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Posts tagged ‘allergies’

How Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Treat Asthma

How Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Treat Asthma

Researchers have proposed that “by eating fewer fruits and vegetables, the susceptibility to potentially harmful inhaled substances of the population as a whole may be increased because of the reduction in antioxidant defenses of the lungs.” The thin lining of fluid that forms the interface between our respiratory tract and the external environment is our first line of defense against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is important in asthma, contributing to airway contraction, excessive mucous production, and hypersensitivity. Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress, so our lung lining contains a range of antioxidants our body makes itself, as well as those obtained from our diet, particularly from fruits and vegetables.

We can even quantify the level of oxidative stress in people by measuring the level of oxidation products in their exhaled breath, which drops as we start eating more fruits and vegetables, and drops further as we combine more plants with fewer animal foods.

Do those with asthma really have lower levels of antioxidants than people without asthma? Compared to healthy controls, subjects with asthma had lower whole blood levels of total carotenoids and lower levels of each of the individual phytonutrients they measured: cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene compared to healthy controls.

Therefore, they posit, “the accumulating evidence does suggest that diet has an influence in modulating the response of the lung to inhaled allergens and irritants. However, it is possible that the reduced carotenoid levels in asthma are a result of increased utilization in the presence of excess free radicals.” So it’s like a chicken-or-the-egg phenomenon.

We know antioxidant-rich diets have been associated with reduced asthma prevalence. However, direct evidence that altering intake of antioxidant-rich foods actually affects asthma was lacking, until now.

There are two ways to test the effects of fruits and vegetables on asthma. Add fruits and vegetables to people’s diets and see if their asthma improves, or take asthmatics and remove fruits and vegetables from their diets and see if they get worse.

The first such study of its kind placed subjects with asthma on a low antioxidant diet. After just a matter of days, there was a significant worsening of lung function and asthma control. The researchers conclude that “This finding is highly significant for subjects with asthma, as it indicates that omitting antioxidant-rich foods from the diet, for even a short time frame, will have a detrimental effect on asthma symptoms.”

Interestingly, ironically, the low antioxidant diet consumed by subjects, where they were restricted to one serving of fruit and up to two servings of vegetables per day, is typical of Western diets. In other words, the low antioxidant diet they used to worsen people’s asthma, crippling their lung function, was just like the standard American diet.

As about “half the population usually consumes a diet with an intake of fruit and vegetables equivalent to that in the study diet or less, it appears likely that this dietary pattern, which must be considered suboptimal for lung health, may have a significant impact on asthma management, indicating the potential for typical Western dietary patterns to contribute to a worsening of lung function and asthma control.”

Within just days, cutting down fruit and vegetable intake can impair lung function, but does adding fruits and vegetables help with asthma? That was the second phase of the study.

Asthmatics on the standard American diet had about a 40% chance of relapsing into an asthma exacerbation within three months. However, put them on seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of three, and we cut their exacerbation rate in half, down to 20%. Imagine if there were a drug that could work as powerfully as a few fruits and vegetables.

If manipulating antioxidant intake by increasing fruit and vegetable intake can so powerfully reduce asthma exacerbation rates, why not just take antioxidant pills instead? I cover that in my video Treating Asthma With Plants vs. Supplements?

Leesa recommends choosing only organic fruits and vegetables.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of DeathMore Than an Apple a Day, and From Table to Able.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

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Stop Winter Indoor Air Pollution at Its Source

Stop Winter Indoor Air Pollution at Its Source

 

You’ve got the sniffles. Your eyes are watery and you have a sore throat,  too. But, hey, it’s winter; what else can you expect in the thick of cold and  flu season, right? Maybe. But while you’re downing lozenges and soup broth,  consider this: Eye, nose and throat irritations, wheezing, coughing, skin rashes  and severe allergic reactions can result from extensive exposure to indoor air  pollution, which has also been linked to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

Indoor air pollution is in full effect during winter months especially, when  windows and doors are shuttered tight to keep the cold air out — but  inadvertently keeping bad air in, too. Toxins from cleaning supplies, mold, and  even the off-gassing of new paint all need to be circulated or  filtered out. To add insult to injury, houses more than 20 years old may harbor  lead-based paint or asbestos. All of this means indoor air quality can be many  times worse than outdoor!

Thankfully, we have control of our indoor air quality in ways we don’t have  outdoors. The best way to protect yourself and your family are by stopping  indoor air pollutants at the door:

  • Replace your central air and heating filters monthly. Clean the vents and  make sure they’re not blocked by furniture. HEPA filters are especially good at reducing allergens.
  • Make your home a no-smoking zone and consider restricting your pets from  certain rooms in the house (such as a nursery or bedroom) to keep sensitive  areas free of pet dander and tracked-in dirt.
  • Most store-bought candles contain harmful chemical components and artificial  scents that are released as the candle burns. Switch to natural candles,  such as beeswax and soy candles, or, better yet, use these directions to make your own using sand!
  • Many people do not realize the risks of a dirty chimney. Smoke backs up in a  sooty flue and is pushed back into the home. It is well worth the money to hire  a professional chimney sweep or the time to do it yourself. Follows these best burning practices — your family and Santa will  thank you.
  • Clean with nontoxic products. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and a few  other natural ingredients can replace most chemical cleaners. While nontoxic  cleaning supplies are available in stores, these recipes are simple and cheap to make at home.
  • Remove your shoes at the door to avoid bringing outdoor pollutants  inside.
  • Vacuum carpets, rugs and upholstery often to remove dust, pet dander and  other pollutants. One company offers a “cradle-to-cradle” carpet that improves air  quality.

If we have to spend more hours indoors during the winter months, they should  at least be fresh ones. Follow these tips and you’re on your way to a home you  can feel good breathing deeply in. As with all things, it pays to be proactive:  Change the filters, sweep that chimney, employ an army of houseplants to filter air for you and release a (clean) sigh  of relief.

By Shelly Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother  Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable,  self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic  Gardening content and the Vegetable  Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening,  small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and  cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The  Rowdy Radish.

Photo from Fotolia

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 www.chews4health.com/Leesa!

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 WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/13-reasons-to-love-pomegranates.html#ixzz2Emq1WFTA

Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

 Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

A Harvard study published in the Annals of Neurology indicates that eating a diet high in blueberries and strawberries can slow brain aging and  cognitive decline by up to two and a half years.

Dr. Elizabeth Devore and her team of researchers at Harvard Medical School  analyzed data from the lengthy Nurses’ Health Study in 1976.   Questionnaires were completed every four years since 1980 to assess the  frequency of berry intake and the intake of 31 different phytonutrients called  flavonoids.  In 16,010 participants over the age of 70 between 1995 and  2001, cognitive function was tested every two years.

The researchers found that those participants who consumed a high amount of  blueberries or strawberries had slower decline in cognitive function test scores  during the follow-up period than those whose intake of these fruits was  lower.  The results were an average delay in cognitive decline due to aging  of up to 2-and-a-half years.

Both blueberries and strawberries are excellent sources of  flavonoids, which reduce inflammation.  This is possibly the  mechanism that is causing the positive brain health effects.  The same  study also found that a high intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were  also linked to the beneficial cognitive effects.

Anthocyanidins are a type of flavonoids responsible for the red, blue, or  purple colors in berries and other foods.  While the effect of consumption  of other anthocyanidin and flavonoid-rich foods was not assessed as part of this  study, it is likely that they will have similar brain protective effects.   Other sources of anthocyanidins and flavonoids include:  blueberries,  cherries, cranberries, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries and to a lesser  extent in almonds, apples, cocoa, and peanuts.

Other research shows that they decrease free radical activity in and between  brain cells. They also inhibit the production of histamine, making them a  natural anti-histamine without the drowsy side effects of many pharmaceuticals.  Numerous studies show that anthocyanidins have anticancer and antitumor  activity, and one study concluded that anthocyanidins may demonstrate  chemotherapeutic activity against breast cancer.

When it comes to heart disease, anthocyanidins help reduce high blood  pressure and improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat. In tests on  rabbits, anthocyanidins demonstrated significant reduction in the  development of atherosclerosis. They also appeared to protect  against heart attacks linked to certain asthma drugs.  They even  have stronger antioxidant properties than either vitamins C or  E.

Adapted from The Phytozyme Cure.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

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 WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

14 Things Your Eyes Say About Your Health

14 Things Your Eyes Say About Your Health

 

Looking someone straight in the eye may or may not reveal their honesty — but the eyes can tell you about cholesterol, liver disease, or diabetes, if you know what to look for.

“The eye is a unique window into health,” says ophthalmologist Andrew Iwach, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco. “It’s the only place in the body where, without surgery, we can look in and see veins, arteries, and a nerve (the optic nerve).”

The eyes’ transparency explains why common eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration can be detected early with regular eye exams.  “Unfortunately, people get busy and delay not only eye exams but regular physicals. That’s why eye doctors sometimes discover other issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure,” Iwach says.  Especially vulnerable, he says: People like caregivers, who worry about others around them while neglecting care for themselves.

Keep your eye out for these 14 problems:

1. Red flag: Disappearing eyebrows

What it means: Shaved eyebrows are a fad (or fashion, if you will) in some circles. But when the outer third of the brows (the part closest to the ears) starts to disappear on its own, this is a common sign of thyroid disease — either hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). The thyroid is a small but critical gland that helps regulate metabolism, and thyroid hormones are among those critical to hair production.

More clues: Brows tend to thin with age naturally. But with thyroid disease, the brow-hair loss isn’t evenly distributed; it’s a selective dropout on the ends. There’s usually a loss of hair elsewhere on the body, too, but the brows are so prominent, it’s often noticed here first. Early graying is a related sign of a thyroid problem. Women are more often affected than men, and hyperthyroidism especially strikes women in their 20s and 30s.

What to do: Mention this symptom to a dermatologist or your regular doctor. Most other symptoms of both hyper- and hypothyroidism are notoriously broad and general. Before you see a doctor, make note of any other changes you’ve noticed, possibly concerning weight, energy levels, bowel or menstrual regularity, mood, or skin changes.

2. Red flag: A stye that won’t go away

What it means: The vast majority of the time, a small, raised, often reddish bump along the inner or outer eyelid margin is just an unsightly but innocuous stye (also called a “chalazion”). But if the spot doesn’t clear up in three months, or seems to keep recurring in the same location, it can also be a rare cancer (sebaceous gland carcinoma).

More clues: Actual styes are plugged-up oil glands at the eyelash follicle. Fairly common, they tend to clear up within a month. A cancerous cyst that mimics a stye, on the other hand, doesn’t go away.
(Or it may seem to go away but return in the same spot.) Another eyelid cancer warning sign: Loss of some of the eyelashes around the stye.

What to do: Point out a persistent stye to an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in the eye). A biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. The stye is usually removed surgically.

3. Red flag: Bumpy yellowish patches on the eyelid

What it means: Xanthelasma palpebra, the medical name for these tiny yellow bumps, are usually a warning you that you may have high cholesterol. They’re also called “cholesterol bumps” — they’re basically fatty deposits.

More clues: Sometimes people mistake these bumps for a stye, but with xanthelasma, there tends to be more than one bump and they’re quite small.

What to do: See your doctor or a skin or eye specialist. A diagnosis can usually be made by sight. An ophthalmologist can also examine the eye and see deposits; for this reason, in fact, sometimes high cholesterol is first diagnosed during a routine eye exam. The problem usually isn’t serious and doesn’t cause pain or vision problems. A physician will also evaluate you for other signs of coronary artery disease.

4. Red flag: Burning eyes, blurry vision while using a computer

What it means: You might be a workaholic, and you definitely have “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). The eyestrain is partly caused by the lack of contrast on a computer screen (compared with ink on paper) and the extra work involved in focusing on pixels of light. What’s more, by midlife the eyes lose some of their ability to produce lubricating tears. Irritation sets in, adding to blurriness and discomfort.

More clues: Does the problem worsen in the afternoon (when the eyes tend to become drier)? Is it
worse when you’re reading fine print (more eyestrain)? People who wear glasses or contacts tend to be bothered more by CVS. “Sometimes the problem is made worse by a fan positioned so it blows right in the face,” the AAO’s Iwach adds, noting that the air further dries tired eyes.

What to do: Reduce glare by closing window shades, investing in a computer hood, or checking out antireflective coating for your glasses (if you wear them). Simply tinkering with the contrast of your screen can help, too. White areas should neither glow brightly like a light source nor appear gray. Flat-panel LCD display screens (like those on laptops) cause less eyestrain than older models. Keep reference material close to the same height as your monitor, giving your eyes a break from having to refocus so much.

5. Red flag: Increasing gunk in the eye

What it means: Blepharitis — inflammation of the eyelids, especially at the edges — can have several causes. Two of them, surprisingly, are conditions better associated with other body parts: scalp dandruff and acne rosacea (which causes flushed red skin, usually in the faces of fair-skinned women at midlife).

More clues: The eyes may also feel irritated, as if specks have gotten in them. They may burn, tear, or feel dry. The crusty debris tends to gather in the lashes or the inner corners of the eyes, or even on the lids.

What to do: With clean hands, apply a warm, damp washcloth to the eyes for about five minutes at a time to loosen debris and soothe the skin. See a doctor, who may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics, as well as artificial tears.

6. Red flag: A small blind spot in your vision, with shimmering lights or a wavy line

What it means: An ocular migraine (also called an “ophthalmic migraine,” “optical migraine,” or “migraine aura”) produces this disturbed vision, with or without an accompanying headache. Changes in blood flow to the brain are thought to be the cause.

More clues: The visual distortion starts in the center of the field of vision. It might appear as a bright dot, dots, or a line that can seem to move and disrupt your ability to see properly, as if you were looking through a pocked or cracked window. It’s painless and causes no lasting damage. Individuals seem to have different triggers (ranging from chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol to stress). A headache, possibly severe enough to cause nausea, sometimes follows.

What to do: If you’re driving, pull over until the phenomenon passes (usually within an hour). Do have an eye specialist check it out if vision impairment lasts more than an hour or so, to rule out serious problems such as a retinal tear; or if you also experience other symptoms elsewhere that could indicate stroke or seizure (such as fever, loss of muscle strength, or speech impairment).

7. Red flag: Red, itchy eyes

What it means: Many things can irritate eyes, but itchiness accompanied by sneezing, coughing, sinus congestion, and/or a runny nose, usually screams “I’m allergic!” When the eyes are involved, the trigger is usually airborne, like pollen, dust, or animal dander.

More clues: An eye allergy can also be caused by certain cosmetics or ointments. Some people, for example, are allergic to the preservative in eye drops used to treat dry eyes.

What to do: Staying away from the allergic trigger is the usual treatment. Antihistamines can treat the itchiness; those in eye-drop or gel form deliver relief to the eyes faster. If the problem turns out to be an allergy to eye drops, look for a preservative-free brand.

8. Red flag: Whites of the eye turned yellowish

What it means: Two groups of people most often show this symptom, known as jaundice: Newborns with immature liver function and adults with problems of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts, including hepatitis and cirrhosis. The yellow in the white part of the eye (the sclera) is caused by a buildup of bilirubin, the by-product of old red blood cells the liver can’t process.

More clues: “Other tissues of the body would have the same look, but we can’t see it as clearly as in the whites of the eye,” says ophthalmologist Iwach. (Skin can also turn yellowish when a person consumes too much beta carotene — found in carrots — but in those cases the whites of the eyes remain white.)

What to do: Mention the symptom to a doctor if the person isn’t already under care for a liver-related disease, so the jaundice can be evaluated and the underlying cause treated.

9. Red flag: A bump or brown spot on the eyelid

What it means: Even people who are vigilant about checking their skin may overlook the eyelid as a spot where skin cancer can strike. Most malignant eyelid tumors are basal cell carcinoma. When such a tumor appears as a brown spot, then — as with any other form of skin cancer — it’s more likely to be malignant melanoma.

More clues: Elderly, fair-skinned people are at highest risk. Look especially at the lower eyelid. The bump may look pearly, with tiny blood vessels. If the bump is in the eyelash area, some eyelashes may be missing.

What to do: Always have any suspicious skin spots or sores checked out by a dermatologist, family physician, or eye doctor. Early detection is critical, before the problem spreads to nearby lymph nodes.

10. Red flag: Eyes that seem to bulge

What it means: The most common cause of protruding eyes is hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland), especially the form known as Graves’ disease. (First Lady Barbara Bush had it.)

More clues: One way to tell if an eye is bulging is to see whether there’s any visible white part between the top of the iris and the upper eyelid, because normally there shouldn’t be. (Some people inherit a tendency toward eyes that bulge, so if the appearance seems to run in a family, it probably isn’t hyperthyroidism.) The person may not blink often and may seem to be staring at you. Because the condition develops slowly, it’s sometimes first noticed in photos or by the occasional visitor rather than by someone who lives with the person every day.

What to do: Mention the symptom to a doctor, especially if it’s present in tandem with other signs of Graves’, including blurry vision, restlessness, fatigue, increase in appetite, weight loss, tremors, and palpitations. A blood test can measure thyroid levels. Treatment includes medication and surgery.

11. Red flag: Sudden double vision, dim vision, or loss of vision

What it means: These are the visual warning signs of stroke.

More clues: The other signs of stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the arm or leg or face,
typically on just one side of the body; trouble walking because of dizziness or loss of balance or
coordination; slurred speech; or bad headache. In a large stroke (caused by a blood clot or bleeding in the brain), these symptoms happen all at once. In a smaller stroke caused by narrowed arteries, they can occur across a longer period of minutes or hours.

What to do: Seek immediate medical help by calling 911.

12. Red flag: Dry eyes that are sensitive to light

What it means: Sjogren’s (pronounced “show-grins”) syndrome is an immune system disorder. It impairs the glands in the eyes and mouth that keep them moist.

More clues: Sjogren’s usually affects women over age 40 with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Usually the eyes and mouth are affected together. The person may also have vaginal dryness, dry sinuses, and dry skin. Because of a lack of saliva, it can be difficult to chew and swallow.

What to do: A doctor can diagnose Sjogren’s through testing. Artificial lubricants (such as artificial tears) are usually necessary to protect the eyes, as well as to improve eating. Drinking plenty of water also helps.

13. Red flag: Sudden difficulty closing one eye, inability to control tears in it

What it means: Bell’s palsy is an impairment of the nerve that controls facial muscles (the seventh cranial nerve), causing temporary paralysis in half the face. It sometimes follows a viral infection (such as shingles, mono, or HIV) or a bacterial infection (such as Lyme disease). Diabetics and pregnant women are also at higher risk.

More clues: Half of the entire face, not just the eye, is affected. Effects vary from person to person, but the overall effect is for the face to appear droopy and be weak. The eyelid may droop and be difficult or impossible to close, and there will be either excessive tearing or an inability to produce tears. The effects tend to come on suddenly.

What to do: See a doctor. Most cases are temporary and the person recovers completely within weeks. Rarely, the condition can recur. Physical therapy helps restore speaking, smiling, and other tasks that require the facial muscles working in unison, and it also helps avoid an asymmetrical appearance. Professional eye care can keep the affected eye lubricated and undamaged.

14. Red flag: Blurred vision in a diabetic

What it means: Diabetics are at increased risk for several eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts. But the most common threat to vision is diabetic retinopathy, in which the diabetes affects the circulatory system of the eye. It’s the leading cause of blindness in American adults.

More clues: The changes linked to diabetic retinopathy tend to show up in people who have had the disease for a long time, not those recently diagnosed. The person may also see “floaters,” tiny dark specks in the field of vision. Sometimes diabetes causes small hemorrhages (bleeding) that are visible in the eye. There’s no pain. People with poorly controlled blood sugar may have worse symptoms.

What to do: Someone with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam annually to catch and control the earliest stages of retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, or other changes — before they manifest as changes you’re aware of.

By Paula Spencer, Caring.com senior editor

Caring.com was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet, our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better decisions, save time, and feel more supported. Caring.com provides the practical information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need during this challenging time.

10 Ways to Alkalize Your Body Today

10 Ways to Alkalize Your Body Today

 

Acidity has been linked to pain, excess weight and many other health issues. Fortunately, making your body more alkaline (the opposite of acidic) is easy.  Here are 10 ways to alkalize your body for more energy and vitality:

1. Start your day with a large glass of water with the juice of a whole, freshly-squeezed lemon. While lemons may seem acidic, they have the opposite effect on your body as it metabolizes them.

2. Eat a large green salad tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Greens are among the best sources of alkaline minerals, like calcium.

3. Snack on raw, unsalted almonds. Almonds are packed with natural alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium, which help to balance out acidity while balancing blood sugar.

4. Drink an almond milk and berry smoothie with added green powder like spirulina, chlorella, or other greens. Choose almond milk over cow’s milk, since the latter is acid-forming.

5. Go for a brisk walk or some other exercise. Exercise helps move acidic waste products so your body can better eliminate them.

6. Breathe deeply. Ideally, choose a spot that has fresh, oxygen-rich air. And, sorry Febreze, Glade, and all the other so-called “air fresheners”: air filled with these scents is not what I’m talking about here.

7. Go meat-free for a day… or longer if you like. During the metabolism of meat, there is an acid residue left behind.

8. Skip the sugar-laden dessert or soda.  Sugar is one of the mosyogt acidic foods we consume. You need over 30 glasses of neutral water just to neutralize the acidity of ONE can of soda.

9. Add more veggies to your diet. No, potatoes don’t count. But sweet potatoes are a good choice (provided you’re not slathering them in sweeteners or butter).  Asparagus, squash, peppers, and other vegetables are also excellent choices.

10. Sprout it out. Add more sprouts to your daily diet. They are extremely alkalizing and supercharged with nutrients and energy-boosting enzymes.

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 WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

 

Berries are a delicious addition to any diet.  But,  taste is not the only reason to love them.  Here’s why you should add these  seven super-healing summer berries to your diet:

Blackberries

Loaded with vitamin C, blackberries also contain ellagic acid—an important  phytonutrient that protects skin cells from damaging UV rays. Ellagic acid also  prevents the breakdown of collagen in the skin that occurs as we age and is  linked to wrinkling.

Blueberries

Blueberries are phytonutrient powerhouses.  They  contain: anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechins, and salicylic acid.  If the latter sounds familiar, you may recognize it as the drug we’ve come to  know as Aspirin. That’s right—blueberries contain natural aspirin, but in this  beautiful and delicious packaging offered by Mother Nature, there’s no worry  about harmful side effects. What’s more, blueberries are proven to reduce heat  shock proteins that are linked with some forms of brain disease, making these  little marvels potent weapons in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s  disease as well as other neurological disorders.

 

Loganberries

A cross between blackberries and raspberries, these berries  strengthen blood  vessels, making them an excellent addition to help  fight heart disease or  varicose veins. They contain rutin, which  research shows strengthens  capillaries and improves circulation. They  look like long raspberries.

Currants

Currants contain gamma-linolenic acid that inhibit the body’s histamine—the  allergic response in reaction to pollens. That makes them great to help you  avoid or eliminate sinus congestion and itchy eyes linked to seasonal allergies.  Since they are tart, you might enjoy them best mixed with other berries.

Raspberries

Raspberries are still my favorite fruit. Raspberries, like other  berries,  contain an important compound that is 10 times more effective  at alleviating  inflammation than aspirin. Containing the phytonutrient  ellagic acid,  raspberries can help protect against pollutants found in  cigarette smoke,  processed foods, and may neutralize some cancer-causing  substances before they  can damage healthy cells. They’re delicious on  their own, in a fruit salad, in  a smoothie, or on top of a green salad.

 

Gooseberries

Gooseberries—the berries that resemble green grapes—help you to feel  happier.  In recent research in the journal Experimental  Neurobiology,   scientists found that gooseberries contain a flavonoid  called   kaempferol that prevents the breakdown of brain hormones serotonin and   dopamine. These brain chemicals naturally help us fight stress and keep   our  spirits up.

Strawberries

More than delicious, when it comes to disease prevention, these babies pack a  serious punch. Not only do eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than an  orange, they are antioxidant powerhouses. Whether you want to evade heart  disease, arthritis, memory loss, wrinkling, or cancer, these berries have proven  their ability to help. Plus, they’re just so easy to get into your diet on a  regular basis.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and twelve-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 WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

Image credit (loganberry): ndrwfgg / Flickr

4 Natural Treatments for Spring Allergies

4 Natural Treatments for Spring Allergies

 

Are you looking for a way to ease spring allergies without taking any antihistamines or  getting an allergy shot? Not all natural remedies have been shown to be  effective, but there are a few that are show promising results.

Neti Pot

Rinsing your nasal passage is a great way to relieve your allergy symptoms  that’s also inexpensive. It’s just important to use water that’s distilled and  sterile, so consider boiling the water and letting it cool in an airtight  container before use. You should also wash your neti pot after each use.

Butterbur and Spirulina

Preliminary studies have shown that butterbur extract and spirulina may help treat hay fever symptoms, so look for remedies that include  these ingredients. However, just because a supplement is natural doesn’t mean  it’s safe. If you’re taking any medications, it’s best to check with a doctor or  pharmacist about any potential contraindications before taking a herbal  supplement for allergies.

Local Raw Honey

There’s a commonly held hypothesis that the pollen content in local honey can  inoculate you against allergic rhinitis, however there isn’t really enough  evidence to prove or disprove this theory. One problem with this theory is that  honey may not include the specific pollen that affects you. On the other hand, raw honey has been shown to be as effective at soothing sore  throats as over-the-counter cough drops, so if allergies have you coughing you  may want to try a teaspoon.

Fish and Whole Vegetables

More and more research is showing the advantages of eating whole foods, so it’s no surprise that a  healthy diet may ease allergies. A study recently published in Pediatric Allergy  and Immunology found that children who eat a diet rich in fish and “fruity” vegetables are less likely to  suffer from allergies. Fruity vegetables have seeds and come from flowering  plants, such as zucchini, eggplant, green beans, butternut squash and  tomatoes.

By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

So, it’s no surprise that the liver can become sluggish, making it a factor  in many health conditions, including: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath,  chronic fatigue syndrome, cravings for sweets,  depression, environmental  illness/multiple chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and  migraines, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels,  hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, immune system disorders, irritable bowel  syndrome, overweight or obesity, poor digestion, recurring nausea and/or  vomiting, skin diseases, and ulcerative colitis. Of course there are other  factors involved in these conditions so it is important to see a physician if  you suffer from any of them.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the liver is its ability to  regenerate itself.  When it is given the critical nutrients, a healthy  whole foods diet, and herbs to help it function, it can be restored to health in  most circumstances.  Strengthening the liver is one of the ways to boost  energy, balance weight, and strengthen overall health.

Here are 15 ways to give your liver a boost:

1.  The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform  its many functions.  Your diet should be high in fruits and vegetables and  fibrer-rich foods.

2.  Your liver must filter food additives.  Eliminate processed  foods, artificial food additives, colors, and preservatives from your diet to  give your liver a break.

3.  Eat plenty of fresh carrots and beets, both of which are powerful  liver cleansing and rebuilding foods.  In addition, eat plenty of green  foods.  The chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps  cleanse the liver.

4.  Try to eat two heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseeds.  They  bind to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones including synthetic  xenoestrogens from plastics and other chemicals, from floating around your  bloodstream.  One of the liver’s five hundred jobs is to filter excess  hormones.  By eating flaxseeds and flax oil you are helping it function  more effectively.  Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on cereal, toast, salads, or  blended into smoothies.

Keep reading to learn about the best liver-boosting herbs and  nutrients…

5.  There are many great herbs that help strengthen the liver,  including: milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke, turmeric, slippery  elm, greater celandine, balmony, barberry, black root, blue flag, boldo,  fringetree bark, vervain, and wahoo.  I regularly use turmeric and milk  thistle to help strengthen the liver.  If you are pregnant, have a serious  health condition, or are taking medication, consult a qualified health  practitioner before using herbs.

6.  Significantly reduce refined sugar and avoid synthetic sweeteners  altogether.

7.  Lecithin helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce  cholesterol.  It contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine and  essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and help prevent fatty  deposits from building up in the liver.  Lecithin also helps reduce high  blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax to allow better blood  flow. You can get lecithin in organic soyfoods like soy milk, tofu, and miso, as  well as organic eggs.  Alternatively, take 4000 mg of lecithin in capsule  form daily.

8.  Take a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to avoid any  deficiencies.  The liver depends on many nutrients to detoxify  properly.  Even a single nutrient deficiency can be harmful.

9.  In addition, take 1000 to 2000 mg of vitamin C daily, even if there  is vitamin C in your multivitamin.

Keep reading to learn about the foods that ensure toxins are neutralized, not  made more dangerous…

10.  Eat lots of garlic, onions and broccoli since these foods contain  sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that boosts  liver  cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver  detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can  become MORE dangerous in your body.

11.  Avoid eating large meals.  Instead, eat small meals made up of  plenty easy-to-digest foods.

12.  Eat steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, raw fruits, and bitter  greens.  The bitter greens, especially, help to cleanse the liver.

13.  Eat whole, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds for their essential fatty  acids as well as their usable protein.

14.  Avoid eating heavy, fatty foods since they just create more work  for the liver. Avoid margarine, shortening or commercial oils or any foods made  with them.

15.  Avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime to allow the  liver adequate time during the night to perform its many functions, unimpeded by  other bodily processes like digestion.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week  Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP,  ROHP.

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

15 Ways to Boost Your Liver for Great Health

 Your liver must perform over 500 functions, making it potentially one of the  most overburdened organs in your body.  Our modern lifestyle, replete with  air pollution, food additives and high amounts of stress ensure that the liver  has plenty to do.

So, it’s no surprise that the liver can become sluggish, making it a factor  in many health conditions, including: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bad breath,  chronic fatigue syndrome, cravings for sweets,  depression, environmental  illness/multiple chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches and  migraines, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels,  hypoglycemia, hormone imbalances, immune system disorders, irritable bowel  syndrome, overweight or obesity, poor digestion, recurring nausea and/or  vomiting, skin diseases, and ulcerative colitis. Of course there are other  factors involved in these conditions so it is important to see a physician if  you suffer from any of them.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the liver is its ability to  regenerate itself.  When it is given the critical nutrients, a healthy  whole foods diet, and herbs to help it function, it can be restored to health in  most circumstances.  Strengthening the liver is one of the ways to boost  energy, balance weight, and strengthen overall health.

Here are 15 ways to give your liver a boost:

1.  The liver requires high amounts of vitamins and minerals to perform  its many functions.  Your diet should be high in fruits and vegetables and  fibrer-rich foods.

2.  Your liver must filter food additives.  Eliminate processed  foods, artificial food additives, colors, and preservatives from your diet to  give your liver a break.

3.  Eat plenty of fresh carrots and beets, both of which are powerful  liver cleansing and rebuilding foods.  In addition, eat plenty of green  foods.  The chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color, helps  cleanse the liver.

4.  Try to eat two heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseeds.  They  bind to hormone receptor sites, preventing excess hormones including synthetic  xenoestrogens from plastics and other chemicals, from floating around your  bloodstream.  One of the liver’s five hundred jobs is to filter excess  hormones.  By eating flaxseeds and flax oil you are helping it function  more effectively.  Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on cereal, toast, salads, or  blended into smoothies.

Keep reading to learn about the best liver-boosting herbs and  nutrients…

5.  There are many great herbs that help strengthen the liver,  including: milk thistle, dandelion root, globe artichoke, turmeric, slippery  elm, greater celandine, balmony, barberry, black root, blue flag, boldo,  fringetree bark, vervain, and wahoo.  I regularly use turmeric and milk  thistle to help strengthen the liver.  If you are pregnant, have a serious  health condition, or are taking medication, consult a qualified health  practitioner before using herbs.

6.  Significantly reduce refined sugar and avoid synthetic sweeteners  altogether.

7.  Lecithin helps the liver metabolize fats and reduce  cholesterol.  It contains a substance called phosphatidylcholine and  essential fatty acids that help keep liver cells healthy and help prevent fatty  deposits from building up in the liver.  Lecithin also helps reduce high  blood pressure by allowing the blood vessels to relax to allow better blood  flow. You can get lecithin in organic soyfoods like soy milk, tofu, and miso, as  well as organic eggs.  Alternatively, take 4000 mg of lecithin in capsule  form daily.

8.  Take a high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement to avoid any  deficiencies.  The liver depends on many nutrients to detoxify  properly.  Even a single nutrient deficiency can be harmful.

9.  In addition, take 1000 to 2000 mg of vitamin C daily, even if there  is vitamin C in your multivitamin.

Keep reading to learn about the foods that ensure toxins are neutralized, not  made more dangerous…

10.  Eat lots of garlic, onions and broccoli since these foods contain  sulfur that is required to increase enzyme activity that boosts  liver  cleansing. Without adequate levels of sulfur, the phase 2 of liver  detoxification cannot keep pace with level 1, meaning that many toxins can  become MORE dangerous in your body.

11.  Avoid eating large meals.  Instead, eat small meals made up of  plenty easy-to-digest foods.

12.  Eat steamed vegetables, raw salad greens, raw fruits, and bitter  greens.  The bitter greens, especially, help to cleanse the liver.

13.  Eat whole, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds for their essential fatty  acids as well as their usable protein.

14.  Avoid eating heavy, fatty foods since they just create more work  for the liver. Avoid margarine, shortening or commercial oils or any foods made  with them.

15.  Avoid eating for at least three hours before bedtime to allow the  liver adequate time during the night to perform its many functions, unimpeded by  other bodily processes like digestion.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week  Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP,  ROHP.

 

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