Archive for November, 2010

Do you know if you are getting enough of the mineral zinc on a day-to-day basis?

Zinc has many useful functions in the human body. It helps to increase the effectiveness of the immune system. Sucking on zinc lozenges when you have a cold or feel one coming on can help to cut the average length of time that the virus is active in your body in half. It is believed to halt the replication of the cells of the cold.

It also helps to heal wounds, slow macular degeneration and can prevent the onset of many different health conditions including acne, Alzheimer’s epilepsy and psoriasis.

There is no doubt at all that zinc is important and very necessary for the health and functioning of the human body. Zinc deficiencies are rare but they do occur. This is because the body has no way to keep reserve stores of the mineral. For that reason it needs to constantly be replenished through the foods we eat.

The symptoms of a zinc deficiency include impaired immune system function, hair loss, diarrhea, loss of appetite, eye and skin lesions, weight loss, slow healing wounds, abnormal or slow growth in infants or children, and an unusual sense of smell or taste.

It is important however that you do not go to the opposite extreme and megadose on the mineral zinc. This can lead to zinc toxicity. This is most likely to occur if you take too many zinc supplements and /or if you consume too many cold or cough medicines that contain zinc.

The symptoms of a zinc overdose include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a bitter, metallic taste in the mouth.

The vast majority of zinc sources come from meat products. These sources include raw oysters, crab, tenderloin beef, and shrimp. Other sources include pumpkin seeds, crimini mushrooms and spinach. A daily intake of zinc is necessary to maintain a healthy level in the human body.

There are some people who are at a greater risk of not getting enough zinc in their diets than others. These include vegetarians and vegans, those who have gastrointestinal disorders and women who are pregnant and lactating. Babies who are still being breast fed over the age of seven months require more zinc than they can get from breast milk alone. People who suffer from sickle cell anemia have lower levels of zinc and require more as well.

Alcoholics are another group of people who require more of this mineral. The reason for this is because they either are unable to absorb the nutrient or they excrete a higher proportion of it in their urine.

In order to get more of this mineral into your daily diet you should eat as many unprocessed foods as possible and make sure that you don’t over-bake, over-boil or over-steam your food. You should eat lean meats. If you don’t eat a lot of meat then eating more beans is beneficial.

You should also limit the alcohol and coffee that you consume. If you are breast feeding your baby beyond six to seven months of age then feed your infant zinc-fortified formula to supplement the breast milk.


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When most people think of ways to slow the aging process their minds usually wander to a variety of types of cosmetic surgery, including wrinkle treatments such as Botox.

The good news is that expensive procedures that come with their share of potential side effects are not the only way to go. To slow down the aging process or to put it another way, to invest in healthy aging, you need to learn more about a substance known as resveratrol.

Resveratrol (pronounced rez-veeri-tral) is an antioxidant that has the potential to slow down the aging process. It has also been shown to help with weight loss and to boost the immune system. But that is not all; this compound has potentially significant anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-cancer properties. While all of these benefits of resveratrol have not been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the research findings so far are very promising.

Resveratrol is a type of antibiotic (or in plant speak, a phytoalexin) that is produced by plants and is a kind of defense mechanism. When plants are threatened by fungi or bacteria they synthesize this antibiotic in order to fight back and not become infected.

The same thing occurs when there is injury to the plant or if it is exposed to the radiation from harmful UV rays. The plant provides resistance from whatever is attempting to invade and hurt it. As a result the resveratrol saves the plant from decay or death and the healthy living tissue remains in place.

The anti-aging properties of resveratrol and its effect on longevity have been studied at large and continues to be studied. Much is known about how the compounds that make up resveratrol help the body to age slower. As a supplement resveratrol is best known for its ability to slow down aging in those who take it. It has been concluded that the health benefits of resveratrol reduce the physical signs of aging that make themselves known on our faces and bodies as time goes by. Many people notice a positive change in the condition of their skin after taking resveratrol supplements for a very short period of time.

The antioxidants that resveratrol is composed of help to prevent the formation of wrinkles and also help to get rid of the ones that have already started to develop on the skin. The supplements are also beneficial for scars on the skin as well as blemishes and pigmentations in the skin. Resveratrol can give the skin the natural and healthy glow that is often lost as a person ages.

When an individual reaches their forties this is when the signs of skin aging really begin to make themselves known. How you treated your skin when you were younger and the lifestyle you subscribed to starts to show on your face at this juncture of time.

The hope is Resveratrol can be shown in studies to give you back what time and less than healthy living has taken from you.

The jury is still out on Resveratrol and if it can live up to the claims people have made about it. Certainly it is controversial and its name has been linked to some high profile marketing issues.

But there are also companies out there offering Resveratrol products in a responsible manner and as another alternative to folks who want to look younger then the debate should be welcomed and followed. It’s a topic I’ll continue to follow and provide updates.


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If you are currently on medication for high blood pressure or if your doctor has told you that you have high pressure (or borderline high blood pressure) then you might want to look at taking the alternative route to lowering your blood pressure naturally.

The herb Hawthorn is believed to be beneficial when it comes to lowering blood pressure. It has been used in traditional herbal medicine for many years as a type of heart herbal tonic. It has been a folk remedy for heart problems that has been put to use for many centuries in Europe and China.

What Does Hawthorn Do?

Hawthorn is thought to not only reduce blood pressure but also to increase the heart muscle’s ability to contract. It is also believed to reduce the rate that the heart beats and to increase the flow of blood to the heart. More and more evidence from research studies is supporting the claim that Hawthorn is an herb that is beneficial to take for those who suffer from congestive heart failure.

Be aware however that Hawthorn in and of itself is generally not enough. In fact it has been theorized that when it comes to lowering blood pressure, this healing herb may make a small difference. A small difference is still a difference though.

A typical dosage of Hawthorn that can be of potential benefit is 100 to 300 milligrams (MG) taken three times a day with the dosage being standardized to contain either 18 to 20 percent or procyanidins (or two to three percent of flavonoids). It will take in the range of a couple of weeks to a few months for the herb to begin to do what it is supposed to do.

The Helping Hand of Hawthorn:

When taken as an extract, Hawthorn can work to widen ( in other words, dilate) the arteries. It is particularly beneficial for the coronary arteries. Herbalists often recommend that Hawthorn be mixed up into a tonic or a tea. They swear by its effectiveness in terms of improving the work of the heart and the circulatory system in general.

It is important to stop here and make it known that Hawthorn is one of the stronger herbal medicines. For this reason you should not start taking it until you discuss it with your doctor.

While many Western doctors are still wary and a little uncertain about alternative methods that are aimed at healing, others are much more optimistic and open minded. These doctors are embracing the idea that alternative medicine such as the use of herbs can work as a compliment to conventional western medicine.

Look for Hawthorn at health food stores, pharmacies or grocery stores. This herb is best prepared as a tea. Add one teaspoon of the dried herb to boiling water and give it a few minutes to steep and cool down. Two cups of Hawthorn tea consumed on a regular basis should help to keep your blood pressure in check.

Two other herbs that are very beneficial for this purpose include coenzyme Q10 and garlic. For those with high blood pressure instituting necessary lifestyle modifications should count for a lot. This includes exercising on a regular basis, eating as few fatty and fried foods as possible, eating lots of vegetables and finding effective ways to cope with stress.


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It’s that time of year again – flu shot season! Influenza can be a very real concern for many people. The flu tends to rear its ugly head during the fall and winter months and can leave sufferers feeling absolutely miserable.

Here we look at some important information you need to know before you decide to get the seasonal flu shot.

People Who Should Have the Shot:

Everyone is at risk of getting the flu but some people are at a greater risk than others. Those at a higher risk of developing the seasonal flu include children and teenagers ranging in age from six months to 18 years, adults over the age of 50, pregnant women, and anyone who has a chronic medical condition (such as asthma).

Other groups of people that are in a higher risk category include those who reside in long-term care facilities, those who have compromised or weakened immune systems, those who have frequent exposure to the general public(such as emergency workers and health care personnel, etc.), and family members or caregivers who regularly come into contact with high risk people.

People Who Should Steer Clear of the Shot:

On the other hand there are those who should not get a flu shot. These include anyone who has an allergy to eggs, anyone who has a fever at the time when they go for their vaccination and anyone who has ever had an adverse reaction to a flu shot in the past.

It is also not wise to get a flu shot if you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Babies under the age of six months should not receive the flu shot.

Seasonal flu shots are available in the autumn months. Most doctors’ offices and clinics receive them sometime between September and November. Check with your doctor to find out more information in this regard. If you are someone who is at a high risk for getting the flu then the sooner you get it the better.

Be aware that it takes two weeks after it has been administered to become effective. That means that if you had already caught the flu bug before having the shot you could still get sick.

The flu shot generally lasts for four to five months. If you got your shot in October or November for instance then the vaccine would remain in your system protecting you until at least March of the following year. It is important that you get your flu vaccine annually.

The vaccine is not the exact same every year. The formula changes based on the strain of influenza virus that was prevalent in the previous year. That is why getting a shot on an annual basis is so essential for your good health.

Possible Side Effects:

As long as you are not in the group of individuals who should not get the flu shot the potential for side effects is rare.

The side effects that do come with the shot for everyone else are generally minor. However there is always a chance that you may experience one or two of the side effects. The most common include soreness at the injection site, a reduced level of energy (or a greater level of fatigue) and a low grade fever.

If you experience difficulty breathing, severe swelling or numbness then contact your physician right away or make your way to the nearest emergency room for immediate medical attention.


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The Aloe Vera plant is not the most aesthetically appealing plant in the world with all of its pointy and sharp edges. However this plant has a healing side to it that is not evident upon first glance.

The health benefits of the Aloe Vera plant have been well researched and well documented. Let us look at why you should purchase an Aloe Vera plant for your home and start doing your part to heal yourself.

The Aloe Vera plant has been used as a form of healing for as many as 2000 years.  There are many different products that contain Aloe Vera but the purest form of Aloe Vera comes from the plant. Aloe Vera can be used to treat wounds that occur to the skin. It can also be used for cuts, burns, insect bites, rashes, itching, irritation and sunburn.

A Look at the Aloe Vera Plant:

The Aloe Vera plant is odd looking to say the least. It looks a bit like a cactus and is a member of the lily family. It is a semi-tropical plant and has origins that can be traced back to Africa. It sports long thick green leaves.

It is the leaves that contain the water supply for the plant.

An Aloe Vera plant is an excellent plant to buy for your home or your workplace. It can be beneficial when you injure yourself or when anyone else in the nearby vicinity hurts themselves. It is the leaves of the plant that you should direct your attention to if you burn or cut yourself. Even if one of your pets scratches you or you get a paper cut an Aloe Vera plant is very handy to have around!

When a leaf is cut from the top of the plant a sap that is yellowish orange in color will come out of it. This sap is what is used to make Aloe Vera drinks and other concoctions for the purposes of healing. Aloe Vera is safe to consume internally. It can also be applied topically to your skin. In fact Aloe Vera is used for medicinal purposes more often than it is used for anything else.

If you touch the leaves of the plant you will notice that they are heavy and are laden with the sap. The sap is sticky and feels a lot like glue. It is made up of a combination of water and fibers that do their part to keep the water supply in the plant in abundance even after the green skin of a leaf has been removed.

The Aloe Vera plant is a first aid plant that was used in biblical times and was also reputed to have been used by Cleopatra to keep her skin glowing with health. Aloe Vera plants can be purchased in any plant store during the spring and summer months (and in some instances during the fall).They can also be purchased at nurseries and at floral shops.

An Aloe Vera plant can help you to heal yourself of minor skin problems.  They cna be purchased online from places like Amazon and Pro Plants and they are inexpensive.


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