February 26, 2013

Fabulous Food

James Barker | freedigitalphotos.net
What It Is: An Introduction
“[Beta-carotene is a strongly-colored red-orange pigment abundant in many different fruits and vegetables. Particularly rich sources include orange root vegetables such as carrots and yams; green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and sweet potato leaves; as well as yellow and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, mangoes and papayas. ]”1
What It Does: A Few of Beta-Carotene’s Talents
“[Beta-carotene changes] into vitamin A in the body, which [in turn] helps regulate the growth of cells and [controls] immune system reactions. It makes sense that cells in the digestive tract are affected most by vitamin A,”2 since “carotenoid absorption is restricted to the duodenum of the small intestine. Within the intestinal wall, beta-carotene is partially converted into vitamin A by an enzyme. This mechanism is regulated by the [individual person's] vitamin A status: If the body has enough vitamin A, the conversion of beta-carotene decreases.”1
It has been indicated that “[beta-carotene’s potency as an antioxidant [also supports] lung health, brain function, brain cell survival, and communication between the brain cells, and well as protecting against several types of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart attacks.]”2 “Beta-carotene has also been used to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women before menopause, as well as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).”1
How To Get It: Fresh and Natural Is Best
worradmu | freedigitalphotos.net
“It's always better to do it naturally [rather] than with synthetic supplements.”2 The typical nutritional supplement is in a static form, isolated from key substances that the body requires for successful absorption and use of the nutrient. In order to use the ‘supplement,’ the body is forced to leech those other substances from its own system, thereby causing additional health problems. For example, “Chronic, high doses of synthetic beta-carotene supplements have been associated with [an] increased rate of lung cancer among those who smoke. Additionally, supplemental beta-carotene may increase the risk of prostate cancer, intracerebral hemorrhage, and cardiovascular and total mortality in people who smoke cigarettes or have a history of high-level exposure to asbestos.”1 So let’s go natural, shall we?
The website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a useful list of foods, ranked by their beta-carotene content per serving:  The following foods were found to have the highest beta-carotene content: Carrot juice, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, collards.3
How to Use It: Going For Efficiency
dusky | freedigitalphotos.net
“The average daily intake of beta-carotene is in the range of 2–7 mg, as estimated from a pooled analysis of 500,000 women living in the USA, Canada and some European countries.
“Absorption efficiency is estimated to be between 9–22%. The absorption and conversion may depend on the form that the beta-carotene is in (e.g., cooked vs. raw vegetables, or in a supplement), the intake of fats and oils at the same time, and the current stores of vitamin A and beta-carotene in the body. Absorption of beta-carotene is enhanced if eaten with fats, as carotenes are fat soluble.”1
“[To maximize the beta-carotene in every meal, just add a little bit of fat to the orange, yellow, and leafy greens you usually eat every day, and you will get all the beta-carotene you need without really changing your diet. But be smart about what fat you use: Coconut oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, avocado and hummus are very good options. If you sauté your vegetables, use a bit of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. For salads, use some coconut or olive oil and some balsamic vinegar as your dressing, with a bit of fresh squeezed lemon. To take a walk on the wild side, use some hummus as your dressing. Also, lightly cooking, chopping, and grating carrots and other vegetables containing beta-carotene help to make for easier release and absorption of beta-carotene.]”2
The Point: Why We Bring it Up
Beta-carotene is a vital nutrient for a healthy digestive tract, eyes, lungs, brain and immune system. But it is also difficult to absorb—so, by using these simple steps mentioned above, you will absorb more beta-carotene and enjoy better health.  

1. “Beta-Carotene.” Wikipedia.com. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-Carotene.
2. Goldstein, Hesh. “The Importance of Beta Carotene.” Naturalnews.com. 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. http://www.naturalnews.com/037933_beta_carotene_carotenoids_foods.html.
3. USDA. “USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.” Usda.gov. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR21/nutrlist/ sr21w321.pdf.

February 11, 2013

Short & Sweet!

Miserable economy takes its toll: According to the findings of a study published in 2012, suicide is now the most frequent cause of injury deaths in America, followed by car crashes, poisoning, falls and murder.

Breastfeeding in infancy may shield adults from depression: A new study from Germany showed that 73 percent of those without depression had been breast-fed, whereas 46 percent of people with depression were breast-fed.

Sunbeds are twice as dangerous as midday sun: Experts have found that the risk of skin cancer from sunbeds is more than double that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun and most exceed safety standards.

SWEET NEWS ABOUT CHOCOLATE: Studies indicate that chocolate can be heart-healthy due to flavonoids, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties.

Death by Medicine: A definitive review of medical peer-reviewed journals and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The startling findings from this meticulous study indicate that conventional medicine is “the leading cause of death” in the United States. The total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year.

Metal Hip Maker Estimated 37% Would Fail: One year after Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) pulled 93,000 metal hip implants from the market, the company internally estimated that 37 percent of the devices would fail within 4.6 years, according to newly unsealed court records.

February 4, 2013

"O" Zone

Learn How To Read Your Body By Looking At Your Tongue

Part 2: Coating

A mirror is your best friend!

Some people are vain and love looking at themselves in a mirror. (Of course, that doesn’t apply to any of us.) People spend a fair amount of time fine-tuning their skin, eyebrows, makeup, or hair in the mirror. Here is one thing you can do in a mirror that will serve your health. 

Look at your tongue. It’s easy. Stick out your tongue and look at it. What do you see? Does it change through the day? If it consistently shows abnormalities, get it checked out. 

In December, we started sharing insights from ancient Chinese Medicine to help us learn what the tongue can show us about our health. This time we will show tongues that pertain to the coating. 

Tongues can have various types of coatings that reflect the effectiveness of our digestion. Our tongue can have… 

a normal coating… 

a patchy coating… 

the lack of a coating…

a dark brown coating… 

a thick coating…

If the digestion is not working as well as it should, the tongue will have an abnormal coating. There are many and rather complex reasons our tongue coatings can be abnormal. The key is to get yourself checked by an acupuncturist if the coating is not normal. In the early stages of change in the tongue, it is usually easy to fix. 

Health preserved is worth more than money saved. Our quality of life is a precious commodity. Without health, our life is a deep trial. Stay healthy, stay happy, stay strong. Watch your tongue to gauge the integrity of your digestion.

-Dr. Olson