Is a Daily Dose of Chocolate Good for Your Health?

Do you find yourself sneaking a chocolate bar in between meals?  Do you love chocolate chips or shavings added to your favorite foods or drinks? Are you in the habit of choosing chocolate pie, cookies, or ice cream for dessert? You are not alone. Some researchers are discovering that a small daily dose of chocolate help us be healthier, happier and more physically fit. Is it true that chocolate can be beneficial to our health? Find out more. Continue reading

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An Attitude of Gratitude – A Powerful Healing Force

jump sunrise
Maintaining Gratitude

What is gratitude? How can you be grateful during times of physical pain, financial suffering or emotional stress? Can gratitude help us be physically fit, emotionally strong and successful in our daily lives? What is the secret to having a happy, rich and fulfilling life?  New research shows that gratitude is scientifically proven to benefit not only our emotions, but our bodies, mind and spirit and significantly effect our overall health and wellness.
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The Benefits of a Healthy Romantic Relationship

Couple Heart Balloon LoveWhat is Emotional Health?
Holistic health has many components. The components are physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Emotional health is a very important aspect of holistic health. It pertains to people’s emotions and feelings about the world around them and the events that take place in their lives. Emotional health is defined by Dr. Doris Jeanette as “the degree in which you feel emotionally secure and relaxed in Continue reading

12 Health Benefits of Sex

Couple feet in bedIf you are eating right, getting plenty of sleep and practicing safe sex, sexual activity can be very healthy for mind, body and spirit. Research has shown that those who have a sexually active life, are generally healthier and happier. Here are some of the benefits backed up by research:

    1. Increased Immunity – According to a  2004 study by Charnetski and Brennan, published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA),” frequent sexual activity might boost immunity.  The saliva of 112 college students was studied in three groups of college students. Those who engaged in sex frequently (three or more times a week) had a higher level of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA), than the two other groups who engaged in sex less often (1. less than once a week or 2. once or twice a week). Frequent sexual activity may result in increased immunity. 
    2. Releases Anxiety –  Professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D., conducted a research study at the University of the West of Scotland. The study revealed that people who had sexual intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stress.  Endorphins and oxytocin are feel-good hormones that are released during sex and activate pleasure centers in the brain. If you are looking for a way to release stress and anxiety, sexual activity creates a natural chemical bodily reaction that eliminates or reduces anxiety.

 

  • Improved Bladder Control

Bladder ControlThe muscles used in achieving orgasm are the same muscles used in bladder control. Frequent sexual activity can strengthen muscles of the pelvic floor and  help women and men avoid incontinence and premature ejaculation. You can strengthen these muscles by practicing Kegel exercises.  If you not certain how to flex these muscles, the best way to discover the muscles it to practice stopping the flow of urine. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight.

 

 

  • Lowered Blood Pressure
    Blood pressure cuff
    A study by Brody, Veit and Rau,  showed that sexual intercourse among cohabiting partner subjects, resulted in a greater heart rate variability (HRV) and a lower resting diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in  51 healthy adults aged 20-47 .  The diastolic blood pressure was not lowered  when sex was practiced alone or  with the  group of  non-cohabiting subjects.  Researchers looked at the bonding created between couple pairs as an important role in lower blood pressure levels. Those who lived together and knew one another well had lower blood pressure after sexual activity. 
  • Burns calories – Canadian researchers at the University of Quebec studied 20 couples aged 18 to 35.  They were instructed to have sex once a week for a month and jog on a treadmill for 30 minutes. The study showed that at certain points during sex some of the men were actually expending more energy than they did when on the treadmill. 
  • Relieves pain
    Brain and Oxytoxin
    Sexual activity increases
    oxytocin. Research consistently shows that oxytocin increases emotional connection, increases a sense of calm and well-being, and reduces the effects of stress (as measured by lowered blood pressure and cortisol), which results in relaxation and reduces the perception of pain. Orgasm also releases endorphins, a natural opiod painkiller that reduces the awareness of pain and creates a feeling of euphoria.  Studies have shown sexual activity to help reduce or block back and leg pain, menstrual cramp pain, arthritis and headaches. One study found that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some. 
  • Antidepressant
    Orgasm produces natural body antidepressant chemicals such as serotonin,  phenyl ethylamine (also found in chocolate) which activates the brain’s pleasure center; and endorphins, one of the body’s natural opioid feel-good chemicals.
     

    Pain Drugs in Brain
    The brain produces more than 50 identified active drugs. Some of these are associated with memory, others with intelligence, still others are sedatives. Endorphin is the brain’s painkiller, and it is 3 times more potent than morphine.

     

  • Prostate Cancer Reduction A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed data on 29,342 men and found that those who had 21 or more orgasms a month were about 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had about 4-7 orgasms a month.However, more research is needed in this area before research can be determined to be conclusive. Critics of the study say that there were other contributing factors. 
  • Induces Sleep Hormones are released after orgasm. Prolactin creates a variety of physical responses, including sleepiness. Prolactin suppresses the effects of dopamine, an arousal hormone. Animals injected with the chemical become tired immediately. Intercourse orgasm releases four times more prolactin than masturbatory orgasm, according to a recent study. Researchers found that the hormone oxytocin, released during orgasm, also promotes sleep and is known as the “love hormone” as it results in a “feel-good” emotional bond with your partner. 
  • Increases Self Esteem Researchers have found that the chemicals released after orgasm increase self esteem, reduce stress and elicit feel-good hormones. Those who engage in sexual activity more frequently are better able to cope with stressful situations that require confidence boosting, such as public speaking, according to the research of Professor Stuart Brody, Ph.D, of Scotland. 
  • Live Longer, Healthier Life

    Sexual Activity by Age

 

 

Researchers have found that the more often one engages in sex, the more likely they are able to live a healthier longer life, and/or vice versa. The healthier one is, the longer they are able to engage in a healthier sex life. In a study entitled, “Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing,” researchers Stacy Tessler Lindau, Associate Professor  and Natalia Gavrilova, Senior Research Associate concluded:“Sexual activity, quality of sexual life, and interest in sex were positively associated with health in middle age and later life.

 

  • Increased Emotional Love Bond Senior loveStudies show that the hormone oxytocin is increased after orgasm and creates a chemical reaction in the brain resulting in the feeling of an emotional bond of love between sexual partners. This allows partners to better experience compassionate, caring, emphatic connection with one another. 

 

Resources:
Charnetski and Brennan,”Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA),” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Brody, Veit and Rau, “A preliminary report relating frequency of vaginal intercourse to heart rate variability, Valsalva ratio, blood pressure, and cohabitation status,” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Julie Frappier, Isabelle Toupin, Joseph J. Levy, Mylene Aubertin-Leheudre, Antony D. Karelis Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples, Public Library of Science, October 24, 2013

 
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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
 Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

24 Health Benefits of Spinach

Benefits SpinachWhy should someone eat spinach?
Can it be dangerous to eat too much spinach? Does spinach aid in healing?

Spinach has been shown to be effective in improving health for a variety of reasons. Spinach is high in fiber. One cup of spinach has nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber.  A diet that is high in fiber helps aid digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and prevents people from overeating.

Research has shown that flavonoids– a phytonutrient  have anti-cancer properties.  Spinach is abundant in flavanoids.  Flavanoids can slow down cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells.  Research has shown that flavanoids provide protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.

Blood PressureSpinach can help lower blood pressure  by inhibiting the angiotensin I-converting enzyme, peptides. Folate in spinach is good for a healthy cardiovascular system. Magnesium in spinach is a mineral that helps to lower high blood pressure.

Lutein is a carotenoid found in spinach that is protective against eye diseases. There is some indication lutein might be absorbed better if you eat it with a little fat. Both antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are especially plentiful in spinach and protect the eye from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Spinach is good for our skin.  It containshigh amounts of vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis. Eating spinach can help in fighting psoriasis, keratinization, acne and help to prevent early onset of wrinkles. Spinach is also a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach promotes healthy brain and nervous system.

Arthritis Knee DiagramArthritis
sufferers will be glad to know that spinach can help reduce inflammation and pain.  Neoxanthin and violaxanthin are two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that are found in spinach. These play an important role in controlling inflammation.

Spinach is high in vitamins and nutrients.  The vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium present in spinach all serve as powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper.

Myelin SheathThe abundance of vitamin K in spinach helps to  provide an essential part for the synthesis of sphingolipids. Sphingolipids are the crucial fat that make up the Myelin sheath around our nerves.   Vitamin K is also an important part of the process of carboxylation.  Carboxylation produces the matrix Gla protein that prevents calcium from forming in our body tissues. Eating one cup of spinach contributes to this process that fights atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The vitamin A in spinach can help us fight infection.  One cup of spinach contains over 337% of the RDA of vitamin A.  Vitamin A protects and strengthens mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts.  Vitamin A also is a key component of lymphocytes (or white blood cells) that fight infection.

OsteoporosisSpinach can be very helpful in preventing osteoporosis.  If spinach is boiled, one cup provides over 1000% of the RDA of vitamin K that can prevent excess activation of osteoclasts.  Osteoclasts are the cells that break down bones.   Spinach can also increase the synthesis of osteocalcin.  Osteocalcin is the protein that is essential for maintaining the bone density and strength.


Are there any reasons why someone should not eat spinach?
  • Some people are allergic to spinach.  If you have not eaten it before, eat a small amount to see if you are allergic to it.
  • Spinach can be a high pesticide-containing food, so it’s important to always wash spinach and eat organic spinach.
  • The oxalates in spinach may interfere with the absorption of calcium, and could crystallize. People who have kidney or gallbladder problems may want to think carefully about choosing to eat spinach.
  • People with thyroid problems should consult their doctor about eating spinach. It’s possible that it can interfere with proper thyroid gland functioning.  However, many people with thyroid problems choose to cook spinach. Cooking spinach can reduce the goitrogenic compounds.
  • Spinach contains purines.  Gout-prone people might choose not to eat spinach because they may be affected by the purines in this food.
Benefits of Spinach
What are the 24 Benefits of Spinach?
  1. Low in calories
  2. High in vitamin A
  3. High in vitamin K
  4. High in magnesium
  5. High in fiber
  6. Protein source
  7. Calcium source
  8. Antioxidant source
  9. Cancer preventative
  10. Lowers blood pressure
  11. Lowers cholesterol
  12. High folate level
  13. Increases brain function
  14. Anti-inflammatory
  15. Promotes healthy vision
  16. Increases circulation
  17. Helps immune system
  18. Helps fight infection
  19. Promotes healthy skin
  20. High in flavanoids
  21. Vitamin E source
  22. Beta-carotene source
  23. Zinc source
  24. Increases bone density

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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.