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5 Surprising Health Benefits of Hemp

Brandi, selected from Diets in Review     August 17, 2013
  
Hemp has always had trouble stepping out of the shadow of its dirty cousin marijuana. While it is closely related to whacky tobaccy, hemp has microscopic amounts of THC — the chemical in marijuana that gets you high — and eating hemp foods won’t jeopardize your next drug test. The health benefits of hemp are so vast that people are beginning to abandon the antiquated stereotypes of the versatile plant.

Sharon Palmer, author of The Plant Powered Diet, wasn’t wasting her breath when she said, “I think hemp is the next ‘it’ food — it has been for a while.” The hemp seed is bursting with Omega-6 and Omega-3, essential fatty acids that have heart health and anti inflammatory benefits. Hemp seeds are nutty in flavor and breathe life into salads, desserts, yogurts, cereals, and breads. Hemp seeds can be turned into butter, milk, protein powder, finishing oil, and soap.

Unfortunately, Uncle Sam outlawed hemp farming in 1958, a shame when you consider how amazing a crop it is. The plant thrives without pesticides, purifies the soil around it, and kills weeds. The U.S. is the only country that bans industrial hemp farming, quelling what could be an agricultural and financial boon for our indebted country.

Adding hemp foods to your diet is something you should seriously consider, and below are five health benefits of hemp you might not have known.


Five Hemp Health Benefits You Didn’t Know About

=> The protein and fiber in hemp combine to slow digestion, which prevents spikes in blood sugar and therefore sustains your body’s energy. A diet rich in hemp promotes digestive regularity.

=> When sprinkled on your cereal or fruit at breakfast, hemp protein and fiber also help aid in satiety, which will prevent you from snacking and keep you fuller longer.

=> The Omega-3 fatty acids in hemp reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, and may even ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Hemp seeds are one of the few Omega-3 sources found in plants.

=> The Omega-6 fatty acids in hemp stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and help the brain function.

=> Hemp seeds contain essential amino acids, which improves muscle control, mental function, and normal body maintenance of cells, muscle, tissues, and organs.

Sharon Palmer contributed to this report.

source: www.care2.com
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Soda Contributes to Behavior Problems Among Young Children

By Alexandra Sifferlin    @acsifferlin    Aug. 16, 2013

Sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the major culprits in the obesity epidemic, but sodas have also been connected to behavioral problems among teens. That link apparently extends to young kids as well.

Among children 5 years old, according to the latest research, those drinking more sugar-sweetened sodas showed increased aggression, withdrawal and difficulty paying attention than those drinking fewer or none of the beverages.

It’s the first time that the effects of sugared beverages have been traced to behavior issues among children so young. But the findings mirror similar trends among adolescents; a 2011 study published in the journal Injury Prevention found that teens who drank more than five cans of soft drinks every week were significantly more likely to have carried a weapon and acted violently toward peers, family members and dates. Another study from the same authors reported that high consumption of soft drinks was associated with a range of aggressive or mood-related behaviors, from fighting, feeling sad or hopeless to even being suicidal.

In the latest study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, parents reported that 43% of the 5-year olds participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study drank at least one serving of soda every day, and 4% consumed four or more servings daily.

In order to evaluate the relationship between the sugared drinks and behavior problems, the researchers adjusted for several factors that can influence behavior, including their mothers’ depression and the children’s diets. Even after this adjustment, the scientists found a significant relationship between more soda consumption and aggressive behaviors that included destroying other people’s belongings, getting into fights and physically attacking others.


What makes soda-drinking kids so unruly? “Soft drinks are highly processed products containing carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sodium benzoate, phosphoric or citric acid, and often caffeine, any of which might affect behavior,” the authors write.

Caffeine is a likely culprit, since other studies connected the compound with changes in hormone levels that could alter the way still developing brains perceive and evaluate risk. Because caffeine can act on so many brain systems, but there is still little information on its influence on young children, the FDA is currently investigating the safety of caffeine that is added to food products consumed by kids and adolescents, like drinks, chips and even gum.

The sugar in sodas may also affect behavior, though that connection is murkier. A recent study reported that even at doses considered average for human consumption — about four cans of soda in a day — sugar has toxic effects in mice, impairing their ability to establish territories and reproduce. “There are too many unknown variables to say whether or not sugar causes aggression,” says Judy Caplan, a registered dietitian nutritionist for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I think more studies like this are needed to really understand what role food (sugar) plays in aggression in children. We will have to see what the future confirms.”

While the beverage industry has taken steps to limit children’s access to sugared soft drinks — providing healthier options such as water, fruit juices and skim milk in schools instead–the study highlights how prevalent soda consumption is in the U.S. — even among the very young. According to an American Beverage Association spokesperson, member companies do not promote or market the consumption of soft drinks to children in the age group examined in the study,  but so far the high consumption among  kids doesn’t seem to help them establish and maintain healthy relationships with friends and family.

Alexandra Sifferlin is a writer and producer for TIME Healthland. She is a graduate from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

source: Time


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Volunteering May Make People Happier, Study Finds

Review also finds that those who ‘give back’ tend to live longer

By Robert Preidt     HealthDay Reporter     WebMD News from HealthDay

FRIDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) – Volunteering may improve your mental health and help you live longer, a new review suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from 40 published papers and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than non-volunteers. In addition, volunteers had lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.

Further research is needed to understand the apparent link between volunteering and health, the review authors noted.

“Our systematic review shows that volunteering is associated with improvements in mental health, but more work is needed to establish whether volunteering is actually the cause,” review leader Dr. Suzanne Richards, from the University of Exeter Medical School in England, said in a university news release.

 

“It is still unclear whether biological and cultural factors and social resources that are often associated with better health and survival are also associated with a willingness to volunteer in the first place. The challenge now is to encourage people from more diverse backgrounds to take up volunteering, and then to measure whether improvements arise for them,” she explained.

The findings were published Aug. 22 in the journal BMC Public Health.

Worldwide, the number of adult volunteers varies, with estimates of about 23 percent in Europe, 27 percent in the United States, and 36 percent in Australia, according to the news release.

Common reasons that people cite for volunteering include giving something back to their community or supporting an organization or charity that has supported them. Some people also volunteer to gain work experience or to widen their social circles.

source: www.webmd.com    HealthDay


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9 Foods That Will Naturally Detox You

BY MARIA GUADAGNO – NOVEMBER 23, 2012 

Think the only way to detox is with a juice cleanse? Think again!

Our bodies are naturally built to detoxify us. Everyday, we eliminate and neutralize toxins through our colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, and skin. It’s just that, in this day and age, these organs often get over-worked from the constant barrage of toxins from pollution, animal products, and processed foods.

Luckily, Mother Nature has the perfect antidote! 

Below are 9 potent detoxifying foods that support your body’s natural cleansing system…and you don’t have to juice them to get the benefits. You’ll receive benefits just by incorporating more of these foods into your diet: 

Cauliflower
This antioxidant rich cruciferous veggie aids your body’s natural detoxification system and reduces inflammation.

Lentils
This fiber-rich legume aids in elimination, helps lower cholesterol, balances blood sugar, and even increases your energy.

Broccoli
A strong detoxifier, broccoli neutralizes and eliminates toxins while also delivering a healthy dose of vitamins.


Turnip Greens
A potent detoxifier, this cruciferous veggie also has been found to help prevent many types of cancer and is a great for reducing inflammation. 

Grapefruit
This fiber-rich sweet and tangy fruit helps lower cholesterol, prevent kidney stones, and aids the digestive system.

Steel Cut Oats
High in both soluble and insoluble fiber, oats will keep you satiated and your digestive system moving.

Cucumbers
Nutrient dense cucumbers, which are 95% water, help flush out toxins and alkalize the body.

Sunflower Seeds
High in selenium and Vitamin E, sunflower seeds aid the liver’s ability to detox a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. In addition, they help prevent cholesterol build up in the blood and arteries.

Hemp Seeds
These tiny nutritional powerhouses are an excellent source of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, are an easily digestible plant based protein, have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, and also aid in elimination. 


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World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease

We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong.. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries,today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.”  Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body?  Well,smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream dietthat is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. Thisrepeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flourand all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed withomega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.


How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell – they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.

Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetesand finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef. 

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital , Mesa , AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is also the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.


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Why High-Fat Diets May Trigger Overeating

August 15, 2013    By Health Editor  Brenda Goodman   HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) — Many people who have tried to give up fatty foods in favor of healthier choices have found themselves obsessing over cookies or chips. Choosing a salad over a cheeseburger can feel like a Herculean act of will.

Now scientists believe they’ve found an important clue about why this happens.

Working in mice, researchers say they’ve discovered how the gut talks to the reward centers of the brain, and how high-fat diets can jam this communication, potentially leading to overeating and obesity.

The study, which was published online Aug. 15 in the journal Science, also found that high-fat diets actually led mice to turn up their noses at their normal, low-fat chow.

“The implications to humans are huge,” said Paul Kenny, a professor of pharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla.

“You’re trying to lose weight. You have a bad diet and you’re trying to adjust it, [but] your body and brain in concert are saying, ‘No, I don’t want that type of food,’” said Kenny, who was not involved in the research. “The chips are stacked against you — literally, potato chips. And that’s why you’re very likely to fail.”

Eating food — especially food high in fat — triggers the release of the feel-good brain chemical dopamine.

Previous studies have found that as people and mice become obese, the brain’s dopamine system stops working properly. Eating becomes less rewarding.

As food becomes less stimulating, one theory holds that people need to eat more and more to feel satisfied — creating a vicious cycle of weight gain and overeating.

But researchers have never really understood why or how this happens, or, crucially, how to stop it.

For the new study, researchers studied two groups of mice. The first group was fed a normal, low-fat diet. The second group was put on a high-fat diet. Researchers fed the mice through catheters that ran directly into their stomachs to eliminate any influence from the taste or chewing of the foods.


As expected, the mice consuming a high-fat diet made less dopamine in their brains. But surprisingly, they also made less of a lipid (fat) signal called oleoylethanolamine (OEA) in their intestines.

OEA plays an important role in digestion, said the expert who first identified the signal.

“It prevents the excessive eating of fat,” said Daniele Piomelli, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine.

When the researchers gave the mice on the high-fat diet an infusion of OEA, they also made more dopamine in their brains, suggesting that the signal also plays an important role in the reward value of food.

“The fact that this compound is connected with the reward centers of the brain is beautiful and makes sense because all survival mechanisms depend on reward,” said Piomelli, who was not involved in the current study.

When humans hunted and gathered their food, it would have made sense for fat to be highly rewarding to the brain.

“Fat is in such short supply in nature. Not in our refrigerators, but in nature it is,” Piomelli said. “It is very important for the body to be able to eat the small amounts it finds in the wild and to be able to absorb it completely. That’s what this compound does.”

Now that dietary fat is hard to escape, this ancient feedback loop may be working against humans.

“We do know that people who have problems making the lipid signal OEA tend to become more morbidly obese,” Piomelli said.

But the study also shows there may be hope on the horizon for frustrated dieters.

Mice on a high-fat diet given infusions of OEA lost weight and started to show more interest in low-fat food, suggesting that the compound makes the brain more sensitive to smaller amounts of calories in the gut, said researcher Ivan de Araujo, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University.

Experts say, however, that results from animal studies often don’t turn out the same in humans.

Whether medications that boost OEA might one day help cottage cheese become as rewarding to the human brain as cheesecake remains to be seen.

“We don’t know whether this can successfully be translated into humans,” he said.

source: Health.com


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The Key to Happy Relationships? It’s Not All About Communication

By Francine Russo    Aug. 16, 2013

If couples were paying any attention during the past few decades, they should be able to recite the one critical ingredient for a healthy relationship — communication. But the latest study shows that other skills may be almost as important for keeping couples happy.

While expressing your needs and feelings in a positive way to your significant other is a good foundation for resolving conflicts and building a healthy relationship, these skills may not be as strong a predictor of couples’ happiness as experts once thought.

In an Internet-based study involving 2,201 participants referred by couples counselors, scientists decided to test, head to head, seven “relationship competencies” that previous researchers and marital therapists found to be important in promoting happiness in romantic relationships. The idea was to rank the skills in order of importance to start building data on which aspects of relationships are most important to keeping them healthy. In addition to communication and conflict resolution, the researchers tested for sex or romance, stress management, life skills, knowledge of partners and self-management to see which ones were the best predictors of relationship satisfaction. Couples were asked questions that tested their competency in all of these areas and then queried about how satisfied they were with their relationships. The researchers correlated each partner’s strengths and weaknesses in each area with the person’ relationship satisfaction.

Not surprisingly, those who reported communicating more effectively showed the highest satisfaction with their relationships. But the next two factors — which were also the only other ones with strong links to couple happiness — were knowledge of partner (which included everything from knowing their pizza-topping preferences to their hopes and dreams) and life skills (being able to hold a job, manage money, etc.).

Couples counselors, however, rarely address these two areas, as the focus on strengthening relationships has been on improving communication to reduce destructive behavior and to build support and comfort for each other. “For the last 25 years,” says Tom Bradbury, a veteran couples researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, “the prevailing attitude has been that relationships need to meet our emotional needs.” To be successful, however, he’s also found that relationships need to function in more practical, and perhaps mundane ways as well.


And learning more about your partner, says the study’s lead author Robert Epstein, a professor of psychology at the University of the South Pacific, in Fiji, could be relatively easy if people (men especially, since they scored worse in this area) took the trouble to find out, remember and put to use such relatively simple information as the names of their partner’s relatives and the dates of birthdays and anniversaries. Even more important, Epstein says, is knowing such critical things as whether your partner wants children. While his study did not separate trivial from such profound knowledge, he says that the two are strongly linked.

While other marriage researchers agree that forgetting things like birthdays or food preferences can be annoying and detrimental to a relationship, they believe the importance of life skills that was revealed in the study is telling.

“It’s an old idea, really,” says Bradbury. “In 1900 a woman or man would think, ‘My partner must be able to provide for me.’ ‘She must be able to help me plant and dig up the crops.’” If the couple had this foundation, they’d consider themselves lucky if they also got their emotional needs met. In Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, historian Stephanie Coontz traces the gradual erosion of this old idea of marriage back about 200 years in Western society as cultural expectations about marriage changed from one rooted in kinship, property and utility to one in which people were expected to get nearly all of their emotional needs met by one person.

For today’s couples interested in improving their relationships, say the study’s authors, therapists might consider going back to the basics and incorporating more practical social skills into their discussions. And that may include referring those who lack these skills to money managers or career coaches. “Communication skills are necessary,” says Lisa Neff, couples researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, “but they’re not sufficient when couples are under stress.”

It’s important for couples to know how the outside world — whether they can get a job, whether their kids can play outside safely or go to a good school — will affect their relationship even if they have good life skills and good communication skills. Strong relationships, says Bradbury, recognizes how pressures outside of home and the relationship can influence, and even break down good communication skills.

“Outside,” Bradbury says, “there is a real world that impinges on us.” To deal with it takes not only communication, but also an understanding that even the strongest communication networks among partners can falter and when they’re under these intense external pressure. The strategy he suggests for couples he counsels is to join forces rather than turn away from each other. “It’s not you against each other; it’s you against the world,” he says.

Couples who want to take the test can do so at http://MyLoveSkills.com

Francine Russo
Journalist and speaker Francine Russo is a longtime contributor to TIME and is the author of They’re Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy.

source: Time