The Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel is a natural disinfectant. It is very beneficial as a natural salve and treatment for minor burns. In fact, my mother used to keep Aloe Vera plants handy for just such a use in the kitchen! It is also a soothing balm for sunburn! It can help relieve itching, scrapes, and insect bites. It is a powerful natural aid to help counter digestive disorders such as IBS or IBD. Aloe Vera gel is known for its mucilage, which is a thin clear jelly-like substance obtained from the parenchymal tissue that makes up most of the inner section of the plants leaves. This mucilage gel contains substances such as glucomannans and pectic acid, which are both carbohydrate polymers.

Pure Aloe Vera gel is also antibacterial. It promotes healing. It can help with cuts, constipation, headaches, digestive disorders, burns, stomach ulcers, irregular bowel movements, premenstrual syndrome, skin cancer, stomach disorders, skin disorders, infections, arthritis, IBS, inflammation and allergies!

Aloe Vera gel is, in essence, a complex water storage matrix, which contains mostly water. When you dehydrate Aloe Vera gel, you are left with a very small amount of powder.

Aloe Vera supports these organs and systems: large intestine, stomach, heart, liver, lungs, skin, the immune system, the intestinal tract, the spleen, and the digestive system.

Aloe can reduce or eliminate scars. Aloe vera maintains female hormone regulation. Dried powder is used for hepatitis, liver problems and constipation. It should be used with caution since, the concentrated dried leaf is a powerful laxative. It is also effective against intestinal worms and parasites.

In short, Aloe Vera gel is mainly used for its healing, soothing and moisturizing capabilities. The benefits of Aloe Vera gel can be credited to its many nutrients such as: vitamins (C, folic acid, B1, B2, B3, and B6), calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper.

Spirulina – Filled with Protein, Vitamins, and Minerals!

How can an algae be a superfood? Most people today don’t eat algae! Well, turns out, it is, and is very beneficial to your health! Low calorie, and nutrient rich, it is something to consider in terms of your diet, or supplementation!

Spirulina – Packed with protein, B12 and iron

“(NaturalNews) Spirulina, a blue-green algae, is a superfood by any definition. It has been used since the 16th century by the Aztecs and North Africans. It was later rediscovered by the French, who later opened the first Spirulina processing plant in 1969, and soon after in Japan, Thailand, California, and Hawaii. Its nutritional benefits are impressive and vast, making it an invaluable food especially for vegetarians, vegans, anemics, diabetics, and those who cannot take in enough nutrients in their diet due to economics or location.

Spirulina is not a sea plant, but is found mostly in fresh water lakes and thrives in very warm water that is 85-112 degrees Fahrenheit. Blue-green algae like spirulina are what give bodies of water a dark green appearance. Spirulina is named for its shape since it forms swirling, microscopic strands. There are over forty thousand varieties, which only need a little bit of water and some sun to grow. It is able to grow by itself in the wild, and not on a farm with the help of humans. After it grows, it is harvested and turned into a thick paste, and then dried. Then it is packed into a powder or turned into a tablet or granulated so it can be filled into capsules.

Spirulina contains a high amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is about 60-70% protein, which is greater gram for gram than both red meat and soy. It also contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein; this is not very common in plant foods. It contains a large amount of Vitamin B12, which is very difficult to find in other plant foods. That is one reason why Spirulina is such a great choice for vegetarians. Spirulina is very rich in iron, which is the most common mineral deficiency. Spirulina also contains calcium, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B, C, D and E. Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures, it is able to retain its nutritional value during processing and shelf storage. Many other plant foods will deteriorate at these temperatures. It only contains 3.9 calories per gram and still has all of these great benefits. It is a low calorie, nutrient dense food.”

Lemon Grass Eases Muscle Tension

Once again, natural substances can have a tremendous benefit, if applied correctly to the human condition!

Lemon grass eases muscle cramps

“(NaturalNews) Since the beginning of medicine, people have looked for a way to ease the pain and discomfort of a variety of ailments. Over time, some herbs have been found to be highly effective as natural remedies, and lemon grass is one that is known to alleviate the pain felt as a result of muscle cramps. Effective in a variety of forms and for a diverse list of medical issues, lemon grass is a very widely used herb that has been incorporated into numerous industries.

Known officially as andropogon citratus, or andropogon flexuosus, lemon grass has also been assigned the monikers lemongrass, scurvy grass, citronella grass, and fever grass. It is a perennial tropic grass that grows primarily in warm climates and is often found in Asian countries, as well as Africa and South America. With roughly 55 species known to provide medicinal treatment, lemon grass has also been used as thatching for huts and cottages in traditional cultures.

The benefits of lemon grass are evident before the herb is even prepared, as the leaves have an aromatic smell that can be used as fragrance in potpourri and satchels. The leaves themselves, which are a staple in Ayurvedic medicine, vary in color from yellow to reddish brown and can be used in fresh, dried, powered, and oil form. Oil form is one of the most popular; essential oils are distilled from the lemon grass leaves and are very thin in texture, similar to water.

Lemon grass is known as a great natural treatment for muscle cramps, as it alleviates the stress in the tissues and helps the muscles relax. But this herb has many other applications, ranging from a food additive to a fragrance used in beauty products. Some of the various uses of lemon grass include: a flavor supplement in food, especially wine and sauce; a fragrance for soaps, creams, detergents, perfumes, lotions, and hair products; a pesticide and rodent repellant; a degreaser; a treatment for depression; and a natural, safe way to fight off fatigue and to invigorate the senses.

Additionally, Chinese herbalists have long used lemon grass to treat a variety of ailments, including: colds, fungal infections, stomach aches, digestion issues, spasms, toothaches, the buildup of mucus, and rheumatic pain. Lemon grass also kills germs, stops flatulence, helps blood to clot, acts as diuretic, increases kidney health, serves as a sedative, treats ringworm, and is an effective tonic.

Though the benefits of lemon grass seem to go on and on, there are two issues that people using this herb should keep in mind. First, when used topically, lemon grass can cause irritation to sensitive skin. To prevent discomfort, it is recommended that anyone using lemon grass for the first time apply it to a small patch of skin to ensure that s/he does not have an adverse reaction. Additionally, it is highly recommended that pregnant women refrain from using lemon grass.”

Daily Vitamin B Pill Could Help Alzheimer’s

A simple vitamin B tablet could help stave off Alzheimer’s Disease. The more science discovers about disease issues, the more they find that nutrition is a key!

Daily Vitamin B pill can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease

“The tablet, containing high doses of B vitamins and folic acid, reduced memory decline by 70 per cent in some elderly people. It also halved the rate of brain shrinkage in some patients – a physical symptom associated with forgetfulness that can lead to full blown Alzheimer’s disease. More than 800,000 people in Britain suffer from dementia and the number is forecast to double within a generation, but previous drug trials have been unsuccessful. In future people could be tested for vitamin B levels in middle age and alter their diet to boost their chances of remaining healthy, researchers said. A full scale national trial to establish whether the breakthrough can actually delay the slide into Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is expected to begin within the next year. Dr. Celeste de Jager of Oxford University, who led the trial, said the trial had ‘definitively’ shown that the vitamins were a good way of preventing mental decline. Speaking at the British Science Festival, she said: ‘A lot of the time brain changes start in your forties and fifties before you get clinical symptoms. I would think that in middle age people should start thinking about their vitamin levels.'”

Dietary Fiber May Help Reduce Risk of Death in Older Americans

We are not getting enough fiber in our diets. The “Standard American Diet” (SAD) is not a fiber-rich diet. Yet, a new study concludes that dietary fiber is beneficial, especially to older Americans.

Dietary Fiber Intake and Mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study

In an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the conclusion of the study said, “Dietary fiber may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases. Making fiber-rich food choices more often may provide significant health benefits.”

Dietary Fiber: Study’s Findings Suggest High Fiber Diets May Increase Lifespan

“Dietary fiber, particularly those from whole grains, has been shown by a recent study published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine and reported by Webmd.com, to help reduce the risk of deaths caused by heart and respiratory diseases.

‘Our analysis adds to the literature and suggests that dietary fiber is associated with a decreased likelihood of death,’ says study researcher Yikyung Park, ScD, a staff scientist at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md.

The study found that men and women who consumed the most dietary fiber ‘were 22% less likely to die from any cause when compared to study participants who ate the least amount of fiber,’ according to Webmd, which added that ‘the protective effect came mainly from cereal fiber in grains, not other sources of fiber such as fruits and vegetables.’

Diets rich in fiber tended to have the effect of decreasing high blood-sugar and cholesterol levels. Experts also suspect that fibers may possess some anti-inflammatory properties which may help explain their positive effect on diseases originating from or linked to inflammation, although more studies need to be performed in order to confirm this theory.”

Exercise Boosts Memory!

There are many benefits to exercise. Weight loss. Building muscle mass. Heart health. But, brain health as well? Yes, a study indicates that regular, consistent walking can increase your memory!

Aerobic Exercise Boosts Memory

“A year of moderate exercise doesn’t just bulk up muscles—it beefs up the brain, too, a new study finds. A memory center in the brain called the hippocampus shrinks a little bit each year with age, but older adults who walked routinely for a year actually gained hippocampus volume, researchers report in a study to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I think it’s a very exciting contribution to see that walking at a fairly vigorous rate will actually affect a key structure of the brain,” says neuroscientist Carl Cotman of the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study. “So for healthy elderly, it’s good news and would hopefully encourage people to figure that exercise is worth it.”

In the study, 60 adults aged 55 to 80 scaled up gradually until they walked for 40 minutes three times a week, enough to get their heart rates up. Sixty other participants did toning workouts that included weight training, yoga sessions and stretching for the same amount of time. After a year of toning, a part of these subjects’ brains called the anterior hippocampus lost a little over 1 percent of its volume. In contrast, a year of aerobic exercise led to about a 2 percent increase in anterior hippocampus volume.

Study participants who got their heart rates up performed slightly better on a memory test and had higher levels of a brain-aiding molecule called BDNF, the researchers found.”

The Many Marvels of Magnesium!

This is an exerpt of an article (link below) by Catherine Stack in the Niagara Gazette. Catherine is a naturopathic doctor and a nurse-midwife. Check out her recommendations on the use of Magnesium.

NATURAL HEALTH: The Many Marvels of Magnesium

“Next to Omega-3’s and Vitamin D3, magnesium ranks as one of my favorite supplements. No other supplement has noticeably improved a variety of conditions in such a short amount of time.

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It helps to maintain muscle and nerve function, helps keep heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

Suffer from muscle cramps, muscle pain and restless leg syndrome? Taking magnesium can improve your symptoms in as little as a few days. Chronic headaches, including migraines, will likely become less frequent and may resolve themselves all together.

For those of you who worry about your heart and may have high blood pressure, magnesium may help you as well. Magnesium has been shown to regulate heart rhythm, prevent angina, control high blood pressure, and limit the complications of congestive heart failure.

I have had amazing results helping those with IBS and chronic constipation. Magnesium deficiency is a common finding in the constipated individual. Constipated people typically suffer from frequent headaches and magnesium helps both problems.

In the world of obstetrics, magnesium plays a very important and potentially lifesaving roll in preventing seizures in women who have pre-eclampsia or HELLP syndrome. Many pregnant women also suffer leg cramps and constipation and oral supplementation will help both of these common complaints.

Deficiency of magnesium can present psychiatric symptoms including depression, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. Children with ADHD are deficient in many common minerals, most often magnesium, zinc, and iron. Magnesium supplementation significantly decreases the hyperactivity symptoms in children with ADHD.”

Green Tea May Help Ward Off Dementia, and Protect Against Cancer

More benefits from Green Tea!

Green tea could help ward off dementia, scientists show

It could also play a vital role in protecting the body against cancer, the study in the journal Phytomedicine suggests.

Led by Ed Okello, the Newcastle University team wanted to know if the protective properties known to be present in the freshly brewed form are still active once the tea has been digested.

Dr Okello, from the university’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, said: ‘What was really exciting about this study was that we found when green tea is digested by enzymes in the gut, the resulting chemicals are actually more effective against key triggers of Alzheimer’s development than the undigested form of the tea.’

‘In addition to this, we also found the digested compounds had anti-cancer properties, significantly slowing down the growth of the tumour cells which we were using in our experiments.’

Digestion is a vital process which provides our bodies with the nutrients we need to survive. But nutrients are not necessarily absorbed into the body once food is digested. “It’s one of the reasons why we have to be so careful when we make claims about the health benefits of various foods and supplements,” Okello said.

‘There are certain chemicals we know to be beneficial and we can identify foods which are rich in them but what happens during the digestion process is crucial to whether these foods are actually doing us any good.’

As part of the research, the Newcastle team worked in collaboration with Dr Gordon McDougall of the Plant Products and Food Quality Group at the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee, who developed technology which simulates the human digestive system.”

A Component in Birch Bark May Treat Metabolic Disorders

Herbs and natural treatments are amazing things! In fact, so much of what we have today is derived from natural sources, it is no wonder scientists are taking a second look at natural sources to treat and help conditions. Now, it appears that simple birch tree bark may contain a beneficail treatment for metabolic disorders and obesity!

Betulin in birch bark could treat metabolic disorders

“In an animal study, researchers found betulin from birch bark lowered cholesterol, obesity and improved insulin resistance.
Scientists studied betulin in mice finding the ingredient that is abundant in birch bark lowered cholesterol and improved insulin sensitivity. They also found the mice became more resistant to plaque buildup in the arteries that can lead to heart attack.

According to Bao-Liang Song of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, betulin has several benefits for metabolic health because it targets sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs) that activate cholesterol, fatty acid and triglyceride biosynthesis.

He says, ‘Our study shows that the SREBP pathway is a good target for several metabolic diseases.’ In the study Liang’s team treated mice fed a high fat Western diet with either betulin or the cholesterol lowering drug lovastatin or a placebo.”

Olive Oil Helps the Heart!

Olive Oil, and green, leafy vegetables are heart healthy!

More evidence olive oil and veggies help the heart

“(Reuters Health) – It’s no secret that eating well is good for both body and mind, so it may not come as a surprise that a new study finds women who eat more olive oil and leafy vegetables such as salads and cooked spinach are significantly less likely to develop heart disease.

A group of Italian researchers found that women who ate at least 1 serving of leafy vegetables per day were more than 40 percent less likely to develop heart disease over an average of eight years, relative to women who ate two or fewer portions of those vegetables each week.

Women who downed at least 3 tablespoons of olive oil daily – such as in salad dressing – were also 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, compared to women who ate the least olive oil.

It’s not exactly clear why specifically leafy vegetables and olive oil may protect the heart, study author Dr. Domenico Palli of the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute in Florence told Reuters Health. “Probably the mechanisms responsible for the protective effect of plant-origin foods on cardiovascular diseases involve micronutrients such as folate, antioxidant vitamins and potassium, all present in green leafy vegetables.”

Folate reduces blood levels of homocysteine, Palli explained, which is thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by damaging the inner lining of arteries. Other studies have shown people who eat more potassium have lower blood pressure, which can protect the cardiovascular system. Virgin olive oil may be particularly effective at lowering heart disease risk because of its high level of antioxidant plant compounds, he added.”

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