vessel cells high levels of protection.

Researchers have also found that consuming 200-300 mg of these nutrients can help to lower blood pressure. Interestingly enough, a Red Delicious apple contains 200mg of polyphenols and procyanidins. And, before you start jugging bottles of wine, procyanidins and polyphenols are found in the highest concentrations in European red wines (mostly in wines from southern France) due to the Tannat grape, which is indigenous to that area. Unfortunately, the Tannat grape is usually not found in American, Australian or other wines. Also, you must note that drinking more than 2 small glasses of wine (4-5 ounces) each day can negate the health benefits of drinking the wine.

Nevertheless, after careful investigation, the French Paradox isn't actually a paradox. It is the result of smart dietary choices. Eat healthy fats, drink plenty of water, eat less, eat foods high in antioxidants, get plenty of exercise and relax while you are eating. Sounds like a smart way to be healthy and happy.

Here are a couple of long words for you: Lactobacillus acidophilus. I will refer to it as L.A. for short. L.A. is a probiotic. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in several areas of the body, including the mouth, throat, digestive tract, urinary tract and the vagina. The major benefit to lactobacillus acidophilus is that it acts as a natural antibiotic, destroying harmful microorganisms and helping to keep a delicate balance of good bacteria amongst the many microorganisms in the digestive tract.

L.A. is most commonly found in yogurt and in kefir, both cultured milk products. Other fermented foods that contain L.A. include sauerkraut and a fermented Asian tea, called kombucha. One of the most important bacteria found in the digestive tract, L.A. has been found to have a beneficial affect on digestion and immune system function. The most common uses for lactobacillus acidophilus include helping ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, controlling diarrhea, reducing flatulence (very important!), fighting vaginal yeast and other candida infections, relieving urinary tract infections and even battling bad breath.

The mechanism for success in helping all of these conditions relies on the fact that when L.A. breaksdown during digestion, it releases hydrogen peroxide that creates a toxic environment for unhealthy bacteria. Another major benefit for supplementing the diet with L.A is when a person is on antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics destroy the healthy bacteria in the digestive tract creating a whole host of problems, including digestive issues and decreased immunity. Acidophilus replaces the destroyed bacteria and brings balance back to the microorganisms that inhabit the digestive system. At the culmination of antibiotic therapy, probiotic therapy is a must to help the body regain its health that was lost from the use of the medication.

When purchasing L.A., make sure, that in capsule form, they contain at least 1 billion live organisms per pill. Also, when buying yogurt, your best bet is plain, organic yogurt that contains live cultures or active cultures. The Himalayans were said to eat yogurt on a daily basis and they typically lived over 100 years. If you would like to do the same, a daily cup of yogurt couldn't hurt!

Here is something we take for granted, breathing. How often during the course of an average day do you even realize that you are breathing? This question may sound funny, but breathing is extremely important to your health. I know the obvious reason for breathing is that you die if you do not breathe, but mindful breathing contributes to your overall health and well being. First off, breathing is an innate bodily function that is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. You do not have to tell yourself to breathe, it happens all on its own. The brain sends messages down the spinal cord, out through the spinal nerves to the lungs, then you breathe. Simple as that.

The life giving oxygen that enters the body with each breath is responsible for nourishing every system, organ, tissue and cell in the body. The blood stream carries the oxygen throughout the body; so that every ounce of blood in the body contains life giving oxygen. Did you know that even though oxygen is weightless, it accounts for almost two thirds of our body mass? How can that be, you ask? Oxygen comprises most of the mass in water and our bodies are made up of about 70% water. With that said, it is very important to practice mindful breathing on a daily basis. Mindful breathing is the act of breathing to enhance the body's innate functions, which brings the body internal and energetic balance. Mindful breathing has a direct impact on the nervous system and, in turn, affects millions of cellular functions.

So what is mindful breathing? It is a breathing exercise using the 4-7-8 method of breathing, as taught by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. and Dr. Joe Mercola, D.O. To engage in mindfult breathing, sit up straight. Place the tip of your tongue against the back of your front teeth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process. Breathe in silently through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breathe for count of 7. Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8, and make an audible "woosh" sound as you exhale. That completes one full breath. Do these steps again another three times, for a total of four complete breaths.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is an incredible weapon in the fight against stress. It is a natural tranquilizer to the nervous system. Mindful breathing, practiced on a daily basis (as many times a day as you please), will improve the function of your respiratory system, circulatory system, nervous system, digestive system and your urinary system. It will also improve your skin. If you want an easy, inexpensive way to improve your health and just plain ol' relax, try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. It could be the difference between a life of topsy-turvey stress, or a life of ease and happiness.

Kemp Minifie of Gourmet Live wrote a great article on chicken and poultry safety in the kitchen. Since I eat a lot of poultry, I think it's a good idea to summarize the highlights of the article. Did you know that the average American eats 82 pounds of chicken per year? Chicken and turkey are ideal protein sources that are perfect for the dieter. The white meat is extremely low in fat. The dark meat is somewhat higher. Both types of meat have zero carbs. As I mentioned, chicken and turkey are very high in protein, which is perfect for building and maintaining muscle mass.

Here is some good advice for preparing and cooking your birds. Never rinse or wash your poultry. Washing and rinsing results in cross contamination. Your sink and countertops become contaminated with bacteria. Put the meat directly into your baking or frying pans with little contact. After touching the meat, wash and scrub your hands thoroughly, especially under the finger nails where bacteria can hide. You may also rinse countertops with hot soapy water and a tablespoon of bleach to kill all of the germs. As far as cutting boards go, plastic boards have to go through the dishwasher with hot water to kill bacteria. Wooden boards only need a hand washing with soapy water. When cooking poultry, the bird is not finished cooking just because it looks done. To be cooked properly, poultry must reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check multiple spots on the meat with an instant-read thermometer.

When you are at the market, look for the chicken with the latest "sell by" date. The newer chicken is usually kept behind the older chicken on the shelf. nce home, don't let the chicken stay in your refrigerator too long. Chicken needs to be cooked within two days of purchase, as home fridges are usually warmer than a store's cooling unit. One of the best parts of serving fresh poultry is the scraps. Take all of the bones, parts and skin and place them in a pot of water; then boil the water and make your own poultry stock to use in recipes or as a base for soup. While it is not a good idea to eat a lot of chicken or turkey skin due to the animal fat content, the skin itself is high in palmitoleic acid, which is an immune system booster. Boiling the skin as stock releases the palmitoleic acid in the broth. That is why a bowl of chicken soup is helpful when you have a cold.

One last cooking tip, chemicals that can build up on poultry from high heat such as a barbecue grill or a rotisserie are harmful and toxic to the body. One study found that the common hot dog was less harmful to your health then a rotisserie chicken. If you use a grill or other high heat to cook your chicken or turkey, before cooking marinate the meat in a combination of citrus juice (orange, lemon, grapefruit), olive oil and herbs, such as basil, oregano and thyme. This marinade protects the meat from charring and chemical build-up, ensuring you a healthy meal.

While there have been advances in medical treatments in many life threatening diseases, statistically, one disease seems to be winning the battle. In the 40 years since the "war on cancer" was declared, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the number one cause of death of people between the ages of 45-74. Cancer treatments such as chemo therapy, radiation and drug therapy have become technically more precise in targeting the many types of cancers. While these treatments have undoubtedly saved lives, many lives are lost as more and more cases of cancer are diagnosed.

Recent theories in cancer treatment are starting to suggest that medical researchers are heading in the wrong direction as far as treatment is concerned. Many experts suggest that cancer is a man-made disease, as historians who analyze classical literature have found no mention of this type of disease. In addition, researchers have examined hundreds of Egyptian mummies with only one confirmed case of cancer.

Man-made disease? It turns out that cancer cells started to surface on a regular basis as pollution and poor diet became more common place. Without a doubt, the increase and daily exposure to pesticides, other toxic chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, processed and artificial foods, chemicals in food packaging, the leakage of plastics into our food and water, wireless technologies (computers, cell phones) and radiation exposure, not to mention obesity, stress and poor sleeping habits, have all contributed to the prevalence of cancer. In fact, these life style and environmental factors may be the sole cause of cancer in today's society. All of the latest medical breakthroughs in cancer treatment have to do with "new" drugs, better radiation or more powerful chemo therapy.

The improvement of lifestyle issues (the avoidance of the factors listed above) is rarely mentioned in the dialog about fighting the disease. If we are to win the "war on cancer," the battle needs to be fought on the front lines of prevention. Most cancer drugs are extremely toxic (that's how they kill cancer cells) and have devastating side effects. On the bright side, major advances in the treatment of cancer have been made. Among these advances are treatment protocols that have plenty of research to back up their effectiveness, but have not been accepted by average, conventional cancer doctors or experts. Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a major factor in cancer development. Researchers estimate that 30% of cancer deaths could be prevented with vitamin D3 supplementation. Another vitamin that has shown major promise over the years is vitamin C. Recent research shows that intravenous vitamin C therapy shrinks and eliminates cancer cells. In addition, supplementing vitamin C seems to make conventional cancer treatments more effective.

The Mercola Wellness Center, in Chicago, suggests that the following changes or lifestyle modifications, if followed, should help to lower the overall cancer rate world-wide: (1) Supplement vitamin D to normalize levels; (2) Increase intake of Omega 3 fats (fish oil, flax); (3) Exercise; (4) Eat cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower) on a daily basis; (5) Maintain optimal body weight; (6) Get enough sleep; (7) Reduce exposure to environmental toxins (pesticides, household cleaners, synthetic air fresheners); (8) Reduce use of wireless technologies (cell phones and such); (9) Boil, steam or poach foods rather than frying, charbroiling or microwaving.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. While the cause of fibromyalgia is not known, in most cases symptoms begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant emotional stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no specific event. At one time, many doctors considered fibromyalgia not to be a real disease and the symptoms of fibromyalgia were psychological. Thankfully, in recent years, brain scan studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms are quite "real" and fibromyalgia patients do indeed suffer from this condition.

Unfortunately, since the exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known, there is no specific cure for this malady. Even worse, in 2008 the pharmaceutical industry was given FDA approval to use a failed diabetic nerve pain drug for the treatment of fibromyalgia. This drug, Lyrica was rejected for diabetic patients because of unimpressive results and many side effects, including; weight gain, edema, dizziness and sleepiness. The only significant treatment options for fibromyalgia that have met with success have come from the natural world of alternative and complimentary health care. According to nutrition experts, eliminating one or more of the following foods from the diet can cause a reduction in symptoms. These foods include: corn, wheat, dairy, citrus, soy and nuts. It is also very important to eliminate fluoride from the diet. Fluoride in drinking water is a toxic substance that if built up in the body can cause the same symptoms as fibromyalgia. Because of the similarity of symptoms, experts recommend eliminating as much fluoride intake as possible. In addition, fibromyalgia sufferers have experienced a reduction in symptoms with regular exercise and proper sleep.

As far as alternative care is concerned, in a 2001 research study, the American College of Rheumatology, found that weekly acupuncture sessions were also shown to be helpful by reducing measures of pain. Another separate and distinct study conducted by Florida State University and published in the March 2010 journal, Alternative Complimentary Medicine, found that patients who underwent a 16 week exercise and chiropractic care program had a reduction in fibromyalgia symptoms. Chiropractic care also improved the fibromyalgia patient's flexibility, balance and endurance. While there does not seem to be a single bullet cure for the treatment of fibromyalgia, a combination of chiropractic, exercise, and nutritional awareness may be the best bet for fibromyalgia sufferers.

Food dye, or food coloring, is any substance that is added to food or drink to change its color. Food dye is used in both commercial food production (food we buy in the super market) and at home (think cookies and deserts). Food manufacturers use food coloring to make their food products appear more attractive. People associate certain colors with flavors, and the color of food can influence a person's perception of a food's flavor. Food coloring is used in everything from candy to ketchup, and cereal to wine.Currently there are seven government-approved artificial colors that are used in food products. These colors are FD&C Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Green No. 3, Red No. 40, Red No. 3, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6. These colors may be combined with each other to produce other colors in food, just as colors combine with others in painting.

Naturally, these colors are artificial. No pun intended. Make no mistake about it, food dyes and colorings are man-made synthetic chemicals produced in a chemical laboratory, which are added to our food supply for no other reason than to make our foods appear more attractive. Sometimes food dyes are even added to natural products, such as salmon, to mask variations in the food's natural coloring.

Recently, researchers presented information to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that food dyes may be contributing to worsening hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children. The United States's consumption of food dyes has quadrupled since 1950.Studies show that hyperactive and attention deficit challenged children can improve their behavior when caretakers eliminate food dyes from the children's diet. A study performed in England showed that, when 3-year olds and 8-9-year olds were given drinks that contain food coloring and the preservative sodium benzoate (a common preservative in children's food products), hyperactivity symptoms increased. This study led European authorities to place warning labels on food packaging.

The FDA will soon vote on whether or not to add warning labels to food products in the United States. In the mean time, read food product labels and avoid foods that contain artificial coloring. Due to consumer concerns surrounding synthetic dyes, a growing number of all natural food dyes are being used commercially. Look for foods colored with beet juice, caramel, annatto, chlorella, turmeric, saffron, paprika, butterfly pea, pandan and elderberry.

Warning! You are about to enter the world of science. Some scientific topics can be pretty dry, but the implications of this week's Health Tip are downright exciting. We all have thought of the body's DNA, or genetic code, as something that is irrevocably passed down from generation to generation. What you receive from your parents genealogy line is what you get, and that is the way it is. Not anymore. While it is true that your DNA is your DNA and it is passed down from generation to generation, it now seems that you may not be stuck a particular genetic outcome.

Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that do not involve changes in the genetic code, but do involve changes in gene activity that get passed down to at least one successive generation. Researchers have found that, even though we can't get rid of specific genes in our body's DNA, we can alter gene expression by switching the activity of a gene 'on or off.' Epigenetics is the study of how environmental factors, such as diet, stress and prenatal nutrition, can make an impact on genes that is passed from one generation to the next. The implications of epigenetics are quite incredible. The prevailing thought has always been that genetic outcomes based on DNA were a steadfast rule that we and our children, and their children, had to live by. Now it seems choices we make today have an impact on the DNA of tomorrow.

The bottom line is you can either improve your genetics or damage your genetics by simple lifestyle choices. The foods you eat, the drugs you take and the environment you live in all have the ability to change the epigenome, which is the marker on a gene that is responsible for gene activity. For example, a cancer gene may be passed down from one generation to the next. However, if you change the instructions to your genetic cells by eating wholesome, healthy food, avoiding chemical toxins and exercising on a regular basis, getting cancer is not a forgeone conclusion. The epigenome can be 'turned off.' These simple acts can change the activity of your DNA, which then can be passed down to the next generation.

This news is extremely exciting. Now we know that a genetic predisposition is not a definite sentence for disease. Lifestyle choices today can affect the health of generations tomorrow. According to one health expert, Dawson Church, "The code imprinted in our DNA, the one thing we thought was for certain, is just waiting for direction by us to change, creating a civilization that brings health, happiness and vibrancy in ways in which the current medical establishment only dreams of."

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones, in which the bone tissue becomes thin and there is a loss of bone density. Researchers estimate that about 1 in 5 American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a result of the body failing to form enough new bone and/or when the body reabsorbs too much "old" bone tissue. The number one cause of bone density loss in women is menopause. The drop in levels of the hormone estrogen contributes to the body's inability to manufacture new bone cells. It is interesting to note that, as we get older, bone density loss is a natural phenomenon in women and men. (A decrease in the hormone testosterone lowers bone density as well). Mild bone loss is called osteopenia. It is normal to see osteopenia as we age.

The latest rage in treatment for osteoporosis is a type of medication called bisphosphonate drugs. These drugs include the brand names Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva and Reclast. The latest study published in the Journal of American Medicine (March 2, 2011), found that women who have been on bisphosphonate drugs for more than five years have a nearly three-times higher risk of unusual bone fractures, exactly what the drug was designed to prevent. The study suggests since tens of millions of women take these drugs, thousands may suffer a devastating atypical bone fracture each year. The most common fracture seen from consuming bisphosphonate drugs were femur fractures, where the leg bone connects to the hip or in the upper femur itself. Incidentally, the femur is considered to be the strongest bone in the body! This result is the bad news.

The good news is that avoiding accelerated, severe osteoporosis naturally, is not that hard to do. It seems that steroid consumption (the kind given for inflammation and or anabolic steroids) will cause osteoporosis. Avoid these drugs whenever possible. Drinking soda also leads to bone loss. The phosphorous contained in soda pop leaches calcium out of the bones, lowering bone density. To strengthen bone and build bone tissue, exercise. Resistance exercise (weight lifting and floor excercises) puts pressure on the bones causing more bone tissue to be manufactured by the body. Vitamin D3, from healthy sun exposure and/or D3 supplements, is very important in keeping bones strong. Vitamin K1 and K2 are extremely valuable, as well. The K vitamins are found in green vegetables and in fermented cheese (all natural, real cheese). Unprocessed sea salt has also been found to replace deficient minerals in the body, thereby reducing a deficiency that leads to bone loss.

Some experts feel that sea salt is even more important than calcium supplementation when it comes to preventing bone loss. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are high in the omega 6 fats. Too much omega 6 fat has a negative effect on our bones and overall health. Dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese are high in calcium, which is good for the bones. Eat lots of green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli and brussels sprouts, which have high levels of calcium and vitamin K. The bottom line is, if you want strong bones, the answer is not in a man-made pill that can destroy your health (and make other people rich), but in sound nutrition principles and a healthy diet. Got milk?

The list of health benefits that are gained by consuming fish on a regular basis is undeniable. Fish oil contains the essential fatty acid, omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to fight heart disease, lower cholesterol, prevent stroke, improve memory, prevent senile dementia and rid the body of inflammatory processes. Fish, itself, is low in fat, high in protein and has zero carbohydrates. Sounds as though fish is the super food.

There is one "small" problem. A lot of the fish that we eat is not healthy and contains toxic contaminates like mercury and PCB. PCB is the abbreviation for a chemical with a long name, which is found in ground water run-off. PCB is an active ingredient in many fertilizers. When it rains, the water from our lawns drains into the streets and sewer systems, then all of the chemical laden run-off (not only PCB, but gas and oil droppings) ends up in our lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. Mercury is found in the ocean from industrial air pollution and off-shore garbage dumping. The fish with the highest levels of mercury and PCB are canned white albacore tuna, marlin, shark, swordfish, striped bass, farmed raised salmon, fresh tuna, catfish and largemouth bass.

The safest fish to consume are croaker, flounder, herring, anchovies, halibut, wild salmon, shrimp, crab, lobster, Mahi-mahi, cod, canned-light tuna and tilapia. Since most of the contaminates are found in the fatty meat of the fish, filet the dark (fatty) meat off freshly caught fish. To make sure you are getting the benefit of omega 3 fats without eating too much fish, supplement your diet with a contaminate-free fish oil like Carlson's from Norway. Mix a teaspoon or two of fish oil into flavored yogurt and you won't even know it is there. For complete guidelines on what fish are safe to eat, how much one should eat and who should not eat fish, go to http://www.fda.gov.

There are over 14,000 man-made chemicals used as food additives. The main purpose of these chemicals is to act as food preservervatives. In addition, production companies add chemicals to the food supply to help make the food appear more attractive to the consumer. Also, some chemicals indirectly end up in our food from the packaging that the food is stored in, such as plastic containers or the resin linings of cans.

A small percentage of the world's population has an allergic sensitivity to certain chemicals added to food. I consider this segment of the population to be the "lucky ones." Their bodies give them symptoms such as skin rashes, respiratory difficulties, digestive problems and/or behavioral issues which clue them into the fact that they cannot tolerate these chemicals in their internal systems. The rest of us are not so lucky. The chemicals added to food store themselves in our bodies' tissues and cells, altering cell reproduction, immune system function and even the structure of our DNA. Over time, this chemical build up could lead to serious health issues, including auto-immune diseases such as diabetes and asthma, liver and kidney problems, brain and neurological disorders and cancer.

Some of the most common chemical food additives are artificial food colorings and dyes, artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucrolose, splenda, acesulfame K), BHA, BHT, Monosodium Glutamate, High Fructose Corn Syrup (that is corn that has been chemically modified), nitrites and nitrates, aluminum, sulfites and potassium bromide.

Interestingly enough, according to a recent Op-Ed article in the New York Times written by Nicholas Kristof, a panel commissioned by President Obama (dubbed the Cancer Panel) has released a 200 page report declaring that chemicals in food threaten our health. The report urges Americans to rethink the way we confront cancer. The point of the report is that Americans, rather than relying solely on regular doctor visits, self-examinations and screenings to prevent cancer, should actively participate in avoiding our intake and exposure to chemicals.

The report goes on to say that, of the 80,000 chemicals commonly in use today, only a few hundred have been tested for safety. It lists some recommendations for avoiding chemicals, such as eating fresh food grown without pesticides, filtering drinking water and storing foods in glass containers rather than plastic. As far as food is concerned, it is best to eat whole foods that are unprocessed and to use organic or natural ingredients. Most importantly, read the labels on the food products. Where foods have chemicals listed in the ingredients section (see list above), you should avoid them.

Are you having trouble with your microgametophytes this spring? Not sure what they are? Microgametophytes are the course powder of seed plants that produce the plants' male reproductive cells. We commonly call microgametophytes 'pollen', probably because it's much easier to say. There are many varieties of pollen that, like many typical males, spend their time searching for female counterparts. Pollen uses the wind to search out flowers to pollinate. An effective tool, the wind picks up the pollen and blows it through the air. Hopefully the pollen lands on a receptive plant and plant reproduction begins.

Unfortunately, a good portion of the pollen ends up on top of cars, patio furniture, decks and in our respiratory systems. As far as we "the people" are concerned, this occurence is where trouble begins. Allergy sufferers (pollen is a leading allergen) will have an allergic reaction to the pollen, which then causes the sinuses to clog and leads to sinusitis. With sinusitis, a sinus infection can result. The most common forms of air blown pollen are ragweed, pigweed and Russian thistle. Not limited to weeds, air blown pollen also comes from trees, grass and many other types of plants.

The American Academy of Allergy recommends that allergy suffers should do most of their outdoor work or exercise in the early morning hours, when pollen levels are at their lowest. The pollen count is the number of pollen grains in a cubic meter of air over a 24-hour period. Ragweed pollen grains are the ones researchers usually count. A special air-sampling device collects the pollen, then technicians count and identify the sample under a microscope. The higher the pollen count, the more susceptible allergy sufferers are to their allergies.

While pollen can be quite annoying, its purpose in the grand scheme of things is extremely important. Without pollen, there would not be any plants. So every time you sneeze or your car has to be washed, think of a beautiful flower, a large shady tree or a luscious tomato - and hopefully that yellow-green powder will bring a smile to your face.

Insulin is the sugar processing hormone. When food is eaten, the digestive process converts carbohydrates (starches, fruits, sweets) into glucose which is then released and absorbed into the blood stream. Once in the blood, an important organ called the pancreas secretes insulin in response to blood sugar. Insulin starts an important process which allows the cells of the body to absorb the sugar drectly from the blood. Too much sugar in the blood hinders protein synthesis and leads to kidney damage, blindness and heart disease.

Diabetes is the condition that occurs when the pancreas malfunctions ( produces little or no insulin) or when there is an excess of fat tissue in the body preventing the insulin from being effective. Over consumption of carbohydrates (sugars, sweets, starches) over time can lead to a condition called insulin resistance. In this condition, the insulin becomes less effective and symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, intestinal bloating, sleepiness, increased triglyceride levels and high blood pressure occur.

Other causes of insulin resistance are obesity, aging, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol consumption and smoking. Recent research is showing the benefits of maintaining lower insulin levels. Lower insulin levels promote fat loss, increased energy levels, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Lower insulin levels also slow the aging process and benefit overall health. To experience these health benefits, the body must be trained to secrete less insulin. Since insulin is secreted in direct response to simple sugars and complex carbohydrate digestion, the answer is to eat a diet lower in carbohydrates and void of refined sugars. Certain carbohydrates have a higher glycemic (sugar) index and insulin response rate compared to other carbohydrates.

The trick to healthy eating is to form the basis of your diet around lower glycemic index carbohydrates such as non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins sources as well as healthy fats. Low glycemic carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes and beans are the ideal carbohydrate choices that will not only provide you with enough energy to get you through the day, but will help to keep your insulin levels in check, allowing your body to be healthier. For more information, Google glycemic index food chart.

Leafy, green vegetables have earned a very positive reputation for being extremely healthy and beneficial to many bodily functions. Evidence continues to abound that leafy greens help to keep us healthy and prevent disease. Spinach usually tops the list for being the most popular of the leafy green veggies, but one of its cousins is quickly gaining ground. Arugula is a potent, spicy little leaf. It is very aromatic and has a bitter taste that borders on the peppery-mustard side. Ancient Egyptians and Romans considered Arugula to be an aphrodisiac and it was a prerequisite for many romantic evenings. The facts are that arugula is chock full of nutrients, high in fiber and very low in calories (20 calories per three cups). Arugula is high in vitamins A, C and folate.

Arugula's biggest benefit is that it is great for the bones. Arugula contains a fair amount of calcium and magnesium, but more importantly, it is high in vitamin K, with one serving providing over 100% of the daily recommended allowance. Vitamin K has been linked in studies to a reduced risk of non-traumatic bone fractures. The combination of vitamin K, calcium and magnesium makes arugula one of the most complete foods for bone health. Arugula also contains a significant amount of phytonutrients that benefit the eyes and skin. Arugula can be added to a mixed salad, used as a topping for sandwiches or sautéed with olive oil and garlic. Arugula is delicious, and can even be used as a base for pesto. If you are looking for variety in your leafy green vegetable choices and want to include a health "insurance" policy for your bones, arugula is for you.

Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables that are in the cabbage family. Cruciferous vegetables make up a large variety of vegetable choices. The most commonly known cruciferous vegetables are broccoli and cauliflower. Other cruciferous vegetables include horse radish, kale, collard greens, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnips, rape seed (what canola oil is manufactured from), mustard seed, radishes, and one of my personal favorites, wasabi. Cruciferous vegetables contain a healthy amount of fiber and are packed with vitamins and minerals.

Most importantly, research is showing that there is a direct link to cruciferous vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. In a 1996 research review in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 70% or more of the studies reviewed found a link between cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer. Specifically, a study performed by Ohio State University isolated phytochemicals that, not only may prevent cancer, but also inhibited existing cancer cells from spreading. Researchers found colorectal, bladder and prostate cancer were three cancers in which eating cruciferous vegetables showed a lot of promise in the area of prevention. They also found that people who consume cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis had a decreased risk of cancers of the lung, liver and cervix.

It must be mentioned that some of the phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables are so powerful that they could interfere with certain prescription medications, as well as some thyroid conditions, so please check with your doctor or pharmacist before launching into a cruciferous vegetable feeding frenzy. For the rest of the population, it makes perfect sense to add broccoli, cauliflower, and the many other varieties of cruciferous vegetables to our diet on a daily basis.

Of all the natural foods, one may have the most falsely placed reputation for being unhealthy to eat. If any all-natural food is most maligned, it has to be the egg. For the most part, people are afraid to eat eggs for fear of increasing their cholesterol levels. The bottom line is that, while egg yolks do contain cholesterol, dietary cholesterol is not always a bad thing. Cholesterol is essential for healthy nerves and tissue cells in our body. Cholesterol also has an important role in fat digestion and absorption.

Recent research has shown that eating a lot of dietary cholesterol doesn't necessarily increase blood levels of cholesterol. As a matter of fact, a 25-year study by Arizona State University found that people who ate two eggs a day showed no increase in blood cholesterol levels, whatsoever. Researchers figure the main culprit in high cholesterol levels is saturated fat. Saturated fat is the fat that is found in animal flesh (beef and pork) and diary products (milk, cheese and butter).

The egg itself is one of the most complete foods on the planet. The nutrient content of the egg could solve most of the world's nutritional deficiency problems. Eggs are high in many vitamins and minerals and have been found to contain the purest form of protein in whole foods. In addition, eggs are good for the eyes; their nutrients may protect against macular degeneration and lower the risk of cataracts. The vitamin and mineral content of the egg promotes healthy hair and nails. Also, interestingly enough, the egg is one of few foods that contain naturally occurring Vitamin D. Thankfully, nutritional research is improving the "reputation" of the egg. So much so, that we can once again sing the catchy advertising slogan, "The incredible, edible, egg!"

Most people anticipate the arrival of spring with a feeling of relief and joy. For most of us, spring is a beautiful beginning after a long harsh winter. For others of us, spring is not the happiest time of the year. For these people, spring can only mean one thing, sinus trouble. Each spring, with the blossoming of flowers and the blooming of leaves on the trees, all sorts of airborne, plant-based particles are floating their way into our respiratory tract. With every inward breath, nature's bounty is finding its way into our nose and sinuses.

The sinuses act as filters. Their main function is to cleanse the air that we breathe and add humidification and warmth to our breathing passages. When the sinuses do not function properly, airborne particles, such as pollen, clog the sinuses and produce sinus congestion, pain and sinus headaches. Two causes of malfunctioning sinuses are allergies and autonomic nerve stress. When the body has an allergic reaction to airborne particles, the sinuses do not filter as efficiently, leading to a build-up of mucous that clogs the sinuses. The nervous system controls the function of the sinuses. If there is a decrease in spinal nerve flow to the sinuses (think neck problems), the sinuses cannot function properly and begin to clog.

With clogged sinuses comes a variety of symptoms such as a stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, nasal discharge, itchy eyes, coughing, and pain over the bridge of the nose, forehead and cheeks. To ease the symptoms of clogged sinuses, try increased multiple doses of Vitamin C spread throughout the day. Vitamin C is anti-bacterial in nature and is a powerful anti-oxidant. Drink plenty of water to keep the sinuses and your body hydrated. Squirt pure salt water (saline solution) into each nostril and breathe deeply. This ingestion of salt water helps to irrigate the sinuses. You can also try a Neti Pot. Neti Pots are little "Aladdin lamp" like pots that are filled with salt water and are designed to irrigate the sinuses. The Neti Pot is derived from an ancient yoga technique called Jala Neti, which targets sinus irrigation.

Lastly, have your neck checked for nerve interference by your chiropractor. A spinal adjustment can improve sinus function and open up the air passages so that you can breathe better.

Have you heard of cholecalciferol? It is considered to be one of the most essential vitamins for optimizing human health ever discovered. Its scientific name probably doesn't ring a bell, but its common name, Vitamin D3, is one you will be hearing much more about as time goes on. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when they are exposed to sunlight. Like its cousin, ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2), Vitamin D3's main function is to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood, as well as aid the absorption of calcium in the bones. While it is extremely beneficial in the protection of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer and auto-immune diseases, what is most exciting about Vitamin D3 is its role in immune system function.

People with average or above-average levels of Vitamin D3 in their blood have been shown to have a much higher level of immune system function than people who have below-average levels. This fact means that people who take in enough Vitamin D3 acquire less colds and flu viruses; and they have illnesses of lesser duration and severity when they succumb to those types of germs. As a matter of fact, the journal Nature Immunology reports that Vitamin D3 plays an important role in activating your immune defenses against infectious diseases, such as the flu. It turns out that the immune system fighter cells, called T-cells, need Vitamin D to allow the T-cell to start fighting infection.

Scientists now hypothesize that in the winter, when people are less exposed to the healthy rays of the sun, they become Vitamin D3 deficient and are more easily infected by flu viruses. Thus the reason why there is such a thing as a "flu season." Vitamin D3 is found in eggs and fish, but most importantly, it is generated by the sun. Ten to twenty minutes of healthy sun exposure a day is all that you need to maintain proper Vitamin D3 levels in the blood.

To optimize health, supplement the diet with Vitamin D3 capsules. You can take them on a daily basis (especially in the winter) or use them as an immune system aid when becoming ill. According to Dr. Joe Mercola of the Mercola Wellness Center in Chicago, many experts agree upon 35 IUs per pound of bodyweight as a recommended dosage. The best way to find out how much Vitamin D3 is for you, is to have your Vitamin D levels tested by a laboratory. Based on the latest research, it seems to be one blood test that is worth the pain of the needle.

Now that spring has finally arrived and summer is just around the corner, many people have turned their thoughts to losing the extra five or ten pounds they acquired over the winter "hibernation." April is the perfect time to begin a weight loss program, as there is just enough time before the start of the summer season to lose a decent amount of body weight.

The first part of a weight loss nutrition program we should think about is calorie expenditure. Calories are the energy units we get from food. Eating too many calories does not allow the body to utilize all of the food eaten as energy. The extra calories are then stored as body fat. It's easiest to shed pounds if you look at calories as they are, not food, but as units of energy. For example, the average person burns about one hundred calories per hour just living life. Moving around, breathing and using internal body functions all require energy and burn calories. The more active the person, the more calories that person utilizes each hour.

So, here is the game plan. If one eats breakfast at eight in the morning and doesn't eat lunch until twelve noon, there is a four hour gap between meals. Those four hours are enough time for the average person to burn off four hundred calories, even without exercise or increased activity. If the breakfast meal consists of more than four hundred calories, any amount of calories above the four hundred will be stored as energy and, if not eventually used, the body will store it as fat. If the breakfast meal consists of less than four hundred calories, there is a calorie deficit and weight loss will occur. The same is true about the time span between lunch and dinner, and dinner and breakfast.

The body stores unused calories and, if not used, 'extra' calories turn into body fat. To effectively lose weight, the idea is to eat only the calories at meal time that you will use as energy before the next meal. If there are four hours between meals and you eat four hundred calories at each meal, then you will use all the calories you take in as energy, and you will not store any calories as fat. This equation explains the rational for eating four or five small frequent meals, or "grazing," throughout the day. Small frequent meals boost the metabolism (digestion requires energy) and utilize all of the ingested calories as energy, as opposed to three big meals a day, which typically result in stored calories and increased body fat.

In summary, to lose weight, it is extremely important to look at the time frame between meals and to only eat enough calories to get you to the next meal. And don't forget, if you increase your activity (exercise) in conjunction with monitoring your calories, you will burn more calories than you take in, making the process of losing weight work even better.

In many cultures, the history of medical treatment has its roots firmly planted in ancient folk remedies. The culture of Ireland is no different. According to an article previously published in Irish American magazine, Irish folk remedies grew out of the belief that illness and injury were a direct result of unkindness and disrespect toward fairies (wee folk with magical powers and wings). Up until the 19th century in Ireland, Irish folk remedies were the preferred method of treatment for many ailments. According to E-How.com, Irish remedies were based on common sense, practical observations and a belief in mystical powers.

The people of Ireland used different folk remedies to treat the common cold, earaches, stomach trouble and a host of unusual ailments. For example, to cure a cold, they boiled hazel-buds, dandelion, oatmeal, chickweed and wood sorrel into a libation that people drank in the morning and evening. People in the Irish countryside placed black sheep wool in the ear for earaches and tied mint leaves around the waste to cure stomach trouble. Interestingly enough, not shaving on Sundays was thought to prevent toothaches. You really do not want to hear what the cure for an actual toothache was. In 18th century Ireland, countrymen (and women) treated a stitch (cramp) in the side of the body by rubbing unsalted butter over the stitch, and performing the sign of the cross over the affected area seven times. Thankfully, in Ireland and the rest of the modern world, health care has progressed over the years.

Also, thankfully, as it was in Ireland in the early 18th century, Guinness Stout is still good for you. In earlier times, and even until the 1930s through the1950s, the Irish people used Guinness as a health remedy, and health care professionals even gave it to patients in hospitals. Times have changed and Guinness is not now considered a "legitimate" health tonic, but it is still good for you. Guinness (though to be healthy it must be drunk in moderation) is high in iron, B-vitamins and anti-oxidants. It is also low in alcohol content (4%) and has fewer calories than an average beer (125 calories per 12oz serving). Now, that sounds like one Irish folk remedy I can handle!

Homeopathy is an allopathic (treatment of disease using remedies) medical system developed over 200 years ago by a German physician named Samuel Christian Hahneman. Homeopathy has been practiced in the United States since the 19th century. One of the largest homeopathic hospitals in the world was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was aptly named Hahneman Hospital. (Hahneman still functions as a hospital today, only it is now strictly a medical institution.)

Homeopathy uses remedies that are 100% natural to treat illnesses, diseases and injuries. The principle of homeopathy is based on "like cures like," or the principle of similars. Hahneman's theory is, if a substance can cause disease or symptoms in a healthy person, extremely small amounts of that substance can cure a person who has similar symptoms. Homeopaths (doctors of homeopathy) believe that the lower the dose of the homeopathic solution, the greater its healing capacity. Therefore, all homeopathic substances are diluted into their smallest parts, then classified as a homeopathic remedy. Homeopathic remedies are developed from plants, minerals or animals. The most commonly used remedies are derived from red onion, arnica and the stinging nettle plant.

In 2007, a National Health Interview study found that 3.9 million adults and 900,000 children used homeopathy in the previous year. The most common conditions that homeopathic remedies are used to treat include allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, ear infections, cold symptoms, headaches and muscular aches and strains. Does homeopathy work? According to scientists in the medical field, there is little evidence to suggest that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for health conditions. This statement does not mean that homeopathy does not work, it may only suggest that research proving its effectiveness has not been done.

Many people (myself included) have used homeopathic remedies for themselves and their children. There are a number of extremely popular homeopathic products, such as Hyland's Teething Tablets and Colic Tablets, which are available in CVS, WalMart/Target chains and local supermarkets. Countless people who are not even aware of the homeopathic distinction have found the remedies very worthwhile. Many, many 'repeat customers' have found homeopathic products helpful and, more importantly, they are harmless to the overall health of the body. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, famously said in his writing, "First do no harm." Homeopathy cares for the body while following this all important rule. With that, we should all follow the call to 'do no harm' with a call to 'do more research.'

The health scourge of our time has always been cancer. Health care professionals and members of the public, alike, debate whether or not there will ever be a cure. Therefore, it goes without saying that it would be best to avoid cancer altogether. Cancer treatments have advanced with time and have saved many lives, but cancer treatments are extremely rough to undergo and are harsh on the body. In many instances, the breakdown of the body's overall health goes hand in hand with the treatment. If a person has a choice between having cancer or avoiding cancer, avoidance trumps the disease every time.

That being said, the American Institute for Cancer Research has released a 517-page report detailing the medical view of what your main risk factors for developing cancer are, and what you can do to reduce your risk. The report's most interesting finding is that being overweight increases your risk of developing many different types of cancer. Excess body weight has been touted as the number one cause of ill health in the United States. Being over weight leads to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It is also a major contributing cause of cancer. (Spoiler Alert: The primary health care crisis in our country isn't about a lack of insurance coverage, lack of medical funding or the cost of prescription drugs. It is truly about being over weight!)

The report also gives a list of recommendations of how to avoid cancer. The most important recommendations were to be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight for your height, and to exercise on a regular basis. To combat cancer with the best overall health possible, physical activity must be a part of your everyday life. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (foods that are high in calories, fat and sugar). Avoid sugary drinks. Eat mostly foods of plant origin, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Limit intake of red meat and avoid ALL processed meat. Limit alcoholic drinks to one per day for women, two per day for men. Decrease consumption of salt. Avoid moldy grains or legumes.

In addition, recent research has recently found a strong link between immune system function and cancer. The stronger the immune system, the less the chance that cancer cells will proliferate. Keep your immune system strong by eating right, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, exercising and improving spinal nerve flow. As you can see, the list of recommendations makes sense. It may take a big effort to stick to the list, but it will be well worth it. Just ask someone who has gone through chemotherapy.

Shoveling snow may seem to be a good way to get exercise, but the combination of strenuous lifting and cold weather temperatures is not the ideal situation for your spinal health. According to the United States Consumer Products Safety Division, in 2008, 118,000 injuries occurred to people who were manually shoveling snow. Of these injuries, the most common were strains and sprains in the back and shoulders. With a little effort and the proper precautions, you can avoid these muscular ailments. Shoveling snow entails bending, lifting and pushing. The weight of the snow will vary with the moisture level. The wetter the snow, the heavier the load. Common sense dictates that people who do not exercise on a regular basis are most prone to injury, but accidents can happen to anyone. Even the most seasoned athlete can strain muscles shoveling snow.

It is wise to check with your doctor to make sure that snow shoveling is an appropriate activity for you. Due to its strenuous nature, snow shoveling can bring on a heart attack in people at risk for heart disease. If there is any doubt about your heart health, it would be best to hire someone else to do your snow shoveling. If you decide to shovel, do a light warm-up before going outside to better prepare your muscles for shoveling snow. Walk in place for 5 minutes to get the blood flowing, then gently stretch your arms, legs and back muscles. If the weather forecast calls for a big snow storm, it is best to clear the driveway with every 2-3 inches of snow, rather than waiting until 12-24 inches accumulates on the ground.

Also, the height of the snow shovel is an important factor to consider. Make sure your shovel is the right size for you. If the shovel is too short or too long, awkward body position from stooping or turning with the shovel will leave your muscles at risk for strain. Be conscious of your form, as well. Most people tend to throw snow off to their side. This twisting action can cause serious back injury, as twisting puts increased strain on the vertebral discs. It is best to push the snow straight ahead. If you have to lift the snow, make sure you bend your legs and lift the snow without bending at the waist. Then walk to where you want to "unload" your shovel.

As you can see, this chore is a lot of exercise. Take frequent breaks, as to not over tax yourself. Snow during the winter months can be quite fun (sledding, skiing, snow man making, etc.), but it also has its perils. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that you are able to enjoy the winter wonderland without spending a minute in pain.

In honor of St.Valentine's Day, the heart is the focus of our weekly Health Tip. The heart is a mass of smooth muscle tissue that contracts regularly and continuously. Its sole purpose is to make sure that oxygen rich blood is flowing through the body and to the lungs. A system of electrical pulses makes the heart work. The heart has a pace maker that sends an electrical impulse from the top chamber of the heart, causing the muscle to contract and force blood to the bottom chamber. The electrical impulse causes a further contraction that sends the blood out of the heart and into the body's blood vessels.

You may be asking yourself, "How is this electrical system powered? Where is the electric company in our body?" As with every function in the body, heart contraction is powered by the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves). If there is a disturbance in the electrical system of the heart, an abnormal heart beat or rhythm, called an arrhythmia, can develop. Health care professionals can measure the electrical activity of the heart with a test called an electro-cardiogram (ECG or EKG). An EKG measures heart rhythm and can detect a past or present heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the heart's electrical system is disturbed enough to severely affect the beat and rhythm of the heart.

Ninety-five of every hundred fatal heart attacks are related to pre-existing heart disease (such as clogged arteries). The other five sudden cardiac attacks that lead to death are a direct result of "electrical failure." In these cases, an electrical disturbance causes the heart to malfunction. The heart becomes unable to pump blood through the body, which leads to a loss of blood pressure. If there is not enough oxygen being carried to the body through the blood, the brain and heart become damaged and death follows. Wow.

This week's Health Tip cannot end on a sad note. How about taking care of our hearts by exercising regularly and eating right? The heart is a muscle and it needs to be trained. The stronger your heart muscle, the less work it has to do to pump blood through the body. Thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise (walking, biking, jogging, swimming) 3-4 times per week is a great way to keep your heart strong and fit. To keep your heart healthy, avoid smoking. Also, do not eat too much salt and avoid consuming junk food. Junk food contains trans-fats. Trans-fats clog arteries and lead to heart attacks. If you love to live, love your heart. It will love you back.

Why is blood pressure so important? For starters, when blood flows through the body it presses on the walls of your blood vessels (arteries and veins). The force on the blood vessels is the blood pressure. If the force on the walls of your arteries is too high, the heart has to pump harder to get the blood through. The condition that results is called hypertension, or high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can cause kidney failure, stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

High blood pressure can be caused by many things. The biggest risk factors are smoking, being over-weight, too much dietary salt, stress, too much alcohol consumption and lack of exercise. Interesting enough, high blood pressure is typically called the "silent killer." It is called "silent" because, for the most part, high blood pressure does not cause any symptoms. The high amount of pressure on a person's blood vessels slowly causes potentially deadly diseases without the person being aware of it. Symptoms of high blood pressure are usually very mild, even in advanced cases. The lack of symptoms is why the condition goes unnoticed. Mild symptoms may include dull headaches or dizzy spells.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to be checked. Blood pressure measurement is a simple test that can be performed by your doctor, nurse or drug store blood pressure machine. The average blood pressure doctors consider normal is 120/80. If your reading advances to 140/90, your blood pressure is considered high.

For the most part, having high blood pressure is a lifestyle choice. If you choose to smoke, be over-weight, not exercise, have bad dietary habits and allow stress to rule your life, you will have high blood pressure. Blood pressure medications save lives, but the fact is they are drugs. Drugs have side effects, and when taken for long periods of time, they can be harmful to your health. It is much better to make the right choice and prevent high blood pressure, naturally, by eating right, stopping smoking, losing weight, exercising and using stress reduction techniques. Not only will you find that your blood pressure has returned to normal, but your overall health will improve as well.

Yogurt is a dairy product that is produced by the bacterial (yes, not all bacteria is bad!) fermentation of milk. The milk sugar, lactose, is easily fermented and turns into lactic acid, which gives yogurt its tangy taste. People of many cultures have been producing and eating yogurt for close to 5,000 years. Some say yogurt is the secret of living a long, healthy life. The reason yogurt may contribute to long life is that yougurt is filled with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that foster health. Research has shown that probiotics promote a healthy digestive system and enhance immune system function. In addition, probiotics improve nutrient absorption, destroy yeast build-up in the digestive tract and are good for combating the bacteria that cause diarrhea.

Yogurt also can help prevent osteoporosis, due to its high calcium content and the vitamin D that suppliers usually add to it. The Harvard School of Public Health found that 2-3 servings of yogurt a day reduced the risk of developing high blood pressure by 50%. In 2005, the International Journal of Obesity studied a group of people who cut their caloric intake by 500 calories a day. The researchers found that, of that group, the people who ate three servings of yogurt a day lost an average of 22% more weight, 61% more fat and 81 % more stomach fat than the people who only ate one serving of yogurt a day.

But beware, not all yogurts are created equal. Most commercially made fruit-flavored yogurts are filled with sugar, preservatives and artificial sweeteners, which negate the yogurt's health and weight loss benefits. When shopping for yogurt, it is best to purchase brands that contain live bacterial cultures and no artificial ingredients.

The absolute best yogurt to eat and the one that is used in most research studies is plain yogurt. If you like your yogurt with some sweetness to it, just stir in fresh fruit or a spoonful of all natural, pure-fruit jelly. Also, try mixing two spoonfuls of plain yogurt with two spoonfuls of maple syrup as a topping for waffles or pancakes. It's so good it will make your eyes light up. To make sure that your yogurt choice is the absolute healthiest it can be, choose an organic brand, such as Stoneyfield. It is commonly available in all the major supermarkets and just tastes great.

One of the mainstays of the average person's diet is coffee. It is rare to find an adult human being who does not drink a cup of coffee or two. Coffee can be a wonderful drink and it provides a valuable service to many people. A cup of coffee produces a quick pick-me-up and temporarily improves alertness. Coffee will rev up your internal "engine" and boost the body's metabolism, which, in turn, burns additional calories. Studies show that the caffeine in coffee combats muscle fatigue and improves athletic performance. More importantly, recent research has shown that drinking coffee everyday can reduce the risk of diabetes. Drinking coffee on a regular basis can also decrease the chance of developing Parkinson's disease, colon cancer, gall stones and liver cirrhosis. Some evidence suggests that coffee can stop a headache, boost your mood and even prevent tooth decay.

The magic ingredient in coffee is caffeine, but the coffee bean is also high in anti-oxidants and a compound called trigonelline. Trigonelline gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste (just like the hops in beer) and has anti-bacterial properties.

Now that I have justified your consumption of coffee each day, here is the 'not so good news'. Caffeine, coffee's main ingredient, is a mild, addictive stimulant that causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and occasional irregular heartbeats. There is also some evidence that over-consumption of coffee has a negative effect in the context of women's health issues, such as breast health and osteoporosis.

The bottom line is that there is some health benefit to having one to three average size cups of coffee each day, but more than three cups of coffee tends to negate those positive health benefits and produce negative health effects. The key to coffee consumption is the same as the key to most aspects of a healthy lifestyle; everything in moderation.

The elderberry has been a cold remedy for centuries. It is found in North America, Europe, Western Asia and Africa. Elderberries are high in anti-oxidants and contain the powerful anti-oxidant, anthocynanin. Elderberries also contain vitamins A, B and large amounts of C. The most impressive thing about the elderberry is that it has been shown to boost immune system function.

German researchers found that the anti-oxidant anthocynanin dramatically increased cytokines in blood serum levels. Unless you have a degree in microbiology, cytokines are probably unfamiliar to you. Cytokines are proteins that act as immune system messengers. They regulate the immune system response to germs and bacteria, which helps to protect the body from disease.

Another important ingredient in the elderberry is lectin. Lectin has been shown in laboratories to hinder ten different strains of the flu virus. In addition, elderberries have shown a dramatic effect in fighting off upper respiratory infections, including sinus problems.

If you are not sold on the benefits of the elderberry yet, here is one more. Elderberry reduces oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Oxidation of cholesterol is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and strokes. Also, the anthocynanin contained in the elderberry has been shown to decrease the stickiness that causes platelets to adhere to blood vessel walls (causing hardening of the arteries).

Wow, elderberries sound like the superheroes of the fruit and vegetable world. The best way to acquire the benefits of the elderberry berry is to drink elderberry juice, which, by the way, is very difficult to find. The next best way is to purchase elderberry extract. You can take the extract on a daily basis, or you can use it as "medicine" when you feel an illness coming on. I keep a bottle of Sambucal elderberry extract on hand. I give it to the kids to give their immune system a boost when they do not feel good. It is sweet and easy to drink, which makes for happy kids and happy parents.

As brutally cold temperatures sweep across the northern hemisphere, the negative effects of freezing cold are well documented. Exposure to prolonged cold will cause the body to begin to lose heat faster than it can replace it, a condition called hypothermia. Hypothermia will make you unable to move well and think clearly, almost as if you were in an alcoholic stupor. As the core body temperature drops, shock sets in and the body freezes to death. When body temperature drops below ninety-five degrees, it is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

Another condition that can develop from freezing cold temperatures is frost bite. Frost bite occurs when skin is exposed to freezing temperatures for a prolonged period. The most commonly affected areas are the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers and toes. When exposed to cold temperature, the body's innate wisdom moves blood to areas that are vital to survival. When that happens, the decrease in blood flow to the extremities can result in burning of the skin, blistering and tissue cell death, which sometimes causes the amputated loss of the affected body part.

The bottom line of both frost bite and hypothermia is that we should always avoid prolonged exposure to freezing cold temperatures. When you are going to be outside, dress in multiple layers (long under wear, t-shirt, sweat shirt, fleece over-shirt, jacket). If your activities involve the snow, wearing a water-proof outer layer is a must. To protect your feet, use two pairs of socks: an inner layer of synthetic material to let moisture seep through and a second layer made of wool to provide warmth. In addition, a pair of water-proof shoes is extremely important. Mittens protect fingers better than gloves. Also, protect your neck by wearing turtle necks and scarves.

The most important thing you can do when you have to be outside, and this goes for kids playing in snow as well, is to take frequent indoor "breaks" from the cold. Lastly, if all the recent cold temperatures have got you down, find comfort in knowing there is a plus side to the freezing air. Extreme cold temperatures will kill all the nasty viruses and disease carrying bugs that could prolong the flu season.

The New Year has arrived and with the New Year comes resolutions. Each year we strive to better ourselves by breaking a "bad" habit or starting a new, "good" habit. This year, I have decided to be your guardian angel and give you a concrete plan of action to improve your health and overall quality of life. This week's Health Tip will take the guess work out of New Year's Resolutions. I hereby give you: Dr. Ellie’s Top Ten Things To Do For The New Year and All of Eternity.

1. No More Soft Drinks. Soda pop, syrupy "fruit" juices and bottled teas all contain enough sugar and corn syrup to add 10 pounds to your existing bodyweight. And if you think you're o.k. because you drink "Diet," think again. Artificial sweeteners in 'diet' drinks are neurotoxins. Neurotoxins destroy brain cells and can cause a myriad of bodily symptoms.

2. Drink More Water. The body is 70% fluid and needs to by hydrated for proper cell function and organ health. Plus, water helps the skin look good and aids weight loss.

3. Exercise. Do some form of exercise at least 30 minutes, three times per week. (Even the couch potatoes among us can find a half-hour, every-other-day.) A walk is just fine, even better if you hold light weights.

4. Lose Weight. Being over weight is the number one contributor to disease in the USA. If you do the first three things, you'll lose weight.

5. Take liquid Omega Three Fatty Acids. These fats are essential for good health and have been shown to help prevent everything form heart disease to ADHD. One teaspoon of fish oil, cod liver oil or flaxseed oil per fifty pounds of bodyweight. (That's one tablespoon per 150 pounds. ) Take one or all three. I take all three.

6. Strive to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables - the More Colorful the Better. Fruits and veggies contain anti-oxidants that prevent cell damage and disease.

7. Stop All Tobacco Use and Use Moderation in Consuming Alcohol. Tobacco kills; nuff said. Alcohol may have health benefits but only in moderation, too much negates all the benefits. Plus, drinking and driving can kill you and others. If it doesn't, a DUI can ruin your life.

8. Have a Yearly Physical. Bloodwork, an EKG and stress tests monitor bodily function. These tests may help to detect a deadly disease, giving you early options and, more importantly, a choice of how you can fight the disease.

9. Hug Your Loved Ones Daily (and give a kiss, too). Love makes the world go 'round. As recently reported by CNN, widely accepted studies have shown that people who display generosity and a giving attitude enjoy elevated levels of health, immunity and mood. So give a little; get a lot.

10. Get Your Spine Adjusted on a Regular Basis. I'm partial to this one, but spinal adjustments have provided my family and me with a life of good health. Increased immune function, more energy, greater sense of well being, flexibility and better sleep are all benefits reported by the average patient under monthly chiropractic care.

Heart disease is one of the top killers in the world today. It is extremely rare to find a person who does not know someone who has had heart disease or has died of it. Forty percent of the time the very first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack. This week's health tip will discuss the symptoms of a heart attack. The classic symptom of a heart attack is pain in the chest that people have described as tightness, which radiates into the shoulders, arms, back, neck or jaw. The pain may range from mild, like indigestion-type pain, to severe crushing, pressure.

Women sometimes present different symptoms. A woman's chest pain may be a bit more vague and can occur between the breasts, under the sternum, or in the stomach and jaw. Other symptoms may include sweating, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, ear ringing and a drop in blood pressure. If you have any of these symptoms, you must call 911 and get to the hospital immediately. Do not ignore them. A statistical percentage of heart attacks end up fatal.

The main causes of heart disease are obesity (being more than 30 pounds overweight), poor diet (high animal and trans fats, high sugar and salt intake, low fiber and low anti-oxidant intake), smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, stress and genetics.

Prevention is the key to fighting heart disease. Health and nutrition experts recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (4-6 servings a day) to prevent heart disease. In addition, we should avoid trans fats at all costs. Look at the list of ingredients on the labels of all the foods you are buying. Trans fats are ingredients that have the word "hydrogenated" in front of them. Sugar and salt are also on the 'bad for the heart' list. To bolster heart health, exercise a minimum of 4 days per week. If you smoke cigarettes, quit. Also, supplemet your diet with liquid omega 3 fatty acids ( as found in fish oil); it is one of the most important things you can do for heart health. One tablespoon of fish oil per fifty pounds of bodyweight is the ideal dosage for maximum cardiovascular benefit. Fish oil helps clear out the arteries and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent for the heart as well as all of the other body parts. These seven steps will go far in preventing heart disease and a host of other ailments, and will help to ensure you have a happy, healthy life.

The holiday season is a time we look forward to spending with family and friends. Over the few weeks leading to Christmas and New Year's, celebrations take place in the form of holiday parties. Unfortunately, spreading good cheer may include too many alcoholic beverages. Now, naturally, a drink or two (for those who partake) is a social lubricant. A libation will help to loosen your collar, so to speak, and ease the tension of a stressful shopping season.

While the health benefits of alcoholic beverages are debatable, it is not debatable that a small amount of alcohol can alter your senses enough to make driving your vehicle unwise.In 2008, close to 12,000 people died as a direct result of an alcohol-related auto accident. In addition, many lives have been ruined without there being an accident-related death. In the United States in 2008, police officers made close to one million arrests for driving while under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Every year, driving while intoxicated takes perfectly normal, good people away from their families and places them in a jail cell. Yes, drunk driving can kill, but one or two drinks can raise the blood alcohol level just enough over the legal limit so that a minor driving infraction causes a person lose his or her license, or causes a driving mistake that puts that person in jail.

This week's Health Tip is don't drink and drive. Have a designated driver. If not, take a cab. Even if the cab ride is a long one and it costs a lot of money, it is nothing compared to the cost of losing a driver's license or spending time in jail or, even worse, causing someone's death. Leaving your car for the morning is an all-important decision, and so easy...a taxi is just a phone call away.

The holiday season is the time of the year when our children's thoughts turn to sugar plum fairies, Hanukah candles and jolly old St. Nick. For adults, our thoughts turn to holiday cookies, cakes, egg nog, festive feasts and holiday snacks. This is the season of belly enlargement! Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the average adult gains between 5-to-10 pounds of body weight. It does not have to be the case. This week's health tip is not going to give advice on eating less or eating healthy. (We all know to do those things, right?) This week, we will attack the problem of weight gain from another angle. The angle of exercise.

As far as holiday food goes, the odds are that we will give into our cravings and enjoy the many delicious foods presented to us; after all, it's the holidays. As you are aware, the energy content of food is what we call calories. If we eat more calories than the body utilizes as energy, our bodies gain weight. The trick, is to build a calorie deficit. So, let's start a calorie deficit bank, one where we can deposit unused calories, then draw on the account with the holiday foods we eat. The way to accomplish this 'set off' is through exercise. An exercise program that averages one hour a day, and consists of 20-30 minutes of aerobic conditioning followed by resistance training, will typically burn about 500 calories. It will also cause a metabolic boost, in which your body burns additional calories at rest for the next few hours. Let's say we exercise five days a week, burning 2500 calories, plus an additional 500 calories from the metabolic boost. That is 3000 calories in our calorie deficit bank account each week. Our effort gives us a 3000 calorie splurge day once a week to have fun over the holiday season ( you could also divide your 3000 calories into mini splurges over the course of two or three days).

At the end of the holidays, your net weight gain should be zero. If not zero, it would be incremental compared to the gain that results from 3,000 additional calories retained each week. For this plan to work, eating healthy and normally must occur at least five days per week. And, naturally, you must exercise five days a week, as well. If you eat well and exercise five days a week, you are building a calorie deficit in your calorie bank account to draw upon. Splurging too often results in your very own Santa Belly! Eat well, be healthy and have a happy holiday season.

The newest buzz word concerning preventative health and wellness is 'oxidative damage'. Oxidative damage refers to the process of oxidation in the body. Oxidation is the act of turning oxygen in your body's cells into energy. During this chemical reaction, our bodies produce toxins called free radicals. Free radicals damage the cells in our body and even have a negative affect on our DNA. Oxidative damage from free radical production has been linked to many diseases, from Alzheimer's to cancer. Research is even showing that this type of damage may be related to accelerated aging.

The good news is that certain foods have anti-oxidative properties. These properties are called anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants combat the effects of oxidative damage, helping cell tissues to remain healthy and possibly even slowing down the aging process. The most well known anti-oxidants contain Vitamin A, C, E and Selenium. Of fruits that contain powerful anti-oxidants, the five fruits with the most anti-oxidants are prunes, raisins, blueberries, strawberries and red grapes. Five powerful vegetables include kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli and red peppers. High levels of anti-oxidants are also found in the non-nutritive portion of plants and are called phytochemicals. The purpose of phytochemicals in plants is to protect plants from disease. Research is showing they may also protect humans from disease. Phytochemicals that are commonly available and high in anti-oxidants are found in pomegranate, red wine, tomatoes, water melon, flax seeds and barley.

A diet rich in anti-oxidant foods not only tastes great, but contributes to overall health and wellness. And if it slows down aging as well, sign me up!

This just in: Southern Hemisphere finishes their flu season and finds it wasn't as bad as expected. And according to an article published on the Finland Newsroom, "Finnish health authorities said in a statement that the swine influenza would be downgraded as a threat given that the bulk of patients appeared to recover well without medication or hospital care." This information comes on the heals of a CBS News report that finds that the cases of swine flu in the United States have been seriously overestimated. What gives? All of this seems to directly contradict what we hear and read on the daily news. Wherever one goes, the topic dejour is the swine flu.

People are indeed becoming nervous due to all the media sensationalizing of this topic. Talk of epidemics, death rates, vaccine shortages, it's getting crazy out there! According to CBS News, "If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn't have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn't have flu at all." In July of 2009, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu and they stopped counting individual cases. According to Dr. Joe Mercola, virtually every person who visited their physician with flu like symptoms since late July, were assumed to have swine flu with no further testing. Using superb graphics and pie charts, CBS goes on to state, that not only are most cases of suspected flu-like illnesses not H1N1, they're not even the flu but more likely some type of cold or upper respiratory infection.

Instead of being scared by CDC statistics, it is time to be pro-active. Once again, my personal thoughts turn to, not the treatment of the virus, but the natural building of ones immunity with the five essentials of health; Proper nutrition, enough exercise, adequate rest, stress reduction and maintaining a free-flowing nervous system.

Recently an "old" vitamin that rarely gets any attention has started to take news headlines away from the more popular vitamins. In the last few weeks, vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) has been touted as the vitamin to take if you suffer from migraine headaches. Vitamin B2 was discovered in 1934 when researchers were performing vitamin deficiency tests on, you guessed it, rats. Since then, scientists have found B2 to be an important part of the body's cellular processes, including metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In addition to contributing to the body's cellular processes, vitamin B2 also plays a role in supplying energy to the body, and it has been shown to benefit the hair, skin and nails.

Vitamin B2 is a water soluble vitamin, which means it doesn't stick around in the body too long and needs to be replaced on a daily basis. Thankfully, generous amounts of vitamin B2 are found in milk, cheese, leafy green vegetables, legumes (beans), almonds, liver, mushrooms, yeast and eggs. Since vitamin B2 is water soluble, there are no reported incidences of toxicity and it is considered an extremely safe vitamin to consume, even during pregnancy.

Dr. Carolyn Bernstein, an attending neurologist and headache expert at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, says that taking vitamin B2 in high doses may decrease the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Dr. Bernstein recommends taking 400mg of vitamin B2 on a daily basis; the body will discard what it does not use. When taking vitamin B2, don't worry if your urine color turns bright yellow, as that is the excretion of the unused portion of the vitamin. If reoccurring migraine headaches are a big problem, it seems as though investing in vitamin B2 may be worth a try.

Warning. If the flu shot is something that you strongly believe in, this week's Health Tip may stir some inner thought. Recently, on the Fox News based Lou Rockwell television show, infectious disease expert, Dr. Kent Holtorf, was interviewed about his views on the swine flu vaccine. Dr. Holtorf offered several important reasons NOT to get the swine flu shot. According to Dr. Holtorf, the swine flu is simply another flu and is not unusually severe. The people who have the most trouble with the swine flu are persons whose immune systems are compromised with neurological conditions or bronchial conditions, such as asthma.

Additives to the vaccine that are supposed to trigger an antibody response may actually trigger an auto-immune response. These flu shot additives include mercury, aluminum and squalene. Mercury has been found to be more toxic to the brain than lead. Dr. Holtorf also states that this is the first year that mock flu vaccines were used to gain FDA approval, and that the swine flu vaccines that were used to acquire FDA approval will not be the same vaccines that will be given to the general population. Dr. Holtorf also added that 'over vaccinations' are a big problem in the United States, with children being given over 29 different inoculations prior to the age of two. Meanwhile, he states that veterinarians have backed away from repeated vaccinations of dogs because of side-effects (though we continue the practice with our children).

In addition, according to the information given on the Lou Rockwell show, this is the first time that both seasonal and pandemic vaccines will be given at the same time, so that the general population will receive two flu inoculations. Two vaccines are now being given because a single shot has failed to produce enough antibodies to deter the flu virus, which would seem to show that all other prior flu shots have been generally useless.

As far as I am concerned, the most important information I learned from the interview is that our health officials and the media have done nothing to show us how to boost our own immune systems. Rather, they have focused only on pharmaceuticals, such as the flu shot and Tamiflu. According to Dr. Holtorf, there is strong evidence that vitamin C and vitamin D activate the immune system, and that the trace mineral, selenium, can prevent the worst form of the flu. And, as always, it is wise to make an informed decision about any and all vaccinations, drugs and/or medications that have been made available for you to take.

The base of the foot has a fibrous band of tissue that connects the heal bone to the base of the toes. This fibrous band is called the plantar fascia (pronounced fash-uh). The purpose of this band is to support the arches of the feet. The plantar fascia is often subjected to overuse injuries, mainly due to excessive weight bearing.

Physical activities that require long periods of walking on hard surfaces, standing, or wearing shoes with little to no arch supports can cause an inflammation in the plantar fascia. Tight and overly contracted calf muscles are also a major contributor to inflamation of the fascia. This condition is called plantar fasciitis (pronounced fashee-EYE-tis). Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain and swelling and stiffness at the base of the foot. Pain is usually worse the first few steps of the morning, but will continue with each step throughout the day.

Home care for plantar fasciitis includes stretching the calf muscles and fascia of the foot, along with ice therapy. To stretch the calves, stand on a block about two-to-three inches high and press the heel towards the ground. You can ice the foot by placing your foot on top of a full bag of ice cubes and holding it there for a continuous twenty minutes. Stop once twenty minutes has passed. Rest without ice for twenty minutes, then repeat the icing. For the most effective results, ice and stretch at least three times a day until you see improvement. At that point, you can decrease the frequency and duration of the icing and stretching.

In some cases, plantar fasciitis can take up to a year to resolve. If the condition becomes chronic, chiropractic or physical therapy is warranted. In addition to stretching and icing, treatment can include adjustments to the feet, ultrasound, myofascial massage (to breakdown scar tissue) laser or electrical therapy. Sometimes orthotic support of the feet can help prevent further problems.

If you do have the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, Dr. Rolnick can determine if you need chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy or if a podiatrist needs to be consulted to rule out other conditions, such as heel spurs. And remember, plantar fasciitis is aggravated by open back shoes, sandals and flip-flops.

 

 

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