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Archive for April 6th, 2007

Chocolate Better Than Penicillin

Posted by naturalhealthmd on April 6, 2007

Epicatechin, a compound found in unrefined cocoa, could have health benefits that rival penicillin and anesthesia in terms of importance to public health.

Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at

Harvard
Medical
School, has spent years studying the effects of routine cocoa drinking on the Kuna people of
Panama. The Kuna, who drink up to 40 cups of cocoa a week, have a less than 10 percent risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes.

Hollenberg believes that epicatechin should be considered a vitamin, and other nutrition experts believe that epicatechin is so important that it could even warrant a rethinking of how vitamins are defined.

Epicatechin is removed from commercial cocoas because it tends to have a bitter taste. It is also found in teas, wine, chocolate and some fruits and vegetables. (Mercola)

Posted in Healthy Foods | Leave a Comment »

Top Nutrients for Healthy Skin

Posted by naturalhealthmd on April 6, 2007

I found this from newstarget, and thought it was a great article

The skin is one of the most powerful indicators of health. Wrinkles, dry or oily skin, acne, and inflammation all are signs of poor internal health, often brought on by consuming unhealthful foods and avoiding skin-healthy nutrients. To treat skin problems, most people turn to mainstream topical cosmetics, including lotions, soaps, scrubs, toners, and creams. However, treating outer blemishes with expensive, chemical-laden beauty products does little to address the root cause of the problem: poor nutrition and exposure to toxins in dietary and personal care products.

“Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body’s internal needs, including its nutritional needs,” says Dr. Georgiana Donadio, founder of the National Institute of Whole Health.

Recent research has shown that the skin reacts particularly well to certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish the skin, making it appear youthful and healthy. The following nutrients are among the very best to consume for healthy, young-looking skin:

Silica:Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body’s connective tissues – muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone – and is vital for healthy skin. Silica deficiency can result in reduced skin elasticity and can hamper the body’s ability to heal wounds. Food sources of silica include leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb. In its natural form, silica is found in the horsetail herb. Silica is also available as a concentrated liquid supplement from Eidon Ionic Minerals (www.eidon.com)

Zinc: The mineral zinc is an important component of healthy skin, especially for acne sufferers. In fact, acne itself may be a symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc acts by controlling the production of oil in the skin, and may also help control some of the hormones that create acne. Zinc is also required for proper immune system function, as well as for the maintenance of vision, taste, and smell. Zinc consumption is also strongly linked to a reduction of prostate cancer.

Foods rich in zinc include fresh oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, and eggs. Zinc can be purchased in supplement form, in both liquid concentrates and tablets.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Dry, inflamed skin or skin that suffers from the frequent appearance of whiteheads or blackheads can benefit from supplementing with essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially omega-3s. EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet.

The typical American diet is overabundant in omega-6 fatty acids found in baked goods and grains, and lacking in omega-3s, found in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as flaxseeds and safflower oil. Simply balancing the intake of omega-3s with omega-6s can result in smoother, younger-looking skin. EFAs are also available in supplement form – such as fish oil capsules or evening primrose oil – and are effective at treating a wide range of disorders, from depression and cancer to arthritis and heart disease. Good sources of omega-3 oils include chia seeds, flax seeds and, for non-vegetarians, wild-harvested fish oils. A reputable supplier of fish oils is Nordic Naturals (www.NordicNaturals.com)

Selenium: Selenium is an antioxidant mineral responsible for tissue elasticity. It also acts to prevent cell damage by free radicals and is will known to be correlated with a reduction of breast cancer risk. It may play an important role in preventing skin cancer, as it can protect the skin from damage from excessive ultraviolet light.

Dietary sources of selenium include wheat germ, seafood such as tuna and salmon, garlic, Brazil nuts, eggs, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Brazil nuts are perhaps the best source, and eating just 3-4 Brazil nuts per day provides adequate selenium intake for most people. A good source of raw brazil nuts is www.RawFood.com

Vitamins C, E and A: Vitamin C is highly effective at reducing free radical damage, such as that caused by overexposure to the sun or pollution. Free radicals consume collagen and elastin – the fibers that support skin structure – and can cause wrinkles and other signs of premature aging. Vitamin C is especially effective at protecting the skin from overexposure to the sun when combined with vitamin E. Foods high in vitamin C include acerola (a cherry-like fruit), red and green bell peppers, guava, kale, parsley, collard greens, turnips, and broccoli.

Wherever possible, consumers are advised to get their vitamin C from a whole food source, and not to confuse synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) with the real thing from plants (which is full spectrum vitamin C that goes way beyond ascorbic acid). A good source of whole food vitamins is Botani (http://www.alohabay.com/botani/index.html)

In terms of topical applications of vitamin C for your skin, there’s nothing on the market that even comes close to a product called Camu C Serum manufactured by the Amazon Herb Company (http://amazondreams.amazonherb.net/Lluvia_CamuSerum.aspx), which is made from Camu Camu berries — the highest natural source of full-spectrum vitamin C.

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that reduces the effects of sun exposure on the skin. When combined with vitamin A, vitamin E is especially effective at preventing certain skin cancers. Vitamin E also reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and, when applied topically, soothes dry or rough skin. Food sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, safflower and sunflower oils, almonds, spinach, peaches, prunes, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, and avocados.

Avoid synthetic vitamin E supplements, as they have been shown to actually harm health. Only consume natural vitamin E from a reputable source such as the Life Extension Foundation (www.LEF.org)

Vitamin A promotes proper repair and maintenance of the skin, and deficiencies can result in a dry, flaky complexion. Topical vitamin A treatments are often used to treat acne and other skin ailments. Foods high in vitamin A include liver, chili peppers, dandelion, carrots, apricots, collard greens, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cantaloupe.

It’s best to consume vitamin A from natural food sources rather than supplementing it, as vitamin A can be harmful if taken in excessive amounts in supplement form (vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin). You may also wish to consider taking beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A and has none of the overdose concerns of vitamin A.

Avoid toxic skin care products

Proper nutrition is vital for the maintenance of youthful, smooth, healthy skin. Though lotions, washes, and creams can sometimes help treat certain skin ailments, most skin problems stem from an internal nutritional deficiency easily remedied by altering the diet to include specific nutrients. Before you spend a fortune on expensive skin care products, try addressing the problem from the inside out.

Also, beware of the toxic chemicals used in nearly all popular skin care products, including many of the expensive brands sold in department stores. Most products contain liver-damaging and cancer-causing petroleum derivatives that pass right through the skin and enter your bloodstream, causing DNA damage that ultimately compromises the health of your entire body. Use skin care products that are truly natural and contain absolutely no parabens, petroleum products or any ingredient you cannot pronounce.

Posted in Healthy Aging, Healthy Skin | Leave a Comment »

Hershey’s launches new antioxidant product

Posted by naturalhealthmd on April 6, 2007

The Hershey Company has announced that it is adding two new products to its “goodness chocolate portfolio” of antioxidant-rich chocolate. The company has established special labeling for its new line, touting high levels of flavanols that occur naturally in cocoa beans.

“Consumers are very interested in the goodness benefits of chocolate, including the antioxidants found naturally in dark chocolate,” said Michele Buck, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Hershey’s. “This interest is driving explosive growth in dark chocolate. Now, Hershey’s Antioxidant Milk Chocolate and Hershey’s Whole Bean Chocolate bring the goodness benefits of dark chocolate to the broader milk chocolate category.”

Research on the benefits of chocolate is making the news and reaching consumers. Last month, researchers presenting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting stated that flavanols in cocoa beans can increase blood flow to the brain. Additionally, German scientists have demonstrated that cocoa can improve skin texture and hydration; and cocoa flavanols have been linked to low blood pressure.

Norman Hollenberg from Harvard Medical School conducted research on the island-dwelling Kuna people who live near Panama and found that the benefits of regular use of pure cocoa included decreased risk of cancer, stroke, heart failure and diabetes. Hollenberg’s findings are published in the current issue of the International Journal of Medical Science.

Recognition of the health benefits of dark chocolate is not news to Hershey’s. Two years ago, the company acquired Scharffen Berger in what Hershey’s called “a strategic opportunity for Hershey based on increasing consumer demand for distinctive, high-end chocolate and for the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate.”

“Chocolate is, indeed, a healing superfood with truly astounding healing qualities,” said Mike Adams, author of  The 7 Laws of Nutrition. “However, combining chocolate with refined white sugar in a candy bar does not counteract the negative health effects of the sugar. I advise consumers to look for chocolate products with high cocoa content and little or no refined sugar.”

Americans consume about three billion pounds of chocolate per year, spending more than $13 billion on chocolate products annually. The vast majority of those products are highly processed and laden with sugar. Some flavanols are lost during the processing of chocolate.

(source; newstarget)

Posted in Antioxidant, Health News | Leave a Comment »