10 Foods To Boost Cognitive Abilities Right Now!

written by Danica Collins

cognitive abilities
Do you remember that old saying in technology: garbage in...garbage out?  Your body – especially your brain – works much the same way.  Your physical body plays a big role in your cognitive thinking. If you want your brain to function at its best, you have to give it the fuel it needs. Eating healthy is going to give you food that pays off in your physical and mental health.  Avoid junk food and fast food since it is pumped full of chemicals and offers nothing your body can use for actual fuel. If your body isn’t able to use it – neither can your brain! Cut out the foods that cause you to feel “foggy” and add these brain foods to your regular nutrition plan! 10 Brain Foods to Boost Cognitive Abilities Whole grains – with a lower glycemic index, whole grains are converted to energy slowly and gradually fuels your body longer.  They also boost your ability to focus.  Add oats, whole grain breads and pasta to your regular nutrition plan to improve cardiovascular health – resulting in improved blood flow to your brain. Fatty fish – you’ll find your best source of omega-3s in foods such as wild salmon, tuna and mackerel.  Omega-3 deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of inflammation and dementia.  One form of omega-3 called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) makes up 25% of your brain and you cannot produce it yourself.  You have no choice but to get it in your diet.  The older you get, the more DHA you need to add to your diet. Blueberries – to power up your short and long-term memory, opt for blueberries which aren’t expensive and can be found in most local grocery stores.  They show great promise in minimizing age-related memory loss.  You can even find them frozen (unsweetened) for a boost in the off-season. Tomatoes – lycopene is one of the most effective free radical fighters.  Oxidation is considered one of the core risks of neuro-degenerative disease. Seeds and nuts – adding one ounce a day of almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds has been shown to slow cognitive decline.  They also improve your vitamin E levels and raise your fiber intake. Avocados – the monounsaturated fats in avocados help improve blood flow and that is great news for your brain. Coconut oil – the primary fuel your brain uses is glucose.  When you become insulin resistant, your brain can literally starve to death and begin to atrophy and die.  Alzheimer’s patients are responding to an alternative brain food called ketones – produced from your fat instead of glucose – found in coconut oil.  Many studies are being done with coconut oil – not only as a preventative measure for neuro-degenerative disease – but to reverse diagnosed cases! Dark chocolate – low in sugar and fat with a touch of caffeine, dark chocolate has many benefits and is a safe and natural stimulant that tastes delicious.  Consuming one ounce per day can help your entire body including heart health and obesity.  It boosts mood by releasing endorphins.  Look for selections that contain at least 70% cacao for the most powerful antioxidants. Beans- there are few foods as inexpensive and beneficial as beans.  They help regulate blood sugar levels (glucose) because they provide a slower, steadier form of energy that doesn’t burn out quickly. Green tea- with low caffeine and an incredible amount of antioxidants, consuming two cups of green tea each day has been connected to enhanced memory and focus, heart health, cancer prevention and weight loss. Click here to discover six additional, natural memory enhancers for a sharper, clearer mind.

Fact or Myth: Are Fast Food Buns Safe to Eat?

written by Danica Collins

big hamburger isolated on white
This is a MYTH. When scrutinizing the health risks of menu items at fast food joints, the focus mostly rests on the meats and fries.  But did you know that fast food buns pose just as much of a health risk? In fact, these buns aren’t bread at all, but a mixture of the food industry’s favorite synthetic concoctions—bleached wheat, thiamine mononitrate, and health-compromising conditioners and compounds. For examination purposes, let’s focus on the ingredients of the popular Big Mac bun. Bleached Wheat: The whiter the wheat or flour, the more refined, and the fewer the nutrients. Bleached wheat is virtually devoid of any nutrition and contains a dangerous by-product of the bleaching process—alloxan. Alloxan is a toxin used to stimulate diabetes in healthy laboratory animals in order to then test diabetes treatments. Alloxan causes diabetes by flooding the pancreatic beta cells with free radicals, thereby destroying these insulin-producing cells. Malted Barley Flour: Malted barley flour has been linked to brain damage, migraines, and autoimmune diseases. It contains high concentrations of the amino acid glutamate, which is an excitotoxin that supercharges the hypothalamus to dangerous levels. The hypothalamus regulates the nervous and endocrine systems, and when it is not functioning properly can cause autoimmune issues. Malted barley flour is also loaded with tannins, which, if you are allergic, can trigger migraines. Thiamine Mononitrate: A synthetic (man-made) B-vitamin, thiamine mononitrate is an additive found in enriched flour and fortified cereal. Unfortunately, in synthetic form, it can build up in the liver and other fatty tissues, causing cellular toxicity and liver damage. Avoid not only the Big Mac bun, but also other fortified and enriched breads and grains. Ammonia Compounds: Fast food buns are manufactured with ammonia compounds, like ammonium sulfate and ammonium chloride. These preservatives wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal tract, causing diarrhea and nausea. Azodicarbonamide: This conditioner, which is banned in some countries, is used in nearly 500 food products. It’s also used to make yoga mats! Azodicarbonamide has been linked to respiratory distress such as asthma, as well as cancer and skin irritation. It’s an industrial chemical that disrupts human immune cell formation and function, and hormone function. Did we mention it increases gluten? Not good news for the gluten-intolerant! And, of course, the Big Mac bun, like other fast food buns, is flavored with high fructose corn syrup, soybean and canola oils, and corn syrup, not to mention trans fatty acids that cause a host of health issues, from cancer to heart disease. McDonald’s buns don’t fare any better, as they are preserved with calcium propionate, sorbic acid, and sodium propionate. Add stearoyl lactylate, DATEM and mono and diglycerides to the mix—with more than a dash of salt, sugar, gluten, and soy lecithin—and that’s one unhealthy fast food bun!

Fact or Myth: Is Microwave Popcorn a Health Hazard?

written by Danica Collins

microwave popcorn
This is a FACT. Popcorn is a popular low-calorie, low-fat snack, especially among health enthusiasts looking to lose a few pounds. When kernels are air-popped (even when topped with real butter and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt) popcorn is indeed healthy. Microwave popcorn, however, is a different story. Not only does the artificial butter flavoring in microwave popcorn contain the chemical diacetyl, which has been linked to a rare form of lung disease, but microwave popcorn bags are lined with dangerous contaminants. When we eat microwave popcorn, we are ingesting these carcinogenic chemicals, which can cause health problems from reproductive challenges to life-threatening cancers. Popped with PFOA Microwave popcorn bags are made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA),  a chemical the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled a “likely carcinogen.” The EPA has also acknowledged that PFOA—used to make Teflon and other stain- and stick-resistant materials—also “poses developmental and reproductive risks to humans.” When microwave popcorn is heated, PFOA leaks into the popcorn, eventually manifesting as contaminants in our blood. PFOA has been implicated in… Infertility Issues: The journal Human Reproduction published a study that showed PFOA increased the odds of infertility by as much as 154%! Thyroid Trauma: A 2010 study indicated that people with the highest PFOA levels were twice as likely to have current thyroid disease than people with the lowest concentrations of PFOA. If left unchecked, thyroid disease can lead to chronic conditions such as heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis. Cancer Cases: Animal studies have linked PFOA to tumors in the liver, pancreas, testicles, and mammary glands. A human study showed that PFOA dramatically increased the likelihood of prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers. Cholesterol Crises: In 2010, the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported that children and teens with high concentrations of PFOA in the blood exhibited higher levels of both total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol. In 2009, the EPA and eight U.S. companies reached an agreement to eliminate PFOA from all products—excluding Teflon—by 2015, a first step in reducing our exposure to PFOA. In the meantime, pop your popcorn the old fashioned way. The health risks of microwave popcorn just aren’t worth the convenience.

Fact or Myth: Is Natural Egg Shell Membrane an Effective Therapy for Joint or Connective Tissue Disorders?

written by Danica Collins

Egg Shells
This is a FACT. An estimated 140 million American adults battle with some type of joint or connective tissue disorder such as arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, or back and neck pain.  While supplements like glucosomine and chondrotin offer relief to some, many people fail to experience any benefit and instead succumb to side effects like gastrointestinal disturbances. Not to mention, these supplements are made from shellfish so those with allergies must look elsewhere for relief. Turns out there’s a natural and side-effect-free remedy that may just be superior to traditional joint supplements. Natural eggshell membrane (NEM) is naturally stocked with glucosamine, chondrotin, and a host of other nutrients shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness and help repair the cartilage network between bones. What is NEM? Natural eggshell membrane is the thin membrane between the egg shell and the egg white. It’s rich in glycosaminoglycans, specifically the polysaccharides glucosamine, chondrotin, and hyaluronic acid, all three of which are naturally occurring substances in cartilage and play an essential role in the maintenance of healthy joint and connective tissue. NEM is also made up of fibrous proteins like collagen and elastin, which contribute to the strength and flexibility of connective tissues and joints. The amino acids desmosine and isodesmosine increase joint tissue elasticity, and growth factor-B promotes cell regeneration and healthy immune function. Science Says… Two 2009 studies suggest that natural eggshell membrane for joint or connective tissue disorders is a promising therapy. A study published in Clinical Rheumatology showed that a daily dose of 500 mg of NEM lessened joint pain and stiffness in as little as 10 days. Researchers also added that the benefit exceeded that of glucosamine and chondrotin in previous studies. Another study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging also found that 500 mg of natural eggshell membrane a day reduced joint pain in as little as 7 days and for as long as 30 days, with no reported side effects (beyond the obvious egg allergy).

Fact or Myth: Are Plant-based Omega-3s as Effective as Animal-based Omega-3s?

written by Danica Collins

fish oil
This is a MYTH. In the battle of plant-based omega-3s vs. animal-based omega-3s, animal omegas come out the clear victor. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian who is hoping to ensure adequate omega-3 intake via flax, hemp, or pumpkin seed, chances are you’re not feeding your body the essential fatty acids it needs.   Types of Omega-3s Omega-3s are praised for their anti-inflammatory benefits and proven to help treat and prevent: Cardiovascular disease Essential fatty acid deficiency in infancy (retinal and brain development) Preventing premature delivery Cancer (breast, colon, and prostate) Autoimmune disorders Crohn’s disease Mild hypertension Rheumatoid arthritis Parkinson’s disease There are three types of omega-3s: DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid), and ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid). Your body cannot manufacture fatty acids on its own, and depends on you to provide these essential nutrients. Not all omegas, however, deliver the same benefits. It’s DHA and EPA that have been shown to target the aforementioned health conditions. Plant-based Omega-3s vs. Animal-based Omega-3s Plant-based omegas such as flax seeds and nuts are rich in ALA, not DHA or EPA. ALA converts inside your body to DHA and EPA, but at such a low ratio as to be rendered virtually inconsequential. Less than 5% of ALA is transformed into EPA, and less than 0.5% into DHA! And consuming large amounts of ALA won’t make up for this low conversion ratio. Plant-based omega sources also require adequate levels of zinc, iron, and pyridoxine for conversion, and deficiency in one or more of these nutrients is common, especially among vegans/vegetarians. Animal-based omegas, such as fish, fish oil, cod liver oil, and krill oil, however, contain copious amounts of DHA and EPA…no conversion required! Adding wild-caught, coldwater fish to your diet can help ensure omega-3 intake. You can also supplement with fish oil or krill oil. Krill oil has 48 times the antioxidant potency of fish oil, and also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant that increases your body’s absorption of DHA and EPA.

Fact or Myth: Is There a Link Between Aspartame and Alzheimer’s?

written by Danica Collins

aspartame
This is a FACT. In the name of weight loss, fat loss, and sugar-free diets, the world has been trending towards low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners like Aspartame. If you’re health conscious, you’ve probably been warned not to jump on the Aspartame/Splenda train, as these no-calorie sugar substitutes have been linked to brain damage, headaches, migraines, increased hunger, weight gain, seizures, and cancer. In fact, Aspartame is the number one cause of side effect complaints to the FDA—10,000 complaints and 91 documented symptoms! Even as studies continue to tighten the link between Aspartame and Alzheimer’s, the FDA has yet to remove its stamp of approval. Alzheimer’s and Methanol Toxicity Methanol toxicity seems to be the driving mechanism behind the link between Aspartame and Alzheimer’s. Here’s how it works: Aspartame is manufactured as a mixture of aspartic acid and synthetically modified phenylalanine, which contains a methyl group. The phenylalanine sweetens the aspartame up, making it a viable sugar substitute. The problem with this phenylalanine methyl bond (called a methyl ester) is that it is extremely fragile and easily detaches and becomes methanol, which scours our cells and tissues. But what’s wrong with methanol? Nothing, when it comes as part of a whole food like a fruit or vegetable. In this case, methanol binds with pectin and is safely eliminated through your digestive tract. But…when it’s not binded to something (as is the case with Aspartame)…it becomes a poison in your body. Your cells convert methanol from Aspartame into formaldehyde. Every other mammal except humans is able to convert this toxic formaldehyde into harmless formic acid. Humans, however, cannot, and the formaldehyde stays in toxic form and presents as methanol toxicity in the body. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that damages the retina and DNA, and may cause birth defects. The symptoms of methanol toxicity include: Ringing in the ears Headaches Nausea Headaches Digestive upset Vertigo Chills Mental disturbances Vision problems Weakness Neuritis Shooting pains in the limbs  The Invalidity of Animal Studies The studies that assert the safety of Aspartame have tested the effects of the artificial sweetener on animals, not humans—which renders the validity of these tests null and void, as humans don’t have the biological mechanism to break down Aspartame’s dangerous components like animals do. Case in point, a recent study on rhesus monkeys demonstrated that methanol toxicity was much more likely to occur than what was previously demonstrated by a similar study on mice. Mice fed methanol presented partial “Alzheimer’s disease-like symptoms,” while rhesus monkeys fed methanol exhibited persistent pathological changes linked to Alzheimer’s. What’s declared “safe” by the FDA according to animal studies does not translate to safety in humans. Artificial sweeteners aren’t a safe alternative to sugar. Use all-natural sweeteners like honey, Yacon syrup, and coconut sugar instead.

Acupuncture for Hot Flashes

written by Danica Collins

Coping with the menopause
That sudden flush of heat that overwhelms…blotches of red on your face, neck, arms, back, and chest…heavy sweating followed by cold shivers…all symptoms of hot flashes, courtesy of menopause. Approximately half of all women undergoing menopause treat the change with hormone therapy—a mix of meds with estrogen and progesterone. The health risks of hormone therapy, however, include stroke, heart disease, and even cancer. According to a recent review, half of all women treat their menopausal symptoms with complementary and alternative medicine therapies rather than pharmacological prescriptions. A meta-analysis published this month in the journal Menopause, suggests that acupuncture for hot flashes is indeed a viable treatment. Researchers determined that acupuncture can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes for up to three months regardless of the number of doses, sessions, or the duration of treatment. Hot Flash Relief Researchers studied different types of acupuncture for hot flashes: traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture (TCMA), acupressure, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, and ear acupuncture. Analyzing 12 studies made up of 869 women ages 40-60 going through natural menopause, they determined that while acupuncture didn’t exhibit a consistent effect on other menopausal symptoms such as sleep, mood, or sexual disturbances, acupuncture did affect the severity and frequency of hot flashes for up to three months after treatment. However, it appears that sham acupuncture treatment seemed to reduce the frequency of hot flashes to the same degree as actual acupuncture, which calls into question acupuncture’s true effect. A 2011 study published in Acupuncture in Medicine showed that of 53 women receiving traditional acupuncture or sham acupuncture, those who were treated with acupuncture demonstrated significantly lower scores on the scale of menopausal symptoms (including hot flashes) than did those being treated with sham needles. Researchers don’t know why acupuncture influences hot flashes, but theorize that it has something to do with acupuncture’s ability to lower the concentration of the neuropeptide beta-endorphin that hangs out in the hypothalamus. Lowering beta-endorphin levels may just trigger the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a peptide that controls body temperature. There are many other natural treatments for hot flashes, including hypnosis. A 2012 study in Menopause reported that hypnosis lowered the frequency of hot flashes by 75%! The wonderful world of alternative medicine is full of surprises!

Health Risks of Air Pollution on the Brain

written by Danica Collins

airpollution
You’re probably well aware of the health risks of air pollution—stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. But did you know that the negative effects of air pollution extend far beyond the heart and lungs and into the brain? Air pollution can stunt brain development, causing blood vessels to dangerously narrow as toxins accumulate in the brain. A recent study in the Journal of Gerontology zeroed in on the negative effects of air pollution on cognitive function in adults 55 and older. Air Pollution Pollutes the Brain Air pollution is made up of particulate matter, tiny particles or liquid droplets that contain toxins like organic chemicals, metals, soil, and dust. The smallest particles carry the greatest health risks because they can seep into our lungs and brain. Fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less poses the most threat to cognitive function and brain health. (The EPA deems particulate matter 10 micrometers or less a potential health concern.) Gases from automobiles, forest fires, power plants, and industrial manufacturing facilities unleash fine particulate matter into the air. Interested in examining the link between air pollution and cognitive impairment, researchers measured the air pollution levels in the participants’ neighborhoods. The EPA air quality standard is set at 12 micrometers per cubic meter, but the average concentrations of particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in these neighborhoods was much higher—13.8 micrometers per cubic meter! Results showed that people who lived in the most polluted areas were 1.5 times more likely to exhibit decreased cognitive function than were those living in the least polluted areas (with an air quality score of 5 micrometers per cubic meter). Researchers attribute the health risks of air pollution on the brain to fine particulate matter that impacts the cardiovascular system, traveling up through the blood vessels to the brain. Researchers also noted that air pollution may act directly on the brain. A 2012 study showed that long-term exposure to air pollution between 2.5 and 10 micrometers dramatically accelerated the rate of cognitive decline, affecting memory and attention span in elderly women 70-81 years old. But the health risks of air pollution don’t just impact older brains. A 2002 study published in the journal Toxicology Pathology indicated that the negative effects of air pollution begin early in life, instigating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Protect Against Air Pollution Apart from moving to a more pristine, rural environment, you can monitor air pollution by checking in daily with the EPA’s Air Quality Index. Just enter your zip code to find out the air quality of your neighborhood as measured by Particles (2.5 micrometers), Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particles (10 micrometers), and Carbon Dioxide. Don’t get too cozy inside. Indoor pollution can be 5 to 10 times more toxic than outdoor air pollution. We are susceptible to indoor pollution from mold, tobacco smoke, household cleaners…even the upholstery on our furniture! Investing in an air purifier offers a level of protection against indoor pollution, so you can breathe easier and think clearer!

Tongkat Ali: Malaysia’s Herbal Viagra

written by Danica Collins

couple in bed
Tongkat ali is a potent sexual stimulant sourced from the root of the Tongkat tree that hails from the rainforests of Malaysia. Aboriginals in Malaysia traditionally used it to treat malaria and fevers, soothe lower back pain, activate energy, and boost sexual prowess. Also called Erycoma longifolia jack or Malaysian ginseng, Tongkat ali is making its way via capsule form to Japan, Korea, China, and the States and gaining quite the reputation as the herbal Viagra. Recharge Your Libido When men age, they go through a condition called andropause that causes the body to decrease its production of testosterone and other hormones. This can result in reduced libido, decreased energy, increased body fat, and mental fatigue. Studies suggest that Tongkat ali can increase libido and reduce the effects of andropause by increasing testosterone levels. The root contains compounds that improve semen quality (thereby improving fertility), promote lean muscle growth, and stimulate sexual desire. At the beginning of a 2012 study, 35% of 76 male participants had normal testosterone levels. After supplementing with Tongkat ali for one month, 90% of subjects had normal testosterone levels! Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that men who supplemented with a daily dose of Tongkat ali enjoyed significant gains in libido, erectile function, and semen volume. Even better news…it’s not just men who benefit from the libido boost. Tongkat ali is an effective sexual stimulant for women, as well, both as a libido and pleasure enhancer! Defeat Chronic Stress Tongkat ali doesn’t just influence testosterone; it’s been shown to impact cortisol levels as well. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and when too much of it floods your system for too long, your health is dangerously at risk for all manner of disease. A 2013 study demonstrated that Tongkat ali can help regulate chronic stress. Researchers screened 32 men and 31 women for moderate stress. After taking an extract of Tongkat ali daily for four weeks, participants exhibited a 16% reduction in cortisol and a 37% increase in testosterone. Tongkat ali reduced tension by 11%, anger by 12%, and confusion by 15%. The research states: “These results indicate that daily supplementation with tongkat ali root extract improves stress hormone profile and certain mood state parameters, suggesting that this “ancient” remedy may be an effective approach to shielding the body from the detrimental effects of “modern” chronic stress, which may include general day-to-day stress, as well as the stress of dieting, sleep deprivation, and exercise training.” What to Know About Supplementing In 2006, Malaysia’s Drug Control Authority reported that 26% of Tongkat ali products were tainted with dangerous levels of mercury. Exercise caution and purchase from a long-standing, high quality supplement provider. Due to the increase in testosterone, do not use Tongkat ali if you have diabetes mellitus, heart disease, breast or prostate cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, or sleep apnea. There is some evidence to suggest that Tongkat ali may compromise the immune system, so do not supplement if you are currently battling with weakened immunity. Reported side effects include restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. Tongkat ali isn't the only herbal libido booster. Click here to discover 6 additional all natural libido-enhancing powerhouses!

Another Reason to Love Dark Chocolate

written by Danica Collins

dark chocolate
Dark chocolate satisfies your sweet tooth and invigorates your health. Packed with antioxidant power, dark chocolate has been linked to enhanced cardiovascular function. A 2014 study published in The FASEB Journal connected dark chocolate consumption to a reduced risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that dark chocolate may improve mobility in patients with peripheral artery disease. What Is Peripheral Artery Disease Your peripheral arteries carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. More than eight million Americans suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), which manifests as a narrowing of the arteries and impaired blood flow to the stomach, arms, head, and legs. Symptoms include pain, cramping, and fatigue in the leg and hip muscles while walking, which greatly reduces the amount of time someone with PAD can spend mobile. There may be relief yet…and in the form of a very sweet treat! Dark Chocolate Increases Walking Distance Scientists from Sapienza University of Rome in Italy studied the effect of dark chocolate on mobility in 14 men and 6 women with PAD. Researchers took blood samples and asked participants to perform walking tests over the course of two days. On the first day, researchers clocked the time and distance that the individuals were able to walk on a treadmill. After two hours, they gave them 40 grams of dark chocolate and asked them to walk as far as possible once again. On the second day researchers gave participants 40 grams of milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate after the first walking test. Results showed that after eating the dark chocolate participants walked an average of 17 seconds longer and 39 feet father the second time around. Milk chocolate had no effect on time or distance. The dark chocolate was also associated with raised nitric oxide levels in the blood. (Nitric oxide is linked to improved blood flow.) Dark chocolate also seemed to decrease biochemical markers of oxidative stress, which, researchers theorize, may be responsible for dilating the peripheral arteries and improving mobility. Researchers believe that the dark chocolate (with a cacoa content of 85%) was effective due to its rich polyphenol content. Milk chocolate on the other hand, with only a 35% cacoa content, doesn’t have quite the antioxidant potency. Senior study author Dr. Francesco Violi explains the potential benefit of dark chocolate: "polyphenol-rich nutrients could represent a new therapeutic strategy to counteract cardiovascular complications.” The American Heart Association reminds us to be cautious about the results, reporting, “Other investigations have shown that polyphenols including those in dark chocolate may improve blood vessel function. But this study is extremely preliminary and I think everyone needs to be cautious when interpreting the findings.” The study was also limited in that there was no placebo group and participants were aware of the type of chocolate they were eating. While more studies need to be conducted before dark chocolate can be considered a true cardiovascular tonic, a square of dark chocolate a day is proving to be a healthy indulgence!

Gardening as Exercise

written by Danica Collins

flowers
Chances are when you look out a window you’ll see more concrete than green. Our modern world celebrates architectural achievement at the expense of nature and professional success at the expense of physical activity. It’s safe to say we’ve lost our primal connection to nature, a connection that keeps our mental and physical faculties primed. Gardening is a simple way to reconnect to the earth. Not only does gardening help relieve stress and tension, deliver better nutrition, and boost brain health, but, according to recent research, it also counts as exercise! Gardening: A Moderate-to-Intense Exercise In its 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the Centers for Disease Control classified gardening as a moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health seems to back up this assessment. Researchers studied 198 men and women who took part in community gardening projects, as well as their siblings and neighbors who did no gardening. The gardeners had lower body mass index (BMI) than the non-gardeners (both siblings and neighbors). Male gardeners were 62% less likely to be overweight, and female gardeners were 46% less likely to battle with obesity. Korean researchers recently studied how gardening as exercise can affect the physical well-being of children. The HortTechnology study used 10 gardening tasks for the assessment. They found that weeding, mulching, sowing seeds, harvesting, planting, mixing growing medium, and hoeing were all moderate physical activities, while digging and raking counted as intense exercise. An hour of gardening may have you stretching, lifting 40-pound bags of soil, mowing the lawn, stirring compost, raking leaves, digging holes, sowing seeds, and planting—and in that hour you can burn nearly 400 calories depending on the extent of the activity and your weight and metabolism. Gardening: Full-Body Functional Movement Gardening gets you outside so you can soak in some essential vitamin D from the sun’s rays. It may not feel like exercise, but gardening works your body with functional movements. You stretch, you kneel, you squat, you lift…and each of these full-body movements works to strengthen and tone your muscles and keep you physically fit. No barbells, kettlebells, or weights required! With that said, it’s important to stay aware of your body’s needs. When lifting at the gym, it’s easy to stay focused on proper alignment and safety. When gardening as exercise, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you’re placing physical demands on your body and need to be cautious. Practice proper spinal alignment at all times, and be careful of the pressure you put on sensitive areas like the knees and back. If the gardening bug has yet to bite, start small. Plant easy-to-grow vegetables like carrots, spinach, and green beans and see how you do. What are you waiting for? Go and get those hands dirty. Mother Earth is waiting…

Fish Oil Review

written by Joe Barton

Untitled
A hundred years ago, it was said that a good mother always sends her children to bed at night with a spoonful of cod liver oil. Below, a late 19th century ad touts the benefits of Scott’s Emulsion of Pure Norwegian Cod Liver Oil: “It restores the flagging energies, increases the resisting powers against disease; cures Consumption, Scrofula, General Debility, and all Anemic and Wasting Diseases (especially in Children), keeps coughs and colds out, and so enables the constitution to hold the fort of health.”[i] While we don’t hear much about cod liver oil today (though it’s still available), we have been bombarded with advertising about our need for omega-3 fatty acids—those particularly found in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for health and a variety of body functions including: controlling blood clotting, building cell membranes in the brain, and a variety of other potential benefits.[ii] Of the omega-3’s, the two we’re most concerned with are: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).[iii] DHA and EPA are two primary fatty acids found in the “fatty” fishes, krill, calamari, green-lipped mussel, and marine algae. Other non-marine sources of DHA and EPA include: flaxseed oil, canola oil, soy oil, and walnut oil. But the body can only convert a limited amount of those oils to DHA and EPA.[iv] Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Prevention against heart attack and stroke: Although once thought to aid in the prevention of heart disease and stroke, numerous studies have produced little evidence of this. However, DHA and EPA do offer some results that can improve the health of our heart. Reducing blood pressure, thinning the blood and lowering triglycerides are three of those benefits.[v] But to date, there is no evidence that taking fish oil supplements will reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke. In fact, there may be more benefit from eating two or more portions of fish per week than taking a fish oil supplement when it comes to living heart-healthy.[vi] Prevention and relief of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases: Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids is known to reduce some forms of inflammation.[vii] Prevention and treatment for cancer: Some evidence links DHA and EPA with reducing the risk of colon, rectum and breast cancers. However, greater amounts of these omega-3 fatty acids have possibly been associated with an increase in prostate cancer. But the jury is still out on this one. The good news is that fish oil may help prevent weight loss during chemotherapy treatments of cancer patients.[viii] Prevention of eye disease: Higher intake of DHA and EPA has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of age-related eye disease and age-related macular degeneration.[ix] Relief of psychiatric, mental disorders and depression: For reasons yet to be discovered, fish oil appears to offer some relief to people with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety.[x] Prenatal care: Due to the need for DHA for normal development of the brain and retina in babies, pregnant mothers and infants may benefit from fish oil.[xi] Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease: Studies of the diets of populations tend to indicate that DHA may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, once the disease has onset, increased levels of DHA do not appear to curb its progression.[xii] Reduce acne: One study has demonstrated that daily consumption of a fish oil supplement significantly reduced the severity of acne among men and women from 18 to 33 years old.[xiii] Sources and Dosages of Fish Oil Fish oil is available in three basic forms: softgel capsule, liquid, or “on the fin.” Additionally, enteric-coated softgels are designed to pass through the stomach undigested to alleviate the burping of fish flavor. Primary concerns when choosing a good omega-3 supplement are: the concentrations of DHA and EPA, the quality of the product, cost, and possibly the size of the softgel.[xiv] The concentrations of DHA and EPA vary greatly among the various brands available. There is no official FDA recommended dosage, but generally between 300 and 500 mg of combined DHA and EPA taken daily should suffice.[xv] As for the quality of the produce, Consumer Labs has done this work for us, so I would recommend that you check out their review of 30 different brands. Whether in softgel form or liquid from a bottle, cost can also vary from one cent to 24 cents per serving depending on the source and other factors. Softgels come in a variety of sizes from ½ inch long to over an inch, so if you have trouble swallowing large pills this may be an important factor for you.[xvi] If you prefer consuming your DHA and EPA “on the fin,” you can do so eating just two servings of 3 oz. of “fatty” fish per week. Those “fatty” fish include: Anchovies Bluefish Carp Catfish Halibut Herring Lake trout Mackerel Pompano Salmon Striped sea bass White tuna (albacore) Whitefish Be aware of where your fish is coming from.  For instance, farmed salmon may contain greater amounts of PCBs than wild salmon. Also, albacore tuna and fresh water fish may contain enough mercury that you shouldn’t eat more than six ounces per week.[xvii] Finally, what 19th century mothers did not know is that cod liver oil and other fish liver oils contain high amounts of vitamins A and D. Those vitamins can be toxic, so you’ll want to know how much of those vitamins you are getting. Ad for Scott’s Emulsion around 1884[i] By: Joe Barton Joe is the founder of Barton Publishing, Inc., a leading natural health company specializing in publishing cutting edge reports that show people how to cure and treat themselves using safe, natural, and proven remedies. He is also a contributing writer, helping thousands of people who suffer from acid reflux, diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, and 20+ other disease and ailments enjoy healthier lives.     [i] Diane Wendt, Chemical Heritage Foundation, “The Man with a Fish on His Back: Science, Romance, and Repugnance in the Selling of Cod-Liver Oil,” http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/magazine/articles/28-1-the-man-with-a-fish-on-his-back.aspx?page=2.   [i] Nutrivize, “Synthetic VS. Natural Vitamins: We Have No Idea What’s Better,” 2012, http://nutrivize.com/blog/general-health/synthetic-vs-natural-vitamins-we-have-no-idea-whats-better/. [ii]Dr. Frank Sacks, Harvard School of Public Health, “Ask the Expert: Omega-3 Fatty Acids,” http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/. [iii] Consumer Lab.Com, “Product Review: Fish Oil and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Review (Including Krill, Algae, Calamari, and Green-lipped Mussel Oil), 2014, https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/fish_oil_supplements_review/omega3/. [iv] Consumer Lab.Com. [v] Consumer Lab.Com. [vi] Consumer Lab.Com. [vii] Consumer Lab.Com. [viii] Consumer Lab.Com. [ix] Consumer Lab.Com. [x] Consumer Lab.Com. [xi] Consumer Lab.Com. [xii] Consumer Lab.Com. [xiii] Consumer Lab.Com. [xiv] Consumer Lab.Com. [xv] Consumer Lab.Com. [xvi] Consumer Lab.Com. [xvii] Consumer Lab.Com. [xviii] Diane Wendt, Chemical Heritage Foundation, “The Man with a Fish on His Back: Science, Romance, and Repugnance in the Selling of Cod-Liver Oil,” http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/magazine/articles/28-1-the-man-with-a-fish-on-his-back.aspx?page=2.

Ignite Your Libido the Natural Way

written by Danica Collins

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For Men Only…Nature’s Secret to Improved Sexual Performance If you suffer from ED, you probably don’t like to talk about it. After all, telling someone that you’ve been bombing out in the bedroom can be embarrassing, to say the least. But it’s something you really can’t ignore. ED can drive you to make excuses to avoid sex, leaving your partner feeling confused, rejected and undesirable. Plus, it can wreak havoc on your productivity and concentration level at work.  In other words, ED affects your relationships… your career… and even your golf game, because it hits you where it counts –right in your self-esteem. And you end up depressed, frustrated and doubting yourself. You need to do something to take your manhood back – but calling your doctor may not be the answer. The myth of the “little blue pill” Viagra is the go-to drug for ED – with 8 million prescriptions written in 2012 alone. Like copycat drugs on the market, Viagra works by opening up blood vessels – so you can have and sustain an erection. But the little blue pill has a dark side… According to cardiologist Dr. Sanjay Kaul, 522 men died from taking Viagra – in the first year the drug was on the market.  The truth is… a relatively high number of deaths and adverse cardiovascular events have been associated with the use of Viagra and other ED drugs. Studies link these pills to heart attacks, vision problems and prolonged erections – which aren’t nearly as fun as they sound. (They’re painful, require surgery to reverse and can result in impotence.) Other side effects include: bleeding from the lungs… blood clot in the brain… chronic heart failure… eye hemorrhage… seizures… problems with bladder control… and more. So the big question is: Why would you want to treat ED at the expense of your health? Rev up your sex life and reclaim your manhood – safely and naturally No more wondering if you’re going to be able to “deliver” in the bedroom. No more frustration and humiliation. With a little help from Nature, you can be ready the next time the mood is right. Six performance-boosting nutrients work like gangbusters to give you the sex life of your dreams – without a single adverse reaction. They do this not by "treating" the medical condition called "ED," but by maintaining, regulating and supporting your normal sexual capacity and function. These ingredients include… Fenugreek Seed Extract – to ignite your libido Fenugreek is an herb grown in India. Its seeds are used to season traditional Indian, African and Arabic dishes – but food isn’t the only thing it “spices” up… In an Australian study published in the journalPhytotherapy Research, male test subjects took a fenugreek extract for six weeks. A staggering 82% of the men saw a dramatic improvement in their libido. Plus, 63% of participants found that the quality of their sexual performance was improved – and 67% said the extract decreased the amount of sexual recovery time they required. How did they get such amazing results? Fenugreek is loaded with over 100 phytochemicals – including compounds called saponins. Two of them – diosgenin and fenuside – help your body create certain sex hormones. And that results in better sexual function. Horny Goat Weed – to send your sex drive through the roof Legend says a goat herder noticed his goats behaving more amorously after eating the herb epimedium saggitatum, so he gave it an appropriate nickname… …Horny goat weed. Also called Yin yang huo, this herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for low libido, erectile concerns, fatigue and discomfort. A 2008 lab study found that horny goat weed contains a compound called epimedium. This substance helps regulate the effects of an enzyme known to restrict the blood flow you need to maintain an erection. Tribulus terrestris – to boost your sexual performance This flowering plant is also called “the puncture vine” – thanks to its nutlets or “seeds” that are covered with sharp spikes. These spiky seeds are sharp enough to puncture bicycle and lawn mower tires – and yes, bare feet. But this somewhat dangerous plant has been used in Europe and Asia for male infertility and sexual function for decades. More than nine studies carried out by six different universities and academic hospitals have confirmed that tribulus terrestris is helpful. It works by correcting imbalances in your hormone levels. Plus, there’s evidence that the herb increases your levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – a naturally-occurring substance known to affect the human sex drive. Your sex hormones are optimized… your sex drive is heightened… and your sexual performance rocks the house. Butea superba – to support healthy erectile function Have you heard of enzyme PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase)? Scientists jokingly call it the “erection killer,” because it does just that. It deflates erections. That’s its sole purpose for existing. Obviously, this enzyme is biologically necessary. However, when your body doesn’t neutralize it properly, PDE-5 makes it almost impossible for you to have any fun at all in the bedroom. The good news is… there is a way to regulate this erection killer – with a weapon that comes straight from nature… A Thai tuber vegetable called butea superba is a natural PDE-5 inhibitor. It’s gotten centuries of use in Thailand as an aphrodisiac and enhancer of male vitality – and it’s reported to boost energy and sexual vigor, with no increase in nervous stimulation. Studies are now showing what the men in Thailand have known for years – butea superba improves erectile function by inhibiting PDE-5 and helping dilate blood vessels. Plus, it boosts your levels of acetylcholine, a substance known to affect both erectile function and memory. This heightens the relaxation capacity of the corpus cavernous smooth muscles that aid in erections and triggers an improved emotional response to sexual stimulation in your brain. All of this supports your natural ability to have an erection and enjoy sex. In one study, participants took butea tuber extract for three months – and an impressive 82.4% reported fair to excellent improvement of their erectile function. Plus, when the butea superba was taken 1 to 2 hours before sex, participants found effectiveness. Muira puama – to improve vitality and sexual function Also called “potency wood,” muira puama comes from a tree that rarely grows more than 15 feet tall. Natives of Brazil and surrounding areas have traditionally used its bark and roots as an aphrodisiac and a nerve tonic. It’s said to be particularly effective for enhancing the vitality and sexual function of older men. A 1990 study at the Institute of Sexology in Paris, France found that these Brazilians were onto something good. Researchers gave a daily dose to 262 subjects who reported a lack of sexual desire. Within just two weeks, 62% of the men reported an increase in libido – and 51% experienced improved erectile function. The same researchers published further findings in 2000 that showed statistically significant improvements in intensity of sexual desires, excitement of fantasies, frequency of intercourse, ability to reach orgasm, intensity of orgasm and satisfaction with sex life. Scientists believe muira puama works like butea superba to block the erection-killing enzyme and aid the flow of acetylcholine into the central nervous system. Goji Berry – to fire up your sexual passions The mighty goji berry has been used as a longevity aid and aphrodisiac in the Asian world for 5,000 years. Its ability to stimulate the secretion of human growth hormone from the pituitary gland gives your body a boatload of benefits – including accelerated healing… deeper, more restful sleep… and a restored libido. Studies have found that the antioxidant-rich goji berry helps… Reduce damage to the testes and protect against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress – which helps boost sperm count and semen quality. Enhance nitric oxide activity, increasing the size of the sexual organ. Substantially increase your production of androgens (male hormones). Increase your libido by sparking sexual passions. It does wonders to stoke those sexual fires… strengthen spermatic cells… protect your sexual organs… and boost your energy and vitality. With the help of these stellar six nutrients… You can reclaim the exciting, healthy sex life that you want and deserve! Thanks to those six powerful, performance-enhancing nutrients, you can become a superstar in the bedroom again – safely and naturally. The problem is… fenugreek seed extract, horny goat weed (epimedium saggitatum), tribulus terrestris, butea superba, muira puama and goji berry may be difficult to track down at your local health store – not to mention expensive, if you buy them all separately. Many enhancement products contain one or two of these ingredients – but there was no supplement on the market that combines all six nutrients… …Until now… Introducing the all-natural formula that liberates your libido and puts your sex life into overdrive! Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute has developed the first supplement for men that gives you all six manhood-boosting nutrients in one powerful formula. It’s called Quantum Performance for Men. This breakthrough, masculinity-enhancing formula helps… Light a fire in your libido – and reignite the passions you had as a much younger man… Boost production of male sex hormones… Improve blood flow for stronger erections… Neutralize enzymes that restrict blood flow and deflate erections… Protect your testes from oxidative damage… Boost sperm count and semen quality… And give you back the robust, active sex life you thought was gone for good! You’ll be the king of the bedroom again. And you’ll experience a surge of self-confidence that will flow into other areas of your life – improving your career, finances, relationships and maybe even your golf game. P.S. Quantum Performance for Men contains only natural ingredients – no synthetics. You’ll never see unhealthy substances like binders, fillers, artificial color, artificial flavor, artificial sweeteners, and other potentially harmful additives – like magnesium stearate that would disrupt or diminish the bioavailability of the ingredients. Plus, Quantum Performance for Men is manufactured in a fully compliant Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility which is regularly inspected by State and Federal health authorities.

How to Reprogram Your DNA for Optimum Health

written by Underground Health Reporter

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Spontaneous Healing and Other Health Miracles Through Epigenetics How many times have you heard someone say… “Cancer runs in my family. My grandmother had it… my aunt had it… and I may as well accept that I’m going to get it too.” “Almost everyone in my family is overweight, including me. It’s in our genes. I’ll never be able to lose weight – no matter how hard I try.” “My dad died of heart disease when he was just 50. I have his genes, so I’ll probably die young, too.” Or maybe it was YOU saying those things, because you’ve been led to believe that your genes are fixed and can never be changed. Well, what if everything you’ve been told about your genes is WRONG? What if you could change your genes – and take control of your health – in as little as 2 minutes? In the exciting field of epigenetics, scientists have discovered that your DNA – which is shaped like a double helix – is not a fixed structure after all. You can, in fact, alter your DNA with such things as magnetic fields, heart coherence, positive mental states and intention. In a recent study conducted at the Institute of HeartMath, human DNA was placed inside a sealed test tube. Test subjects were then trained to generate focused feelings. When they produced negative emotions, the two strands that make up the human DNA would wind together more tightly. However, when they focused on feelings of love and appreciation, the DNA strands relaxed and exhibited positive changes – in just two minutes! Just think about what this means… You have the power to reprogram your genes – and radically transform your health destiny! Using your emotions is just one way to change your DNA. There are many other ways that are easy for you to do in the privacy and comfort of your own home – without any medical intervention whatsoever. By tapping into the science of epigenetics, you can rewrite the way your genes express themselves and… Experience spontaneous remission from diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes… Conquer your biggest health challenge – whether it’s losing weight… boosting your immunity… or just getting healthier… Sleep like a baby at night, knowing you’re able to change the abnormal genes you inherited into healthy DNA that you can pass down to the next generation… And enjoy better health than you ever dreamed possible. This revolutionary discovery can change your life – and the lives of your future children and grandchildren. Click here to get the full story on epigenetics – and discover how easy it is for you to switch off your “bad” genes… jump start your “good” genes… and rewrite your health destiny.

Using Wheatgrass Health Benefits To Reverse Gray Hair

written by Danica Collins

wheatgrass health benefits
Gray hair: The ultimate telltale sign of aging. Approximately half of all 50-year-olds are at least 50% gray. Try as you may to postpone the inevitable with expensive, foul-smelling and messy dyes, the battle against gray is predictable...gray is pretty much the undefeated champion. Or is it? Regular consumption of the young grass of a common wheat plant can recolor those grays so that you can enjoy your lush, natural color well into your senior years. And it doesn't just stop at the gray. This young cereal grass slows down the entire aging process by rejuvenating your cells, detoxifying your body, fighting tumors and tightening loose and sagging skin. Gray Isn't Just a Sign of Age The age-old healing system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) links hair pigmentation to the quality of your blood and the strength of your kidneys. According to TCM, gray doesn't mean old as much as it points to weak kidneys and blood. Made up of 70% chlorophyll, wheatgrass, from the wheat plant triticum aestivum, restores the health of your kidneys and blood. Chlorophyll helps to strengthen, build and oxygenate the blood. It is remarkably similar to hemoglobin, a compound that carries oxygen to the blood. Once consumed, chlorophyll is transformed into blood. It then transports nutrients, such as oxygen, to your cells, tissues and organs, rejuvenating, protecting and strengthening. Renowned nutritionist, Dr. Bernard Jenson, discovered that wheatgrass health benefits and other green juices high in chlorophyll are nature's best blood builders. In his book Health Magic Through Chlorophyll From Living Plant Life, he cites several cases in which he was able to boost red blood cell count in a matter of days simply by having patients soak in a chlorophyll-water bath. Consuming wheatgrass health benefits and other green juices regularly has been proven to boost red blood cell count even more rapidly. Beyond Beautification and into Total Body Health Wheatgrass health benefits is made up of an impressive array of nutrients that reinforce and rejuvenate everything from our cells and tissues to our organs and bodily systems. In addition to its 70% chlorophyll makeup, wheatgrass contains 17 essential amino acids, 90 minerals, 13 vitamins and 80 enzymes. Prominent research scientist Dr. Earp-Thomas says that,"15 pounds of wheatgrass is the equivalent of 350 pounds of carrots, lettuce, celery and so forth." Wheatgrass delivers an impenetrable line of defense against disease. An all-natural and powerful detoxifier, wheatgrass protects the liver and purifies the blood by neutralizing toxic substances such as cadmium, nicotine, strontium, mercury and polyvinyl chloride. Detoxifying is the first step. From there, wheatgrass takes the offensive as a proven anti-cancer agent that stops tumors in their tracks. Fact: Cancer cells cannot develop in oxygen rich environments! Wheatgrass health benefits are an abundant source of liquid oxygen. Boosting the production of red blood cells and increasing oxygen in the blood helps fight cancer cells because cancer cannot survive in such alkaline rich environments. A recent study published in the journal Mutation Research pitted chlorophyll against beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and E. Chlorophyll had a greater anti-cancer effect than all the other nutrients. Wheatgrass health benefits is truly a total body nutrition in one gulp! Why Has This Proven Anti-Aging Cure Been Hushed Up? Practically every week, new alternative health breakthroughs are discovered. Most of these anti-aging and longevity cures are already scientifically proven to heal a wide variety of diseases...eliminate pain...slow down or reverse the aging process...and enhance total body wellness. Yet, these powerful health alternatives—most of which are inexpensive or free—are unknown to most people because mainstream media rarely reports them. To the contrary, these powerful health solutions are systematically suppressed and even banned. The reason for this is simple: these inexpensive natural treatments threaten the profits of mainstream medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. Imagine what would happen to the earnings of Big Pharma and the medical industry if people had the information they needed to heal themselves of virtually any disease or health problem? Everyone would be able to optimize his or her own health and well-being... and no one would ever need medical treatment again—except for emergencies and natural disasters. Discover the cutting age, unconventional, top-secret cures for health problems ranging from A to Z—virtually every ailment in existence! You'll discover the No. 1 anti-aging food, and the North American fruit tree extract proven in a National Cancer Institute-funded experiment to be a million times more powerful than chemotherapy, with no harmful side effects. Gain access to hundreds of other scientifically validated natural cures for life-threatening diseases, including the diabetes remedy with a 100% success rate...the non-drug arthritis cure that reverses the breakdown of cartilage...the mind technology that causes spontaneous remission from disease...and more. Discover the single best source of "underground" health breakthroughs that most people will never know.