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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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10 reasons to take spirulina every day

by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer    Sunday, October 27, 2013

(NaturalNews) We talk a lot about “superfoods” here at NaturalNews because there are literally thousands of nutrient-dense superfood options from which to choose, all of which contain a unique array of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other healing components. But the one superfood that stands out among the rest – and the one that you should be taking every single day for your health – is spirulina, a special type of blue-green algae that is loaded with chlorophyll and a host of other life-giving nutrients.

Spirulina is particularly rich in 1) infection-fighting proteins that have been scientifically shown to increase the production of disease-combating antibodies within the body. Since spirulina is composed of nearly 70 percent protein, the highest among all other foods, it is particularly effective at boosting the production of macrophages, a type of white blood cell that fights and prevents infection. (http://www.inspiredliving.com/greenfoods/a~spirulina-immunity.htm)

A 2005 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that spirulina helps 2) inhibit allergic reactions as well, particularly among those suffering from allergic rhinitis. It turns out that regularly taking high doses of spirulina can help allergy sufferers experience dramatic improvements in their allergy symptoms. (http://www.naturalnews.com)

As far as blood health is concerned, spirulina has been shown to be an effective 3) treatment for anemia. In his book Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, author Paul Pitchford explains how spirulina and numerous other forms of micro-algae effectively boost production of red blood cells, particularly when taken in combination with vitamin B12. (http://www.naturalnews.com/027213_spirulina_anemia.html)

Rich in both phycocyanin and chlorophyll, spirulina is also a powerful 4) blood purifier. Not only do these two important nutrients promote blood cell growth, but they also rejuvenate the existing blood supply. Chlorophyll in particular is nearly identical to hemoglobin, the molecule responsible for cleansing the blood and transporting oxygen to cells. (http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/N246.html)

Because it contains all eight essential amino acids and 10 other non-essential amino acids, the antioxidants beta carotene and zeaxanthin, B complex vitamins; dozens of trace minerals, the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, pathogen-targeting proteins, and beneficial probiotic bacteria, spirulina is also unmatched in its ability to 5) boost the immune system. (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/spirulina-000327.htm)

These same nutrients also help to 6) detoxify the cells and body of heavy metals and other toxins. A powerful chelating agent, spirulina tends to reach deep into bodily tissues and root out toxins like mercury, radiation, arsenic, cadmium, pesticides, synthetic food chemicals, and environmental carcinogens. Spirulina also assists in the transport of essential nutrients across the blood-brain barrier to replace the voids left by these toxins. (http://www.supremeorganicdetox.com/formula7.html)


A 1988 study out of Japan and several others have found that spirulina helps to 7) lower cholesterol levels and mitigate the underlying inflammation problems that cause cholesterol to accumulate in the bloodstream. Supplementing with spirulina daily effectively reduces blood serum levels of cholesterol, which means cholesterol is being deposited throughout the body where it needs to be rather than in arterial walls where it can cause cardiovascular problems.

Overweight or obese individuals trying to lose weight may also derive benefit from spirulina’s ability to 8) promote weight loss. Not only can supplementing with spirulina help you shed the extra pounds, but it may also assist in the growth and development of lean muscle mass, particularly because of its extremely high ratio of bioavailable protein.

Many people who supplement with spirulina tend to notice dramatic improvements in mental health and cognitive acuity. Because it contains exceptionally high levels of the L-tryptophan, an amino acid that produces the brain neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin, spirulina is an unprecedented 9) brain chemistry balancer that can help improve mood, boost memory, and promote feelings of calm and happiness. (http://bodyecology.com/articles/boost-mood.php#.UEZDakRpyKw)

Spirulina’s diverse array of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and cleansing nutrients also helps to 10) nurture healthy skin and hair. By targeting the detrimental factors that contribute to hair loss, saggy skin, and other side-effects of aging, spirulina can help rejuvenate your body’s largest organ from the inside out. Topical spirulina creams can also help tone and improve skin health.

To experience the maximum benefits of spirulina, it may be necessary for some people to consume as many as several grams or more per day of this nutrient-dense superfood. Just be sure to purchase only reputable brands of spirulina such as Cyanotech’s Nutrex-Hawaii Spirulina Pacifica, which is cultivated and harvested in such a way as to avoid contamination with toxic microcystins.

Sources for this article include:
http://www.naturalnews.com/023853_marine_phytoplankton_microalgae.html

www.naturalnews.com

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Surprising Facts About Cinnamon

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati   September 8, 2013

Cinnamon has long been enjoyed both as a culinary spice and natural medicine.

Health benefits of Cinnamon:

Nutritional: 

Anti-Clotting: Cinnamaldehyde (a volatile/essential) oil in cinnamon may help stop blood from clotting unnecessarily. According to whfoods.com, cinnamon accomplishes this, “by inhibiting the release of an inflammatory fatty acid called arachidonic acid from platelet membranes and reducing the formation of an inflammatory messaging molecule called thromboxane A2.)”

This same property (inhibiting the release of arachidonic acid) makes cinnamon a natural anti-inflammatory.

Anti-Microbial: The essential oils in cinnamon are also “anti-microbial” and have been shown to stop many types of fungal and bacterial growth.

“Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives.” – whfoods.com

Blood Sugar Control: Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and also may help to control blood sugar on many levels, which helps

  • slow the rate at which the stomach empties after meals.
  • improve insulin response in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

As little as one gram of cinnamon a day has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol, in individuals with diabetes. According to whfoods.com, cinnamon will help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 disease.


Boosts Brain Function: Smelling the scent of cinnamon can boost brain activity.

In research reported by whfoods.com, cinnamon “enhanced study participants’ cognitive processing,” with the following activities:

  •      Tasks related to attentional processes
  •      Virtual recognition memory
  •      Working memory
  •      Visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program

Improved colon health and protection against heart disease:

Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber, calcium and certain minerals, such as manganese.

Calcium and fiber combine to help remove bile salts from the body, which helps to protect the colon and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Through this process, cholesterol levels may be lowered, helping prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The fiber in cinnamon may also provide relief from constipation or diarrhea.

Warming Effects:

Cinnamon has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, for its warming properties, such as during a cold or flu.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamon
– Whfoods.com


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Cocoa tied to improved brain function in some elderly

By Andrew M. Seaman     NEW YORK     Wed Aug 7, 2013 

(Reuters Health) – Older people with impaired blood flow to their brains saw improvements in thinking skills after drinking two cups of cocoa every day for a month, in a new study.

The study’s researchers caution, however, that people shouldn’t start stocking up on hot chocolate mix to help solve their crossword puzzles based on the new finding.

“We’re several steps removed from that recommendation,” said Dr. Farzaneh Sorond, the study’s lead author from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Instead, Sorond said the result helps focus future research that may turn up which component or components of hot chocolate are linked to better thinking skills.

Previous research has found the brain is more active if it gets an adequate supply of oxygen and sugar from the blood, the researchers wrote in the journal Neurology.

Among people with certain diseases that affect blood vessels – such as high blood pressure and diabetes – blood flow to the brain may be impaired.

Sorond and her colleagues wanted to look at whether drinking hot chocolate rich in flavanols could improve thinking skills in those people.

Studies have found that eating chocolate containing the plant compounds is linked to lower blood pressure readings and fewer strokes (see Reuters Health stories of Oct 10, 2011 and Aug 14, 2012 here: reut.rs/19NXUdo and reut.rs/QzBg9E.)


For the new study, the researchers recruited 60 people who were an average of 73 years old to be separated into one of two groups.

People in one group were told to drink two cups of flavanol-rich hot chocolate every day for one month. Those in the other group drank low-flavanol hot chocolate. All participants were told to not eat or drink any other chocolate during the study period.

There were no differences in blood flow or in scores on thinking tests between the two hot chocolate groups at the start of the study or after one month. So the researchers combined both cocoa groups and compared people with poor blood flow to the brain at the start of the study to those who had adequate blood flow.

They found more people with poor blood flow at the start saw their circulation improve by the end, compared to people who had adequate blood flow initially.

Also, while those with adequate blood flow didn’t see a significant improvement on tests that measured their thinking skills, the 17 people in the impaired flow group did.

Among those people, the time it took to connect sequential dots on pieces of paper or recognize certain characters on computer screens fell from 167 seconds at the start of the study to 116 seconds at the end.

Sorond said that time can add up for people during the day.

“That’s important if you add it to everything that requires multitasking for us,” she said.

It’s possible that even small amounts of flavanols make a difference for people with impaired blood flow, Sorond said, or that the caffeine in cocoa played a role in their improvement.

She warned, however, that the new study cannot prove drinking hot chocolate boosted thinking or blood flow.

“The next step is that we need a larger sample and we need more people with impairment at baseline… (to) see if we can demonstrate the same finding in a larger group,” Sorond said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/JOxTg9   Neurology, online August 7, 2013.


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Can Chickpeas and Lentils Help Control Diabetes?


They’re a common part of traditional diets in India and Latin America, but in western repasts, legumes or pulses — that’s lentils, dried beans, and chick peas — have generally been a culinary afterthought. That may soon change, however, thanks to new research suggesting legumes alone can improve the health of diabetics.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicines, was funded in part by an association of legume farmers and confirms that simply changing what they eat can help diabetics reduce some of their symptoms, as well as lower their risk of heart disease — in as little as a few months.

Starting in 2010, researchers in Toronto, Canada, enrolled 121 patients with Type II diabetes and tested their blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more. Roughly half of the study participants were randomly selected to add a cup of legumes per day to their diet. The other half were told to try to eat morewhole-wheat products.

After three months, the patients were tested again on the same measures. Both the legume-eaters and the whole-wheat-eaters saw a reduction in their hemoglobin A1c values — a marker of average blood sugar, for a period of several weeks. But that reduction was slightly larger among the legume group than among the whole-what group: 0.5% compared to 0.3%. And while those changes may seem small, the study authors say that drops of this magnitude are “therapeutically meaningful,” and can lead to fewer diabetic symptoms as well as lower doses of medication to control blood sugar levels.  The legume-eaters also achieved modest reductions in body weight relative to the wheat group, losing an average of 5.9 lbs compared to 4.4 lbs, as well as drops in total cholesterol and blood pressure.

While the study was funded by legume farmers, the results confirm previous findings that showed changes in diet can reduce diabetes symptoms and protect patients from more severe complications of the disease. In 2002, a large government trial found that overweight people on the verge of developing diabetes could dramatically lower their risk of the disease by changing their diet and exercising more. And in 2008, David Jenkins, one of the current study’s lead authors, published similar results that demonstrated the strong benefits of a diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, flaxseed, and, yes, legumes.

Jenkins, a nutrition expert at the University of Toronto, is credited with developing the idea of the glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly different foods, when eaten, may cause a person’s blood sugar to rise. While controversial — some nutrition experts aren’t convinced it’s a reliable way to measure the impact of food on blood sugar — that index has become a popular guideline for both health organizations and the creators of commercial diet plans as a relatively simple way to think about healthy food. Jenkins and his colleagues say that low glycemic-index foods have been linked to improved blood-sugar control in patients with Type 2 diabetes. In their new article, they say that legume consumption is important to diabetics because “Legumes […] were the first class of foods recognized as having low GI values.”

Others aren’t convinced about the power of GI, however. In an article accompanying Jenkins’ current paper, nutrition consultant Marion Franz argues that some recent studies actually find no impact of glycemic index on diabetics’ blood sugar — and, Franz says, the very definition of glycemic index is “confusing.”

She writes:
The GI measures the relative area under the postprandial glucose curve of 50 g of digestible carbohydrates compared with 50 g of a standard food, either glucose or white bread. It does not measure how quickly foods are digested and absorbed into the blood stream as claimed by diet books (and many health professionals). […] Although there is a modest difference in the glucose peak from […] high- vs low-GI carbohydrates, the peak occurs at similar times. Furthermore, the mean glucose and insulin responses to a high-GI diet vs a low-GI diet are parallel. There is no quick or sharp glucose or insulin peak response to the high-GI meals.
Essentially, Franz does not believe that glycemic index, as it’s currently measured, actually captures what its proponents claim it captures. She notes that sugary foods can have lower GI scores that unprocessed whole grains, and that even candy bars often have only moderate GI scores. She suggests that legume-eaters in Jenkins study may actually have seen improved health markers relative to wheat-eaters simply because they ate fewer calories overall, or because they ate more soluble fiber.

That’s not to say that legumes shouldn’t be part of a healthy diet. Franz agrees that chick peas, lentils, and beans are all high in fiber and vegetable protein, and they’re not too calorie-dense. So whether or not legumes are the answer to controlling diabetes, at least on some level, the experts do agree on the big picture: eat a healthy diet; it matters.

source: Time