Indole 3 Carbinol and Estrogen

research-853474__180By: Marlene Affeld ~

Within the scientific community, a diverse array of medical studies focus on the interaction of Indole 3 carbinol and estrogen. Estrogen, commonly known as the female hormone, is responsible for many of the womanly characteristics that distinguish the species, including breast development, regulation of menstrual cycles, fertility, and a curvaceous figure.

Estrogen Dominance

A balanced level of estrogen in the body is essential for achieving and maintaining fat loss. In both men and premenopausal women, excess estrogen, also known as estrogen dominance, can cause water retention, bloating, toxic fat gain and a broad assortment of medical problems.

In women, with age there is a natural decline in progesterone and testosterone that can lead to an excess of estrogen. Women who take pharmaceutical hormones, whether in the form of birth control pills or hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) can also experience estrogen dominance.

obesity-993126__180We accumulate excess estrogen in our body either by producing too much of it on our own or we acquire it from our diet or from the environment. We are constantly bombarded with toxic estrogen-like compounds, known as xenoestrogens. These toxins are found in foods that contain noxious pesticides, herbicides or growth hormones. Other sources of toxic estrogen include plastic bottles, household cleaning chemicals and industrial or organic pollution in the air we breathe.

Many of these toxins cause water retention and weight gain, which unfortunately, triggers production of more estrogen from our own fat cells. Additional weight accumulation in turn leads to insulin resistance that increases the risk of estrogen dominance.

Premenopausal women with excess estrogen are likely to have a pear-shaped body type, presenting more weight at the hips. In men and menopausal women, excess estrogen presents as an apple shaped body with the fat accumulation centered in the abdominal area. Medical experts advise that excess estrogen is as much a risk factor for obesity in both men and women as lack of exercise and poor diet.

Persons with estrogen dominance often complain of mood swings, depress, weight gain, water retention, fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, hormonal headaches, and lack of energy and stamina. Other complaints include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation and infertility.

What Is Indole-3-Carbinol?

Indole 3 Carbinol (also referred to as I3C) is a member of the glucosinolates family, a group of compounds that also contains other indoles and isothiocyanates, such as sulphoraphane.

plant-690051_640Present in a host of different sulfur-rich cruciferous vegetables such as kale, onions, garlic, Bok choi, watercress, radishes, turnips, mustard greens, collard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, Indole 3 carbinol is an important micronutrient that helps prevent estrogen-enhanced cancers. Indole 3 carbinol is also found in the spice cardamom. I3C is derived from the foods we eat and is also manufactured in the laboratory. An extract from cruciferous vegetables is a manufactured as a dietary supplement, a slightly altered version of the indole 3 carbinol obtained from our diets.

Indole-3-carbinol is used for a diverse array of medical issues. Besides helping to balance out hormonal levels, I3C helps bolster the immune system and has been useful impeding estrogen receptors in breast membranes, helping to lower the risk of breast cancer.

Scientists, studying the connection between Indole 3 Carbinol and estrogen, discovered that the metabolism of estrogen happens by two separate pathways. The first or initial metabolic pathway, 16 alpha-hydroxylation, or the second, healthiest metabolic pathway, 2-hydroxylation. I3C encourages estrogen to take the health-promoting pathway (2-hydroxylation), a pathway that processes estrogen into an anti-estrogen. Because testosterone changes to estrogen in the male body, Indole 3 carbinol can help support estrogen balance in men who take testosterone precursors.

To offset estrogen dominance, athletes, body builders, weight lifters and dieters endeavor to step up their intake of cruciferous veggies by adding them to smoothies, salads, soups, sauces and stir-fry dishes. If you suspect that you may be experiencing estrogen dominance, talk to your doctor to have your hormone levels evaluated. If you are following a diet that does not provide enough natural I3C, your doctor, in addition to advising you to add more vegetables to your daily diet, can recommend the correct dosage of Indole 3 carbinol that is appropriate for your sex, age, weight, current physical condition, and fitness goals.

Indoles, isothiocyanates and sulphoraphanes are all strong antioxidants and natural detoxifying enzymes. Sulphoraphanes have also demonstrated powerful anti-cancer properties. Indoles and isothiocyanates are antioxidants that can naturally neutralize free radicals. I3C also demonstrates an ability to support the liver’s detoxification processes as well as encouraging normal cellular reproduction.

Indole-3-carbinol is changed in the stomach to diindolylmethane (DIM). When indole 3 carbinol supplements are ingested, there is little or no indole 3 carbinol found in the bloodstream. The substance that is found in the bloodstream after ingesting an indole 3 carbinol supplement is DIM, diindolylmethane.

Indole # Carbinol Kills Cancer Cells

Indole-3-carbinol and estrogen research projects have produced a broad base of data that indicates I3C works as a potential cancer preventive. In clinical trials, dosages of 300-400 mg daily converted approximately 50 percent of some stronger estrogens to weaker estrogens in healthy men and women.

In clinical trials conducted at the Jewish Research Institute in Manhasset, New York, scientists achieved promising results, reporting, “Studies increasingly indicate that dietary indole-3-carbinol (I3C) prevents the development of estrogen-enhanced cancers including breast, endometrial and cervical cancers. Epidemiological, laboratory, animal and translational studies support the efficacy of I3C. Whereas estrogen increases the growth and survival of tumors, I3C causes growth arrest and increased apoptosis and ameliorates the effects of estrogen.”

The Oxford Journal of the National Cancer Institute explains, stating, “The oxidative metabolism of estrogens in humans is mediated primarily by cytochrome P450, many isoenzymes of which are inducible by dietary and pharmacologic agents. One major pathway, 2-hydroxylation, is induced by dietary indole-3-carbinol (I3C).”

#StrongerEstrogens  #Estrogenefficacy  #Indole3Carbinol  #estrogenehnancedcancers

Sweet Potato And Pecan Individual Soufflés

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With the Thanksgiving Holiday fast approaching, I am planning my menu to include this scrumptious family favorite.

A perfect side dish for an elegant dinner; sweet potatoes, a rich source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber, tastefully combined with eggs and nuts for protein, make this healthy family favorite a real crowd-pleaser.

  • 2-tablespoon butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup organic honey
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 cups puree sweet potatoes (If fresh sweet potatoes are unavailable, substitute canned pumpkin puree.)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Set oven to preheat at 375 degrees. Butter 8 – ¾ cup ramekins, set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour. While whisking steadily, add milk and continue stirring until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir-in sweet potato puree and egg yolks. Add egg yolks one at a time. Mix in each egg until thoroughly blended.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins; set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Cook, stirring often. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, 3 minutes.

Gradually whisk in milk, honey and brown sugar; simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in ½ cup pecans and ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Whisk in sweet potato puree, then egg yolks, one at a time then fold in half of the chopped pecans.

Using a clean mixing bowl, beat separated egg whites with a pinch of sea salt until stiff peaks form. Whisk ¼ of whites into the puree mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the rest.

Place baking ramekins on a rimmed cookie sheet. Pour mixture into ramekins; sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Present A New Face To The World – Natural Home Remedies For A Fresh Face

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

When you catch an unexpected glance of yourself in the mirror, do you think you look older than your age? Has winter drained away your summer luster and skin is left looking tired and robbed of its youthful glow? Natural home remedies can freshen, relax and restore moisture to leave skin soft and lustrous.

Dry, Irritated Skin

If winter dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are taking their toll on your appearance, there are numerous natural ways to obtain younger looking skin, reduce wrinkles, and tighten sagging skin.

During winter, dry skin requires extra care. Adequate hydration, both internally and topically, is imperative to prevent flaky, chapped, rough and irritated skin.

You have heard it before, but it’s worth emphasizing: drink plenty of water. Water plays an integral role in the maintenance of health and fitness. In fact, up to 80 percent of our body weight is made up of water.

  • drip-934948_640Medical experts recommend 8 eight ounces glasses per day as a minimum. In winter, it helps to increase total fluid consumption to 10 to 12 large glasses of water per day. This can be either in its natural form or in the form of any other fluids or beverages. Remember, the fluid content of coffee and cocktails does not count.
  • A daily skin routine for dry skin includes cutting down on your bath time. Excessive bathing with hot water dries and strips the skin of essential oils. If possible, stick to short, tepid rather than hot, showers. After bathing, gently pat skin dry and then apply a thin layer of healing almond oil, massaged into the skin. Pay special attention to elbows, heels, knees, cuticles or any especially dry skin areas.
  • Flaky, dry skin is a product of the skin surface sloughing off dead cells. Honey combined with egg whites, rich in skin-building collagen, can help get rid of dead skin cells, revealing fresh, soft, supple and youthful looking skin. Separate the yolk from the white of three eggs. Beat egg whites until frothy, blend in 3 tablespoons of organic honey. Apply the mixture on the face and neck and allow to dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Follow with a sheer application of vitamin E oil. Egg whites tighten skin while honey helps nourishes and moisturizes it. The dual action of both these natural healing ingredients will reduce wrinkles and fine lines and leave your complexion soothed and smooth.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

  • bananas-652497_640Bananas, rich in minerals and antioxidants, can help reduce wrinkles to reveal fresh, younger looking skin. Bananas make the skin appear soft, supple and glowing, leaving it looking fresh and dewy. Potassium is a key nutrient found in bananas that help reduce wrinkles and fine lines and tightens sagging skin. Mash a ripe banana with ¼ cup plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons of uncooked oatmeal. Blend well. Apply to the face and allow to dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry.

Dull, Tired-Looking Skin

  • Get some sleep. A hectic schedule, emotional distress, illness or anything that can rob you of a good night’s sleep drains the skin of its look of youthful vigor.
  • Watch your diet. A healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can help firm the skin and decrease inflammation. The diet should contain foods high in Omega-3s, antioxidants and other healthy fats that can improve your health from inside out. Nuts and salmon are excellent sources of Omega-3s. Processed food products high in sugar, carbohydrates, caffeine and should be avoided as they provoke wrinkle formation.
  • Herbal face wraps can help you attain a natural facelift at home. Herbal wraps detoxify the skin, improve circulation, flush clogged pores and increase elasticity in a short period of time. Warm towels infused with herbal essential oils are applied to the face and body for skin tone and firming benefits. Eliminating toxins helps purify tired skin by promoting perspiration. Rosemary, thyme, clary sage, and juniper essential oils are known for their anti-inflammatory, astringent, antioxidant and purifying properties. Warm moist towels in the microwave. Sprinkle with a few drops essential oil and apply to the face and body. Allow moisture to penetrate the skin and towels to cool for in place for 15 minutes. Pat dry.

Acne and Blackheads

If a poor diet, oily skin, an inherited genetic predisposition to skin imperfections, or a sudden acne flare have you looking less than your best, again natural home remedies can offer symptom relief and soothe irritated skin.

  • A drawing paste of ground cumin seeds and witch hazel can help rid nose, chin and forehead (areas prone to oil) of blackheads and clogged pores. After washing the face with a gentle organic cleaner, mix enough witch hazel with 4 tablespoons of ground cumin seed to form a thick paste. Apply paste to trouble areas and allow to dry for a minimum of 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Oily Skin 

  • tangerine-850432_640For centuries, citrus fruits have been considered integral ingredients in natural facelift treatments. These fruits contain ingredients that naturally clean and tighten the skin. For a rejuvenating face mask combine ½ cup organic honey, ¼ cup fresh orange juice, ¼ cup grape juice and the juice of one lemon. Blend well. Apply the mixture to the skin. Refrigerate remaining mixture. Allow the mixture to dry on the face and neck for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water. Pat dry.
  • Blend a handful of fresh strawberries, 1 ripe pear, 1 apple and 1 cup of orange juice in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Apply the fruit paste evenly over the face and allow to dry for 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Finish with a rinse of 2 tablespoons of apple cider and a bit of warm water. Vinegar balances the pH of the skin. Pat dry.

Age Spots

  • Dehydration, environmental pollutants, heated indoor air and sun exposure all contribute to the formation of age spots. Excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol beverage accelerates the process. In fact, the skin of smokers age twice as fast as the skin of non-smokers. Age spots most commonly occur on the face, neck and the back of the hands, but can appear on other areas of the body. Exfoliation can help with the removal and fading of age spots. Dry brush the skin daily with a soft skin brush prior to cleaning. Cleanse skin with a gentle organic cream cleanser then rub a slice of fresh lemon over age spots to lighten their appearance. Lemon’s lightening benefits are cumulative, so daily use is suggested.

The Amazing Health And Healing Properties Of Curcumin – The Anti-Aging Super Spice

anti-inflammatory-743044__180By: Marlene Affeld ~ Curcumin, the active part of the turmeric plant, is used as a seasoning in curries and other spicy dishes from the Middle East, Asia, and India. Curcumin (Curcuma longa) is what gives curry its distinctive bright yellow-orange color and unique spicy flavor.

Although many people use this spice in cooking, most people are unaware of the amazing natural health and healing benefits of curcumin. Curcumin, a bioactive substance that has antioxidant properties that are nearly ten times stronger than vitamins C and E, boosts immunity, reduces chronic inflammation at the molecular level, normalize cholesterol levels and prevents premature aging.

History of Curcumin

spices-541974__180CurcuminForHealth.com tells the story of curcumin, noting, “The history of curcumin – considered one of the most beneficial compounds from turmeric (Curcuma longa) dates back about 5,000 years. It was a principal healing agent in Ayurveda, and traditional Indian system of medicine, and recognized as a valuable ingredient long before it became popular as a supplement.

The bright yellow-orange pigment of turmeric is the primary source curcumin. Breaking this down further, there are sub-compounds or “fractions” of curcumin called “curcuminoids.” Turmeric contains demothoxycurcumin, otherwise known as “curcumin II”, bisdemethoxycurcumin, known as “curcumin III” and cyclocurcumin. These compounds make up, on an average, about 3 to 5 percent of turmeric, although some in some regions of India, the turmeric actually contains higher levels, reaching 6 to 8 percent because of locally favorable growing conditions and farming practices.

The curcumin products you’re likely to find in health food stores contain a mixture of curcuminoids, depending on the way they’ve been processed.

Turmeric is typically grown in warmer regions, including India, China, and Southeast Asia. The brightly colored complex of curcumin (well-known to anyone who has eaten curry) is sometimes referred to as Indian saffron, yellow ginger, yellow root, ukon, kacha haldi, or simply natural yellow.

After the roots are harvested, they are cleaned in water, cured and dried. After drying the root is ground for use as a spice, or the curcumin is extracted to be used for its health benefits.

These days, most people probably know curcumin by enjoying curry made with turmeric. The fat content of coconut milk and other ingredients in traditional Indian cooking help curcumin absorb in the digestive tract, so growing up eating curry very likely has some protective and medicinal effect. However, there is increasing research that shows that concentrated extracts of curcumin are very strong as well – plus, they have the benefit of being convenient and proven effective!”

Curcumeroids

Found within the turmeric root, and the powder made from the root that is used in cooking are active phenolic compounds called curcumeroids. Curcumin is one among the three curcuminoids found in turmeric. The key benefits of curcumeroids are that they soothe stomach pain, stimulate the secretion of bile, eases inflammation, and kill bacteria.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties Of Curcumin

Curcumin is the most potent anti-inflammatory of the three curcumeroids found in the Asian tuber. The significant anti-inflammatory properties make curcumin an effective anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical for chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease; all without the dangerous and unpleasant side effects of many other prescription medications.

A recent research study among patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis showed that patients taking up to 1.7 grams of curcumin a day for two months reduced bowel symptoms and the need for other medications.

ArthritisToday.org reports, “Traditionally used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis turmeric/curcumin blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the target of celecoxib (Celebrex).

Several recent studies show that turmeric/curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and modifies immune system responses. A 2006 study showed turmeric was more effective at preventing joint inflammation than reducing joint inflammation.

A 2010 clinical trial found that a turmeric supplement called Meriva (standardized to 75 percent curcumin combined with phosphatidylcholine) provided long-term improvement in pain and function in 100 patients with knee OA. In a small 2012 pilot study, a curcumin product called BCM-95 reduced joint pain and swelling in patients with active RA better than diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).”

Curcumin Is A Natural Antiseptic

Curcumin is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant in case of cuts, scrapes, bruises or wounds. Curcumin helps in reducing germs and bacteria, and in healing wounds faster.

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Curcumin and Cancer

Researchers now report that this member of the ginger family is capable of fighting cancer cell growth. Many healthcare providers suggest that if taken on a regular basis, either as a spice in your daily diet or as an oral supplement, turmeric can eliminate cancer from the body. Turmeric’s power in treating cancer lies with the presence of polyphenols, phytochemicals, anti-carcinogens, and antioxidants.

Dr. Meracola discusses the benefits of curcumin, noting curcumin:

  • Inhibits the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
  • Inhibits the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
  • Helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis)
  • Helps your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body

The American Cancer Society notes, “Some proponents believe turmeric may prevent and slow the growth of a number of types of cancer, particularly tumors of the esophagus, mouth, intestines, stomach, breast, and skin.

Animal and laboratory studies have found that curcumin, an antioxidant that is an active ingredient in turmeric, demonstrated some anti-cancer effects in the lab. But human research is needed to determine curcumin’s role in cancer prevention and treatment in people. Several types of cancer cells are inhibited by curcumin in the laboratory, and curcumin slows the growth and spread of some cancers in some animal studies. Clinical trials are underway to find out if it can help humans as well.

Curcumin is being studied to find out whether it helps other diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and stomach ulcers. It is also being studied to see whether it can help lower “bad cholesterol” and improve outcome in kidney transplants. A few early studies have been done in humans, but much more human research is still needed to find out if curcumin can be effective in these uses.”

NaturalNews.com reports on the interaction of curcumin and cancer, noting, “Research done by the Life Extension Foundation found that curcuminoids target ten factors involved in cancer development. This includes chronic inflammation, DNA damage, and disruption of cell signaling pathways. Curcumin supplementation was shown to destroy cancer cell mitochondria, disrupt the cancer cell cycle and arrest stem cell development that facilitates further cancer cell formation.

Curcumin regulates tumor suppressor pathways and triggers mitochondria-mediated death in the cancer tissue. Curcumin is anti-angiogenic, which means that it shuts down the ability of cancer cells to form new blood vessels for blood supply and fuel. This effect makes cancer cells more vulnerable to pharmacological treatments such as chemotherapy and other cancer-control drugs.”

Studies show that curcumin can also help prevent breast cancer in women at high risk from taking hormone replacement therapy. Scientists at the University of Missouri studied the pungent spice in mice, finding it inhibited a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) known to promote and support hormone-related tumors and other types of cancer. Curcumin also helped reduce changes in breast tissue linked to cancer.

Researchers in Texas confirmed that curcumin increased the effects of Taxol (a chemotherapy drug) and prevented breast cancer development in the lungs of mice. This same sensitizing effect is seen in other types of cancer including pancreatic, colon, gastric, blood, prostate, lung, bladder, head and neck, brain cancer, cervical cancer, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma.

Most recently, a research study from Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital in Zheijiang, China indicates that curcumin is capable of inducing apoptosis (cell death) within triple negative breast cancer cells. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a type of cancer that defies conventional therapy.

Turmeric and Diabetes

2012 research studies conducted amongst persons with pre-diabetes found that curcumin delayed the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The study, conducted over a nine-month period, provided participants with either curcumin supplements or a placebo. At the end of the test period, 16 patients taking the placebo were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. None of the participants taking curcumin developed diabetes. The study results were attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.

Cardiovascular Disease and Curcumin

Curcumin offers protection from heart attack and stroke, making beneficial for people with diabetes who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Scientists have discovered that curcumin found in turmeric, dissolves plaque that clogs arteries. When arteries clog, the heart is required to work overtime to deliver adequate blood to the organs. This activity leads to high blood pressure and may also cause enlarging and weakening of the heart. As a powerful antioxidant, curcumin supports healthy cholesterol levels.

ZipHeal.com reports on the health benefits of curcumin, noting, “Another one of turmeric health benefits is its capacity to improve cardiovascular health. Curcumin can stop the oxidation of cholesterol that results in cholesterol buildup on the walls of blood vessels and the consequent clogging of these vessels. This action of curcumin prevents strokes and heart attacks. Further, turmeric also supplies vitamin B6 to the body. This vitamin protects against the damage-causing substance homocysteine.”

Curcumin and Liver Disease

A research study recently conducted in Mexico showed that curcumin prevents acute liver damage through at least two mechanisms: its work as an antioxidant and by inhibiting NF-kappa-B activation and thus slowing down the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

A second study published in the Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology Journal noted that curcumin is effective in preventing and reversing cirrhosis of the liver, likely by its ability to reduce TGF-beta expression. This data indicates that curcumin might be an effective antifibrotic and fibrolytic drugs in the treatment of chronic hepatic disease.

Among curcumin’s numerous benefits is its ability to function as a natural detox agent, thus clearing the liver of harmful toxins. Among these, it also protects the liver from the toxicity of excess alcohol consumption, chemicals, and certain medications.

NaturalNews.com reports on the powerful health benefits curcumin as an antioxidant, stating, “Turmeric is the fourth most antioxidant-rich herb with an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of 159,277. The curcuminoids boost levels of the body’s most potent antioxidants including glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. These molecules are critical for the body to limit oxidative stress-related damage to the vital organ systems.”

Curcumin and Weight Loss

tape-403592_640Curcumin has been shown to reduce the incidence of obesity-related diseases. Much of the inflammation associated with obesity is a result in part to the presence of immune cells known macrophages present in fat throughout the body. The immune cells produce cytokines that promote inflammation in the heart, pancreas and liver. Scientific studies indicate that turmeric suppresses the activity and number of these cells thereby reducing some of the adverse consequences of obesity.

Curcumin promotes weight loss and the resulting incidence of obesity-related disease by stimulating the production of bile that breaks down fatty food. Taking one teaspoon of turmeric powder with each meal has been shown to help in losing weight.

PhysicanNaturals.com comments on how curcumin helps digestive problems, stating, “Those who are prone to the problems of severe indigestion may benefit from taking curcumin on a daily basis. It helps in increasing the bile production, thereby curing such problems completely.”

Curcumin and Alzheimer’s disease

dependent-100343__180FitLife.tv reports, “Curcumin in turmeric has a potential role in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration together with declining activities of daily living and behavioral changes. Various effects of curcumin, such as decreased Beta-amyloid plaques, delayed degradation of neurons, metal-chelation, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant property, improve overall memory in Alzheimer’s patients.”

Curcumin and Depression

GreenMedInfo.com announces, “A groundbreaking new clinical study proves that the turmeric extract known as curcumin is at least as effective as Prozac in treating serious depression. When one factors in the lack of side effects associated with the use of curcumin, it is not unreasonable to call the spice extract superior.”

A recently published study judged the antidepressant potential of the extract compared to prescription drugs. In this study, curcumin was compared to fluoxetine (one brand name is Prozac®) and imipramine (one brand name is Tofranil) in a scientific model of depression.5 It was also studied as an “add on” therapy with these commonly prescribed drugs.

Seven groups in total were tested, with one untreated group serving as a control, and others either with two different dosage levels of curcumin only, each prescription drug only, or each prescription drug paired with curcumin as an “add on” therapy.

The results in the curcumin groups were impressive. The high-absorption curcumin extract was just as effective as alleviating symptoms of depression as either prescription drug, but had none of the side effects (which include drowsiness and sedation, and some loss of motor skills).

In fact, the side effects are so strong that curcumin was unable to curb them when it was combined in treatment with the drugs.”

Curcumin and Hair Loss

hair-248049_640The active ingredient curcumin is a powerful antioxidant proven to be effective in fighting what is known as TGF-beta one, one of the main known causes of hair loss. A helpful remedy for hair loss is made from a tablespoon of turmeric added to a tablespoon of honey and ¼ cup plain yogurt. Massage the mixture into the hair. Leave the mixture on the hair for 20 to 30 minutes, and then rinse out.

Curcumin and Hepatitis B Virus

According to a study published in the June 2010 issue of FEBS Letters, curcumin, the potent property found in turmeric, can inhibit the growth of hepatitis B Virus by regulating and decreasing the proteins responsible for the multiplication of the nasty virus.

Curcumin Can Help Ease Cystic Fibrosis

Research studies now confirm that curcumin, the active agent in turmeric, is one of the most promising cures against cystic fibrosis, a severe form of respiratory infection. Although preliminary results are still inconclusive, a number of persons suffering from cystic fibrosis report a positive improvement in their symptoms after using turmeric on a regular basis.

Adding Curcumin To Your Daily Diet

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There is no doubt about it. Curcumin is a powerful nutrient. Turmeric can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in sauces, curries, stews and soups. To achieve optimal curcumin absorption, since curcumin is a fat-soluble nutrient, it is important to combine turmeric with good fats such as olive oil, coconut oil or milk. Adding a dash of black pepper for the piperine molecule enhances curcumin uptake. Adding black pepper to turmeric increases the absorption of curcumin by nearly 200 percent. You can also find fermented turmeric in an organic acid base at health food stores. Fermented turmeric has an extraordinarily high absorption rate. Turmeric, as a whole herb, remains in the digestive tract longer than curcumin, releasing antioxidant curcumin along with other beneficial substances.

Medical practitioners recommend turmeric supplements. However, turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for most inflammatory disorders including arthritis, tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome and autoimmune conditions. Take 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric extracts, either in tablet or capsule form, three times per day or as directed by your physician. Seek products standardized for 95 percent curcumoids.

Because neither curcumin nor turmeric taken orally is well absorbed unless taken with black pepper or piperine, make sure that the one you choose contains black pepper extract or piperine. Be patient when taking turmeric supplements: the full benefits may not be apparent for eight weeks.

Cautions and Concerns

Whenever you add a new supplement to your diet, it is important to discuss the change with your healthcare provider. Curcumin can interfere with the functioning or metabolism of anticoagulants such as clopidogrel, Warfarin, and aspirin. While turmeric is known to decrease blood sugar levels (hypoglycemic effect) that may prove beneficial to persons at high risk of developing diabetes, it should not be used by known diabetics using hypoglycemic medication.

Turmeric may inhibit platelet aggregation. Persons with a tendency to bleeding or clotting should not take curcumin except under the advice of a physician.
Curcumin Research Studies

Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26 (11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. E-pub 2012 Mar 9.

A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.
Chandran B1, Goel A.

“Curcumin is known to possess potent anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties. This pilot clinical study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of curcumin alone, and in combination with diclofenac sodium in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Forty-five patients diagnosed with RA were randomized into three groups with patients receiving curcumin (500 mg) and diclofenac sodium (50 mg) alone or their combination. The primary endpoints were a reduction in Disease Activity Score (DAS) 28. The secondary endpoints included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for reduction in tenderness and swelling of joint scores. Patients in all three treatment groups showed statistically significant changes in their DAS scores. Interestingly, the curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall DAS and ACR scores (ACR 20, 50 and 70) and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events.”

By: Marlene Affeld

Spaghetti Squash – A Treasure Trove Of Heart Healthy Nutrients

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

Spaghetti squash, also known as vegetable marrow, vegetable spaghetti, fish fin melon or golden string squash, is a hard winter squash that derives its name of the characteristics of the flesh. When cooked, you can use a fork to easily strip the meat into golden-yellow strands resembling cooked spaghetti noodles. No, it doesn’t taste like spaghetti, but it does make a great vegetarian, gluten-free substitute for pasta in a diverse array of tasty dishes.

About the size of a football, an average spaghetti squash will provide several servings. Although the rind can be white or pale green, most spaghetti squash are a pale creamy yellow or orange. The center of the squash contains an abundance of large seeds and the fleshy meat is yellow to dark orange. The seeds can be washed, dried, tossed with olive oil and herbs and roasted. The roasted seeds are a crunchy addition to salads or a nutritious, guilt-free snack.

Spaghetti squash is a flavorful addition to a variety of dishes, such as casseroles, soups, and stews, or eaten raw in salads and sandwiches. When served as “spaghetti,” it can be topped with a variety of pasta sauces.

Origin Of Spaghetti Squash

zucchini-572542__180The savory and satisfying squash was first introduced in China in 1921 but was not brought to the United States until the mid-1930’s. During World War II, spaghetti squash was widely planted as a food staple, but only recently experienced resurgence in culinary popularity. Once a novelty squash found only in Asian markets, spaghetti squash is now available year-round in food markets across America.

Health Benefits Of Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a “super food” veggie. Not only is spaghetti squash low in carbohydrates, it is also a rich source of vitamins, beta-carotene, essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, minerals, and has outstanding antimicrobial properties.

A single serving of this versatile squash contains approximately 457 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and over 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

B vitamins include niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and folate. Folate is required for the formation and healthy development of new cells and may help prevent birth defects, making spaghetti squash a healthy food choice for pregnant women.

Antioxidants found in spaghetti squash include beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein, which are all supportive of optimum eye health. Heart healthy nutrients found in this bright-colored vegetable also include potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes With Spicy Pepper Sauce

Serves 8 to 10

Pancakes

  • 2 cups baked and chopped spaghetti squash
  • ¾ cup finely diced red sweet pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 small sweet white onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
  • 6 Tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ -cup milk

Pepper Sauce

  • 1 small fresh chipotle, jalapeño or habanero pepper chopped.
  • 1 cup pepper jelly – melted over low heat on the stove top
  • ½ Teaspoon sea salt

Preparation

It’s easy to bake a spaghetti squash. First pierce the rind several times with a sharp fork or knife point to allow steam to escape during the baking process. Place the squash in a baking pan with 2 inches of water in the bottom and bake for one hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Split the squash in half and cool. Scoop out 2 cups of the strands and chop into 1-inch pieces.

While the squash is baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a glass bowl, mix well, cover and refrigerate.

Next, sauté the red pepper, garlic, celery, and onion, until tender but not brown, in 5 tablespoons of the coconut oil, reserving the remaining oil to coat the pan. Add black pepper and cumin and sauté for another minute. Let cool.

Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt and place in a bowl. Blend the milk and eggs and add to the dry ingredients. Stir well to dissolve all lumps. Fold in the vegetable mixture.

Cooking

Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet to the point that a bead of water dances on the surface. Add remaining coconut oil to coat the skillet. Add the pancake batter in large a spoonful. Cook until crisp and golden brown on both sides. Serve immediately, topped with a generous dollop of the pepper sauce. Enjoy!


Amazing Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

Our brains are physical organs. Just like our lungs, heart, bones, and muscles benefit from regular physical activity, research confirms exercise triggers a flood of chemicals that effect positive changes in the brain. Medical research studies indicate that persons who do not participate in regular exercise have an increased likelihood of experiencing chronic depression, memory loss, social apathy, and Alzheimer’s disease.

If the name “couch potato” fits, you likely do not currently exercise on a regular basis and are not active throughout the day. Whether to exercise or not is a personal choice. However, if you want to sit on your butt like a “lump of lard” you are opting to live a life of discomfort, running the risk of developing cancer or diabetes or dying prematurely due to a heart attack or stroke.

Exercise is a safety value, a constructive method of releasing pent-up emotional stress and physical energy. Exercise is proven to reduce production of hormones that act as messengers of stress, thereby reducing stress-related emotions including tension, depression, anxiety, anger, depression and aggression. Something as simple as taking a walk can help relieve stress, improve your mood, relax muscle tension, and brighten your mental outlook.

Exercise promotes physical fitness, improves self-esteem, boosts confidence, increases cognitive and spatial learning, gives us more energy and endurance and just plain makes us feel good. Moreover, regular physical activity can lower health inhibiting triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, and when increased physical activity results in weight loss, a regime of regular exercise reduces the risk of a diverse array of other chronic diseases including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers.

Obviously, if physical fitness promotes optimum health, a sedentary lifestyle does just the opposite. Inactivity can lead to weight gain and life-threatening health issues; “Think of exercise as free medicine without the side effects.”

Getting Started

hand-588982_640If exercise is not now a part of your life, any physical activity that gets you up and moving is good. Healthcare experts and physical fitness trainers agree it is best to start “start slow, and build up over time.” This advice applies to everyone, especially those with prior health issues, physical handicaps and the elderly. Starting slowly can help lower the risk of injury and make your exercise routine fun and more enjoyable.

Research studies show that walking for as little as 15 to 20 minutes a day, starts to decrease the chances of you having a stroke or heart attack, developing diabetes, or dying prematurely. Any amount of exercise is better than none; the more you get, the better you feel.

Exercise releases dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins, all “feel good” hormones the lift our spirits and generate an overall sense of well-being.

Once you start to add more physical activity to your life and begin to experience the positive physical, emotional and psychological benefits of exercise, you are more likely to continue exercising in order to continue to reap its positive benefits in your life.

cycling-828646_640FindCounseling.com reports, “While the majority of fitness research efforts focus on the physical and health benefits of exercise, there is a growing body of work demonstrating that exercise promotes wellness and mental health. Researchers at Duke University studied people suffering from depression for four months and found that 60 percent of the participants who exercised for 30 minutes three times a week overcame their depression without using antidepressant medication. This is the same percentage rate as for those who only used medication in their treatment for depression. If you currently do not exercise, any increase in physical activity is good for you.“

run-750466_640Researchers at Duke University advise that walking has proven to be more effective than antidepressants in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Exercise also helps with major depression and bipolar disorder. For persons with bipolar disorder, walking and other forms of exercise can help level out the highs and lows moods present in this disorder.

Disabled-World.com explains how aerobic exercise improves mental health, stating, “A common measure of the severity of depression is the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score. The BDI is a series of questions which the subject answers and a score is produced. Some research has shown that after participating in a regular exercise program, patients with BDI scores corresponding to moderate to severe depression were able to reduce their scores into the mild to moderate category. Further, drugs with harmful side effects are often prescribed to alleviate the depression, even though some studies have found them to be less effective than regular exercise programs. Depression can be very mild or very severe but regardless, regular aerobic exercise may contribute to the improvement of this condition.”

Get Up And Go

stairway-269321_640Stop worrying about if you are not doing enough. It’s easy to get started incorporating a bit more physical activity into your daily life now. Opportunities for exercise are all around us; take the stairs instead of the elevator, play outdoors with your children, walk the dog or find a hobby or fun activity that gets you up and moving. Many people find that using a pedometer to keep track of how many steps they take in a day is a great motivator to find innovative ways to include more activity in their lives.

HelpGuide.org explains the emotional benefits of exercise, stating, “Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even adds years to your life. But that’s not what motivates most people to stay active. People who regularly exercise tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well–being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it doesn’t take hours of pumping weights in the gym or running mile after mile to achieve those results. There are many different ways to be active—and they don’t need to cost a lot of money.”

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Seeking A Moment Of Complete Tranquility #Chillax

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

A host of medical research studies indicate that meditation (mental silence) is an excellent way to reduce the stress in our lives without the negative side effects of medication. For persons struggling to cope with heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, binge eating, insomnia, fatigue, fibromyalgia or other sources of chronic pain, meditation, combined with yoga, is a way to proactively reduce the stress and relieve the pain that accompanies these conditions.

The Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology describes meditation noting, “Meditation is a mind and body practice that utilizes concentration, reflection and mental flexibility to relax the body and calm the mind. It requires that we clear out our muddled thoughts and allow our minds a moment of complete tranquility. Practicing daily meditation can have a variety of positive effects on your mental health and improve your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.”

Saint Mary’s Health of Evansville, Indiana provides a helpful compendium of information answering questions about meditation stating, “Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. It is easily learned and has been used as an aid in treating stress and pain management. It has also been employed as part of an overall treatment for other conditions, including hypertension and heart disease.”

Hans Selye, a pioneering Canadian stress researcher, describes two types of stress-negative stress and positive stress. The difference between the two depends upon whether or not the individual feels in control of the stress. By allowing one to become more aware of one’s reactions to stress, meditation can assist in providing the individual with an increased internal sense of control.

meditation-609235_640Studies have also shown that meditation (in particular research on Transcendental Meditation [TM], a popular form of meditation practiced in the West for the past thirty years), can bring about a healthy state of relaxation by causing a generalized reduction in multiple physiological and biochemical markers, such as decreased heart rate, decreased respiration rate, decreased plasma cortisol (a major stress hormone), decreased pulse rate, and increased EEG (electroencephalogram) alpha, a brain wave associated with relaxation.”

A diverse array of research studies indicate that a regular meditation practice offers an amazing amount of health benefits including strengthening the immune system, managing chronic pain, lowering blood pressure, and reducing both emotional and physical stress and fatigue.

Practitioners of meditation and yoga report that meditating for just 20 minutes provides more psychological rest than a full night’s sleep. Many people that meditate on a regular basis report an increased sense of wellbeing, increased energy and heightened creativity.

Other benefits include the ability to see the good in the situations around you, a sense of peace, spontaneous joy and a deep abiding sense of gratitude. Experts suggest that practicing meditation daily allows us to weave silence and stillness into our body and mind to create a fulfilled life.

zen-178992_640NaturalNews.com reports that meditation can reverse aging in our brains, stating, “Studies of meditation have shown that its regular practice that helps individuals cope with issues such as anxiety, stress, chronic pain and high blood pressure. In addition, more recent studies facilitated by brain scan technology have found that regular meditation practice helps prevent or delay age-related cognitive decline including memory loss. In fact, it appears that regular meditation practice can change the brain in a variety of profound and healthful ways.”

BrighterBrains.org sums up the benefits of meditation, stating, “Anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, substance abuse, sleep disorders, attention deficit disorder, and even cardiovascular disease have all been shown to be positively affected by mindfulness meditation. While the potential to relieve various physical and psychological ailments is certainly significant, the real value of meditation is in its potential to optimize and improve our lives. Not just to alleviate problems and bring us back to normal, but to make us better than normal.”

For the uninitiated, the concept and practice of meditation can be quite confusing. FreeMeditationInfo.com provides a complete listing of Zen, Tibetan, Christian, Hindu and non-sectarian meditation centers and meditation teachers located in the State of Indiana and throughout the Midwest. One of the best things about practicing meditation is that it doesn’t conflict with our spiritual practice, no matter the path we choose to follow. With an open heart and mind, meditation can enhance and deepen our existing spiritual beliefs, whatever form that may be.

Meditation, combined with yoga, may just be your tools to better pain management, improved sleep and less stress. Tree House Yoga of Indianapolis, Indiana notes, “Yoga is a coming home; a return to the one you have neglected and left behind. The yoga practice is about reclaiming parts of yourself that you have left behind.”

Where does your mind go when it seeks a moment of complete tranquility? Please share your thoughts and comments.

Healing, Anti-Aging Face Masks To Make At Home #BanishWrinkles

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

Taking care of our skin can be especially challenging during the cold winter months. Freezing temperatures, strong winds, central heating, and too many holiday late nights indulgences take their toll, leaving skin dry, dull and fragile.

Homemade facial masks crafted with nutrient rich, skin-nourishing ingredients are an excellent beauty treatment to give parched skin a much-needed moisture boost while soothing irritations. It is easy to make spa-quality, effective face masks from common household ingredients.

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Homemade facial masks cost little compared to costly commercial products or expensive spa treatments. With homemade face masks, you also have the confidence of knowing that all the ingredients are completely natural and you are not applying harmful chemicals or toxins to your skin.

Homemade skin treatments are nothing new. Since the dawn of time mankind as turned to Mother Nature’s medicine chest for natural oils and plant extracts to relieve painful irritations and heal infections of the skin.

Potatoes

potatoes-411975_640Who would think that the lowly potato contains properties helpful and healing to the skin?

  • If you are worry about problematic skin, rosacea or eczema, a mask made with grated raw potatoes and egg whites can calm the skin and soothe redness and inflammation. If available, add a few drops of carrot essential oil available from health food stores. Grate ½ of a white potato and combine with 2 beaten egg whites. Mix the mixture well and apply into the skin and let dry for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Papaya

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  • Do you want to look your very best for a party or up coming event? Papaya is an integral ingredient in a refreshing face mask to leave skin glowing. Mash the meat of ½ papaya with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and the juice of ½ lemon. Blend well and apply to the face, massaging gently. The papaya is useful in removing dell skin cells, hydrating the skin and diminishing the signs of wrinkles.

Honey

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Persons with dry, sensitive skin are more prone to wrinkles and premature aging. Honey soothes and softens dry, irritated skin and is especially healing for those suffering from sunburn, acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis.

WebMD.com notes, “Honey has a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds. On that last point, at least, they were on to something. Today, many people swarm to honey for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature’s best all-around remedies.”

The National Honey Board advises that in ancient China, a mixture of ground orange seeds and honey were applied to keep skin soft and clear of blemishes and the ancient Romans combined honey with animal fats and starches to make facial creams and skin healing ointments.

On you next visit to the farmer’s market or local health food store, purchase a jar of raw honey. Raw honey is simply the unpasteurized version with filtration for impurities. Research indicates that the pasteurizing process can diminish honey’s anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, so using raw honey is best.

Honeyo.com reports on the healing properties of honey, stating, “Australian researchers have revealed the secret explanation for the deadly bug-killing properties of honey. Researcher, Shona Blair from the University of Sydney has found that, when diluted honey is applied to a moist wound, it produces hydrogen peroxide, a known anti-bacterial agent. The research has also revealed that honey is powerful even against drug-resistant hospital killer golden staph Staphylococcus aureus.”

  • To perk up tired skin and soothe irritations, mix 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons yogurt with half of a mashed ripe avocado. Blend well. Spread the mixture on the face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes. Splash face with tepid water until you remove all traces of the mixture. Gently pat face dry with a soft washcloth. As an added bonus, avocado, with a high concentration of vitamin K, lessens skin redness and reduces dark circles under the eyes while the oil in the avocado soften wrinkles and soothes irritation. Avocados contain powerful moisturizing ingredients including vitamin E as well as sterolin, a form of protein that helps reduce sun damage, age spots and acne scars as they moisturize the skin.
  • If you have oily skin and are prone to acne breakouts, strawberries, honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar make a pore cleaning mask and scrub to brighten and even skin tones and calm eruptions. Mash a handful of handful of ripe strawberries with 2 tablespoons raw honey and a dash of cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons of course raw brown sugar and spread the mixture on the face. Scrub with gentle, circular motions, concentrated on the oil prone “T” zone of forehead and nose. Avoid getting the mask mixture in your eyes. Leave the mixture on the skin for 15 minutes, rinse well with warm water and pat dry. Persons with delicate skin may wish to omit the cinnamon as cinnamon may irritate overly sensitive skin.
  • Persons plagued with blackheads and enlarged pores find a facemask blended with baking soda is ideal for exfoliation of dead skin cells and balance skin pH levels. Inflammation and acne are a result of skin that has an unbalanced pH. Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda with ¼ mashed apple, a teaspoon of oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of milk. Blend well into a smooth paste. Apply to the skin and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Splash face with warm water until clear of mask material and gently dry for naturally beautiful results.
  • Bananas, bran, honey, and cream combine to create an excellent mask for flakey, dry and dull skin prone to aging. Select an overly ripe banana, one where the skin has turned black. Cut off the tough end of the peel and place banana, peel and all, 1/3 cup of bran, 3 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and the peel finely ground. Gently smooth the mixture on the face with a concentration on areas with clogged pores or flaky skin. Milk or cream with more fats, is refreshing for skins and brings out your natural radiance.

Bananas, rich in vitamins A, B, and E, work as a great anti-aging ingredient to this healing face mask recipe. Allow the mask to dry for 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Citrus Fruit Facemasks 

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A treasure trove of vitamin C necessary for collagen production, homemade face masks that include citrus fruit extracts helps tighten pores and detoxify the skin, removing blackheads and foliated skin cells. Lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit extracts are super ingredients in facemasks to reduce oiliness on skin and tighten pores. Lemon is especially useful for its bleaching properties to lighten the appearance of old scars and age spots.

  • If oily skin is a persistent problem, mix 1-tablespoon plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix well and apply to the face. Allow the mixture to remain on the skin for 20 minutes then wash with steaming washcloth. If lemon juice is not available, the juice of any citrus fruit may be substituted.
  • Another wonderful facial to reduce skin oiliness incorporates grapefruit juice as a primary ingredient. Combine one teaspoon of sour cream with one teaspoon of grapefruit juice and an egg white that has been beaten up until fluffy. Blend it all together and apply to the face. Leave the oil reducing mixture on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse off with tepid water.
  • Persons with dry, sensitive skin can benefit greatly from a facemask made from egg yolks. The yolk contains beneficial fats. Separate two eggs and beat the yolks lightly. Add 1-tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of yogurt and 1-tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice. Yogurt contains probiotics to help rid the skin of harmful bacteria. Mix well and apply to the face. Wash the mixture off with warm water after 20 minutes.
  • For a moisturizing mask for normal combination skins, blend 3 tablespoons of mashed ripe avocado, ½ mashed ripe banana and the juice of ½ of an orange. Mix well and apply liberally to clean skin. Allow the mask to remain on the skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the mixture away with warm water and pat dry.

Tomatoes

1405980063q5mb7When used in homemade face masks, tomatoes work best when they are very ripe. Choose one that is soft and mushy but yet to develop mold or black spots. (If any black spots are visible, cut away that portion of the tomato prior to use.)

  • The fastest tomato facial and one that can be used daily, is simple to rub half of a fresh cut tomato over the skin of the face. Allow the juices to dry until skin feels taunt and slightly tingly. Rinse with cool water and pat your face dry with a soft towel. Skin will be soft, pink and glowing with renewed health.
  • A combination of tomato and cucumbers soothes wind-burned skin, reduces redness and inflammation, all the while refreshing tired skin. Mix ½ tomato, ¼ of a small cucumber, 1-tablespoon aloe vera gel and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Apply to the face and allow mixture to dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat dry.

Amazing Medicinal Benefits Of Guavas #OptimumHealth

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

It’s guava season here on the Big Island of Hawaii. Enjoy!

What if I told you there was a super-fruit that could help you lose weight, decrease your cancer risk, help the body fight infection, keep your heart healthy, eliminate constipation, aid digestion, heal wounds, cure toothaches, protect the prostate, control diabetes, make your teeth whiter, fight dental problems such as toothaches, decay and gum disease, and turns back the clock on aging?

That’s right, I’m talking about guavas! The amazing health benefits of guava fruit are appreciated worldwide. Not only does guava help in the treatment of a plethora of medical conditions, it is a treasure trove of nutrition; a taste pleaser that does wonders for the body.

A Sweet Storehouse Of Nutrition

IMG_0011High in vitamin C, Vitamin A, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, electrolytes, dietary fiber, and imbued with great taste; it is no wonder guava is considered a superfruit. Did you know that the edible rind of the guava fruit contains more than 5 times as much vitamin C as an orange?

What makes guava so special is that commercial cultivation of the fruit does not require excessive applications of toxic chemicals. Unlike the chemicals pesticides used in the cultivation of apples, grapes and other exotic fruits, guavas are one of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits.

A Most Flavorful Fruit

fruits-601739_640Because of its wide distribution around the world, the origin of the guava is unknown. Guavas are plentiful in Africa as well as Central and South America, India and Asia. However, the sweetest and most flavorful guavas flourish in the fertile volcanic soil of the Hawaiian Islands. Favorite varieties are the lemon, apple and strawberry guava. The apple guava is the most recognized guava as it is grown commercially and traded in the international market.

If you live in Hawaii, guavas are abundant in the wild; touched only by the sunshine and washed by the rain. You can’t get any more organic than that! There is nothing sweeter than the delicate taste of wild ripe guavas picked sun-ripened, fresh from the tree.

The wonder fruit grows on evergreen trees that reach heights of 15-to 30 feet at maturity in the wild. The thin profile tree produces clouds of fragrant white flowers, followed by firm green orbs that mature to a golden yellow flavorful fruit when ripe.

The inside of the guava fruit is soft, pale pink to deep red and incredibly sweet. Each fruit contains from 100- to- 500 tiny seeds. The mouth-watering flavor is akin to a perfectly ripe pear. Once you have tasted a sun-ripen guava and enjoyed its lemony fragrance, you too will call guavas one of your favorite tropical fruits.

Fresh Is Best

guava-336958_640Green guavas are firm and hard. When ripe, guavas are golden yellow and soft to the touch. Guavas can be eaten fresh or consumed in the form of juices, syrups or jellies. Consuming fresh guavas provides a great deal more health benefits as the whole fruit contains the fiber. Juicing removes the fiber. Unfortunately, guavas are highly perishable and do not ship well.

Unless you have a guava tree in your backyard you will have to settle for pure bottled guava juice, available from health food stores and specialty markets. Concentrate dried guava powder is also available and makes a great addition to sauces, deserts and protein smoothies. Add powered guava to chilled coconut water for a freshening tropical drink. A shot of island tropical rum can be added for a flavorful cocktail. Serve over crushed ice, garnish with a slice of pineapple and a sprig of fresh mint.

Guava Benefits In Pregnancy 

woman-356141_640If you and your partner are experiencing difficulty conceiving, regular consumption of guava leaf tea has proven to be effective in increasing sperm production.

Guava is a true super-fruit for pregnant women and the unborn. It’s the folic acid that helps to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus that is most beneficial to baby. The fiber contained in guava prevents constipation and hemorrhoids that are a major problem for many women during pregnancy. Many women also have difficulty maintaining equilibrium in blood pressure during pregnancy. Management of blood pressure is crucial to prevent miscarriages and premature births. The remarkable nutritional components contained in guava fruits helps regulate blood pressure.

If you are pregnant and have yet to taste a guava, these are some of the best reasons for adding guava to your diet now.

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Guavas And Weight Loss

Because guavas are a low-calorie, cholesterol free, no indigestible carbohydrate fruit, it helps satisfy hunger pangs for an extended period of time, thereby assisting in weight reduction and the control of diabetes. The sweet tropical fruit presents a subtle acidic sweet taste that rapidly intensifies as you eat your way into the center. Don’t let the seeds or rind deter you; the entire fruit is tasty and edible. Here in Hawaii, locals enjoy fresh guava slices sprinkled with sea salt and a little chill powder.

Guavas are considered the best fruit source of the powerful phytonutrient, Lycopene. Medical research studies show that this antioxidant prevents the growth of cancerous cell, especially those in the breasts, lungs and prostate.

Brighter, Whiter, Healthier Teeth

guava-leaf-204980_640A decoction of guava leaves seeped in boiling water relieves toothache and painful gums while it helps brighten and whiten teeth. If you have a sore throat, a gargle with the solution helps relieve throat discomfort. Ingredients contained in both the fruit and the leaves protect teeth and gums and therefore are an important ingredient in many popular toothpastes and mouth rinses. Chewing a couple of fresh leaves or eating a guava also freshens the breath.

Powerful Pain Relief

All the medicinal benefits of the guava fruit are present in the deep-green leaves of the guava tree. Potent chemicals concentrated in the leaves such as carotenoids, polyphenoids, tannins and flavonoids. Guava leaves are packed with antioxidants as well as a host of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents and beneficial tannins making fresh guava leaves an effective pain reliever. Due to its host of medical benefits, guava leaf supplements are now available in the form of capsules or as guava leaf tea.

Guava Calms Stomach And Intestinal Distress

Botanists believe the guava to be native to Mexico and Central America where they have been a traditional herbal cure for diarrhea amongst the Indian Tribes of the Amazon. Mature fresh guava leaves are chewed as a remedy for diarrhea and stomach discomfort.

Drug.com reports that guava leaves contain beneficial triterpenes, phenols and flavonoids and are a rich source of quercetin, a natural antioxidant. Because guava also presents strong antimicrobial and antispasmodic properties, it is especially useful for treating diarrhea.

The Smoothest Skin

girl-610544__180The benefits of guava leaves when applied to skin disorders are quite remarkable. Acne blemishes and blackheads adversely affect the appearance of our skin. A concoction of guava leaves has proved effective in eliminating these unpleasant conditions. Guava leaves contain antiseptic properties that destroy acne-causing bacteria. For a rejuvenating facial mask, mix 2-to-3 tablespoons of dried guava powder with just enough warm water to form a thick paste. Apply to forehead, nose, cheeks and chin and allow paste to dry. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and pat dry. If fresh guavas are available, blend both the leaves and fruit in a food processor and use as a facial mask instead of the powder. Used as an abrasive scrub, ground guava leaves are helpful in clearing clogged pores and removing blackheads. Apply the guava paste mask three times a week until the irritation and inflammation heal.

The antioxidant properties found in guava leaves destroy the free radicals that damage skin. A decoction of mature guava leaves (steep a handful in boiling water and cool) can protect your skin from aging as well as help improve skin tone and texture. Make up a fresh batch weekly; store unused portion in the refrigerator. Apply twice daily with sterile cotton balls saturated in the healing liquid. This same decoction can be applied to contact irritations or as an instant pain relieving remedy for insect stings and bites. Guava leaves contain allergy-blocking compounds to relieve irritation and antiseptic properties to promote healing.

A Hair Loss Treatment That Works

If you are losing hair due to illness, stress or heredity, boil a batch of guava leaves in water until the water turns dark. Cool. Apply the liquid to the scalp as a rinse after shampooing. Allow the liquid to remain on the scalp for several minutes, and then rinse with cool water and towel dry. Apply the liquid twice a week until normal hair growth is restored.

Add Guavas To Your Diet

On the mainland, the traditional adage says that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” while here in the Hawaiian Islands, locals advise “a few guavas in season keeps the doctor away for a whole year.”

Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before taking supplements or making radical changes in your daily diet.

Exercise – No Excuses

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

No matter if you are new mom wanting to get back in shape after pregnancy, a senior citizen seeking to maintain balance and agility, or a dieter determined to drop excess weight, a combination of diet modification, hydration and exercise are key to the success of any fitness program. A fitness plan is like a three-legged stool; take away any one of legs and whoever is sitting on the stool will fall flat on their face.

Exercise is the downfall in the weight loss program for many people.

Getting into a regular exercise routine is tough, even for those that used to be addicted to the gym but fell out of their regular routine. Exercising on a regular basis requires motivation and most people don’t have it.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to engage the services of a personal trainer. You don’t need to commit to a long-term program, but it is important that you learn the proper form for each exercise. A trainer can work with you at the gym or in your home. If you have scheduled a twice-weekly session, it is a lot harder to come up with an excuse not to follow through. After a few weeks of working with a trainer, you will be back in your routine, motivated by visible results and far more likely to stay committed to your long-term fitness goals.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one “magic trick” that helps everyone get in shape and shed unwanted pounds. Success is achieved through a series of small changes. Optimum physical fitness isn’t just about hitting the gym for hours every day, or being able to fit in your skinny jeans. Regular exercise has many more hidden benefits – increased bone strength, lower risk of ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetics, colon cancer, and depression, as well as improved energy levels and a gratifying overall sense of well-being.

Successful dieters share tips to encourage and help you incorporate physical fitness into your daily routine.

First and foremost, before engaging in an exercise program or making major changes in your diet, schedule a check-up with your doctor to avoid injury or damage to your health. If you have health issues or limited mobility, your healthcare provider can help you select activities that will avoid problems or complicate conditions. Once you have a “green light”, you can then establish the perfect routine for your and your type of life.

Exercise simply means any activity that requires bodily effort. Exercise is broken down into two types; light exercise and heavy or strenuous exercise. Every type of exercise is beneficial, although strenuous exercise most benefits cardio fitness. Running, walking, tennis, hiking, golf, bowling, cycling, swimming, dancing, gardening, weight lifting, kickboxing, and yoga all appeal to different people for different reasons.

elongation-998837_640The important thing to remember is to find a form of exercise that you truly enjoy. Tai chi, Pilates, Zumba and Jazzercise are popular and all great forms of exercise that can help improve posture, flexibility and mobility. Evaluate your interests and find an exercise form that intrigues you now and is likely to still interest you six months from now. Find you bliss pursuing activities that delight and bring your joy. When exercise is boring or drudgery, you are not likely to retain your resolve.

If you hire a trainer or enroll in a gym, pay for your sessions in advance. You are far more inclined to follow through and go to classes if you have already spent the money and allocated the time.

Remember, you don’t have to join a gym or buy special gear to add exercise to your life. Walking is the best exercise of all and it’s free.

Incorporate balance and agility improving exercises into your overall fitness plan. Balance is required for all kinds of exercise and for healthy lifestyle in general. Good balance reduces the risk of injury and especially important for those engaged in competitive sports. Good balance leads to improved coordination and improves body control.

To maintain your motivation, exercise with others. The group dynamic is proven to grant greater endurance and increased energy to everyone in the group. You will find yourself working harder and exercising regularly when others are involved. As an added bonus, it is a lot harder to skip workouts when others are expecting you to show up and be part of the energy of the group.

Realize there are exercise and fitness opportunities everywhere. If you drive to work, clench your abdominal muscles for the length of every stoplight. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

If you job involves sitting all day, slip off your shoes, wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles several times a day. It feels good, relaxes tired feet and helps burn off a few more calories than just idly sitting all day.

Avoid taking the most convenient parking place. Leave it for someone with impaired mobility; park in the back of the lot knowing it won’t hurt you to walk a few more steps. Crank up the music and clean house. A couple hours of vigorous sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, moping and shining the windows can be as useful a workout as time spent at the gym. It’s a “win-win” situation – you end up with a sparkling clean house, muscles worked and calories burned.

Consider walking or cycling to work. Not only will you save gas money, you will get in a healthy dose of exercise while doing your part to protect the environment. If you commute via the city transit system or subway, get off a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way to work. For new moms and dads, a jogging stroller is a helpful piece of exercise. You can get in a good workout while you and baby enjoy nature and a healthy dose of fresh air.

Play with your children. Walk the dog. Take out the garbage. Make it a challenge everyday to find little ways to include a few more steps into your day. Wearing a pedometer is a great motivator for many people. You will find as you move more, you will want to move even more.

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