Monthly Archives: April 2017

Cinnamon

cinnamon

Cinnamon

 

There are some scents that remind us about the comfort of home and can soothe our bodies in the process. Case in point: the sweet and warm smell of cinnamon.

 

This spice is derived from the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted, and the woody parts are removed and left to dry. This results in the formation of strips that eventually curl into the cinnamon sticks known today.

 

These strips can also then be ground to form cinnamon powder. The spice is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia.

 

There are two known types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Also known as Cinnamomum verum, Ceylon cinnamon is considered to be “true cinnamon,” and is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean.

 

Cassia cinnamon or Cinnamomum aromaticum, on the other hand, is the variety that’s more commonly used nowadays because it is less expensive compared to the former. This type of cinnamon is grown in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

 

The first recorded use of cinnamon dates back to circa 2800 BCE by Emperor Shen Nung, known as the Father of Chinese Medicine. Cinnamon was also utilized in ancient Egyptian society to mummify the dead.

 

This spice became highly prized, and since cinnamon was rare and valuable, it was regarded as a gift fit for kings In medieval times, doctors used cinnamon to treat ailments such as coughs, sore throat and arthritis.

 

Nowadays, cinnamon is ranked as the second most popular spice in the U.S. next to black pepper. Even more important, recent research has proven that cinnamon is loaded with nutrients that your body will greatly benefit from.

 

Choose Cinnamon for Its Amazing Health Benefits

 

There is more to this spice than its comforting smell. Cinnamon has high amounts of calcium, fiber and manganese, as well as antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. It’s highly useful for:

 

Enhancing antioxidant defenses: polyphenols in cinnamon can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties: cinnamaldehyde, an oily compound responsible for cinnamon’s aroma and flavor, can help alleviate inflammation.

 

A study revealed that cinnamon can target inflammatory pathways and assist in preventing neurodegenerative illnesses.

Enhancing cognitive function: one study proved that the smell of cinnamon worked better than peppermint and jasmine in boosting cognitive function.

 

Study participants reported better scores on tasks that involved attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor response speed after they smelled cinnamon or chewed cinnamon-flavored gum.

Improving brain health: two compounds in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, were shown to inhibit the aggregation of a protein called tau.

 

Tau plays a big role in the structure and function of neurons.

 

Although this protein is normal in cell structures, if tau accumulates, it can develop “neurofibrillary tangles,” a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin were proven to protect tau from oxidative damage that can lead to dysfunction.

Supporting weight loss: cinnamon was proven to be effective in regulating postprandial glucose response, or the amount of blood sugar found in your blood after a meal.

Helping soothe sore throat and/or coughs: a water-soluble fiber called mucilage is created when you soak cinnamon sticks in water.

 

Mucilage then coats and soothes the throat when you drink this infusion. The antibacterial properties of the spice also help treat these ailments.

 

Increased blood flow and blood oxygen levels (that can assist in fighting infections) could also occur because of cinnamon’s warming properties.

Keeping cancer at bay: cinnamaldehyde was proven to thwart colon cancer cells and may be effective versus human liver cancer cells.

Preventing heart disease: not only does cinnamon help stabilize HDL cholesterol levels, but it can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well.

Alleviating ADHD symptoms: research has shown that cinnamon was able to help enhance motivation and performance and reduce anxiety and frustration while driving.

 

Further, the spice assists in counteracting oxidative stress’ effects that typically manifest in kids with ADHD.

Helping diabetes patients: cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels, boost insulin sensitivity and slow down the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp blood sugar rises after a meal.

 

Cinnamon was also proven to improve glycemic status, especially in the levels of fasting blood glucose among type 2 diabetes patients.

 

The body’s glucose metabolism is also increased by about 20 times, helping enhance the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.

 

Lastly, cinnamon exhibited potential in becoming an insulin substitute for type 2 diabetes patients because of the presence of a bioactive component with insulin-like effects.

How Is Cinnamon Typically Used?

 

Most people know cinnamon because it’s a popular ingredient in pastry.Did you know, however, that cinnamon can be utilized for medicinal purposes as well?

 

This spice is known to help in treating muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, appetite loss, erectile dysfunctions and colds, as well as help prevent ailments such as urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease. Here are other brilliant ways to use cinnamon:

 

Athlete’s foot solution: soaking your feet in cinnamon tea aids in killing athlete’s foot-causing fungus.

 

Mother Earth Living suggests boiling water first and then adding a few cinnamon sticks after.

 

Once the mixture is ready, soak your feet in the warm water for a few minutes per night.

Nausea relief: when ingested, cinnamon tea works well in helping relieve nausea because of the catechins in the spice.

 

Boil 1 teaspoon of cinnamon bark in a cup of water for about 10 minutes, strain the liquid and drink.

 

However, if you’re pregnant, do not drink this mixture.

Hair mask: if you want to help avoid hair loss and promote hair growth, a hair mask mixed with cinnamon can lessen your worries.

 

Start by warming half a cup of olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of both cinnamon powder and honey, and stir.

 

Work this mixture onto your scalp, leave on for 15 minutes and wash hair.

 

Make sure to consult your physician first before applying this hair mask, especially if you’re already treating this problem.

Natural bronzer: ditch the typical bronzers that are loaded with harsh chemicals — you can make your own with three ingredients only.

 

Combine cinnamon powder, cocoa powder and cornstarch until the color suits your skin.

 

Simply add more cocoa powder if you want a darker hue or more cornstarch if you want a lighter shade.

 

Once you get the color you wanted, mix it with plain and unscented lotion and store in a clean jar with a lid.

Massage or baths: combine ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ cup of almond or sesame oil and ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Before using, shake the oil gently.

Ant repellent: if ants have become a recurring problem in your home, sprinkle powdered cinnamon along the windowsills to help prevent these insects from coming in, as they have an aversion to cinnamon.

 

Just be sure to replace the powder when they get wet.

Holiday home décor: should you feel like your home needs extra decorating, especially during the holidays, you can use cinnamon sticks to make a wreath.

 

You will need about 80 to 120 cinnamon sticks and a wooden wreath ring from a local craft store.

 

Using a hot glue gun, stick the cinnamon sticks onto the frame.

 

Finish off the wreath by attaching a seasonal ribbon or other embellishments.

 

Grow Cinnamon in Your Garden

 

While cinnamon isn’t typically grown in home settings, it can be easy to grow. Cinnamon typically blooms during spring to summer. It grows best when the soil is kept slightly dry, since it allows the plant to thrive for years in a pot without special care. A well-drained and acidic potting mix works best. Cinnamon plants need full to partial sun, a minimum indoor temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and adequate protection from frost.

 

Last but not the least, you will need cinnamon seeds. According to Laurelynn and Byron Martin, authors of the book “Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in Any Home, Anywhere,” Ceylon cinnamon can be grown from either seeds, vegetative cuttings or grafts, but it’s more difficult to propagate vegetatively than Cassia cinnamon.

 

Cinnamon plants, on some occasions, also produce seeds that can be picked and planted. Just make sure to get seeds when they’re ripe and black in color and plant them as soon as possible.

 

To ensure proper growth, fertilize the plants either weekly or biweekly only during active growth in the late winter until fall. These plants stay as small as 3 feet if you prune them regularly, but you can allow them to reach up to 8 feet tall when you repot the plant over time into a 12- to 14-inch pot.

 

To know when the plant has developed, check the leaves. Matured leaves often appear green or light green (when kept in high light). The cinnamon plant also allows the development of small white flowers, as well as purplish and black berries, although they are inedible.

 

Delicious Cinnamon Recipes

 

Although the two cinnamon types look and smell almost the same, this does not guarantee that you’ll be getting the health benefits the spice has to offer.

As noted by Authority Nutrition, the commonly used Cassia cinnamon contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin. Large doses of coumarin could be harmful and may lead to a higher risk of liver damage, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea or blurred vision, to name a few.

You’re better off using Ceylon cinnamon. Studies have shown that this type of cinnamon has lower coumarin content. If you want to tell Ceylon cinnamon apart from Cassia cinnamon, take note of these pointers, especially if you want to buy the spice in stick form:

Ceylon cinnamon           

More expensive, as the price may spike 10 times more than Cassia cinnamon

Tan brown color

Thin and paper-like textured bark that forms multiple layers when rolled up

Fragile and easily broken

Delicate and sweet scent with subtle notes of clove

 

Cassia cinnamon ( United States Cinnamon)

Commonly available and very cheap

Reddish, dark brown color

Uneven and thick bark that forms only a few layers when rolled up

Tough, difficult and if not, impossible to grind to a powder, ground into sawdust

Pungent and full-bodied taste, flavored with oils

 

You always want to buy cinnamon from Thailand, Saigon, or Ceylon

To maintain the spice’s freshness and taste, store it in a glass container in a cool and dark place. Ground cinnamon will last for about six months, while cinnamon sticks remain fresh for at least one year. You can also extend the shelf life by storing it in the refrigerator.

 

Cinnamon can also enhance the taste of savory dishes. Examples include these Almond Crusted Salmon with Steamed Broccoli and Sweet Potato Hash Brown Recipe, Flavorful Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl Recipe and Healthy, Creamy Eggplant Moussaka Recipe. Feel free to sprinkle cinnamon on raw, grass-fed yogurt or kefir too, or add to hot water to make a potent but delicious tea.

 

Try Cinnamon Essential Oil Too

 

Apart from utilizing cinnamon in either stick or powdered form, you can also make use of cinnamon leaf oil or cinnamon essential oil. This is typically extracted from the leaves of the Ceylon cinnamon tree via steam distillation46 and can be used for the following purposes:47

 

Soap additive

Flavoring for seasonings

Ingredient in products such as creams, lotions or shampoos

Aromatherapy (try mixing 20 to 25 drops of this essential oil with ¼ cup of almond or olive oil and place the finished blend in a glass container with a narrow opening)

Disinfectant to clean surfaces like kitchen counters, toilets and chopping boards, appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators and even sneakers

Odor eliminator by combining with a few drops of water

There are a variety of ways that you can benefit from cinnamon essential oil. If you’re feeling stressed or drowsy, or need an energy boost or pick-me-up, sniff this oil. You can also help soothe sore muscles and joints, or relieve pain from muscular aches, sprains, rheumatism and arthritis. The warm and antispasmodic capability of the oil is responsible for this feat.

 

This essential oil also has medicinal benefits. It aids in preventing viral infections such as coughs and colds from spreading and in fighting staph infection-causing bacteria and germs in the gallbladder. Respiratory conditions such as chest congestion and bronchitis can also be relieved using this essential oil, especially when diffused in a vaporizer or burner.

 

Lastly, cinnamon essential oil was found to help enhance your blood by helping remove impurities and improving blood circulation. This ensures that the body’s cells get enough oxygen,48 assists in promoting metabolic activity and helps lower risk for heart attacks.

 

Although food with ground cinnamon or cinnamon infusions can be consumed, the same cannot be said for cinnamon essential oil. Never take this oil internally. Instead, blend with a safe carrier oil, such as coconut, olive or almond oil, or other spice oils such as black pepper, cardamom clove and ginger oils and use topically only.

 

Before using this essential oil, consult your physician first and take a skin patch test to see if the oil triggers allergies. Generally, cinnamon essential oil is not advised for pregnant women, since it has emmenagogue effects that can cause menstruation. It is recommended that young children avoid using this essential oil too.

 

Once you get the go signal to use cinnamon essential oil, always remember to properly dilute it and use in moderation. Convulsions may occur if you ingest high amounts of the oil. Cinnamon essential oil has also been linked to:

 

Skin irritation

Mouth sores

Dizziness

Vomiting

Diarrhea

 

Irritation in the urinary tract, intestines and stomach lining (when taken internally)

 

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Sleeplessness and Depression

sleep

Being a Night Owl Is Linked to Depression

 

Everyone has a chronotype that dictates when they are naturally predisposed to sleep and wake. For people with evening chronotypes, otherwise known as night owls, new research suggests your mental health could be influenced by the associated staying up late and sleeping in.

 

The study, which was presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2017 annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, analyzed data from nearly 500 people with type 2 diabetes.

 

Those with a later chronotype had more symptoms of depression compared to those who go to bed early and wake early, a finding that could also influence their diabetes outcomes, since depression is linked to diabetes complications.

 

It could be possible, then, that strategies to regulate your circadian rhythm, like exposure to sunlight during the day and avoidance of blue light at night, could also benefit your mental health.

 

However, some people may have a hard time trying to live out of harmony with their chronotype. In this case, if you’re a night owl and have no intention of trying to go to bed earlier, wear blue light-blocking glasses after the sun goes down to help protect your health.

 

Regardless of chronotype, the study also found poor sleep quality was associated with depression symptoms — an important link that everyone should be aware of.

 

The Link Between Sleep, Light Exposure and Depression

 

Lack of sleep has long been linked to depression, but the new finding linking night owls with depressive symptoms could have its roots in light exposure at night.

 

An animal study conducted at Ohio State University Medical Center found, for instance, that chronic exposure to dim light at night can cause signs of depression after just a few weeks.

 

The study also showed changes in hamsters’ hippocampus similar to brain changes seen in depressed people, with researchers pointing out that rates of depression have risen along with exposure to artificial light at night.

 

The link could be due to the production of the hormone melatonin, which is interrupted when you’re exposed to light at night. There are many studies that suggest melatonin levels (and by proxy light exposures) control mood-related symptoms, such as those associated with depression.

 

For instance, a study published by researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University found that melatonin relieved seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is sometimes known as “winter depression.” The study found insomniacs have a circadian misalignment in which they are “out of phase” with natural sleeping times.

 

While your body will begin to produce melatonin only after it’s dark outside, the level of melatonin produced is related to the amount of exposure you have had to bright sunshine the previous day; the less bright light exposure the lower your melatonin levels.

 

Yet another study about melatonin and circadian phase misalignment found a correlation between circadian misalignment and severity of depression symptoms. Studies have also linked low melatonin levels to depression in a variety of populations, including multiple sclerosis patients and post-menopausal women.

 

Is Exposure to LEDs Turning You into a Night Owl?

 

The other side of the coin is that we’re in the midst of an unprecedented light experiment not only because of the widespread use of artificial light in general but also because over the past 20 years powerful blue LED (light-emitting diode) lights have been added to electronics like smartphones, computers and flat-screen TVs.

 

LED lights are rapidly replacing earlier lighting technology, including incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

 

The problem is that when your brain “sees” blue light at night, the mixed message can add up to serious health issues, and widespread ones at that since the use of TVs, computers and cell phones close to bedtime is so pervasive.

 

In 2011, researchers found that evening exposure to LED-backlit computer screens affect circadian physiology.

 

Among 13 young men, exposure to five hours of an LED-lit screen at night significantly suppressed melatonin production along with sleepiness. Separate research revealed “blue light from light-emitting diodes elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in humans.”

 

Looking at a tablet for even two hours in the evening is enough to suppress your body’s natural nighttime rise of this hormone, while bumping it up to four hours leads to reduced feelings of sleepiness, increased time to fall asleep (by about 10 minutes) and lower quality sleep compared to those who read paper books for the same period.

 

So, while the featured study didn’t address this, it’s quite possible that one reason why night owls have more depressive symptoms could be due to the increased exposure to blue light at night, and its corresponding effect on lowering melatonin levels.

 

Sleep Therapy May Be Helpful for Depression

 

The modern world does not cater to people with evening chronotypes, which means, if you’re a night owl, you likely still have to get up early anyway. This means there’s a good chance you’re skimping on sleep as a result. This lack of sleep — whether by choice or due to a condition like insomnia — also increases your risk of depression.

 

While it was long thought that insomnia was a symptom of depression, it now seems that insomnia may precede depression in some cases and may even double your risk of becoming depressed. Recent research also found that sleep therapy resulted in remarkable improvements in depressed patients.

 

One study found that 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks whether the person took an antidepressant or a placebo pill.

 

Study participants received four biweekly talk therapy sessions, known as cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), to treat their insomnia.

 

Unlike sleep hygiene therapy, which focuses on regular exercise, avoiding caffeine and alcohol at night and promotion of other healthy habits for restful sleep, CBT-1 teaches people to reserve their bed only for sleeping and involves the following guidance:

 

Establish a regular wake-up time

Get out of bed when you’re awake

Avoid eating, reading, watching TV or performing similar activities in bed

Avoid daytime napping

The study found that those who overcame their insomnia using this program recovered from their depression at nearly twice the rate of those who did not. If you’re having trouble getting to bed on time because you’re a night owl, it’s possible that sleep therapy could help you to adjust your sleeping schedule as well.

 

Tip No. 1 for Night Owls: Wear Blue-Blocking Glasses After Sundown

 

If you regularly stay up late, I’d first recommend trying to adjust your sleep schedule so you’re asleep by 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. — this is typically when your brain starts progressively increasing melatonin to make you sleepy.

 

However, if you’re awake after sundown, be sure you’re wearing blue-blocking, amber-colored glasses. Red and amber lights will not suppress melatonin, while blue, green and white lights — the wavelengths that are the most common outdoors during daytime hours — will.

 

Once you have your glasses on, it doesn’t matter what light sources you have on in your house. I typically put them on around dusk, but if you struggle with sleep issues it would probably be wise to put them on even earlier, especially if your light exposure during the day has been limited.

 

Alternatively, you could also shift to a low-wattage bulb with yellow, orange or red light at sundown if you need illumination. A salt lamp illuminated by a five-watt bulb is an ideal solution that will not interfere with your melatonin production.

 

If using a computer or smart phone, install blue light-blocking software like f.lux. The program automatically alters the color temperature of your screen as the day goes on, pulling out the blue wavelengths as it gets late. Wearing the blue-blocking glasses is the simplest solution, however, and it’s also effective.

 

Studies have confirmed that when using blue-blocking glasses, people produce as much melatonin as they do in dim light, even if they’re in a lit room or using light-emitting technology.

 

Other studies have shown that people using blue-blocking glasses had major improvements in both sleep quality and mood. Shift workers who use them before bedtime (i.e., in the morning when it’s bright out) also report improved sleep.

 

How to Reset Your Body Clock

 

It may not be possible, or advisable, to try to alter your innate chronotype. However, there are certainly some people who identify more as night owls primarily because of environmental factors and not necessarily because they’re “hard-wired” that way.

 

If you think the latter may apply to you, I recommend realigning your circadian rhythm to the natural rhythm of daylight and nightfall. Without this synchronization, aspects of your waking/sleeping system will be working at the less-than-ideal time. The following three factors will help “anchor” your biological rhythm, which will make falling asleep easier while promoting body clock synchronization and optimal health.

 

Get bright daylight exposure, ideally around solar noon, for at least half an hour or more each day. This will “anchor” your circadian rhythm and make it less prone to drifting if you’re exposed to light later in the evening.

Then, in the evening, put on blue-blocking glasses and/or dim environmental lights and avoid the blue light wavelength (this includes LED light bulbs, TVs and most electronic gadgets)

When it’s time to go to sleep, make sure your bedroom is pitch black. I recommend installing blackout shades for this purpose or using a sleep mask. Also keep in mind that digital alarm clocks with blue light displays could have a detrimental effect, so if you have to have an LED clock, opt for one with a red display, and set it on its dimmest setting.

Are You Ready to Get Some Sleep?

 

Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way toward ensuring you uninterrupted, restful sleep — and thereby better health, both mental and physical. In addition to what was already discussed above, the following suggestions can also be helpful if you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep.

Address mental states that prevent peaceful slumber

 

A sleep disturbance is always caused by something, be it physical, emotional or both Anxiety and anger are two mental states that are incompatible with sleep. Feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities is another common sleep blocker.

 

To identify the cause of your wakefulness, analyze the thoughts that circle in your mind during the time you lie awake, and look for themes.

 

Many who have learned the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) find it is incredibly useful in helping them to sleep. One strategy is to compile a list of your current concerns, and then “tap” on each issue. To learn how to tap, please refer to our free EFT guide.

Keep the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees Fahrenheit

 

Many people keep their homes too warm (particularly their bedrooms). Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime

 

This raises your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you’re ready for sleep.

Be mindful of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom

 

EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other detrimental biological effects. A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home. Ideally, you should turn off any wireless router while you are sleeping — after all, you don’t need the Internet when you sleep.

Develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine

 

Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps keep your sleep on track, but having a consistent pre-sleep routine or “sleep ritual” is also important.

 

For instance, if you read before heading to bed, your body knows that reading at night signals it’s time for sleep. Calming music, stretching, or doing relaxation or mindfulness exercises can also be helpful.

Use a fitness tracker to help you get to bed on time and track which activities boost or hinder deep sleep

 

To optimize sleep you need to make sure you’re going to bed early enough. If you have to get up at 6:30 a.m., you’re not going to get enough sleep if you go to bed after midnight.

 

Many fitness trackers can now track both daytime body movement and sleep, allowing you to get a better picture of how much sleep you’re actually getting, as opposed to the time you spend in bed. Newer fitness trackers can even tell you which activities led to your best sleep and what factors resulted in poor sleep.

 

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Parkinson’s Disease

parkinsondisease

Parkinson’s Disease

 

Like other diseases this too may originate in the Gut

 

New research suggests additional evidence that Parkinson’s disease may originate in the gut.

 

Though experts called the findings preliminary, Swedish scientists found that patients whose main trunk of the vagus nerve — which extends from the brain stem to the abdomen — was removed were markedly less likely to develop the movement disorder than others who didn’t have the surgery. The patients were followed for at least five years.

 

The study authors said the findings suggest Parkinson’s may start in the gut and spread to the brain through the vagus nerve, which helps control unconscious body processes such as heart rate and digestion.

 

“We were not largely surprised, as other research has also shown evidence for a link between the gut and Parkinson’s disease,” said study author Dr. Karin Wirdefeldt. She’s an associate professor of medical epidemiology and biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

 

“Our findings are in line with other research in the field, although evidence is scarce,” she added. “Further research is needed.”

 

A progressive, incurable disorder, Parkinson’s disease affects nearly 1 million Americans, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. Stemming from the brain’s lack of production of the chemical dopamine, its symptoms include trembling, stiffness, slow movement and poor balance.

 

Using data from national registers in Sweden, Wirdefeldt and her colleagues compared 9,430 people who underwent vagotomy surgery — which removes the main trunk or branches of the vagus nerve to treat ulcers — to more than 377,000 from the general population over a 40-year period.

 

In those with so-called “selective vagotomy,” in which only some branches of the vagus nerve were removed, the difference in Parkinson’s rates was not statistically significant. But that changed for those who underwent a “truncal vagotomy,” in which the main trunk of the vagus nerve was removed.

 

The 19 people who underwent truncal vagotomy at least five years prior were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who didn’t have the surgery and had been followed for five years.

 

The results were adjusted for other factors, such as diabetes, arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the researchers said.

 

Only an association, rather than a cause-and-effect link, was found between vagus nerve surgery and Parkinson’s.

 

Parkinson’s experts who weren’t involved in the new research said much more evidence is needed to confirm the link, though they praised the study.

 

“The link is not strong,” said Dr. Olga Waln, a neurologist at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. “They did an outstanding job on the study and analyzed a large database, but… I don’t think the conclusions are very convincing.”

 

Waln acknowledged the difficulty of designing such a study, because few patients undergo surgery to remove portions of their vagus nerve.

 

“But what the authors found definitely requires attention from scientists, because if we can somehow confirm the disease starts in the intestines… it could give hope to patients,” she said.

 

James Beck, chief scientific officer of the National Parkinson Foundation, also classified the new findings as “not definitive.”

 

“But it’s interesting that this connection [between the gut and Parkinson’s] seems to be persisting,” Beck said. “It’s not causal, but it underscores something potentially going on in the gut and how that may influence Parkinson’s disease.”

 

The possibility of preventing Parkinson’s “is a long way off” and will require more firmly identifying factors that cause it, Beck noted.

 

“Research like this spur further thought as people try to crack this nut of what is the cause of Parkinson’s disease… or perhaps many causes,” he said.

 

The study was published online April 26 in the journal Neurology.

 

If you have anyone in your family who has Parkinson’s Disease, please contact us for help with turning this diseases around, or preventing you and your family from developing it.

 

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De”lite”ful Philly Cheesesteak

cheesesteak

 

 

Deliteful Philly Cheese Steak

The Traditional Meal Without the Guilt

 

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Servings:4

Difficulty: Easy

Cook Time: 30-60 min

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 Lb Flank Steak

Salt and Pepper

5 Tbsp Olive Oil, separated

2 Onions, sliced thinly

1/2 Lb Mushrooms

8 slices Mozzarella

4 Whole Wheat Buns

Mayonnaise, never miracle whip for buns

Cooking Directions

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Drizzle the flank steak with about 3 tablespoons olive oil on either side and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill on 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Set aside to rest.

Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and mushrooms. Season and then sauté, allowing the mushrooms to release their liquid and for onions to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat. Toast buns on griddle, spread with mayonnaise. Slice steak and divide into 4 piles on the griddle, top with two cheese slices to warm through and melt the cheese. Transfer each mound into a toasted bun and top with some of the onions and mushrooms. Top with your favorite condiments like hot sauce of worchestshire sauce.

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Good Morning America Recipes

Daphne Oz’s Deliteful Philly Cheese Steak

The Traditional Meal Without the Guilt

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PHOTO: Daphne Ozs philly cheese steak is shown here.
From the kitchen of Daphne Oz
Servings:4
Difficulty:Easy
Cook Time:30-60 min

For more great recipes visit The Chew’s site.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Lb Flank Steak
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 5 Tbsp Olive Oil, separated
  • 2 Onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 Lb Mushrooms
  • 8 slices Mozzarella
  • 4 Whole Wheat Buns
  • Mayonnaise, for buns

Cooking Directions

Preheat a grillpan to medium-high heat. Drizzle the flank steak with about 3 tablespoons olive oil on either side and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill on 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Set aside to rest.

Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and mushrooms. Season and then sauté, allowing the mushrooms to release their liquid and for onions to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat. Toast buns on griddle, spread with mayonnaise. Slice steak and divide into 4 piles on the griddle, top with two cheese slices to warm through and melt the cheese. Transfer each mound into a toasted bun and top with some of the onions and mushrooms. Top with your favorite condiments like hot sauce of worchestshire sauce.

Meatloaf with Fried Onions and Tomato Gravy

meatloaf

Meatloaf with Fried Onions and Tomato Gravy

Low Calorie:  187 calories per serving

Ingredients

 

Meatloaf:

5 pounds chopped meat (2 1/2 pounds’ beef, 2 1/2 pounds’ pork)

15 ounces’ Italian bread crumbs

10 eggs

1 chicken bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Tomato Gravy:

2 tablespoons butter

4 cloves smashed garlic cloves

2 tablespoons flour

2 (14-ounce) cans chicken stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Fried Onions:

3 large Spanish onions, peeled, cut in 1/2, and thinly sliced

1 quart milk

1 pound all-purpose flour

2 quarts canola oil

 

Directions

 

To make Meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a large bowl, mix chopped meat, bread crumbs, eggs, bouillon broth, Parmesan, and chopped parsley. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Form into a loaf shape and place on a sheet pan coated with nonstick vegetable spray.

 

Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until meatloaf has an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

 

To make Tomato Gravy: In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Allow butter to foam and begin to brown. Add smashed garlic and allow garlic to brown slightly. Sprinkle in flour and stir constantly, forming a roux to cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Add chicken stock and tomato paste and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

 

Add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and all tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes and finish with salt, pepper and oregano. Serve atop the meatloaf.

 

To make Fried Onions: Heat a large, deep pot of oil to 350 degrees. Soak onions in milk for a minimum of 10 minutes. When oil is hot, drain onions and dredge in flour, making sure to remove excess flour.

 

Plunge onions a batch at a time (there should be 3 batches) into hot oil and fry until extremely golden brown and crispy. Remove from fryer and place on a paper towel to drain. Serve atop dressed meatloaf.

 

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Dragonfruit

dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

 

This bright red cactus fruit, also called pitaya, has been shown to lower blood glucose.  When folks with Type 2 diabetes ate dragonfruit along with a sugary meal, their blood sugar levels plumged.

 

Researchers have found the sweet, strawberry tasting fruit can even lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and may even prevent diabetes in at risk folks.

 

You can find dragonfruit at most health food stores, and box grocery stores with a good fruit section.

Just eat it out of the bag as a snack.

 

Don’t forget the supplements to help your immune system.  Call us to find out which ones are right for you.

 

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Mangosteen

mangosteen

Mangosteen

 

Did you know that Mangosteen can ease arthritis inflamantion and pain?

Xanthones, uniquely powerful bioflavonoids, are extremely rare, yet scientists have discovered that this Southeast Asian fruit contains at least 40!

With their rich supply of natural anti-inflammatory compounds, xanthones, ease the pain and swelling of arthritis, and that is not all.

Their combination of antibacterial, antiviral and antiallergic properties shortens colds and flu and relieves allergy triggered sneezing and wheezing.

To get the benefit, drink mangosteen juice, it is often blended with pear or guava juices for a yummy combination, in health food stores or a Vitacost.com.

 

Don’t forget the supplements to help your immune system.  Call us to find out which ones are right for you.

 

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Boost Your Immunity with a Stir Fry

stirfry

Boost Your Immunity!

Your immune system is your body’s best line of defense against germs

and the viruses that cause the flu.  Bolster it today with this delicious recipe.

 

Garlic is loaded with sulfur containing compounds such as allicin,

which stimulates the multiplication of infection fighting white blood cells

boost natural killer cell activity and increases antibodies.

 

Broccoli, cooked, contains 123 mg of vitamin C,

the top immune system booster, per cup.

 

Mushrooms are super powerful immunity boosters.

Researchers found they enhance the function of cytokines,

which help the body defend against viruses.

 

Ginger is packed with gingerol, a plant compound that fights colds and flu viruses.

Carrots are a top source of beta carotene, which ups the number of infection

fighting cancer and helper T cells.

 

Immune Boosting Stir Fry

In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, sunflower, or healthy oil of choice over low heat.

Add ¼ cup chopped onions.

2 teaspoons of minced garlic

1 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

Cook until golden for 1 minute

Add 1 cup broccoli florets and

1 carrot sliced

Stir fry for 5 minutes

Add ½ cup quartered mushrooms and

2 teaspoons lite soy sauce,

Cover and cook 3 minutes

Remove from heat

Stir in 2 tsp of orange juice, or some orange zest

 

Don’t forget the supplements to help your immune system.  Call us to find out which ones are right for you.

 

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Banishing Blemishes

spearmint

Spearmint Banishes Blemishes!

Drinking just two cups of spearmint tea a day helped women with stubborn acne get smooth, clear complexions, no oily skin, no embarrassing blemishes, in just six weeks.

Researchers have figured out why. Spearmint lowers levels of androgens, male hormones, also present in women, that stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce excess oils that clog pores.

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Turmeric Lemonade

turmericlemonade

Turmeric is a versatile spice that I use often and it is also a great natural remedy. It can be used externally to improve skin, can help whiten teeth, and in poultices to soothe rashes. Internally, it supports digestion, the liver, and is high in beneficial antioxidants. You have heard me talk about turmeric before and now you hear about it again, with a twist.

 

This power spice is a cornerstone of Indian cuisine and used in curry powders, mustards and more. Doctors and naturopaths often recommend turmeric as a way to help lower inflammation in the body. Thousands of studies show its benefits in promoting heart health, mental health, reducing inflammation and ensuring balanced blood sugar.

How to Use Turmeric

 

I love to add turmeric to skin scrubs and other beauty recipes. I also put it in many of my homemade spice blends and add it to many recipes.

 

Unfortunately, many of the foods I love adding turmeric in, like soups and stews, aren’t good summer recipes. I find it harder to consume foods and drinks with turmeric in warmer months. But, you can always add turmeric to scrambled.

 

My favorite turmeric recipe of all time is this Turmeric Tea (also called Golden Milk). I make that warm and savory drink with coconut milk and other spices and love it in cooler months.

 

Turmeric Lemonade

 

Unfortunately, when the outside temperatures start hitting 90+ degrees, hot drinks lose some of their appeal. I’ve been experimenting with ways to use turmeric in cooler foods and drinks and come up with a few recipes we love.

 

This iced turmeric lemonade is a delicious summer favorite for our family as I’ve been making it often for the kids while they are playing outside. It is incredibly easy to make and tastes great!

The earthy taste of the turmeric provides gorgeous color but is mostly hidden by the tang of the lemon. Personally, I like to use liquid stevia to sweeten this, though any natural sweetener would work.

 

Iced turmeric lemonade combines earthy and bright turmeric with fresh lemon and natural sweetness for a delicious summer drink.

 

Serves: 4 cups

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups water

1.5 cup of ice

½ cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste about 2-3 lemons)

1-2 teaspoons turmeric powder

½ teaspoon stevia drops (or more to taste)- Can substitute other natural sweetener but will need to add more

Tiny pinch of black pepper (increases benefits of turmeric)

Instructions:

 

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend for 60 seconds or until ice is completely blended in.

Let rest for about 30 seconds before pouring. Pour into cups to serve. I prefer to serve over more ice.

Consume immediately.

Notes:

 

If you won’t consume all of this at once, make smaller batches by cutting the recipe in half or even fourths. I prefer to use stevia to keep the sugar content down, but any natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey will work well in this recipe. You can also make this with lime juice (same amount as lemon juice) or orange juice (double the juice and reduce the water by ½ cup).

 

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