By Natural Advocate | June 29, 2011 - 9:31 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

There has been a LOT of criticism about the “Obamacare” health plan which is set to launch slowly over the next few years in phases. I for one, agree that people need better access to healthcare, but what I’m afraid of is that this will actually force healthcare on those that don’t even want it, and take it away form hardworking people who have always had it offered at great discounts through their employers.

I know my husband and I have worked for the same companies respectively for almost a decade now, and I don’t know what we’d do if suddenly they pulled our health benefits away. Sure, we both keep ourselves really healthy and eat right and take care of ourselves, but what about things that are catastrophic, like a car accident, or other things, like broken bones and hospitalization?

Those cost a fortune if you are uninsured, and the fear is that those who previously had easy employer access to healthcare will not because the government is making it too expensive for them. Is that really fair, to punich people who are working and give healthcare to those that are not working?

At the risk of sounding elitist, it sounds a bit socialist to force this type of healthcare on the public, and although I may agree with some of Obama’s other policies, I think the healthcar package is a big old stinker that is in need of severe revamping.

The revisions to the healthcare laws that are set to occur in the year 2014, which is still a little ways off, is estimated to force about 30% of employers out of the healthcare offering game. That is quite significant and not a figure to be taken lightly. Especially by those families that will be hurt by this.

So, if this is true, then would employers have to offer some sort of incentive to stay with them, or compensate employees at a higher rate of pay in order to compensate for the lack of health benefits?  It’s anyone’s guess. Should be interesting how this turns out.

By Natural Advocate | June 28, 2011 - 7:47 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

A component of broccoli, and of other vegetables in what is called the “cruciferous” group of veggies, has been isolated and determined to have some pretty serious cancer killing and preventive capabilities when it comes to mutated cells that become cancerous.

Broccoli extract has shown anti  cancer activity in lab studies.  It not only has the ability to seek out and destroy cancerous cells, but it also leaves normal, healthy cells alone, unlike the very invasive chemotherapy which is still the treatment of choice for most cancers.

The extract which comes from broccoli is called sulforphane, which gives broccoli, and other veggies like it the distinct smell when it cooks. Cabbage and cauliflower also contain this extract, and they also have that somewhat unpleasant smell released from them when they are heated.

While eating broccoli has long been considered a great health habit for its many nutrients, this may be yet another reason to add fresh broccoli into the mix of your daily meals. I like to eat it almost nightly.  I make it fresh (it’s great, our grocer has fresh broccoli in bags, already cut up).

I also add some other veggies in there, and lightly steam it. Broccoli is delicious, and versatile as well. We usually will just put a little butter on it with a tiny bit of olive oil, rounding it out with a healthy dose of omega 3’s to boot, so it can give a kick in the pants to any unhealthy cells that might be forming in our bodies!

The unique ability of this sulforphane to selectively target and destroy only cancer cells is what makes it appear to have such great potential for cancer treatment.

For some reason, this extract has been particularly helpful in targeting and destroying a specific type of cancer cell – those in the bladder as well as the prostate, so those may be areas where the studies are concentrated.

It is not clear as to what types of exact benefits it may give for other cancer locations, but if it targets cancer cells in one area, it likely is a benefit for everyone to add to their diet, current cancer patients as well as healthy individuals as a preventive alternative medicine.

By Natural Advocate | June 27, 2011 - 12:50 pm - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

Melatonin, as a supplement, is most widely used for bouts of insomnia or poor sleeping habits. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body by the pineal gland. When you are young, the body produces a greater amount of melatonin. As people grow older, they produce less and less melatonin.

This decreased production of melatonin could explain why young babies and children often fall asleep easily. It also could explain why so many people, as they age, complain of having difficulty falling asleep.

Getting a full night’s restful sleep will help you cope better with the stresses of everyday life and improve your health overall. This, in turn, can slow the aging process.

The way that melatonin is released in the body is through the onset of darkness allowing our bodies to sleep more readily. Without melatonin, insomnia may result and the lack of sleep can lead to many health problems, both physically and mentally.

Melatonin controls the circadian rhthym which is our sleeping and waking cycles. According to Walter Pierpaoli M.D., P.H.D., melatonin does more than control our sleep cycles. He states that melatonin is the”Master Hormone-Modulating Molecule.”

Studies have been done where an older animal’s pineal gland has been transplanted into a younger animal. The result was that the younger animal’s systems started to function like they were that of an older animal.

When the reverse was done, and an older animal received a younger animal’s pineal gland, their body functioned as a younger animal’s and they became healthy and strong.The conclusion was that the melatonin, in addition to setting the circadian cycles, sent a message of youth to the body.

From this point of view, it is surmised that melatonin helps strengthen the immune system and defends against certain diseases, probably because it helps you sleep better. Among these diseases that are diminished with the melatonin are dementia and even certain types of cancers.

By keeping other hormones in check, the melatonin can decrease the effects of hormones that trigger breast cancer and prostate cancer. If you are thinking about melatonin supplementation, consult with your physician first.

The synthetic type of melatonin derived from plant material is the most desirable type to use. Ask a specialist about the dosage as a very small amount is all that is needed to produce the desired results.

By Natural Advocate | June 26, 2011 - 5:52 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

It’s no wonder more and more people are turning to self reliance when it comes to their health, wellness, mental well being, and overall longevity (ie disease prevention, quality of life sustainability).

We all want to live the happiest, healthiest lives that we can, and we want to stick around for as long as we can our beloved friends and family. Too often lives are cut short or the quality of life is dramatically reduced when people don’t take care of themselves as they should.

However, in this day and age of superior educational resources, the internet, and more and more information coming out about how herbs and natural remedies, as well as lifestyle changes, can affect our lives, people are wising up that supplementation can really impact their quality of life.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the best selling herbal supplements tend to be. My guess would have been omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil, ginkgo biloba (for mental sharpness and improved focus), and maybe something like St. Johns Wort, which helps  with anxiety and depression.

I was only partly right though. Here are the best selling supplements as of 2010 :

1.)  Flax seed oil

2.)  Wheat grass juice (one of my favorites at smoothie places, it gives you an instant, identifiable boost in energy

3.)  Cranberry

4.)  Saw Palmetto (usually used for male health, prostate health and sexual enhancement for men)

This is just a tiny list, and they don’t necessarily sell in that order either, but it gives you an idea of how popular herbal remedies are getting because even ten years ago, many people didn’t even know these were available, or what they could do for their health.

With the uncertainty of Medicare and Medicaid, and the crazy stuff that is going on with the health care laws right now, I’d say it’s a good time to start thinking preventative when it comes to medicine, and not about addressing it with medications when something is too far along.

Herbal remedies and supplements can help you live the best, most healthy way you can, and often times they can do it relatively inexpensive.

By Natural Advocate | June 25, 2011 - 9:41 am - Posted in Detoxify

Anyone who has ever overdone drinking alcohol, which is many of us, can attest to the misery that usually occurs the next day called the hangover. The all too familiar symptoms are dehydration with extreme thirst, irritability, headache, light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness. What a price we pay when we overdo the alcohol fun!

Scientifically, what happens is you’ve just taken in more alcohol the night before a hangover than your body can possibly process. Hangovers are, thankfully, a temporary condition.

There are no actual cures for the hangover that will instantly make it go away. However, there are some remedies that will shorten the duration and diminish the severity.

Among things you can eat or drink, if your stomach can handle it, are eggs, ginseng, sports drinks, fruit juices and vitamins. Eggs can help you because they contain an amino acid called cysteine that boosts your liver function to break down the alcohol in your body more quickly.

Ginseng can help to alleviate the lethargy associated with hangovers. Sports drinks, if your stomach can tolerate the sugar, can help to rehydrate you faster as they have minerals, potassium and carbohydrates to level your blood sugar again.

If you opt for fruit juices, make sure they are from real fruit instead of artificial flavors. The vitamins and natural fruit sugars will help to restore your lost nutrients. Vitamins, especially the B and C vitamins, will help you the most if you take them before your drinking marathon. They will still help you afterwards but they’re not as effective.

Drinking lots of water is the most obvious since you will be dehydrated. Stay away from coffee and caffeinated beverages as they may wake you up, but they will dehydrate you further.

Other items to avoid for the duration of the hangover are dairy products, greasy fast food, and pain killers. Aspirin and ibuprofen can cause stomach upset under ordinary conditions so there’s a good chance they’ll just make your hangover worse.

Tylenol, or acetominophen, is known for causing liver damage so you don’t want to put an extra strain on your liver that is already working overtime trying to break down all of the alcohol in your system.

The best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink alcohol. But, being human, if you know you’re going to drink, make sure you eat a full meal beforehand. While you are drinking, alternate the alcohol drinks with a glass of water after each one to diminish some of the dehydration. Avoid sugary mixers with the alcohol as they intensify the hangover experience.

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