By Natural Advocate | December 20, 2011 - 6:40 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

Neti pots, the nasal and sinus irrigation tools that have gained popularity in alternative health circles as a way to naturally clear the sinuses, have gotten national attention over the past two days.  Why? Well, of course it’s not anything good, or else they would not have made the national headlines!

Neti pots are tiny little “teapot” like vessels that can be used to help steam and cleanse the sinuses of debris and congestion. The user puts the spout up their nose and they then should experience a feeling of cleansing and flushing of the sinuses and the nose.

One of the things that the user absolutely needs to abide by when using these devices is to use only clean, distilled water.  If they do not, they risk infection from unclean water with bacteria and a deadly but rare amoeba that can cause an infection in the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis.

This “brain eating” amoeba has stricken fear into parents because it first gained attention when a string of children died from the parasite after swimming in lakes. The thing is, the amoeba is harmless when it is ingested via the mouth and goes through the digestive tract.

It is only dangerous when it goes up your nose. Through the nose, it can enter the brain, and this is where it does its damage. This is what happened to two Louisiana residents lately that made national news. They used neti pots, but they used regular warm tap water, which happened to be infected with this amoeba.

Because the neti pot gets the water right up in the nose, the amoeba seemingly easily traveled to the brain and ended up killing the victims.  Truly tragic.  For this reason, neti pot users are once again warned to absolutely not use normal water that has not been distilled.

The amoeba typically results in death of the victim because it causes such severe brain damage in such a short amount of time.  The symptoms are similar to bacterial meningitis, which includes nausea, vomiting, mental fog and confusion and flu like symptoms.

The amoeba typically inhabits warm freshwater, and therefore many times is found in warmer southern states in freshwater lakes, so use caution when swimming in these bodies of water.

Acupuncture is a very popular alternative therapy for a variety of ailments, ranging from serious to simply annoying or life-interrupting.  Most notably, acupuncture is used to help cure constant headaches and migraines. However its many other uses would surprise a lot of people who took it just to be a one trick pony.

Some patients are now requesting acupuncture to help curb the symptoms of depression, for example.  How could strategically placed needles help you feel better and help you to increase those feel good chemicals that are so often lacking in people who suffer from clinical depression or just occasional bouts of depression and anxiety?

Well, there are studies that show acupuncture actually helps to promote the flow of those feel good chemicals to the brain, which helps us to feel better. Chemicals like serotonin and dopamine are required for us to feel happy, at peace and generally in a good place.  Acupuncture can help increase the flow of those chemicals to where they need to go to be most effective.

Acupuncture can be a great alternative to try for people who are looking for a treatment but don’t want to take antidepressant drugs, which come with their own bevy of unpleasant side effects and symptoms.  It also may be a good option for those who really can’t take dangerous drugs, such as pregnant women, who want to take a drug-free approach to remaining relatively free of the symptoms of depression.

By Natural Advocate | December 15, 2011 - 10:53 pm - Posted in Detoxify

You know when you hear any news about the dangerous plastic-derived chemical BPA (Bisphenol A), it’s not going to be good news. Unfortunately more news has come out that it’s even easier for our blood to soak up this chemical than we thought. In fact, simply ingesting foods that are canned once a day can significantly increase your blood content of the plastic chemical.

You may be asking – cans contain this chemical too, I thought it was just plastics?  No, BPA is unfortunately ingrained in the American culture as a chemical that is found in the lining of everything from cans used to can foods to the lining used in personal care and hygiene products like toothpaste.

BPA levels can especially build to dangerous and even more toxic levels in those that consume a lot of processed, prepackaged and canned foods. Particularly the latter. Canned foods are one of the biggest problems because they have such long shelf lives and can absorb so much of the chemical over that period of time.

The innocent can of soup or fruit is no longer so innocent when you consider that it has potentially leached a boatload of the chemical into it, which you are then taking in. If you think about, many canned items often have a slightly strange taste to them.

That plastic-like taste may be the BPA that you are tasting. Now, you can buy BPA-free cans, but it will cost you a bit more. I know that Muir Glen is a brand that packages organic tomato products in BPA free cans. They use some other sort of enamel to line their cans that is nontoxic.

What is the problem with BPAs anyway?

Although we’ve talked about BPA’s before, I think it prudent to share again for any new readers that may not be aware of the health dangers of BPA’s.  They are a chemical that leaches out of lininings or plastic bottles into the fluid or semi-fluid contents of the container.

BPAs have been linked to hormonal disruption in the form of putting out fake estrogens, as well as several different types of cancer in both men and women. It has particularly been suspected as a partial cause of breast cancer.  It is best to completely avoid BPA’s as much as you can in the food and drinks you put in your body.

To some extent you cannot avoid complete contact with them, but you can definitely dramatically reduce it by making the right food and drink (and container) choices.

By Natural Advocate | December 13, 2011 - 1:43 pm - Posted in Natural Anti Aging

High cholesterol is a big indicator of serious illness to come. It is one of the biggest markers used to determine risk of things like heart attack, stroke and other serious potentially life threatening or debilitating conditions.  It is therefore of the utmost importance that we keep this important health reading within healthy ranges.

One way to seriously lower cholesterol, along with  salt and sugar in your diet, both of which are also huge factors in increasing health risks, is to limit your consumption of processed foods. This includes anything that comes in a box, can, frozen tray, frozen bag, or otherwise prepackaged, premade products.

The reason for this is that these foods are often loaded with fats, sugars and salts and are also loaded with preservatives that add to health woes and can potentially raise your cholesterol rates.  Avoiding prepackaged foods is one of the best ways to ensure you are eating correctly for your health and the health of your heart.

Trans fats are the biggest no-no when it comes to regulating cholesterol readings. Trans fats are partially hydrogenated oils. They are found in thousands of foods, and are particularly abundant in fast foods and prepackaged foods as they supply a lot of flavor and more stable preservation at a lower cost.

A great way to increase heart and cholesterol healthy foods is to avoid prepackaged and make your own meals. Include low fat dairy, such as natural, preservative free and preferably organic yogurts, wholesome unsalted nuts rich in cholesterol-lowering omega 3 fatt y acids like walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts, whole grains such as quinoa, and low fat white meats such as organically farmed free range chicken, pork and white fish.’

Fruits to include that can help your cholesterol include pretty much any fruit. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are excellent.  Blueberries, raspberries, acai berries and strawberries all pack an antioxidant punch while helping lower cholesterol by adding lots of fiber and vitamins without any fat content.

Steamed vegetables are excellent when drizzled with a bit of olive oil (extra virgin) and some light seasoning.  Broccoli is a favorite, as well as spinach, for helping to lower cholesterdol levels and add important vitamins to the diet.


By Natural Advocate | December 10, 2011 - 6:43 pm - Posted in Home Remedies

Have you ever noticed how you suddenly feel completely exhausted after you catch a cold or flu? It’s almost as if you instantly have no energy. You feel as though you could literally sleep all day long if it weren’t for the nagging list of to-do’s and household responsibilities, not to mention your career, tugging at you every second.

So, what we tend to do when we get sick and we still have our numerous responsibilities hanging over our head, is we gas up on caffeine, dose up on cough and cold medicine (the non drowsy kind of course), and generally plow through if we can.

But sometimes that’s really not what we should be doing. Our bodies are very smart. If they are constantly telling us we need sleep, then we probably do need it, or at the very least we need to see what is wrong and making us so tired all of the time.

Sleep is so vital to our body’s well being that we must have it or we will literally die, become sick or go crazy without it.  It is 100% required. It’s even more important when we are fighting off a cold or flu.  Why is it especially important when we are sick?

Well, our bodies actually produce more of a hormone called cortisol when we don’t get enough sleep. Cortisol can actually impact our ability to fend off bugs that don’t belong in the human body.  It also leads to less quality sleep, which just furthers the cycle of sickness and inability to fight off foreign invaders.

When we fall asleep, it’s almost as if our body goes in to mending mode. All of the beating up, the enviromental toxins, the mental exhaustion, the exposure to numerous germs and bacteria that can make us sick – that all takes a heck of a lot of work for the human body to do all day every day.

Sleeping is our body’s way of catching up and taking a breather. It is when the immune system gets to recharge, along with all the other bodily functions.  Without sleep, we simply cannot fight off colds and flus the same way.

If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking a relaxant such as kava tea, chamomile tea, or a melatonin supplement. These are all natural ways to help the body relax and get a full night of restful and rejuvenating sleep to help your body shake off sickness faster.

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