Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Women Vitamins- Coffee, Tea, and Me?

I am a life-long, dyed in the wool, coffee drinker, and I come from a long line of coffee drinkers.  I own at least 3 different kinds of coffee makers.  As with everything else, depending on the report or institution, coffee can be your worst enemy or your best friend.

Regardless of that, I believe there is nothing better in the morning than holding a steaming, aromatic cup of coffee between your hands.  The first sip is always the "Ahhhhhhhh" of my day.  I also lug a battered and beaten thermos of coffee to school.  The thermos was my Daddy's and bears the dents, scuffs and scars of years of hunting and fishing expeditions, tailgate coffee moments under the Dakota sky....

Be that as it may, I am resolving this New Year's to drink less coffee and start sipping tea.  (May none of my Norwegian ancestors hear that...no grave spinning, please!)

We have all heard about the healthful benefits of tea drinking...at first it seemed that green tea was more healthy, but many tests later, we understand that black tea offers the same results.

Both green and black teas contain a concentrated dose of catechins, substances that help blood vessels relax and protect your heart.

Over 40,500 Japanese (men and women) were studied and results indicate that those who drank 5 or more cups of green tea every day had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease and stroke. Additional studies indicate that tea and exercise can also help trim belly fat.

Now, you really need only 1 or 2 cups of tea daily to start doing your heart and your waist some good--just make sure it's a fresh brew and let your teabag brew long enough to get the catechins in the water.

Don't use cream or milk, as these eliminate the thea's protective effects on your cardiovascular system.  Go ahead and add lemon or honey...

This seems workable for me at school.  So my resolution shouldn't be too hard to maintain. 

One thing though...please note...pre-bottled, ready-to-drink teas don't offer the same health benefits.
"Once water is added to tea leaves, their catechins degrade within a few days," says Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, Tufts University, Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Also, beverages in plastic containers are known cause health problems.  Two common plastics used for water and liquid containers are:
  1. Polyethelyne (#1 PET) Suspected human carcinogen
  2. Polycarbonate with Bisphenol A (#7) Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems
 There is one of the ironies of modern society....thinking you are choosing the healthiest...bottled green tea, all the while you may be unaware that the compound you are hoping for in the tea, left days after it was bottled, and the bottle can cause you further ill....

So dig out Dad's old thermos, brew your own tea.  Save a landfill, save yourself, save some moolah....and keep that New Year's Resolution in tact!

Eat healthy, take your vitamins for women, exercise and...

Be blessed, Kersten

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vitamins for Women: Spice Up Your Life- Spice Up Your Health

Taking a great multivitamin can really boost your immune system and help you maintain your daily health.  But sometimes we still get ill and don't feel good, and we need some natural help to restore us.

Certain simple plants have long been known to have curative, restorative, and balancing effects....thousands of years ago our ancestors used the bounty that nature provided to heal themselves, and new studies validate the efficacy of many common plants and the herbs and spices they provide. These herbs and spices can be found in every grocery aisle, health food store, and kitchen cupboard in America.

Spices are derived from the roots, bark, buds and fruit of plants. Herbs are usually taken from the leaves of various plants. The herbs and spices I will mention later are full of antioxidants (neutralize attacks made by free radicals against the body), anti-inflammatory elements, and many also contain phytonutrients, which may prevent the cancerous mutation of healthy cells.

Earlier this year, the University of Georgia provided research that finds anti-oxidant spices and herbs can block the formation of harmful compounds that are associated with aging and may also inhibit tissue damage cause by high levels of blood sugar.  Antioxidants in spices are extremely potent, so a little can go a long way.

Cardamom - has aromatic seeds containing an oil that helps to stimulate digestion and relieve flatulence and indigestion.

Cayenne- contains capsaicin, a substance which is also used as an active ingredient in many commercial pain medications, and also aids in digestion.

Celery seed- used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure and to reduce cholesterol.

Chamomile- often used as a tea for its mild sedative effects, soothes digestive ailments and reduces fever. It may be applied topically to soothe skin irritations and diaper rash.

Chili Powder- anti-inflammatory effect, which may help ease arthritic swelling and pain

Cinnamon – has health boosting compounds including eugenol, which is used to relieve pain and cinnamaldehyde which has sedative properties. It is also useful for improving the circulation and has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties. Research shows that it may also help to lower blood sugar levels and so may be useful in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, and half a teaspoon lowered blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels

Cloves - Clove oil is well known as a treatment for toothache, and its antiseptic properties make it an excellent mouthwash. The main ingredient in the oil is eugenol which is anti-inflammatory and can help ease the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis. It is a warming spice which can help reduce congestion and stimulate digestion, assist with diarrhea.  Cloves also act as a deterrent to free-radical damage to the body.

Cumin - a member of the carrot family and looks and smells like caraway seed.   It is a good source of iron and manganese and is thought to help digestion and bloating. 

Curry Powder- safeguards the brain and may fight Alzheimer's by thwarting development of the disease's signature amyloid brain plaques

Fennel - used widely to treat infant colic and gas. It is also a strong liver detoxifier and diuretic.

Fenugreek – alleviates symptoms of menopause--hot flashes, night sweats, etc. Used  to reduce cholesterol and relieve constipation. It has been discovered that fenugreek binds with cholesterol in the intestine and encourages its excretion from the body.

Garlic- improves the heart's health. Brigham Young University researchers found that garlic consumption can lower high blood pressure as well as lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by an average of 10%.   Garlic is one of the best-known and widely used herbal medicines and is a strong weapon against infection and a natural antibiotic.

Ginger - contains antioxidants and it can help calm spasms and reduce flatulence in the digestive system. It is an excellent treatment for nausea associated with chemotherapy, travel sickness, pregnancy and hangovers.

Golden Seal-  a powerful detoxifier and is used to relieve sore throat, gum inflammation and yeast infections.

Licorice root- relieves menopausal symptoms and has been found to have as much effect as hormone replacement therapy in women.

Nutmeg-  a natural stimulant for the cardiovascular system.  Used  to relieve joint inflammation associated with gout. This spice should be used carefully since large doses can be toxic. It is not to be used by pregnant women or children as a herbal remedy.

Oregano- relieves various respiratory problems, may also relieve digestive upset and yeast infections.

Rosemary - calms the digestive system. Its oil is used to help relieve sore muscles and increase circulation when applied to the skin.

Saffron- instrumental in destroying the cancer cells that cause leukemia.

Sage- a remedy for colds, sore throat and other respiratory ailments, as well as urinary tract problems. It has been used to control some symptoms of diabetes.

Thyme- useful as an antiseptic agent when crushed and applied to clean cuts and abrasions. As a tea, it calms the stomach and can reduce the pain of menstrual cramps. Thyme may also be used as a treatment for colds.

Turmeric - Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds…researchers have discovered that it may help in the fight against cancer and HIV.  Studies show numerous benefits of turmeric., in fact curcuminoids may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease, ease joint inflammation, and fight some cancers.

Wasabi- prevents ulcers. A 2004 South Korean study suggests Japanese horseradish can kill ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Plant chemicals may also prevent tooth decay

These are just a few of the many hundreds of herbs and spices know to help with your health issues.  Herbal remedies may be more beneficial to a health regime as there are fewer side effects than commercial drugs.  You should always consult with your physician or health care provider before beginning any new health treatment.

Herbal remedies come in all forms: pills, powders, and tinctures and can be found at most health food and supplement stores.  Powders and dried leaves are often made into teas while tinctures, the purest form, are usually a liquid/oil, obtained directly from the plant, and are measured by drops/doses added to water. 

Exercise, take your women vitamins, be mindful of your health, and be blessed, Kersten

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Gift of Yourself

Just a thought in these last moments of freinzed Christmas shopping.....

If you were asked to think back to the holidays you remembered as a child...would you remember the things you GOT or the things you DID?

Sometimes the most cherished gift we can give a child is the gift of time and focus. 

We remember the times we spent with our family and friends, the time we camped during  the wettest weekend of that particular summer.  We remember the awe of assisting with birth of a foal, or the joy of baking with our grandmas.....  Their gift to us was the experience and the learning that the situation afforded.  Sometimes things go wrong: it rains, we get lost, but later these will add to the embroidery of the tale and the memory.  You can't go wrong with the gift of yourself...

So, instead of giving a gift card, or a computer game, or a sweater....how about giving:
  • a gold fish in a bowl and a trip to the aquarium
  • a puzzle of a dinosaur and a day at the science museum
  • a weekend camp-out
  • a lesson in baking, sewing, fishing, kite flying
  • a camera and a visit to the zoo
The funny thing, about gifts like these, is that it becomes a gift to the giver as well as to the reciever....

Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Safe, Be Blessed, Kersten

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Women Vitamins: Consider CoQ10 as You Age

New studies suggest that Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may help reduce the risk of fatty liver in people with obesity.

CoQ10 is so important for your body’s daily functions that it is referred to as “ubiquinone” because it is 'ubiquitous' in the human body -- CoQ10 is actually used by every cell to produce energy, and is an integral part of helping cells take and convert fat and other substances into usable energy.

CoQ10 also helps protect your body from free radical damage. Free radicals are oxygen atoms deficient in electrons that become highly reactive. This in turn causes potential damage to your tissues and DNA.

Because of its powerful antioxidant protection, CoQ10 is often recommended for a wide variety of heart-related conditions, such as heart attack, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, which require extra protection from free radical damage.

CoQ10 has  been the subject of thousands of research studies, and in addition to the new finding that CoQ10 may help reduce the risk of fatty liver in people with obesity, CoQ10 may also:

  •        Help produce more energy for your cells
  •      Boost  heart health
  •      Act as an antioxidant to protect from free radicals
  •      Reduce the signs of normal aging
  •      Maintain blood pressure levels within normal range
  •      Provide a boost immune system
  •      Support nervous system

As You Get Older:
Your body requires the reduced form of CoQ10 (ubiquinol) to help you limit free radical production.  It becomes more and more difficult to produce the ubiquinol you need due to:

          Increased metabolic demands
          Oxidative stress
          Insufficient dietary Co Q10 intake
          Deficiency of factors required for bio-synthesis conversion
          Potential effects from illness and disease
          Age-related changes in your genes

Further, as you get older, your body levels of CoQ10 continue to diminish, making it even more difficult to maintain adequate levels. So please consider a supplemental dose of CoQ10.

CoQ10 is Essential if You Take Statin Drugs
Statin drugs used to lower cholesterol typically work by reducing an enzyme in your liver, which not only reduces the production of cholesterol, but it also reduces the production of CoQ10. When you lower the production of CoQ10, you increase your risk of a variety of different health problems.

Premature aging is one primary side effect of having too little CoQ10 because this essential vitamin recycles other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E.

 A deficiency of CoQ10 also accelerates DNA damage, and because CoQ10 is beneficial to heart health and muscle function, and  this depletion leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness and eventually heart failure. Therefore, it is vital to supplement with CoQ10 if you’re taking a statin drug.

Overweight or Obese
If you need to lose weight, please take a multi-faceted approach and  start by reducing, (with the goal of eliminating), sugars and most grains from your diet.

Eating foods that are suitable for your nutritional type is also an important aspect of shedding excess pounds, as you will then give your body the specific and correct  fuel it needs to run optimally.Support your weight loss with CoQ10 and its ability to assist with the metabolizing of fat.

Regular exercise and addressing any emotional blocks are also essential.  Work with a knowledgeable, natural health care practitioner who can give you the support you need during your weight-loss process.

Be Blessed, Kersten  

This is not intended to be medical advice, and you should always consult with your health care provider before being any new course of dietary or supplemental regimes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Vitamins for Women: To Have and To Withhold....

I remember being introduced to the Greek notion of Pyrrhic victory at Peck Junior High, in Barrington, RI....Pyrrhus, king of Epirus  sustained heavy losses while defeating the Romans.  A Pyrrhic victory (pronounced /ˈpɪrɪk/) is a victory only incurred with devastating cost...which leads you to wonder if there was a victory at all.

Sometimes you read articles about science or politics or medicine that seem to have that same unfathomable quality about them.  What first SEEMS like a victory, upon further investigation, doesn't seem like such a victory after all.

Recently, an article ran through Reuter News announcing that the Harold Foster Foundation released data from a 310 patient, 52 week, double-blind, controlled, clinical trial demonstrating that a micronutrient, nutritional  supplement, delays the progression of AIDS in HIV-infected patients who are not receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Since I am a #1 fan of nutritional supplements, specifically vitamins and minerals, I searched to find out more than the "teaser" news insert.

I found information that experiments, conducted in Africa, with HIV infected patients, did indeed provide positive information about the ability of nutritional supplements to ease and abate the progress of AIDS....based on the fact that when the subjects were taken off vitamin and mineral supplementation, their HIV/AIDS dramatically and rapidly re-progressed.

I thought, "Yes! another score for vitamins..." until I also reflected that this meant that those poor subjects no longer had vitamins to assist with their fight to live and get better....in order to prove the theory, the vitamins were withheld....and the patients worsened.

Does this strike you as somewhat callous or cavalier?  To give desperate people a moment of hope, a year of benefit, and then to take that smallest grain of comfort, away from them?  All in the name of science, some might say...I say, what about in the name of humanity, or compassion?

If vitamins and minerals, which cost only fractions of the expense of AIDS treatments, can assist with the quality of life or the extension of comfortable living, why don't all people have access to them?  And no where could I find evidence that the participants of this study were ever put on supplementation again.

Is there something wrong with this picture, or is it only me?

I'm still trying to reconcile my thoughts around this "victory" and I was only an accidental reader....
Be mindful, exercise, take your vitamins for women and be blessed, Kersten

1.Reuters, Oct 30, 09...Nutritional Supplements and HIV....