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Two Amazing AntiOxidants Made Right in Your Body

active site of Mn human mitochondrial superoxi...

Image via Wikipedia

Today I want to talk to you about antioxidants, these little darlings of the immune system have the capacity to keep you younger, healthier and full of energy. Wouldn’t that be great?

Most of us have heard of Vitamins A, C, D and E and we know enough to make sure we get adequate supplies of them from our food. But what about the antioxidants made right in your own body? Did you know that your body creates its own much more important antioxidants? These are the cellular antioxidants such as glutathione (the Master Antioxidant) which is made mainly from amino acids and the enzymatic antioxidants like superoxide dismutase, SOD for short. I can hear you saying thank goodness for that from here 🙂

I mention these two in particular because a great deal of research is now coming out about how many health challenges can be helped by just making sure your body either gets more of or creates more of (the better way) of these two foundation antioxidants.

Let’s take a better look at Glutathion and SOD:

Glutathione has been shown to slow down the aging process (give me a bucketful), detoxify and improve liver function, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the chances of developing cancer (according to the research, I am not making any claims here).

It has also shown to work to help improve mental function, increase energy, improve concentration, promote increased levels of exercise, improves chronic pain disorders, lowers blood pressure, improves heart and lung function, and helps to control the effects of diabetes. How can it do all this?

Glutathione is the pre-dominant antioxidant in your cells, virtually all cells require glutathione for viability and function and as Dr R Keller has said, “…if it detoxifies and benefits every cell in the body there is almost nothing it cannot help with.”

“Glutathione is a substance, the levels of which in our cells are predictive of how long we will live. There are very few other factors which are as predictive of our life expectancy as is our level of cellular glutathione. We literally cannot survive without this antioxidant,” – Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) has recently come into the spotlight for its connection with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However research on this amazing antioxidant enzyme has been going on for many years and this has proven that SOD protect the body against free radicals by scavenging excess superoxides. Athletes take it to prevent excess free radicals from building up from excessive exercise. It has also proven to help prevent aging, protect mitochondrial function (boost energy), protect from radiation injury, heart disease and cholesterol, protects DNA and cellular health in humans, inhibits inflammatory nerve degeneration, reduces brain swelling after traumatic injuries, lowers inflammation by lowering L10, boosts the immune system (increased T cells and less T cell death), reduced lactic acid after exercise, among a stack of other health boosting effects.

How can you increase your levels of these amazing antioxidants? You need to find supplements that include n-acetyl-cysteine and other glutathione boosting ingredients or eat a lot of broccoli, garlic and asparagus as well as some of the superfruits. SOD food sources include: green barley (organic extract), broccoli, and brussel sprouts. But, if you already have health challenges you’re going to have to eat a LOT of broccoli to get the effect you need to control and perhaps reverse the inflammatory process involved.

live a balanced life…

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September 23, 2008 Posted by | Nutrition, Wellness | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spice Up Your Life and Live Well!

Cinnamon can be used to regulate blood sugar

Cinnamon can be used to regulate blood sugar

I don’t know about you but i love a few well chosen herbs and spices in my food. Some of my favourites are sweet chilli, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic, tumeric, sea or rock salt and my all time favourite; cinnamon.

A new study has proposed what many of us have known for a while, herbs and spices are good for you and may even protect you against many modern diseases more efficiently than many average foods.

A University of Georgia study has suggested that they are potent inhibitors of inflammation and tissue damage (one of the leading causes of cancer, heart disease and arthritis caused by high blood sugar and let’s face it this is a really common problem in today’s world).

Researchers, whose results appear in the current issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food, tested extracts from 24 common herbs and spices. In addition to finding high levels of antioxidant-rich compounds known as phenols, they revealed a direct correlation between phenol content and the ability of the extracts to block the formation of compounds that contribute to damage caused by diabetes and aging.

“Because herbs and spices have a very low calorie content and are relatively inexpensive, they’re a great way to get a lot of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power into your diet,” said study co-author James Hargrove, associate professor of foods and nutrition in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Hargrove explained that when blood sugar levels are high, a process known as protein glycation occurs in which the sugar bonds with proteins to eventually form what are known as advanced glycation end products, also known as AGE compounds. The acronym is fitting because these compounds activate the immune system, resulting in the inflammation and tissue damage associated with aging and diabetes.

The researchers found a strong and direct correlation between the phenol content of common herbs and spices and their ability to inhibit the formation of AGE compounds. Spices such as cloves and cinnamon had phenol levels that were 30 percent and 18 percent of dry weight, respectively, while herbs such as oregano and sage were eight and six percent phenol by dry weight, respectively. For comparison, blueberries – which are widely touted for their antioxidant capabilities – contain roughly five percent phenol by dry weight.

Study co-author Diane Hartle, associate professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy, said various phenols are absorbed differently by the body and have different mechanisms of action, so it’s likely that a variety of spices will provide maximum benefit.

She added that controlling blood sugar and the formation of AGE compounds can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular damage associated with diabetes and aging. She explained that high blood sugar accelerates heart disease partly because AGE compounds form in the blood and in the walls of blood vessels. The AGE compounds aggravate atherosclerosis, which produces cholesterol plaques.

The UGA researchers tested for the ability to block AGE compounds in a test tube, but animal studies conducted on the health benefits of spices lend support to their argument. Cinnamon and cinnamon extracts, for example, have been shown to lower blood sugar in mice. Interestingly, cinnamon lowers blood sugar by acting on several different levels, Hargrove said. It slows the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp rises in blood sugar following meals and improves the effectiveness, or sensitivity, of insulin. It also enhances antioxidant defenses.” Physorg

live a balanced life…  

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August 8, 2008 Posted by | Health, Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

Antioxidants: We Know We Need Them; How Do They Work?

{{en}}Green tea leaves steeping in an uncovere...Image via Wikipedia
“Blueberries, pomegranates, green tea and dark chocolate — these are just some of the antioxidant-rich “superfoods” found in almost any supermarket today. As well as improving our general health, there is growing evidence that diets high in antioxidants may confer some protection against a long list of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and even HIV. Given their increasing popularity, the fundamental question bears asking: What exactly are antioxidants, and how do they work in our bodies?

Antioxidants come in several forms, including the vitamins A, C and E; plant-derived polyphenols, found in colorful fruits and vegetables; and also the element selenium, found in nuts and broccoli. “What these compounds share,” explained K. Sandeep Prabhu, Penn State assistant professor of immunology and molecular toxicology, “is the ability to neutralize harmful molecules in our cells.”

These harmful molecules, known as free radicals, contain unpaired electrons — which is unusual because electrons typically come in pairs. “The unpaired electrons make free radicals highly reactive, and in this state, they can cause damage by attacking the components of our cells, and can even cause cancer,” Prabhu said.

So where do free radicals come from? Some are created as a natural by-product of reactions in our cells, said Prabhu. Other sources of free radicals include cigarette smoke, air pollution and exposure to UV light or radiation. Once free radicals are formed, they can make more free radicals by scavenging electrons from other molecules, “creating a domino effect,” he added.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals either by providing the extra electron needed to make the pair, or by breaking down the free radical molecule to render it harmless. “Antioxidants stop the chain reaction of free radical formation and benefit our health by boosting our immune system,” explained Prabhu. Because antioxidants are used up in the process of free radical neutralization, a diet rich in antioxidants is essential to ensure a constant supply.

Research has shown that antioxidants can have an important impact on serious diseases. In one recent study, the addition of a polyphenol-rich blueberry gel to the diet of oral cancer patients prevented recurrence of the cancer. Another experiment demonstrated that increased levels of selenium in the diets of a group of HIV-positive patients significantly delayed progression of the disease.

A diet containing a balance of the various forms of antioxidants will maintain overall good health, and could even impact serious diseases. For instance, the American Cancer Society encourages people to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and emphasizes the benefits of getting antioxidants through foods rather than supplements. Prabhu himself makes sure he gets the recommended daily allowance of selenium by eating a few brazil nuts everyday. “The key,” said Prabhu, “is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to ensure that we are taking advantage of all the health benefits that antioxidants can provide.”

Penn State Uni -Courtesy of PhysOrg

Is your family getting all the antioxidants they need to stay healthy and live long? Fresh food is one of the most important necessities of life, many of us all around the world now rely on fast food, canned food, frozen food etc.. in our busy lives, but you need to ask yourselves:

Is this a fair trade? Time now for time taken from yours and your families life span?

live a balanced life…  

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August 5, 2008 Posted by | Health, Nutrition, Wellness | , , , | Leave a comment

Link Between Cancer and Inflammation Confirmed

It has long been observed that there is a link between inflammation in the body and cancer, many of todays modern diseases are chronically inflammatory. So what can you do?

Reduce the inflammation. Thank you Ms Obvious, but how?

And that my friends is the question. First we need to look at what it is that causes inflammation in the body, without knowing the foundation causes and the ‘cascade’ effect, we cannot hope to know what to do about it. Medical ‘anti-inflammatory’s’ often result in more chronic inflammation behind the scenes, in other words they help on the surface, but the cellular inflammation remains. They are masking the symptoms as many medical treatments are prone to do.

Inflammation is caused in a complex domino effect or cascade effect within the body, first there is the instigator or inflammatory agent; now that could be any number of things in your lifestyle: the food you eat, the air you breathe, lack of sleep, stress… What happens next is that these instigators in a complex set of actions and re-actions, end up causing an ‘acid’ build-up in the cells it is this cellular acid build up that sets of the bodies reaction of pain (your signal that something is wrong) and swelling (your bodies way of protecting the area from more injury). If this condition goes on for too long, the cells in that area or areas begin to change their spots and because they are adapting to their circumstances like all good species who wish to survive. This is when we are in trouble, this is when you body begins to go to war with itself and you end up with autoimmune diseases, cancer and other increasingly common dis-eases.

So if one of the main integers in this domino of events is ‘acid’ build-up, it would seem like a good idea to reduce the acid in your body, a bit like taking one of the domino’s out of the line-up. Alkalising your body is essential in this busy, fast life we live. Eating more fresh vegetables, fruit and using low-acidic forms of protein are a big start. We can also take a wholefood supplement created from foods that lower acid and inflammation in the body. Would you like a list of possible candidates to include in your daily food intake?

Try some of these: (We will be putting up an Acid/Alkaline Food Chart on our website in the next couple of days, I will announce it here when we do)

  • green foods (Green foods are full of chlorophyll and minerals, very alkalising)
  • certain vegetables (in fact most veg are alkaline so eat lots of vegetables)
  • certain fruits (many fruits are either alkaline or metabolise as alkaline producing lemons are one of the main ones, along with acai, goji, blueberries, cranberries etc…) ACAI Blend (19 fruits fruit blend)
  • cottage cheese, riccota cheese, whey protein concentrate, are all sources of low alkaline protiens
  • whole spectrum mineral supplement (minerals are extremely alkalizing and it is the combination of chlorophyll and minerals in green barley that enhances it’s alkalising effect. We use ConcenTrace minerals
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June 9, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , | 1 Comment

Scientists Prove We Can Change Our DNA with Nutrition!!

So guys the word is out, Dr Bruce Lipton and others like him have been right all along and now all the medical text books will have to be re-written. Scientists have proved that we can change our DNA with Vitamins and Minerals! (university of California, Berkeley)

This is a major breakthrough, as all these years we have been told we are victims of our genes and that if we are born with certain genes that pre-dispose us to cancer or heart disease or cystic fybrosis (the list goes on and on), we will certainly get those diseases whether we want to or not. BUT, now we know that we can change our genes and alter our DNA and be healthy no matter what we were born with and nutrition is the key. For those who would like to read this scholarly article and prove it for themselves go here.

Have you thought about how to get this vital daily nutrition? As a health practitioner for over 20 years I can tell you I do not believe in Multivitamins, I believe that the ‘live’ enzymes and other co-factors in whole food sources of our vitamins and minerals is the better way. For more information on my recommended way of getting your much needed vitamins and minerals and all the co-factors etc that make them work check out these pages Here.

live a balanced life…

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Health, Nutrition, Wellness | , , , | 3 Comments

What’s Wrong With the Way We Eat?

This interesting talk by Mark Bittman, will give you some answers on how you can help save the planet, just by changing the way you eat!

View this great video!

live a balanced life…

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Wellness | , , , | Leave a comment

New Healthy Food Pyramid Much More on Track

Healthy Eating Pyramid

Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

Yes, there is finally a new healthy food pyramid and it is much more on track with what hundreds of good nutritionists have been saying for years. My e-Book “A Rainbow on My Plate” has just the same ethos as they do and will give you a total overview of how to put a healthy food lifestyle into place. Perhaps now the doctors and govenment health programs will get on track themselves and the public will finally listen!

“The Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has relaunched its Web site, The Nutrition Source .

One of the highlights of the improved site is a freely downloadable version of the Healthy Eating Pyramid, built by nutrition faculty at the School, which should appeal to educators and health professionals as well as institutions such as schools and hospitals.” Physorg

Healthy eating is about balance, cut right down on the starchy carbs and eat more vegetables, fruit and good quality protein and oils (Yes, oils are good for you) and get some regular exercise and joy into your life and life long and happy.

live a balanced life…

May 22, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protect Your Skin – Be Sunwise From the Inside Out

acai berries

We all know about using sunscreen, and hopefully by now we also realise that by using sunscreen every time we are in the sun we are becoming deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is such an important vitamin that we must increase it in our bodies or risk: osteoporosis at any age, immune deficiencies, sensitive skin and acne break outs – the list of problems associated with a lack of vitamin D is long.

So how do we protect ourselves while getting our needed dose of Vitamin D every day? From the inside out, that’s how!

Our skin can be protected via good nutritions and one of the ways we can protect our skin against sun damage is Vitamin D, yes the sun carries with it its’ own protective vitamin. What else can you do?

Here is a list of known nutritional protective foods, these foods and their associated vitamins and minerals are known to be skin protective in many ways and can help with sun damage, sun protection, help to resolve acne, pimples, dermatitis and psoriasis:

  • foods rich in lycopenes (the red in tomatoes) so top up on tomatoes (cooked), carrots, watermelon, pink and red grapefruit, goji berries
  • foods rich in Omega fatty acids like salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout and acai etc…
  • rich leafy greens especially broccoli
  • dark chocolate (not milk chocolate)
  • green tea including Oolong, Jasmine and normal Green Tea
  • berries such as acai berries, goji, and blueberries

So get a daily dose of sun for your skins sake (about 1 hour in early morning or late afternoon) and protect yourself from damage from the inside out with great nutrition.

live a balanced life

May 14, 2008 Posted by | Health, Nutrition, Wellness | , , , , | 1 Comment

Nutrition For Growing Bodies: good and bad

Foods from plant sourcesImage via Wikipedia

ScienceDaily (May 12, 2008) The Good – As a general rule, 20 to 30 percent of the calories in a young athlete’s diet should come from fat, 50 to 65 percent from carbohydrates (like vegetables, fruit and wholegrains – in that order) and 15 to 20 percent from protein. But, Leonard says, endurance training, such as long-distance running, requires more calories from both carbs and protein, while strength training increases the body’s need for protein. Be careful with protein, she warns, because too much of it can cause dehydration and put a strain on the kidneys.

Young athletes typically don’t require dietary supplements. Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables plus a daily multivitamin (personally I am not real keen on mulitvitamins try a whole-feed source of nutrition instead) should provide all the nutrition an active growing body needs. Sports bars and gels enriched with protein, vitamins and minerals offer no greater nutritional benefit than regular food, Leonard advises. However, their size and convenient packaging make them a fast, easy way to replenish nutrients after prolonged activity.

The Bad – Dehydration among children playing sports is common, especially in the hot summer months, but may go unnoticed in its milder forms, Leonard says. Younger children are more prone to dehydration because their bodies produce more heat while sweating less. Children recovering from a recent illness, especially one that caused vomiting or diarrhea, may be more prone to dehydration. To ensure hydration, water is the best choice. Any activity that lasts less than 60 minutes doesn’t require electrolytes, so you can safely skip electrolyte-enriched sports drinks.

To avoid dehydration:

  • Before exercise, drink 4 to 8 ounces
  • During activity, drink 4 ounces every 15 minutes
  • After exercise, drink 16 to 24 ounces per every pound lost

Symptoms of dehydration include muscle cramps, dry mouth and severe thirst, reduced sweating and urination, headache and dizziness.

The Ugly

Leonard offers a word of caution on dietary supplements: The Food and Drug Administration does not test them before they reach the market, so their benefits and safety are not independently verified. Pediatricians should always ask young athletes whether they take dietary supplements because some can aggravate pre-existing conditions. Creatine, for example, can cause kidney damage in a child with pre-existing kidney problems.

Also on the dark side of sports are eating disorders, which are common among both girls and boys competing in sports with weight categories such as wrestling and rowing and in sports where appearance is emphasized such as skating and gymnastics. Parents and pediatricians should watch out for signs including obsessing about one’s weight and appearance, drastic weight loss and excessive exercise. Eating disorders can cause loss of periods in menstruating girls, osteoporosis, teeth erosion, delayed puberty and stunted growth.”

This is good advice and I would advise that growing bodies whether they are athletes or not would find good health and fitness by following this information. Make sure your kids and teens are eating well and if you decide to supplement their nutrition be sure to pick a whole-food variety of supplement as it come with all that is needed to synergistic-ally use and metabolize the nutrients within.

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Wellness | , , , , | 1 Comment

Holiday Healthy Habits

// via Wikipedia

With holidays all around us at the moment with the long weekends and the school holidays just gone by, it is a great time to remind you what a holiday is. A holiday is a break from routine, from work, from stress it is not meant to be a break from healthy habits.

When you go on holiday do you get back to work needing another holiday because of over-indulgence and over exertion? Or do you take a deliberate break to rest and recuperate? If we indulge too much in fast food we might end up with a intestinal grumblings and actually end up with an energy deficit rather than building more energy. If we then exert ourselves and have lots of energetic fun while we have not fed our bodies enough real nutrition to power that fun, then we can get back on Monday with the equivalent of a holiday ‘hangover.’

When you take your next break, think of indulging yourself in ways that boost your energy and give you back a your motivation to conquer the world. Holidays are a great time to create new habits of health and vitality, book a few sessions with an exercise specialist like a yoga or pilates instructor, or a personal trainer and make sure you use your time away to get back what you have lost while working so hard.

Get onto a good nutritional supplement and create the habit of taking it daily while you have the time to remind yourself. Your body and your family and your boss will all benefit from your taking time to look after yourself. Who knows what might happen if you have the extra energy creating these new healthy habits will give you. You just might get that promotion you wanted, or perhaps start your own business with that idea that has been simmering at the back of your mind all this time, or you might just decide to start thinking like a successful entrepreneur and end up as wealthy and successful as Richard Branson or Donald Trump.

balance your life, today.

May 1, 2008 Posted by | Wellness | , , , , | 4 Comments