In This Issue
Vitamin C Good for Immune System
Natural Remedies For Constipation
Did you know?
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Vitamin C Good for Immune System
Vitamin C's health-boosting benefits go far beyond fighting the common cold and flu, according to an article written by Laurie Barclay in Life Extension Magazine. She says that nutritional scientists have discovered that this potent antioxidant is very important in supporting the health of the cardiovascular system, kidneys, bones and respiratory system.
She says that many people fail to consume enough Vitamin C to realize its vast array of health benefits. Most adults wrongly assume that the 75-90 mg of vitamin C recommended by the federal government is an optimal daily dose. In fact, this "recommended dietary allowance" is only enough to prevent vitamin-deficiency disease states such as scurvy-but not nearly enough to support optimal health.
Dr. Linus Pauling, the Nobel prize-winning scientist, was among the first to recognize the importance of high-dose vitamin C supplementation more than 30 years ago. Since then, scientists have amassed impressive evidence supporting the numerous benefits of taking high-doses of vitamin C.
He found that vitamin C is a critically important water soluble antioxidant, as it protects proteins and lipids from free radical damage associated with infection, intensive exercise, and other stressors that can injure cells. This makes vitamin C valuable for improving immune function.
By suppressing oxidative stress, vitamin C increases the life span of immune cells and reduces infection-related cellular damage. This bolsters the immune system's ability to fight off a broad range of infectious agents.
Dr. Linus Pauling says that research has also demonstrated that during times of infection, concentrations of vitamin C are rapidly depleted in the blood and in white blood cells. Scientists have found that supplementation with vitamin C improves several important parameters of immune function. Therefore, supplementing with vitamin C during infection may protect immune cells and strengthen their ability to fight infectious pathogen.
Vitamin C Benefits Include:
- Helps Prevent and Fight Infections
- Supports Endothelial Function Protects the Heart
- Lowers Coronary Heart Disease Risk
- Status Tied to Heart Attack Risk
- Reduces Damage Caused by Heart Attacks
- Reduces Dangers of Blood Lipids
- Additional Health Benefits of Vitamin C includes:
- Enhancing cancer survival.
- Averting kidney damage.
- Supporting asthma defense.
- Promoting healthy bones.
- Fighting herpes simplex infection.
- Preventing abnormal heart rhythm.
Natural Remedies For Constipation
Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints, says Mark Stengler, ND from La Jolla Whole Health Clinic. It accounts for about 2.5 million doctor visits every year. But it occurs much more frequently than this number indicates because the majority of people with constipation treat it at home with over-the-counter laxatives. Most people who experience constipation can prevent it permanently with dietary changes and other natural approaches.
In a healthy body, waste travels through the digestive tract in a predictable, regular cycle, over a period of six to 24 hours. Most people have one to three bowel movements daily. Others have as few as three bowel movements a week. There's a lot of individual variability-what's normal for you might not be normal for someone else.
Stool in the intestine contains bacteria, fungi and metabolic by-products of digestion. If it remains in the colon for too long, these harmful substances cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, painfully hard stools and a general sense of fatigue.
The right diet and supplements can relieve constipation.
- High-fiber foods. These include brown rice, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables and legumes, such as beans and lentils. Fiber absorbs water in the intestine, which makes the stool bulkier. This triggers the intestinal contractions that cause bowel movements. Fiber also makes the stool softer, so it is easier to pass.
- Magnesium. People with constipation often are deficient in this mineral. Magnesium helps to increase the strength and regularity of the intestine's muscular contractions, relax the nervous system. At higher doses, promotes the accumulation of water in the intestine. Foods high in magnesium are green, leafy vegetables (such as spinach), brown rice, avocado, berries, cabbage, broccoli and bananas.
- Fermented foods. People who eat sauerkraut, live-culture yogurt and/or kefir (a fermented milk) are less likely to experience constipation because fermented foods contain probiotics. These beneficial organisms crowd out harmful microbes that may impair digestion and elimination.
- Give Up Dairy: A New England Journal of Medicine study of 65 children with chronic constipation reported that cow's milk was the cause in two-thirds of cases. It contains the protein casein, which has been shown to cause constipation.
- Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. A diet high in saturated fat slows motility-and the longer the stool stays in the intestine, the more likely it is to harden and interfere with normal bowel movements.
- Daily Exercise: Mild-to-moderate aerobic exercise -a 30-minute brisk walk, for example-helps stimulate intestinal contractions. It also reduces stress and relaxes the nervous system, which improves muscle movements in the intestine and helps prevent or treat constipation.
- Stress Control: Yoga, Pilates, meditation and other stress-reducing activities can reduce constipation. Studies show that people who experience high levels of stress often have reduced intestinal efficiency. In addition, people with high stress levels often have hectic lifestyles and don't take the time for regular bowel movements. Every day, set aside time for mental and physical relaxation.
Frederic Luskin, Ph.D., author of "Forgive for Good" says that stress is your body's normal response to a threat of any kind, and the "danger" does not have to be huge: It can be running late for a meeting or having an argument with a friend or colleague. Even if the danger is small, our bodies release chemicals that have a marked effect on every cell. We may face long hours at work, financial pressures and problems with spouses and children. But it doesn't have to be this way. We can learn simple techniques to keep a clear head, reduce our stress and put less strain on our body.
- Take a deep breath or two. By paying attention to your breathing, you can switch off the stressed part of your nervous system and return to a state of calm. As you inhale, imagine that your belly is a balloon and you are slowly filling it with air. As you exhale, make sure your belly stays relaxed as it lets the air out.
- Think of the good stuff. Since stress is the body's way of dealing with threats, a simple way to de-stress is to use your body's response to good things to your advantage. A few moments spent thinking how lucky you are to be alive or how grateful you are to be loved or how in awe you are of nature's beauty all send a chemical message that life is good throughout your body.
- Slow down. When you "multi-task"-by talking on the phone while driving, for example-your body and mind require more energy. When you slow down, you relax your body and reduce the demands on your mind. So, when feeling stressed, do a common activity slowly, carefully and with focused attention. Even getting up from your desk slowly gives your nervous system a break.
- Change the tape. Sometimes, all we need to do to de-stress is change the tape that runs in our heads. Most of us have a habit of making problems worse by saying things to ourselves like, "'This is terrible," or, "I have really screwed up." Instead, say supportive and positive things to yourself, such as, "I can deal with this" or, "I deserve success and good fortune."
- Let it go. There are occasions in life when you need to recognize that you cannot change the situation. So make a conscious decision not to stress yourself out over something that you can't make different or better.
Did You Know?
- Ice has more bacteria than the toilet water at some major fast-food restaurants? Recent finding: Samples from served ice, self-serve ice machines and toilets at five fast-food restaurants were tested for bacteria and compared. Overall, toilet water fared better, although bacteria levels for all were in the acceptable range.
- Corticosteroids can cause bone loss if taken for long periods and in high doses. Harris H. Mcilwain, MD., warns that patients taking corticosteroids daily for three months or longer also should take calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent bone loss.
- A Mediterranean-style diet, rich in healthy fats from olive oil and nuts, may be better for the heart than a strict low-fat diet, scientists report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers studied 769 men and women, aged 55-80, who had type II diabetes or multiple risk factors for heart disease and stroke (such as smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity).
For three months, the participants followed one of three dietary programs: a low-fat regimen, a Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil as the primary fat source, or a Mediterranean diet rich in nuts.
At the study's end, the researchers found that both Mediterranean diet groups exhibited increases in beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL), as well as improvements in blood pressure and blood sugar. By contrast, the low-fat group demonstrated decreased levels of HDL and no change in blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
A Mediterranean-style diet, which also includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, thus produces numerous improvements in cardiovascular risk factor.
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In Good Health.