Posts Tagged With: preventative health care

The Importance of Probiotics.

When I was having some health challenges I knew that it had something to do with my stomach and intestines. With the addition of adding probiotics into my body, I started feeling better within days.

Our gut is the healthline of our bodies. Our stomach and 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, and a robust, well-functioning immune system is your number one defense  against all disease. Maintaining a healthy gut flora is far more important than you might think.

At any point in time there are about 500 different species of bacteria living inside you – totaling about sixty trillion bacteria. Some of these bacteria are referred to as “good,” and some as “bad”. The key to good health is not to completely eradicate bad bacteria, but to maintain a healthy balance. Things like medications, diet, diseases, and your environment can upset that balance. The most common way to upset the balance of good and bad bacteria is the use of antibiotics. The good bacteria in your gut are very susceptible to damage caused by antibiotics.

When good bacteria is lacking, a number of bacteria-related health problems such as digestive upset, headaches, sluggishness, irritability, cadidiasis, and even anxiety can ensue. Good bacteria in the gut is important to keep the immune system primed to more effectively fight infection from invading pathogenic bacteria. (1)

What are Probiotics?

The term probiotics comes from the Greek word “for life.”  Anti means “contrary or against.”  So antibiotics means “against life.” Antibiotics kill bacteria…the bad and the good. It’s kind of like the movie line that says: ‘Kill them all and we will sort them out later!’

Most probiotics are bacteria, similar to those that occur in your gut naturally. Probiotics help keep our flora in our intestines in balance. Probiotics are essential to a fully-functioning immune system, and can be increased or restored through the intake of certain food products and supplements.

Symptoms of lack of good bacteria.

The Addition of Probiotics Are Crucial For:

  • Protection against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease.
  • Promotes mental health.
  • Helps reduce diarrhea and diaper rash.
  • Helps digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.
  • Builds Immune System.
  • Helps IBS sufferers.
  • Reduces negative affects of taking many types of antibiotics.
  • Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation.
  • Reduces lactose intolerance.
  • Helps prevent yeast infections, candidasis, and vaginitis.
  • Aids in digesting food.
  • Helps correct and heal digestive disorders.
  • Good Flora promotes the prevention of halitosis.
  • Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body.


How to protect you gut and bring probiotics into your diet:

I have always added probiotic supplements to my diet but then learned of the different ways of incorporating foods that build healthy flora into my body.

Fermented foods are the most effective source for providing probiotics for your system. Yogurt, sauerkraut, Kefir, Kombacha, buttermilk, and other fermented foods are the best way to get these healthy bacteria into your body.

Kefir: One of the best and least expensive ways to get healthy bacteria into your diet is to obtain raw milk and convert it to kefir. The bacteria and beneficial yeast in kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, and this makes it far superior to yogurt. For directions to making your own, go here.

Goat Milk Products: .Goat’s milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus.

Yogurt: Look for brands made from goat milk that has been infused with extra forms of probitoics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Some of your store bought yogurts contain sugars including fructose, corn starch, and modified corn starch. There are other questionable ingredients added for flavor and consistency. Homemade yogurt is much better for you and easy to make. I have to add honey or fruit to mine to sweeten it up. Homemade yogurt that is fermented for 24 hours, as recommended in the book ‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle‘, will have an average concentration of 3 billion cfu of yogurt. What does this mean? Well, if you were to eat a small bowl  of 24 hour fermented homemade yogurt, you would receive 1.5 trillion beneficial bacteria – 100 times more bacteria than a 15 billion capsule of supplemented probiotics. Go here for a recipe for crock pot yogurt.

Sauerkraut: Last year, BBC News reported that sauerkraut could cure the avian flu (bird flu) and other studies show it reduces the risk of breast cancer. If buying commercial sauerkraut, choose high quality from the refrigerated section of your store. Best choice: make it yourself. Here is just one recipe.

Kimchi: An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside most meals in Korea. Besides from beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 & B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the spice, of course.

In conclusion:

The owner of a health food store told me at one time, that if she could only choose one supplement to take, it would be probiotics.  As a part of your overall health care, I would say that getting probiotics in your diet should be one of your top priorities. It is a daily addition to mine.

Be happy and healthy.

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(1) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127095945.htm

Happy Stomach photo: Kenjiro Sano

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Categories: Nourishing Foods & Spices | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turmeric…a most amazing healing spice! (Part 2)

In part one of ‘Turmeric…A Most Amazing Healing Spice’ we saw many of the benefits from using Turmeric. In this blog I would like to cover some of the ways in which you can get Turmeric into your diet.

How to Take Turmeric:
I use Turmeric in everything from eggs to tea. I would suggest you experiment with it to find the ways you could include it into your lifestyle.
Ideally, the turmeric should be in root form that is later ground before use. If you are going to buy the powdered spice form, I recommend finding the organic, non-irradiated form which many natural/health food and gourmet grocery stores usually carry in their “bulk foods” section along with other spice These should be organic and non-irradiated, and are likely to be relatively fresh…compared to those small vials of bottled spices in the stores.
One of the easiest, fastest ways to get your daily Turmeric is just to mix a small spoonful of the powder with some warm water or milk, stir briskly, and drink. I like to add honey to sweeten. Turmeric Tea…yum!
Or, sprinkle a spoon or two in your soups or seafood or meat, almost anything works with this amazingly tasty and healthy spice.
Turmeric is a root that you can enjoy it in its fresh, full splendor as part of your daily diet, right along with your existing veggies mixed in with salads or just straight as-is. Try this Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli recipe.

Turmeric Capsule Dosage:
Pediatric
There is no recommended dosage for children. Consider adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the child’s weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 – 25 kg), the appropriate dose of turmeric for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.
Adult
The following are doses recommended for adults, but listen to your own body. My husband takes 5 gs a day:
•    Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
•    Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day (1 t is 5 gs)
•    Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
•    Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day

Precautions:
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
Turmeric is considered safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of time may produce stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should talk to their doctor before taking turmeric.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels, and when combined with medications for diabetes could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Although it is safe to eat foods containing turmeric, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take turmeric supplements.
Possible Interactions:
Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.
Side effects of excessive turmeric consumption: too much turmeric may lead to constipation or sweating (counter this by drinking plenty of water), accelerated heart beats, thinning of blood (not good for people on blood thinners)”

If you are currently being treated with any medications, you should refer to this site first:
****  http://fourfoldhealing.com/2007/12/30/turmeric/

Links:
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html
http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/newsletters/04_Mar.htm#Mileage
Curcumin is the main biologically active phytochemical compound of Turmeric. As you should know, an herb is much more than its active ingredient.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with anti-cancer properties. For you who would like to read a couple of studies: Iqbal M, et al. Pharmacol Toxicol. 2003 Jan;92(1):33-8) and  J Pharm Pharmacol. 2003 Jul;55(7):981-6.

Categories: Nourishing Foods & Spices | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turmeric…a most amazing healing spice! (Part 1)

I first learned about curcumin when we heard of someone with Alzheimer’s being greatly helped. We researched curcumin and found out that it was the active compound in turmeric which is one of our favorite spices. Turmeric gives Indian food its characteristic yellow/orange color.

I had already been researching turmeric to help a friend who suffered with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was amazed at all the benefits you can have from this indian spice! Our daughter’s eczema was greatly reduced as well as my grand daughters rash for metal allergies. Then I read an article on ‘The Ultimate Anti Aging Spice,’ and guess what, it was turmeric! Now when we start talking anti aging, I am all ears!

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In today’s world, turmeric is highly regarded as one of the universe’s most powerful healers.  Population studies have shown that elderly villagers in India appear to have the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s disease in the world, and researchers have speculated that the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin may be partly responsible. (Alzheimer’s begins as an inflammatory process in the brain, and Indians eat turmeric with almost every meal).It’s antibiotic and anti-inflammatory, and with daily ingestion, it treats and prevents many ailments – such as cancer, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, acne, and reduction of belly fat! Rutgers scientists have found that the curry spice turmeric holds real potential for the therapy and prevention of prostate cancer, especially when combined with certain vegetables.

Below is some of what I have gathered from my online research.
1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloid plaque buildup in the brain.
8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Source: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html

More Turmeric Cures:
Allergies
Hay fever                  
Boils
Eczema
Menopause
Asthma
Acne
Colds
Cysts
Diabetes
Diarrhea and other bowel diseases: 1 tsp of turmeric in a glass of warm water),
Stomach Aches: (Mix honey and turmeric to help stop stomach aches)
Fatigue                                                                                                                                                                                 Beauty                                                                                                                                                                          Depression

How to Take Turmeric:
I use Turmeric in everything from eggs to tea. I would suggest you experiment with it to find the ways you could include it into your lifestyle.
Ideally, the turmeric should be in root form that is later ground before use. If you are going to buy the powdered spice form, I recommend finding the organic, non-irradiated form which many natural/health food and gourmet grocery stores usually carry in their “bulk foods” section along with other spice These should be organic and non-irradiated, and are likely to be relatively fresh…compared to those small vials of bottled spices in the stores.
One of the easiest, fastest ways to get your daily Turmeric is just to mix a small spoonful of the powder with some warm water or milk, stir briskly, and drink. I like to add honey to sweeten. Turmeric Tea…yum!
Or, sprinkle a spoon or two in your soups or seafood or meat, almost anything works with this amazingly tasty and healthy spice.
Turmeric is a root that you can enjoy it in its fresh, full splendor as part of your daily diet, right along with your existing veggies mixed in with salads or just straight as-is. Try this Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli recipe.

Turmeric Capsule Dosage:
Pediatric
There is no recommended dosage for children. Consider adjusting the recommended adult dose to account for the child’s weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 – 25 kg), the appropriate dose of turmeric for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.
Adult
The following are doses recommended for adults:
•    Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
•    Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
•    Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
•    Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day

Precautions:
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
Turmeric is considered safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of time may produce stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should talk to their doctor before taking turmeric.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels, and when combined with medications for diabetes could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Although it is safe to eat foods containing turmeric, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take turmeric supplements.
Possible Interactions:
Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.
Side effects of excessive turmeric consumption: too much turmeric may lead to constipation or sweating (counter this by drinking plenty of water), accelerated heart beats, thinning of blood (not good for people on blood thinners)”

If you are currently being treated with any medications, you should refer to this site first:
****  http://fourfoldhealing.com/2007/12/30/turmeric/

Links:
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html
http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/newsletters/04_Mar.htm#Mileage
Curcumin is the main biologically active phytochemical compound of Turmeric. As you should know, an herb is much more than its active ingredient.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with anti-cancer properties. For you who would like to read a couple of studies: Iqbal M, et al. Pharmacol Toxicol. 2003 Jan;92(1):33-8) and  J Pharm Pharmacol. 2003 Jul;55(7):981-6.

Categories: Nourishing Foods & Spices | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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