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Personal growth ,life-coaching,positive and transpersonal psychology , education for all,INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE. HAPPINESS, WELL-BEING,WISDOM, HARMONY, COMMITMENT TO LIFE MISSION AND VALUES


Happiness-one key to cancer prevention

(NaturalNews) Want to lower your risk of getting breast cancer? Recent research in Israel published in the British journal BMC Cancer has given us one more thing to take note of.

Breast Cancer Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after non-melanoma skin cancer, cancer of the breast is the next one which most commonly afflicts American women. In 2004 alone, over 185,000 women and more than 1,800 men were diagnosed with the disease, while almost 41,000 women and 362 men actually died because of breast cancer.

Overall, in that year, breast cancer was the number five killer of American women, while being their number two cancer killer. For Hispanic women, breast cancer was also the type of cancer which caused the most deaths.

These numbers do not make for good reading at all. What actually causes breast cancer, and what can we do to stave it off?

Possible Causes of Breast Cancer

Those who are familiar with natural health and healing will know that breast cancer, like all other forms of cancer, can be prevented and even treated using powerful dietary and lifestyle choices, such as consuming enough fiber, exercising regularly, as well as getting enough sunshine and vitamin D.

What is also clear is that breast cancer, again like all forms of cancer, is a multi-factorial disease which needs to be tackled from various angles.

Recent research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel has given us one more piece of the jigsaw – it seems that happiness and optimistic attitudes may reduce one's risk of contracting the disease. On the flip side, adverse life events may increase one's susceptibility to it.

Details of the Study

For the study, 622 women aged between 25 and 45 were asked about their life experiences, and researchers then assessed their levels of optimism, happiness, anxiety and depression before diagnosis. This information was then used to draw a link between life events, psychological distress and the occurrence of breast cancer. Of the participants, 255 were breast cancer patients, while the other 367 had never had cancer.

According to Professor Ronit Peled, the leader of the study, its findings "showed a clear link between outlook and risk of breast cancer, with optimists 25 percent less likely to have developed the disease".

On the other hand, women who had been through two or more traumatic events in their lives had a 62 percent higher risk of contracting the disease.

The Emotion-Health Connection

Generally speaking, there have been other studies which have drawn a link between positive mental and emotional states and better health. For example, some studies have shown that positive emotions cause the body to produce more immune cells, while negative ones have the effect of suppressing one's immune system.

But exactly and specifically how attitudes contribute to health, is something which we cannot say we know very well. One theory is that the body's immune system is influenced by brain chemistry, which is in turn affected by one's emotional experiences.

"The mechanism in which the central nervous, hormonal and immune systems interact and how behaviour and external events modulate these three systems is not fully understood," said Peled. "The relationship between happiness and health should be examined in future studies and relevant preventative initiatives should be developed."

One thing we do know, though, is that emotions such as happiness, stress, anger, anxiety and fear affect the human at a biochemical level. In other words, when our emotions change, our bodies also become chemically different.

What Next For Us

One thing that must be noted about the study is that the women were in fact interviewed after their cancer diagnosis, could very well affect their recollection of their emotional state in the past. When a person is going through a crisis, it would perhaps be a natural tendency to view events in the past more negatively.

Despite this, and although the "how" is still uncertain, Peled is convinced that the link between emotional events and health exists. He feels that "we can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or mild to moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role".

According to him, young women who have gone through a number of adverse life events should be identified as being 'at-risk' for breast cancer and then be treated as necessary.

Most of us wish to find a specific solution for every health problem. The truth is, many degenerative diseases, and most certainly cancer, have their roots in multiple causes. That being the case, many factors would contribute to one's risk profile, and a multi-pronged approach in preventing and dealing with the disease is almost always necessary.

What we now know, being happy and optimistic forms are an important part of such an approach.

And if you have been through some tough events in life, you may want to seek some help to address unresolved issues, either through professional counseling or otherwise. Leaving these issues lingering would just be adding more ammunition to the potential cancer time bomb.

Main Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

Women exposed to negative life events at greater risk of breast cancer: BGU study (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/...)

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Natural face mask

(NaturalNews) Facemasks are a good way to thoroughly cleanse and nourish the skin on a deep level. There are many natural skin care facemasks on the market, but you can easily make your own at home… and you will probably find that it is even more nutrient dense and chemical free than what you can buy in the shops.

Here is a powerful facemask to nurture and pamper your skin, making it smooth and vibrant. It is packed full of antioxidants and beautifying properties to ensure radiance.

Natural Skin Care Ingredient number 1…Chocolate

Chocolate has recently been rediscovered to be one of the most nutrititous foods on the planet. Raw chocolate in its purest form has the highest amount of cancer fighting, disease busting, premature age destroying antioxidants on the planet.

While chocolate used to be known to cause acne, it has since been recognized that the milk in chocolate (or a whole list of other ingredients that make up your average chocolate bar) is the cause of acne. In fact, it has recently been discovered that putting milk in powerful foods such as tea and chocolate keeps the antioxidants from being absorbed.

The Mayans and the Aztecs called chocolate the food of the Gods. In addition to its high levels of antioxidants, it contains ingredients that regulate mood, increase libido, and leave us feeling peaceful, relaxed, and full of love.

If you can get raw chocolate powder, it is best. If you can't get it, simply use pure, unsweetened cocoa powder.

Natural Skin Care Ingredient Number 2…Avocado

Many anti-aging skin care products use avocado oil for its anti-aging properties that create youthful, glowing skin. It defends against carcinogens and other elements that can cause disharmony in our skin.

It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is anti-inflammatory (inflammation is one of the biggest causes of aging) and is a potent moisturizer. Avocados increase the elasticity of the skin.

Natural Skin Care Ingredient Number 3… Green Tea

Green tea is consistently being hailed as a powerful antioxidant, and is one of the people of Okinawa Japan's secrets for longevity and vibrant health. Putting it on directly on the skin is equally potent.

Natural Skin Care Ingredient Number 4…Honey

Honey is a great anti-bacterial agent, will open up the pores, and will deeply cleanse and detoxify the skin. It will also make the mask sticky.

If you want your mask to be strictly vegan and raw, you can use agave nectar, which has similar properties.

Natural Skin Care Ingredient Number 5…Oatmeal

Oatmeal naturally exfoliates the skin to remove dead skin cells, leaving it soft and smooth.

Oatmeal is also well known for its healing properties.

Mix them all up

Mix one mashed avocado, 3 tablespoons of raw chocolate powder or cocoa powder, 2 dessert spoons of honey, and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal. Infuse green tea in a small cup of hot water and let it cool. Add a splash to the mixture, or enough to make it into a paste.

Treat Your Skin

Apply on the face, gently massaging it so that oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and rinse off with luke warm water.

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The rings of Saturn

The Rings of Saturn


One instance of the Saturn myth can be verified with the help of a small telescope: Saturn is in chains. Instead of solving anything, this fact presents a new problem that demands a solution. How did the ancient Greeks and Romans know that Saturn is encircled by rings?(1) It is strange that this question was not asked before.(2) The existence of these rings around Saturn became known in modern times only in the seventeenth century, after the telescope was invented. They were first seen, but misunderstood, by Galileo(3) and understood by Huygens.(4)

If the myth did not by mere chance invent these rings, the Greeks must have seen them. The last case could be true if the Greeks or some other oriental people possessed lenses adapted for the observation of celestial bodies, or if the rings around Saturn were visible to the naked eye at some time in the past—today they are not visible without magnifying instruments. There are cases of exact observations by the Chaldeans which suggest the use of some accurate technical means.(5) These means could consist of a sort of astrolabe like that of Tyche de Brahe who made most accurate observations of celestial bodies without the help of a telescope; also Copernicus, prior to Tyche de Brahe, made all his calculations of the movements of the planets before the telescope was invented. But neither Tycho de Brahe nor Copernicus saw the rings.

The statue of Saturn on the Roman capitol had bands around its feet,(6) and Macrobius in the fifth century of our era, already ignorant of the meaning of these bands, asked: “But why is the god Saturn in chains?”

In the Egyptian legend Isis (Jupiter) swathes Osiris (Saturn). The Egyptian apellative for Osiris was “the swathed.” (7)

In the Zend-Avesta it is said that the star Tistrya (Jupiter, later Venus) keeps Pairiko in twofold bonds.(8) Saturn is encircled by two groups of rings—one larger and one smaller, with a space in between. To see this a better telescope than that used by Galilei or that used by Huygens is needed; the twofold structure of the girdle was first observed in 1675.(9)

The rings of Saturn were known also to the aboriginees of America before Columbus discovered the land; this means also before the telescope was invented at the beginning of the seventeenth century. An ancient engraved wooden panel from Mexico shows the family of the planets: one of them is Saturn, easily recognizable by its rings.(10)

Nor were the Maoris of New Zealand ignorant of them: “One of the great mysteries connected with Saturn is the still unanswered question of how the ancient Maoris of New Zealand knew about her rings—for there is evidence that they did have a Saturnian ring legend long before the days of Galileo.” (11)

In the myth it is said that Jupiter drove Saturn away and that on this occasion Saturn was put in chains. If these words mean what they say and are not a meaningless portion of the myth—in a dream, at least, there are no meaningless parts—then the knowledge of the ancients about the rings of Saturn could have been acquired because of better visibility: in other words, at some time in the past Saturn and Earth appear to have been closer to one another.

Originally I assumed that the rings of Saturn may consist of water in the form of ice, but since the ancient lore all around the world tells that it was Jupiter that put these rings around Saturn,(12) I considered that they might have some other components, too. Since the 1960’s spectroscopic study of the Saturnian rings has confirmed that they consist most probably of water in the form of ice.(13)


[The rings of Saturn are referred to by Aeschylus, Eumenides 641: “He [Zeus] himself cast into bonds his aged father Cronus” ; cf. Lucian, Astrology, 21: “Moreover, it is not true, neither, that Saturn is in chains.” Neoplatonists like Proclus In Timaeo, tr. by Festugiere, vol. III, p. 255 and n. 4; In Cratylo 209.3f) and Porphyry (De Antro Nympharum 67.21ff.) sought a philosophical or mystical meaning in the tradition. Cf. also Clemens Alexandrinus, Homilia, VI. xiii in Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca, J.-P. Migne ed., vol. II.207f; Dio Chrysostom, Fourteenth Discourse 21ff: “And yet the King of the Gods, the first and eldest one, is in bonds, they say, if we are to believe Hesiod and Homer and the other wise men who tell this tale about Cronus.” Cf. Hesiod, Works and Days, 169ff. Augustine, refuting those who asserted that the Jewish Sabbath was held in honor of Saturn, wrote: “ita patres nostri longe fuerunt a Saturniacis catenis, quamvis pro tempore propheatiae sabbati vacationem observaverint.” (Contra Faustum Manichaeum XX. 13. in Migne ed., Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, Vol. XLII, p. 379). Cf. also Arnobius, Contra Gentes IV. 24 in ibid., vol. III: “Numquid paricidii causa vinctum esse Saturnum, et suis diebus tantum vinculorum ponderibus revelari?” and Minucius Felix, Octavius XXI, in ibid., vol. III, col. 304: “Quid formae ipsae et habitus? . . . Saturnus compeditis.” An epigram of Martial (III. 29) refers to the bonds of Saturn, comparing them to rings: “Has cum gemina compede dedicat catenas, Saturne, tibi Zoilus anulos priores.” “These chains with their double fetter Zoilus dedicates to you, Saturnus. They were formerly his rings."—transl. by W. Kerr (London, 1919). The shrines to Saturn in Roman Africa portrayed the god with his head surrounded “by a veil that falls on each of his shoulders,” in a way reminiscent of the planet’s rings. See J. Toutain, De Saturni Dei in Africa Romana Cultu (Paris, 1894), p. 42 and figs. 1 and 2.].

[But cf. Th. Taylor in The Classical Journal 40 (1819), pp. 324-326, and A. de Grazia, “Ancient Knowledge of Jupiter’s Bands and Saturn’s Rings,” KRONOS II.3 (1977), pp. 65ff.]

[When Galileo first saw the rings in July of 1610, he thought them to be two satellites on either side of Saturn, and this is what he also announced in his Sidereus Nuntius. Cf. A. Alexander, The Planet Saturn, (1962), pp. 84ff.]

[Chr. Huygens, Systema Saturnium (1659); Cf. Alexander, The Planet Saturn, loc. cit.]

P. Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier, p.

Macrobius, The Saturnalia, I.8.5, transl. by P. V. Davies (New York, 1969): “ Saturn, too, is represented with his feet bound together, and, although Verrius Flaccus says that he does not know the reason . . . Apollodorus says that throughout the year Saturn is bound with a bond of wool but is set free on the day of his festival.” Cf. ibid., I.8.1.

See below, section “Tammuz and Osiris” . Cf. A. S. Yahuda, “The Osiris Cult and the Designation of Osiris Idols in the Bible,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies III (1944), pp. 194-197.

The Zend-Avesta xvi, transl. by J. Darmesteter (1883), p. 107. [The text of the Zend-Avesta reads: “Tistrya, bright star, keeps Pairiko in twofold bonds, in threefold bonds.” A third ring around Saturn was observed in 1980. Velikovsky also thought that Mithraic representations of Kronos with his body encircled by a snake (cf. F. Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra [1903], figs 21-23) may attest to a memory of the rings of Saturn. Cf. the Hindu Sani (the planet Saturn) shown in an ancient woodcut reproduced in F. Maurice, Indian Antiquities (London, 1800), vol. VII, and described by the author as “encircled with a ring formed of serpents.” Tammuz, who represented the planet Saturn in Babylonia (E. Weidner, Handbuch der Babylonisches Astronomie [Leipzig, 1915], p. 61) was called “he who is bound.” See also Thorkild Jacobsen, Toward the Image of Tammuz (Harvard University Press, 1970), p. 85. and A. E. Thierens, Astrology in Mesopotamian Culture (Leiden, 1935). Ninib, who was also Saturn, was said to hold “the unbreakable bond” or “der maechtigen Schlange"—Jastrow, Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens, ch. xvii, p. 463.].

The observation was made by G. D. Cassini.

Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico (London, 1830), vol. IV, the fourth plate from the end of the volume. See fig.

Guy Murchie, Music of the Spheres (Boston, 1961), p. 94. [A useful discussion of Maori astronomical ideas is provided in a monograph by E. Best, The Astronomical Knowledge of the Maori, Genuine and Empirical, New Zealand Dominium Museum Monograph no. 3 (Wellington, 1922), p. 35:

PAREARAU represents one of the planets. Stowell says that it is Saturn; that Parearau is a descriptive name for that planet, and describes its appearance, surrounded by a ring. The word pare denotes a fillet or headband; arau means “entangled"—or perhaps “surrounded” in this case, if the natives really can see the pare of Saturn with the naked eye. If so, then the name seems a suitable one. . . . Of the origin of this name one says, ‘Her band quite surrounds her, hence she is called Parearau.’” ].

[Regarding the process of formation of Saturn’s rings, Velikovsky thought that it might have been analogous to the formation of a disc-like ring of gaseous material around some stars in binary systems, as described by H. Friedman in Science 181, (Aug. 3, 1973), p. 396: “The gas enters into Keplerian orbits and accumulates in a disc somewhat resembling Saturn’s rings. . . .” ].

In August 1965 Tobias Owen, writing in Science, (p. 975) reported that “the reflection spectrum from the ice block gave best match to the absorption observed in Saturn’s ring"—but that “the most likely alternatives” would be “ices of methane and ammonia"—both known ingredients of the Jovian atmosphere, methane being also in the composition of the Saturnian cloud envelope. See also Appendix 26. [As early as 1947 Kuiper (The Atmospheres of the Earth and Planets [1949]), concluded on the basis of spectral measurements in the infrared that “the rings are covered by frost, if not composed of ice.” Cf. A. Cook et al., “Saturn’s Rings—A Survey,” Icarus 18 (1973), p. 317: “Although frozen H2O is a major constituent, the spectral reflectivity indicates the presence of other materials.”].



Natural ways to prevent cold and flu

(NaturalNews) With the cold weather coming upon us in the northern hemisphere everyone naturally becomes concerned about catching a cold or flu and staying healthy. Of course mainstream medicine and news talks a lot about getting flu shots as if that's the only possible thing that you can do to prevent the flu. That may be the case in their view of health and healing, but this is not so in the case of Chinese and other alternative medical systems.

The Chinese in particular have a deep understanding of what truly happens in the body when you catch a cold or flu. This does not have to do with viruses and bacteria, but rather with various atmospheric energies that are prevalent during each of the seasons that cause various illnesses due to the effects of those seasonal energies. The young and elderly are usually particularly susceptible to these seasonal changes and need to take extra precautions to guard against getting sick at these times.

The reason that a seasonal change, particularly from the warm to cold weather affects us all is because the body can often be slow to adjust to the changes in prevalent atmospheric energies at these times. In the summer warm yang energies are prevalent which generally strain the kidneys. The kidneys are a water organ meaning that they control water functions of the body. This includes keeping the body cool which is why drinking enough fluids in warm weather is so critical. In the fall the lungs are affected as the dryer air usually causes an increase in coughs and sometimes allows us to catch a cold.

In the winter the heart is stressed because the heart being the fire organ has to work harder to keep us warmer. If the heart is not able to adjust sufficiently then external cold energies that are strongest in the winter time, then cold (yin) energies can penetrate the bodies external shielding and cause us to catch a cold or flu. This is what people commonly call "catching a chill". When this happens it's often a sign that external cold energies have gotten into the body.

These terms are not just outdated colorful language but very real descriptions of very real energies that exist in nature. This is because the Chinese know that one of the major energy laws that affect all health issues in the body has to do with the balance of fire and water energies within the body. This is even true within each internal organ. When someone gets a cold or flu it really means that external cold energies have penetrated the body and taken hold thus causing the common symptoms of a cold or flu.

The skin and lungs are the most common places that these cold energies pass through our bodies and enter our systems. In Chinese medicine the skin and lungs are linked together which is one reason that people who smoke often have dry skin. Because smoking weakens and dries out the lung tissue itself and thus weakens other organs directly linked to the lungs such as the skin. The lungs and skin are paired organ system in Chinese medicine. Many have heard that if someone's skin is completely covered with paint for example, they can actually suffocate even though they can breathe through their lungs. This is more proof of the accuracy of this and many other linked organ pairs in Chinese medicine.

In the body there are four different main types of Chi or energy that govern the four main systemic functions of the body. One of these four energies is called "Wey Chi" or "guardian Chi" Wey chi is energy that sits on the surface of the skin and radiates out about a centimeter or so from surface of your skin. It is the responsibility of this energy field to protect the body from external cold and wind energies. Anything that causes you to become too fatigued or tired such as lack of sleep, stress and poor nutrition or simply being out in the cold too long without adequate protection will weaken your guardian chi field and increase your chance of catching cold, flu or other similar illnesses.

How to Strengthen Your Energy Shield

So what can you do to increase your energy shield and help protect yourself from cold and flu this and every season? Fortunately there are many simple and easy methods available to help boost your guardian energy.

You can simply add some more physical exercising to your regimen. You can do everything from push ups with static holding at the end of each push up set which will help heat up the body and thus lead more energy to the skin and beyond. Just about any kind of physical exercise with light to moderate resistance will help in this regard. This is particularly true when doing exercises that cause you to hold either your arms with our without weights in various postures for a minute or more. Working the mid section via crunches and sit ups with holding at the end of each set will strengthen the core organs so vital to immunity. This also applies to the legs which have many major organ/energy meridians that travel down them. These include the kidneys, liver and spleen in particular.

One simple exercise to do is to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing foreword. Keep the hips pulled back slightly. Raise the arms up to shoulder height with the fingers pointing towards each other and the palms facing your chest making a sort of basketball hoop with your arms. Bend the knees enough so that when you look down you can't see your feet with your back straight and try holding this simple posture for several minutes each day. This is a classic exercise to build up yang energy and strengthen guardian chi. It can even build up a good amount of strength and endurance when done regularly.

You can also make sure that you're eating enough warming yang foods this winter such as organic meats like turkey, chicken, fish and even small amounts of red meat and butter which are effective at building yang energies. The long burning calories from these animal sources are necessary in colder climates to help the heart keep the body warm. Since the heart prefers natural fats over all other dietary sources for its fuel, these foods will help increase warming (yang) energy production and ease the strain on the heart at the same time.

There are herbs and herbal teas that you can drink to increase internal fire energies in the right way too. Some of these include warming herbs such as ginger, ginseng, cayenne and horny goat weed. Drinking teas made with these herbs can be a good measure to help prevent or treat a cold or flu.

Some other simple methods to help fight cold or flu include getting in a warm to very warm bathtub and letting the warm yang energies of the water penetrate the skin and boost the overall warming energy of the body. You can do this for as long as you like up to forty minutes to an hour or more. This is particularly helpful in strengthening the kidneys and lungs as they are main organs involved in the immune system and are often affected in illnesses of external cold penetration such as cold and flu. The body will absorb the warming energy from the water and this balances the internal cold in the body thus resulting in symptom relief and accelerated healing.

Another technique along these same lines is to place just your hands in warm to very warm water for five minutes or more. Try to make it as warm as you can comfortably stand without burning yourself. The many energy meridians that terminate in the hands will absorb the warmth of the water via these energy channels and the nerves and transmit that warmth back to their respective organs. This technique is good to give a quick boost to the immune system when taking a long bath is not an option such as at work or at a friend house. Even just running the hands under a warm faucet can have similar immune boosting effects too.

Practicing an exercise called the "thymus tap" is also beneficial. The thymus gland is located above the breast bone in the center of the upper chest. Using the flats of the knuckles to tap this gland with light to moderate pressure 200-300 times several times a day will boost immune function significantly. The thymus gland is one of the master glands of immunity in the body and this helps to stimulate and increase the production of T-cells that help fight off germs and infections which often result from a weakened immune system. This is also an excellent exercise to add to your regular health regimen for added immunity.

Lastly you can practice this simple breathing technique as a daily preventative or during a bout of cold or flu to help increase warming yang energy in the body. Take a long deep breath and then upon exhalation lightly tense up all the muscles of your body. Keep the muscles tensed for the duration of your exhalation which should last about five seconds. Take one or two slow deep cleansing breaths, and then repeat. You can do this exercise between five and ten times in a row. Rest for a few minutes and take several slow deep breaths to cleanse the body and calm the heart between sets and begin again if needed. You should feel warmer after even a few breaths and you may notice some mild to moderate symptom relief too.

If you have any existing heart conditions then I would skip this exercise and consult with your doctor first. That's because this can build up significant amounts of yang energy and can cause increase in your heart rate. This is a martial art technique that was discovered centuries ago in the north of China. They found out that it was also very effective at keeping warm during the cold winter months and also that it greatly helps during an invasion of cold (yin) energy characterized by cold and flu symptoms.

If you practice these and other natural techniques which include simply dressing for the season, getting plenty of rest which also boosts overall guardian energies, proper supplementation via herbs, vitamin and mineral supplements and adjusting of the diet to keep you warm, you'll greatly reduce or even eliminate your changes of catching a cold or flu this season. You'll also increase your overall resistance to many other diseases via the combined immune boosting effects of all of these techniques.

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Artificial sweetners cause overeating

(NaturalNews) The brain responds to the caloric content of food, not just to its sweet flavor, according to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University Medical Center.

For the study, the researchers compared the reactions of normal mice and mice that had been bred to have no sense of taste. First, they fed both normal and taste-blind mice both normal water and a sugar (sucrose) solution. They found that while the normal mice immediately preferred the sweet solution, the taste-blind mice at first did not distinguish between the two. Eventually, however, even the taste-blind mice began to preferentially lick at the sugar solution.

In the next test, the researchers let both groups of mice choose between plain water and water artificially sweetened with zero-calorie sucralose. While the normal mice immediately preferred the artificially sweetened solution, the taste-blind mice never showed any preference.

Next the researchers implanted probes in the animals' brains to observe how the different solutions affected the secretion of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the sensation of pleasure.

In the normal mice, two different regions of the brain released dopamine when either sucrose or sucralose was tasted: the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of the ventral striatum and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). In the taste-blind mice, however, the OFC region never responded, and the NAcc region responded only to sucrose. This suggests that while the OFC region is activated by sweetness, and either sweetness or calories activate dopamine secretion from the NAcc region.

The new research suggests that the body is able to distinguish between truly sugary foods and those that only taste sweet. This may partially account for findings that people eating low-calorie foods can end up consuming more calories than people eating higher calorie foods, because the low calorie foods are not as effective at making the body feel full.

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Compounds effective against cancer

(NaturalNews) Research is rapidly identifying the compounds from plants that are most effective against cancer. Among those that are proving to be the front line of defense against an initial diagnosis of cancer and to prevent recurrence are DIM, curcumin, EGCG, genistein, and I3C. Each has its own unique actions, and when taken together in small amounts they are much more powerful than taking a large amount of only one or two. Each is readily available in supplement form.

The fabulous five are research superstars

The British journal Acta Pharmacalagia Sinica, reports a study by the Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group at the University of Leicester in the UK. Researchers noted that intake of these phytochemical compounds is typically studied in artificial (in vitro) environments using high-dose single treatments. However, in humans (in vivo) the exposure to the compounds is persistent low-doses. They designed their study to reflect human exposure by investigating anti-tumor activity of these five phytochemicals in breast cancer cells exposed in long-term culture to typical low doses.

They found that curcumin, EGCG and I3C inhibited clonogenic growth by 55% to 60% and induced 1.5- to 2-fold higher levels of the basal caspase-3/7 activity. No changes in expression of cell cycle-related proteins or survivin were found; however, I3C reduced epidermal growth factor receptor expression, contributing to apoptosis (appropriate programmed cell death). Because some phytochemicals are shown to inhibit DNA histone modification, modulation of expression by the agents in a set of genes was compared with changes induced by inhibitors of DNA methylation or histone deacetylation. The phytochemicals modified protein and/or RNA expression of these genes, with EGCG eliciting the least and DIM the most changes in gene expression. DIM and curcumin decreased activator levels correlated with increased cell motility. Curcumin, DIM, EGCG, and genistein reduced cell sensitivity to radiation-induced DNA damage without affecting DNA repair.

The researchers concluded that this model has revealed that apoptosis and not arrest is likely to be responsible for growth inhibition. It also implicated new molecular targets and activities of the phytochemicals under conditions relevant to human exposure.

What are these compounds?

Each of these compounds is a phytochemical component of a superfood that has been found to confer great overall health benefits to those who consume it.

DIM and I3C

Diindolylmethane (DIM) and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) are components of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, kale, cauliflower, radish, collard greens, Chinese cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, bok choy, turnip greens, rutabaga, arugula, water cress, rapeseeds and mustard seeds.

DIM has been documented as effective against cancer through several actions. It stops tumors from establishing their own blood supply necessary for their continuation of growth. It reduces cancer cell viability and causes cell growth inhibition and apoptosis. DIM down regulates both the ligand and the receptor in breast cancer cells as well as in ovarian cancer cells at the transcriptional level and in an estrogen-independent manner. The potential for chemotaxis and invasion is inhibited by DIM, thereby lowering the invasive and metastatic potential of cancer cells. DIM us able to act independently of Her-2 or estrogen receptor status. It has been shown to be a preventative and/or therapeutic agent in prostate cancer, and is able to induce the release of pro-inflammatory mediators in macrophages.

DIM is nature's hormone modulator. The metabolism and growth promoting activity of estrogen is modified by the intake of milligram amounts of dietary indoles from cruciferous vegetables. DIM is formed from its precursor indole, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), after the enzymatic release of I3C from parent glucosinolates found in these vegetables. DIM is unique among the phytonutrients with regard to its ability to favorably modify estrogen metabolism in the direction of greater 2-hydroxy estrogen production. Improper metabolism of estrogen allows damage to DNA and cancer promotion to take place.

Societies with low consumption of cruciferous vegetables have a high prevalence of estrogen related diseases, particularly breast and prostate cancers. Supplementing with DIM can restore and maintain a favorable estrogen metabolism and greatly lessen the risk for breast and other cancers. Addition of a DIM supplement ensures the hormones used in bioidentical hormone replacement are metabolized down the proper metabolic pathways. DIM has no estrogenic activity. It balances the natural response to estrogen. In dividing cells the growth promoting signal from estrogen is limited by the reduction of the activity level of the estrogen receptor system.

Supplements of I3C are available, but the compound is unstable in the body. I3C is a precursor indole, with little action in the body until it is converted to DIM by stomach acid.

DIM is the better choice for pre and post menopausal women and men interested in supplementing rather that getting these compounds directly from food. Although obtaining nutrients from food is always preferred, the amount of cruciferous vegetables needed to provide the benefits of DIM frequently make supplementation a better choice. Although there are several DIM products available, BioResponse DIM complex, a patented from of DIM offers enhanced bioavailability. DIM-Plus, the version of DIM made by Nature's Way, contains BioResponse DIM and is an economical choice, offered online at Vitacost.


Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC) is a particular type of polyphenol found in green tea, a substance shown to be a cure and preventative for many of the ills of mankind. In addition to being a powerful agent in the prevention and cure of cancer, it is an antioxidant, promoter of glucose tolerance, protector of the liver and detoxification system, and benefactor of the cardiovascular system.

Recent research has documented a 54% reduction in risk of ovarian cancer in women who reported drinking green tea. Another study found green tea to have therapeutic cancer effects through induction of apoptosis in colorectal cancer. It is also one of the few effective treatments for pancreatic cancer. As a preventative for all cancers, ECGC is able to penetrate the body's cells and shield DNA from the potent free radical hydrogen peroxide.

Green tea also lowers cholesterol levels, and reduces the clotting tendency of blood. It shows promise as a weight-loss aid that can promote the burning of fat and the regulation of insulin levels and blood sugar.

There are many green tea supplements on the market. Some of these contain the whole plant, while others contain extracts. Whole plant supplements are usually preferable because they are backed by the integrity of the whole plant. Many green tea extract supplements are standardized to provide a quantified amount of ECGC.


Curcumin is the active ingredient in the bright yellow spice turmeric. It is one of nature's most powerful healers, having revealed its wonders over centuries. Numerous studies have shown curcumin to be as potent against inflammation as hydrocortisone, phenylbutazone, and over the counter NSAID drugs like Motrin, without the side effects. Its powerful antioxidant effects make it a popular natural therapeutic agent for diseases such as arthritis, where free radicals cause joint inflammation and damage. Studies have linked frequent use of turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. It can prevent tumors from forming, and can slow the progression of cancer that is already present. Recent studies have documented that curcumin can slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs. Turmeric acts as a transcription factor, a master switch for gene regulation. When genes are switched off, the growth and invasion of cancer cells is halted.

Curcumin is even being used effectively to treat Alzheimer's disease due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Alzheimer's disease is thought to occur when a fragmented protein accumulates in brain cells producing oxidative stress and inflammation, and forming plaque between nerve cells in the brain that disrupt function. Turmeric may prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body, thereby preventing damage to blood vessels and causing build up of plaque that can result in heart attack or stroke.

Dried turmeric is widely available. Organically grown turmeric is preferable. Frequently spicing your cooking with turmeric is one option for consuming curcumin. It can be easily mixed with rice, egg salad or into the cottage cheese flax oil mixture that is the basis of the Budwig diet. Turmeric capsules are available. Nature's Way makes a turmeric capsule that is free of magnesium stearate, but it's not organic. Organic turmeric can be found in the spice department of health food stores such as Whole Foods, or ordered online in powered or capsule forms. Most naturopaths suggest starting with a dose three times the normal dosage suggested in order to quickly bring inflammation under control. Then proceed with the standard dose to maintain.

Genistein is an isoflavone found primarily in soybeans and traditional foods produced from soybeans like tofu and miso. In addition to being an antioxidant, genistein is a phytoestrogen, a plant compound that mimics the actions of estrogen and interacts with estrogen receptor in the human body.

Genistein removes damaging free radicals and reduces lipid peroxidation. By preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, genistein helps reduce the risk for arteriosclerosis, and prevents the formation of heart attacks and strokes by acting as an anti-clotting agent. It increases the activity of other antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione reductase. It can also influence the growth of cells that are not hormone-dependent. Genistein inhibits the rate of cell growth through its ability to inhibit tyrosine kinase.

Studies have shown that genistein reduces the risk for the hormone related cancers, breast and prostate, by binding with estrogen receptors, preventing estrogen from binding. Consumption of traditional soybean products in China and Japan is linked with low incidence of these cancers. And since genistein imitates estrogen, it may be protective against osteoporosis. It is frequently used to ease menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.

Before genistein can act, it must be released from its precursor. This normally happens in the stomach and intestine through hydrolysis. Some genistein supplements contain genistein that has been hydrolysed in processing. Source Naturals produces genistein as a supplement. It is available at health food stores and online.


"Genistein" Phytochemicals.

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20 super-foods for life

(NaturalNews) British scientist Gary Williamson, professor of "functional foods" at Leeds University, has released a list of the top foodstuffs that he believes can lead to longevity.

What makes these foods so special, he contends, is that they are rich in naturally occurring phytochemicals including tannins, lignins and flavonoids, that research has shown have a host of health benefits, including offering protection from cardiovascular disease by boosting the function of cells that line the inside of the blood vessels.

"Epidemiology studies support the protective effects of polyphenol-rich foods. Lack of these components in the diet, because of low intake of fruit and vegetables, increases the risk of chronic disease. This means that they are essential to fulfill the maximum individual lifespan, and so I propose that they are 'lifespan essential'," Prof. Williamson said in a statement to the UK media. He added that the foods on his list, which are primarily fruits and vegetables, can help slow the process of aging because they protect cells from the normal wear-and-tear that occurs with time.

So what's included on Prof. Williamson's list of longevity super foods? Here's are what he dubs the "Lifespan Essentials":
* apples
* blackberries
* black tea
* blueberries
* broccoli
* cereal bran
* cherries
* cherry tomatoes
* coffee
* cranberries
* dark chocolates
* green tea
* oranges
* peaches
* plums
* raspberries
* red grapes
* red onions
* spinach
* strawberries

Surprised to find a scrumptious treat like dark chocolate on the list? Researchers like Prof. Williamson have found it is rich in flavonoids that reduce "bad" cholesterol (low density lipoproteins, or LDL) and also make blood platelets less likely to clump together and cause heart attack and stroke producing clots.

Coffee may also seem like an unlikely "super food" because too much caffeine is known to cause jitters, upset stomach and even heart palpitations in some people. However, in moderation, coffee has been found to be a natural health-enhancer. Consider this: Harvard researchers analyzed data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years and found that drinking caffeinated coffee daily can drastically reduce diabetes risk ( by as much as 54% for men and and by 30% in women).

What's more, half a dozen studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's. Other research indicates that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups of daily java can lower the risk of colon cancer by 25% reduced risk of colon cancer and nearly half the risk of gallstones.

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Iodine and good health

(NaturalNews) Iodine may just be the most overlooked mineral, yet its importance to overall health and well being cannot be overstated. Iodine is critical for the formation of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland. People who have difficulty losing weight even though they eat small portions of health promoting foods may be short on iodine. Iodine deficiency can lead to dull and brittle hair, balding, lack of skin tone, low energy levels, difficulty dealing with environmental temperature change, poor concentration, constipation, depression, and extreme fatigue.

Why many people are iodine deficient

Health conscious people expect conventional produce to be grown in soils deficient in essential minerals. They may be surprised to find out that organic produce is also often lacking sufficient amounts of iodine. Adequate intake of iodine was once a recognized problem that was solved by adding small amounts of it in the processing of table salt. Once this was done, the obvious symptoms of severe iodine deficiency disappeared from view, and little further thought was given to matter, though sub-clinical symptoms remained. Today's health conscious consumers have lowered their salt intake and now fail to get even that small amount of iodine in their diets. Many people have replaced processed iodized salt with sea salt, an obvious healthy alternative, except that sea salt does not naturally contain a significant amount of iodine.

Iodine has many actions in the body

A shortage of iodine can cause changes to the thyroid gland that directly lead to poor function of metabolism and immunity. Iodine deficiency promotes free radical damage in the thyroid gland that puts the gland itself at risk. Iodine blocks various compounds from binding to and accumulating in the thyroid gland, such as fluoride, perchlorate, and goitrogens. Environmental pollution significantly aggravates an iodine lack and displaces iodine in the body.

Iodine is in high concentration in the ovaries and breast tissue, acting as a buffer to the growth stimulating effects of estrogen and as a promoter of proper estrogen metabolism. Iodine assists the functioning of hormone receptors throughout the body, helping hormones communicate more effectively. Thyroid hormone governs the rate of other hormone formation, and thus governs sexual function.

Iodine is essential for proper brain development and cognitive ability. There have been many studies showing the importance of iodine during gestation when cognitive potential is formed. A mother with adequate iodine levels will be more likely to produce a child with superior brain development.

Recent research documents the importance of proper iodine levels

A study reported in the September edition of Endocrine Review noted that iodine is critical for the biological effects mediated by thyroid hormone. Iodine containing enzymes important to the action of the thyroid were also found to increase or decrease thyroid hormone signaling in a tissue-and temporal-specific fashion, independently of changes in thyroid hormone serum concentrations. It was clear to the researchers that these enzymes play a much broader role than was once thought, with great ramifications for the control of thyroid hormone signaling during vertebrate development and metamorphosis, as well as injury response, tissue repair, hypothalamic function, and energy homeostasis in adults.

The September 3 edition of Cancer Causes and Control reports a review of literature focused on risk factors for thyroid cancer. The researchers found that at present, the only recognized measures for reducing thyroid cancer risk are avoiding ionizing radiation and iodine deficiency, particularly in children and young women.

The European Journal of Nutrition, August edition, reports it widely accepted that the rapid rate of growth of the brain during the last third of gestation and the early postnatal stage makes it vulnerable to an inadequate diet. A deficiency of iodine during this critical period in brain development is associated with reduced intellectual ability.

The August 12 edition of Medical Hypotheses reports the World Health organization showing iodine deficiency to be a worldwide health problem. As iodine status is based in median urinary iodine excretion, even in countries regarded as iodine sufficient, a considerable part of the population may be iodine deficient. Iodine deficiency traditionally results in hypothyroidism, goiter, and cretinism. Researchers hypothesized that iodine deficiency may also give rise to subtle impairment of thyroid function leading to clinical syndromes resembling hypothyroidism or diseases that have been associated with the occurrence of hypothyroidism. They described several clinical conditions suspected to be linked to iodine deficiency, including obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, and malignancies.

Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, August 6, reports that the trace elements iodine and selenium are essential for thyroid gland functioning and thyroid hormone biosynthesis and metabolism. While iodine is needed as the eponymous constituent of the two major thyroid hormones T3 and T4, selenium is essential for the biosynthesis and function of small numbers of selenocysteine containing enzymes that control thyroid hormone turnover.

The August 1 edition of Lancet reports that 2 billion individuals worldwide have insufficient iodine intake, producing adverse effects on growth and development due to inadequate production of thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide. The researchers recommended iodine supplements be used to remediate deficiency.

The Alternative Medicine Review, June edition, reports that iodine deficiency is critical in pregnancy due to the consequences for neurological damage during fetal development as well as during lactation. The safety of therapeutic doses of iodine above the established safe upper limit of 1 mg is evident in the lack of toxicity in the Japanese population that consumes 25 times the median intake of iodine consumption in the United States. Japan's population suffers no demonstrable increased incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis or hypothyroidism. Studies using 3.0 to 6.0 mg doses to effectively treat fibrocystic breast disease may reveal an important role for iodine in maintaining normal breast tissue architecture and function. Iodine may also have important antioxidant functions in breast tissue and other tissues that concentrate iodine via the sodium iodide supporter.

Determining iodine deficiency

Due to the fact that iodine deficiency can have serious consequences, it is important for people to use iodine supplementation if they are not regularly getting adequate amounts from food. Good food sources of iodine are dairy products produced from cattle fed iodine-supplemented feed and salt licks, iodized salt, seafood, saltwater fish, seaweed, and kelp. It may also be found in asparagus, garlic, lima beans, mushrooms, sesame seed, spinach, chard, and summer squash. Some foods block the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland when eaten raw in large amounts, such as cabbage, kale, peaches, pears and spinach.

Pregnant women, the elderly and adolescents are more predisposed to iodine deficiency. More women than men are short on iodine. In addition to low thyroid functioning, symptoms of iodine deficiency include depression, weight gain, weak heartbeat, extreme dry hair and skin, swelling of the legs, decreased ability to concentrate, muscle cramps, puffiness or swelling of the eyes, and chronic aches and pains. Fatigue is a common symptom, characterized by the urge to fall asleep when not active. Hypersensitivity to cold, or cold hands and feet is another frequently reported symptom. When the metabolism is not up to par, there is less energy and heat produced.

Supplementing iodine

The best known iodine supplement is kelp, which offers iodine as well as other minerals in a whole food form. Iodine from kelp is naturally in the form of potassium iodide, which is not soluble in water and may be difficult for the body to use. According to health guru Byron Richards, this form of iodine has been shown to congest the thyroid gland when taken in high doses. Kelp is readily available online or in health food stores.

Richard's company Wellness Resources produces an iodine product called Iosol that is made with iodine extracted from kelp and made into pure iodine crystals. In this process the iodine is unbound from the potassium. The crystals are combined with ammonium iodide, a form that readily dissolves in water. The result is an iodine supplement with high bioavailability.

Both kelp and Iosol supplements are highly affordable.

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Sodium and potassium balance=health

(NaturalNews) Nature is all about balance. The human body, being naturally created, reflects this principle in every small aspect as well as in its main orchestration, the constant search for homeostasis. Yet mainstream doctors tend to overlook the primal theme of balance. They like to view each body part or system in isolation. They don't hear the symphony because they have chosen to examine only one note of the music. This approach produces some strange conclusions, one of which is that sodium is the culprit in hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

The sodium-potassium connection

Sodium and potassium are essential dietary minerals and electrolytes, meaning that they dissociate into ions (charged particles) in solution, making them capable of conducting electricity. Normal body functioning depends on the right regulation of sodium and potassium both inside and outside of cells.

Sodium is the principal ion in the fluid outside of cells, while potassium is the principal ion in the fluid inside of cells. Sodium concentrations are more than ten times lower inside than outside cells, and potassium concentrations are about 30 times higher inside than outside cells. The concentration differences between potassium and sodium across cell membranes create an electrochemical gradient known as the membrane potential. A large portion of energy in the body is dedicated to maintaining sodium/potassium concentration gradients, underscoring the importance of the balance between sodium and potassium in sustaining life. Tight control of cell membrane potential is critical for heart function, as well as nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction.

In Western industrialized countries, the daily intake of sodium chloride (salt) is about three times higher than the daily intake of potassium. The balance or equilibrium so necessary for these minerals is not achievable through the typical dietary choices of Westerners. Studies are showing that the relative imbalance of this ratio in the Western world is positively correlated with hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

Studies support the need for a balanced relationship between sodium and potassium

In a report from the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, published in the journal Kidney International, researchers noted that chronic low potassium levels have been associated with a variety of lung disorders, kidney disease, and hypertension in both adults and children. However, the effects of potassium depletion on the rapidly growing infant have not been well studied. They designed their study to determine the effects of severe chronic dietary potassium depletion on blood pressure and kidney structural changes in young rats. Rats were fed either a control or a potassium deficient diet for 14 to 21 days. At the end of the period, blood pressure and renal activity was assessed. Then the remaining rats in each group were switched to a high salt diet or were continued on their respective control or potassium deficient diets for an additional six days.

Results indicated that the potassium depleted animals had significant growth retardation, kidney damage and lung injury. At week 2, potassium depleted rats had higher systolic blood pressure than control rats. Switching to a high salt, normal potassium diet resulted in further elevation of systolic blood pressure in the potassium depleted rats, which persisted even after the serum potassium levels were normalized.

Researchers concluded that dietary potassium deficiency per se increased blood pressure in young rats and induced salt sensitivity that may be involved in at least two different pathogenic pathways.

In another study, controlled trials including 2,609 people assessed the effects of increased potassium intake on high blood pressure. Increased intake resulted in small but significant blood pressure reductions in people with normal blood pressure, and larger reductions in people with hypertension. The blood pressure lowering effect was more pronounced in individuals with higher salt intakes.

A clinical trial involving 150 Chinese men and women with mild hypertension found that moderate supplementation of potassium resulted in a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to controls. Researchers noted that the routine diets eaten by the participants were high in sodium and low in potassium.

A study from New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center reported in Hypertension investigated the role of intracellular potassium and other ions in hypertension and diabetes. They concluded that potassium depletion is a common feature of essential hypertension and type 2 diabetes, treatment of hypertension at least partially restores potassium levels to normal, and fasting steady-state potassium levels are closely linked to calcium and magnesium homeostasis.

In a review of literature at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, reported in Clinical Experimental Hypertension, researchers reported that evidence from animal experimentation, observational epidemiology, and randomized clinical trials strongly supports efforts to change nutritional factors in desirable directions, especially to lower dietary salt and increase potassium.

Clearly sodium is only one side of a two-sided equation. It is as necessary to body functioning as is potassium, but must be in balance with potassium to be effective. The traditional Western diet is high is sodium and low in potassium. Being told to reduce the amount of sodium consumed fails to acknowledge the need to raise potassium consumption until both minerals are balanced and equilibrium is reached in the fluid inside and outside of the cells.

Potassium and stroke

Several epidemiological studies have found that increased potassium intake is associated with decreased risk of stroke. A prospective study of 43,000 men found that men in the top 1/5th of dietary potassium intake were only 62% as likely to have a stroke as those in the lowest 1.5th of potassium intake. This inverse association was also seen in men with hypertension.

A prospective study of 5,600 men and women older than 65 years found that low potassium intake was associated with significantly increased incidence of stoke.

Potassium and osteoporosis

Cross sectional studies have reported significant positive associations between dietary potassium intake and bone mineral density in a wide age range of both pre-menopausal and postmenopausal women and elderly men. Bone mineral density was significantly associated with higher levels of potassium intake.

Potassium rich foods such as fruits and vegetables are also rich in precursors to bicarbonate ions, which buffer acids in the body. Our Western diet tends to be highly acidic. When the quantity of bicarbonate ion intake is insufficient to maintain normal pH, the body will mobilize alkalinizing minerals from bone to neutralize acids consumed in the diet and generated by metabolism. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the net acid content of the diet and preserves calcium and other minerals in the bones.

A study of 18 postmenopausal women found that potassium supplementation decreased urinary acid and calcium excretion, resulting in increased biomarkers of bone formation and decreased biomarkers of bone re-absorption. Studies have found that supplementing with potassium citrate decreased urinary acid excretion and biomarkers of bone re-absorption in postmenopausal women and ameliorated the effects of a high-salt diet on bone metabolism.

Potassium and kidney stones

Increased dietary potassium intake has been found to decrease urinary calcium excretion, a component in the development of kidney stones. Potassium deprivation has been found to increase urinary calcium excretion. A prospective study of more than 45,000 men followed for years found that those with high potassium intake were only half as likely to develop kidney stones as men whose intake was low. In a similar study involving women, those ingesting the highest amounts of potassium were found to be 65% less likely to develop kidney stones.

More actions of potassium in the body

Potassium regulates the beating of your heart. If you experience irregular heart beats, known as arrhythmias, your potassium levels may be low. Potassium also controls muscle functioning. It is the mineral that directs the transfer of nutrients through the cell membranes, a function that decreases with aging accounting for the circulatory damage, lethargy and weakness of old people.

Other signs of potassium deficiency

Warning symptoms of potassium deficiency include abnormally dry skin, acne, chills, cognitive impairment, constipation, depression, diarrhea, diminished reflexes, edema, nervousness, excessive thirst, glucose intolerance, growth impairment, hypoglycemia, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, low blood pressure, muscular fatigue, headaches, salt retention and hypersensitivity to salt, and respiratory distress. Hormone fluctuation may also result in reduced levels of potassium.

Use of diuretics or laxatives lowers potassium levels. Caffeine, tobacco and heavy sugar consumption reduce potassium absorption. Mental and physical stress can also lead to low potassium levels.

Sources of potassium

High amounts of potassium are found in fruits and vegetables, particularly potatoes, plums, prunes, raisins, bananas, tomatoes and tomato juice, orange juice, artichokes, lima beans, acorn squash, spinach, nuts and seeds, apricots, avocado and garlic. Other foods with substantial amounts of potassium are fish, meat, poultry, whole grains, yogurt, bee pollen, dulse, spirulina and chlorella.

Potassium is contained in multi-vitamin preparations although it may not be easily available to the body in this form. Potassium supplements are readily available as different salts such as potassium chloride, citrate, gluconate, aspartate, and orotate.

Your total potassium intake should equal your salt intake. You don't want to exceed this ratio with potassium any more than you do with salt. If you choose to use a potassium supplement, consider the amount of potassium it provides in the context of what you are eating that day. It's probably wise not to exceed dosage indicated on the bottle unless you have a blood test to document a seriously low potassium level.


Phyllis and James Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing.

Earl Mindell, Vitamin Bible for the 21st century

Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University

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Holistic medicine tought more to public

(NaturalNews) Ruth Ann Plourde suddenly interrupted the workshop as her class was trying to recreate the graceful but agonizingly slow T'ai Chi forms she'd taught moments before. "How's the monkey chatter now?" she asked. "Are you feeling in the present?" (Image of Plourde demonstrating T'ai Chi at Restore, a holistic health conference held in Minneapolis. http://www.fleshandstone.net/files.php?...)

No doubt about that. It took all one's concentration to put the right foot out in front, lean into it, and simultaneously do the choo-choo move with the arms. No one was thinking about irritations at work, the price of gas, or picking up the kids. At the end of the class participants said they felt focused and relaxed.

An assistant professor of holistic health at the University of St. Catherine, Plourde teaches T'ai Chi and Qigong classes and brings the exercises into the workplace through her company, "Innergize." She was one of more than 30 holistic health teachers giving hour-long introductory workshops and presentations at "Restore," a conference held recently at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis attended by several hundred women and a handful of men.

Warren King, a licensed acupuncturist and specialist in auricular medicine (based on taking cues from the energy emanating from a patient's ears to detect and treat illness) focused much of his talk on environmental toxins and how they affect our health. "You might be taking your neighbor's drugs," he offered, underlining the revelation that scientists have found traces of prescription drugs in drinking water tested around the country. King believes many common illnesses can be traced to arsenic in chicken, mercury fillings in our teeth, rocket fuel in tap water, and the prevalence of parasites, particularly among travelers to the tropics. Coupled with a diet of unprocessed and simple foods, "80 to 90 percent of the time herbs or homeopathic medicine can kill off" the toxins or parasites that are causing chronic fatigue, nausea or PMS, said King.

Several healing touch practitioners volunteered to give 15-minute sessions throughout the day, including Aimee Prasek, an organizer of the event and alum of the holistic health studies program at the University of St. Catherine. Healing Touch is an energy therapy that uses gentle hand techniques, on or off the body, that are thought to open the patient's energy field and get the energy moving to accelerate healing of the body, mind and spirit. (Click here for image of Kathy Kerber, a nurse and healing hands practioner in Minneapolis demonstrating healing touch. http://www.fleshandstone.net/thumbnail....)

While some people feel no sensation under healing touch, others describe a sensation of flowing energy, relaxation, feeling supported or nurtured, and they may sense images and colors. Some patients may feel an emotional release or have a sudden insight into their lives. And some might elicit an unexpected stomach gurgling or need to cough during an energy session. "That's typical," said Prasek. "Things are opening up and moving around."

Patients and healthy individuals have been turning to alternative healing methods such as energy work, meditation and yoga for years, and in the case of chiropractic, for decades. Now conventional Western medicine is getting on board with what it calls "complementary and alternative medicine" or "CAM." (The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines CAM as "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.")

Conventional or not, most leading teaching hospitals and major universities now offer CAM training programs and despite tighter budgets, hospitals are launching new holistic healing centers for patient care. Sponsors of Restore included the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic, Abbott Northwestern, and the University of St. Catherine, among two dozen other CAM-focused organizations and businesses.

Brent Bauer, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic's complimentary and integrative medicine program, said "physicians are slowly coming around" to acknowledging the benefits of CAM. He highlighted key findings of published studies undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and other giants in health care research that provide evidence that alternative health therapies like acupuncture, meditation and yoga help reduce pain, improve overall quality of life, and reduce stress. That's significant since stress is accepted as a leading contributor to many diseases as well as premature aging.

Most traditional medicine practitioners are unwilling to say that CAM does more than reduce stress because it's currently next to impossible to gather evidence, measure, or quantify changes that take place during alternative healing, especially those based on moving one's energy field.

Taking the leap of experiencing a healing modality such as healing touch, Qigong or acupuncture requires an open mind, but not a leap of faith nor a turning away from conventional medicine. In fact, many nurses and a growing number of doctors are trained in CAM therapies and offer them in their practices. Almost everyone approaches their first energy healing session with some skepticism. We've been programmed that illnesses and injuries are treated with surgery and drugs. There's been little advocacy of preventative health care beyond the fundamentals of eating a healthy diet and getting adequate exercise.

So now CAM is coming into the mainstream and conventional medicine is following the trend. Might we soon see national TV ads for FDA-approved natural herbs, 1-800 phone healings and meditations that will help you reach a state of non-thinking bliss alongside the ads for Cialis?

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Breastfeeding-healthy for mothers as well

(NaturalNews) Women can cut their risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 50 percent simply by breastfeeding for a year or longer, according to a study conducted by researchers from Malmo University Hospital in Sweden, and published in the "Annals of Rheumatic Diseases."

Scientists have wondered whether breastfeeding might affect the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, because it stimulates the production of two hormones that may have some connection to the disease. While it raises levels of oxytocin - which has been linked with lowered blood pressure and stress hormone levels and general well-being - it also raises levels of prolactin, which stimulates the immune system.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system attacks its own joints, causing painful and even crippling inflammation. Some researchers had suggested that by increasing prolactin levels, breastfeeding might increase risk of the disease.

But the current study found that breastfeeding actually lowered rheumatoid arthritis risk.

Researchers compared the breastfeeding habits of 136 women suffering from rheumatoid arthritis with 544 women who did not have the disease. They found that those who breastfed for at least 13 months had a 50 percent lower risk of the disease, while those who breastfed for at least one month had a 25 percent lower risk than those who never breastfed at all. In contrast, women who had children but did not breastfeed had roughly the same risk of the disease as women who never had children at all.

According to the British Infant Feeding Survey, less than 1 percent of women in the United Kingdom breastfeed exclusively for even the first six months of their children's lives. A full 76 percent start out breastfeeding, but most switch to formula after only a few weeks. Less than 50 percent are still breastfeeding at all after six weeks, and only 25 percent at six months.

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The benefits of muschrooms

(NaturalNews) Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by traditional eastern healers but only recently by western healers in advanced medicine. Mushrooms are often classified as a vegetable or an herb, but they are actually fungi.

Mushrooms provide our bodies with the nutrients, proteins, minerals, and vitamins it needs to generate energy and repair cells. They are one of the most remarkable elements for a healthy immune system. They have been used to cure or improve eyesight, hearing, circulation, impotency, stop migraine headaches, tumors, influenza, and even cancer.

Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories, and sodium and are cholesterol and fat free. High in fiber and protein, mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins to help maintain a healthy metabolism.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice.

Mushrooms are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Male health professionals who consumed twice the recommended daily intake of selenium cut their risk of prostate cancer by 65 percent.

Regular ingestion of mushrooms over long periods of time has been proven to decrease the amount of cancerous cells in the body. They not only fight and reduce cancerous cells and tumors, but they help prevent more of those cells from forming in the body.

Types of Mushrooms and their Therapeutic Value:


Oyster mushrooms are used to strengthen veins and relax tendons. "Tendon-easing powder" is an effective treatment for numbed limbs as well as tendon and blood vessel discomfort. Dried Oyster Mushrooms are high in iron which makes them a good blood builder.


Portabellas contain a wide variety of B complex vitamins. They are also a great source of riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, niacin and a good source of thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, selenium, lysine, protein, zinc, copper, manganese, and iron.


Morels contain protein, vitamin D and B, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine that help the body maintain a healthy metabolism. They also have copper, selenium, and potassium. They are low in carbohydrates, very low in calories and are fat free, not to mention, they contain very little sodium.


Maitake may best be known for its cancer-fighting properties. The evidence confirming maitake's therapeutic value is impressive. Laboratory studies have shown that maitake extract can block the growth of cancer tumors and boost the immune function of mice with cancer. Maitake mushroom was found effective against leukemia and stomach and bone cancers. In addition, many doctors in Japan use maitake mushroom to lower blood pressure and blood lipids. This mushroom has also been reported to aid digestion by regulating the stomach and intestines, and helps eliminate food stagnation.


Just like Morels, Porcini mushrooms contain copper, selenium, potassium, and protein.


Research has shown that Shiitake lowers cholesterol. Shiitake also appears to be effective against some of the more serious viruses we face today: HIV and hepatitis B and appears to be a formidable cancer fighter.


Reishi mushroom is particularly beneficial for individuals with asthma and other respiratory complaints. Reishi is good for respiratory strength and for coughing. At least one population study confirms this claim. When more the 2000 Chinese with chronic bronchitis took reishi syrup during the 1970s, within two weeks, 60 to 90% felt better and reported an improved appetite, according to the article Medicinal Mushrooms by Christopher Hobbs, published in Herbs for Health, Jan/Feb 97.

Scientific Research:

Several scientists addressed the health benefits of mushrooms in a session in July 2008 at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans.

Mushrooms are low in calories, cholesterol and sodium, and they provide plenty of fiber and flavor when cooked. But the big news is that they are high in antioxidants, selenium, riboflavin and other healthful substances that protect the immune system and fight cancer.

Mushrooms contain high amounts of beta-glucans, compounds that occur in the bran of cereal grains and in yeast. These substances help to keep immune cells in a state of vigilance, guarding against disease, said Lana Zivanovic, Ph.D., with the University of Tennessee's Department of Food Science and Technology.

Mushrooms also contain cancer-fighting substances, said Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., director of surgical research at the Beckman Research Institute in Duarte, Calif.

Chen's lab experiments show that mushrooms' cells contain mechanisms that suppress breast and prostate cancer cells. He is following up his lab work with clinical trials funded by the Mushroom Council. Results should be out in a year, he said.

Research is showing that mushrooms contain ergothioneine, an antioxidant that contributes to immune support and protection of the eyes, skin, liver, kidneys and bone marrow.

Scientists have unearthed other mushroom benefits including robust amounts of selenium, vitamin D and potassium. "White button mushrooms have more protein, potassium, copper and selenium than oyster or shiitake mushrooms", said Robert Beelman, Ph.D., at Pennsylvania State University's Department of Food Science. Whether mushrooms will be consumed more as foods or in supplements and extractions is yet to be seen. "But a rich opportunity exists in the marketplace", said Zivanovic.


Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) (http://www.ift.org)

Lana Zivanovic, PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.

Robert B. Beelman, PhD., Pennsylvania State University, professor of Food Science

Schian Chen, PhD, Beckman Research Institute

Great Food (http://www.greatfood.com/)

Health Castle (http://www.healthcastle.com/food_supple...)

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Organic food better in cancer prevention

Organically Grown Foods Higher In Cancer-fighting Chemicals Than Conventionally Grown Foods


ScienceDaily (Mar. 4, 2003) — Fruits and veggies grown organically show significantly higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, according to a new study of corn, strawberries and marionberries. The research suggests that pesticides and herbicides actually thwart the production of phenolics — chemicals that act as a plant's natural defense and also happen to be good for our health. Fertilizers, however, seem to boost the levels of anti-cancer compounds.

The findings appear in the Feb. 26 print edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The article was initially published Jan. 25 on the journal's Web site.

Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant activity. Many are produced in plants in response to environmental stressors, such as insects or competing plants.

"If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," says Alyson Mitchell, Ph.D., a food scientist at the University of California, Davis, and lead author of the paper. "Bitter or harsh phenolics guard the plant against these pests."

The need for these natural safeguards decreases with the use of herbicides and pesticides in conventional agriculture. This decrease is reflected in the total amount of antioxidants the plants produce. "This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently."

Mitchell measured antioxidants found in corn, strawberries and a type of blackberry called a marionberry. "We started with these three due to plant availability," Mitchell explains, "but we intend to widen our search to include tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and a variety of other vegetables. We expect these results to be transferable to most produce."

The investigation compared the total antioxidants found in foods grown organically (using no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers) to foods grown sustainably (in this study fertilizers but no herbicides or pesticides were used) and conventionally (using synthetic chemicals to protect the plants and increase yield).

The results showed a significant increase in antioxidants in organic and sustainably grown foods versus conventionally grown foods. The levels of antioxidants in sustainably grown corn were 58.5 percent higher than conventionally grown corn. Organically and sustainably grown marionberries had approximately 50 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown berries. Sustainably and organically grown strawberries showed about 19 percent more antioxidants than conventionally grown strawberries.

Antioxidant levels were highest overall in sustainably grown produce, which indicates that a combination of organic and conventional practices yields the highest levels of antioxidants. "This may reflect the balance between adequate nutrition in the form of fertilizers and external pest pressures because of the lack of pesticides and herbicides," Mitchell explains.

"Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me," says Mitchell, whose research grew naturally from a personal interest in organic foods. "I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."

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Herb officially recognized in UK -efficient for colds

Herb Officially Recognized In England as A Cure for Colds

Friday, October 17, 2008 by: Sherry Baker

There is no cure for the common cold, right? Wrong. The Zulus of Africa have insisted for centuries that there's a remedy created from geraniums that zaps colds and flu, halting sniffles and coughs almost immediately. Now 21st century research has backed up these claims -- just in time for the beginning of cold and flu season.

In fact, the British government's department of health just announced the same kind of herbal remedy used by the Zulus for centuries has been granted an official license and can now be marketed and sold as a cold and flu medicine in England. The treatment carries the brand name Kaloba and comes in both oral drops and tablets. It is one of the first herbal remedies to be officially recognized in the UK as an effective, non-drug therapy for treating common ailments.

Umckaloabo, the technical name for the substance derived from the colorful geranium plant, has been found "effective in resolving all symptoms including headaches and nasal discharge" of colds and flu, according to research recently published in the Cochrane Review.

British health advocates have suggested the approval may help stop the over-prescribing of antibiotics. According to the British clinical organization NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), £200million (the equivalent of about $357 million) are needlessly prescribed each year for antibiotics to treat cold and flu.

Those drugs are not only useless for the viral infections that cause colds and flu, but they can contribute to the rise of "super bugs" which are resistant to antibiotics. "In the light of inappropriate antibiotic use and increasing drug resistance rates worldwide, the need for an alternative, effective remedy for these medical conditions is crucial," concluded the Cochrane Review geranium research article.

Kaloba is derived from a species of geranium called Pelargonium sidoides and is made specifically from the plant's flowers. The medicine has been available in Germany for over 25 years, but has only just been licensed by Britain's Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency.

Although it isn't sold as a medicine in the US, the geranium therapy is not the only natural treatment known to help fight colds and flu. Here are some more non-drug health boosters that can help you stay sniffle and cough-free this winter:

Garlic has been shown to be potent against several kinds of bacteria and viruses. It's also an immune system booster.

Vitamin C has become a favorite in the fight against colds and flu. Linus Pauling,Ph.D.,the two-time Nobel laureate, was the pioneering researcher into the benefits of vitamin C . He showed it spurs the immune system to fight infections by boosting interferon, which is a natural anti-viral substance.

Zinc has been found in several studies, including research conducted at Dartmouth and Cleveland Clinic, to shorten the length of time a cold lasts. Look for zinc gluconate lozenges or get your fill of the virus-fighting mineral from whole grains, beans, pumpkin seeds and nuts.

Be Happy isn't just the title of an old song, it's another way to boost your immunity and keep colds and flu at bay. A mounting body of research suggets colds and flu are most likely to strike if you are under excess work or psychological stress. Not getting enough sleep can also leave you more vulnerable to infection. Meditation, relaxation techniques like yoga and exercise can help you de-stress and also fight insomnia -- which, in turn, can lessen your chances of coming down with colds and flu.

Astragalus is one of several herbs long purported to have a powerful impact on fighting infections, including colds and flu. Now scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have published research in the medical journal Vaccine stating they found the botanical therapy "surprisingly active" as a consistent immune enhancer.

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How to make grains fit to eat

The Whole Grain Scam: How to Make Grains Fit to Eat

Thursday, October 16, 2008 by: Patty Donovan

As you walk down the grocery aisles, you are bombarded with whole grain cereals, breads and other bakery products. Major companies have a big TV campaign promoting their whole grain cereals. Aside from the fact that many of these are loaded with sugar and few are 100% whole grain, are these foods really good for you? Unfortunately, these aren't doing your body much good and could actually be harming you. Grains, nuts and legumes, being seeds, are not "ready to eat". The fiber from untreated whole grains is very harsh and can actually increase digestive difficulties, especially in those who persist in eating a SAD (Standard American Diet). This can lead to irritable bowel, Crohn's disease and inflammatory bowel disease as well as increased constipation, diverticulitis and many more disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract.

Grains fall into two general categories:
1) Gluten containing grains such as rye, barley and especially wheat. These grains should not be consumed unless they have been been soaked, sprouted or fermented (these processes will be discussed later in the article). Oats are actually gluten free but if grown in the US, they are contaminated with gluten as they are grown and processed side by side with wheat. Celtic oats are safe.

2) Gluten free grains such as buckwheat, rice, quinoa and millet are, on the whole, more easily digested. These grains however, still contain other anti-nutrients which should be neutralized.

Gluten, along with other proteins in grain, is very difficult to digest. A diet high in unfermented whole grains, particularly wheat, puts an enormous strain on the whole digestive system. Eventually, the GI system breaks down and you end up with allergies, celiac disease, mental illness, chronic indigestion and Candida albicans overgrowth to name just a few. Symptoms of candidiasis and gluten intolerance overlap significantly because the undigested sugars promotes overgrowth of Candida albicans. There is now even evidence of a link between gluten intolerance and multiple sclerosis.

During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.
Approximately 1 in 200 people around the world have actual celiac disease, an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system attacks itself when exposed to gluten. However, a conservative estimate places gluten intolerance as affecting 1 in 7 people. Some studies indicate 1 in 3 or 4. Gluten intolerance is poorly understood, and rarely diagnosed by physicians . When you complain of symptoms that are actually gluten intolerance, you are most likely to be told you have reflux, irritable bowel or that you are depressed. These symptoms are overlooked because gluten intolerance is so poorly understood and the symptoms vary widely, affecting every part of your body. Some of these symptoms include: diarrhea, flatulence, bloating and generalized gastro-intestinal discomfort. Other symptoms often reported are headaches, mouth ulcers, weight gain or weight loss, a poor immune system, and chronic skin problems like dermatitis and eczema. Anemia is often also present.

Gluten intolerance is poorly understood, and rarely diagnosed by physicians
Because it is highly unlikely you will get the correct diagnosis from your physician unless you actually have celiac disease, you can test yourself through an elimination diet. You will have to be extremely conscientious because wheat/gluten is hidden in most processed foods, medications and even supplements. Here is one site which shows you what to look for if you are avoiding gluten: http://gfkitchen.server101.com/FoodstoA... If you have determined you are gluten intolerant or have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, complete abstinence from gluten is imperative to healing. Gluten intolerance is known to lead to other food sensitivities. Some people with gluten intolerance (not celiac) may be able to introduce sprouted grains back into their diet after at least a year of strict abstinence.

Other important antinutrients:
The other problem with untreated grains (and nuts,seeds and most legumes)is that they contain substances called "anti-nutrients"; in other words they contain substances which block or inhibit obtaining nutrition from them. The main anti-nutrient is phytic acid (or phytate). Phytic acid is the principal storage form of Phosphorus in plant tissues. The highest levels are found in the hulls. Phytates are known to inhibit the absorbtion of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Because phytates bind to these minerals in the GI tract, they are eliminated instead of absorbed. Phytates contribute to mineral deficiencies in anyone who relies primarily on these foods for their mineral intake. Deficiencies are most likely to occur in vegans, infants and children, the elderly and in people of developing countries who rely on grains for most of their nutrtion, especially if little or no animal protein is consumed. Along with mineral deficiencies, these people are especially vulnerable to developing a niacin deficiency leading to pellagra. Pellagra is characterized by the "4 D's": Diarrhea, Dermatitis, Dementia, and Death.

Besides phytates, grains contain other antinutrients such as enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; tannins, which irritate the digestive tract; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and related proteins which humans have difficulty digesting. Anti-nutrients are present because they prevent germination until conditions are right for growth and survival. Plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout. Soaking grains and legumes or slow sour dough fermentation imitates nature.

Neutralizing antinutrients:
All of these substances can be neutralized by several methods, however, the whole grain products you find at the grocery store, and even most at the local health food store have not been treated. Cooking grains only slightly decreases the amount of phytic acid. Soaking grains/nuts/legumes in an acidic medium for 12 to 24 hours will effectively neutralize phytates as does sprouting which is more involved and actually entails sprouting or germinating the grain or legume. Fermenting, as in preparing a true sourdough, will also neutralize antinutrients.

Sally Fallon, author of the book Nourishing Traditions and follower of Dr. Weston A. Price's teachings, is a huge advocate of soaking and goes into great detail in the book. This is an excellent book for beginners. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist who studied "native" nutrition as it affected various cultures' teeth. He was the first person to warn of the dangers of consuming large amounts of either refined or improperly prepared grains. An excerpt from page 452:
"Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amounts of many vitamins, especially B vitamins".

Humans only have one stomach and much shorter intestines than animals that subsist on plant matter. These animals have as many as four stomachs and an extremely long (by comparison) intestinal tract. Human anatomy allows us to eliminate animal products before they putrefy in the gut but leave us poorly adapted to a diet high in grains. When grains are properly prepared through soaking, sprouting or fermenting, the friendly bacteria of the microscopic world begin the process of digestion for us in a bowl. These are the same lactobacilli that do their work in the first and second stomachs of the herbivores and found in the intestines of healthy people. We can survive quite well without grains, and giving up grains altogether is an option that will not only aid digestion, but help heal insulin resistance and other problems. This is an option few people are willing to choose, so here is how to make grains as healthy as possible.

Preparing Grains
Changing the way you eat grains requires advance planning, but only a few extra minutes of actual preparation time. For non-gluten containing grains, simply put the whole grain in a bowl with enough water to cover. Add a tablespoonsful of whey, lemon juice or vinegar and leave covered at room temperature for at least 6 to 12 hours. You can get whey simply by draining yogurt (or kefir) through a tightly woven cloth. The clear liquid that drains is whey. Drain, add your cooking liquid and cook as usual. This will take you less than 5 minutes and the grain will be ready for cooking when you get home from work or get up the next morning.
Gluten containing grains require more preparation. Grains need to be soaked and sprouted, a process which takes 2 to 4 days. After germination, they are ready to cook with no further soaking, or the can be dried and ground into flour. The process sounds difficult and daunting, but really isn't. If you are interested in doing this yourself, check out this site: http://organicfanatic.blogspot.com/2008...

In todays busy world there are many alternatives. If you make your own bread with purchased whole grain flours, simply start a day early. Substitute buttermilk, kefir or yogurt for part of the liquid. Make your dough as usual, put in a covered bowl and allow to rest for 24 hours. I'm not going to give an exact recipe because you will have to experiment to find what works for you. The acid in the above foods is needed to break down gluten and phytates while the live bacteria in the above cultures actually begins the digestion process for you.

The easiest option is to buy your grain products already made from sprouted grains. Ezekial bread is available in almost all health food stores and even some grocery stores. Other brands are Alvarado Street Bakery and Manna Breads. There are other brands depending on where you live. You can get bread, hamburger buns, even tortillas. You can also buy flour that has been made from sprouted grains.
Gilani GS, Cockell KA, Sepehr E.
Health Canada, Nutrition Research Division, Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, Banting Research Centre (AL: 2203 C), Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0L2, Canada. sarwar_gilani@hc-sc.gc.ca

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How can we have a second heart?- Deep breathing!

Turn Deep Breathing Into A Second Heart

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 by: Rich Stacel

With all the heart problems, heart disease and other health issues that are ever getting worse in today's modern society, learning that you can actually do something to create a second heart within your body sounds like a miracle or simply too good to be true. Of course science is always trying to create replacement organs using stem cells, cloning, cell regeneration technology and much more, but such "solutions" are nothing more than band aids as is everything else that western medicine does to treat various health issues.

People have also accepted these procedures due to lack of knowledge, being lied to, social conditioning and their own beliefs that there is simply nothing else you can do for your own health or health issues other than to rely on the promise of western technology and drugs to hopefully save them all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The total lack and understanding of true health and the causes of illness in the western world is truly amazing. These ideas are thoroughly fostered by the media, medical schools, doctors, hospitals and many other organizations that have convinced people to eat foods that not only destroy their health but their bio energy as well. They've convinced people to just enjoy their sugary, destructive foods with zero nutrition, tons of chemicals, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and more, all of which destroys their organs, pollutes their blood and energy and causes their organs to fail. Then they build up false hope that we can just get a replacement organ or use technology to keep them alive in the meantime. The waiting lists for organ donor recipients can be years long.

This whole throw away mentality of western society has also been transferred to medical field by treating the body strictly like a machine or mechanism. When something goes wrong, you just get a replacement part whether it is an organ, joint or some other part and you can go right on poisoning and destroying your body with the same junk foods, sugary drinks, recreational and prescription drugs or other destructive agents that most people today use. This is because people have been so taught that the only criteria you should follow when it comes to just about everything, including food and drink, is to follow your feelings and senses and only what feels and tastes good with a total disregard for ones health or longevity.

In the human body there are actually two separate bodies that determine the true state of your health. While the west has focused exclusively on the physical body, eastern medical traditions and especially Chinese medicine has focused on both the physical and what's called the "energy or spirit body". They have seen over the millennia that the quality and state of your chi or energy body is truly what governs the short and long term state of your health far more than any other single factor.

Of course most people have never heard of the energy body and even less know how to make this knowledge work for them to their benefit. In the west were SO taught that physics alone is what governs human health, so too learn that there are other forces at work is very surprising and sometimes hard to grasp. While it's certainly true to a large degree, science and physics have now also discovered that there are energies and forces both in the universe and in the human body that they don't understand and that these forces do govern human health. The Chinese in particular have spent millennia decoding this truth and now well understand the laws of chi flow, chi theory and how energy relates to human health, disease, diagnosis and more.

People have been taught for so long to use their body as a vehicle for pleasure and hedonism, to waste their vital energies and essences through various destructive lifestyle choices and many other sensory pleasures never realizing that it's this very mindset and actions that are causing so many of their health ills. They're then told that modern medicine will save the day when it nearly always makes everything worse. This very mentality is what must change if you're going to take greater control of your health. We must unlearn the wrong teachings that we have all been brainwashed with and start to do the right things that will truly make you healthy and rebuild your body on a physical and spiritual level from the inside out.

A Second Heart

So let's talk about this second heart that was mentioned at the beginning. How do you actually have a second heart within your body? The answer is really very simple...deep breathing! How does deep breathing create a second heart? Through deep diaphragmatic breathing from low down in the abdomen you're bringing the diaphragm itself into play for more than by doing upper chest breathing. The diaphragm is a muscular but flexible membrane that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity. When you inhale and the lungs expand it pushes the diaphragm down into the abdominal cavity. This gentle expansion during deep abdominal breathing is what helps to gently push huge amounts of blood throughout the system thereby taking a huge load off the heart.

The diaphragm is the most powerful muscle in the body and it acts as a perfect force pump which compresses the internal organs such as the liver, spleen, intestines, lymphatic and blood vessels and greatly aids the venous circulation from abdomen to thorax or middle and upper chest area. Due to the large surface area of the diaphragm a large amount of blood is moved throughout the body when it is employed via the mechanism of deep breathing. Even though this muscle is moving slower than the heart on a per minute basis, the greater surface area and the amount of blood it moves means that it actually functions as a "Second heart" in the body and thus greatly reduces the amount of work that the heart itself must do.

If you ever see the hearts of people who die of heart disease, doctors tell how its as though their hearts were literally on fire and burned up from the inside out. This coincides perfectly with the Chinese description of heart disease as a disease as excessive heart fire or yang chi. Peoples hearts are working so hard today that the organ is generating too much fire energy and burning out before it's time or collapsing under the strain. By using deep breathing techniques to help move blood throughout the system, which also cools the fire energy of the heart at the same time, we`re helping to reduce yang fire energy in the body and restore the proper functioning of the heart itself.

This great discovery is something that all of us can benefit from in a many ways. Deep breathing from the lower abdomen or Dan Tien (Sea of Energy) not only helps take a huge strain off the heart but pulls in more life giving oxygen and Chi! By breathing low down and employing the diaphragm were not only helping to ease the load on our hearts but building up and strengthening our spirit or energy body at the same time. Since energy or chi is the true regulator of your health, vitality, mental functions, e-motions (Energy in motion) and so much more, doing everything we can to increase the amount of chi in the body is of paramount importance especially in this polluted world. Chi is what truly powers the cells and muscles and this includes the heart too. The more chi you have, the stronger all of your muscles and organs will function. It's really that simple.

Be aware that when you first start practicing deep breathing, because most people are chronic chest breathers and this is especially true of the elderly, sedentary and overweight, you may feel some tightness or discomfort in that area as this muscle begins to be used and stretches out. With practice and time this should disappear and you'll be able to breathe lower and lower down without this discomfort. In time abdominal breathing will eventually become second nature. Humans are meant to be abdominal breathers not chest breathers. By only using the chest your cutting out the amount of oxygen and energy you take in with each breath by as much as 2/3rd's, not to mention you`re slowly starving yourself of oxygen and energy over time which can leads to many serious health issues including cancer.

If you have never tried breathing from low down, start off slowly by taking just 5-10 abdominal breaths per day and eventually work up to at least 30 or more. Outside is the best place to practice all breathing exercises as long as the outside air is relatively clean. If your in a large city or polluted area then inside might be the better place to breathe. If you have house plants, an air purifier or ionizer better to breath in an inside room like that than outside with industrial pollutants.

Focus your mind on the Dan Tien point which is about 1 ½ inches below the navel and about an inch inside the abdomen. This low down focus not only helps you keep your breathing from becoming chest breathing again but also helps to begin to connect your mind with the very source of chi or life force energy in the human body. By building this connection and building up more and more chi, your overall health, energy, immunity, mental functions, mood and more will be greatly enhanced with continued practice.

It can't be stressed enough how important it is to learn correct breathing and to build up and use your life force energy. This is completely ignored in the wes, but it is vital and crucial to all health issues and concerns. Many in the west don't even accept that chi is real, but with time and continued serious practice you too will come to know that chi is indeed very real and the benefits to your health, strength and life will continue to grow as you continue to practice. It is more true and more real than the physical world that we think is so real to us.

New discoveries in science, medicine and physics are only backing up these claims all the time. But even physics teaches that matter is nothing more than energy in a certain state of resonance or vibration that causes it to exist in the third dimension. That when they break matter down to the smallest parts, below the level of quarks and leptons, that the matter itself disappears in a brilliant flash of light and winks out altogether from this very universe.

So we are all made up of energy and this is how advanced adepts are able to literally sustain themselves on nothing but wind, chi and sunshine with a little water for hundreds of days and beyond. Through years of training which starts with deep abdominal breathing from the Dan Tien and other breathing techniques they are able to take in and store huge amounts of chi in their bodies. By merging mind and body through meditation they're able make their bodies so much more efficient at absorbing and using that energy to rebuild all the cells in their bodies and this is how they're able to live on almost nothing.

They literally survive on pure energy or the force itself. It takes decades to get to that point, but even those who have learned simple breathing sets to like the "8 Pieces of Brocade" which is taught on the Chinese Health and Fitness video have noticed that their hunger would often disappear after practicing a session of this breathing set. This is simple proof that your body is not really seeking the matter when you eat, but the chi or life force itself which the body extracts from the food via the spleen. That is what's truly keeping everything together and keeping all living being and creatures alive.

So if you're concerned about your heart health as we all need to be, then start breathing from low down in the Dan Tien area every day. Learn other breathing techniques to make deep diaphragmatic breathing a daily habit and in time this will become second nature. Then you`ll be gently moving large amounts of blood through the body with each deep breath, taking a huge load and strain off the heart and making your heart last a lifetime as it was designed to do.

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