The Uses and Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne PeppersThe Greek physician, Hippocrates, famously said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”  Knowing about foods and their benefits gives us the power to direct our health in a positive direction. This article will examine the benefits and uses of cayenne pepper for enhanced health and healing.Again and again, the therapeutic value of cayenne pepper has been medically validated”. What is cayenne pepper? What are common benefits? How does it affect the heart? Can it help me lose weight? Continue reading

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Hemp Seed Oil – Why Should We Use It?

Hemp Seed OilWhat is Hemp?
Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) seed oil is a complete nutritional source.
It contains all of the essential amino and fatty acids. Additionally, a number of compounds within the oil may exhibit desirable pharmacological activity. Hemp seeds are not actually seeds, but “achenes,” which are tiny nuts covered by hard shells.

Whole hemp seeds are composed of 20-25% protein, 20-30% carbohydrates and 10-15% insoluble fiber. (Theimer 1995). They are also an excellent source of minerals including phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and calcium, as well as a fair source of iron and zinc. 

Why is Omega-3 Important?
Omega-3 benefitsIt’s important to have an optimal ratio of omega (Ω)6: omega Ω3 in the diet. Most commonly consumed oils in the Westernized diet are high in Ω6. The average American diet contains somewhere around a 10:1 ratio of Ω6: Ω3, while the desired ratio is closer to 3:1.

Fatty Acid Comparison
Hemp seed oil contains this desirable ration with its composition of LA (Linolenic acid, Ω6) and ALA (α-linolenic acid, Ω3) being roughly 3:1. It also contains some GLA (γ-linolenic acid, Ω6) in smaller amounts. Since its composition matches the body’s optimal fatty acid requirements, it can be consumed and supplemented with indefinitely without the development of any imbalances.

Flax vs Hemp

The same is not always true for other fatty acids like those from flax seeds. The ratios are so important because the fatty acids are metabolized into eicosanoids, which ultimately become prostaglandins, which affect a number of important functions like clotting, inflammation response and immune function. When the ratio is undesirable then certain metabolic intermediates will build up and efficient fatty acid metabolism, as well as these important functions, can be compromised.

 

What is the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?Hemp VS Marijuana
While both compounds are found in little more than trace amounts, hemp seed oil’s composition is higher in cannabidiol (CBD) and lower in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis plants have been shown to have higher THC concentrations in tropical latitudes, likely because the THC may provide some evolutionary advantage in being protective against UV light (Pate, 1994).  Conversely, cannabis plants grown in more Northern and temperate climates, as many modern day hemp crops are grown in places like Canada, will yield concentrations of CBD that are much higher than THC. This is good news for the nutrition of hemp seeds because CBD may possess a number of pharmacological benefits, without the psychoactive effects of THC. It is well-documented to be anti-convulsant and anti-epileptic (Karler et al., 1973; Karler &Turkanis, 1981).  CBD may also possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory (Formukong et al., 1988) and antimicrobial activity (Ferenczy et al. 1958).

Protein comparsion

Hemp powder, oil, and seed are very high in protein.

Other chemical compounds and benefits found in Hemp Seed Oil
Aside from CBD, hemp seed oil contains a variety of other compounds that may provide health benefits:

  • Beta β-Sitosterol– Phytosterols like β-sitosterol may be efficacious in lowering cholesterol by blocking its absorption.
  • Tocopherols-Tocopherols are often touted for their capacity as antioxidants, as in vitamin E supplements.Hemp seed oil contains both α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol. The former tends to have high bioactivity by virtue of its interaction with the liver, yet the latter may be overall more effective in helping to prevent coronary heart disease in comparison (Wolf, 1997). γ-tocopherol may also show some ability to eliminate harmful products in the bowel, thereby helping to prevent colon cancer (Stone & Papas, 1997). γ-tocopherol is present in significantly higher amounts in hemp seed oil than α-tocopherol (Leizer 2000).
  • Terpenes -Another group of compounds that exhibit antioxidant activity.
  • Methyl Salicylate -Present in trace quantities in hemp seed oil, methyl salicylate is closely related to aspirin and possesses its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits Hemp

How do you use hemp seed oil?
An ideal fatty acid composition complemented by an amalgam of minerals and phytochemicals make hemp seeds and hemp seed oil incredibly rich, complete and well-rounded, nutritional food sources.

hemp seed fruit saladCold-pressed, unrefined products are best, and should be kept refrigerated after opening. Compared with some other cooking oils such as coconut, hemp seed oil is low in saturated fat. Hemp seed oil has a low smoke point so it isn’t conducive to frying, however it makes a perfect base for salad dressings and dips, and may be added to soups. Adding a tablespoon of whole seeds or oil to a smoothie is also a great way to enjoy some extra EFA’s, protein and fiber.

References
Benhaim, Paul; A Modern Introduction to HEMP – From Food To Fibre: Past, Present And Future, Australia (2003).

Erasmus, U., 1999. Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. Alive. Books, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Fan, Y.Y, K.S. Ramos and R.S. Chapkin, 1999.

Hansen, Ray, Industrial Hemp Profile, AgMRC, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Economic Report No.(AGES-OO1E) 43 pp, January 2000

Johnson, Renee, Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, (RL34725) July 24, 2013, 7-5700

Leizer, C; Ribnicky, D; et al. (2000). The composition of Hemp Seed Oil and its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods Vol. 2(4).

Pate, D. (1994). Chemical ecology of Cannabis. Journal of the International Hemp Association 1(2): 29, 32-37.

Stone W, Papas A (1997). Tocopherols and the etiology of colon cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 89(14): 1006-1014.

Theimer, R. R. and H. M–lleken, 1995. Analysis of the oil from different hemp cultivars – perspectives for economical utilization. Pages 536-543 in Bioresource Hemp, 2nd edition. nova-Institute,Rosenstr. 53, 50678 Cologne, Germany.

Turner, C; ElSohly, M; Boeren, E. (1980). Constituents of Cannabis sativa L. XVII: A review of the natural constituents. Journal of Natural Products 43(2): 169-234. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ‘White Paper’ on Hemp:What Do the USDA and the DEA Have to Say About Hemp?  NORML Foundation, 1100 H Street, NW, Suite 830, Washington, DC 20005

Weil, A. (1993). Therapeutic hemp oil. Natural Health. March/April, pp. 10-12.

Wolf, G. (1997). y-tocopherol: an efficient protector of lipids against nitric oxide- initiated peroxidative damage. Nutrition Reviews 55(10): 376-378.
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Kevin McMahan3This article is written by Kevin McMahan, a Health and Wellness Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. Kevin has had a lifelong interest in health and wellness. After graduating from Carmel High School he went on to get an associates degree in social sciences from Monterey Peninsula College, and a bachelors in kinesiology from California State University Monterey Bay. He is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. “Your health is your wealth”, is something that he always likes to say. 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.

Sugar – What are the Negative Side Effects?

Sugar SucroseWhat is sugar?
Sugar is a kind of carbohydrate. There are two main types of simple sugars: glucose and fructose. The two main types of sugar are white and brown sugar. White sugar is commonly known as “table sugar,” which is used in most households to make food.Brown sugar has some surface molasses syrup.

Sugar

Types of sugar:   raw sugar, brown sugar, refined sugar (castor sugar), white sugar,  liquid sugar, glucose syrup, treacle (unprocessed sugar), sugar crystals and powdered sugar

Brown sugar is used for foods that are thicker and denser such as cookies, cakes and pies.

Sugar in all foods

Sugar is often added to sauces, casseroles, salad dressings, gravies, fruit glazes, and in  many baked foods

Sugar is also used to enhance the taste of food and is found as an ingredient in an abundance of foods. These foods include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Breakfast  – waffles, pancakes, cereal, pastries, scones, granola
  • Lunch – soups, juices, sodas, bread, and yogurt
  • Dinnerdinner rolls,  mashed potatoes, stews, pastas, casseroles

 

What is glucose and why do we need it?

Blood glucose levelsThe human body breaks down the carbohydrates we eat to create glucose. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy. Sugar can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream.

Glucose processThe quick absorption of sugar creates energy boosts. Glucose is turned into glycogen and stored in the liver. The liver has the capacity to store only 100 grams of glucose in the form of glycogen. Excess glycogen will be stored as fat in the adipose tissues of the body.


How much sugar do we need?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently drafted new guidelines on sugar intake. The World Health Organization states that “sugars should be less than 10% of the total energy intake per day….Five percent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI).” These new guidelines were based on results from numerous scientific studies on sugar.


Sugar in DrinksHow much sugar do we consume?
Sugar and foods with sugar are made readily available for purchase in grocery stores, local businesses and schools. Fast food restaurants sell many food items that contain white and brown sugar. Public schools have vending machines that dispense snacks and carbonated beverages. The Western diet is composed of countless low-cost, high processed foods containing high-fructose corn syrup. Many of these carbonated beverages contain more than 40 grams of sugar in one serving, which is more than the recommended daily intake of sugar.

Child eating Frosted FlakesOne serving of frosted flakes cereal has roughly 38.7 grams of sugar, and one box of 8 chocolate chip cookies has over 39 grams of sugar. An article written by Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt, and Claire Brindis from the University of California, San Francisco titled The Toxic Truth about Sugar states that “Currently, each US citizen consumes an average of 216 liters of soda per year, of which 58% contains sugar…” Excessive amounts of sugar will lead to weight gain, and an increase in the likelihood of acquiring diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.


Sugar AddictionWhat are the negative side effects of sugar?
Consuming white sugar has its benefits such as giving your body the energy it needs and maintaining a healthy look for the skin. However, consuming sugar has its negative side effects. Sugar, not derived from natural sources, has no nutritional value or healthy fats. The consequences of eating too much white sugar are provided, but are not limited, in the following:

  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Hepatic Dysfunction
  • Type 2 Diabetes

What are Diabetes Symptoms?

What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetis a metabolic illness. With Type 2 Diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin isn’t being used properly in the body. Johns Hopkins Medicine: Health Library writes that over 23 million people in the United States have Type 2 Diabetes. The illness can cause nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage, eye damage and many other life threatening complications.

 

What can you do to reduce your sugar intake?
Sugar has many dangerous consequences. It’s important to understand the risks associated with the consumption of sugar and make positive lifestyle changes to reduce the chances of acquiring a metabolic illness. The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute provides tips for reducing excess sugar intake in the following:-Read food labels and choose less sweet alternatives.

  • Reduce the amount of sugar added to drinks, porridges, cakes, puddings, desserts, etc…
  • Spice up dishes with ginger, pimento, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and other spices.
  • Use more fruits and less sugar in cakes. Dried fruits such as raisins and prunes give a sweet “bite”.
  • Use dried or fresh fruits in cereals and porridges e.g, raisins or ripe banana
  • Don’t over-do your intake of sweet fruit juices. Use smaller amounts and dilute the water or vegetable juice.

 

Sources:
World Health Organization
University of California, San Francisco
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Health Library
Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute 

 

 

 

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Hang Pham, MBHA Health EducatorThis article is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. 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 atwww.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.

 

 

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Woman SleepingSleep is a part of every individual’s normal routine. We sleep to get away from the stresses of everyday life. We sleep to calm our mind, body and spirit. Sleep is essential to maintain good emotional, physical and mental health.

Sleeping at workHow Much Sleep Do We Need?
A report written by the National Institute of Health on Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation states

“the average basal sleep needs of adults is approximately 7 to 8 hours per night, and the optimal sleep duration for adolescents is 9 hours per night”. 

The report indicates that adults, adolescents and children are not getting enough sleep. More than 13 million children are receiving insufficient sleep. The duration and quality of sleep people receive every night may dictate how they perform and act during the day.


What are the Consequences of Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation may result in many problems. Lack of sleep can lead to but are not limited in the following:

  • Greater mortality risk
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Decreased performance and alertness
  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Immune function impairment
  • Depression

woman sleepingThe cognitive process is greatly affected by lack of sleep. The ability to learn, concentrate, remember, reason and problem solve is impaired. If you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned the day before. As you sleep, the mind performs a process called consolidation meaning recent memories are being ingrained in the brain to create long-term memories. Lack of sleep hinders in our ability to make sound judgments about others and ourselves. It especially affects our ability to assess how we are functioning in terms of how we are performing in the workplace or doing at school.


Woman sleeping at computer
Daytime sleepiness is one of the dangerous consequences of sleep deprivation.
It can lead to occupational and automobile injuries. Sleepiness decreases your alertness and slows down reaction time thus resulting in workplace injuries such as tripping over boxes or walking into walls. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration write that “each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.”  Driving while feeling sleepy or drowsy can be just as harmful as driving drunk. Your mind can’t focus on the task at hand due to the constant desire to fall asleep. Drivers under the age of 25 years old are responsible for most of these vehicle accidents.

CPAP for Sleep Apnea

Person Using CPAP for Sleep Apnea


What are the Causes of Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation can be caused by a variety of reasons such as family troubles or longer hours at work. Most often, it is due to undiagnosed sleep disorders. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognizes more than 85 million sleep disorders which affect millions of people in the United States. Insomnia and sleep apnea are two of the most prevalent sleep disorders Americans suffer from. Insomnia is when people have a difficult time falling asleep. People can suffer from acute or chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia doesn’t last more than a few nights and usually occurs when the stresses of everyday life are too much for one person to handle. The National Sleep Foundation defines chronic insomnia as “disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months.” Chronic insomnia may cause severe daytime sleepiness, making it difficult of pay attention to lectures in school or type on a computer at work. With sleep apnea, sleep is disrupted with short pauses in breathing up to ten seconds. More than 18 million people in the United States are diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.

How to Improve Sleep Habits
The Sleep Foundation provides some strategies of how to improve sleep in the following:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
  • Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music-begin an hour or more before the time your expected to fall asleep
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep
  • Avoid watching television, using a computer or reading in bed
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking

 

Sources:

National Sleep Foundation  http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems

American Academy of Sleep Medicine http://www.aasmnet.org/

National Institute of Health  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/

National Highway and Traffic Administration  http://www.nhtsa.gov/Impaired

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Hang Pham, MBHA Health EducatorThis article is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. 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 atwww.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.

 

What is a Healthy Heart Rate?

What is a healthy heart rate? How do you determine the healthy heart rate for your age?

What is Healthy Pulse?

What is a healthy heart rate? It varies and depends on age and physical fitness level 

WHAT IS HEART RATE?
There is a technical difference between “pulse” and “heart rate.”  Pulse is the action of blood  moving through the veins and arteries causing a pulsing or rhythmic throbbing sensation that can be felt or heard.   Heart rate refers to the speed of the heartbeat. This specifically refers to the number of heartbeats per unit unit of time. BPM, beats per minute is the typical measurement of heart rate.The heart rate can vary according to the body’s physical needs.  An athletic individual is more likely to have a lower heart rate than a sedentary individual.

WHAT MAKES HEART RATE VARY?
Heart rate will vary according to the body’s need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide.  Physical exercise, illness, diet,  sleep, and drugs will affect the heart rate, or pulse.  The heart rate can vary according to the body’s physical needs.  An athletic individual is more likely to have a lower heart rate than a sedentary individual.  Heart rate will vary according to the body’s need to absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide.

Many different factors can effect heart rate including: 

  • Activity level
  • Fitness level
  • Air temperature
  • Body position (standing up or lying down, for example)
  • Emotions
  • Body size
  • Medications


WHAT ARE ABNORMAL HEART RATES?

The normal human heart rate ranges from 60-120 bpm, depending on the age and physical fitness level of the person. An athelete might be 40 bpm. A slow heart rate is known as bradycardia,  and is below 60 bpm.  Tachycardia refers to a fast heart rate (above 100 bpm). Anarrhythmia is diagnosed in an individual when the heart rate is irregular.  When a heart rate is too fast, too slow or irregular, it might indicate a cardiovascular problem or a disease.


WHAT ARE NORMAL HEART RATES?

According to the National Health Service, UK, the following are ideal normal pulse rates at rest, in bpm (beats per minute):

  • Newborn baby = 120 – 150 BPM
  • Baby (1 – 12 mo.) = 80 – 140 BPM
  • Baby/toddler (1 – 2 yr.) = 80 – 130 BPM
  • Toddler/young child (2 – 6 yr.) = 75- 120 BPM
  • Child (7 – 12 yr.) = 75 – 100 BPM
  • Adult (18+ yr.) = 60 – 100 BPM
  • Adult athlete = 40 – 60 BPM

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE YOUR HEART RATE?
Heart rate is usually determined by placing two fingers on an artery. There are several different places where you might be successful in feeling a pulse.  After sensing the pulse beating there, count the pulse beats for up to one minute.  If a person uses a blood pressure cuff, the heart rate is generally displayed, however taking the pulse and determining the heart manually without the aid of electronic equipment is more accurate, especially if the person has an irregular heart beat.

LOCATIONS FOR CHECKING YOUR HEART RATE
There are eleven different common locations for checking the pulse and determining the heart rate:

  1. Wrist (radial artery)
  2. Neck (carotid artery)
  3. Facial artery (lateral edge of mandible, or jaw)
  4. Basilar artery (side of head near ear)
  5. Superficial temporal artery (temple)
  6. Abdominal aorta (over the abdomen)
  7. Brachial artery (under bicepts or inside elbow)
  8. Apex of the heart (on the chest)
  9. Femoral artery (groin)
  10. Dosalis pedis (middle of dorum of foot)
  11. Posterior tibial artery (behind medial malleoulus of foot)

Why Eat Antioxidants? What Are Antioxidants?

Why are antioxidants  important to our health? Which foods are high in antioxidants and what is the latest antioxidant research telling us?


Are All Antioxidants the Same?
No. An antioxidant is something that inhibits or stops the oxidation process, especially one that is used to change the deterioration of stored foods or food products.  Any chemical compound which has been added to certain foods, natural and synthetic rubbers, gasolines, and other products to retard oxidation is considered an anitoxidant. Antioxidants are also aromatic compounds such as amines, phenols, and aminophenols which are used to prevent the loss of elasticity in rubber and in the gummy deposits found in gasoline.  The preservatives  tocopherol (vitamin E), propyl gallate, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are also antioxidants, which prevent rancidity in fats, oils, and fatty foods, but these are not the antioxidants that we are concerned about.


AntioxidantsWhich Antioxidants are Important?

For health purposes we are interested in antioxidants that stop oxidation caused by free radicals.  The  antioxidants that are important to our health and well-being are substances such as vitamin C or E that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.  These types of antioxidants are prized for their amazing ability to fight heart disease, cancer, and aging.  There are hundreds, probably thousands, of different substances that can help our bodies, working as antioxidants. In the body, antioxidants such as beta-carotene, other related carotenoids, vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), and selenium and manganese, can help to reduce oxidation caused by free radicals.   They’re joined by glutathione, coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, phytoestrogens, and many others.

Which Are the Best Antioxidant Foods?
Everybody has their own ideas of the best antioxidant foods.  The list of top antioxidant foods changes often (remember the excitement over acai fruit?). Surprisingly, many studies show that currently SMALL RED BEANS (they look like tiny kidney beans), sometimes called the Mexican bean, are topping the list, but many foods dark in color are rich in antioxidants. The best way to add a lot of antioxidants into the diet, is eat a large variety of  high antioxidant foods and not focus on only one. You don’t have to have products flown in from Nepal or the Amazon. You can find foods high in antioxidants close to home: pinto beans, blueberries, cranberries, pecans, pomegranate, artichokes, blackberries, raw spinach, prunes, raspberries, red grapes, pecans, Granny Smith apples, black beans and more.  Many antioxidant foods are a rich, dark color, raw, and whole (peeling and seeds included)! And remember, while blueberry pie is tempting, it doesn’t compare with a bowl of fresh blueberries. Living, raw, organic, non-GMO foods are always the best choice over packaged, dried, chemically-treated or frozen foods.


What Does Antioxidant Research  Show?

Results of research studies vary dramatically.  More long-term studies are needed.  A six-year trial, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), published in theNational Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, in the Archives of Opthamology, found that a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc helped to prevent the development of advanced age-related macular degeneration (but not cataract development) in high-risk patients.  Lutein is a a naturally occurring carotenoid found in dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.  It was concluded that lutein may help to protect vision.

Other studies such as the lung cancer study by Omenn and other researchers, concluded that after an average of four years of supplementation, “the combination of beta carotene and vitamin A had no benefit and may have had an adverse effect on the incidence of lung cancer.”    Studies by Hercberg, and others, and Cook, and others, using randomized trials of antioxidant vitamins and supplements, showed insignificant results. The Hercberg study showed lower incidence of cancer in men, but not women.   The Cook study showed no significant effects of antioxidants ascorbic acid, vitamin E, or beta carotene on cardiovascular events among women at high risk for cardiovascular disease.  Beta-carotene was reported in the Physicians’ Health Follow-up Study to be beneficial on cognitive function,  after 18 years of follow-up.

“Existing biological and epidemiologic data, in combination with findings from this randomized trial, indicate that long-term beta carotene supplementation may provide cognitive benefits. The extent of benefits that we found for long-term beta carotene use appeared modest, but the mean differences in cognitive performance we observed were substantially greater compared with those in a trial of donepezil among nondemented subjects”

Results from research studies are inconclusive and conflicting. More research is needed for longer periods of time in order to scientifically determine the benefits of antioxidants.


Is it Good or Not?  What Should we Do?

It is well-known that free radicals contribute to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer,  vision loss, and  Alzheimer’s disease. Even though more research is needed,  abundant evidence suggests that eating whole foods rich in antioxidants and their helper molecules, such as dark berries, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can be of some help to  provide us with  protection against many of these diseases and to combat the effects of aging.

20 Health Benefits of Chocolate

 

20 Benefits of Chocolate

Is Chocolate Beneficial to Me?
Studies have shown that dark chocolate can be beneficial to our health.  This is not the creamy milk chocolate commonly found in stores and in most commercial candy bars.   Healthy, dark chocolate is nearly black in color, does not have added sugar, and is bitter (for most sweet-seeking eaters) to taste.   It’s no secret that chocolate has lots of fat in it and calories and so does dark chocolate. But first let’s look at it’s good qualities.

Chocolate

The  Theobroma cacao also known as the cacao tree , or cocoa tree, is a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae.  It is  native to the deep tropical region of America.  Cocoa powder and chocolate are made from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree.   Cocoa has long been known for it’s medicinal properties.  It was popular among Aztec and Mayan people.   The oldest known cultivation and use of cacao dates from about 1100 to 1400 BC.  Archaeologists reported finding evidence of Cacao beans being used for food, drink, and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Cocoa beans
What is the healthy ingredient in dark chocolate?
The Europeans added sugar to the cocoa to create the sweetened chocolate that we know today.  Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols, high in caffeine, and antioxidants.  Current research studies have shown flavanols to be effective in the following ways:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • lowering cholesterol
  • lifting the mood, curbing depression
  • providing anti-aging effects
  • serving  as a natural stimulant

    Chocolates

In the past the cocoa bean has been used as an elixir in the following ways:

  • to gain weight
  • to stimulate those who are exhausted or feeble
  • to improve digestion and elimination
  • to  stimulate kidneys
  • to improve bowel function.
  • to reduce or alleviate effects of anemia
  • to increase appetite
  • to eliminate mental fatigue
  • to increase breast milk production
  • to aid in the symptoms and discomfort of influenza, tuberculosis fever, gout, kidney stones
  • to increase sexual drive

    Chocolate dipped

Is there anything unhealthy  about dark chocolate?
Yes, chocolate is still high in fat and calories   Let’s first take a look at the fat.  First of all it’s important to note that there are good fats and bad fats.   Good fats are monounsaturated fats.   Not so good fats are   saturated fats.   Saturated fats, like full-fat dairy products and fatty animal proteins, have been shown in past research studies to increase risks of heart disease, high cholesterol and some cancers, including colon cancer.  There is currently a controversy about saturated fats, with recent research contradicting past studies.  More study may be needed.

When choosing fats, a safe choice is to pick unsaturated fat over saturated or trans fat.  Really bad fats are trans fats.  Fried foods, packaged cookies, chips, candy and granola bars, and cooking oils, contain trans fats which can increase bad cholesterol and inflammation, and decrease good cholesterol in the body.


Chocolate factory

It’s a mixed issue with chocolate.
Monounsaturated fats and Omega 3 fatty acids are good fats and helpful to us.  Cocoa butter is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fats, with less polyunsaturated fats. So about one-third of the fat in dark chocolate can be potentially bad for us. The good fats in dark chocolate are Oleic Acid and Stearic acid. Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat. Stearic acid is a saturated fat, but it is neutral to cholesterol.  That is good.

Where People Get their FatsPalmitic acid is also in dark chocolate.   Palmitic acid is the bad fat.  It raises cholesterol and heart disease risk. So that fact is that one-third of the fat is not so good saturated fat, and about two-thirds of the fat is good or neutral saturated fat and good monounsaturated fat in dark chocolate.

Another issue is the caffeine.
Caffeine
is found in the coffee bean and cocoa bean. Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate, because it is more pure, and with less added ingredients. It is generally accepted that caffeine consumption that is kept under 200 mg per day does not result in illness However, intake of caffeine over 200 mg can create digestive problems. Pregnant women should not use high levels of caffeine. Difficulties in conceiving have been linked to regularly taking in 1,000 mg of caffeine per day. Other symptoms such as problems sleeping, nervousness, and rapid heart beat can be associated with high levels of caffeine. Caffeine in high doses has been known to trigger migraine headaches, although when taken in small amounts, it can be used to stop or reduce the effects of a painful migraine and also can be beneficial and helpful in stopping an asthma attack when an inhaler is not available.

Clean Teeth

What about tooth decay?
Surprise! Recent studies are showing chocolate can actually HELP tooth decay!   Researchers at Osaka University in Japan found that parts of the cocoa bean, the main ingredient of chocolate, stop mouth bacteria and tooth decay.  The milk in the milk chocolate helps to halt plaque. The cocoa bean husk  has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth.  It can fight effectively against dental plaque and other damaging agents.

 

What is the bottom line?
The bottom line is that dark chocolate can be beneficial if eaten in small quantities.  Never overindulge and remember to care for yourself.  Exercise, eat a well balanced diet, do things that make you happy, be persistent with achieving your goals, and get plenty of sleep.   When chocolate is eaten in excess, it can raise cholesterol, increase weight, increase risk of heart failure and heart disease, and trigger anxiety, stress, headache, nervousness, and  cause rapid heart beat.

Use the cocoa bean and chocolate wisely and draw upon the wisdom of our ancestors.

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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.  All photos are copyright free from www.pixabay.com unless otherwise noted.


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.

Choosing the Heart Path and the Healing Power of a Loving Heart

Choose the Path With a Heart
What is the Heart Path?
What does it mean to speak from the heart? Is there a connection between heart disease and lack of heartfelt or heart-centered purpose in life?

How Do We Choose the Path with a Heart?
It is important to make lifestyle changes to keep a healthy heart. We must also make emotional and spiritual changes. Research shows that these aspects of health are highly influential on the total well-being of a person. When choosing the heart-path, we choose to be LOVING and conscious to ourselves, our family members and our friends. We choose to eat balanced and nutritious meals, maintain a healthy weight, and be physically fit by keeping active. We  participate in activities that make us truly happy.

 

Children HuggingWhat Does Research Tell Us?
In an essay and review of the research on the effects of love on health entitled  “Love Promotes Health”  researchers Tobias Esch, and George B. Stefano, state:

“Love has consequences for health and well-being. The better we understand the concrete neurobiology of love and its possible secondary implications, the greater is our respect for the significance and potency of love’s role in mental and physical health. Love is closely related to the concept of pleasure and ‘positive psychology’, i.e., joyful mental states, and therefore has become a feature not only of thorough psychological but also basic science research – e.g., neurobiology –and clinical medicine…..Community, social support, health and survival (of the individual and the species) clearly indicate further beneficial properties of the biological love concept. Social support has documented health benefits, and the absence of positive social interactions or social bonds is typically associated with both physical and mental illnesses.”

 

Choosing the path with the heart means choosing the path of kindness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, peace, contentment, responsibility, and generosity. Choosing the path with the heart means loving life…ALL life. YOUR life, my life, his life, her life, animal life, plant life. The air, the water, the soil. Loving it all.  When we choose the “heart path” of kindness and love,  this effects our both our spiritual heart and our physical heart, bringing health and healing to the body.


This sounds far-fetched. Do you meant that there is a connection between a heartless world and a world with heart disease?

 

Not exactly, but there is a scientific and chemical connection between a healthy heart and a heart filled with love and kindness.
First, let’s take a look at heart disease.

How Prevalent is Heart Disease in our Society?
Heart Disease Symptoms
Every year over half a million Americans die of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention most recent statistics:

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths!
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.
  • Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

When studying the principles of  heart health,  we know that heredity and genetic factors are major contributors to heart disease, but there are some things that we can change.  Making healthy lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce the risks of heart disease.

What are Some of the High-risk Lifestyles for Heart Disease?

  • A poor diet high in trans fats
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • lack of exercise
  • obesity
  • tobacco use
  • alcohol abuse
  • stress

Heart Attack CausesSo we can greatly lower our risk of heart failure and heart attack by making some life-style changes.  But what does this have to do with choosing the “path of the heart?

 “There are many paths to enlightenment.
Be sure to take one with a heart.”  ~Lao Tzu


Oxytocin in the BrainResearch Shows Kindness and Love Help Prevent Heart Disease

According to multiple research studies,  kindness and love create scientifically measurable chemical reactions in the body.   These chemical changes in the body are “cardioprotective.”    In other words, the chemical reaction that occurs when a person experiences the “emotional lift” during kind, loving, and heart-centered actions, protects our heart.  According to Dr. David Hamilton, PhD, in an article entitled, “5 Side Effects of Kindness,

“Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth. Emotional warmth produces the hormone, oxytocin, in the brain and throughout the body. Of recent interest is its significant role in the cardiovascular system.

Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts kindness can produce oxytocin and therefore kindness can be said to be cardioprotective.”

Dr. Hamilton further explains that oxytocin also “reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system.”  This reduction of free radicals slows down the aging process. Free radicals and inflammation play a major role in heart disease , as documented by D. Jezova, and M. Ondrejcakova  of the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.  These researchers concluded that oxytocin has a powerful effect on free radical and inflammation levels, which have been proven to lead to coronary heart disease.  Therefore, when we engage in acts of kindness and love, we are reducing inflammation in the body and reducing heart disease risk.

 

Serotonin and the brainIn his book, the “Power of Intention”, Dr. Wayne Dyer cites scientific studies concluding that kindness both increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin and strengthens our immune systems. When serotonin is released into the body, people feel less stress, euphoric, relaxed and happy. The biological, psychological and mental effects of kindness on the human body are expansive and not limited only to the “givers” or the “receivers.”  Research has shown that an act of kindness not only increases the levels of serotonin in the recipient, but also in the person who is being kind, and in those who witness the act of kindness.

Multiple research studies show that love and kindness are key to health and healing.  When we ignore our true heartfelt instincts, we can make ourselves ill.   So why not listen to our hearts  and love ourselves and your lives?  Let our hearts tell us how to live our lives.

For now, let us always remember Lao Tzu’s words and choose the path with a heart.  If we as a country and as a world,  start making heartfelt choices in all we do, then we heal our bodies, ourselves and our universe and have a happy, healthy heart—mind, body, and spirit.

Resources
Bartels A, Zeki S. The neural correlates of maternal and romantic love. Neuroimage 2004;21:1155–66. (.pdf)

Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Babyak MA, Watkins LL, Waugh R, Georgiades A et al. Effects of exercise and stress management training on markers of cardiovascular risk in patients with ischemic heart disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005; 293:1626–34.

Carter CS. Neuroendocrine perspectives on social attachment and love. Psychoneuroendocrinology 1998;23:779–818.
Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller, D, Santorelli SF et al.  Alterations in brain and immune function
produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosom Med 2003;65:564–70.

Dyer, Dr. Wayne, The Power of Intention, Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way, HayHouse.com

Hamilton, David R, 5 Side Effects of Kindness,  May 30, 2011.

Tobias Esch, and George B. Stefano, Love Promotes Health.  Neuroendocrinology Letters, No.3 June, Vol.26, 2005,  ISSN 0172–780X, http://www.nel.edu

Velazquez, Barbara,  A Review of Scientific Evidence Supporting the Link Between Altruism and Health, Taskforce for Humanity Coalition,

_______________________________


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.

We Can Do It! Keeping Physically Fit

Greetings MBHA friends!

Today is a great day to focus on persistence, pushing through barriers, and seize the day. Let’s start tackling those fitness goals! It’s a little foggy and chilly here on the Monterey Bay Central California coast. The faint sound of seagulls can be heard on top of the splashing of the waves against the shore, and it’s not unusual to see a turkey vulture in the sky with it’s effortless, smooth and gentle flight.  SO after a belly full of Thanksgiving holiday food, and a weekend of chilly weather, it’s TEMPTING to put off those nasty exercises that make us achy and sore.  BUT let’s wake up and seize the day with a little inspiration from Rosie the Riveter!

We can do it!

We Can Do It

Click and copy to share with friends. The “We Can Do It” poster was created in 1943 to boost worker morale during World War II. Today we fight another war. It’s the war of keeping healthy and fit! We can do it.

The American wartime propaganda poster “We Can Do It!”  inspires all of us here at MBHA to get up, get moving, and be disciplined with our physical exercises. Just look at that face! This muscular woman is speaking to ALL out there who feel frustration and hopeless when life seems challenging and bleak.

The poster was originally produced by J. Howard Miller in 1943 for Westinghouse Electric is as an inspirational image to boost female wartime worker morale. The poster is believed to be created from  a black-and-white wire service photograph taken of Geraldine Hoff, a Michigan factory worker.

It was actually seen very little during World War II, but was brought out again to the public  in the early 1980’s and widely distributed during the “Women’s Rights” era of that time. It inspired women to keep up the fight and never give up hope.   The poster girl became known as “Rosie the Riveter”  and it made the cover of the Smithsonian magazine in 1994 and in 1999 was a US first-class mail stamp.

Today we fight war of another kind.

Today we are fighting a war within OURSELVES: the war of the mind, body and spirit, that prevents us from choosing to keep physically fit. This is a VERY serious war.  Rosie, with her bulging muscles, and determined, fearless, gaze, depicts the inspirational spirit of someone who is not about to give up!

Health challenges can be a lonely battle. Employers are more often not providing in health care benefits and insurance companies are no longer covering outrageous expenses.  Many men and women are unemployed or working for low wages and feeling hopeless from the stresses of the failing economy. They, in turn, have stopped the healthy disciplines of good nutrition, daily physical exercises, and getting plenty of sleep, fresh air, rest and relaxation.  People with chronic illnesses, sometimes give up the fight in despair, surrendering to a life of suffering and eventually death.  Many people choose to sit in their rooms, hopelessly surrendering to a life of despair, sometimes clinging to watching television or chatting online with cyber-friends, looking for an escape from the all too painful piles of bills, and the pain and suffering of the physical, emotional, and mental body.

Less than 25% of the people today meet the guidelines for aerobic and muscle strengthening.

Recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that less than 25% of adults 18 years of age and over who met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and  muscle-strengthening physical activity.   Cardiovascular disease is the cause of death for more than 1/4 of people this past year and is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Looking at our past is a healthy way to inspire us to move forward in the future.

Rosie the Riveter has been there for 70 years to say, “We Can Do It!” and keep people from choosing the “VICTIM” consciousness. She’s inspired people through many lifetime struggles and challenges, and she can inspire US NOW during these challenging times.  Sure, times are tough, but it’s up to us to make a difference.  So we start by getting up off of the couch and doing some exercises, or maybe just going for a walk  after supper. We eat right, get plenty of sleep, look to a higher wisdom, and see the blessings and lessons in every moment.  Soon we begin to heal ourselves, and then we can begin to heal the world. We do this one day at a time.

We invite YOU to share your inspirational stories and the ways in which you have broken through barriers and pushed past your fears to face life’s biggest challenges. YOU are our biggest inspiration.

With gratitude and love to you,
Your health and wellness friends,
The MBHA Staff and Volunteers