Sunday, 7 July 2013

Why Giving Blood is Beneficial to the Donor

Giving blood is beneficial for the donor as well as the recipient. Studies carried out in the UK,USA and Finland on tens of thousands of people have demonstrated there are many benefits accruing to the donor from giving blood which are not normally understood by the general public.  The main benefits for the donor are: a reduced risk of a stroke or heart attack; a lesser chance of getting cancer; and a loss of weight resulting from the blood donation itself.

When you give blood, the body replaces the amount donated within two days but it takes up to 56 days to replace all the red blood cells. Forcing the body to create new blood as a consequence of a donation, means the new replacement blood introduced is more fluid thereby having a thinning effect on all the blood in the body. If your blood before the donation was thick or sticky, putting you at risk of a stroke or heart attack because this type of blood puts pressure on the heart to pump it to all the vital areas of the body, the thinner blood resulting from your donation is therefore beneficial to the body.

If you suspect that you are at risk of a stroke or heart attack, one constructive thing you can do is give blood regularly. Because of the 56 days it takes to replace the red blood cells, most national health services will forbid you from making a further blood donation until your body has fully recovered from the last one. However, you could schedule your donations at 3 monthly ( ninety days) intervals quite easily and thereby reap the compounded benefits of forcing the body to keep the blood more fluid and less viscous.   
Giving blood also reduces the amount of iron in the blood. The latter has a bearing on the susceptibility to getting cancer. One study in Finland involving 3,000 people found a significant decrease in the number of people getting cancer who gave blood regularly (at least once every six months) compared to those who didn’t contribute at all. The National Cancer Institute in the UK in its Journal also links increased iron levels in the body with an increased risk of developing cancer as a consequence of free radical damage.

Another side effect of giving blood is that the donor loses weight as a consequence of this action. The University Of California in San Diego estimate that for every pint of blood donated 650 calories are burned as a result of the body’s efforts to replenish itself. This equates roughly to a pound (2.2 Kilograms) loss of weight per each pint of blood donated. If you donate regularly, the loss of weight over time can be quite significant.

Other benefits include donors in the USA getting a free blood test worth about $300 when contributing blood. Blood banks in that country test the blood for infectious diseases before using it, and if anything significant is found, they will let the donor know and the blood will not be used.

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK advises donors to contribute blood for altruistic reasons rather than for donor benefits. I do not entirely agree with this as the satisfaction a person gets from helping others, in certain cases, can itself be a donor benefit. I don’t see any valid reasons why donor benefits shouldn’t be highlighted.  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Make Use of the Cleansers

As the title above says, you should make use of the cleansers. Cleansers in this context mean foods and drinks which help eliminate wastes and toxins from the body. Natural foods are preferred here over proprietary products in order to detoxify the body.  Foods high in fibre are especially useful in excreting antigens from the body. The blood, liver, lungs, kidneys, arteries, intestines and urinary tract all need to be kept clean and clear of any substances interfering with their proper functions.

The following 14 foods can help to clear the body of toxic substances for the reasons stated:
1.     Garlic:  cleans the lungs and intestines; has a diuretic effect; and tones the heart and digestive organs.
2.      Onions:  facilitate expectoration; are a powerful natural antibiotic; and decongest respiratory passages.
3.      Apples:  are rich in pectin which helps remove radioactive residues from the body; help eliminate toxic build-up; and clean the intestines.
4.      Cabbage: cleanses the digestive tract; neutralises some of the damaging compounds found in cigarette smoke; and strengthens the liver’s ability to detoxify the body.
5.      Avocados: open blood vessels; block toxicity affecting the arteries; and help the liver detoxify the blood.
6.     Lemons: lemon juice kills harmful bacteria; is useful for combating liver attacks and angina; and aids digestion.
7.     Watercress: the antioxidant levels in it help prevent cancer of various body organs; gives relief from respiratory problems like bronchitis; and can help with liver or kidney fatigue.
8.     Grapefruit:  the pectin in it cleanses the blood; helps to excrete heavy metals from the body; it also contains antiviral compounds which destroys harmful viruses in the body. 
9.      Kale: the cleansing attributes of kale are very similar to those of cabbage as stated above.
10.   Seaweed: binds to radioactive waste and heavy metals and helps to escort them from the body.
11. Celery:  is an excellent blood cleanser and contain many anti-cancer compounds that help detoxify the body. 
12. Cranberries:  cleanse the body of bacteria and viruses that may be lingering in the urinal tract.
13. Blueberries: counteract harmful bacteria and toxins in the body.
14.  Walnuts:  contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine, glutathione and omega 3 fatty acids which help detoxify and cleanse the liver.
It is best to eat all fruit and vegetables raw as cooking destroys a lot of their nutritive value. If you cook a vegetable like cabbage by boiling it in water, then make sure, in addition to eating the cooked cabbage, you drink the juice resulting as it contains lots of nutrients displaced from the cabbage by the act of cooking.
The following three drinks help to cleanse the body of wastes and toxins:
·        Water:  drinking 4-6 glasses of water daily cleanses the whole system and flushes out any antigens from the body.
·         Green Tea: has plenty of antioxidants known as catechin, a compound which assists liver function.
·        Dandelion Tea: has properties which aids the cleansing of the liver and kidneys, and it also reduces water retention.
·        Lemon and Ginger Tea: aids digestion and increases blood flow.
Al the above can either be used individually or in combination to detoxify the body. Keeping the vital organs clean and clear of anything that interferes with their efficiency are measures which help prevent diseases and health problems generally.
If you know of a cleanser not mentioned in the above list, let me know of it via the comments box below. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Truth about Cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your body is good for you. Many people wrongly associate the word cholesterol with some kind of health problem. It only becomes a problem when you have too much of the wrong type. Cholesterol is produced by the body and plays a crucial role in maintaining the proper functioning of cell membranes, the production of brain neurons, and the elimination of free radicals. Its presence therefore enables the body to repair itself.

If high levels of the wrong type of cholesterol are in the bloodstream, they can become trapped on the inside walls of the arteries, especially the coronary arteries. When these arteries are clogged with cholesterol deposits, also known as plaque, they become narrow and deprive the heart muscle, and other vital areas, of the necessary nutrients and oxygen required to sustain a healthy body, and thereby increase the risk of heart disease.
Only an excess of LDL (low density) cholesterol is harmful; HDL (high density) cholesterol is beneficial. What you eat and drink on a regular basis largely determines the type of cholesterol in your body.  It is therefore best to concentrate on diet as the main means of ensuring that the cholesterol in your body is of the right type to aid good health.
Sugars and saturated fats produce the wrong type of cholesterol. Sugar raises cholesterol by a chemical reaction in the body in which it turns into triglycerides (blood fats) which, in turn, converts to cholesterol. Saturated fats reduce the liver’s ability to rid the bloodstream of cholesterol. Therefore avoid the following foods: biscuits (cookies); sweets (candy); ice cream; white or brown sugar; sweet cakes; ice cream;  soft drinks (sodas); white flour products; honey; molasses; pizzas; hot dogs; junk or fast foods; cream cheeses; full-fat dairy products; syrup; processed foods; fatty meats; lard; processed oils; and fried or scrambled eggs.
The following actions encourage good cholesterol: eat lean meats prepared by any method other than frying; eat as much fish as you want including oily fish such as salmon or mackerel; get some protein from low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk, soft cheeses and low-fat yogurts; eat as many vegetables and fruits, and especially apples, as you like; eat foods derived from plants with strong stems containing silica such as horsetail, grain husks, garlic, onions and shallots; use olive  or sunflower oils only; and drink at least four glasses of water daily.
In addition to diet considerations, other complementary measures you can do are as follows: take exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling etc. for at least 40 minutes per day; if you are a smoker, quit smoking; reduce any alcohol intake to two units daily; and take action to eliminate or reduce stress
You should avoid at all costs any pharmaceutical drugs, including those that may have been prescribed by your doctor, to reduce high cholesterol as they are dangerous. Drugs work by slowing down the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. One side effect is that in addition to slowing down the absorption of cholesterol, they interfere with the absorption of essential fatty acids and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The pharmaceutical companies have again, in a similar manner to elsewhere, hidden this information from you so as they can continue to make billions on a worldwide basis from manipulating the correct information on high cholesterol to their financial advantage.  

Monday, 29 April 2013

How to Combat Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory disorder resulting in difficulty in breathing. During an attack, the airways contract allowing less oxygen in and less carbon dioxide out of the body. The allergic reaction caused by a trigger also produces fluid or swelling of the airways

The causes of an attack can be as follows: allergic reaction to irritants such as dust, moulds, dust mites and industrial pollution; a reaction to cold temperatures; strenuous exercise; emotional factors causing depression of the immune system leading to an autoimmune attack on the lungs; an allergic reaction to certain foods.
There are lots of nasty side effects associated with drugs such as cortisone or bronchodilators prescribed by some doctors for asthma, causing a dependency   on them for the patient being treated. Muscle relaxants also have negative effects on the body. It is therefore best to seek natural treatments in order to prevent or respond to an attack.
Placing a slice of onion on the tongue has been proven over time to be one of the best things a person can do in response to an asthmatic attack. This method is so potent that some minor attacks can be stopped within minutes by simply sucking on a slice of onion. Persons susceptible to attacks can build up their defences by paying particular attention to diet and food supplements.
Asthmatics generally have low blood sugar levels, and therefore should strive to normalise blood sugar by avoiding foods high in carbohydrates, sugars or foods which are highly processed. Avoid wheat products, processed canned foods, dairy products and foods with a high sugar or salt content. Have a test done for food allergies, and avoid anything found to cause a reaction.
Sulphur is helpful for people suffering from asthma. Good food sources of the mineral are fish protein, eggs, onions and garlic. Other foods good for this disorder are black and red radish, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, dried beans, sorrel, sour fruits such as pineapple and berries, and barley water.
The following herbs can also be taken as a preventative measure for the reasons stated: chervil helps combat asthma and sore throats; parsley helps rid the body of toxins and purifies the blood; blessed thistle strengthens the lungs and loosens mucous and phlegm; golden seal reduces swelling; and lobelia acts as an expectorant and relives spams. 
Food supplements can be taken to avoid deficiencies of the following for the reasons stated: magnesium citrate, 500mg twice daily, acts as a muscle relaxant; vitamin B6, 250mg twice daily, acts as an antihistamine; vitamin A, 25,000 IU once daily, helps fight respiratory infections; and vitamin D, 2,000 IU once daily (or fish liver oils in lieu of), helps prevent infections especially when combined with vitamins A or C.  
It is also prudent for asthmatics to drink at least four glasses of water on a daily basis. Drinking an adequate amount of water daily cleanses the whole body and encourages it to expel all waste products and toxins as their retention in the body could be harmful to health in general and the respiratory system in particular.  
The average person in the street uses only about 50% of lung capacity because of improper breathing practices. Yoga type breathing is recommended for asthmatics in order to lessen the problems associated with their condition. Mild aerobic exercises, such as walking, jogging or swimming, on a daily basis are also beneficial.

If you are asthmatic and a smoker, it is best to give up this unhealthy habit as it interferes with the respiratory organs; it is also best to avoid all secondary smoke arising from other people as far as this is possible.
If you have anything to say on this post, use the comments box below for that purpose.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

What We Can Learn from the Hunzas

The Hunzas are a race of people 30, 000 in number who live in a valley in north-east Pakistan surrounded by the Himalayas. The valley they live in is at 3000 meters (9000 feet) above sea level, and for centuries was cut off from the rest of civilization. The Hunzas  are said to be the healthiest people on the planet. They rarely get ill, and they have the highest number of centenarians amongst a group of people anywhere in the world; quite a few of them live to be 130, and some of them even live to be 145 years of age.

Because of their unique geographical location, the Hunzas were isolated from the rest of the world for a long time and consequently developed life practices peculiar to them which have had a big influence on their health and longevity. They pay particular attention to diet, exercise and meditation. Here is a list of the many things they do which have a bearing on their good health:
1.     They do not eat vast quantities of food; just two meals per day satisfies them.  They eat primarily for the establishment and maintenance of health rather than for pleasure.
2.     Hunza food is completely natural containing no additives or chemicals whatsoever.
3.     A large part of their diet is contained of grains in the form of barley, millet, buckwheat and wheat.
4.     Even though they are not vegetarians, they only eat meat once or twice per week. When they do eat meat, it is usually chicken.
5.     They eat fruits and vegetables which are organically grown in their own gardens. For the most part, these are consumed fresh and raw, though they do cook some vegetables for a short time.
6.     Milk and cheese are important sources of animal protein.
7.     Yogurt is also a staple part of the Hunza diet.
8.     Nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and beechnuts are also an important source of protein. Nuts when combined with vegetables sometimes constitute a whole meal.
9.     They eat a special bread called “chapatti”, which is eaten along with every meal.  The bread is made from wheat, millet, buckwheat or barley flour which is whole and is not refined in any way.
10.They fast one day a week in which their low intake of food is cut down to the minimum eating just a few nuts, drinking some milk and eating low-fat yogurt to sustain them.
11.  The men do strenuous work in the fields getting plenty of fresh mountain air and adequate daily exercise. The women mostly tend the vegetables and fruit trees in their gardens. Nearly all Hunzas go on a walk of 15 kilometers (10 miles) once a week.
12.  They find time several times a day to engage in some basic yoga relaxation techniques involving deep breathing which relaxes and removes tension from the whole body.  

Whilst we cannot replicate the unique geographical location occupied by the Hunzas in our own locations, we can learn the following from what they do:
·        Only eat cereals derived from whole grains, which have most of their nutrients and fibre intact.
·        Try and get a sizeable portion of the protein you require daily from organic vegetables and fruits.
·        Eat low-fat yogurt on a regular basis.
·        Make brown whole-grain bread a standard part of the diet.
·        Try and derive a certain amount of protein from nuts.
·        Cut down on protein from meat to no more than twice a week.
·        Get most of your animal protein from milk and cheese.
·        Fast for one day a week drinking only unsweetened fruit juices and eating low –fat yogurts.
·        Take regular exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming etc. for at least 40 minutes per day.
·        Engage in a relaxation technique, such as yoga, several times per day.
Whilst I cannot guarantee that you will live to be 145 if you employ the above  recommendations, you do stand a much better chance of beating the national average age for death in western countries if you adhere to them, while also enjoying a much better quality of life.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

How to Cope with Ulcers

An ulcer is an inflammatory condition in the lining of the stomach causing pain and burning while the stomach is empty, or while food is being digested. Ulcers have a tendency to bleed. Blood can be observed in the stool as being dark in colour. Ulcers can cause haemorrhaging to such an extent that a person could possibly bleed to death.  

Ulcers are caused in many ways, as follows: improper food combining; the overproduction of hydrochloric acid which may erode the stomach lining; the overproduction of the enzyme pepsin; the over-ingestion of alcohol and tobacco products; the taking of aspirin regularly; not chewing food properly thereby preventing saliva to mix with food to aid digestion.   

Conventional treatments for ulcers such as drugs, surgery, the provision of antacids do not work because they only address the symptoms and not the underlying cause of the problem. It is therefore best to look at diet, food supplements and what other measures can be taken to treat an ulcer, or to lessen the chances of developing one in the first instance.

Some doctors impose a bland diet on their patients suffering from ulcers which is counterproductive as they still need to get the daily nutrients they require from their food despite this condition. If you suffer from an ulcer, it is best to eat smaller meals at each sitting on a more regular basis than three large meals per day. Six meals per day at 2-3 hour intervals would be ideal. Avoid fasting if you suffer from an ulcer.

As poor food combining can cause an ulcer, avoid combining proteins and starches in the one meal. As food goes through the pyloric valve (the exit from the stomach) it becomes confused if partially digested proteins and carbohydrates are present at the same time. It is therefore not recommended that you eat meat or chicken with potatoes in the same meal, but they can be eaten separately.

The diet should be high in fibre which helps food to travel though the digestive system. Fibre is also necessary to encourage regular bowel movements. A patient with an ulcer should be encouraged to eat cooked vegetables several times a day. Sweet fruits, millet, buckwheat, coconut, almonds, avocado, sprouted grains and seeds are also recommended. Raw vegetables should be discouraged as they are difficult to digest. Both potato juice and cabbage juice are good for people with ulcers as they accelerate the healing process. Drinking distilled water can help reduce pain.

Herbs good for ulcer sufferers, for the reasons stated, are as follows: peppermint oil aids the healing of inflammatory conditions; licorice improves mucous in the digestive tract; cayenne red pepper aids digestion and stimulates blood flow; chickweed helps digest fatty substances and encourages the helpful production of stomach mucous; and golden seal alleviates internal bleeding.

Food supplements can also be used effectively to help with ulcers. Vitamin E, 1,000 IU once daily, slows down inflammatory conditions. Zinc Picolinate, 50mg twice daily, aids the healing of ulcers. Vitamin A in the form of fish liver oil, 25,000 IU once daily, helps repair tissue.

As ulcers arise from the over acidity of the body, the following foods and drinks should be avoided: dairy products, meats, flour products, chocolate, sweets, eggs, gains, fizzy drinks, and citrus fruits. All fried foods should be avoided. The more alkaline the overall food intake is the better.

Some other adjunctive measures you can take if you suffer with ulcers are as follows: if you are a smoker, it is best to give it up because it interferes with the body’s reaction to food; alcohol intake should be limited to two units per day; it is best to either avoid stress altogether, or take positive steps to limit its impact on your life.  

Sunday, 10 March 2013

How to Cope with Food Allergies

If food enters the body without being properly digested, your immune system will produce antibodies to attack that particular food as if it were a threat to the body, and thereby cause a reaction. Antibodies trigger the release of histamines, which in turn cause gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin problems.  Reactions to foods eaten can occur from a few minutes to a few hours after they have been consumed.

The most common food allergies are to eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, potato, carrots, celery, chocolate, soft drinks, corn flakes, sugar and fish such as cod, trout and plaice. Symptoms of a food allergy can include the following: itching; redness; burning sensations; vomiting accompanied by diarrhoea; respiratory problems such as asthma; sudden drop in blood pressure; and suffocation. About 15% of the public suffer some form of food allergy.

Prescription drugs such as antihistamines, cortisone or decongestants in the treatment of food allergies are ineffective, and all have serious side effects. As an allergy is a digestive problem, it is important that your food is broken down into the smallest particles prior to consumption in order to facilitate proper digestion.

Consuming products containing simple sugars should be avoided if at all possible. Simple sugars cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate rapidly, and cause hyperglycemia temporarily in the body, necessitating the release of insulin to counter this condition. The release of insulin lowers blood sugar levels rapidly resulting in hypoglycemia, which heightens the craving for more sugar.  This vicious circle can be the cause of food allergies, resulting from the fermentation of excess sugars in the intestines.

Lots of modern processed foods have additives containing chemicals, while others are made up largely of synthetic substances. A person can easily develop an allergic reaction to these inputs into food. Therefore pay attention to food labelling in order to establish that the packaged food you are purchasing contains mainly natural food. Avoid any synthetic foods.

Eggs can be a problem if they are from hens that have been fed antibiotics and other medications in order to prevent disease. Farmed fish are also fed manufactured substances in order to prevent afflictions, such as lice, they would not normally suffer in the open ocean. It is wise therefore to pay attention to the source of the food you are consuming.  

In order to combat food allergies it is therefore best to make whole natural foods a major part of the diet. The majority of the nutrients that you required daily should be obtained from whole grains, leafy green vegetables, eggs from free-range hens, walnuts, black radish, tomatoes, plums, prunes  chicken, meat, low-fat yogurt and ocean- fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. If you buy processed foods, make sure you are purchasing ones that contain the largest amount of natural foods, and have received the least amount of processing by paying attention to the ingredients list which foods companies are legally obliged to put on packaging.

Manganese can help the body fight food allergies. The main food sources of manganese are whole grains, leafy green vegetables and nuts. It could also be taken as a food supplement requiring up to 10 milligrams per day. Pantothene is a food supplement that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce the body’s own cortisone. You will need to take 500mg. of it twice daily.