By Natural Advocate | March 30, 2007 - 5:02 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Usually, when you think of doing something good for your health, you think of working out on the treadmill, quitting smoking or reducing fats in your diet. One of the latest studies done and highly publicized in the newspapers shows that taking a midday nap is beneficial to your health.

In this study, the participants that took a nap in the middle of the day decreased their risk of dying from heart disease by more than 30 percent. Of all the studies done so far on this subject, this was the best, most comprehensive one to date.

The University of Athens conducted a study in which over 23,000 Greek men age 20 to 86 participated. They answered questions about health lifestyles and midday napping habits. The results found that the people who took a nap midday for 30 minutes or more 3 times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease. In countries where a siesta is accepted and common, heart disease rates are lower than elsewhere.

One of the reasons cited that may contribute to the coronary benefits of napping was that a nap allows a break in the stresses of daily living. Another factor to the health benefits is our natural circadian rhythm that directs our sleeping and waking cycles dips in the early afternoon.

How do all these findings translate into Americans taking care of their health? Realize that it’s okay to grab a blanket and pillow and take an afternoon break and snooze. Finally something that’s good for your health that is so easy to comply with.

By Natural Advocate | March 27, 2007 - 9:49 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News, Medical News

News has just surfaced that hormone replacement patches used for women in menopause as a hormone replacement therapy may be much safer than previously administered hormone replacement pills which were supposed to help curb the symptoms of menopause. 

Much like the herbal remedies for menopause that are recommended, these patches actually are supposed to be a safer method to balancing the hormones and more importantly, bringing the female hormone estrogen back into the body at levels that are more consistent and safer and do not have high likelihood of potentially deadly side effects of the heart and other functional systems and organs of the body. 

There are not only patches for menopause remedy, but there are also supposedly gels which offer a comparably safe alternative to hormone pills which have received quite a bit of bad press as of late for their lack of safety. 

Pills that would help restore the estrogen balance in the body were recently given scores of bad press and made many women recoil in uncertainty over taking these types of medications, because they were linked with a statistically significant larger rate of breast cancer instances as well as heart disease, perhaps due to the overexposure to the types of synthetic estrogens typically contained in these hormone replacement pills. 

As stated before, there are herbal remedies for menopause which can be of extreme benefit in eliminating night sweats, vaginal dryness, moodiness, and the other “big” symptoms of menopause that women going through this period find so unsavory and quite frankly, a chore to suffer through. 


By Natural Advocate | March 25, 2007 - 1:51 pm - Posted in Foods

One of my favorite natural and organic food markets, Wild Oats (well, second only to Trader Joes, who I think has better prices personally), is being aquired by a larger corporation, Whole Foods, so that the natural and organic grocery store, which also carries herbal and natural remedies and personal care products can better compete with the larger grocery store chains who are increasingly offering more organic and natural foods to their list of offerings.

The company sees this acquisition as a bold move to regain some of the market share in this burgeoning industry and in an increasingly health and food choice conscious America, as a move toward greater competition leverage against the traditional grocery chains who are expanding these offerings.

Heck, even Wal-Mart has been getting into the organic craze, and I have to admit, although I don’t agree with Wal-Marts economic and business tactics, I did buy a box of Kashi cereal there for less than 3 bucks, when at other stores it goes for close to 5 bucks a box.

Hopefully this new acquisition will also allow Wild Oats to better leverage price competition against it’s competitors since currently they are a little more on the pricey end of the spectrum.

By Natural Advocate | March 23, 2007 - 7:49 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Tae Bo, as part of a daily exercise routine, is a wonderful outlet for stress. With it’s series of punches and kicks, it works out almost every muscle in the body and works out aggression in a healthy manner.

For the cardiovascular system, Tae Bo is extremely beneficial. Even if the 45 minute workouts are too much time to devote to exercise on a given day, doing 20 to 25 minutes of a workout aids your circulation and helps to speed your metabolism.

If you keep your thermostat at a cooler setting as many of us do in the winter these days,and if you get too chilly sitting still, this type of workout will get and keep you warmer. This tells me that Tae Bo helps my circulation and cardiovascular system. When you think you are too tired to workout on a particular day but you do a Tae Bo program anyway, you’ll find this style of workout actually energizes you when you’re done.

There are many different types of Tae Bo tapes and DVD’s available to choose from. There is an instructional program, Tae Bo Crunch, Tae Bo Gold for men and women over 40, Tae Bo Cardio and many more choices. Tae Bo Cardio is my personal favorite.

If you take up Tae Bo as part of your fitness routine, just remember to start slowly. You don’t have to finish an entire program right away. Do 5 to 10 minutes at first if you need to and then comfortably work your way up on the duration of your workout.

For muscle tone, self defense, your cardiovascular system and a good coping mechanism for stress, I would recommend Tae Bo.

By Natural Advocate | March 20, 2007 - 9:16 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News, Foods

Well, let me qualify that statement first. If you’re drinking minimially processed cocoa, where the flavanols, which typically give a bitter flavor to chocolate are usually taken out to give the chocolate a smoother, sweeter flavor. It is with the darker chocolates that are a little on the bitter side that you get more of a powerful group of antioxidants called flavanols.

Research is showing that these darker chocolates (cocoa) actually are beneficial to the arteries and veins, keeping them dilated, and more importantly, keeping the blood flowing in the brain, acting both as a mind refresher and a possible stroke preventer.

Studies were done on an indigenous culture who consumed almost daily, unrefined cocoa drinks in their diet – hence a lot of these little flavanols. Not only did they have almost no reports of dementia, but their blood pressure was almost never out of control either.

These studies are probably going to prompt more hot cocoa drinks which will capitalize on the idea of antioxidants and flavanols. Already Cocoa Via bars have capitalized on this notion, promoting themselves as the healthy chocolate and being rich in antioxidants.

These products are primarily marketed to women, whom everyone knows tend to love their chocolate, but consuming foods rich in flavanols such as cocoa, wine and certain fruits is also greatly beneficial to men, and should be considered as a heavy influence in the male diet as well.

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