Uncategorized

Cherries !

cherries

Cherries

Cherries are a favorite summer treat with a number of health benefits. Harvest season runs from May through July, and with high susceptibility to disease and a short shelf life, cherry season is a short one. An exception is if you grow your own Barbados or West Indian cherry, more commonly known as the acerola cherry.

 

I have several acerola trees and harvest cherries nearly nine months of the year. Acerola cherries1 also are one of the highest sources of vitamin C. Each acerola cherry provides about 80 milligrams (mg) of natural vitamin C with all the other important supporting micronutrients, unlike synthetic vitamin C. When I have a bountiful harvest, and eat more than 100 cherries, I get close to 10 grams of vitamin C.

 

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin C in the U.S. is a mere 75 to 90 mg for women and men respectively, so just one of these cherries can provide you with all the vitamin C you need for the day.

 

You pretty much have to grow acerola cherries on your own, though, as they cannot withstand transportation and storage. Deterioration can occur within four hours of harvesting and they ferment quickly, rendering them unusable in five days or less. Unless you intend to use them for juicing, they also do not fare well being kept in the freezer. Sadly, they only grow outdoors in subtropical climates like Florida.

 

Tart Versus Sweet Cherries

Conventional cherries can be divided into two primary categories: sweet and tart (sour). Sweet varieties such as Bing cherries are typically eaten fresh, while Montmorency tart cherries are typically sold dried, frozen or as juice.2 Tart cherries develop a fuller flavor when they’re used in cooking, which is why they’re often used in baked desserts. As noted by the Cherry Marketing Institute:3

 

“When it comes to nutritional science and cherries, most studies involve tart Montmorency cherries. In fact, more than 50 studies have examined the potential health benefits of Montmorency tart cherries, and the research is continuing.

 

This research strongly supports the anti-inflammatory qualities of Montmorency tart cherries, as well as the benefits of muscle recovery and pain relief from conditions like arthritis. Studies have also found that Montmorency tart cherries contain [m]elatonin, a naturally occurring substance that helps regulate sleep patterns.”

 

One 8-ounce glass of tart cherry juice will give you:4

 

62 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A (about 20 times more vitamin A than sweet cherries)

40 percent of your RDI of vitamin C

14 percent of your RDI of manganese

12 percent of your RDI of potassium and copper

7 percent of your RDI for vitamin K

Sweet cherries are a great source of potassium,5 which is important for maintaining normal blood pressure. It plays an important role in your fluid balance, and helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium. Sweet cherries also contain a number of potent anticancer agents, including:

 

  • Beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A (retinol), important for healthy vision as well

 

  • Vitamin C, the “grandfather” of the traditional antioxidants, the health benefits of which have been clearly established. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which helps neutralize cell-damaging free radicals

 

  • Anthocyanins, including quercetin. Sweet cherries have three times the amount of anthocyanins than tart cherries, and those with deep purple pigments (opposed to red) have the highest amounts.

 

Quercetin is among the most potent in terms of antioxidant activity and has a wide range of other health-promoting properties as well. As a group, anthocyanins have been shown to promote cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of mutated cells, thereby reducing your cancer risk

 

  • Cyanidin,6 an organic pigment compound with powerful antioxidant activity. By promoting cellular differentiation, it reduces the risk of healthy cells transforming into cancer cells. One study found cyanidin isolated from tart cherries was superior to that of vitamin E and comparable to commercially available antioxidant products7

 

  • Ellagic acid, this polyphenol “prevents the binding of carcinogens to DNA and strengthens connective tissue,” thereby preventing the spread of cancer cells.8 It also inhibits DNA mutations and inhibits cancer by triggering apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells

 

Mind Your Portions

Just beware that cherries, both sweet and tart, are relatively high in fructose. One cup, about 10 pieces, contain about 4 grams of fructose. It’s important to take this into account if you’re tracking your fructose consumption. I recommend keeping total fructose below 25 grams per day if you’re otherwise healthy, or as low as 15 grams if you struggle with health issues associated with insulin resistance. The good news is you don’t need to eat much more than a handful to get good amounts of antioxidants.

 

Alternatively, if you have confirmed that you are burning fat as your primary fuel and are engaging in cyclical ketogenesis, then, on the days that you are strength training (about twice a week), you can increase your net carbs to 100 or 150 grams, so you can have larger amounts of cherries on those days. Just be sure not to binge on large amounts daily for the entire cherry season as you are just asking for unnecessary metabolic challenges.

 

Tart Cherries — A Natural Endurance-Boosting Super Food

In one recent study,9 Montmorency tart cherries, taken in the form of a juice concentrate, were found to improve athletic performance and recovery among semiprofessional soccer players, decreasing post-exercise inflammation and muscle soreness.

 

Similarly, athletes consuming tart cherry juice prior to long-distance running experienced less pain than those who did not.10 Other research has confirmed tart cherry juice is a valuable endurance sports drink. As noted by Running Competitor:11

 

“The best way to accelerate muscle recovery after exercise is to prevent muscle damage from occurring during exercise. And one of the best ways to do [sic]prevent muscle damage during exercise is to consume the right nutrients before exercise. Tart cherry juice does just that. This was demonstrated in a 2010 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

 

Twenty recreational runners consumed either cherry juice or placebo for five days before running a marathon, then again on race day, and for two days afterward as well. The lucky runners who got the cherry juice exhibited less muscle damage immediately after the marathon. They also showed lower levels of inflammation and recovered their muscle strength significantly quicker.”

 

Cherries, courtesy of their high vitamin C content, may also stave off exercise-induced asthma, the symptoms of which include cough, wheezing and shortness of breath when exercising. A meta-analysis12 from Finland found vitamin C may reduce bronchoconstriction caused by exercise by nearly 50 percent.

 

Interestingly, another powerful and natural strategy to accelerate muscle recovery is photobiomodulation. I have a 1-foot by 3-foot panel of red (660 nm) and near-infrared (850 nm) LEDs that I use every day for about five minutes. The bed is a few thousand dollars but you can achieve similar results with a smaller near-infrared device from Amazon.13 It just takes longer as it has fewer LEDs. You also need to remove the plastic lens and put black electrical tape over the green photodiode so it will turn on in the daytime.

 

On the days that I lift heavy enough to cause muscle challenges serious enough to make it difficult to sit down or use the toilet the next day, I use the light bed for 10 minutes and that is enough to completely abort the post-exercise stiffness and pain. It is an amazing mitochondrial support; every time I use it, I’m surprised that I can avoid the post-exercise pain and stiffness.

 

Cherries Are Potent Anti-Inflammatories

Tart cherries contain two powerful compounds, anthocyanins and bioflavonoids. Both slow down the enzymes cyclo-oxyygenase-1 and -2, which helps to relieve and prevent arthritis and gout.14 Gout occurs when the metabolic processes that control the amount of uric acid in your blood fail to do their job effectively.

 

The stiffness and swelling are a result of excess uric acid-forming crystals in your joints, and the pain associated with this condition is caused by your body’s inflammatory response to the crystals. Dr. Nathan Wei, a nationally known rheumatologist, recalled this story about the powerful effect of cherries on gout:15

 

“Dr. Ludwig W. Blau, relating how eating a bowl of cherries one day led to complete relief from pain, sparked off the interest in cherries in the treatment of gout … Blau’s gout had been so severe that he had been confined to a wheelchair. One day, quite by accident, he polished off a large bowl of cherries, and the following day the pain in his foot was gone.

 

“[Blau] continued eating a minimum of six cherries every day, and he was free from pain and able to get out of his wheelchair … Blau’s research led to many other people suffering from gout who reported being helped by cherries.”

 

In a study16 of over 600 people with gout, those who ate a one-half cup serving of cherries per day for two days, or consumed cherry extract, had a 35 percent lower risk of a subsequent gout attack. Those who ate more cherries, up to three servings in two days, halved their risk. Other studies have found:

 

Eating two servings (280 grams) of sweet Bing cherries after an overnight fast led to a 15 percent reduction in uric acid and lower nitric oxide and C-reactive protein levels (which are associated with inflammatory diseases like gout).17 The researchers noted the study supports “the reputed anti-gout efficacy of cherries” as well as “evidence that compounds in cherries may inhibit inflammatory pathways”

Consuming tart cherry juice daily for four weeks may lower your levels of uric acid18

By reducing inflammation, the anthocyanin and bioflavonoids in cherries may also help reduce:

 

Migraine headaches. These compounds are actually known to have similar activity to aspirin and ibuprofen

Pain from inflammatory osteoarthritis.19 According to one study,20 women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks had significant reductions in markers of inflammation and a 20 percent reduction in pain. The researchers noted that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food”

How Cherries Support Healthy Sleep

Interestingly, cherries contain natural melatonin,21 a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that helps “cool down” excess inflammation and associated oxidative stress. It also plays a vital role in sleep, cancer prevention and general regeneration. Based on daily environmental signals of light and darkness, your pineal gland has evolved to produce and secrete melatonin to help you sleep.

 

Research suggests that consuming tart cherry juice increases your melatonin levels, thereby improving time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency. According to the researchers:22

 

“…consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.”

 

Other Health Benefits of Cherries

Tart and sweet cherries also have a number of other important health benefits. For example, they’ve been found to:

 

  • Improve risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease. In one animal study, rats fed tart cherry powder along with a high-fat diet gained less weight and accumulated less body fat than rats not fed tart cherries. They also had lower levels of inflammation and triglycerides, suggesting a role in heart health.23

 

Quercetin is also known to have a beneficial impact on cardiovascular health by reducing your blood pressure. According to a study investigating the effects of quercetin in hypertension, “The results of this meta‐analysis showed a significant effect of quercetin supplementation in the reduction of blood pressure, which suggest that this nutraceutical might be considered as an add‐on to antihypertensive therapy”24

 

  • Reduce your risk of stroke. Tart cherries activate peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPAR) in tissues, which help regulate genes involved in the metabolism of fat and glucose. PPAR activation has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

 

In fact, research suggests eating cherries may provide heart benefits similar to prescription PPAR agonists,25 drugs prescribed for metabolic syndrome. The problem with these drugs is that while they may improve risk factors associated with heart disease, they may increase your risk of stroke instead.

 

As reported by Science Daily, 26 “… [R]esearch from the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory suggests that tart cherries not only provide similar cardiovascular benefits as the prescribed medications, but can also reduce the risk of stroke, even when taken with these pharmaceutical options”

 

  • Lower your risk of dementia. Inflammation and oxidative stress are associated with an increased risk for dementia. The polyphenols in tart cherries effectively combat both, thereby lowering your risk of cognitive decline.

 

As explained in one recent study,27 “[P]olyphenols from dark-colored fruits can reduce stress-mediated signaling in BV-2 mouse microglial cells, leading to decreases in nitric oxide (NO) production and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. [T]art cherries — which improved cognitive behavior in aged rats … may be effective in reducing inflammatory and OS-mediated signals”

 

  • Lower your risk of colon cancer by substantially reducing formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) when added to hamburger patties. It also slows meat spoilage.28 HAAs are potent carcinogenic compounds created when food is charred, and have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. Hamburger patties with just over 11 percent tart cherries in them contained anywhere from 69 to 78.5 percent less HAAs after cooking, compared to regular patties

 

Storage and Washing

To retain the best flavor, consume fresh cherries within two days if kept at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator for longer shelf life. Avoid washing them before storing, as this accelerates deterioration. Instead, wash them immediately before eating.

 

As mentioned, growing a few cherry trees or bushes29 in your backyard can provide you with this potent super food for several months out of the year. Relying on commercially-available cherries will limit them to just a few weeks a year. Eat a few acerola cherries every day, right from my own organic garden.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr J Mercola

Dr. P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

Advertisements
Uncategorized

When Someone Needs Your Support

supportafreind

When Someone Needs Your Support

 

Supportive friends can play an important role in the mental health recovery process.  All too often, people respond negatively or dismissively when someone discloses that he/she has a mental health disorder.  It is important to remember that mental health disorders are just as real as physical illnesses and that a person cannot just “snap out of it.” If you are unsure how to react when a friend tells you that he/she is struggling with a mental health disorder, it can be helpful to think about how you would react if that same friend told you that he/she had been diagnosed with a physical disorder like diabetes.

 

Below are some tips about how you may want to respond if a friend tells you that he/she has a mental health disorder:

 

Show your support. Express your concern and sympathy, talk openly and make sure that your friend knows that he/she is not alone. The most important thing you can do is just offer to be available.

 

Listen. If your friend talks about their mental health diagnosis, don’t change the subject.

 

Resist the temptation to give advice or dismiss their concerns.

If your friend discloses personal information, keep his/her trust by not sharing the information with others. The exception is talk about suicide. When suicide is mentioned, it’s time to tell a professional and get help!  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what he/she has told you, contacting CAPS or another helpline can be a good way to get advice while still keeping information confidential.

 

Ask what you can do to help. You can leave this open-ended (“I want to know how I can best support you.”) or suggest specific tasks that might be helpful (“Can I drive you to your appointment?”).  If you know that your friend is struggling in school, it can be helpful just to offer to study with him/her.

 

Ask if your friend is getting the treatment that she/he wants and needs. If not, offer to find out about available resources and help your friend find effective care.

 

Reassure your friend that you still care about him/her.

 

Many people with mental health disorders tend to withdraw from family and friends.

Continue to invite your friend to go to dinner, study, talk, or just hang out.

Even if he/she doesn’t always feel like talking or spending time together, it can be a comfort just to know that he/she has friends that care.

Educate yourself about your friend’s disorder. This can help you to know what to expect. Click for more information on:

 

Certain strategies, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising can be helpful when managing one’s mental health.

Know that alcohol and other drugs interfere with most psychiatric medications, making them less effective and, in some cases, dangerous.

Click here for resources if you’re worried that a friend may be abusing alcohol or other drugs.

Take care of yourself.  It can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming to take on the care of a friend.

 

Make sure not to get so involved that you forget to take care of yourself.

Take time for yourself. Make time to do something you find relaxing.

Call Counseling and Psychological Services if you feel like you could use some support.

Check out free support groups for families and friends of individuals with psychiatric disorders.

Not sure what to say? You’re not alone.

 

Statements of Support and encouragement, along with one important statement “ What can I do to help you”.

 

Never judgement or criticize, or tell them they will be alright, and walk away.  Sometimes just sitting with them is all they need.

NEVER, try to shock them back to reality.

NEVER, say go ahead and kill yourself.

 

 

When you don’t know what to say, say nothing.   Hold their hand, and just be with them.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr. Anne Sullivan

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Sunscreen! Really?

sunscreen

 

Sunscreen!   Really?

 

Sunscreen Mistakes That Pose A Serious Risk To Your Health

 

The dog days of summer have arrived for most of us and that means lots of time spent out in the sun having fun. It can also mean a painful sunburn if you are not careful. Too much time, unprotected in the sun can lead to premature aging and damage to your skin. While there are a plethora of types of sunscreens to choose from, you must be careful not to make sunscreen mistakes that will end up doing more harm than good.

 

While it is a good idea to protect the skin from the damaging impact of UV radiation from the sun, you need to know the in’s and outs of sunscreen so as to avoid costly mistakes. Remember, we need the sun to help our bodies make vitamin D3, the nutrient that boosts our immune system, elevates our mood and fights cancer. The key is to stay safe and still get enough sun to keep your vitamin D levels in a healthy range.

 

Here is a look at the top mistakes you might be making when it comes to sunscreen.

 

Using chemical sunscreen instead of natural sunscreen

Sunscreen is a huge market and everyone wants to get a share of it. This means that some sunscreens are actually just a toxic cocktail of chemicals that could end up hurting you. The number one mistake you might be making when it comes to your sunscreen is which type of sunscreen you actually purchase and use.

 

Surprisingly, some studies have indicated that risk of malignant melanoma was highest amongst those who used the most sunscreen. This is undoubtedly due to the chemical makeup of the sunscreen.

 

According to a 2014 Environmental Working Group guide to sunscreen, over 75% of all sunscreen sold contains toxins capable of increasing the risk of cancer. Here is what they had to say:

 

“Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients.”

 

Here is a list of just some of the toxic ingredients you might find in conventional sunscreen:

 

Parabens

Para amino benzoic acid

Octyl salicyclate

Cinoxate

Phenylbenzimidazole

Homosalate

Menthyl anthranilate

Octocrylene

Oxybenzone

Methoxycinnamate

Dioxybenzone

Natural sunscreen products or mineral-based sunscreen products generally contain zinc or titanium. They do not break down in the sunlight and are not absorbed by the body. To stay safe, it is best to choose a natural, or mineral-based sunscreen that will not disrupt hormones, are not allergenic and offer effective protection.

 

Our recent round-up of the best natural sunscreens led to the conclusion that these were the best:

 

Badger All Natural Sunscreen

Tropical Sands Natural Sunscreen

Beauty By Earth Facial Cream

Kiss My Face Mineral Sunscreen

Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Sunscreen

 

Using spray-on sunscreen

 

Although they go on easy, spray sunscreens have hidden dangers. According to safety experts at Consumer Reports, spray on products contain some potentially dangerous ingredients that could be damaging if inhaled, especially to children.

 

According to  Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at Environmental Working Group, “These high-alcohol formulas could irritate the lungs, and their ingredients could be absorbed into the bloodstream.”

 

You wait to apply sunscreen until you arrive at the beach or the pool

 

Take the time to apply sunscreen before you head outside. This will allow you to be sure that you are well-covered. Too many people wait to get to the pool or the beach to apply their sunscreen and end up missing spots because they are in a hurry to get in the water or engage in other activities.

 

You only use sunscreen when you are headed outdoors

It is a good idea to use some form of natural sunscreen year-round, not just when you are headed to the beach or out on a boating trip. According to Cheryl Gustafson, MD, a chief dermatology resident at Emory University,”The sun’s rays can still reach your skin, for example, while you drive or sit by a window.”  There are a number of natural moisturizers that contain some sort of sunscreen. It is a good idea to get into the habit of using these daily, no matter what you are doing.

 

You apply sunscreen with your clothes on

It is always best to apply sunscreen to your entire body when you are naked. According to Noelle Sherber, MD, a consulting dermatologist for the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center it is best to apply sunscreen naked in front of a full-length mirror because this “helps ensure you entirely cover tricky spots like the mid-back and backs of the legs.”

You pass over your lips

Many people do a good job of protecting their body and face from the sun but neglect their lips. Lips are highly sensitive to the sun and require special TLC from the sun. However, don’t use the same stuff you put on your body. It is best to purchase an organic lip balm with SPF protection (such as these Organic Lip Balms from Sky Organics) and apply it frequently when exposed to the sun.

 

You rely too much on sunscreen

Too many people rely on sunscreen for complete protection from the sun. There are a number of things that you can do to enhance your protection including:

 

Wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and a hat when participating in outdoor activities. There are many options available for lightweight clothing that offers protection. In addition, always wear a hat when outdoors in the sun.

Stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest time of the day. The sun is hottest during the hours of noon and 3 pm.

Eating foods that offer sun protection and build UV resistance can also help protect you from the sun. These foods include green and white tea, blueberries, red grapes or wine, salmon and fish oil, almonds, asparagus and pumpkin seeds, bell peppers and carrots.

Yes, the sun is fun, yes, we need the sun for vitamin D production,to build up an immune system in y our children, but we have to be very careful during the hot days of summer not to overextend our time in the sun.   Chemincals in most commercially marketed sunscreens, are absorded in your skin and the liver tries to filter them out, and cant.  You only have one liver

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Sierra Bright

Dr Jay Jaranson

312-972-Well

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/