By Natural Advocate | November 29, 2008 - 6:56 pm - Posted in Foods, Medical News

We all know that a diet high in saturated fats is one of the most unhealthy things for our bodies.  Saturated fats lead to elevated cholesterol readings, clogging of the arteries and a whole list of bad health readings for anyone.  So why do we keep eating these types of fats? Well, fatty foods simply taste good.  Fats really please the palette and most humans, especially women since we are hardwired to crave more fats, especially at certain times of the month since we are the child bearing sex and also need more fat on our bodies. 

But that doesn’t mean men don’t love the stuff to.  Just look at the incidence of beer bellies around and you’ll see that men are just as capable of eating a lot of fat as women are.  There are good fats and bad fats though, and one could totally avoid the bad types of fats, the saturated ones, and be fine with it.  Good fats are the omega 3 fats and those are protective because they help with heart heath, keep the skin healthy, and are also good for the digestive tract.  That’s just the beginning, omega 3’s have many other health benefits that may not even be yet discovered.

Saturated fats however, are so “saturated” that they tend to clog both the digestive system and the arteries and veins, and they should be avoided at all costs, and yet they are abundant in our fast foods, restaurant meals and processed foods that we buy in the grocery store.  There is new evidence supporting the fact that diets high in saturated fats may lead to cancer of the small intestine, which is way more rare than cancer of the large intestine and colon, even though the small intestine comprises 75% and the large only about 25% (you’d think it would be the opposite way around).

The difference between those with diets high saturated fats and those with normal fat intake or greatly reduced saturated fat intake were found to be about a three times difference, meaning those with the bad diets had a much higher rate of small intestine cancer than those with the healthier, lower fat diets.  Avoiding saturated fats means avoiding many fatty meats, certain types of cooking oils (olive oil is good though), many different butters and cooking solid fats, and many MANY fast food joints if you want to maintain small intestine health. 

I want to point out that the study I’m about to talk about did not cover any of the beneficial short term effects of the herb ginkgo biloba as it relates to memory, but rather was a study that was ongoing over a few years to see if those who took ginkgo on a daily basis had any upper hand over those who didn’t when it came ot dementia rates in later age. 

The findings were actually that the group who did not take the ginkgo had lower overall rates of dementia, which of course is disappointing, but I’m not sure it disproves that the herb is not good for concentration and short term memory, which is what many of us take it for, according to the millions that are currently spent on the herbal supplement currently here in the US.  It must be working for SOMEONE if the supplement is being bought up at that rate, which is quite a bit for any alternative medicine if you ask me. 

I’ve taken ginkgo biloba on and off when I find that I’m having trouble focusing or concentrating, or that I seem to be forgetting a lot of things or scatter brained.  It helps me to focus more and be more on point when I’m trying to do something for a long period of time where my mind might normally wander onto things that are not productive.  Is it all in my head that it helps me?  Perhaps it is, but nonetheless I do feel that taking it helps me within a few days to regain my concentration and focusing abilities. 

The subjects were screened for dementia who took the natural supplement and also who did not and the numbers were not significantly different, however, the people who actually took it had higher numbers of dementia.  They did note however, that the group who did take the supplement did not have any adverse affects such as heart attack or bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, however, one other difference was that those who were taking the ginkgo did have a slightly higher incidence of strokes caused by bleeding in the brain. 

Doctors say that it is nothing to worry about thought since the results were statistically insignificant since the numbers were too small to consider it worrisome, and this could have just been a case of natural predisposition.  Still, I guess that part did make me wonder a bit about the efficacy and safety of this herb I must admit.  Will I still take it from time to time? Probably, but I will not be taking it for extended periods, and I literally could use one bottle for a whole year, it’s that rare that I feel I need to take it. 

By Natural Advocate | November 24, 2008 - 5:05 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

I’ve tried many colon cleansers, some of them don’t work at all or give you debilitating cramps and gas so bad that it’s not even worth the idea that you are cleansing this vital organ out and prepping it to get waste through more efficiently and help your body circulate the toxins out of your body at an expedited rate.  I’ve even tried some herbal colon cleansers that work at first (meaning for like the first day), and then they actually make me constipated again.

One of the ones I really like is the Dual Action cleanse because it addresses all aspects of cleansing the colon and digestive tract because it has not only a colon cleansing formula which helps you expedite the ridding of waste built up in the colon and intestines, but it also helps you to replenish the beneficial organisms in the colon and digestive tract that help it run more efficiently and keep the nasty bugs at bay that give you gas and contribute to irregular bowel movements.

I tried the Nautre’s Secret colon cleansing formula, and I liked it as a colon cleanser.  It did give me a bit of cramping, but I found it to be extremely fast acting.  Note, you may not want to take this if you know you have to be somewhere in a few hours where you won’t have easy access to a bathroom because it happens to work much faster when you are up and about, not sleeping, than at nighttime when you are laying down.

I made that mistake, and found that only two hours after I took the Nature’s Secret colon cleanser, I had to run to the bathroom several times.  It was a smooth evacuation pretty much, but it was instant, and it wasn’t going to wait for anything.  I think if you take it a for a few days it should do the trick, or if you happen to be eating a lot of colon clogging foods that week you may need to use it twice a day.

I found that one tablet worked fine for me.  I made sure I chewed it though, and it does taste horrible.  I am a believer that you should chew anything, because if you don’t, you run the risk that it will not be fully used by the body or broken down correctly, and could be passed through the body undigested and unused. 

One downside to this herbal colon cleanser though, is that they are in tablet form, and I like capsules better because you can swallow them whole because they are already powdered, and are designed to break down in the stomach quickly, while tablets you usually should chew.  They were very bitter to the taste, so they did make me gag a bit. 

By Natural Advocate | November 22, 2008 - 9:24 pm - Posted in Natural Pain Relief

One of the most common complaints of chronic pain are in the area of the neck and shoulder muscles.  The root of the neck and shoulder pain is often caused by constant tightening of the neck and shoulder muscles as in the stressful startle response.  Due to our fast paced, high stress society, we often allow our muscles to remain in the startle response.
Learning to breathe correctly with deep breathing exercises can considerably reduce your neck and shoulder pain by reducing your stress.  Instead of focusing on your inhalation, make sure your exhalation is complete.  A complete exhalation will reduce the carbon dioxide in your system and make room for more oxygen.  The effect of more oxygen is pain relieving and stress reducing.
For practice in extending your exhale, you can speak quietly until it is finished.  You can repeat breathing exercises as often as you like.  For each session, repeat five times.  Hopefully, this will improve your everyday breathing pattern. Of course, you may also wish to try an herbal pain killer to help with the pain relief on the inside of the body, as far as helping to reduce inflammation and the actual nerve endings that cause pain. 

Relaxation methods can start by lying on your back on a carpeted floor with 1 to 3 inches of support under your head.  Next, bend your knees on the seat of a chair or a couch.  Then, bend your elbows and put your hands on your ribs.  Lay this way for 10 to 15 minutes per day and make a conscious effort to relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
For everyday activities, you can modify your body mechanics to reduce stress on your neck and shoulder muscles.  While working at a desk, take a break and fold your arms on the desk and rest your forehead on top of your wrists.
When you find yourself slouching, don’t stiffen into an upright position right away.  Instead, shrug your shoulders first and then sit more upright in a relaxed manner.
When falling asleep at night, consciously allow your neck and shoulder muscles to relax and break the tension of the day.

By Natural Advocate | November 19, 2008 - 11:25 am - Posted in Natural Anti Aging

If you are 40 something and you think you’re noticing your reflexes slowing down, you’re probably not imagining it.  Somewhere around age 40, the rate at which the brain signals our motor control does start to slow gradually.
New research points to this occurence happening from the insulation in the motor control part of the brain starting to decrease.  The insulation to the brain is called myelin and it allows the quick conduction of the electric signals for quick action.
Throughout our adolescence, the myelin increases until it peaks approximately at age 39. 
From that point on it levels around age 40 and then drops down with increasing age.  For other regions of the brain, such as cognitive ability, the myelin doesn’t start to fray until about a decade or so later.  Research is ongoing as to how myelin starts to gradually degrade as we age.
Some preventative measures to try to keep your brain healthy as long as possible include staying active both physically and mentally.  This may actually help to stimulate myelin repair.
Have yourself checked for conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes.  Treat these conditions if they apply to you and monitor your diet and medication accordingly.  Any one of these factors can have an influence on how your brain ages, and the acceleration of it’s aging.  Some may contribute to a quicker decline in function, while some nutrients we get through diet or supplements can help to offset some of the natural aging process.  For example, omega 3’s are a great supplement to help maintain the brains’ functionality for longer. 

Learn to control stress as stress hormones may be implicated in damaging myelin.  Speculation includes research that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may help to maintain myelin.

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