Eating Less and Healthier Food Prolongs Your Life

LemonMany people have become advocates of organic and natural foods, knowing that these foods are healthier than those that are commercially processed, vitamin enriched, and laced with antibiotics and other drugs. What many may not realize, however, is that the amount of foods consumed, even whole and natural ones, is even more important for longevity and better health.

Studies recently made in the research departments of some major American universities have found that by consuming 20 to 30% less calories per day, a person may actually add between 10 to 15 additional years to his or her life. Aside from this revelation, it has also been found that even those who consume what some may consider as non-wholesome foods (including “junk foods”) this overall reduction in total calories is still basically the same. Using laboratory rats, and feeding the control group a standard diet, it was found that those given less food actually lived longer, even though they may have been smaller and thinner than the control group.

It’s no secret the people who are overweight have more health problems including cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, and incidents of colon and other cancers, Thinner people are generally healthier and have a more positive mental outlook, which also affects their longevity. Taking these findings into account, this does not mean that people who are “super thin” will live longer. Those suffering from eating disorders, including anorexia are damaging their health by not consuming enough calories.

Types of food consumed, particularly diets with less red meat and dairy products, also help influence longevity, as well as a person’s genealogical makeup. People coming from families with longer life spans are more likely to live longer than those from families with shorter life spans. A diet of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit is much more beneficial that a diet consisting of fatty and starchy foods, including most dairy products.

In many Western countries, including the USA, far too much fatty and starchy foods are consumed as against more wholesome diets of less, but more whole grain and other wholesome foods. Diet is not the only factor however, as daily exercise of at least half an hour will help people maintain more healthier lives. This exercise can include a brisk walk around the block, or even inside a shopping mall. The most crucial factor, according to the aforementioned studies, is that by simply exercising one’s “table muscles” to leave the dinner table before too many calories are consumed will eventually work wonders toward maintaining better health.

All in all, it’s not only the old saying “you are what you eat”, but how much you eat as far as the deciding factor that may add longer and more productive years to your life.

The Miracle of Dead Sea Mud Treatment

Anybody who has visited one of the several health spas located at the Dead Sea, or has simply bathe in the sea’s highly saline waters, has surely seen people covering themselves with a black mud which is found abundantly on the shores of the world’s lowest point on earth. There is good reason why this is done, as the Dead Sea’s mineral rich water and mud have some of the most beneficial health properties of any such area in the world. By simply applying this substance to one’s skin and allowing it to remain for an hour or so before peeling and washing it off, those suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis, or if looking for skin rejuvenation and anti-aging effects, will receive numerous benefits from the more than 17 minerals present in Dead Sea mud.

You don’t have to journey all the way to Israel to experience this, however, as a number of cosmetic companies offer Dead Sea Mud and other cosmetic products composed of the wondrous natural products which are harvested directly from the Dead Sea. Pure Dead Sea Mud can be found in both pharmacies and in the cosmetic departments of major department stores worldwide. The mud, which can be heated in one’s microwave oven to desired application temperature (be sure to follow instructions on the package when heating the mud in your microwave) will have almost the same effect as direct application on the shore of the Dead Sea. To give you an idea of this ‘miracle mud’s benefits, many of its minerals and their attributes are noted here:

Boron: Relieves psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
Bromine: Soothes and tones skin tissue
Calcium: Helps cell production and bone tissue; treats osteoporosis
Lithium: Aids in treatment of psoriases
Manganese: Antioxidant; helps delay aging in skin tissue
Magnesium: Stimulates protein synthesis and body energy
Potassium: Helps clear up skin complexion problems such as acne
Sodium: Improves skin cell metabolism
Strontium: An anti-itching and irritant mineral, especially when many cosmetics are used frequently
Zinc: Helps cell renewal and fights free radical tissue degeneration. Good against acne.

Of course, the combined benefits of the enriched oxygen and sunlight radiation found at Dead Sea together with its mineral laden waters and mud give the maximum health results. But for those who live far away, it’s now possible to bring the benefits of the Dead Sea’s curing minerals into the comfort of your own home, and at a very reasonable cost.

Ashwagandha The Herb For All Seasons

One of India’s most beneficial medicinal herbs is one called Ashwagandha, or “Winter Cherry”. An herb originating in the Indian Sub Continent and Africa, this biological member of the solonaceae plant family, has been used by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. A relative of the Chinese ginseng shrub, the Ashwagandha root has similar medicinal properties, and is said to aid in longevity, as well as aiding those with sexual related problems.

Among the herb’s other benefits are those including stimulating the nervous system and improving memory in older persons. Ayurveda holistic practitioners subscribe this herb for a variety of bodily ills, including anemia, cancer (especially during and after chemo-therapy), immune system problems, nervous exhaustion and fatigue, infertility and impotence, chronic and acute stress, and even ulcers. Those who are familiar with the science of Ayurvedic medical practice know that various parts of an herb, from its leaves to the roots, are useful for different types of medically related problems. The same is true for the Ashwagandha, as its leaves (which are very bitter) are used as an anthelmintic (ridding the body of intestinal worms), and also for the treatment of large boils or carbuncles.

The berries, or fruit, are used to improve kidney function as well as to coagulate milk, which is beneficial for those requiring a more strict vegetable based diet. The roots are used for treating problems of the nervous system, as well as for giving relief to physical weakness and muscle fatigue.

As a nutrient, the Ashwagandha root is recommended to give strength to pregnant women and old people. It also acts as an aphrodisiac, and is said to help restore sperm content in men. Those suffering from back or shoulder pains (lumbago) can also find relief from taking this herb.

Although no noted side effects have been reported, is it recommended not to take preparations of Ashwagandha herb if one is suffering from lung congestion. This is especially true in the case of small children or older persons.

International Organic Certification

USDA OrganicEU-Eco-Regulation International Organic Certification has become widely accepted as the accepted standards used to various governmental bodies to insure that products claiming to be at least “95% Organic” live up to required organic standards. The two most widely accepted certification labels, The EU-Eco-Regulation and the USDA Organic, are noted as being in the forefront of international organic standard certifications; although many other countries, including Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Japan have their own organic certification labeling as well.

EU-Eco-RegulationInternational concern regarding synthetic vitamin, medicinal, and growth hormone additives to meat and other agricultural produce has resulted in stricter attention being given by government bodies to the standards given to food and other products that are reputed to be derived from organic sources.

Both the EU-Eco-Regulation and USDA Organic certification symbols became law in the early 1990’s, meaning that farms involved in organic food production must comply with these regulations in order for their products to be certified with these labels. Notations as to whether the labeled is either 100% or 95% organic indicates that these products comply with the required governmental criteria regarding the farming and processing of their organic products. Everything used in the production of these products, including transportation and storage of the products must conform to the required criteria. The addition of chemicals into the products are either strictly limited or forbidden altogether.

Some countries, including Canada and Australia, still do not have set national laws concerning the standards placed on organically grown and produced products; and what national standards are in place are only used as ‘guidelines’. Australia, though having very strict quarantine standards for food items entering the country, has only a ‘de-facto’ standard for products being exported. The task of certifying exported food products, including beef, lamb and other meat products, is left to the task of at least seven individual certification organizations, the largest being the Australian Certified Organic organization.

A number of issues and problems still exist concerning the proper certification of bona-fide organic products. Vested interest lobbies try to ‘water down’ the organic content requirement of various products in order to save on production and transportation costs. A certain amount of miss-labeling of products is a still evident, with many being labeled as being “naturally grown”. These products must not be considered as having the same standards as the ones bearing either the EU-Eco or UDSA Organic symbols, as the latter have undergone strict governmental regulatory inspection and certification.

USDA Organic Certification

USDA OrganicOrganic labeling and certification for agricultural and other products is still relatively new in regards to state and national government regulatory bodies. California was one of the first U.S. states to incorporate an ‘organic law’ into its official statutes with the passing of the California Certified Organic Farm Certification Act in 1973. Other states soon followed suit, and as a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the National Organic Production Act in 1990, resulting in the government body known as the National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP, through a network of national organic certification agents, regulations and policies has created a national standard for certified organic products: USDA Organic.

Agricultural products, in order to bear the USDA Organic certification label, must meet certain criteria in order to be considered as ‘100% organic‘. Regarding meat production, organic meat and meat products must come from animals and poultry that have been raised outdoors on natural feed sources. The term ‘range fed cattle’ and ‘free running poultry’ means exactly what the terms imply; i.e. not confined to cages or feed lots, and not fed vitamin or antibiotic enriched foods. Only pure natural food sources are allowed to be fed to these animals. Synthetic chemical additives such as growth enhancing hormones are also forbidden in organically grown animals.

Organic food products labeled as “100% Organic” by the USDA, must only contain organically produced ingredients. Another label, “95% Organic”, still allows the UDSA logo to be displayed, as most of the NOP’s organic requirements have been met. If a food product is noted to be “made with organic ingredients”, at least 70% of the product’s composition must come from organic sources. The UDSA Organic logo cannot be displayed on this food category, however.

Organic labeling is also becoming noted on soaps, shampoos and cosmetics, with the products ingredients clearly noted. Again, in order to be considered as coming from organic sources, the product must be at lest in the 70% category to be considered as “made from organic ingredients”.

Since the year 2000, more attention has been given to the subject of “green” or organic food and cosmetic production. European Union countries are still far ahead in their attention to this subject, and EU member governments even offer “green incentives” to farmers and food producers to meet strict organic standards. The benefit of this way of “green thinking” is obvious to everyone who is concerned about their overall health and well being.

Those Miraculous Dead Sea Cosmetics

The Dead Sea, the world’s lowest point on earth, contains a vast wealth of very beneficial minerals and other products. Known for years as being very beneficial for the healing of people with a number of skin diseases (especially psoriasis and seborrhea) the sea’s mineral rich waters is often a recommended part of the treatment for these diseases; and people come from all over the world to bathe in the heavily saline waters, with a salinity content of nearly 25%. The minerals extracted from large collection pools on the sea’s southern shores are made into a number of cosmetic products and marketed worldwide. The following chart shows some of the Dead Sea’s most beneficial minerals (21 minerals are found in the lake’s waters), and the role they play in improving peoples’ health:

Potassium-Sodium: Supplies energy to skin cells
Magnesium: Activates enzymes to accelerate cell regeneration
Bromide: Soothes and treats skin ailments
Chloride: Helps balance body’s minerals
Calcium: Strengthens cell membranes and eases pain


A wide range of cosmetics are made from these minerals, as well as from Dead Sea salts and mud, which people either bathe in or apply to liberally to their bodies at several spas and resorts located on the lake’s shore. One of the most prominent of these companies, Dead Sea Cosmetics Inc, markets its cosmetics under the world renown Ahava line. These cosmetics, which include not only soaps, shampoos, creams, and lotions, also include containers of the Dead Sea’s original medicinal salts and mud, enabling people to benefit from the lake’s healing qualities without actually visiting there. The cosmetic products, for both men and women, also include a special line of aromatic lotions and oils, which have a special soothing and moistening effect on the skin. Some of the aromatic bath salts, for example, allow the user to feel that he is actually lying in the Dead Sea’s mineral-rich waters, while giving a pleasant aromatic scent. Those who suffer from scalp conditions, such as severe dandruff, will find Dead Sea shampoos very beneficial in controlling these conditions.

Dead Sea cosmetics can be found in many drug stores and pharmacies in Europe, the Far East, and North America. They can also be ordered directly via the Internet.

Natural Body Care Products

Organic SoapsFor those who have experienced the pleasure and rejuvenation from being treated at a natural body care spa, it is now possible to have almost the same relaxing treatment in the privacy of one’s own home. By purchasing an ever increasing array of natural skin body, are hair care products, and together with creating an intimate atmosphere in either the bath or bedroom, you can give yourself the personal treatment that can cost hundreds of dollars at a weekend body care retreat.

For years now, many people have been abandoning commercial skin and body care products in favor or natural, organic based ones. These products, available either at health products stores, pharmacies, or via the internet, contain natural soaps, oils, herbs, and products derived from royal jelly – that mysterious substance derived from bees. For those who like to shop via the internet, a wide choice of natural body products manufacturers and suppliers are available by just clicking onto to a natural products website. If you are looking for special bath oils, soaps and shampoos, for example, you can find them on the web, with all the most natural and exotic ingredients imaginable. Shampoos containing soy extracts, rosemary and birch leaf oil, lavender, and natural vitamins and minerals will not only give your hair a much more natural feeling, but will help prevent hair loss and damage to the scalp.

Natural oils, including olive and palm oil, coca bean butter and oil, and jojoba bean oils, help restore your skin cells and even helps to prevent aging. Even products that Grandmothers used to swear by, such as eggs, natural herbs (rosemary, chamomile, thyme and nettle), as well as citrus seed extracts and citric acid all have their own skin and hair rejuvenating effects.

Whether or not you have a Jacuzzi or ‘hot tub’ in you home, you can still feel like you’ve received a royal spa care treatment, by just using these natural body care products in the intimacy of your own home.

Oh, by the way, don’t forget the aromatic candles and appropriate mood music.

Organic Consumers Association – Promoting Organic Lifestyles

Organic Consumers AssociationThe Organic Consumers Association (OCA) was formed as a ‘grass roots’ association of concerned people who believe in promoting, and protecting, the interests and welfare of organic products consumers all over the world. Headquartered in Finland, Minnesota , OCA affiliate branches are found in Canada, Japan, India, to name a few.

With an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. alone who purchase organic products, the association claims a membership of more than 850,000 nationwide, including thousands of business offering organic foods and products, including cosmetics.

Formed in 1998, as a result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s attempt to “nationalize” organic products standards, OCA member business and interest groups maintain a constant effort to prevent the “Wall -Martization” of America’s economy, including the marketing of organic products.

OCA members deal with a number of important topics connected with organic products including genetic engineering, corporate accountability (in regards to organic issues), and the environment’s ability to sustain itself, despite the damage done to it by Mankind.

The OCA Organic Agenda Program for the years 2000 – 2015 include the following:

1. Conversion of American agriculture to be at least 30% organic by the year 2015
2. Fair trade and economic justice for smaller organic enterprises
3. A Global moratorium on genetically engineered crops and livestock
4. Phasing out of industrial or “factory farming” agriculture
5. A universal health care program with emphasis on nutrition and prevention
6. Less dependence on energy based on fossil fuels, with more emphasis on
environmentally friendly sources of energy, such as solar and hydro-electric

The OCA is non-profit, with the interests of its members clearly in mind. Its main interest it to help enable a healthy, fair, and supportable network of production for organic food products. The association puts out a weekly e-publication, Organic Bytes, and a semi-annual ‘hard copy’ newsletter, Organic View. Association members can find out all happenings concerning the association’s activities by reading these very informative publications. Sponsors include a wide variety of organic foods and products manufacturers, including Eden Organic Foods (a Coop or more than 300 family owned farms) and Earth Creations, a “made in USA” organic clothing company.

Organic Soaps Shampoos and Shower Gels

Organic SoapsOrganic products not only include food and food supplements, but an exciting range of soaps, shampoos, and cleaning products as well. A wide variety of bio-friendly products are available, containing such natural ingredients as natural olive and coconut oils, jojoba oils, cocoa butter, and extracts from large variety of herbs, including basil, rosemary, thyme, etc. Once the near exclusive products of natural products specialty stores, organic soaps and cleaning products can now be found in most supermarkets and pharmacies.

Ingredients in many popular soaps and shampoos have been found to be harmful to peoples’ health, and some ingredients are even carcinogenic, or cancer causing. By substituting harmful ingredients with organic ones, people not only improve their own health and well-being, but that of the environment as well.

To give you a better idea of the benefit of ‘natural’ ingredients, some of these are noted here, together with each one’s own beneficial qualities.

Basil: known not only for a flavorful herb in many food dishes, but for its detoxifying and energizing qualities.
Cardamom: antiseptic, cleansing and invigorating
Geranium: body toning, rejuvenating and uplifting qualities
Lavender: soothing, healing and tension relieving
Lemon Grass: detoxifying, deodorizing, anti-stress relief
Pine: antiseptic and physically elevating
Rosemary: stimulating, revitalizing, illuminating

In addition to herbs, a wide variety of natural essences, many made from plants and flowers, add to the benefits received from using these products.

Virtually no modern shopping mall is without at least one bath and body soap shop selling natural soaps, bath oils, and shampoos. Soaps offered in these shops, along with their wonderful scents and colors make these stores a true “garden of earthly delights”.

Along with personal body products, the harsh, abrasive, and even dangerous compounds found in most commercial preparations are resulting in many people turning to organic home cleaning products. Though more expensive than the commercial ones, the manufacturers of these products claim that they do not contain the caustic ingredients that can today be found in even the most well known dishwashing and laundry detergents. There is still some speculation as to whether organic cleaning products are really 100% bio-friendly. But even so, a growing number of people prefer to trust these products more and more.

Organic ‘soapless soap’ products come in a wide array of colors and fragrances. Ranging from aloe vera to sea weed, these products are found in virtually every modern home. To be assured that the ingredients are indeed from organic sources, one should examine the label carefully to make sure the product does not contain various ‘additives’ usually call “red………..” or “yellow………..” to disguise various chemicals which are definitely not from organic sources.

To be sure these products meet acceptable standards, they should have the logo for Organic Standard Soil Association, or one displaying the Good Shopping Guide for Ethical Companies.

Sources: &

Organic Trade Association: Your ‘Partner’ In The Organic Products Industry

Organic Trade AssociationFounded in 1985, the Organic Trade Association acts as both a forum and helpful partner for all people involved in the organic field; from agriculture sources to the retail store.

Formed to promote and protect trade in organic products, the OTA has a mission to help farmers, store owners, and consumers regarding all phases in organic products becoming an important part of everyone’s daily lives. The OTA is involved in lobbying in government agencies to bring about changes in agricultural policies concerning organic farming.

One of the most important duties of the OTA is to protect organic standards in order that organic products offered are of the highest quality. The association is also helps insure that governmental legislation affecting organic products will be in the industry’s interest, and not towards bodies who are not ‘eco-friendly’.

In addition to an informative and useful website, the OTA issues frequent press releases, and a media newsletter entitled: What’s New in Organics. All of the latest information regarding organic foods and products, new farming techniques, and other informative information can be read in this newsletter, published three to four times a year.

The OTA is also involved in publishing directories of organic product manufactures and suppliers, and is also actively involved in promoting trade shows. A more recent addition to the OTA is the Organic Center, established in 2002. This independent organization promotes scientific research into organic products and their benefit for human health.

An important and informative reference section of the association is the organic facts, which gives useful information on all aspects of organic farming and production, including a Q & A section. It also notes U.S. organic standards and compares them to organic standards around the world.

Annual membership fees are based on annual gross organic revenues, and run from a minimum of US$ 300, based on annual revenues of U.S. 100,000. Associate, non-voting memberships are available, and give all to benefits of a regular membership except for voting rights on various issues affecting the organic products industry.