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Archive for December 12, 2012

7 Ways Vitamin C Fights Heart Disease

7 Ways Vitamin C Fights Heart Disease


A recent study showed that men who consume at least 300 milligrams of vitamin  C, through food and supplements, slash their risk of death from heart disease by  40 percent.

Here are seven proven ways that vitamin C helps lower your risk of heart  disease:

1.  Vitamin C is linked to reduced levels of lipoprotein (a).  High  levels of  lipoprotein (a) are linked to stroke.

2.  Vitamin C helps to prevent high blood pressure.

3.  Vitamin C helps to prevent hardening of the arteries.

4.  It lowers blood cholesterol levels.

5.  Vitamin C helps repair damaged artery walls, thereby preventing  cholesterol from being deposited.

6.  As an antioxidant, it reduces free radicals which can damage the  heart and blood vessels.

7.  Vitamin C is also linked, in studies, to an increase in high density  lipoproteins (HDL), which is also frequently called the good cholesterol.

Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables, especially pomegranates, tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, acai, and  red bell peppers.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.


13 Reasons to Love Pomegranates

13 Reasons to Love Pomegranates
One of my favorite fruits, pomegranates offer more than just incredible  taste—they are nutritional and healing powerhouses. Here are 13 reasons to start  eating pomegranates or drinking their juice if you aren’t already:

1.  Anti-aging effects:  Pomegranates contain  plentiful amounts of antioxidants. They rate high on the U.S. Department of  Agriculture’s ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)—a measure of how  well free radicals are absorbed. Pomegranate juice measures 2860 on this  scale.

2.  Kidney protection:  New research published  just days ago in the journal Renal Failure showed that an extract of pomegranate  prevented kidney damage and protected the kidneys against harmful toxins.

3.  Liver protection and regeneration:  More new  research published in the journal Toxicology and Industrial Health showed that  pomegranate juice not only protects the liver, it helps it to regenerate after  it has been damage.

4.  Immune-boosting:  Pomegranates and pomegranate  juice are packed with  immune-boosting vitamin C—an essential and quickly depleted nutrient at this  time of year.

5.  Anti-allergic:  Pomegranates are high in  substances called polyphenols which have been shown to reduce the biochemical  processes that are linked with allergies.

6.  Protects against heart disease:  New research  published in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that pomegranate improves the  body’s ability to synthesize cholesterol and destroy free radicals in the  vascular system.

7.  Prostate-cancer protection:  Research  conducted at the University of California, Riverside, and published in the  journal Translational Oncology indicates that pomegranate  juice and pomegranate extracts caused cancer cell death.

8.  Breast-cancer protection:  Scientists at the  University of California, Riverside, also studied the effects of pomegranate  juice and its nutritional components: luteolin, ellagic acid, and punicic acid  against breast cancer.  They pubished their results in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and concluded  that pomegranate juice and its extracts “are potentially a very effective  treatment to prevent cancer progression…”

9.  Skin-cancer protection:  Consumption of  pomegranate was associated with a decrease in both main types of skin  cancer—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, according to new  research in the British  Journal of Dermatology.

10.  DNA-protection:  The antioxidants and/or  phytonutrients in pomegranates also appear to interact with the body’s genetic material for  protection.

11.  Blood pressure normalizing:  Early research  published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that  pomegranate extract may help prevent blood pressure increases associated with  eating high fat meals.

12.  Metabolic syndrome regulating:  Research  published in the journal Food and Function shows that pomegranate helps  regulate blood sugar, improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, decreases  inflammation, and improves numerous other factors involved in metabolic  syndrome—frequently implicated in obesity and often a precursor to diabetes.  Because of these effects, pomegranate may aid weight loss.

13.  Anti-infectious:  New research published in  the journal Food  and Chemical Toxicology found that an extract of pomegranate increased  the effectiveness of a drug used against gram-negative bacteria.  Many  gram-negative bacteria are known for drug resistance.

How to Enjoy  Pomegranates:

You can eat them fresh on their own for a delicious snack or dessert.

Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on a salad for a beautiful and nutritious  addition.

Drink unsweetened bottled pomegranate juice devoid of preservatives. I  recommend diluting 1 part water to 1 part pomegranate juice to avoid blood sugar  spikes and crashes.

Use a splash of pomegranate juice in salad dressing to jazz up a plate of  greens.

Add some pomegranate juice to your favorite smoothie recipe.

Enjoy pomegranate juice with citrus juices for a delicious citrus  cocktail.

I’d love to hear how you are enjoying pomegranates or pomegranate juice.

(For those you want to conveniently enjoy the benefits of pomegranates, Leesa recommends!

By Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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Foods That Cause Headaches

Foods That Cause Headaches

Dealing with a headache is infuriating enough. Trying to figure out  exactly  what caused it … well, that in itself could just about give you a  headache.  Many people who suffer from chronic headaches, including  those who experience migraines,  often get so fed up with them that they discover the factors that  trigger  their headaches so that they can avoid them in the future. For  some people,  environmental elements, such as cigarette smoke or heavy  perfume, bring on  headaches. For others, excessive stress or lack of  sleep is enough to cause an  attack. And according to some experts, up to  30 percent of headache sufferers  are affected by the foods they eat.  What kinds of foods cause headaches, and  why?

Let the Cheese Stand Alone

There’s no conclusive evidence to prove which foods cause headaches,  and not  every headache and migraine sufferer is affected by food. But  the accepted  reality is that many people are, so avoiding headaches  means avoiding certain  kinds of food. One of the biggest triggers is cheese, specifically the aged varieties. Cheese  is high in an enzyme  called tyramine, an amino acid known to raise blood  pressure, which can  contribute to headaches. Tyramine forms from the breakdown  of protein  in foods, so the longer a food has aged, the greater the amount of   tyramine present. Blue or moldy cheeses, Brie, Muenster, Parmesan, and  cheddar  tend to be the worst offenders.

Plenty of foods besides cheese contain tyramine as well. People  who are  headache-prone are usually cautioned to avoid processed and aged  meat products  (like salami, pepperoni, and hot dogs), pickles, fava  beans, avocados, and most  kinds of nuts. Tyramine’s most severe effects  happen to people taking monoamine  oxidase inhibitor medications, but it  has the potential to affect anyone.

Red, Red Whine

Red wine negatively affects so many people that “red wine headache”  is  sometimes considered its own syndrome. Having a sensitivity to red  wine isn’t  the same as developing a pounding headache after drinking a  bottle or two  (that’s called a hangover, of course); true red wine  headaches usually develop  within just a few minutes after someone drinks  the wine. People used to blame  the headaches on sulfites, the compounds  added to wine to halt fermentation or  act as preservatives. In the  early eighties, the FDA began to require wine  producers to state on  their bottles whether their wines contained sulfites,  since a small  portion of the population is allergic to them, so many people  assumed  that sulfite allergies were what caused the infamous red wine  headaches.  In fact, sulfite allergies are much more likely to trigger breathing  problems than headaches and are far less common than people think. Also,  white  wine usually contains more sulfites than red wine, yet few people  complain of white wine headaches. No one is sure, but some  people think that it’s  actually the mouth-puckering tannins that cause  the reaction, since experiments  have shown that tannins cause the  release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that  has been linked to  headaches. Other scientists reject the tannin theory and  blame  histamines, which are present in red wine in levels twenty to two   hundred times those of white wine. Some believe that the histamines  trigger an  immune response and inflammation, which can result in a  headache. However,  there are inconsistencies and holes in all of the  theories about red wine, and  controlled experiments have failed to  pinpoint exactly what links it to  headaches.

A Chemical Culprit

Some food additives are known to trigger headaches in sensitive  individuals.  As with other triggers, scientists don’t know exactly what  about nitrates, artificial sweeteners,  MSG, and food colorings causes  headaches, but their prevailing belief  currently is that these substances  increase blood flow to the brain.  Headaches caused by additives tend to be  slightly different than regular  headaches. Those caused by MSG can result in  pressure or a burning  sensation in the face, neck, and chest, dizziness, and  abdominal  discomfort. Highly processed foods of any kind, such as Velveeta  cheese  or frozen TV dinners, also cause the same symptoms. Unlike migraines,   which are usually felt on only one side of the head, headaches caused by  food  additives tend to occur on both sides.

Other foods that have been known to cause headaches include  cultured dairy  products, chocolate, dried or pickled fish, canned soup,  nut butters, pudding  and ice cream, freshly baked bread, dried fruit,  overripe bananas, papayas, and  any beverages containing caffeine.

The list of foods that could potentially trigger headaches is so  long, it’s  nearly impossible to avoid everything. Doctors recommend  keeping a food journal  to monitor your diet and see how it correlates  with headaches. It’s a lengthy  trial-and-error process, but once you  find out exactly which foods seem to  trigger your headaches, it becomes  easier to avoid the specific offenders.

By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline

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