Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Jill Ettinger

As if our human bodies weren't strange enough, the process by which the body regularly heals and detoxifies itself can also lead to life-threatening illnesses. The culprit: Inflammation. The dilemma: Without it, stubbed toes and runny noses don't heal; inflammation is the body's natural healing ability—essentially removing the injury to allow for recovery—but it can also accumulate in the body in a chronic fashion, leading to serious illnesses such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Harvard Medical School research found that inflammation becomes chronic because of an imbalanced immune system. Mast cells are normal immune cells that in healthy individuals repair damaged cells. But in individuals with obesity and diabetes, mast cells accumulate in fat and can actually leak into tissue and start to cause serious damage.

The good news is that your diet and lifestyle choices can help you outsmart your body's glitch mechanism and prevent—even reverse—the effects of chronic inflammation.

Reduce Inflammation Causing Foods

Red meat, dairy, processed foods, alcohol, sugar… we love to love them, but they're some of the leading causes of inflammation in the body. This is due largely to the high incidence of Omega-6 fatty acids found in processed foods and animal products. While Omega-6 (like from hemp) is crucial for our health, too much can cause chronic inflammation.

Maximizing Hydration

Water is important for every cell of our bodies, and it's especially powerful in flushing out toxins and inflammation. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol can dehydrate leading to more inflammation.

Adding Healthy Omega Fats

Essential fatty acids, like the Omega-3s found in hemp or flax oil, support the body's anti-inflammatory response and reduce chronic inflammation. They can aid in pain management from chronic arthritis or acute injuries.

Getting Friendly with Bacteria

Cultures around the globe have eaten fermented or cultured foods since antiquity. The Standard American Diet has replaced these traditional foods for sugary, fatty, saltier versions that are often void of the necessary probiotics that protect and support the digestive system. Whether adding in cultured foods such as kimchee, sauerkraut or tempeh, or using a probiotic supplement, this can be a great aid in treating and preventing chronic inflammation.

Tapping the Power Plants

The plant kingdom is loaded with powerful healers, from plant enzymes in pineapple (bromelain) to turmeric (the seasoning in Indian food), which is loaded with curcuminoids—powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Ginger is another powerful inflammation fighter that can be incorporated easily into your diet or taken as a supplement.

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Articles/index.aspx#ixzz1iDDZzLzz

Monday, January 2, 2012

5 Foods You Thought Were Bad

Naughty Foods That Are Good for You

Do your favorite foods get a bad rap? Here are 5 'forbidden' foods that experts say are actually good for you.Some foods have been given a bad rap over the years — but now, experts say that not only are they fine in moderation, but they’re actually good for you. Here are 5 foods that have been redeemed because of their healthy benefits. So go ahead and live a little — and indulge (a little).


In recent years, dark chocolate has been in the news for its healthy benefits. It contains an abundance of flavonoids — the same powerful antioxidants found in red wine, green tea, fruits and vegetables — which have been associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and stroke.And now there’s more good news for chocolate lovers. According to a new study out of Germany, small doses of dark chocolate can decrease your risk for heart attack or stroke by nearly 40 per cent. The reason? The flavonols found in chocolate help the muscles in blood vessels to widen, which can lead to a drop in blood pressure, experts say.For the study, published in the European Heart Journal, researchers followed 20,000 people over eight years. It’s the first study to track the health benefits of chocolate over this long of a period of time. But, alas, now for the caveat: When it comes to chocolate, it’s all too easy to have too much of a good thing.Overindulgence can lead to weight gain, which is a major risk factor for heart problems and strokes. Participants in the German study, for example, consumed only about six grams of chocolate per day — or the equivalent of about one square of a chocolate bar. And in case you’re wondering why chocolate seems to be so universally loved — apparently, this has to do with the mood-altering chemicals found in chocolate, which experts say trip the serotonin receptors and create a feeling of “falling in love”.


Have you been avoiding eggs because you’re worried about high cholesterol or heart disease?New research has shown that healthy adults can enjoy an egg every day without increasing their risk of heart disease — and according to the American Heart Association, the lutein found in egg yolks actually protects against the progress of early heart disease.Eggs, which contain only about 70 calories per egg, are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help, among other things, to maintain good vision and foster brain development and function, experts say. They are also a good source of high quality protein and one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. (In case you were wondering, there are no nutritional differences between brown and white eggs.)


The avocado, once banished for its high fat content, has also made a comeback. While it’s true that this delicious buttery fruit is indeed high in fat — with about 30 grams of fat for a medium-sized avocado — nutritionists say that most of the fat is monounsaturated or the ‘good’ kind that can actually lower your cholesterol.Studies have also shown that avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance shown to significantly lower blood cholesterol levels. But while adding avocados to your diet can provide some healthy benefits as well as great flavour, remember that moderation is key to prevent weight gain. (Tasty tip: Replace the mayo on your sandwich with avocado slices.)

Maple Syrup

While this tasty topping for pancakes may be loaded with sugar and calories, real maple syrup also contains lots of healthy antioxidants. In fact, researchers from the University of Rhode Island found no fewer than 20 antioxidants in 20 litres of maple syrup from Quebec, including 13 never before found in maple syrup.These healthy compounds include lignans that are also found in flax seed and whole wheat, a stilbene, which is in the same chemical class as the red wine extract resveratrol. Maple syrup also contains flavonoids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties, and phenolic acids, commonly found in berries and coffee.Not surprisingly, researchers caution to use maple syrup in moderation to avoid weight gain — and to keep in mind that the health benefits are associated only with real maple syrup, not commercial syrups with maple flavouring.


Worried about the fat content in nuts? Again, if eaten in moderation, nuts can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.Many nuts, including almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, and chestnuts, are good sources of monounsaturated fat, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can help to prevent heart disease and cancer. Also, experts say that a few nuts can even facilitate weight loss, by preventing hunger and feelings of deprivation.

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Health/Healthy-Living/5-Foods-You-Thought-Were-Bad.aspx?p=6#ixzz1iD1NnMn6

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vitamin E Tocotrienols Enhance Healthy–Looking Hair

posted by Dr. Aaron Tabor

For many of us, healthy-looking hair is an important part of our appearance. It can brighten our outlook and make us feel more confident. However, maintaining a healthy appearance to our hair can seem like an impossible and never-ending task, especially as we get older. There are many reasons for poor hair health and many of them are beyond our control; however, there are some things we can do to fight poor-looking hair. A number of research studies have suggested that poor hair appearance might be related to poor nutrition and oxidative stress. Because of this, various researchers have explored the possible benefits of nutritional antioxidants for enhancing hair health.

One such study recently reported that boosting your daily intake of tocotrienols might boost your hair appearance. Tocotrienols are part of the vitamin E family. Vitamin E is actually not a single component, but instead is a mixture of 3 tocopherols and 3 tocotrienols. While the tocotrienols are less well known, it has been reported that they are actually better antioxidants than the vitamin E tocopherols.

In this new research study, investigators asked 38 volunteers (18 – 60 years of age) to take either a placebo pill or a 100 mg of tocotrienols daily. The tocotrienols were a mixture of all three forms, alpha (30.8%), delta (12.8%), and gamma (56.4%). Changes in hair appearance were measured in both groups after 4 and 8 months. While no changes in hair appearance were observed after 4 or 8 months in the control group taking the placebo capsule, individuals taking 100 mg tocotrienols daily showed a 15% improvement in hair appearance on average after 4 months and a 35% improvement in hair appearance on average after 8 months. Additionally, 19 of the 20 volunteers taking tocotrienols saw improvements in their hair health with 1 volunteer obtaining less than a 10% improvement, 9 volunteers seeing a 10-25% improvement, 1 volunteer obtaining a 25-50% improvement, and 8 volunteers seeing more than a 50% improvement. Therefore, 40% of the volunteers saw more than a 50% improvement in healthy-looking hair.

These results clearly support the idea that dietary changes can support healthier-looking hair. In this case, vitamin E tocotrienols were shown to improve hair appearance. However, since it is thought that the vitamin E tocotrienols support healthier-looking hair due to their antioxidant properties, it is possible that other antioxidants might also be beneficial if you are looking to enhance your hair appearance. Remember that our true beauty starts inside!

Healthy Regards,

Aaron Tabor, MD
Diet, Anti-Aging, and Nutritional Cosmetic Expert

Author of Dr. Tabor’s Diet and FIGHT NOW: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer.

Read more: http://features.beliefnet.com/truebeauty/2011/05/vitamin-e-tocotrienols-enhance-healthy-looking-hair.html#ixzz1iCz2HXYr