Sunday, 10 February 2013

How to Cope with Colds & Flu.

Colds and flu are caused by viruses. Colds can be transmitted easily between individuals. The main symptoms of colds are runny nose, sore throat, mild fever, mild headache, sneezing, coughing and congestion. Flu symptoms include many of the same as colds, but also high fever, severe aches and pains, chills and sweats, severe sore throat and fatigue. Fever, chills, fatigue and severe aches are the symptoms which most distinguish flu from other infections.    

Whilst there is no known cure for the common cold or flu, there are certain preventative actions a person can take in order to lessen the chances of getting either, as well as actions to curtail the duration of an infection. Antibiotics are useless in the case of a viral infection, and there isn’t much evidence to support the view that over-the-counter medications help in any way.

Sufficiency in both vitamins C and D is vital in the fight against colds and flu. Any deficiency in these critical vitamins will leave your body more susceptible to being invaded by a virus.  It is best to derive sufficiency in these vitamins from food, or other natural sources, in the first instance if at all possible. Garlic and ginger have also been known to be used effectively in the fight against colds and flu.

The best food sources of vitamin C are: fruits like gooseberries, kiwis, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons and grapefruit);  vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green peppers and potatoes; and the herb parsley also contains large amounts,  and can be sprinkled on meat or fish dishes to enhance them.

Failing to get enough vitamin C from food sources, then a food supplement should be taken as a precaution against a deficiency. Adults require about 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, and children require half that amount. If you are getting some of this vitamin from food sources but not enough, then you should work out the strength and frequency of the supplement you need to take.

There are not many food sources of vitamin D, so it is easy to have a deficiency. The food sources available are: fish oil; some fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon and herring; and eggs and milk but in in small amounts.  The main source of vitamin D is the action of direct sunlight on the skin; all that is needed is 15 minutes of sunlight a day on at least a third of the body.

In countries that have long winters without much sunshine, it may be prudent to supplement the diet with vitamin D supplements. An adult requires 2, 000 IU of vitamin D per day, and a child half that amount. Alternatively, you could acquire your daily requirement by using sunbeds in a safe manner in lieu of sunshine.      

Whilst sufficiency in these vitamins should help you prevent catching a virus in the first place, if you do catch one despite your best efforts, here are some things you can do to curtail its duration, as follows:
1.     Wrap up warm by putting on an extra layer of clothing if necessary.
2.     Get sufficient sleep.
3.     Avoid sugar-laden foods and soft drinks, as sugar depresses the immune system.
4.     Drink lots of hot drinks like hot water with a slice of lemon, green tea, lemon tea, ginger tea or coconut milk.
5.     Maintain the normal amount of food you take in a day, ensuring that you are getting enough vitamins C and D as outlined above.
6.     Maintain any daily exercise like walking or jogging that you were doing prior to the infection.
7.     After contact with a runny nose or eyes, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid spreading the virus.

The British Government advises certain at-risk groups to avail of an anti-flu jab each year prior to onset of cold weather.  This may be a good idea, in countries where it is available, for the elderly, pregnant women, people with diabetes or any chronic organ infection. Anti-flu vaccinations are said to have a more than 80% success rate, but need to be renewed annually as the viruses causing flu keep changing.  

If you have got a home-made remedy for the common cold or flu that worked well in the past, I would be pleased to hear about it via the comments box below.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

How to Prevent Cataracts

A cataract in this context means a loss of transparency of the lens of the eye, a condition which either impairs or destroys vision. There are several different types of cataracts, as follows: the traumatic type occurs from physical injury; the irradiation type occurs from exposure to rays; the complicated type occurs from ocular disease; and the congenital type occurs due to improper formation during fetal life.    

Cataracts, other than ones present at birth, are caused by injury, aging, heavy metal poisoning, X-rays, exposure to ultraviolet light, eye infections, the use of certain drugs such as steroids, arising as a consequence of diabetes or nutritional deficiencies in the diet. In diabetics, excess sugar in the blood migrates to the eyes causing them to swell resulting in damage.
If you engage in combative sports where there is physical contact like boxing or rugby union football, you are running the risk of sustaining an eye injury. However, the organisers of these sports do have trained medical staff in attendance at all times. The eyes should be protected by goggles if you are employed as welder, or in certain metal processes, likely to damage the eyes. If you are engaged in any of these activities, all the necessary precautions should be taken at all times to protect the eyes from any possible injury.
X-rays, beta rays and other radiation sources in sufficient doses can cause ocular injury. However, when these are used by professionals in the diagnosis of health problems, every possible safety precaution is taken. Ultraviolet radiation can damage the corneal epithelium. This is mainly the result of exposure to the sun at high altitude. Wear sunglasses if you are exposed to the sun when it is strongest, and don’t use sunbeds for tanning purposes without eye protection.
A small or underdeveloped optic nerve is known as optic nerve hypoplasia, and is one of the leading causes of vision problems or blindness in children. It occurs at the early stages of fetal development when the eyes are forming. If you suspect that your infant has vision problems, have your doctor carry out a CT or MRI scan to look for brain defects. There is no known treatment or cure for optic nerve hypoplasia at the present time.
If you are a type 1 diabetic, you need to take insulin shots as outlined by your doctor in order to ensure that your blood sugar levels do not fluctuate rapidly and thereby damage the eyes. If you are a type 2 diabetic, you can make sure your blood sugar levels move on an even keel by adhering to the diet, exercise and food supplement suggestions in my December 2012 post titled    “ How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes “.  If you are on drugs containing steroids for an ailment, such as gout for example, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce the risk of such treatment affecting your eyesight.
Cataracts arising as a consequence of aging or a nutritional deficiency can be prevented by adhering to a sensible diet. Apples, blueberries, coconuts, olives and pineapple are fruits that strengthen weak eyes.  Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, turnips, lettuce and watercress are vegetables that aid the eyes. Yeast, liver, kidney, cheese, oily fish, egg yolk and whole grains are foods that make sure you are not deficient in vitamin B2 or the mineral selenium. If you cannot get enough of these from food sources, then take supplements to make sure there isn’t a deficiency.

Herbs which can be taken to help the eyes in the ways indicated, are as follows: chaparral acts as an antioxidant, rebuilds tissue and is high in potassium; eyebright stimulates the liver to cleanse the blood with a beneficial knock –on effect on the eyes; and bilberry has a relaxing effect on the eyes. 

If you are interested in further information on eyesight, then a book I would recommend is titled The Eyes Have It by Earlyne Chaney. This is a self-help manual for better eyesight, and you should be able to pick up the paperback version from Amazon for less than $10.  

Saturday, 12 January 2013

How to Cure Acne

Acne is an inflammatory disease of the skin arising from obstruction of the sebaceous glands. It usually affects the face but other parts of the body can also be disfigured by it on a temporary basis. It most frequently occurs among teenagers following puberty. If severe occurrences of it are not treated, then scar tissue can form in the area of the outbreak.

Acne is caused by an overproduction of sebum, a fatty secretion produced by small glands under the skin, causing clogging of the pores leading to a bacterial infection. The overproduction of sebum can be caused by the following: an intake of foods high in saturated fats or sugars which become saturated fat in the blood; a vitamin A or zinc deficiency; an allergic reaction to a polluted environment, certain foods or to cosmetics.

An overabundance of toxins in the body overwhelms normal channels of secretion, such as the bowls, urinary tract and the lungs. When this happens, the excess toxins are excreted through the skin, which combine with surface bacteria, causing the infection.

Conventional treatments for acne in the form of antibiotics, drying agents or creams do not work because they do not address the underlying cause of the problem. What is causing the body to react in such a way as to excrete toxins through the skin needs to be identified as soon as possible. An unbalanced diet containing too many saturated fats or sugars is the answer in the majority of cases.

If you are currently suffering from an outbreak of acne, avoid anything interfering with the kidney’s ability to do its job, which includes an intake of  refined sugars, saturated fats, processed meats, fried foods, alcohol and coffee.  Cut down on anything containing a high carbohydrate content, and get enough daily protein from a combination of vegetables, fruits, fish, eggs, wholegrain cereals, wholegrain bread and non-fat yogurt.      

If the symptoms persist after your change of diet, it may be prudent to check with your doctor about testing for an allergic reaction to certain foods. If you regularly apply cosmetics to your skin, stop for a while to see if an outbreak of acne will subside. If you are a smoker, it is best to stop and try to avoid all secondary smoke as far as possible. Try to avoid working or being in places that brings you into contact with chemicals.  

In order to ensure there isn’t a deficiency of vitamin A or zinc in the diet, the food sources of these are beef liver, egg yolk, fish, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, leafy green vegetables, melon, apricots, oranges and wholegrain bread. If you fail to get enough of these from food sources, then food supplements can be taken instead.

The following herbs can also help with acne in the ways indicated: horsetail tones the skin; red clover is a blood purifier and cleanser; dandelion root is a liver cleanser; silymarin (milk thistle) aids the regeneration of liver cells needed to detoxify the body of poisons; it also helps prevent the liver cells from damage.

Some things you can do to an affected area of the skin are: keep the skin clean by just washing with water without soap; apply aloe vera gel three times a day; rub the inside of a banana peel over the affected area prior to going to bed.

If you want to comment on this post, or ask a question on it, use the comments box below for that purpose. 

Monday, 24 December 2012

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) there are 347 million diabetics in the world today, and this figure is projected to increase to over 500 million by the year 2030. Of the diabetics that exist in the world at the present time, about 90% have the Type 2 variety of the disease. Type 1 diabetics usually have the disease from birth, or get it at an early age, and are insulin dependent because the body has stopped producing this hormone which regulates blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetics usually get the disease in middle or old age, and for this reason it is also known as “adult-onset diabetes”.

Diabetes is a chronic condition resulting from either the body’s inability to produce enough insulin to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels, or the insensitivity of the body to react to the amount of insulin produced. If the blood sugar level in the body remains high for a sufficient period of time, it can negatively affect the function of the heart, eyesight and limbs. In both the USA and UK, diabetes is second only to road accidents as the cause of amputations. Lots of people have died from health complications arising from diabetes.

It is prudent to take some preventative measures against Type 2 diabetes, especially if you are in one of the at-risk groups. Statistics on the disease has shown that a person stands a greater chance of getting the disease if a parent has suffered from It, you are overweight or obese; if you are of Afro-Caribbean or Asian origin, or you are of middle or low class income groups. You can ask your doctor to carry out tests if you consider yourself to be susceptible to the disease. The main symptoms of the disease are: excessive thirst; frequency of urination; muscle cramps; poor healing of wounds; itching; and eyesight problems.

The bodily organ that produces enough insulin to aid the metabolism of food is the pancreas. If you take pre-emptive actions against getting the disease by concentrating on diet, exercise and food supplements, you are insuring the pancreas does not become overloaded thereby impairing its ability to function properly.  As the disease is caused by the body becoming too acidic, there should be alkaline bias in the diet.

The diet should consist mainly of raw natural foods. Vegetables such as kale, celery, cabbage, watercress, lettuce, cucumber, chicory, onion, olives, beans, soybean, fruit in general and especially apples, oats, grains and sprouted grains , beef liver, egg yolk and wholegrain bread should constitute a major part of the diet. Natural foods to be avoided are bananas, beets and potatoes. The latter have shown to increase blood sugar levels rapidly. If you eat potatoes from time to time, do so with their skins intact, which contain fibre which counteracts some of the rapid increase in blood sugar levels.

Anything causing a rapid rise in blood glucose levels such as sugar-laden soft drinks should be avoided. Other foods to be avoided are chocolates, biscuits, jam, fruit syrup, jelly, ice cream mayonnaise, honey and white rice. It is also best to avoid coffee, cocoa and only take alcohol in moderation. Giving up smoking also helps the whole body to function better.  

Adequate daily exercise is the second preventative measure that should be undertaken against Type 2 diabetes. This can involve walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, going to the gym, or anything else that takes your fancy.  You will need to engage in a physical activity of your choice for 30-40 minutes daily in order to achieve and maintain an ideal weight. The time period involved daily can be split up into two or more sessions if necessary. Two 15 minute exercise sessions 30 minutes after eating a meal that contains carbohydrates, which convert to sugar in the body, would be ideal.  

Lastly, it would be prudent to take a multivitamin and mineral tablet daily as insurance against a deficiency in the diet having an influence on the development of diabetes. Sufficiency in vitamins B2, B6, and the minerals chromium, manganese, magnesium and potassium are vital in the fight against developing this chronic condition.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Why the Acid/Alkaline Balance is Important to Health

A healthy orgasm is one which has an effective filtration system composed of organs like the liver, kidneys, skin and intestines all functioning well, and able to eliminate waste. These organs generally do a very effective job. If you don’t overload them, they generally manage to get rid of all of all the substances  your body doesn’t need, especially excess acids - the waste products of metabolism. 
Your body needs acids to function properly, but excess acidity can be harmful, which is why filtration is so important. A diet that contains too much animal protein (meat) and not enough vegetal protein can cause a condition known as acidosis, whereby excess acids accumulate in the tissues. An inactive lifestyle also impairs your body’s ability to eliminate waste properly.
Proteins contain a variety of acids which include sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and uric acid.  These acid-producing foodstuffs form the basis of our nutrition since the amino acids that make them up are essential to the proper functioning of the human body.  Our bodies need a regular supply of protein but only in the right amounts. Most people absorb too much protein on a daily basis. About 50 grams (2 ounces) daily is sufficient for most people, but those engaged in strenuous physical activity could absorb 50% more.
Amino acids obtained from milk and dairy products (cheese and yoghurt) produce little acidic substances. Amino acids obtained from animal protein (meat, poultry, fish) contain sulphuric and phosphoric acids, as well as purines which contain uric acid, and are thus highly acidic. Consuming too much animal protein is often the cause of rheumatism, gout and kidney stones.
Grains produce acids, as do toxins contained in products like coffee (caffeine), tea (theine) and cocoa (thebomine), all of which are rich in purines and therefore acidifying. The same applies to white sugar, refined flour and its derivatives, and refined fats.  
Acidifying food strips your body of minerals. These foods include peanuts, asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, egg white, processed meats, liver, kidney, refined white flour and derivatives (white bread, pastry and biscuits), strong fermented cheese, hard fat, refined oils, dried legumes (lentils, peas and beans), semolina, white sugar, tea, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, meat, fish, poultry and pasta.
Fruits and vegetables are mainly alkaline foods. Milk is also alkaline if ingested in the form of yogurt. Because these foods are rich in minerals, they should form a major part of the diet. Potatoes are an excellent alkaline food especially when steamed. Chestnuts are also recommended as an accompaniment to most vegetable dishes.
Here is a list of alkaline-rich foods: vegetable broth, chestnuts, fruit and fruit juice, most herbs, powdered milk, unsweetened condensed milk, vegetable leaves and roots, vegetable stems, onions, garlic, potatoes, soybean and derivatives, and yogurt.
Foods with a good acid/alkaline balance include good quality butter, whole grains, sprouted grains, green beans, millet, fresh walnuts, rye bread, whole rye flour pasta, sweet peas and unrefined sugar.
The acid/alkaline balance should be achieved within the context of an overall balanced diet. In order to achieve the latter, you should give attention to the following: eat foods in their proper proportions; don’t eat too much meat; opt for vegetable proteins whenever possible; eat some fresh fruit and vegetables every day; cut down on your intake of refined sugars, salt and alcohol; don’t barbeque too often; cut down on your intake of fried foods; make sure you are getting enough antioxidants such as selenium, Vitamins C & E.
If you want to say something about this post, do so via the comments box below.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Some Mental Health Considerations

Mental health problems are the least likely type to get talked about in the home or at the place of work. It is as if In certain homes and workplaces mental health is a taboo subject.  Just taking about the subject to an understanding family member or friend can be enormously beneficial to a person experiencing a mental health problem. Here are some facts about mental health not generally known:

·        A mental health problem affects 1 in 4 people in any given year.
·         The assumption that people with mental illness cannot work is false. The chances are you probably work with someone with a mental illness.
·        People with mental illness can and do recover from the condition.
·        People with mental health problems are no different from ordinary people. We all have mental health problems from time-to-time just like we have physical health ones.
·         People who have had a mental health problem and overcome it can emerge stronger the other end.
·        While some people with mental illness can sometimes be violent or unpredictable, people suffering from this condition are more likely to be a victim of violence.
·        People with mental health problems generally want to keep in touch with family, friends and work colleagues as a route to recovery. Interaction with a pet such as a dog or cat can also aid a person suffering from mental stress.
·        If you think you don’t know anyone with a mental illness, it is more likely that someone you know or love has suffered from one.
·        Nine out of ten people with mental illness suffer some form of discrimination.

If you know someone who has been unwell with a mental health problem, make a point of asking them how they are, and how they feel. By doing this you are letting them know that they don’t have to avoid the issue with you, and you are not stigmatizing it. By just spending time with the person taking about anything of mutual interest, not just health issues, can be of benefit to the person concerned.

If you want to talk to people about your mental health problem, here are some pointers: be prepared for different reactions dependent upon the person you are taking to; chose a good time and place when you feel comfortable and ready to talk; be prepared for lots of questions, as the person you are taking to might need to ask them to help them understand; at the start, keep the conversation light to help you both feel relaxed; if the other person asks you about your mental health, answer honestly bringing the issue into the open.

If you have a mental health problem, you can always learn from other peoples experiences. If you know of somebody who has come through such a problem, that would be a good place to start. Otherwise, you could learn from the experiences of how some famous people including actors, politicians and sports stars have coped with their severe periods of depression. Videos of such people taking about their mental health problems can be accessed here:

The following are some good websites to access regarding mental health problems: ; ; If you are not computer literate, then you should consult your doctor or local health welfare services about your particular problem. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


I have borrowed the title of today’s post from John Lennon. While the lyrics of Lennon’s famous song mainly relate to: “a brotherhood of man ……. sharing all the world” my words concern environmental, health, wellness and justice issues which constitute a similar proposition. 
                                                                                             Imagine a world without pollution in which weather patterns are not distorted by emissions from dirty industries, oil based fuels for cars and transportation generally, into to the atmosphere causing global warming. The heating up of the planet is having the following influences on worldwide weather: leaving low-lying coastal regions and cities at risk of flooding from higher seas and storms; having an influence on global food production because of droughts in certain parts of the world and excess rain in others both having a disturbing effect on food production and making prices go up as a consequence; causing artic ice to shrink resulting in loss of habitat for animals and fish dependent upon it.

Imagine a healthier world without junk food, convenience food, street drugs, and the need for less prescription drugs. Lots of health problems could be prevented from occurring in the first instance if people had a healthier diet. The incidence of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis per head of the population has increased more than a hundredfold in the past 150 years as a consequence of the introduction of processed foods taking people away from nourishing basic foods. The introduction of sugar in all its different forms into foodstuffs and soft drinks has also greatly contributed to health problems. The medical establishment’s response to this compounded situation is prescription drugs. The latter at best only give a temporary respite from the symptoms, and do not address the root causes of problems which usually relate to a poor diet.

Imagine a world without famine. More than 10 million children under the age of five die in the world every year. Of those, more than 60% die from diseases brought on by malnutrition. Despite some developed countries giving generously to famine-stricken ones in the form of aid, a lot of the latter is taken by corrupt officials or armed groups in the countries concerned. It is much better to help people at a local level to invest in seed banks and distribution within a region in order to make the best use of the land. Any aid contributed should be channelled directly to local organizations, as far as possible, in order to avoid corrupt officials siphoning off money for themselves.

Imagine some of the injustices that exist in the world being sorted out. In recent days we have had the third presidential debate in the US election which concentrated on foreign policy issues. The two combatants, Obama and Romney, when discussing the Middle East agreed that American interests in the region exactly coincided with those of Israel, neglecting to mention at all the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland. Such an oversight only serves to further the views of those advocating armed conflict in order to bring the issue once again to world attention.
The United Nations are the only trans world organisation trying to sort out some of the problems highlighted above. However, they are hampered in some cases by their own rules such as the Security Council’s inability to secure a vote condemning Assad of Syria because of the need for all permanent members to agree on such a resolution. Church leaders, and especially Christian church ones, have failed to provide any guidance beyond their own narrow and generally prejudiced views of the issues facing mankind. Only the Bible provides hope in that when things get awfully bad on this planet, the Book of Revelation predicts an intervention from on high because of man’s inability to sort out problems of his own making.