Diabetes sufferers seek a “natural” relief

Insulin InjectorDiabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a condition in which the body produces too much blood sugar and not enough of the hormone insulin which prevents blood sugars from going too high. Many diabetes sufferers must inject themselves daily with synthetic insulin to enable them to live a near-normal life. Recent research, however, is finding that diabetes can be controlled by a number of natural remedies, in addition to the standard remedies of insulin and special diets.

There are presently more than 20 million Americans suffering from either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and an estimated 6 million more who are not even aware that they may have the condition. The most common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and urine extraction, blurred vision and lethargy, and sudden and unexplained weight loss. If not treated properly, diabetes can lead to blindness and kidney failure, loss of limbs due to gangrene, and eventually death.

Although moderate exercise and sugarless diets are recommended to diabetes sufferers, especially those afflicted with what is known as Type 2 diabetes, or the one involving increased blood glucose levels accompanied with lack of natural insulin, the use of a number of natural remedies is now being found to cause improvement to diabetes sufferers. Some of these remedies include fenugreek seed; kelp reduces blood sugar levels; pycnogenol: a powerful antioxidant that is derived from a species of pine tree in France and other European countries. Pycnogenol has been shown to help repair the damage to the eye’s retina caused by too much blood sugar. Other herbal remedies include mulluca root: used to treat diabetes as well as other physical ailments such as high blood pressure and skin diseases; bitter melon: reduces blood sugar levels in a manner similar to insulin; alpha lipoic acid: reduces blood glucose levels by increasing insulin function, and a soup-like preparation from the leaves of the oleander plant which is also said to be good against some forms of cancer.

In addition to herbs such as the ones mentioned here, foods such as apples and almonds, and those containing Omega 3 fatty acids are also said to be beneficial.

It must be advised though to never rely on natural remedies alone without advice from a physician who is familiar with natural herbal remedies. Along with using these remedies, it is important to adhere to a strict diet that avoids fatty foods and foods high in sugar content. By augmenting these natural herbal remedies to a regime of exercise and strict diet, diabetes sufferers may be able to rely less on insulin injections in order to maintain a normal life.

Sources: Natural News, Wikipedia ; Picture by Islets of Hope

Broccoli – a natural immunity plant

Broccoli PowerBroccoli is a plant that is more than just a good source of vitamins, minerals and as a defense against various forms of cancer. This green, fibrous vegetable is now being regarded as a way to acquire immunity against a number of debilitating factors that effect people in old age.

Already an excellent provider of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K, research studies are discovering that frequent eating of broccoli, especially raw, protects people from the effects of oxidants known as free radicals. Broccoli contains a chemical known as sulforaphane which assists the body to activate certain genes and enzymes in the body’s system to create antioxidants which can fight free radicals and reduce the dame they cause to the body which helps to hasten the effects of old age. For those who are not familiar with the term “free radicals” they are found in a large number of environmental surroundings including pollution, sunlight, unhealthy diets (especially ‘fast foods’) and many other elements that surround people every day of their lives. Too many free radicals in the body can result in injury to body cells and cause cells to die prematurely, hastening the ageing process; as well as bringing on a number of diseases, including cancers.

Studies made by researchers at UCLA involved treatment of old mice with sulforaphane that came from broccoli resulted in the mice regaining their immune system to the level it had been when they were much younger. The conclusion was that the same result could also be had in humans, with older people regaining the immune system they once had against disease when young adults. The researchers have gone one step further by concluding that if older people can regain at least some of their former immunity against disease, children can make their immune system even stronger by eating broccoli and other green vegetable on a regular basis. The only problem now is how to get them to do it, since children usually prefer sweets and ice cream to vegetables.

Like all vegetables, broccoli should be eaten when it is fresh; either raw or cooked in a manner that keeps from it losing it’s vitamins and other beneficial components. We can all suppose that a broccoli based ice cream-like desert bar is now being worked on somewhere.

Sources: Natural News; Healing Daily
Picture by: Pennsylvania Department of Health

The Price of Bio Fuels

India FarmerA recent posting in this web blog noted the problem of rising grain prices, most notably rice. It now seems that virtually all food items are increasing in price at a pace so great that the end result may be mass hunger and even starvation in many parts of the world, including so-called affluent countries like ones in Western Europe and even the U.S.A. Already, the price of basic cereal grains, notably wheat and corn are double in price to what they were just a few years ago. And many common vegetables, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, are selling at very high prices.

Global warming, or the hysteria being generated by this subject, is only part of the problem, however. There are other factors, both environmental and political, that are resulting in near-empty supermarket shelves and some countries and food riots in others. It’s easy to see why food shortages are now a way of life in most of Africa and parts of Asia. But now, millions of Americans are really feeling the bite that weekly grocery bills are taking from their incomes. And it’s not only bread, breakfast cereal, and other products made directly from grain that is causing food prices to run to as much as $250 a week for a family of four. Meat items are also becoming very expensive due to sharp increases in animal feed and fodder.

The answer to at least part of the problems of food shortages, coupled with high prices, lies in what we are now putting into our automobile gas tanks. Bio fuels, especially ethanol made from corn and sorghum, are re-directing thousands of tons of food grains into alcohol based fuels to make up for fuel shortages caused by increasingly scarcer and more expensive fossil fuels; most notably petroleum. Just ten years ago, American farmers complained of having massive grain surpluses, particularly in corn producing states like Indiana and Iowa. Due to low market prices, farmers were receiving subsides from the U.S. Government and were even being paid not to produce these crops.

Enter the ethanol age, when farmers are suddenly receiving high prices for growing ethanol producing grains with the encouragement and blessing of a government that continues preaching self-sufficiency in energy by augmenting crude oil with ethanol. The rush for farmers to grow crops for conversion into ethanol has resulted in countries like Brazil dedicating almost their entire agricultural production to growing crops like maize and sugar cane for conversion into ethanol. Poor Brazilian farmers, in their frenzy to grow “ethanol crops”, are destroying their country’s rain forests at an alarming pace to have more land available for growing these crops. The same thing is happening in many other countries too, with the result of less attention being given to growing crops for food.

Bio fuels in themselves are also ecologically polluting and contribute to the “greenhouse effect” and other symptoms of global warming. While these crops may not pollute our planet as bad as petroleum, bio fuels do cause pollution in their own way. And worst of all, every bushel of grain used to make ethanol means less available grain to be available for basic food commodities.

Less available grain means less and more expensive food products, especially for those whose main diet is composed of basic foods like bread items, including pastas. Perhaps it’s now time to “reverse” the emphasis on growing cereal crops for fuel and begin growing more crops again for food. If not, the day will soon come when a loaf of ordinary ‘store bread’ will cost more than a gallon of Bio fuel. And the cost of that bun on a McDonald’s or Burger King hamburger will cause it to be much more pricy than it is today. After all, you can’t eat that stuff that goes into your car.

Better nutrition benefits epilepsy sufferers

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects millions of people all over the world, including more than two million in the US alone. Types of epilepsy, once called the “ailment of royalty” range from mild “Peti-Mal” seizures which are usually a momentary lapse of concentration, to severe or “Grand-Mal” seizures such as the type suffered by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, in which the sufferer looses all bodily control, including control of urination and defecation.

There have been recent studies made concerning the effect of diet on epilepsy, including following special diets which are low in sugars and other carbohydrates, especially what are known as “junk foods”. While these diets have not been proven to be completely effective to relieve the severity of epileptic seizures or prevent them altogether, studies concerning nutrition and its effects on epilepsy are showing that it is possible to relieve the severity of these seizures by changing one’s nutrition.

Nutritional recommendations for epilepsy suffers include eating and drinking the juice from raw, green leafy vegetables, beets, carrots, and other vegetables with high vitamin content (see our Natural Diet section). Add raw milk and cheese products, raw seeds and nuts, plus soy protein to your diet, plus bio-type sour milk yogurts, especially organic yogurts. Switch to using olive oil instead of other vegetable oils, including taking at least two tablespoons of high quality virgin olive oil a day. Instead of eating large meals three times a day, it’s better to eat several smaller meals and never large amounts of food at night. It’s also recommended not to drink large amounts of liquids at once, especially at meals, as this can bring on seizures.

Certain items such as coffee and tea containing caffeine, refined sugar, alcoholic beverages, fried foods and excessive animal protein should be substantially avoided; as well as using artificial sweeteners, especially Aspartame.

A number of beneficial vitamins and minerals should also be taken by epilepsy sufferers, including Vitamin B complex, Vitamin B-3 (niacin), magnesium, Folic and Pantothenic Acid, calcium and zinc.

It is also very important to engage in a moderate exercise program to improve blood circulation, especially to the brain. And most important, stress must be avoided as much as possible.

Epilepsy sufferers usually take a number of medications which, if taken together with other drugs, such as birth control pills and medications to control conditions such as hypertension and asthma may interact with epilepsy medications. By following the above diet recommendations, it may be possible to reduce the amount of epilepsy medications required as well as the frequency and severity of the seizures.

Source: NaturalNews.com

Overdosing on vitamins and food supplements

Literally millions of people in North America, the U.K. and other western countries are taking daily vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as nutritional supplements containing vitamins. This phenomenon is not new, and many large companies producing these products are not only very rich but getting richer by feeding on the “hype” that people are receiving concerning the need for these supplements, which often cost hundreds of dollars per month.

Both family physicians and professional nutritionists are now agreeing that too many vitamin supplements are not only non-effective, but may actually be damaging to a person’s health. In an article that came out in the New York Times a few years ago, prominent research physicians, such as Dr. Annette Dickson, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, noted that more than 70% of all Americans take some kind of vitamin supplement which come in many forms; including fortified cereal, bread products, and other types of food. When combined with a ‘super fortified’ multi-vitamin product, the result, according to these health experts, can not only accomplish little or nothing towards maintaining good health, but can also be a cause of serious and often fatal health problems.

A few types of vitamins that people appear to be overtaking include Vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin C, for example, is often recommended to be taken in high daily doses to either prevent or reduce the symptoms of a common cold. What usually happens, according to these doctors, is that the excess vitamin C is simply excreted by the person’s urine. Other vitamins, particularly those such as vitamin A and E, are stored in organs like the liver and can even result in conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

Many take vitamin D supplements, often found in fortified milk and other dairy products, due to not being outdoors enough to let their bodies synthesize it. It has been pointed out however as people grow older, their skin looses the ability to synthesize this vitamin, and taking supplements containing vitamin D do not help to manufacture it.

While it was once thought that taking large amounts of vitamin supplements helped prevent the risk of cardio-vascular conditions, it is now being found that the opposite often takes place. And older people who take increased doses of vitamins A and D to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, usually prescribed as around 1,500 micrograms per tablet or capsule, are actually taking twice as much as what is actually needed, resulting in an even greater risk of having this condition.

Many doctors, however, are still convinced that taking multiple vitamins is essential to maintaining good health. These include Dr. Joann e. Manson, Chief of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. Dr. Manson said, however, that taking these vitamins are only recommended if a person has severe diet deficiencies and must augment their diets by taking supplements.

But doctors and nutritionists alike agree that proper nutrition, including eating healthier diets, may reduce or even eliminate the need to take vitamin supplements. This is especially true for people whose diets are high in so called “junk foods”. There is no ‘magic bullet’ to cure an unhealthy diet, most health professionals agree.

Where is the Rice?

Rice Farmer in VietnamWorld food prices appear to be on the rise, almost to the point where people the world over are beginning to see for themselves the consequences of global warming. With populations booming in most Asian countries, particularly heavily populated ones like China, Japan, India and Indonesia, find that these rising food prices are affecting one of the worlds’ most basic yet stable food commodities – rice.

The old saying that bread (largely made from wheat and similar grains) is “the staff of life” no longer appears to be the case, as rice, Asia’s most commonly eaten food, is gaining in popularity. This fact is not really surprising as some of Asia’s most heavily populated countries depend heavily on the starchy grain which contains not only a good percentage of needed carbohydrates but essential vitamins as well. Rice has been a food staple in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years; and out of the world’s 6.5 billion inhabitants, rice is a vital food grain for at least 3 billion human beings.

Rice is relatively easy to grow and can be cultivated in marshy or swampy regions where other food grains are scarce. An average grain of brown rice (rice which still has the rice germ and bran hull) contains 78% carbohydrates, Vitamins B and E, proteins, and minerals such as potassium. Although people living in North America and Europe tend to eat the bleached white rice, which has less food value, more and more people are opting out for whole grain rice, found in better quality supermarkets and whole food stores. A 200 gram serving of cooked, brown rice contains 282 calories, 1.6 gm of dietary fiber, 1 mg of iron, 220 mg of magnesium, 198 mg of potassium, 0.3 mg of vitamin B1, 0.4 mg of vitamin B2, and 1.4 mg of zinc.

The most popular types of rice are long grain, Persian style, Basmati (popular in countries like India) and round, which is the basis for most Sushi recipes. Recent world weather fluctuations has resulted in severe damage to many Asian rice crops which is causing chromic to severe rice shortages in countries where inhabitants depend heavily on successful annual rice crops to ward off starvation. Rice shortages in Asian countries are also finding their way their way to Western countries, where rice has also become an important part of many peoples daily diet due to its easy digestibility and nutritional benefits.

Much emphasis has recently been placed on foods having a high GI or Glycemix Index. Foods with high GI indexes put weight on people faster and are high in glucose. White rice has a high GI or Glycemic Index and is therefore less healthier than brown varieties which have a much lower GI index.

Blueberries for your mind

Blueberries For Your BrainBlueberries are more than just a wonderful tasting fruit. They help improve our memory and delay the effects of aging. The beneficial properties of the berries of this plant, known by it’s Latin term of Cyanococcus vaccininum, has been evident for centuries. The plant has many varieties, and is found in both North America and Europe.

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which help deter aging. They are an excellent source of flavonoids which have positive attributes to keep the brain from losing its memory function, even in old age. Scientific studies of the effects of flavonoids on the brain have found that they help brain cells by enhancing existing neuronal or brain cell connections. Parts of the brain dealing with learning and memory are especially benefited by eating blueberries. Blueberries are also said to help improve eyesight, which was related by British air force pilots during the Second World War, who ate blueberry pie or jam prior to going on flying missions.

Prominent neurologists have found that the high level of flavonoids found in blueberries are very helpful to older people and helps slow down memory loss and even more pronounced memory loss conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. While all blueberries are high in antioxidants and flavonoids, wild blueberries or bilberries as they are often called in Europe, have even higher levels of these anti-aging and memory retentive compounds.

Besides the benefits previously noted, blueberries have also been found to be good in treating various forms of cancers as ingredients such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonols and tannins are effective in keeping cancer cells from developing. The berries are also effective in preventing strokes in both humans and animals. Other healthful ingredients in blueberries include vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, and the mineral manganese.

Because of their healthful benefits, blueberries are very popular in organic and whole foods stores, where their healthful ingredients are very much appreciated.

So, next time you decide to make some pancakes or muffins for breakfast, consider adding some fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter, as well as using a spread made from blueberry jam. The benefits received will be more than just good taste.

Choline a vital nutrient for good health

Choline is an organic compound that was first discovered in 1864. It is classified as being part of the B-vitamin group and is found mostly in eggs, soy products, and cooked meats. Although this compound is considered as very important to maintaining good health, very few people are familiar with it. It is found in cell membranes and is considered as vital for maintaining healthy human cell growth. Scientific studies have concluded that choline intake in humans should be between 425 and 550 milligrams per day. As eggs are one of the commonest and least expensive sources of choline, eating one egg per day supplies a good portion of an average person’s need.

Choline is especially vital in women. Recent studies conducted by laboratories of the U.S. National Institute of Health have found that by consuming adequate amounts of choline daily, women have less chance of having breast cancer. Carried out among 3,000 adult women, the studies found that by consuming at least 450 milligrams of choline daily, women had 25% less chance of developing breast cancer than those who consumed lesser amounts. The studies concluded that choline is a very important nutrient for all persons, no matter what age or sex. Women of child bearing age need adequate amounts of this nutrient; especially pregnant women. One egg has around 125 mg of choline, or about a quarter of normal daily requirement. High amounts of choline are also found in liver, soy beans, cauliflower, and wheat germ (found in health and natural foods stores).

In addition to being effective against breast cancer, choline is also good for maintaining memory functions and against heart disease.

Choline can have an unpleasant side affect, however, as many people are not able to cope with high levels of choline in their bodies; which results in a disorder known as trimethylaminuria or “fish odor syndrome” in which their bodies begin to emit a strong, unpleasant order that smells like fish. People suffering form this condition are advised to consume less foods high in choline, especially liver (all kinds) and other organ meats.

Despite this problem, the benefits of this essential nutrient far outweigh any possible detriments, and people are advised to make sure they consume adequate amounts of choline in their daily diets.

Ridding yourself of excess stomach fat

Many people living in Western countries, especially North America and the U.K., have problems with excess fat around the midriff or stomach. While this common problem is often referred to humorously as having a “love hold” or a “spare tire”, too much body fat pushing on your heart can be dangerous and even fatal in the long run. Some people go the extreme to solve this problem by expensive (and dangerous) surgical procedures, such as “tummy tucks” and liposuction. There are much easier and safer ways to lose excess belly fat; and a proper, healthy diet is one of the best. As many people consume too much food high in unhealthy ingredients, try changing your daily diet by following these simple eating tips:

A. Eat a daily diet of whole grains and fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, lettuce and cabbage, carrots, whole wheat and rice, and tomatoes. It is preferable to eat organic vegetables, if available, but non-organic ones are all right if washed thoroughly to remove impurities and pesticides.

B. Avoid excess carbohydrates, which add plenty of pounds and are often found in “junk foods” like potato chips or fries, pizza, etc. Avoid commercial “white” breads which are high in additives and gluten. Eat only whole grain breads in limited quantities.

C. Eat fish (which is high in proteins and low in cholesterol) and poultry instead of beef and other “red” meats. When eating poultry, choose naturally grown “free-running” poultry over commercial cage raised ones, as natural poultry have little or no added vitamins and growth stimulants, or antibiotics.

D. Exercise is the best weight loss method, as simply changing one’s diet won’t help if a conscientious exercise program is not done. You don’t have to join an expensive gym or health club as exercising can be done at home and in your neighborhood. A brisk 30 minute walk every day will do wonders to remove belly fat; and exercise burns off body fat and calories. Don’t eat a meal loaded with carbohydrates after a workout, as this will negate any benefits gained by the workout.

All of the above tips will help considerably in removing unwanted belly and other body fats and will make a big difference to your figure in the long run.

Include Bananas in Your Health Food Diet

Although the advice of eating bananas has often been noted in information dealing with health and nutrition topics, there is a lot more to eating this fruit than many people are aware of .The advantages of eating bananas has been known since ancient times, and was considered an excellent food for armies such as the Roman Legions, due to its nutritional content and easy portability.

Include Bananas in Your Health Food DietBananas have been found to be not only be high in proteins and carbohydrates, but also contain many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, B6, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. Organic versions of this fruit have a higher vitamin and mineral content; although the fruit tends to be smaller and more prone to insect infestation. Being low in sodium, bananas are an excellent choice for people on a low or salt free diet. Their high fiber content makes bananas a smart choice for those suffering from constipation, and they are also very beneficial for those suffering from stomach problems such as ulcers.

A number of ailments and physical problems have been found to be relieved and even cured by eating bananas. These include:

Stress: potassium in bananas help regulate heartbeat and send oxygen to the brain

Depression: a protein substance called Tryptophen produces a substance called Serotonin which induces relaxation and improves a person’s mental outlook.

Anemia: due to the fruit’s high iron content bananas are good for persons suffering from anemia.

Heartburn: bananas are a natural antacid

Morning sickness: bananas help keep blood sugar levels up in pregnant women, helping to prevent morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: rubbing the inside of banana skins on a bite will help reduce itching and swelling.

Strokes: eating bananas has been found to help prevent strokes due to their mineral content that is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels.

Wart control: This benefit really works, and involves putting a piece of banana skin, inside up, on a plaster and then applying it to the wart. This is especially effective for warts of the sole of the foot, otherwise known as “planter’s warts”.

One word of advice is to never put bananas into a refrigerator, as this lessens the fruit’s nutritional value. Bananas are also excellent for people trying to lose weight as it satisfies the craving for sugar while supplying needed nutrients. Many nutritionists claim that bananas are an almost perfect fruit. And don’t be so quick to throw that banana peel away, for in addition to curing warts and relieving mosquito bites, the inside part of the peel is also excellent for shining shoes. Try it sometime!