Monthly Archives: March 2014

Five Hust-Mave Herbs for Healing Your Body and Mind

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Mental health and physical health are so closely intertwined that properly addressing the ailments identified in one often requires also addressing potentially unidentified ailments in the other. In many cases, the most effective way to restore optimal health to both body and mind is to supplement with adaptogenic and other herbs that help balance both systems simultaneously and naturally, without causing harmful side-effects. Here are five must-have herbs that may be exactly what your body needs to achieve optimal mental and physical health:

1) Turmeric. Turmeric, the primary active component of which is curcumin, is one of the most clinically studied herbs today that contains powerful mind-body healing capacities. A common healing herb in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric possesses a unique ability to ease and even cure systemic inflammation, which is a common cause of many chronic health conditions and autoimmune disorders that plague people today.

Because of its natural ability to normalize various bodily processes commonly aggravated by stress and other life factors, turmeric is considered to be one of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs that helps promote systemic balance and facilitate the healthy metabolism and assimilation of nutrients. By counteracting these disease-causing physical, chemical, and biological stressors, turmeric can effectively heal and protect against illnesses that affect both mind and body.

2) Ginger. Often under-appreciated because of its relative commonality as a food, ginger is another powerful healing herb that has been used the world over to prevent and heal diseases of all kinds. Some of ginger’s many benefits include its ability to settle a nervous or upset stomach, which for some people can lead to persistent mental anguish and disruption of other bodily functions. Raw ginger has long been consumed for its general calming effect, which can help promote general healing while staving off disease.

Ginger helps specifically improve digestion by aiding in the breakdown of proteins and fats, which in turn helps prevent gas, food buildup, and other negative conditions that can decrease immune function and trigger disease. Supplementing with ginger can also help lower blood pressure, ease morning sickness, and lower bad cholesterol levels.

3) Aloe vera. Like ginger, aloe vera possesses an incredible ability to ease nausea, improve digestion, cleanse the colon and digestive tract, and maintain healthy elimination and bowel function. Consuming aloe vera can also help ease inflammation and improve the oxygenation of blood, two benefits that for many people can make all the difference in promoting lasting health.

There are so many benefits to consuming aloe vera, in fact, that simply adding the gel or juice of this powerful, succulent plant into your daily dietary regimen can effectively remedy a whole host of physical and mental illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, kidney stones, ulcers, high blood pressure, nutrient deficiencies, constipation, diabetes, candida and other yeast infections, skin disorders, and cancer.

4) Tea tree oil. Typically used topically to heal various skin conditions and infections, tea tree oil is considered by many to be “nature’s miracle healer.” A highly-versatile, all-purpose healing oil, tea tree oil, which comes from the Melaleuca tree, is an exceptionally powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, curative, bactericidal, fungicidal, insecticidal, stimulating, and sudorific herb capable of treating many different physical and mental ailments.

Drinking Melaleuca tea, for instance, especially when blended with other beneficial herbs like rosemary, passion flower, hibiscus, and ginseng, can help calm and soothe the nerves while providing sustained energy and motivation. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a diffuser by itself or with other essential oils can also help clear the lungs and airways of harmful buildup, promote alertness, and boost general feelings of health and well-being.

5) Holy basil. Another powerful adaptogenic herb, holy basil is known to help elevate mood and spirit while calming the mind. Like ginseng and licorice, holy basil is said to enhance the mind-body-spirit connection by addressing the underlying health conditions afflicting each of these important human systems. Besides generally relieving stress and boosting immunity, holy basil helps fight chronic inflammation, boost energy levels, promote clarity of mind and thought, and improve digestion.

Known more commonly as tulsi, holy basil is also recognized for its ability to fight various allergies and allergy symptoms, which often lead to feelings of “brain fog” and mental incapacity. Individuals that supplement with holy basil, particularly in conjunction with other adaptogenic herbs, have found that they are able to breathe better, digest food better, think better, and generally feel better, regardless of their particular health conditions.

 

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The Benefits of Going Vegetarian

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Weight loss, a healthier heart, drastically reduced cancer risk and more…

With the proper planning and education, research shows that going vegetarian is an excellent step to improve and protect your health. By minimizing processed foods and emphasizing whole plant foods, vegetarians enjoy a more nutritious and far less toxic way of eating than the average. The bottom line: As a vegetarian, you will be better protected from a range of major diseases, take in more nutrients and potentially lose a lot of weight.

Weight loss

The high water content and fiber in plant foods is probably to thank for the weight loss that occurs when an omnivore becomes vegetarian. Overweight people typically lose 10 percent of their body weight when they switch to a vegetarian diet, and the body-mass index (BMI) of vegetarians is generally lower as well. Vegetarian diets have less saturated fat and are likely to contain less fat overall.

Better digestion

Fiber, the indigestible matter that gives structure to plant foods, is essential for speeding waste out of the body. Virtually all whole plant foods have a positive impact on digestion. Animal foods, on the other hand, contain no fiber and move sluggishly through the digestive system. This results in constipation and putrefaction of meat in the digestive tract, letting harmful bacteria linger.

A healthier heart

Fiber has another health benefit – reducing cholesterol. One type, soluble fiber, actually pulls cholesterol out of the body. Vegetarians also have a head start on healthy cholesterol, since plant foods don’t contain any. As a result, cholesterol levels in vegetarians are typically 40 points lower than those of omnivores. Blood pressure is also lower overall, suggesting that vegetarians have a 20-40 percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 30-60 percent reduced risk of stroke. In fact, an analysis of five studies concluded that vegetarians have a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from a heart attack compared to omnivores.

Slowed aging

High antioxidant content in many plant foods like berries and raw chocolate combats the cellular damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals, which are ingested from cooked foods and polluted air (among other sources), are one of the main causes of aging. A diet high in whole and fresh foods can actually turn back the clock by knocking these down.

Reduced risk of cancer

One of the best reasons to go vegetarian is this: Vegetarians have a 40 percent reduced risk of getting cancer. There are several explanations for this statistic. Vegetarians tend to be thinner, and obesity in particular is associated with increased cancer risk. The high fiber content of plant foods speeds waste through your system, which cuts the risk of colon cancer. And diets high in fat and animal foods spike cancer risk, especially that of breast cancer, through their action on hormones.

A less toxic body

Since animals concentrate the toxins they ingest in their tissues, meat and milk is much higher in toxins than plant foods are. Wild fish contain alarming amounts of mercury; the FDA recommends eating fish only 2-3 times per week. And the EPA reports that 95 percent of human exposure to dioxin, a dangerous toxin, comes from consuming meat, fish and dairy. Animal foods are also often high in pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

Sources for this article include:

 

  • http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dxmarkers
  • http://healthluv.com
  • http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
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Sufficient Sleep is Essential to Fuel Weight Loss Efforts

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We all understand the importance of sleeping seven to nine hours each night to allow for adequate cellular housekeeping, as the body metabolizes and synthesizes enzymes and proteins that are critical to our survival. In the past, a sound sleep has been shown to lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and dementia in direct relationship to the number of hours slept each evening.

Canadian researchers publishing the Canadian Medical Association Journal have released the result of a study showing that adequate sleep is an important part of a weight loss plan and should be added to the recommended mix of diet and exercise. In addition to lowering caloric intake and increasing physical activity, the research team led by Dr. Jean-Phillippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa has provided sufficient evidence to show that inadequate sleep is an independent risk factor for overweight and obesity.

Scientists determined that lack of sleep increases the stimulus to consume more food and increases appetite-regulating hormones. Dr. Chaput explained “The solution to weight loss is not as simple as eat less, move more, sleep more… however, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.”

Seven to nine hours of sleep are needed daily to aid weight loss efforts

Many different factors affect body weight including predisposition to handling stress, depression and genetic individuality. Adequate and sound sleep can improve or eliminate each of these risk factors, and can also regulate the hormones leptin and ghrelin to lower food cravings and naturally promote a normal weight range. Naturally, reducing or eliminating insulin-producing processed carbohydrate foods and cutting sugar from the diet are necessary to stimulate weight loss in many people.

The authors of this study did not provide an exact mechanism to explain how adequate sleep assists weight loss, but they did explain that a lack of sleep affects the parts of the brain that control pleasure eating. Further, the scientists indicate that levels of the hormones leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and orexin, all of which are involved in appetite or eating, are affected by lack of sleep.

Dr. Chaput concluded “An accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.” Continuing research studies validate the critical importance of a sound night’s sleep of between seven and nine hours each night to protect against chronic disease and to aid weight management efforts.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917123926.htm
http://www.calgaryherald.com
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/cmaj-ash091112.php

 

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