By Natural Advocate | June 29, 2010 - 11:20 pm - Posted in Antioxidants

There are some interesting findings lately in the realm of skin health and exposure to UV rays from the sun, specifically as they relate to what we put in our mouths on a daily basis.  Most interesting was that lycopene, which is a nutrient that is found in brightly pigmented (usually orange and red) veggies and some fruits, like tomatoes and red peppers.  Lycopene is actually excellent for your skin when it comes to being a natural protectant against the skin damaging rays of the sun.

It was found that those that ate tomato paste in a certain amount every day experienced a significant decrease in the instance of sunburn, when compared to those that were exposed to the sun and did not consume this amount of lycopene every day.  What this suggests is that if your diet is rich in this nutrient, you may be actually protecting your skin and helping it to better defend itself against the aging and DNA damage that UV light does to the skin, especially when it is over exposed, or exposed at times of day when the sun’s rays are at their most damaging.

This is great news for those of us that love tomatoes!  I know I count myself among them, and I certainly am excited every time I see a new tomato popping up on my tomato plants in the back yard right now. For those that want fresh tomatoes, which taste SO much better than the ones you get at most grocery stores because they’re much fresher usually, it’s really super easy to grow your own tomatoes. They actually grow really well in a pot also, so you don’t even have to have a garden spot or a huge yard to be able to grow them.

They do require a lot of water and a lot of sun, but other than that, they’re pretty much a set it and forget it kind of veggie to grow.  Antioxidants are thought to be very important in naturally protecting your skin from the sun as well and resulting in less sunburn.  Green tea and any other fruit or veggie with antioxidants are a great way to help ensure your skin will stay healthy and resilient for years to come.

When it comes to ra

diation, what I always think of is Madame Curie. I think of how we learned in elementary school that she discovered radium, which then became the basis for so many power plants and other radiation technology that we have today that has advanced our society in so many diverse ways.

However, what we may be not thinking enough of, is how much it may be damaging and deluging our bodies with radiation that can lead to cancers and other cell deformities that are the hallmark of other degenerative and life threatening diseases.

X-rays, mammograms, CT scans, and other types of medical diagnostic tests and scans actually expose you to small doses of radiation each time you have one. It’s why I’ve personally decided that I’m going to seek out other, non-radiological tests when I need to start having mammograms.  I’ve had one X-ray in my life, and after reading that they really can build up in the blood stream and not actually exhibit symptoms til years later, I’m not happy that this one X-ray I had was really not necessary.

Americans actually get more medical radiation than in any other part of the world. Why would that be? Well, malpractice is one of the reasons most likely. Medical litigation has been allowed to run rampant here in the US, so much so that doctors are now required to carry ridiculous amounts of malpractice insurance and patients are now encouraged by lawyers to go for as much as they can.

Because they know these docs are insured to the hilt!  This is a big reason that medical care has become so outrageously expensive in the past few decades.  Other reasons may be the accuracy and quickness and ease of these tests, which you can’t blame them for, but still, the radiation exposure has GOT to be considered.

Researchers are concerned that many patients are getting too much exposure to these potentially dangerous tests, without the consequences being considered, or without specialists consulting a database or some other reference, even the patient themself, to see how many exposures they’ve had, to avoid over exposure.

Doctors aren’t even asking, in most cases, how many of these types of scans patients have had in the past few years, or their lives, and they may be unknowingly exposing these patients to too many units of radiation in their lifetimes.  It stays in the system much longer than we think, and we don’t think about it because we can’t see or feel it when we’re being exposed.

By Natural Advocate | June 25, 2010 - 6:17 pm - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

We know that depression is pretty widespread here in the US, that’s no secret. What is more concerning is that many of the medications that patients are given fail, and patients are forced to try several before they find one that helps their depression. Even worse is the fact that many patients end up having to take these antidepressants for life once they are on them, and they end up being dependent on these medications that have several negative side effects, including worsening depression and even leading to suicidal thoughts on some, with some of the patients that try them.

So, it’s pretty important to understand what we can do to help depression naturally, wouldn’t you agree? Well, there have been tons of studies on natural supplements that may help depression, and what the common quotients are with people that suffer from depression, to see what types of natural or holistic, complementary treatments doctors can offer their patients, in addition to psychotherapy, or perhaps even in place of medications.

We know that exercise helps with depression immensely.  Now, they are trying to find some of the vitamins and nutrients that depression patients suffer from. One of the vitamins or nutrients, depending on how you want to look at it, that depression patients are deficient in is actually folic acid, or folate.  Folic acid is found in most leafy vegetables and can also be found in certain fruits. So, surprise surprise, a healthy diet that is rich in leafy greens and veggies can definitely offer a mood boost!

Although the results of testing are inconclusive, it’s important that if you suffer from occasional depression, that you make sure you are getting enough of this nutrient in your diet.

By Natural Advocate | June 22, 2010 - 7:38 am - Posted in Medical News

Yeah, I said shorties!  And by the way, I’m a self proclaimed shorty (aka short person) myself, checking in at five foot four.  Apparently now, in addition to not being able to see over tall people in a crowd, or being consistently put in the front of group photos because of my shorty status, I also am now at a statistically higher rate for heart disease than my taller counterparts!  Sheesh, tall people get all the perks, don’t they?

The research, which was not really specifically commissioned because of a suspected link between height and heart disease, but some other factors in the likelihood of heart disease, actually showed that shorter people were one and a half times more likely than taller people to die of heart related ailments of heart attacks.  That’s fairly significant, so let’s talk about why they think this might be, if they even have any theories yet about this curious link.

They are looking at several factors, including socioeconomic.  Poor people may be shorter or more likely to be shorter, so maybe that status contributes to a lifestyle that is not conducive to heart health. Also, they think there may be some hormonally related reason for the link, like maybe the reason people don’t grow as tall is because they have a deficiency of some sort that is also related to heart health in some as yet undiscovered way.

There may be some relation to shortness and smaller arteries, which are more likely to be clogged with deposits which can lead to heart problems as well.

By Natural Advocate | June 20, 2010 - 5:26 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Finally.  The FDA is actually looking into something that really matters, and that the natural foodies and health nuts have been concerned about for a very long time. I’m talking about BPA’s, which are the plastic lining chemicals that are found in nearly every canned good, including sodas, canned tomatoes (one of the worst offenders, since the acid in the tomatoes leaches the BPA’s even worse than other foods), and even baby formulas, which is particularly disturbing.

BPA’s are chemicals that have been linked to cancers and other cell mutations and health problems for years, but for which no definitive studies have been done yet.  Well, now, under pressure from consumer groups and advocates for a healthier food supply and healthier food products and packaging, the FDA has finally folded and has agreed to do a longer term study of the effects of BPA chemicals on the human body.

The company that makes BPA’s of course is standing by their product as being safe for contact with our food, but honestly what other reaction would you have expected when billions of dollars in revenue are at stake? One can only hope that as they are proclaiming their safety, they are working on a better, less chemical-laden option for those all too popular canned goods.

Canned goods are lined with the plastic because it helps the metal stay clear of the food, and helps the food to not take on the metallic taste it might otherwise have if it were in direct contact with the food. It also has presumably helped keep the food inside fresher for a longer time and has also prevented food poisoning and botulism. No doubt, canned foods definitely play a role in fighting hunger and easy access and cheaper ways of packaging, but here’s to hoping that we can find a much safer, less toxic way to go about getting the same end result.

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