Weekly Health Tips

The weekly health tips and information on this web site is not to be construed as professional advice or medical recommendations. I do not endorse or guarantee references or sites listed, and no unfavorable inference should be drawn from failure of any resource to be listed here. Readers are encouraged to direct any questions concerning personal health care to licensed physicians or other appropriate healthcare professionals.


Week of December 31, 2005:  Almonds
There are three reasons almonds are a perfect nutritional “boost” to meals and snacks:

1. New research supports almonds’ ability to lower cholesterol.

2. Almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, whether compared calorie per calorie or ounce per ounce. A one-ounce, 164-calorie serving of almonds, or about a handful, is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, and a good source of fiber. It also offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron.

3. Eating almonds may help maintain or even lose weight. A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity found that adding a daily ration of almonds to a low-calorie diet enhanced weight loss, as well as significantly improved risk factors associated with heart disease, when compared to a low-fat, low-calorie diet. Researchers cited almonds’ heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as being very satiating, helping satisfy the appetite and prevent patients from overeating.

Almonds are tasty, satisfying and versatile. Whether added to low-fat yogurt, included in a healthy trail mix, or munched on their own, almonds have a toasty crunch that’s perfect for any time of day, and for many other foods.
Week of December 24, 2005: Increasing Upper Body Strength

Upper body strength is harder to achieve than lower body strength because we use our legs more in everyday living. Have patience when trying to increase upper body strength: increase slowly–both resistance and duration. Using weights that are too heavy can cause injury and hinder your training objectives. If you try to take two or three steps forward, you may wind up four steps back.

Week of December 17, 2005:  Beans
Eat beans for good health. The flavonoids in beans are effective antioxidants that help protect against heart disease and cancer. These flavonoids are found in the coating of such beans as navy, pintos, kidney, great northern and black beans. To reduce the after-effect of digestive gas from beans, rinse the water containing the beans (from soaking or in the can) off of the beans before cooking them for dinner.

Week of December 10, 2005:  Think and Be Stronger
Competitive athletes often use a technique called visualization to help give them an edge over their opponents. ”Just thinking about exercise can help maintain muscle strength,” says Dr. Vinoth Ranganathan, who, with a team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, investigated the strength benefits of imagining exercising a muscle. Of course, actual strength-training exercises, as opposed to imaginary ones, are still the most effective means of building strong, healthy muscles.

Week of December 3, 2005:  Exercising During TV-Commercial Breaks
Overweight and under-exercised, the human body leaves itself open and vulnerable to a myriad of chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

During an hour-long television show, there will be around six commercial breaks which would total about 15 minutes. If you exercise during those commercial breaks, you can do 15-minutes of exercise that you normally would not have found time for. Do each movement to the rhythm of your breathing. A few examples of what you can do are these:

* With arms held straight out sideways at shoulder height, do circles forward and backward
* With arms held straight out sideways at shoulder height, twist the torso to the left and to the right
* Side bends
* Standing toe touches (with arms stretched high overhead)
* Push-ups
* Deep knee bends (squats)

Doing this once a day, you can improve your health. Doing it twice a day, you will get twice the benefit.

Week of November 26, 2005: B Vitamins
The B complex is an extremely essential group of nutrients that the body must get through diet or produce in intestinal flora to enable it to: (1) transform food into energy, (2) maintain a strong immune system, (3) balance many of the body’s hormones, and (4) perform a wide variety of other tasks.

The B vitamins work together as a complex and are dependent upon each other to perform their individual tasks in the body. Insufficient intake of one B vitamin can create imbalances and deficiencies in others and impair the body’s ability to assimilate and metabolize them. If a depletion or excess of one over the other occurs for a period of any duration, there will be a problem in the entire complex. Because of this relationship between the B vitamins, an isolated deficiency of only one B vitamin is rarely seen. This is another good reason for taking the B vitamins as a complex, a whole, and not separately.

An excellent source of B vitamins in their natural proportions can be found in Argentine beef liver powder.

Week of November 19, 2005: Stress
Stress is caused by the body’s instinct to defend itself. This instinct is good in emergencies, like getting out of the way of a speeding car but it can cause physical symptoms if it goes on for too long in response to life’s daily challenges and changes.

When this happens, it’s as though your body gets ready to jump out of the way of the car, but you are sitting still. Your body is working overtime, with no place to put the extra energy. This can make you feel anxious, afraid, worried and uptight.

Any sort of change can make you feel stressed, even good change. It’s not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters. What may be stressful is different for each person–one person may not feel stressed by retiring from work and another person may feel stressed.

Other things that may be stressful include being laid off from your job, your child leaving or returning home, the death of your spouse, divorce or marriage, an illness, an injury, a job promotion, money problems, moving, or having a baby.

Signs of stress may include anxiety, back pain, constipation or diarrhea, depression, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, problems with relationships, shortness of breath, stiff neck, upset stomach, and weight gain or loss .

To deal with stress, it helps to exercise on a regular basis, eat well-balanced meals, get enough sleep, meditate, and get away from your daily stresses with group sports, social events and hobbies.

Week of November 12, 2005: Old Cough Remedy
If you’re having trouble sleeping due to a cough and congestion, an old time remedy worked for most people. It sounds strange, but it does help. Put Vicks Vapor Rub on the bottom of your feet. Then put on a pair of socks.

Week of November 5, 2005: Bananas and Plantains
Bananas and plantains strengthen the surface cells of the stomach lining, forming a sturdier barrier against noxious juices. Rats fed banana powder had a visibly thicker stomach lining. Other rats were fed aspirin and other chemicals to see what happened to the barrier in the stomach. The lining decreased with aspirin and even was thinner with Tagamet. In the rats that were fed both banana powder and aspirin, the banana counteracted the drug’s erosive effects and the lining was still increased by almost 20%.

Bananas are also great for helping to lower cholesterol because of their high pectin content. One medium banana has as much pectin as a medium size apple. Unripe, green plantains are super potent against ulcers. The bigger the better as they contain more of the active chemical that protects the stomach. Eat unripe green plantains boiled or baked and if you do fry them, use organic, unrefined coconut oil as it does not break down in high heat. Oils that break down in high heat are toxic in the body and cause free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can tear into your cells and start nasty chain reactions that can leave behind extensive damage, including alteration of your genetic code (DNA) and formation of cancer cells. That is one reason why you need to stay away from fried foods if you are serious about fighting the aging process.

Week of October 29, 2005: Meat from Grass-Fed Animals
Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain-fed animals. Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. Of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat and they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Omega-3s are essential for your brain too. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.

Week of October 22, 2005: Reduced Sugar Cereal
The Associated Press asked a panel of nutrition scientists to examine six major brands of cereal that advertise reduced-sugar versions of their products. Their verdict: The new products have less sugar content, but in terms of nutrition they’re virtually the same because the cereals contain more refined carbohydrates. Why are there more carbs? To make the cereals crunchy. The problem is that refined carbohydrates act exactly the same as sugar in the body.

Week of October 15, 2005: Metabolic Syndrome
Today’s youngsters may be the first generation of children to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents–and the reason is obesity. People don’t die just from being overweight. They die from the many things that come with it. The majority of overweight children and teenagers already have at least one additional heart disease risk factor, and 25% have two or more. If they have three out of five major risk factors, they are said to have something called metabolic syndrome, a condition that has been identified as a significant marker for heart disease risk.

The five risk factors are high blood pressure (hypertension), high triglycerides, low HDL (“good” cholesterol), abdominal obesity and high fasting blood sugar. If you’ve got any three of them, you’ve got metabolic syndrome.

The best way to avoid metabolic syndrome is to concentrate on eating natural, whole foods. Fresh fruit is better than juice. Grilled chicken is better than breaded and fried chicken tenders. Water is better than soda. Nuts are better than chips. The less processed a food is, the more work the body does to digest the carbohydrate, leading to a less severe rise in insulin.

The best approach to decreasing metabolic syndrome may be prevention. Children should be encouraged to develop a healthy lifestyle that includes a quality whole-foods diet, regular physical activity and less sitting around watching television or playing computer games.

Week of October 8, 2005: Electrical Pollution
Everyone living with electricity is being negatively affected. It is only a question of degree. See Dr. Neil Cherry, Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic: the implications for the epidemiology of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects. Dr. Cherry made his presentation to the New Zealand Parliament in May 2000 and the European Parliament in June, 2000. Check out the web site Electrical Pollution Solutions for more information.

Week of October 1, 2005: Food for Health
Antibacterial: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cranberries, garlic, palm hearts (eat raw only), peppercorns, peppers, pineapple, strawberries

Anti-cancer: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, flaxseed, lemon/lime, papaya, spinach, strawberries
Antioxidant: apricots, blueberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, oats, peppercorns, sesame seeds
Bone health: eggs, oats, romaine lettuce, salmon, spinach
Cleanses: artichokes, beets, blueberries, broccoli, chick peas, flaxseed, grapefruit, kidney beans, leeks, mangos, melon, orange, parsley, parsnip, peaches, whole wheat
Detoxifies: apples, bananas, beets, buckwheat, carrots, figs, nettles, onions, parsnip, pears, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, yams

Week of September 24, 2005: Digestive Tract Health
The digestive tract is the way nutrition is delivered to the body. An unhealthy digestive tract leads to a hampered intake of nutrition which is vital for staying well. To keep the digestive tract healthy:

* Eat plenty of fiber. Foods that contain fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) pass more easily and quickly through the digestive tract. Fiber gives stool bulk and also softens it, which helps to prevent constipation, diarrhea and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber can decrease pressure in the intestinal tract which reduces the risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in the colon (diverticulitis). A fiber-rich diet may also play a part in lowering the risk of colon and rectal cancer.

* Reduce fat and oils in the diet. Excess fat slows digestion, which can lead to heartburn, bloating and constipation. A high-fat diet may also worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, and Crohn’s disease. A diet high in saturated fat (animal fat) may increase the risk of colon cancer.

* Drink ample fluids. Fluids lubricate food waste so that it passes more easily through the digestive tract. Fluids also soften stool, helping to prevent constipation and dissolve minerals, vitamins and other nutrients, making them easier for your tissues to absorb. Water is best, but milk, juice, and most other beverages are more than 90 percent water, so they also can help meet your daily fluid needs. (Carbonated drinks hamper the digestion of protein.)

* Drink less alcohol, if you drink at all. Anything more than a moderate amount of alcohol (one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men) can lead to digestive disorders. Alcohol can inflame the stomach lining and relax the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that prevents stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus). This can cause bleeding or heartburn. Alcohol can also aggravate symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea.

Week of September 17, 2005: Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate nostril breathing is done by alternating between the two nostrils when breathing. To do this, you breathe through only one nostril at a time. The logic behind this is that normal breathing alternates from one nostril to the other at various times during the day. In a healthy person the breath will alternate between nostrils about every two hours but because most people are not in optimum health, this time period varies considerably between people and reduces their vitality. If the right nostril is used, the result will be a mental and nervous disturbance. If the left nostril is used, the result will be chronic fatigue and reduced brain function. The longer the flow of breath in one nostril, the more serious the illness will be.

There are a couple benefits of doing alternate nostril breathing. First, the exercise produces optimum function to both sides of the brain (optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity) and also creates a more balanced person, with both halves of the brain functioning properly. Second, yogis consider this to be the best technique to calm the mind and the nervous system.

Medical science has recently discovered the nasal cycle (known by yogis thousands of years ago) and that one nostril is much easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time and that this alternates about every three hours. The scientists also discovered that the nasal cycle corresponds with brain function. The electrical activity of the brain was found to be greater on the side opposite the less congested nostril. The right side of the brain controls creative activity, while the left side controls logical verbal activity. The study showed that when the left nostril was less obstructed, the right side of the brain was predominant. Test subjects did better on creative tests. When the right nostril was less obstructed the left side of the brain was predominant and the test subjects did better on verbal skills.

One of the ways to do alternate nostril breathing is as follows:

1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril to the count of four seconds and exhale through this nostril to the count of eight seconds.

2. Inhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds and exhale through this nostril to the count of eight seconds.

Do the above two steps three times.

Alternate nostril breathing shouldn’t be done if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any way. Forced breathing through the nose may lead to complications.

Week of September 10, 2005: Skipping Breakfast–A Good Way to Gain Weight
Skipping breakfast is not an effective way to lose weight. Researchers investigated the relationship between breakfast type, energy intake and body mass index (BMI). They found that it’s not just breakfast but the type of food eaten that is connected with BMI.

Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. From 1960 to 1994 obesity in American adults almost doubled from 12.8% to 22.5%. At the same time, between 1965 and 1991, the proportion of adults skipping breakfast increased from 14% to 25%. Some of the reasons people give for skipping breakfast include lack of time for preparing and consuming food, and concerns about excess body weight.

An inverse relationship has been found between BMI and breakfast consumption. Breakfast eaters tend to have lower BMI than those who skip breakfast, and obese individuals are more likely to skip breakfast. It has been found that moderately obese women lose more weight when they consume 70% of their daily energy intake before noon instead of in the afternoon or evening.

Information from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), a large population-based study conducted in the United States, 1988-1994, was analyzed for breakfast type, total daily energy intake, and BMI. There were several categories studied, “skippers” (people who skip breakfast), “meat/eggs”, “ready-to-eat cereal (RTEC)”, “cooked cereal,” “breads,” “quick breads” (e.g. waffles, French toast), “fruit/vegetables,” “dairy,” “fats/sweets,” and “beverages.” Other factors taken into consideration were age, gender, race, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity and socio-economic status.

The researchers found those who ate ready-to-eat cereal, cooked cereal, or quick breads for breakfast had a significantly lower BMI compared to the skippers and the meat/eggs eaters. The skippers and fruit/vegetable eaters had the lowest daily energy intake and meat/egg eaters had the highest daily energy intake. The skippers, meat/eggs eaters, and dairy eaters had the highest BMIs.

Week of August 20, 2005: Sunlight for Pain and Relaxation
Sunlight may be a key prescription for easing pain. A recent hospital study (University of Pittsburgh, Jeffrey Walch and Bruce Rabin) found that patients in sunnier rooms needed fewer painkillers than patients in darker rooms. They were able to cut their drug costs by 21%. Bright light improves mood and triggers the release of “feel good” brain chemicals such as serotonin.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center found that exposure to ultraviolet light may produce a relaxing effect. The research was reported in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. For six weeks, study participants had tanning sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays in two identical-looking tanning beds. They spent half of each session in one bed and half in the other. Only one bed used ultraviolet light (UV). UV light occurs naturally in sunlight and is responsible for the tanning and burning effects of the sun. Artificial UV light is used in tanning beds and sunlamps. Mood was measured before and after each tanning exposure. The results revealed greater relaxation and lower tension after UV exposure compared to non-UV exposure. The researchers theorize that UV exposure leads to the release of chemicals in the brain called endorphins that are linked to both pain relief and euphoric feelings.

If you can’t get natural sunlight, full-spectrum bulbs may have the same effect.

Week of August 13, 2005: Walking on Stones
A research team from the Oregon Research Institute did a 16-week study. They divided 108 volunteers over 60 into two groups: One group spent three sessions a week walking on cobblestones like the ones in traditional stone paths in China (walked on for centuries as a healing therapy). The other group spent an equal amount of time simply walking normally. At the end of the study, one of these groups showed measurable improvement in balance, mobility, and blood pressure. And guess what? The stone-strollers got all the benefits, just like the ancient Chinese have maintained forever and a day. The results are in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Week of August 6, 2005: Healthy Skin
Diet and other choices you make are clearly reflected in your face and skin, the body’s largest and most protective organ. If you take care of yourself, your skin will show it. If you eat poorly, smoke, or skimp on sleep, your skin won’t look so good. Your skin is a barometer of the health of your entire body. Proper nutrition, getting enough sleep, regular exercise, fresh air (but not too much sun), keeping your worries under control, avoiding negative habits, such as smoking and overindulgence in alcohol, will keep you glowing and rosy. It’s important to remember that your skin needs proper nourishment to ensure proper function. It isn’t just a shell that holds your insides in, it’s a functioning body organ.

Sugar upsets digestion, which can lead to inflammatory skin problems such as acne, rashes and rosacea. In older people, sugar makes the skin age faster by changing the structure of collagen, a protein that is the building block of skin. As the structure of the skin changes, wrinkles become increasingly apparent. A high-fat diet may contribute to the development of skin cancer. Over-processed foods, such as French fries and chips, are high in carcinogens and should be eaten very sparingly.

Your skin will benefit from eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables, especially, if you eat them instead of sugary and fried foods. For optimal skin health, plenty of nutrient-rich vitamins and minerals are a must, and a lack of A, B or C vitamins can lead to dry skin and rashes. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, which can prevent the oxidation of free radicals that leads to inflammatory skin problems.

To cleanse your body of toxins, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. The standard recommendation is eight glasses of water (or other healthy liquids such as herbal teas or fresh juices) daily. Fluids flush toxins out of the bowel, kidneys and liver. An essential element of all metabolic processes, water keeps the body’s systems and organs performing at peak efficiency, and the skin supple and hydrated. Add a bit of lemon juice to assist in the process.

Week of July 30, 2005: Relaxation
Relaxation is an important part of overall health. To relax and achieve the maximum benefit, you should dim the lights (use an eyebag), eliminate noise and interruptions, lie in a position that does not require any tension in the muscles, clear the mind (don’t think about things you need to accomplish or take care of), and concentrate on breathing in and breathing out. Yoga websites can provide many restorative poses that enhance relaxation. An example is waterfall:

Week of July 23, 2005: Forward Bending
Forward bends restore the elasticity of the cerebral blood vessels, which may become rigid with atherosclerosis. Forwards bends can reduce the risk of strokes. A gentle supported forward bend can be done with a chair. Face the chair and bend over. If your head does not touch the seat of the chair, add pillows and blankets, piling them high enough to support the top of your head. The goal would be to slowly, over time, to reduce the pile until your head can reach the seat and be supported comfortably. (If you do both forward and backward bending, do the forward bending first.)

Week of July 16, 2005: Supported Backward Bending
Studies have shown that every minute of supported backward bending provides circulatory enhancement, increasing blood and oxygen flow without force or fatigue, equal to running one mile. There are various yoga poses that you can use to get the benefit. Here are a couple examples (supported dwi pada viparita dandasana and supported setu bandha sarvangasana). There are others that are even easier to do than these. It is best to have an instructor to insure proper positioning.

Week of July 9, 2005: Brain Power
For good brain function, never skip breakfast. Have food with protein (eggs, yogurt) and some complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables). The lecithin found in eggs is rich in choline, which enhances thinking and memory retention. The complex carbohydrates help to maintain a steady supply of glucose required by the brain. Take your supplements at breakfast to give your day a boost. The herb gingko biloba has been found to increase the blood flow to the brain, which helps alertness and memory.

Exercise keeps the brain performing properly. Reading, and crossword puzzles keep your memory and brain sharp as you age.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish support healthy neurological function.

Week of July 2, 2005: Whole Grains
The less processing a grain product has undergone, the more nutrition it contains–more vitamins and minerals, more fiber, protection from diabetes, heart disease, constipation, and cancer. You can get whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal (not instant).

Week of June 25, 2005: Healthy Veins
The health of your veins is an indicator of your overall health. Varicose veins, spider veins, and broken capillaries show up on the legs and can be both embarrassing and uncomfortable. Poor circulation which seems to exacerbate these problems can be helped with exercise, diet, and topical creams.

Yoga is very helpful in enhancing circulation in the body. Vitamin C is important because it supports the connective tissues (veins and capillaries). Flavonoids help protect the inner lining of blood vessels. Horse chestnut, butcher’s broom, bilberry, gingko, and cayenne are all herbs that help improve circulation. Special topical creams formulated to improve the appearance of the veins and ease the discomfort can be found in health food stores.

Week of June 18, 2005: Aching Joints
Aching joints can occur at any age. Sometimes it may be caused by sensitivity to certain foods–many times white flour, white sugar, dairy products, and vegetables in the nightshade family (tomatoes, white potatoes, and eggplant) are the culprits. Dehydration may also cause joint pain if you don’t get enough water.

You can add foods to your diet that can help with relieving the pain–cayenne pepper (can also be used in a cream to rub on the painful area), ginger, and turmeric. Pineapple eaten by itself will help ease inflammation (joints and muscles).

Week of June 11, 2005: Fast Food
A 15-year study of 3000 adults, ages 18-30, shows the negative impact that fast food has on the body, regardless of what else people ate and the exercise they did. Those who ate fast foods less than once a week were compared to those who ate fast food more than twice a week. The frequent eaters had gained 10 pounds and had a twofold greater increase in insulin resistance (pre-diabetes). (Mark A. Pereira, Ph.D, et al, “Fast-Food Habits, Weight Gain, and Insulin Resistance (the CARDIA Study): 15-Year Prospective Analysis,” Lancet (Jan 1, 2005))

If you need more persuasion to drive by a fast food place rather than drive thru, check out the book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, or the documentary movie, Super Size Me.

If you must eat in a hurry or on the run, consider a smoothie made with fruit with a protein blend added like those offered at Smoothie King or some workout gyms instead of a sandwich and fries. It’s more filling than a salad and helps to meet your daily fruit intake requirements. It also gives you energy till your next meal.

Week of June 4, 2005: Foods to Improve Your Diet
Some foods for a healthy and balanced diet are: black beans (antioxidants and folate), blueberries (some of the most health-protecting antioxidants), broccoli (detoxifies and contains cancer fighting nutrients), dark chocolate (has a high mineral content–limit to 1 ounce a day because of sugar and fat), oats (high in fiber), onions (nutrients fight heart disease), salmon (omega-3 essential fatty acids), spinach (antioxidants and folate), sweet potatoes (vitamins and beta carotene), tomatoes (lycopene), walnuts (healthy fat content–1.5 ounces daily).

Week of May 28, 2005: Apple Cider Vinegar
There are many benefits from taking a daily dose of apple cider vinegar, an old folk remedy. Dr. Jarvis, the author of the book Folk Medicine, prescribes two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey in a cup of water for ailments such as arthritis, insomnia, high blood pressure, and food poisoning. Apple cider vinegar can help:

* normalize the body’s acid/alkaline balance
* cleanse the digestive tract
* aid in the removal of calcium deposits from joints and blood vessels without affecting the calcium in the bones and teeth
* add potassium to the body

Week of May 21, 2005: Homocysteine
Homocysteine is a harmful amino acid your body forms as a by-product of the digestion of certain foods (like well-done steak). Increased homocysteine in the bloodstream is strongly associated with the occurrence of heart disease. This correlation has been common knowledge in alternative medicine circles for years.

Your body, however, has a built-in defense mechanism against homocysteine buildup–it transforms it into a harmless substance called cystathionine, which is flushed from the body in the urine.

Research conducted in the Netherlands points to the likelihood that some people are genetically unable to convert homocysteine at a sufficient rate, contributing to unsafe levels in the body and subsequent increased risk of heart disease. This research also studied the effects of a treatment for homocysteine that alternative medicine has been recommending for years: folic acid. The results confirmed that folic acid supplementation lowers homocysteine levels, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Netherlands research also concluded that those people with a genetically reduced capacity to process homocysteine were only at increased risk for heart disease when their folic acid levels were low. Which means that even if you’re one of those unfortunate souls whose body is ill-equipped to break down homocysteine, folic acid supplementation can “even the playing field” as far as your heart disease risk goes. But taking folic acid isn’t the only thing you can do to reduce blood homocysteine–Vitamins B12 and B6 are also critical for the metabolism of this killer amino acid. When you cook steak, prepare it as rare as you can enjoy it, because the closer to “well done” it is, the more homocysteine you’ll produce in digesting it.

Week of May 14, 2005: Pomegranate and Grape Juice
Recent research has found support for the benefits of pomegranate juice and grape juice. The first study (a joint effort by Italian and American researchers) concluded that two glasses of pomegranate juice reduced the progression of arteriosclerosis in laboratory animals by at least 30%. Pomegranate juice is also a good source of vitamins and antioxidants.

The other study, a human trial of 40 men with high blood pressure, has shown that the consumption of grape juice over an eight-week period correlated with a significant drop in blood pressure. This bolsters the findings of other studies, including some American research that pinpointed Concord grape juice as being a powerful anti-hypertensive, as well as an effective cholesterol lowering agent and inhibitor of arteriosclerosis.

Week of May 7, 2005: Onions and Bone Loss
Bioflavinoids are compounds that have amazing healing powers. One of the most powerful of these is quercetin, one of the strongest natural cancer-fighting agents you can find. Two of the best sources of quercetin are yellow and red onions. Garlic is good too, but it doesn’t contain any quercetin. White onions have only a minute amount of it. Another main source of quercetin is the apple. But onions also contain potent sulfur compounds that offer other health benefits.

In the latter part of 1999, researchers reported that, when dried onion was fed to animals it could reverse the same type of bone loss seen in those suffering from osteoporosis. Male rats fed 1 gram of onion powder per day for a period of only four weeks increased the mineral content of their bones by over 17 percent, the thickness increased by over 13 percent and the mineral density increased by over 13 percent. Overall, the addition of just onion powder inhibited bone reabsorption by about 20 percent which is higher than any other treatment that we currently have available.

The effect with dried onion powder was greater than that available from the prescription drug Calcitonin. The researchers even did tests on female rats that had their ovaries removed and found that the addition of thirty 1,500 mg of dried onion daily prevented bone loss that would have occurred when estrogen levels normally decrease.

None of these tests have been verified in humans, but it’s obvious that the onion has super, natural power. Research is definitely in the early stages, so there is no specific information about the best form to take, but a good guess is that raw is best. Throw them on your salads, cook with them, and eat them anyway you can. If you have allergies to sulfur you may have problems with onions. Also, those with adrenal disease may want to use them sparingly as some people claim that onions stimulate the adrenal glands.

The onion skins contain the most quercetin, but since they are not edible, just cook with them, in soups for example, and toss them before serving like you do with bay leaves. Onion may make your breath stink, but with benefits like those listed above, just carry your toothbrush and some tooth soap with you and don’t worry about it.

If you eat raw onions and happen to have a stainless steel spoon, you can rub it all over your mouth and tongue and it will get rid of the odor. A spoon works well because it forms to the roof of the mouth. Chefs use little stainless steel blocks to get rid of garlic and onion smells off of their hands.

Also, remember that whatever affects your bones, also affects your teeth!

Week of April 30, 2005: Water Works for Weight Loss
Nothing suppresses the appetite like water–lots of water. Start with two quart bottles in the morning and carry one with you wherever you go. You will have to make more trips to the bathroom, but it’s worth it. Try to drink the 64 ounces of water before you eat dinner, so you aren’t up half the night going to the bathroom.

Water fills you up and lessens your appetite and prevents those hunger pangs you get when your blood sugar drops and you reach for something sweet–cookies, candy, ice cream, or other treat. Water also flushes out the system, rids the body of bloat and toxins and adds color to your complexion.

Week of April 23, 2005: Stress
A small study has revealed that the immune cells of women under chronic stress displayed chromosomal changes characteristic of increased aging when compared with the cells of women leading calmer lives. Doctors examined the telomeres (small pieces of DNA that protect and stabilize the ends of chromosomes) of immune cells in 58 women ranging in age from 20 to 50. Since telomeres shorten with age as the cells divide, telomere length is a measure of aging. Eventually the telomeres reach a point after which no further cell division is possible.

The study, which was published in the November 29, 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that chronic stress has the potential to shorten the life of immune cells. The authors note that promoting cellular aging might be one way in which stress influences the onset of age-related diseases and conditions. While the doctors admit they are unsure of the mechanism through which stress affects the immune cells, they suggest that changes in stress hormone levels might be involved. The researchers also plan to investigate whether this effect is seen in other types of cells in the body.

For relief from stress, a yoga class is very helpful. A natural remedy for stress is aromatherapy using essential oils.

Week of April 16, 2005: Sleep and Obesity
A recent study revealed that the number of hours slept has an influence on the risk of obesity–the less sleep, the higher the risk. The researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Obesity Research Center, found a link between the risk of being obese and the number of hours of sleep each night. Other factors, such as physical activity, age and depression, to name a few, made no difference to the weight gain.

Two hormones–leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and grehlin, a hormone that increases food intake and is thought to play a role in long-term regulation of body weight–are involved. Sleep deprivation lowers the levels of leptin and raises levels of grehlin.

Getting anything less than the seven (as the least) to nine hours sleep we need is asking for trouble. It could lead to a loss of physical and mental health, to poor memory, poor coordination, and now, to weight gain and obesity.

Week of April 9, 2005: Sunflower Seeds
The protein in sunflower seeds can’t be beat. And it won’t clog up your arteries like beef and pork chops coagulated with grease. Raw sunflower seeds make for a tasty mid-afternoon snack and they’re a lot better for you than a Snickers bar or a Dr. Pepper. Wash ’em down by chewing them until they’re a liquid. Savor the subtle tastes as your mouth enzymes break them down and prepare the seeds for stomach digestion. Sprouted sunflower seeds on top of a baked potato that you’ve split down the middle are better for your heart and health than sour cream and a huge dab of butter.

Week of April 2, 2005: Muscles and Aging
Even without suffering a major trauma to the body, we lose muscle and strength at an alarming rate as we age. Some studies say the process begins in our early twenties: other studies say by age forty we lose muscle each year. The process particularly significant for women, who tend to have smaller bodies and smaller bones and are not as used as men are to exerting their bodies against resistance.

If you don’t use a muscle it weakens rapidly, as the NASA scientists discovered when the first men they sent up into space returned with significant muscle and strength loss. Why? The astronauts didn’t use their muscles to get around in their weightless environment.–excerpt from Strength Training on the Ball by Colleen Craig

Week of March 26, 2005: Gum Disease
Gum disease afflicts millions of Americans. It is largely due to nutritional deficiency caused by the consumption of processed nutrient-deprived foods of civilized societies. Once the gums degenerate, they are easily infected by microbes. Nutrients that help maintain normal gums and prevent recession include folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Healing and regenerating the gums involves taking the appropriate nutritional supplements as well as improving the diet. Improving the diet is a major step in treating gum disease. You can also rub oil of oregano on all gum surfaces twice a day and use a small amount on a toothbrush to brush the teeth.

Week of March 19, 2005: Eggs
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods. They come in their own package, full of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. When purchasing eggs, look for eggs labeled organic or from vegetarian cage-free chickens. Eggs have all the essential amino acids the body needs. Eggs are one of the few foods that have vitamin D and 13 essential vitamins and minerals. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating up to one egg a day has no substantial impact on the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke for people with normal blood cholesterol levels.

Week of March 12, 2005: Probiotics
The probiotics (beneficial bacteria) found in yogurt, cultured soy, and cottage cheese support overall health. Besides aiding digestion, they are helpful in other important ways. L. acidophilus has been shown to prevent substances in the digestive tract from developing into cancer-causing carcinogens. Probiotics can lower total cholesterol levels in addition to LDL (bad) cholesterol. The severity and duration of diarrhea can be decreased by probiotics. Yeast infections can be prevented by probiotics.

Week of March 5, 2005: A Positive Attitude is a Key to Good Health
“Happiness is the way you decide to live your life. It isn’t something someone else gives to you. When you are happy with life in general, you are much healthier because you send a positive message to your body. This is how we learn to become our best friend instead of our worst enemy.”

“You have more power over your outlook on life and your feelings than you ever realized.”
“Do you want to become an angel on Earth and develop your soul to its fullest potential by seeing the best in each situation?”
“Do you want create hell on Earth in your own mind by choosing to see the worst in each situation?”
“It’s up to you through your power of choice! Developing our soul is our main purpose on Earth, and each experience has a lesson for us to learn.”
“We have a tendency to want to fix everyone else except ourselves. With our eyes we see what is wrong with the world and everyone else. How can we develop our souls if we are looking in the wrong direction? The only person that we can control is ourselves. The only person that we are responsible for developing is ourselves. Our focus should be on ourselves and not someone else!”
–excerpt from Chapter 11 of The Art of Falling in Love with your Time on Earth by Mannie Billig

Week of February 26, 2005: Food Additives
Over 10,000 additives are put into the food we eat. They are used to flavor, color, preserve, acidify, alkalize, and emulsify. They are also used for leavening and to enhance the nutritional value. The abundant, spoilage-free food supply is touted by the food industry and credited to the use of the food additives. Health practitioners have condemned these same additives as the source of many of our health problems.

These additives are not food. Most of them are man-made chemicals which the body is not programmed to handle. I.e., they are toxins. It has been estimated that the average American consumes 14 pounds of additives every year. The symptoms of chemical toxicity slowly creep up on us and manifest themselves as arthritis, failing vision, aches and pains, poor digestion, poor immunity, and other ailments attributed to “aging.”

Some of the additives to avoid are as follows:

* Alginate (derived from kelp, used for texturing in dairy products and thickening acidic foods; may cause skin eruptions
Artificial colorings (numerous problems with these have caused some to be banned)
* Carrageenan (from seaweed and possibly linked to ulcers and cancer in the digestive tract)
Calcium (or sodium) propionate (anti-mold preservative in bread, possibly linked to migraines)
High fructose corn syrup (sweetener that is cheaper than sugar and found in almost everything; may be a leading factor in the increasing number of diabetics in USA)
Hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil (chemically altered oils that contribute to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS, and many other health problems)
Mannitol (sweetener with half the calories of sugar that may cause abdominal pain and diarrhea)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) (a flavor enhancer that may cause nerve cell destruction)
Sodium nitrate; sodium nitrite (preservative and coloring agent that can form cancer-causing nitrosamines, used in processed meats, smoked fish, and corned beef)
Sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite (prevents discoloration and bacterial growth and used in dried fruit, processed potatoes, and wine; allergic reactions are abundant)

Week of February 19, 2005: Morgellons Disease
Physicians treating patients with Morgellons Disease believe that it involves a new organism. This organism has been difficult to identify, but appears to infect individuals whose immune systems have been altered by Lyme Disease. The Morgellons Research Foundation is working to identify this organism and determine the source of the disturbing crawling, stinging, and biting sensations experienced by people with this disease.

Most individuals with this disease report non-healing skin lesions, which are associated with highly unusual structures that can be described as fiber-like or filamentous, and are the most striking features of this disease. In addition, many people consistently report finding objects described as black specks, and granules associated with their skin and skin lesions. The granules have also been described as sand or seeds, but are often seen to have fibers emerging from one end. The elongated fibers are often twisted into balls or what appear to be bundles of fibers, as they grow within the skin. Many people refer to these bundles as fiber balls, fuzz balls, or lint balls. The fibers are clearly hyphae-like structures, and but do not fall within the description of known hyphae or pseudohyphae. The fibers are most often white, but are also consistently seen as blue, black, and sometimes red. The fibers exhibit a high degree of autofluorescence and are not derived from textiles.

Additional organisms may be found on the skin of those with Morgellons Disease, but are considered incidental findings. The only consistencies observed by laboratories affiliated with this foundation, have been the fibers, black specks, and granule-like structures. These consistencies are the main focus of the investigation of the primary cause of Morgellons Disease.

Week of February 12, 2005: Keep Moving
Find ways to move your body on a daily basis. Climb stairs when you have a choice between stairs and escalators or elevators. Walk the dog, chase your children, mow the lawn, vacuum the house–anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it’s a stress buster. Think “keep moving” in small doses. It doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym, a 45-minute aerobic class, or kickboxing, although those activities a few times a week will help. In the meantime, keep moving.

Week of February 5, 2005: Cataracts
Eating greens nourishes your eyes with important carotenoids–lutein and zeaxanthin–that may help reduce the risk of cataracts, a recent study revealed. Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss in older people. Good sources for lutein and zeaxanthin are bok choi, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach. Several research studies show that the antioxidant properties of vitamins C and E may protect against the development and progression of cataracts. Good sources of vitamin C are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, red cabbage, and snow peas. Good sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and almonds. Canned and fresh tomatoes are good sources of both vitamins C and E.

Week of January 29, 2005: When Your Body Tells You Something, Listen
“Many books have been written about how to be a healthy individual, from eating right to getting enough exercise and the sleep that your body requires. One way to improve our health is to develop our mind and body to a point that we can feel the effect that each action has upon our being.

“For example, if you went out last night to a bar and had too much to drink, the message from your mind and body would develop into what is called a hangover. You would probably feel terrible. More than likely, you would experience a terrible headache and feel bad. What message is your mind and body sending? It’s probably saying, ‘I don’t like this very much. Please don’t do it again because it’s not good for me.'”–excerpt from Chapter 13 of The Art of Falling in Love with Your Time on Earth by Mannie Billig.

Week of January 22, 2005: Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus is a neurological condition which normally occurs in adults 55-years and older. NPH is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) causing the ventricles of the brain to enlarge, in turn, stretching the nerve tissue of the brain causing a triad of symptoms. A quarter million Americans with some of the same symptoms as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s may actually have NPH but it’s difficult to tell the difference because the symptoms of NPH are in many ways similar to those of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. However, the feeling of feet glued to the floor, or difficulty walking is the first symptom to appear in NPH. And it’s different from, for example, Parkinson’s tremors. In Alzheimer’s, memory loss and confusion tend to be early symptoms, whereas in NPH these appear later. Fortunately, once NPH is confirmed, chances are it can be treated.

If you have a friend or family member that appears to have “old-age” problems, please research more about Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus.

Week of January 15, 2005: The Healing Power of Prayer
Prayer is the most commonly used form of alternative medicine according to a National Institutes of Health survey. A researcher at Yale found that bereaved people who used religion to cope needed fewer doctor visits than those who did not. Other research has shown that prayer improves heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. Several studies have shown that people who have religious faith had fewer symptoms of depression. Another study found that those who pray showed improved heart and lung function. Even heart patients who have others praying for them do better than those who did not. Numerous studies have shown that prayer promotes healing after surgery.

Read more about the power of prayer:

The Power of Prayer in Medicine by Jeanie Lerche Davis
Healing power of prayer revealed (BBC News: Health)
Prayer as a Healing Force by Dr. Larry Dossey M.D
The Healing Power Of Prayer by Harold G. Koenig, M.D.

Week of January 8, 2005: Tea
Research results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that drinking black tea can help lower blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the cholesterol associated with increased heart disease risk. Drinking black tea did not reduce the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol.

Researchers at h-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol.

Researchers at Newcastle University’s Medicinal Plant Research Centre studied the properties of coffee and green and black tea and found both green and black tea inhibited the activity of the enzyme associated with the development of Alzheimer’s. Coffee had no significant effect. The tea also hindered the activity of an enzyme which has been discovered in protein deposits found on the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s. Green tea went one step further by obstructing the activity of a constituent which plays a role in the production of protein deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea continued to have its inhibitive effect for a week, whereas black tea’s enzyme-inhibiting properties lasted for only one day.

Week of January 1, 2005: Carob (St. John’s Bread)
Carob is native to the Mediterranean regions but cultivated in other warm climates. The large red pods have been used for food for animal and man since prehistoric times. The pods and their extracted content have numerous common names: locust bean gum and St. John’s Bread. The name of St. John’s Bread came from the belief that they may have been the “locust” eaten by John the Baptist in the wilderness for 40 days (Mark 1:6). It has been claimed that the seeds were the origin of the carat, the measure of weight for precious jewels and metals.

100 grams of the edible portion of the carob pod (about a cup of the entire pod, minus the seeds) contains 352 mg of calcium, making carob one of the richest nonmeat calcium sources. Using the same volume compared to milk (considered a good source of calcium) carob is nearly three times richer in calcium. Carob is also a good source of B vitamins, though not a complete protein.

The pods can be eaten (spit out the seeds). The pods can be cracked and the seeds removed then ground into a flour, which can be added to bread and pasty recipes or blended into liquids like rice or soy milk.

Throughout southern California and the Southwest, there are tens of thousands of carob trees, mostly along streets and in parks. The brown leathery pods ripen from September through February.

Week of December 25, 2004: Aromatherapy
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic oils from plant leaves, flowers, seeds, barks, roots, and the rinds of some fruit. These oils have been used since ancient times for aromatherapy, for healing and satisfying the senses. The benefits of essential oils can be acquired through inhalation or external application.

Aromatherapy stimulates the part of the brain dealing with emotions and memory and can affect the mind, mood, and feelings and actually cause physiological changes in the body.


Week of December 27, 2003:     B Vitamins Ease Chronic Pain
The treatment of chronic pain costs almost $100 billion every year. Prescription drugs have many side effects and only cover the pain instead of fixing the problem. A group of researchers in Texas believe that B vitamins may be the solution.

Scientists at Parker Research Institute in Dallas discovered that B1, B6 and B12 taken alone or in combination relieved pain caused by nervous system damage (sciatica, lumbago, facial paralysis, and other conditions).

If you decide to try this, for the best results include the entire range of B vitamins:

B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid, B12 (cobolamin) .

Week of December 20, 2003:     Natural Vitamins
Clinical evidence and several studies indicate that the body detects the difference and that natural forms of vitamins including A, B-complex, C, D, and E are more absorbable and assimilable by the body and have a more profound effect on deficiencies and disease than synthetics. It has also been shown that sensitive individuals who have reactions to the synthetic vitamins can take the truly natural forms with no problems.

There are some real problems with synthetic vitamins and most supplements containing them. Not only are they synthesized, but are also isolated components completely removed from the family of micronutrients that accompany them naturally in whole foods. They are not intact with their co-factors such as enzymes, co-enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace elements, proteins, phytonutrients, and essential fatty acids as they would be in whole foods or properly manufactured whole food supplements. They cannot possibly have the synergistic, nutritional effect of the whole food vitamins. A natural source of B vitamins is powdered desiccated Argentine beef liver.

Week of December 13, 2003:     Remedy for the Flu
Fortunately, I haven’t had the flu of any variety this year. I received an email from an old friend who was hit by it and hit hard. His wife gave him a remedy to try and it worked. I thought this would be a good thing to share with others who may find themselves in the same boat. Here it is:

Have been under the weather since Tuesday morning. Very upset stomach, very, very, acidic-worst case of diarrhea I can ever remember, and weak. Last night my stomach was so upset I couldn’t sleep. Then about 4:30 AM came a revelation from GOD.

Marsha asked me if we had any rye (the grain). I do all the cooking. Yes, we had rye. She told me to cook some in plain water with a little olive oil and eat it and my stomach would be better. Over the years I have learned it is best to do what she says even, if it sounds strange. This did sound more reasonable than most things she comes up with so I didn’t argue.

I put about 2/3 cup of rye and 1 1/2 cup of water, with 1 TB of olive oil on the stove and cooked it for about 1 hour. It was very good, had no problems and went to bed about 2 hours later. Slept like a baby till noon. No upset stomach or diarrhea. Had some more when I got up and more for supper. I’m slowly eating a few more foods but it seems that things are starting to work again. All I can tell you is, I didn’t bother a doctor, had no medication and I wish Marsha had told me sooner.

Week of December 6, 2003:     Foods that Calm
Foods that enable the release of serotonin and other soothing chemicals into your system can help you maintain or regain your calm. Complex carbs are best for doing this. Eating carbohydrate-rich food raises your body’s insulin level. The insulin then lowers the blood levels of the amino acids that compete with tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin. Once the amino acids are lowered, tryptophan can go to the brain where it is converted to serotonin.

Carbs that have been highly refined, such as WHITE rice, WHITE pasta, and WHITE sugar, will cause the blood sugar levels to spike quickly. The body responds by releasing insulin at a higher level to bring the glucose levels back to normal. The insulin works fast, the glucose level drops, and you’re suddenly get tired, grouchy, and vulnerable to stress

Avoid those roller coaster, up and down swings by eating complex carbs such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans. These foods are also filled with the minerals and vitamins you require to fight stress-induced nutrient depletion.

When you’re under stress the foods that will help are almonds, broccoli, brown rice, kale, and poultry.

The foods to stay away from when you’re under stress are alcohol, candy, cookies, fast food, and WHITE bread.

Week of November 29, 2003:     Mistletoe
Mistletoe is used by herbalists for hypertension (high blood pressure) and as a complement to cancer therapy. For hypertension it is taken orally (tea or a liquid extract) and combined with other herbs such as hawthorn and garlic. It should be only used under the supervision of a qualified health care professional. When used as a complement to cancer therapy, mistletoe is given by injection and available only in Europe.

Week of November 22, 2003:     Avocados
You can’t say enough good things about avocados. Many consider the avocado a perfect food. The content of acid vs. alkaline in avocados is balanced. Avocados are easily digested. Avocados contains all the antioxidant vitamins and are high in vitamin E.

Week of November 15, 2003:     Sulphur
The body contains as much sulphur as it does potassium and it is found in your skin, hair, and nails. It helps to detoxify the body. It helps to boost the immune system. It conteracts the effects of aging and the diseases associated with the elderly.

Sulphur is an essential constituent of protein, biotin, and vitamin B1. It is found in foods such as beef, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cheese, chicken, eggs, garlic, kale, lettuce, nuts, raw onions, raspberries, and turnips.

Week of November 8, 2003:     Supplement Form With Like Form
A little known trick to supplement your diet is to supplement form with like form. Notice that a walnut looks like a brain. To maintain good brain function, eat walnuts. Slice open a tomato and it has chambers a resembles the heart. To maintain a healthy heart, eat plenty of tomatoes. Slice a carrot and the pieces look like an eye with the radiating marks in the iris. Grapes resemble the blood cells. Eat white grapes (or drink white grape juice) for white blood cells and red grapes (or drink red grape juice) for red blood cells.

Week of November 1, 2003:     Yoga For Good Health
Yoga can help you avoid osteoporosis and offset the detrimental effects of stress in your life.  Classes are offered in most cities and videos are available at the public library.

Week of October 25, 2003:     Chestnuts
Chestnuts have less fat than any other kind of nut. Cashews come in second. Other nuts (in order of their fat content) are: peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, and macadamias.

Week of October 18, 2003:     Relief from a Cold
As soon as you start to feel a cold trying to invade, there’s something you can do to knock it out. Throw a couple chicken drumsticks (organic is recommended) into a pot of water, bring to a boil and simmer all day. After it boils you can add fresh garlic and onions and any other spices you like. Before you serve yourself some fresh chicken soup you can add some noodles to make a complete meal.

I tried this with a man in his eighties who started sneezing and sniffling one day. I made him the fresh chicken soup for his supper and the next day he showed no symptoms of a cold

Week of October 11, 2003:     Eat Cabbage
Eating raw (coleslaw), cooked or even fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) only ONCE a week may cut your chances of colon cancer by 66%.

Week of October 4, 2003:     Selenium
In research elevated selenium in the blood was associated with a significantly better chance that an important tumor-suppressing gene called p53 would be activated. (Just last year an Indiana University School of Medicine study showed striking evidence that selenium intake triggers activity of the p53 gene.) In a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center press release, the authors of the study warn that “megadosing” with selenium supplements is not recommended, although a toxic dose of selenium is hard to come by.

The U.S. RDA for selenium if 55 mcg, and the average diet probably falls short of that amount. I say “probably” because the selenium content of fruits and vegetables depends on the selenium content of the soil they’re grown in. In the U.S., selenium is most highly concentrated in the soil of six western states: North and South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Anyone who lives in these states and eats large amounts of fruits and vegetables daily might be at slight risk of getting too much selenium, but only if they’re also taking a high dosage selenium supplement as well.

Dr. Martin L. Smith, the author of the Indiana University study on the tumor-suppressing p53 gene, noted that in order to reap the cancer preventive qualities of selenium, daily intake should be around 200 mcg. This is well over the RDA, but you would have to get more than 2,500 mcg of selenium per day for an extended period to receive a toxic amount, so the chances of getting a dangerous dose are extremely slim.

Besides fruit and vegetables, bread, fish, and meat all contain selenium. The real selenium powerhouse, however, is the Brazil nut, weighing in at 840 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Week of September 27, 2003:     Arginine
Arginine is a nonessential amino acid found in a variety of foods. It plays a role in several important body functions, including cell division, wound heating, immune function, and the removal of ammonia from the body. Arginine may also be important during growth periods, since experts believe it may stimulate secretion of human growth hormone.

Most people get the arginine they need through food or via production in the body and supplements are not recommended for children. The average U.S. diet provides about 5.5 grams of arginine per day. However, certain conditions can deplete the body’s arginine stores, including infections, severe burns, and injuries.

Foods that contain arginine are oats, nuts, sesame seeds, eggs and meat. Powdered desiccated Argentine beef liver has approximately 165 mg of arginine in 5 grams (see nutritional content).

Week of September 20, 2003:     Water-Soluble Fiber
All dietary fibers are classified as either water-soluble or insoluble. Water-soluble fibers have been shown to support cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that higher fiber intake reduced the risk of heart attack by well over 25 percent. But among those who had the highest intake of fruit and water-soluble fiber, heart attack risk was reduced by an impressive 36 percent. Those with the highest intake of cereal fiber actually increased their heart attack risk by more than 10 percent. This was attributed to the fact that the sources of this type of fiber appeared to be refined grains. But while many food products claim to be “whole grain” or “whole wheat,” the product may actually contain very little of either.

Good quality water-soluble fiber is easy to come by when a little care is taken to find unrefined sources of these foods:

* Fruits, including oranges, peaches, apples, and grapes
* Vegetables, including carrots, squash, and corn
* Nuts and seeds (in particular, psyllium seeds)
* Legumes, including peanuts, lentils, peas, and kidney, black, and pinto beans
* Oats and barley

Buying these items fresh and using them in your meals will insure that you’re getting the good stuff.

Week of September 13, 2003:     Staying Young
Everybody wants to feel and stay young. A few tips on slowing down aging:

Eat foods that reduce aging such as blueberries, cherries, strawberries, garlic, onions, orange and yellow vegetables, dark leafy greens, nuts, seed, cold-water fish, and bran.

Drink plenty of water which helps flush fat and waste out of your system.

Exercise for strength and stretch for flexibility (weightlifting, Yoga, Pilates, ballet).

Supplement your diet with plenty of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, Ginko biloba, etc.

Meditate to reduce stress or use a simple exercise to lower blood pressure: breathe in on 4 counts and breath out for 10 counts for five minutes several times a day.

Do things to stimulate your brain such as reading, watching movies, playing chess, doing crossword puzzles, dancing, playing musical instruments, and playing board games.

Think of aging as a time to love and appreciate life, not to fear death.

Week of September 6, 2003:     Water and the Lack of It
Americans (75%), and most of the world population, are chronically dehydrated. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. A glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for most dieters.

Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Even mild dehydration will slow down your metabolism as much as 3%. A 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Weeks of August 23 and 30, 2003:        Adrenal Rebuilding
A great many people in our society suffer from adrenal exhaustion. This exhaustion is caused by undetectable amounts of adrenalin, due to the hectic pace and stress of life in the 21st century, being sent into the bloodstream. Imagine running into a saber-toothed tiger once every 48 hours and you’ll get the idea.

Contrary to what you might think, adrenal powder does not contain hormones. Hormones normally have to be in a moist environment to survive. What adrenal powder does is give you the “building blocks” to rebuild exhausted adrenals, which then in turn will produce the hormones your body requires.

One of the hormones the adrenals secrete is testosterone.

Week of August 16, 2003:        Food vs. a Vitamin Pill
Eating foods that contain antioxidants (substances that prevent free radicals from causing damage) will do a much better job of delivering those antioxidants than a vitamin pill can. Foods high in antioxidants are: apricots, avocados, blueberries, Brazil nuts, cheese (made from raw milk is best), eggs, peppercorns, salmon, sunflower seeds, tea, and tuna.

Week of August 9, 2003:        Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used to alleviate arthritis. Only use organic cider vinegar and never pour boiling water on it as that denatures it. If you’re not used to the taste, start with a teaspoonful in a glass of warm water 3 times a day. Gradually increase the dose as you get used to it. Since blackstrap molasses is also good for arthritis, add a spoonful of that to your mixture, which makes taste better and adds more minerals to your diet.

Don’t stop by the average grocery to pick up apple cider vinegar. You need to use raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the “mother” in it–usually only available at health food stores. The “mother” in vinegar is the webby looking mess floating in the bottle. While that may not sound too appealing, the ‘mother’ is the bacteria culture that assists the fermentation process in creating the apple cider vinegar.

Week of August 2, 2003:        Caution in Hot Weather
August is normally the hottest month of the year in North America. Even highly conditioned athletes need to take special precautions when they exercise in hot weather. Here are some things to do to protect yourself from the heat:

* Always acclimatize for up to a week when exercising in hot weather conditions. This allows your body to gradually adapt to the heat.
* Hydrate well before thirst kicks in. Once you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.
* Don’t exercise vigorously during the hottest time of day–train closer to sunrise or sunset.
* Wear light, loose clothing, such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate.
* Use sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
* Wear a hat that shades your head and allows ventilation.
* Drink plenty of liquids such as, water or sports drink every 15 minutes.
* If you feel your abilities start to diminish, stop activity and try to cool off.
* Don’t drink alcohol or beverages with caffeine before exercise because they increase the rate of dehydration.
* Remember that it is easier to prevent heat illness than to treat it once symptoms develop.

Week of July 26, 2003:        Fish for Healthy Eyes
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disorder of the center of the retina, called the macula. There are two types of macular degeneration–dry AMD (the most typical), and the far more debilitating wet AMD in which blood vessels begin to grow in areas of the macula where they shouldn’t be, creating bleeding and scar tissue that lead to severe vision loss.

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has sponsored research–the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)–a major, ongoing clinical trial.

Recently they examined the dietary information of more than 4,500 AREDS subjects, aged 60-80 years old. NEI scientists analyzed the results of omega-3 fatty acid consumption through fish intake on subjects whose AMD status ranged from healthy and free of AMD to severe cases.

After variables such as individual medical characteristics and demographic information were accounted for, two striking results stood out:

* Subjects that ate one or more servings of fish each week (four ounces of canned tuna, or the same amount of broiled or baked fish) reduced their chances of developing wet AMD by about one-third.

* Subjects that consumed more than two weekly fish servings cut their chances of wet AMD in half.

In addition, there are whole foods that may help lower your AMD risk. These include yellow-orange vegetables, green leafy vegetables and blueberries. Bilberry (a European cousin of the blueberry) is an excellent antioxidant botanical that’s also very good for the eyes, and especially the macula.

Week of July 19, 2003:        Feverfew and Migraines
Feverfew has a long history of use in traditional and folk medicine as a treatment for disorders often controlled by aspirin, such as fever, headaches and some of the accompanying symptoms such as nausea and depression.

In the last few years feverfew has been gaining fame as an effective treatment for migraine headaches. It may also help diseases caused by chronic inflammation such as arthritis.

I know personally of a woman who had migraines that kept her bedridden for a day and a half when they hit. She never knew when it was going to happen. Several times a migraine came on while she was on vacation which was not only a nuisance, but a very painful situation away from home.

I told her that feverfew was known to help migraines and she was willing to try anything at that point. She has been taking a daily dose of feverfew for almost three years now and she has not had a migraine (she always says, “Knock on wood.”). A couple times she has had a slight headache that she thought might turn into a migraine but it didn’t. She is a true believer in the healing power of feverfew.

Week of July 12, 2003:        Melanoma
Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. In men, melanoma is found most often on the area between the shoulders and hips or on the head and neck. In women, melanoma often develops on the lower legs. Melanoma may also appear under the fingernails or toenails or on the palms or soles. The chance of developing melanoma increases with age, but it affects all age groups and is one of the most common cancers in young adults.

Melanoma starts from accumulated DNA damage in a skin cell. Due to the damage, the cell loses it ability to control its growth and it multiplies repeatedly. The deeper the melanoma has advanced through the layers of skin, the more likely it is to be fatal.

There are four basic warning signs in melanoma:

* Asymmetry (if a line was drawn through the middle, the two side would not match)
* Border (irregular in shape with scalloped or notched edges)
* Color (typically brown or black and sometimes mixes of red, white, and blue)
* Diameter (larger that a quarter of an inch, the size of a pencil eraser)

If you notice an odd-looking mole or marking on your skin, contact your healthcare specialist as soon as possible.

Week of July 5, 2003:        Healthy Hair
The most important factor for healthy hair is a well-balanced diet.  Wash your hair daily with a gentle hypoallergenic shampoo to stimulate growth. The fewer chemicals used on your hair the better (use perms, dyes, and sprays as little as possible).

If you have to use a hair dryer, use the lowest possible setting.  After swimming in a pool wash your hair thoroughly to avoid damage by chlorine.  Use natural sunscreen products on your hair such as coffee extracts or wild pansy.  Be gentle when brushing the hair.

Week of June 28, 2003:        Grapefruit Seed Extract
In 1972 Dr. Jacob Harich, a physicist, discovered grapefruit seed extract(GSE). GSE has been used all over the world for the better health of people, plants and animals. Grapefruit extract is used as an antibiotic, antiseptic, disinfectant, and as a preservative in food and cosmetics. Grapefruit extract is also non-toxic, environmentally safe, and quickly biodegradable. It causes no side effects and is often dramatically less expensive than existing treatments.

GSE can be used for athlete’s foot, gingivitis, skin cleansing, sore throats, and sores that won’t heal.

Week of June 21, 2003:        Chew, Chew, Chew Your Food
John Tilden, MD (1851-1940) was a medical doctor in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He explained how eating starch too quickly causes gas in the bowels.

“When digestion of starch is not started in the mouth by thoroughly mixing it with the mouth secretions, fermentation results, and gas fills the stomach and bowels, causing much discomfort. The bloating will in time cause constipation. When the bowels are distended with gas, peristalsis (compulsory action) is overcome, and obstinate constipation follows.” — J.H. Tilden

In other words, chew your food thoroughly, especially if you’re having a starchy food. Chewing food thoroughly also helps if you are trying to lose weight.

Week of June 14, 2003:        Take Care of Your Legs
Experts recommend the following self-care treatments for healthier leg veins.

* Don’t cross your legs when you sit.
* Take warm, not hot, baths, and end by splashing cold water on the legs.
* Avoid high heels. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscles more, which is better for veins. Don’t wear tight clothes around your calves or groin that can restrict circulation.
* Take three or four ten to fifteen-minute breaks every day to elevate your legs above the level of your heart (for example, by lying down with your legs resting on three or four pillows).
* Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing. Make a point of changing your position, shifting from one leg to the other or walk gently back and forth, frequently to encourage blood flow.
* Keep your bodyweight at or below the recommended weight for your gender, age, and height. Losing excess pounds takes unnecessary pressure off your veins.
* Get plenty of exercise. Get your legs moving. Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in your legs.

Week of June 7, 2003:        Raw Milk
Raw milk, right from the cow or the goat, is superior to pasteurized milk. Pasteurization alters the physical structure of milk so that many nutrients are lost. A person may become more susceptible to osteoporosis and diabetes due to the alteration.

Another modern process to which milk is subjected is homogenization. During homogenization the fat globules are broken down so they can’t rise to the top (like cream does). Homogenization is linked to heart disease because the transformed fats can puncture the inner walls of blood vessels, requiring cholesterol to heal the wounds, and in turn may lead to a buildup that can cause blockages.

If you can consume raw milk, you can avoid many of the modern diseases so prevalent in society today. If you can’t find a source of raw milk, you may be able to find cheese made from raw milk.

Week of May 31, 2003:        Liquid Chlorophyll
To stop bleeding pour liquid chlorophyll on a tissue and apply to the spot that is bleeding. It stops the bleeding very quickly. It’s a good item to keep in your first aid kit.

Chlorophyll is non-toxic, soothing to body tissues and safe for use by people of all ages. It can be used to clean fruits and vegetables when a few drops are added to water. It can also be used as a nutritional supplement. Taken internally it chlorophyll will:

* Help to cleanse the blood
* Encourage production of hemoglobin
* Strengthen cells
* Improve immune response
* Deodorize the body, including the bowel

Scientists have also found that chlorophyll helps to strengthen cellular walls in animal tissue and helps to promote the elimination of toxins from the body.

Week of May 24, 2003:        Get Your Vitamin D Outdoors
Vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis and other health problems. Most people don’t get their requirements for vitamin D from food, they get it from sunlight. Exposing a few of inches of skin to sunlight for ten minutes a day provides all the vitamin D you need. Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, vitamin D-fortified milk and butter, but concern about heart attacks has caused many people to reduce their intake of these foods. At the same time, concern about skin cancer has caused many people to reduce their exposure to sunlight. Many senior citizens develop vitamin D deficiency because they do not go outdoors at all.

Week of May 17, 2003:        Flaxseed
Flaxseed is approximately 30% oil, most of which consists of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body so they have to come from the diet. These particular EFAs provide moisture, softness, and smoothness to the bladder, hair, and the skin. Studies have shown that flaxseed lowers blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Other studies have shown that flaxseed taken daily helps reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Week of May 10, 2003:        Use Your Hands to Help Your Vision
After staring at a computer screen for a long period or reading for quite some time, do this easy exercise to improve your vision. Lie down with a pillow on your chest. Rest your arms on the pillow and place your cupped hands over your eyes. The bottoms of your hands should be lightly resting on your cheekbones and the tips of your fingers should be gently lying on your forehead. Once in this position close your eyes and start to breathe deeply from your stomach. Relax in this manner for ten minutes.

Week of May 3, 2003:        Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are full of protein and the type of fat they contain are good for you too.

Raw sunflower seeds make a great snack and they’re a lot better for you than a candy bar or a soft drink. Chew them until they’re a liquid before you swallow. Savor the subtle taste as the enzymes in your saliva break them down and prepare the seeds for stomach digestion.

You can also get sprouted sunflower seeds at some health food stores or sprout your own with an inexpensive kit. Sprouting activates the seed which changes as it sprouts. There is a dramatic increase in enzyme levels, seed fats are converted to essential fatty acids and carbohydrates, proteins are converted to essential amino acids and/or sugars, and vitamin levels (on a dry basis) increase substantially. Because of the activated enzymes, sprouts are much easier to digest than dry seeds. Also, as the seed sprouts, the flavor is enhanced.

Week of April 26, 2003:        Eat Good Food and Less of It
Luigi Cornaro lived to the age of 102 by following two cardinal rules:

1) Eat what agrees with your digestion (quality)
2) Eat as little as possible (quantity)

He believed that by following these rules, stopping bad habits, breathing fresh air, and taking sunlight, one’s emotions would come into balance along with one’s health.

Week of April 19, 2003:        Stay Away From Junk Food
Eating highly processed snacks and fast food at the drive-thru will insure disease and obesity. Natural snacks are better for your health and your waistline: fresh fruit, raw nuts, seeds, carrot sticks, celery sticks, homemade popcorn, and salads.

Week of April 12, 2003:        Gallbladder Cleanse
When the gallbladder is working the way it is supposed to, the healthy digestion of food occurs. When food leaves the stomach, the gallbladder releases bile to break down fats as they pass through the first section of the small intestine. Toxins in the bile are eliminated by the body and most of the bile acids are reabsorbed back into the blood. The liver filters the blood and sends the bile to the gallbladder for storage until needed again.

Because of our diet, the gallbladder accumulates gallstones. A gallbladder cleanse will flush them from the gallbladder. There are many products available to accomplish this. You will be able to see the results and may be surprised at the number of stones that are flushed. A cleanse may be done annually or more often if necessary.

Week of April 5, 2003:        Travel Healthy
When traveling by car across the country, bring lots of fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. You can add cheese or almond butter to whole wheat crackers. You can usually find 100% juice in vending machines at rest stops and in the quick marts at gas stations along the way. Between snacks drink plenty of bottled water so you don’t dehydrate.

Try to stop, get out and walk around every 2 – 3 hours. You can do this with a quick run into the restroom at rest stops and gas stations as well as when you make stops for fuel. Before you get back into your vehicle, stretch your arms in front, back, and overhead. Stretch the back of each leg so that your hamstrings and calves get a little extra circulation. Bend at the waist forward, backward and to each side. Try to get some sunshine and fresh air too while you’re taking a break from the road.

Week of March 29, 2003:        Ten-Day Rice Diet
A dramatic step to take to improve your health is a ten-day whole brown rice diet (organic is the recommended type to use). This diet is described in You Are All Sanpaku by George Ohsawa. Eating only whole brown rice, water and salt for ten straight days is not easy. You have to really want to improve your health and have the determination to stick to it.

You can get creative even when limited to brown rice. Besides the normal cooking method of whole brown rice, you can grind the grain in a blender or other device and make creamed brown rice. In most health food stores you can find (with no other ingredients) brown rice noodles, brown rice cakes (with salt added if you want), brown rice crackers, and puffed whole brown rice. You can also roast brown rice and make a tea out of it. Then dry the rice and eat the crunchy remains later. To use up leftover cooked brown rice, fry it (no oil) to heat it.

Week of March 22, 2003:        Preventing Memory Loss
On average, we lose nerve cells at a rate of 1% a year, starting in our mid-twenties. As a result, by age 70, we’ve lost more than one-third of the cells critical to memory functions.

Memory loss can be exacerbated by other factors too: stress, depression, disease, nutritional deficiencies (especially of vitamins B1 and B12), and certain prescription medications. Trauma, strokes, and heart attacks can also reduce oxygen flow to the brain, killing cells and causing memory loss.

You don’t have to accept any of these assaults on the brain as indefensible. Through good diet, exercise and helpful supplements, you can help keep the mind sharp and memory intact.

Week of March 15, 2003:        Cholesterol
Cholesterol can come from your diet but your body manufactures most of it. Lowering the consumption of fat in your diet may help but may not be enough to reduce your cholesterol level. There are several things that can help reduce your total cholesterol–fiber, garlic, and lecithin.

Fiber can be added just be consuming more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Garlic can be taken in a supplement but adding fresh garlic to your meals is cheaper and tastes great.

Lecithin enables fats to be dispersed in water and removed from the body. You can buy lecithin in granule form and add it to smoothies.

Week of March 8, 2003:        Relief from Arthritis
There are four spices found in the kitchen that can relieve the pain of arthritis. Those spices are: celery, ginger, red pepper, and turmeric.

Celery contains more than three dozen anti-inflammatory components and seven arthritis-fighting substances. In addition celery helps to slow aging, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and can be used in the treatment of gout.

Ginger contains both anti-inflammatory and arthritis-fighting compounds. Ginger also helps to increase circulation and kill many intestinal parasites.

Red pepper (capsicum) interferes with pain perception in the body and triggers the body to release endorphins. Red pepper (also called cayenne) in an ointment or cream can be rubbed on painful joints four times a day. (Wash your hands thoroughly with soap to avoid getting it in your eyes which can be quite painful.)

Turmeric can alleviate arthritis pain with the substances it contains. Turmeric also can strengthen the immune system and dissolve cysts and gallstones. Turmeric is one of the ingredients in curry.

You can use these spices in soups according to your own taste.

Week of March 1, 2003:        Rice for Good Health
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition women in southern China who have a rice-based diet are at a lower risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity than the women in northern China who have a wheat-based diet.

Rice bran (rice’s coating) lowers blood sugar when it’s too high. Rice bran also has unique forms of the antioxidant vitamin E. Gamma-oryzanol in rice bran helps convert fat to muscle, enhances blood circulation to the extremities, reduces clots, and improves hormonal balance.

Brown (or unrefined) rice has its bran layers with all the nutrients intact and the fatty acids of the germ protected.

Week of February 22, 2003:        Brown Rice Diet
A brown rice diet can be used to lose weight. On this diet you can eat as much brown rice as you want. The only thing that can be added to the brown rice when you make it is water and sea salt. Do this diet for at least 5 days. You can remain on this diet for up to 10 days.

Week of February 15, 2003:        Antioxidants
During the past fifty years the most significant medical discovery has been that antioxidants minimize the damage done by free radicals in the blood that attack and weaken body tissues. Studies conducted have found that antioxidants help prevent breast cancer, cataracts, colon cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, senility, skin wrinkling, and stroke.

The best source of antioxidants is organically grown fruits and vegetables (at least 3 servings of each per day). If you can’t include all these in your diet, try a supplement. You can find a combination antioxidant supplement which should include vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Of course, the actual fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet that include the fiber are preferable.

Week of February 8, 2003:        Skin and Diet
Individuals who have a higher dietary intake of certain foods have less skin damage and wrinkling. Those certain foods are apples, cherries, dried fruit, eggs, fish, jam, legumes, melons, multigrain bread, nuts, olive oil, olives, pears, prunes, tea, vegetables, yogurt and water.

The foods that are associated with more skin damage and wrinkling are butter, cakes, cordials, margarine, pastries, potatoes, red meat, soft drinks, and sugar products, and whole milk.

Week of February 1, 2003:        Microwave Cooking
They’re convenient and fast, but are microwave ovens really safe? There are very few studies on microwave cooking and food quality. The few studies that have been done all describe some type of damage.

One study showed breakdown of vitamin B-12 to inactive degradation products in microwaved foods. The magazine Health & Healing Wisdom reports that Russian research concerning neurological effects of altered magnetic states of microwaved foods caused the Russian government to outlaw all food microwave apparatus in 1976. Another study showed depletion of antibodies and breakdown of enzymes when breast milk is microwaved.

The FDA found that there’s also a problem with release of potentially toxic molecules into the food from packaging designed to help brown food during microwaving in foods such as pizza, French fries, waffles, popcorn, and breaded fish.

Two Swiss researchers sequestered subjects under close scrutiny and blood tested them after randomly eating food that was either microwaved or conventionally cooked. They found all sorts of potentially nasty stuff: (1) blood hemoglobin levels decreased significantly after ingesting microwaved foods, both total levels and the amount contained in each red blood cell; (2) white blood cell levels tended to increase for no other reason than foods were microwaved; (3) microwaves altered protein molecules; (4) LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ type) increased relative to HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ type).

The Swiss researchers were immediately sued by the “Swiss Association of Dealers for Electroapparatuses for Households and Industry,” and one of them was convicted by the Swiss Federal Court of “interfering with commerce.” The fine was the equivalent of $65,000. The message to other researchers was to think twice before stepping on too many big-money toes.

The best news is that you don’t have to use a microwave oven and there are other ways to heat your food.

Week of January 25, 2003:        Benefits of Sauerkraut
Eating sauerkraut is a great way to protect the balance of bacteria in your GI tract. Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that contain the bacterium Lactobacilli plantarum. L. plantarum is a very dominant strain of healthful bacteria our ancestors consumed regularly.

Sauerkraut juice can be used to treat canker sores. Simply, swish about a tablespoon around in your mouth before swallowing it, morning and evening.

Week of January 18, 2003:        How to Prevent Computer Eyestrain
If you sit in front of a computer a lot, you’re going to experience some eyestrain. Here are some tips to reduce it:

* Set your monitor at, or slightly below, eye level.
* Keep reference material as close to the screen as possible to minimize head and eye movements and changes in focus.
* Minimize the reflection and glare from room lighting and dust the computer screen often.
* Make it a habit to regularly turn away from the computer and look at a distant object for a few seconds. Consciously blink your eyes frequently to keep them lubricated.
* Eat more blueberries, or take bilberry extract daily. The bilberry is a dark blue berry from a shrub found throughout Europe, similar to the blueberry but with more pigments. It can help protect your vision by strengthening the little blood vessels in your eyes. You can find bilberry extract in health food stores. Standardized extracts that specify flavonoid content are the best.

Week of January 11, 2003:        Gum Health
Healthy gums are more useful than glistening white teeth. You can daily massage your gums with 70% edible oil (sesame or coconut or any groundnut) and 15% fine powder of rock salt.

For your teeth, do this teeth exercise to ensure proper blood circulation and increase the life of your teeth and gums:

Keep your lips closed. Pound your upper teeth on your lower teeth 30 to 40 times, twice a day.

Week of January 4, 2003:        Start a Fitness Program

There are quite a few activities that people can start at any age. The top ten for people over 50 are:



You need to wear appropriate clothing for the exercise you choose.  Do a different routine every day in order to work different muscles which increases strength.

Week of December 28, 2002:        Limit the Caffeine in Your Diet
It is ironic that people use beverages that contain caffeine to counteract the stress in their life. Too much caffeine weakens the adrenal stress response, leading to eventual exhaustion.

Read the book about the six chemical functions in the body needed for peak performance and optimal health: The Chemistry of Success: Six Secrets of Peak Performance