By Natural Advocate | January 30, 2008 - 3:53 pm - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

We talk a lot about depression here at Herbalnews, and that is because depression is  a disease that should be taken as seriously as cancers and other diseases that can kill, because in fact, depression has more of an effect on our physical health than we know or care to admit.  In fact, more and more research is pointing to the fact that happy people experience better heart health and less overall health issues to begin with. 

The connection between happier, healthier hearts is the hormone called cortisol.  Sure, you may have seen some commercials about weight loss products that claim to help to lower this hormone, which is the hormone released when one is stressed, but you may not know how important it is to keep this hormone away to our health. 

Cortisol is, essentially, the “stress” hormone, and it is destructive to our body, our weight, and our mind in so many ways because of our strong mind/body connection.  That feeling that you get when you’re stressed out, or sad, and there is a tightness in your chest that won’t go away – that is exactly the type of feeling that cortisol induces in the human body, and I’m sure you can imagine that it doesn’t do the body good if these types of feelings occur frequently.

In fact, British scientists have done studies on numerous people, both people who report they are happy most of the time, and people that feel tired, stressed or anxious and depressed frequently, and they found that happier people tended to have much healthier hearts that those that reported feeling unhappy much of the time. 

Another problem that cortisol and its subsequent chemicals and additional hormones it causes to release, is inflammation, and inflammation is never good for the human body.  Inflammation is responsible for a number of diseases and even nuisances like skin problems and issues with healing quickly.  So, to sum up, the happier you are, the healthier your body is, or should be! 

By Natural Advocate | January 28, 2008 - 12:45 pm - Posted in Foods

There has been a lot of debate and news on how mercury in fish, especially salmon, one of the richest forms of the much touted best dietary sources of omega 3 fatty acid, can be harmful to the body, especially fish from certain farms where mercury levels are out of control.  You can definitely mitigate the levels of mercury by only eating fresh-caught salmon (called wild salmon), but it’s more expensive to buy than farm raised salmon, and you often don’t know what you’re getting in a restaurant, but it’s most likely not wild.

Even white tuna and tuna used in popular sushi dishes has beenfound with exceedingly dangerous amounts of mercury in it, actually so much so that it has been investigated.  Cases like this really do warrant caution, however, in most cases the amount of mercury is considered to only amount to trace levels in the human body, and that is what leads us to the next point about weighing the health pros and cons of consuming fish that may have mercury in it. 

So, is the risk of mercury worth the other huge benefits of eating fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids? Well, yes, it’s definitely worth the risk.  Research even has recently proven this assertion. Scientists and researchers are saying that if you’re not eating fish due to your concerns for the mercury, you are missing out on a bevy of important health benefits garnered from seafood and this shouldn’t be part of your equation when considering whether or not to eat fish.

Fish, and omega 3’s multiple benefits, specifically as part of the fish, offer excellent heart protection qualities, as well as anti inflammatory properties which also may help to protect the integrity of the cell and prevent things like cancer and other degenerative diseases – even joint and bone health may be greatly improved from eating fish.  In other words, the pros of eating fish far outweigh the cons, and if you are not getting the recommended 2-3 servings of fish per week, then you should consider finding ways to incorporate it into your diet.   

By Natural Advocate | January 26, 2008 - 12:23 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

In news today, the FDA has approved a new concept with less risks and also more effective, in the form of a patch, to relieve pain with an anti inflammatory medication.  Patches are becoming an enormously popular way to treat ailments as well as to do things like patches for quitting smoking, and as a birth control method, because of their unique ability to be incrementally transmitted into the blood stream transdermally, or through the skin, and can even be a better time-release agent so not all the medication is used up too quickly. 

The patch, called the Flector patch, is really to be used mostly on sprains and muscle strains, and contains around 180 mg. of the anti inflammatory agent diclofenac, which is steadily released into the blood stream to relieve pain and prevent further inflammation. 

Side effects of orally taken anti inflmmatories can induce upset stomach and bleeding ulcers in some, and it is thought that the patch will definitely reduce some of these side effects, since the medication is instead slowly and steadily released into the blood stream, instead of all of it in one shot. 

In showing how slow our FDA is to approve some better alternatives to harsh medications which they seem to love to push onto market quickly as painkillers, this effective and less risky patch has been approved in several other countries as a safe alternative for about fifteen years.  Now the patch is available by prescription only here in the US, and may pick up popularity if its results are superior to that of orally taken pain relievers and anti inflammatories. 


By Natural Advocate | January 23, 2008 - 5:26 pm - Posted in Foods

Ginger is a tasty addition to stir fry, is wonderful in baking and is the flavoring in ginger ale.  Herbally, ginger in most noted for it’s ability to relieve an upset stomach.  Ginger has an antinausea effect and stimulates the flow of saliva and gastric secretions. 

Ginger helps encourage gentle muscle contractions throughout the digestive system yet at the same time it inhibits muscle spasms so it is effective at controlling diarrhea.  Another function of ginger is curbing motion sickness.  So, ginger packed in your luggage or drinking ginger ale on your travels could help avoid motion sickness.

Ginger has an antiinflammatory effect.  This quality makes ginger useful for arthritis sufferers seeking relief from joint pain.  People with chronic lower back pain have found ginger effective in their treatment.  The good news about ginger is that it has no side effects.

Research continues for other uses for ginger.  Promising results show ginger’s effectiveness in preventing clotting and protecting nerve cells in the brain.  Ginger may help fight heart atttacks and strokes and be beneficial in preventing Alzheimers disease.

Current research is focusing on ginger for use in treating diabetes.   In animal studies, ginger lowered insulin levels as well as blood pressure and cholesterol.  Ginger may be useful, not only for treating diabetes, but for avoiding complications as well.

Ginger has qualities as an antioxidant and helps fight H. pylori.  This means ginger can possibly help fight ulcers.  You can’t lose by adding ginger to your cooking for it’s taste and it can benefit you for a lot more than just it’s great flavor.

By Natural Advocate | January 22, 2008 - 12:02 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Whole foods keep all of the vitamins and nutrients intact and are preferred over processed foods to maintain your nutritional status.  When foods are processed, they are often broken down and rebuilt and can lose as much as 80% of their original vitamins and minerals.

Taking the whole foods philosophy a step further is the raw foods movement.  The raw foods advocates stay with a diet that consists of uncooked foods.  Due to the popularity of the whole foods and raw foods movement, the Vita-Mix Corp. has been growing. 

This company features the Vita-Mix “whole foods machine”, which is a high-end and powerful household blender.   The main selling point for the Vita-Mix is keeping the nutrient value high in the foods you eat when preparing them with this appliance.

The prices of the Vita-Mix blenders range from $459.00 to $549.00.  They function beyond your typical blenders.   Other uses include grinding grain, making frozen desserts and hot soups.  Their machines have been perfected to increase durability and safety and to decrease noise. 

The household model blender comes with a 7 year warranty.  Within seconds, the Vita-Mix pulverizes broccoli stems, apple seeds and orange piths.  The increased nutrition is realized as these parts of fruits and vegetables, which are packed with nutrients, are often discarded when preparing traditional ways. 

The popular smoothies can be made using whole raw ingredients thus keeping the nutritional level high.  Many people prepare a nutritious breakfast using the Vita-Mix for a fast liquid meal while rushing off to work.  Instead of skipping breakfast, fruits and vegetables can be the focus of your first meal of the day in a delicious smoothie.  Vita-Mix blenders may be purchased online or at a high end kitchen retail store.

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