Natural Health Directory © 2018
Learning how to relax, really relax, can have a far-reaching influence on the quality of your life. There is a difference between “vegging” (which can be a good thing to do) and taking time to engage in activities that produce deep relaxation. Meditation is an activity that can lead to deep relaxation.
Deep relaxation has specific characteristics. About 25 years ago, Herbert Benson defined the relaxation response. When a person has a relaxation response, several physiological changes occur. They are:
Decrease in heart rate
Decrease in respiration rate
Decrease in skeletal muscle tension
Decrease in metabolic rate and oxygen consumption
Decrease in analytic thinking
Increase in skin resistance
Increase in alpha wave activity in the brain
Meditating (one of several activities that produce the relaxation response) for 20-30 minutes a day, over time, can lead to a generalized feeling of relaxation in many areas of one’s life.
Some of the benefits of deep relaxation are (Bourne, 1995):
reduction of generalized anxiety
preventing stress from building up
increased energy and productivity
improved concentration and memory
reduction of insomnia and fatigue
prevention and/or reduction of psychosomatic disorders such as hypertension, migraines, headaches, asthma, ulcers
increased self-confidence and reduced self-blame
increased availability of feelings
Try meditating just a few minutes a day for an extended period of time. and feel the great benefits of how it can affect your life.
by Marianne Ross, Ph.D.
Benson, Herbert. The Relaxation Response.
New York: Morrow, 1975.
Bourne, E.J. The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.
Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1995.
It may sound crazy to some. Can chocolate really be healthy? Well, as long as it is the right kind, it absolutely can be. The determining factor as to whether or not the chocolate is a diabetes-inducing sugar bomb is the cacao content. The higher the cacao content, the more health benefits the chocolate can offer. Typically dark chocolate contains a higher amount of cacao, and it doesn`t have to taste bitter. As long as it has at least 70% cacao content, chocolate can be the tasty compliment to your health that you are looking for.
High quality chocolate is full of vitamins, flavonoids, magnesium (of which cacao is the highest natural source), and healthy fats. Among these are vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E. Flavonols found in chocolate have also been found to prevent lipid oxidation and improve blood flow.
In one study regarding the beneficial effects of chocolate, sixteen healthy men participated in a double-blind cross-over study. Participants were randomly instructed to drink cocoa that contained either a high or low amount of flavanols. In the middle of the study, the participants switched the type of drinks. This means that those who had previously had a drink high in flavanols were now consuming a cocoa drink low in flavanols. Investigators measured blood flavanol levels, flow-mediated dilation of blood vessels (which indicates cardiovascular events), and nitric oxide production.
Blood samples of the participants were taken before and after drinking the cocoa, in order to test the absorption of cocoa flavanols. They were tested every hour until six hours after the initial drink. The study found that after consuming the cocoa containing high amounts of flavanols, the blood contained high levels of various healthy flavanols.
What does this mean? The body actually utilizes the flavanols found in chocolate and absorbs them quite readily. This leads to improved blood flow and, therefore, improved heart health. Chocolate, considered to be a danger to heart health, is actually a heart-helping treat given that it is the right quality. It is important to purchase chocolate that is 100% organic and contains no artificial ingredients or harmful food additives such as aspartame. While the benefits of chocolate are numerous, artificial ingredients present in most brand name chocolate ensure that it will do nothing but damage your health.
The banana that we eat with our morning cereal has been used as a medicine around the world for centuries. Known in Latin as Musa sapienta, the banana is not actually a fruit but an herbaceous perennial. Alone and combined with healing botanicals, the banana can be used to heal ulcers and asthma, or to cure cataracts and other eye problems. Research has now shown that bananas can lower blood pressure as well as prevent colon cancer. Full of many nutrients and fiber, the banana is not only a food, but also a potent medicine.
Nutrients and Vitamins in Bananas
Bananas contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin G. They contain the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. Calcium and magnesium are needed for strong bones and to prevent insomnia. And studies have shown that selenium prevents both cancer and thyroid problems. Potassium is necessary for the function of every human cell, as well as the cells of every living plant and animal. The daily recommended intake is 4.7 grams, and one banana alone provides over 450 mgs of potassium. A single banana provides a third of the RDA of vitamin B6.
Blood Pressure Lowering Banana Research
A study in India showed that two bananas a week reduced blood pressure by 10%. Conducted at the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India, researchers compared the action of two bananas to other hypertension drugs, called ACE-inhibitors. The bananas showed the same blood pressure lowering action, without the side effects of the drugs, which can include dizziness, headaches, and birth defects. Ripe bananas showed a better action than unripe ones. In other research, seven bananas a day were shown to lower blood pressure.
Bananas in combination with the African herb orinol are used to treat cataracts in Nigeria. For stomach ulcers, the peel of the banana is used for a permanent cure. The Dali Medical Centre in Cape Town, South Africa reputedly uses bananas with soy milk and herbs to treat cataracts as well.
Banana Fibre for Health
Bananas contain a type of fibre called pectin. Pectin has been found to be the best type of fibre to inhibit colon cancer. Pectin is a soluble fibre, as differentiated from insoluble fibre found in most whole grains. Pectin is also contained in apples and potatoes. One banana contains two grams of fibre, nearly ten per cent of the recommended daily dose, which is twenty-five grams.
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease resulting from infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Although the infection can be mild and not even produce noticeable symptoms, once established in the body chronic hepatitis C infection can progress to fibrosis (when the liver is scarred), cirrhosis, liver failure and even liver cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus becomes persistent and chronically infects the liver in about 85 percent of those who contract HCV. Persistent infection is treated by western medicine with medications like peginterferon and ribavirin. And while it’s true these drugs can wipe out the infection, they are only effective about half the time and they can produce very severe, debilitating side effects. So people who aren’t cured by the drugs and who go on to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may face death from the infection or require a liver transplant.
But now there’s another avenue of hope for the 270 to 300 million people who are infected with hepatitis C worldwide. Research just published in the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Journal of Biochemistry (JVC) concludes a chemical found in blueberry leaves actually blocks the replication of the hepatitis C virus, shutting it down. This finding could open up a new and natural avenue for treating chronic HCV infections, according to scientist Hiroaki Kataoka and colleagues at the University of Miyazaki in Japan.
Because HCV is localized in the liver and can take two decades or more to develop into significant disease, Kataoka and colleagues reasoned a dietary supplement might help slow or stop disease progression over the years. They decided to screen around 300 different agricultural products for potential compounds that might be effective at suppressing HCV replication. The results? They uncovered a strong candidate for a natural HCV fighter — the leaves of the rabbit-eye blueberry, a plant native to the southeastern US.
They purified the specific compound in the leaves that is active against HCV and an analysis showed it is a proanthocyandin (a polyphenol much like the beneficial natural chemicals found in grapes and wine). While large doses of proanthocyandin can be toxic, Kataoka and his research team found the plant’s effective concentration against HCV was 100 times less than the toxic threshold. What’s more, similar chemicals are found in many edible plants, so the scientists believe it should be safe as a dietary supplement. The researchers are now planning to study exactly how this chemical blocks replication of the hepatitis C virus.
“Proanthocyanidin from Blueberry Leaves Suppresses Expression of Subgenomic Hepatitis C Virus RNA” by Masahiko Takeshita, Yo-ichi Ishida, Ena Akamatsu, Yusuke Ohmori, Masayuki Sudoh, Hirofumi Uto, Hirohito Tsubouchi, and Hiroaki Kataoka.
For more information:
About the author
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s “Healthy Years” newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s “Focus on Health Aging” newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s “Men’s Health Advisor” newsletter and many others.
During sometime in this year, you will most likely succumb to the common cold. Even the strongest or the bravest person will at times have the nasty old “common cold” bug. Many confuse the flu with the cold and there are some simple differences to help you know which treatment to take. Natural medicines should be taken at all times, as antibiotics will only suppress your immune system.
When is it more than just a cold?
– Shortness of breath or wheezing
– Sore throat
– Little or no appetite
– Excessive pain in the lungs, throat or ears
– A temperature over 101 degrees (farenheit) for more than 3 days
– A fever of 103 degrees or more.
It is important when looking at any natural remedy, to first increase your immune system and then attack the bug. A clean body cannot get the cold or the flu. There are approximately 200 different viruses that cause the common cold and the most known virus is called “Respiratory Syncitial Virus” (RSV). Colds are infectious disease and can be passed on to others.
What is the difference between asthma and the flu or common cold?
What is the difference between the flu and the common cold?
– The common cold is basically an illness above the neck
– With the flu, you will feel bad all over
– lack of energy
– flushed face
– fever of 102-106 degrees
What are the symptoms of the common cold?
– Runny and dripping nasal problems
– Nasal congestion
What are the natural remedies for the common cold?
– Vitamin C – Immediately increase your intake of vitamin C.
– Olive leaf – As soon as you get the first cold symptoms, you should take twenty-one capsules of dried olive leaf. The following days you should take 9 capsules each day. In most cases, the cold will not last longer than one day, if you catch the cold in the beginning stages.
– For a dripping nose problem, use a warm salt water solution – Take a tea glass of warm water and place one tablespoon of salt in the water and dissolve the salt. You can either use a dropper or the “push method.” If you want to use the push method, then place the salt water in your cupped hand and push quickly to the nose and inhale. Do this for both nostrils.
– Chamomile tea – Boil a medium size pot of chamomile tea and take the pot over to a table. Place your head over the pot and inhale the fumes with a towel over your head. Immediately go to bed and pull the covers over your head and try to go to sleep.
– Chicken Soup – Researchers found that eating some chicken soup helped to unclog your nose. They are not sure if it is the aroma of the soup or the taste, but it did help to clear the nasal passages.
– Liquids – Drink between 6-8 glasses of water, juice, tea or liquids every single day. Stay away from all milk products.
– No smoking – Smoking aggravates the throat and interferes with the infection fighting cilia, microscopic “fingers” that remove the bacteria from your throat. So put out the “butt.”
– Sip on hot teas – As your throat will be tender, the best solution is a nice herbal tea. Peppermint or chamomile tea will work wonders.
– Showers – Take a nice hot steamy shower. A nice hot shower clears up nasal congestion. This relieves your cough by moistening your throat.
– Garlic – Take at least 4-5 gloves of garlic per day.
– Echinacea and goldenseal – Both of these herbs are excellent natural antibiotics. Echinacea is best when you buy the fresh root and suck on the plant itself.
– Make sure your diet is full of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. It is important to keep your immune system in very good shape, so go raw and go natural.
– Vitamins – At the onset of the cold, take your vitamins such as A, B, C, D and E. Ginger is very good for stomach inflammation also. So brew up a nice cup of ginger tea.
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
Bring the water and ginger to boil and then remove the pot from the fire and let it cool for 30 minutes. Then you may add some honey and sip the tea slowly. It will also soothe the throat.
Sources for this article include:
An apple a day keeps the doctor away! This is a saying that has stayed with us for many years. It is believed to have come from an ancient Roman proverb. The Romans truly believed the apple had magical powers to cure illnesses. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this might be true.
Antioxidants and Vitamin C
Humans are unable to synthesize vitamin C within our bodies like other mammals, so it is essential that we find a good food source of this vitamin. Apples are one of these foods. Vitamin C is well known for preventing scurvy through the use of limes by the British Navy during 1795. It is also well known that vitamin C has many immune system enhancing properties and is therefore essential to our daily health. Vitamin C is a superb antioxidant, and is essential for cell detoxification and enzymatic function.
Apples also contain bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are also known for their antioxidant properties. Bioflavonoids are also believed to be of use in the prevention and treatment of various types of cancers by inducing mechanisms that help to kill cancer cells and inhibit tumor invasion.
Apples actually contain a long list of phytonutrients including quercetin, catechin, phlorizin and chlorogenic acid. It is important to know however that many of the nutrients of an apple are contained within the apple’s skin, so be sure not to skin your apples before consuming them.
One apple, depending on the type and size, typically contains about 4 grams of dietary fibre per five ounce apple. This equates to approximately 15% of your recommended daily intake. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber in the form of cellulose and pectin. Both of these fibres have been documented to reduce and keep your LDL cholesterol levels under control.
Research done in Japan has shown that apple pectin can help decrease the chance of obtaining colon cancer. Pectin is also effective in causing regressions in and prevention of gallstones.
Asthma and Lung Support
Unique to apples is a crucial flavonoid called phlorizin. Phlorizin is believed to be important in the support of asthma and lung support, even more so than some of the other citrus fruits that are known to be helpful.
So with all of this information we can see how the saying could have easily come about. Although not one of the more exotic or expensive rare fruits or superfoods on the planet, apples truly can be a benefit to our daily diet. An apple a day can definitely help keep the doctors away, and that my friend is tasty!
What are the secrets to longevity? Dr Maoshing Ni has an answer, or ten, in his new book.
1. Take long walks for a longer life
Most centenarians walk for at least thirty minutes a day. Walking can considerably reduce risks of stroke and heart disease, according to research. It can also boost levels of good cholesterol.
2. Slim down with soup
Eat nutritious soup at least once a day. Low salt soup re-hydrates as it nourishes and flushes waste from your system. Lose more weight than those who eat the same number of calories but don’t eat soup. Avoid canned soups which are loaded with salt and chemicals.
3. Drink pure filtered water
Hundreds of pollutants are regularly found in drinking water from various sources. Your safest bet is to use a wide-spectrum water filtration system.
4. Clean your fruit and vegies thoroughly
Scrub your produce in a mixture of salt and hot water to remove external layers of pesticides, fungicides and wax. Go for organic-grown produce whenever possible.
5. Speed up your metabolism
An amino acid ‘L-carnitine’ manufactured in your liver can promote fat loss, increase circulation to the brain and boost energy production in muscle cells. The following foods are rich in L-carnitine: meats, fish, poultry, wheat, avocado, milk and fermented soybeans.
6. Protect your eye-sight with spinach
Studies show that spinach really does help you see better. It contains special antioxidants that protect the eye from age-related macular degeneration.
7. Look and feel younger with nuts and seeds
A handful of nuts and seeds everyday is fantastic for improving circulation and muscle tone. They contain the amino acid ‘arginine’ which is useful in fighting heart disease, impotence, infertility and high blood pressure.
8. Eat more during the day and less at night
Research suggests that if you eat your daily protein and fat at breakfast you will have more energy and tend to lose weight. If however, you eat those same things at dinner time you might tend to gain weight, increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
9. Be a vegetarian on weekdays, a carnivore on weekends
Generally, vegetarians suffer fewer degenerative diseases than carnivores. For a perfectly healthy and balanced approach, limit your intake of red meat to only weekends.
10. Stimulate the brain with mental fitness
Fickle memory, diminishing concentration and slowed response time are caused by decreased blood flow to the brain and the loss of brain cells. To stimulate brain cell activity you could find new hobbies, learn new things and attempt cross-word puzzles.
Ni, Maoshing. Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of ways to be 100. California, USA: Chronicle Books LLC, 2006. August 18, 2006.
Here are twenty-five health-enhancing ideas to help you accomplish your health goals this year.
#1 – Replace sodas or soft drinks with tea or water.
#2 – Commit to eating one raw fruit (or serving of vegetables) at every meal.
#3 – Add just 5 minutes a day to your exercise routine. Don’t have an exercise routine? Start with 5 minutes a day!
#4 – Get more sunshine!
#5 – Learn some Pilates. It’s probably the #1 exercise system for core strength and flexibility.
#6 – Drink a superfood smoothie every day.
#7 – Buy more indoor plants: They purify the air in your home.
#8 – Take a quality, wild-harvested fish oil supplement that contains vitamin D.
#9 – Eat more quinoa: It’s a high-protein, low-carb “grain” that can easily replace rice or couscous.
#10 – When you get out of bed each morning, do five sit-ups first. It sounds simple, but just 5 sit-ups a day can make a difference.
#11 – Instead of trying to find a parking spot so close to the grocery store, park farther away. You’ll get a little more walking exercise and a little more sunshine.
#12 – Get a good water filter so you can stop drinking tap water (or bottled water).
#13 – Pick up a “gentle” art like Tai-Qi or Yoga. It will reduce your stress and improve your physical stamina.
#14 – Take a relaxing hot bath with epsom salts and soothing herbs like lavender. It will do wonders for your mind and your muscles.
#15 – Get a professional massage! Massage therapy is really, really healthy, and it’s a great way to reward yourself for some of the other accomplishments you’re making.
#16 – Grow your own sprouts! With a simple, low-cost sprouting machine, you can grow and eat your own sprouts. Eating just one ounce of sprouts a day still had a huge impact on preventing cancer and boosting immune function.
#17 – Prepare for a Spring garden. Sure, it’s cold and snowy right now, but make a commitment to start a garden this Spring, and you’ll reap many health benefits in the months ahead.
#18 – Get a mini-trampoline and do some rebounding in your living room. You can even watch movies or documentary DVDs at the same time.
#19 – Make a point to get at least eight hours of sleep for 2-3 nights a week (or more, if you can). Most people are sleep deprived, and the health cost is enormous.
#20 – Start visiting local farmer’s markets so that you eat more local food in 2010. You’ll be healthier and happier as a result.
#21 – Got a job you don’t like? Quit it! Downgrade your lifestyle to live on less money, then pursue what you really enjoy. Being happy in a small house is better than being miserable in a big one.
#22 – Get off those medications! Make a point to learn how to safely and gradually get yourself off all the medications you can by eliminating underlying imbalances or illnesses. The fewer medications you take, the healthier you’ll be!
#23 – Throw out your television! Are you still watching cable TV or satellite TV? It’s a complete waste of your life (but you already knew that). Disconnect the cable. Read more books and get your information online where news sources are more independent and intelligent.
#24 – Make a decision to think of food as nourishment instead of entertainment. Eat what your body needs, not what your taste buds desire.
#25 – Teach others how to be healthy! The more you talk with others about healthy habits, the more you’ll follow them yourself. 🙂
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed these 25 ideas for improving your health and beyond..