Natural Treatments for Anemia

23 Apr

Natural Treatments for Anemia

 

There are several different causes of anemia, including a lack of vitamin B12 (called pernicious anemia) and liver or kidney failure. For those people who are anemic due to low iron levels, natural solutions are available to you.

Natural Treatments for Anemia

Adjusting your diet to make foods high in iron a priority can help with borderline anemic problems. Foods rich in iron include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Red cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Beets
  • Alfalfa
  • Watercress
  • Wheat grass
  • Tomato juice
  • Fish
  • Coconuts
  • Eggs
  • Black cherry
  • Blackberry

Supplementing with taurine can also help with iron deficiency. In a study involving 51 college-aged women, researchers found that taurine could help increase iron stores significantly in anemic patients. Female students from the Al Azhar University were treated orally with either 325 mg of slow-release iron sulfate or iron in addition to 1,000 mg of the amino acid taurine daily. After two weeks, not only were the total body iron stores significantly higher in those taking the taurine, but their blood-cell levels of iron had increased to a level that would be equivalent to having another ¾ pint of blood.

Anemia is oftentimes hard to treat because it takes so long for the body stores and blood cell levels of iron to improve. Taurine is a very safe and relatively inexpensive method to speed up the process. Exactly how it works isn’t understood; taurine is known to help strengthen cell walls, so it’s possible that it may be extending the normal 120-day life of red blood cells.

Taurine is most commonly found in fish, and most of us are probably getting adequate amounts of it from our diet. But for those who need a boost in their iron stores, supplementing with taurine appears to make sense. I’ve never heard of anything else that works so quickly and effectively for those with anemia. In the above study, taurine wasn’t taken at the same time as the iron supplement, so I wouldn’t take them together either.

Now It’s Your Turn: Do you have anemia?

Dr. Williams

Solutions for Three Common Digestive Problems

21 Apr

Solutions for 3 Common Digestive Problems

 

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic heartburn, constipation, and other gastrointestinal issues. As we age, our digestive organs secrete fewer enzymes, and peristalsis (the wave-like muscle contraction that moves things through the esophagus, stomach, and intestines) slows down. Consequently, digestive problems are among the most frequent complaints of our middle and later years.

It’s no secret that digestive problems can make life extremely uncomfortable. The good news is, there are several safe and effective ways to prevent and treat digestive problems.

For starters, try supplementing with digestive enzymes, such as protease (which breaks down protein), amylase (which breaks down carbohydrate), and lipase (which breaks down fat), and probiotics. Together, these supplements can help safely and naturally resolve existing digestive problems, and also prevent them from happening in the first place.

Beyond that, there are some other remedies you can try for three very common digestive complaints.

GERD and Heartburn Remedies

If you experience heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), your first stop might be your drugstore to pick up an over-the-counter remedy for heartburn. But before you grab an acid blocker, bear in mind that these drugs have been linked to increased risk of bacterial infection, hip fracture, nutritional deficiencies, and memory decline.

Fortunately, there’s a better solution: melatonin. Best known as the sleep hormone, researchers are now discovering melatonin’s remarkable ability to suppress stomach acid and protect the esophagus from the caustic effects of gastric acid.

In one study, 351 people with moderate to severe heartburn were either given the acid blocker Prilosec or a supplement containing 6 mg of melatonin plus B vitamins and amino acids. Within one week, those taking melatonin reported some improvement, and, after 40 days, they had complete resolution of symptoms. Conversely, only 66 percent of the patients on Prilosec had complete relief.

The recommended dose of melatonin for heartburn and GERD is 6 mg, taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Be sure you’re taking a quality multinutrient supplement too, since B vitamins and amino acids appear to boost melatonin’s efficacy.

Other safe, natural, and effective heartburn remedies include deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), chamomile, and baking soda.

Flatulence Remedies

Although we don’t like to talk about it, everybody passes gas. In fact, the average person has 10 to 14 “episodes” daily, producing a total of a pint or two of gas. It comes from air we swallow, chemical reactions in the gut, and bacteria living in the intestines. That’s why I want to tell you about an old, inexpensive, over-the-counter drug that can give you quick, safe relief.

Simethicone is the generic name for the active ingredient in Gas-X, Maalox, Mylanta, and related products. It works by decreasing the surface area and tension on gas bubbles in the gastrointestinal tract. This causes them to form larger bubbles that can be passed more easily (and in a more socially acceptable manner) by burping.

Available in drugstores in liquid, capsule, or tablet form, simethicone should be taken as directed after meals and at bedtime, if needed. It is so safe and well tolerated that it is even used in infant formulas for colic.

Two other flatulence remedies I recommend are Beano and fennel seeds. Beans, cruciferous vegetables, and grains contain raffinose sugars that our bodies are unable to digest, which is why we often experience gas after consuming them.

Rather than avoiding these foods altogether, take Beano with meals. Beano contains the missing enzyme that enables our bodies to break down these sugars before they reach the large intestine where gas is produced.

Chewing fennel seeds after meals is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy for gas and indigestion. Another option is to make fennel tea by steeping 1–2 teaspoons of seeds per cup of boiling water. You can find fennel seeds in the spice aisle in grocery stores.

Natural Remedies for Constipation

Many people rely on laxatives for alleviating constipation, but there are better ways to address the problem. To keep things moving, be sure to get regular exercise, eat plenty of high-fiber foods, and take supplemental fiber, such as flaxseed and psyllium.

Prunes are also an effective remedy for constipation because, in addition to fiber, they contain sorbitol, which attracts water and softens stools. Also drink lots of water plus a cup or two of coffee first thing in the morning, which works wonders for some.

You should also make sure you’re getting enough magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is an independent risk factor for constipation. Start with 400–500 mg a day (the amount in most multivitamins) and increase up to 1,000 mg, if necessary. If that doesn’t loosen things up, take more vitamin C—500 mg several times a day.

Now it’s your turn: Do you know of any other remedies for these common digestive problems
Dr. Whitaker

Sea Buckthorn for Healthy Aging and Overall Health

18 Apr

Sea Buckthorn for Healthy Aging and Overall Well-Being

 

Sea Buckthorn for Healthy Aging and Overall Well-Being

Engaging in regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and taking a quality daily multivitamin and other targeted supplements such as resveratrol and pterostilbene—these are a few examples of techniques I recommend for supporting healthy aging and optimal well-being, and I’ve written about all of them many times before.

Now, I want to tell you about another powerful herbal extract you should consider adding to your arsenal of safe, natural methods for promoting overall health: sea buckthorn.

Varied Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn is a deciduous spiny shrub found primarily in the Tibetan Plateau of China, but it also grows in parts of Europe, Pakistan, and other high altitude areas. The berries of this extremely hardy plant contain more than 160 different types of nutrients including vitamins, carotenoids, flavonoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols, and amino acids, which is why the benefits of sea buckthorn are so widespread.

The medicinal value of sea buckthorn was recorded in classic Tibetan medical literature as early as the 8th Century and its berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than a thousand years. Some of the traditional uses of sea buckthorn include treatment for cough, asthma and other lung disorders, skin diseases, stomach ulcers and other digestive issues, and hypertension and circulatory disorders.

While these traditional uses of sea buckthorn still apply today, its ability to provide powerful support for immune and cardiovascular health are probably the most widely recognized. A variety of products containing sea buckthorn are available online and through other retailers. I recommend purchasing ones that use berries harvested from certified organic farms in Tibet because they are processed quickly, which helps preserve nutrient content.

Sea buckthorn leaves and flowers are used for treating arthritis, gastrointestinal ulcers, gout, and skin rashes caused by infectious diseases such as measles. A tea containing sea buckthorn leaves is used as a source of vitamins, antioxidants, protein building blocks (amino acids), fatty acids and minerals; for improving blood pressure and lowering cholesterol; preventing and controlling blood vessel diseases; and boosting immunity.

Sea buckthorn berries are used for preventing infections, improving sight, and slowing the aging process.

The seed or berry oil is used as an expectorant for loosening phlegm; for treating asthma, heart disorders including chest pain (angina) and high cholesterol; for preventing blood vessel disease; and as an antioxidant. Sea buckthorn oil is also used for slowing the decline of thinking skills with age; reducing illness due to cancer, as well as limiting the toxicity of chemical cancer treatment (chemotherapy); balancing the immune system; treating stomach and intestinal diseases including ulcers and reflux esophagitis (GERD); treating night blindness and dry eye; and as a supplemental source of vitamins C, A, and E, beta-carotene, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Some people apply sea buckthorn berries, berry concentrate, and berry or seed oil directly to the skin for preventing sunburn; for treating radiation damage from x-rays and sunburns; for healing wounds including bedsores, burns, and cuts; for acne, dermatitis, dry skin, eczema, skin ulcers, and skin color changes after giving birth; and for protecting mucus membranes.

In foods, sea buckthorn berries are used to make jellies, juices, purees, and sauces.

In manufacturing, sea buckthorn is used in cosmetics and anti-aging products.

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever used products containing sea buckthorn?

Dr. Whitaker

 

Why Glycation is Harmful

16 Apr

 

Why Glycation Is Harmful To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the major problems stemming from sugar consumption has to do with a chemical process called glycation. During the next several years, I suspect you will begin to see more emphasis being placed on the harmful effects of glycation. But if you’re concerned about preventing nearly any health problem, glycation is something that you should know about now, not 10 years from now.

The Science of Glycation

In simplest terms, glycation refers to the combination of a sugar and a protein molecule. Most everyone has seen the effects of glycation in the kitchen. During baking, sugar (whether it be white table sugar [sucrose], fruit sugar [fructose] or milk sugar [lactose]) combines with certain amino acids in the grain proteins. This chemical reaction causes bread and pastries to turn brown. The same reaction also occurs when meats are glazed and coffee is roasted.

Glycation also occurs in the body when the sugar in your blood (glucose) combines with the amino acids tryptophan, lysine, and arginine. This reactive process creates certain byproducts known scientifically as Advanced Glycation End products. And in terms of what they do inside the body, well, their acronym says it all: AGE.

To help get a better picture in your mind about AGEs, visualize the clear, runny portion of a raw egg. This part of the egg is mostly protein. When you heat this clear portion of the egg, it quickly and permanently transforms from a runny, clear liquid to a solid, rubbery white mass. Similar proteins are found throughout your body. They are, after all, the body’s building blocks. When glycation occurs and AGEs form, these proteins are changed forever—just as in the egg. The long-term health consequences of this protein-altering process can be disastrous.

Why Glycation is Harmful to Your Health

When proteins in blood vessels undergo glycation, you get stiffer, less flexible arteries which lead to higher blood pressure, plaque formation, blood flow blockages, heart and artery disease, stroke, heart attack, etc. The smallest blood vessels are the hardest hit, such as those in the back of the eye, the kidney and the brain. These areas require a constant supply of glucose to meet their high energy requirements; as a result, they have the highest degree of glycation. Animal studies confirm that damage occurs to areas like the eyes when diets high in sugar are consumed. In particular, the cloudiness that begins to develop in the lens of the eye (more commonly known as cataracts) is a result of glycation. The increasing incidence of cataracts in this country is no doubt linked to our ever-increasing sugar consumption.

Tips and Snack Ideas

Remember how you used to eat unhealthy snacks as you wished? You were missing out on opportunities to fulfill your daily nutritional fruit and vegetable requirements. Fruit can be very helpful and effective in satisfying sugar cravings and you’ll end up getting your daily servings of fruit in no time. So use fruits to help with sugar cravings.

When you would normally eat chocolate, eat a mandarin orange instead. The fibrous orange will fill you up, and its sweetness will satisfy your sugar craving. Mandarins are small and easy to carry around in your bag, or put two in your lunchbox—one for after lunch and another for those mid-afternoon cravings.

To satiate a desire for an ice cream, put a dollop of peanut butter between two banana slices and freeze them. One whole banana will make up to 10 of these little sandwiches. When frozen they take on a refreshing quality not unlike ice cream.

For “healthy” strawberry shortcake, take large strawberries, hollow and fill with kefir. You’ll get your daily dose of probiotics, too, with this treat.
Now It’s Your Turn: How did you decrease your sugar intake?

Dr. Williams

How To Make a Castor Oil pack

14 Apr

How To Use Castor Oil As A Natural Treatment

Castor oil has had a long history of medicinal healing and its usage goes back to antiquity. Today, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and believers in natural treatments continue to recommend castor oil packs because of their ability to promote healing and to reduce inflammation.

When used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of the thymus gland and other immune system functions, especially the lymphatic system. Patients who used abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in the production of lymphocytes compared with patients using placebo packs. Castor oil packs are also known to help with hepatitis C, hyperthyroidism, pelvic pain, tendinitis, kidney stones, fibroids, ovarian cysts, swollen joints, irritable bowel syndrome, and digestive disorders.

Though we mainly know it as one of Edgar Cayce’s most famous remedies, castor oil has a long history of traditional medical use dating back to ancient Egypt. Derived from the castor bean, the oil was traditionally used internally as a laxative. However, now it is primarily used externally due to its potential toxicity.

A castor oil pack is placed on the skin to increase circulation and to promote elimination and healing of the tissues and organs underneath the skin. It is used to stimulate the liver, relieve pain, increase lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion.

Castor oil packs are a traditional holistic treatment for a range of conditions, such as: cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), poor eliminations, epilepsy, various liver conditions such as cirrhosis and torpid liver, scleroderma, headaches, appendicitis, arthritis, in-coordination between assimilation and eliminations, colitis, intestinal disorders such as stricture and colon impaction, in-coordination between nervous systems, neuritis, and toxemia.

Castor oil packs are made by soaking a piece of flannel in castor oil and placing it on the skin. The flannel is covered with a sheet of plastic, and then a hot water bottle is placed over the plastic to heat the pack.

A castor oil pack can be placed on the following body regions:

The right side of the abdomen to stimulate the liver; inflamed and swollen joints, bursitis, and muscle strains; the abdomen to relieve constipation and other digestive disorders; the lower abdomen in cases of menstrual irregularities and uterine and ovarian cysts.

Safety precautions: Castor oil should not be taken internally. It should not be applied to broken skin, or used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or during menstrual flow.

castor oil pack

To make a castor oil pack you will need the following items:

  • Bottle of cold-pressed castor oil
  • Standard heating pad
  • Plastic garbage bag or extra large plastic that covers the area
  • Two or three 1-foot square pieces of wool or cotton flannel
  • One large bath towel
  1. Start by placing the heating pad on a flat surface and turn the setting to high.
  2. Lay the plastic garbage bag on top of the heating pad. Next, soak the flannel pieces with castor oil (about 1/2 cup) and lay them on top of the garbage bag and heating pad.
  3. The entire pack can now be placed against the body with the oil-soaked flannel on the skin. For general conditions, the pack should be placed on the abdomen. (For treating lower back problems, the pack can be placed there.) To help hold the pack in place and to keep oil from getting on bedding, the body can be wrapped in a large bath towel.
  4. The pack should remain in place for at least one hour, and the temperature of the heating pad should be kept at the highest temperature tolerable to the patient.
  5. When you remove the pack, the remaining oil can be massaged into the skin or cleaned off using a mixture of 1 quart warm water and 2 tablespoons baking soda.
  6. The flannel can be reused if stored properly in either a Ziploc bag or plastic container, and placed in the refrigerator. Before using it the next time, let it warm up, and always add another 1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh castor oil. (After a month of use, I would recommend using new flannel.)

Now It’s Your Turn: Have you ever used castor oil as a natural treatment?

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Prolotherapy: Pain Therapy That Lasts

11 Apr

 

Prolotherapy: Pain Relief That Lasts

 

If you’re not familiar with prolotherapy, the idea that injecting anything other than a painkiller or steroid into the problematic area could work for pain relief might seem counter-intuitive. But when you start to look at what is causing the pain, it all begins to make sense.

Prolotherapy injections are a nonsurgical treatment that addresses underlying causes of musculoskeletal conditions marked by pain. It involves injections of a mildly irritating solution into the painful area to stimulate healing and provide lasting relief.

How Do Prolotherapy Injections Work?

When ligaments and tendons become injured, weak or lax, the resulting misalignment impinges on nerves and blood vessels and causes pain.

The solution used in prolotherapy injections triggers your body’s natural healing response. It also promotes the production of new collagen, which is the building block of ligaments and tendons. As these structures become thicker and stronger, they keep joints stable and properly aligned, allowing for smooth, pain-free movement.

What Is a Typical Prolotherapy Injection Treatment Session Like?

When you undergo prolotherapy injections, a physician administers several injections of a mildly irritating solution into the painful area. Although prolotherapy injections can cause discomfort during the first few days of healing, this therapy has none of the risks associated with conventional surgical procedures and drugs for pain relief.

Many people have noted significant relief after a single prolotherapy injection treatment. However, it usually takes several sessions to achieve lasting pain relief and a return to normal function.

What Conditions Is Prolotherapy Good For?

Prolotherapy Injections for Pain

4” x 6” of Vulnerability

Let’s take back pain for example. Ninety-five percent of low back pain comes from a four-by-six inch area, where the sacrum, or base of the spine, meets the fifth and final lumbar vertebra and the ilia, or hipbones. This small area is quite vulnerable, since it supports the entire weight of the upper body.

The structures in this area are held in place by elastic bands of connective tissue called ligaments. Ligaments are like rubber bands. When they are strong and taut, they keep everything in proper alignment. But when they become weak and slack, the structures they support move out of proper position and put pressure on the discs (the pads of protective cartilage between the vertebrae) and nerves exiting the spinal cord. This results not only in pain in the lower back, but also, depending on which nerves are pinched, pain radiating into the buttocks or legs.

Loose ligaments can cause problems anywhere in the spine. When the ligaments supporting the vertebral segments weaken, all sorts of things start to go wrong. The muscles of the back tense up in an attempt to keep things in line, causing muscle spasms and pain.

Bony structures may also get involved in the effort to stabilize the vertebrae, and begin to thicken. (This is an often painful condition called spinal stenosis.) When discs are subjected to continuous pressure, they begin to degenerate, bulge, or rupture (herniate), which can cause even more pain.

Prolotherapy Strengthens Ligaments for Lasting Pain Relief

The obvious solution is to strengthen the weakened ligaments, and that is precisely what prolotherapy does. A slightly irritating solution (dextrose is the most common) along with a mild anesthetic is injected into the area where the ligaments attach to the bones. This causes the body to mount a healing response, and inflammatory chemicals and other growth factors begin repairing and reconstructing the affected area.

The end result is strong, tight new connective tissue that restores proper alignment. Pressure is removed from the nerves and discs, and pain relief soon follows. Because prolotherapy tackles the underlying cause of chronic pain, its effects are, in most cases, permanent.

 

4 Natural Type 2 Diabetes Treatments

9 Apr

4 Natural Type 2 Diabetes Treatments

 

Since it’s such an epidemic in this country Dr. Whitaker is often asked what he recommends for treating type 2 diabetes. So he wants to share the four primary type 2 diabetes treatments that have helped not only my patients but countless others regain their health.

For starters, all of the type 2 diabetes treatments he recommends are natural—he doesn’t prescribe insulin or other diabetes drugs because they often only make the problem worse. In fact, when it comes to treating type 2 diabetes, the best place to start is with lifestyle changes. In most cases, that’s all it takes to get your blood sugar under control and to turn your health around.

With that in mind, if you are concerned about your blood sugar—even if you haven’t been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes—here are four things you must do to get a handle on the situation.

Lifestyle Changes Are the Best Type 2 Diabetes Treatments

  1. Eat a low-glycemic diet. Studies have shown time and again that the best diet for people with diabetes is one that is centered on healthy, low-glycemic foods. Examples include green vegetables, beans, and legumes. These foods are also high in fiber, which is another proven type 2 diabetes treatment.
  2. Be active every day. One of the greatest risk factors for type 2 diabetes is a sedentary lifestyle. But regular exercise is equally important for treating type 2 diabetes. In fact, some researchers found that overweight and obese diabetic patients who exercised and ate a low-glycemic diet for three weeks reduced their diabetic medication requirements by 86 percent!
  3. Lose weight. It’s no secret that type 2 diabetes and obesity go hand in hand. That’s why achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is, perhaps, the most critical type 2 diabetes treatment. Obviously, following a low-glycemic diet and engaging in regular exercise will help with weight loss. But, if you have a lot of weight to lose, I strongly encourage you to consider the mini-fast with exercise. This clinically studied intermittent fasting diet has produced excellent—and in some cases, astounding—results for everyone I know who has given it a try.
  4. Take supplements for diabetes. While the three type 2 diabetes treatments Dr. Whitaker just described work wonders when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels, you should also take targeted supplements for extra support. For decades, he has been recommending trace minerals like vanadyl sulfate and chromium and herbal extracts such as purslane, banaba, and cinnamon, along with a high-dose daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. But a few years ago, he came across a botanical that is now among his top nutritional supplements for diabetes. Berberine is not only as effective as prescription drugs at lowering blood sugar, but it also helps address common diabetic complications, especially heart disease. So if you want to start with one supplement, this is the one he would recommend.

Berberine Proves Powerful Against Diabetes

This plant alkaloid berberine, revered in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine but largely ignored elsewhere, is poised to become one of our most powerful natural therapies for preventing and treating diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Plus, it helps to facilitate weight loss, combats cancer and can maybe even stave off dementia and the ravages of aging.

The big news, however, is that research shows berberine works just as well as the top-selling drug for type 2 diabetes, metformin (Glucophage).

In a clinical trial published in Metabolism, people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were randomly divided into groups and assigned to take metformin or berberine. Improvements were noted the very first week.  At the study’s conclusion, the average blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c levels were significantly decreased in both groups. Remarkably, berberine was every bit as effective as metformin. The two had “identical effect[s] in the regulation of glucose metabolism.”

Berberine Aids Heart Health

But berberine also does something diabetes drugs cannot do. In another randomized, placebo-controlled trial, berberine lowered triglycerides by 35.9 percent, LDL cholesterol by 21 percent, and total cholesterol by 18 percent, compared to minimal declines in cholesterol and an increase in triglycerides in the control group. Furthermore, the group taking berberine had lower blood pressure (average drop of 7/5 mm Hg systolic/diastolic) and modest weight and abdominal fat loss.

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever used any of these type 2 diabetes treatments?

Dr. Whitaker

Benefits of Protein In The Morning

8 Apr

Benefits of Protein in the Morning

 

Carbohydrate and sugar overload aside, you may want to rethink that blueberry muffin for breakfast. New research shows that eating a meal that is full of protein in the morning can help with appetite control for the rest of the day.

Researchers evaluated three groups. The first ate a protein-rich egg and sausage breakfast, the second had pancakes and syrup, and the third skipped the morning meal entirely. The group who ate the protein-packed, egg-based meal reported feeling more full and experienced a reduced desire to eat throughout the morning. Furthermore, the high-protein group ate fewer calories at lunch.

Other Benefits of Protein

Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats), which is why it is so helpful when it comes to appetite control. It sticks to your ribs and helps you feel full longer. One of the other main benefits of protein is that it takes longer to digest than sugary or starchy carbohydrates.

Several other aspects of health and well-being are also dependent on protein and its constituent amino acids, such as the construction of hormones, neurotransmitters, muscles, and nerves, to name a few. That’s why it’s important to make sure you get adequate amounts of high-quality protein in your diet every day—not just in the morning.

The Role Protein Plays in Your Body

Protein and its constituent amino acids transport nutrients and other molecules into and out of cells and provide the building blocks for enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, blood plasma, sperm and saliva. It is also required for the construction of muscles, hair and nails, nerves, skin and internal organs.

What Are Good Sources of High-Quality Protein?

Many people think that you have to eat meat, eggs and dairy products to get enough protein. It’s true that, unlike animal-derived foods, most plant-source proteins do not contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs (these are the amino acids your body cannot produce on its own).

However, as long as you eat a varied diet that includes foods like legumes and nuts, it doesn’t matter whether or not specific foods are “complete” proteins. For example, flaxseed is a great plant source of high-quality protein—a quarter cup of freshly ground flax contains almost 8 g of high-quality protein.

Other good sources of high-quality protein include fish and seafood, skinless poultry, eggs and egg whites, nonfat or low-fat cheeses and Greek yogurt, tofu, nuts, and soy and whey protein.

How Much Protein Should You Eat?

For optimal health, you should aim for a serving (20–25 grams or four ounces) of high-quality protein with every meal. A serving size of animal protein is slightly larger than a deck of cards; a serving of plant protein is the size of a tennis ball.

Here are two “egg-cellent” recipes that are sure to help with appetite control and provide plenty of good-for-you protein.

Egg white Scramble

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 12 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Dash pepper (to taste)
  • Dash salt or salt substitute (to taste)

Directions:

Scramble egg whites with the skim milk, cottage cheese, bell pepper, and onion. Pour onto heated, non-stick skillet coated with olive oil cooking spray. Cook gently, turning with spatula as needed to keep from burning.

Western Omelet

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 slice green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mild salsa,
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable broth seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites

Directions:

Spritz a medium skillet with olive oil spray and sauté tomato, onion, zucchini, mushrooms, and green pepper. Add oil, salsa, seasoning, and pepper. While the mixture simmers, beat eggs and egg whites with a fork and pour onto the mixture, stirring while it cooks to keep it from sticking. Cook until the egg sets.

Now it’s your turn: Do you know of any other benefits of protein?

Dr. Whitaker

Give Your Libido A Lift

4 Apr

 

Waning libido is a concern for both men and women with advancing age. The most common recommendations involve increasing hormone levels, particularly testosterone, for both sexes.

Hormones are always tricky to work with. However, for men who are of an age where prostate health is a concern, care should be taken when using testosterone or products that increase its production. Testosterone can increase the activity of cancer in the prostate gland.

A natural alternative is royal jelly, a glandular secretion made by worker bees. It’s fed to a selected ordinary female bee, which causes her to transform into the queen. It turns out to be pretty miraculous stuff. On this diet alone, the new queen grows to 11/2 times the size of ordinary bees and lives to over four years, compared to the normal bee life span of forty days.

Royal jelly contains an abundance of minerals; essential amino acids; acetylcholine; and vitamins A, C, D, E, and most B vitamins (in fact, it’s the richest source of pantothenic acid or B5). Royal jelly also contains a small amount of testosterone, which may help explain its benefits for libido. The amount of testosterone in royal jelly is not enough to be of concern. I recommend 50–100 mg of royal jelly a day.

One other substance that seems to affect libido is melatonin. Dr. Russel Reiter, at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has found that the hormone melatonin, from the pineal gland, affects sexual desire. The more light you’re exposed to, the less melatonin your pineal releases. Lower levels of this hormone increase ovulation in women and sperm production in men, and increase the sex drive in both.

Before menopause, your sex drive peaked just before and after you ovulated. But when your periods stop, estrogen dips, and those revved-up days in your cycle are gone.

Menopausal women may respond less to touch, too, and find it harder to get aroused. Less estrogen also means less blood flow to the vagina, and more dryness. So when you do have sex, it can hurt. Who wants sex that feels bad?

What helps:  First, stop the pain. Try over-the-counter water-based lubricants. Ask your doctor about prescription medications to fight dryness: There are oral drugs available, as well as vaginal creams, which have fewer side effects than oral hormones.

Traditional hormone replacement therapy doesn’t seem to kindle desire for most women. What it can do is ease hot flashes and other symptoms that leave you feeling not-so-sexy.

Women may also blame menopause for a low sex drive when other health problems are the real cause. Common culprits: Bladder problems, underactive thyroid, and iron-deficiency anemia.

What helps: Get a medical checkup to make sure there’s nothing else going on. As for self-esteem, don’t believe that only a svelte starlet can be sexy. Treat your body well, making time for self-care and time for sex.

Dr. Williams

Spring Wellness

2 Apr

Allergy-Relief Quiz

 

Runny nose. Sneezing. Itchy throat. Watery eyes. All of these uncomfortable symptoms can signal allergies. Allergic reactions can strike seasonally or persist year-round, prompted by substances that lurk either indoors or outdoors. In most regions, seasonal allergy season is at its peak during early spring and fall.

Due to several years of record-breaking levels of seasonal pollens, it is essential to have an allergy survival plan in place. Why such high levels? Climate change, the rise in worldwide temperatures and greenhouse gases, record amounts of precipitation, and over planting of male plants have resulted in longer allergy seasons. All these factors have created a perfect storm for those who suffer from seasonal and mold allergies.

Stay one step ahead for an allergy-free season! First, you need to know if you have seasonal allergies so you can customize a successful allergen avoidance and management plan.

Second, many sufferers don’t realize that medications (nasal antihistamines/steroids, oral antihistamines and eye drops) often work better before symptoms take hold. You may actually need less if started before peak allergy periods.

Allergies can take a toll on many areas of your life. Sleep is big one. Allergy sufferers are often sleepy during the day, especially if you are hooked on drowsiness-causing OTC medications or insomnia-causing oral decongestants. Daytime fatigue can actually be caused, in part, as a result of blocked nasal passages that disrupt sleep patterns. That’s what I refer to as “allergy fatigue syndrome.”

Get the right treatment to control your seasonal and indoor allergies, so you can breathe better at night and have better quality rest. It’s time to break the cycle, get treated successfully, and sleep better. Eventually, you won’t even need that extra latte!

Here are some allergy survival strategies that I have found to be extremely helpful to allergy sufferers:

Stay Cool: Cool eye compresses may improve appearance and reduce unwanted eye allergy symptoms.

Be a Star: Wear big sunglasses to block pollen entry into your eyes and eyelids, especially on windy days.

Rinse Wisely: Wash your eyelids gently when you wash your face each morning. Shampoo your hair in the evening if you have been out on high-pollen days (or after being outdoors) to remove and wash away unwanted seasonal pollens and molds. This will stop them from landing on your pillow and bed sheets during the night. Change your clothing before entering your bedroom to reduce pollens from being brought into your bedroom.

Wear a Hat: Get a sombrero! Wear a wide-brimmed hat to prevent pollens from landing on top of your head.

Say No to Hair Gel: Don’t use hair gel and similar hair-care products that can act as “pollen magnets” during the height of allergy season.

Avoid the Pollen Problem: Consider exercising indoors on very high-pollen days. Higher levels of pollens are usually found on warm, dry and windy days.

Plan Ahead and Know Your Pollen Count: Go to http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx for accurate pollen and mold levels in your area. Pollen levels are typically higher on warm, sunny, dry and windy days, and lower on cooler, moist, wet and “windless” days.

Mask It: Wear a pollen mask, use gloves and avoid touching your eyes and face. This can really help during gardening or lawn mowing.

Don’t Line Dry: Never line dry clothing outdoors on high-pollen days, as it will adhere to your linens, towels, etc.

Avoid Certain Plants and Flowers 

They may be pretty, but it’s better to keep your distance. Many flowers will drive up your allergy symptoms, especially if you really inhale their aroma up close. Avoid the following: Daisies, chrysanthemum, amaranthus, dahlia, sunflower, black-eyed Susan, zinnia, privet and lilac.

Try an Allergy-Friendly Garden: Plant gladiolus, periwinkle, begonia, bougainvillea, iris and orchid. These plants won’t aggravate your allergies.

Start Your Allergy Treatment Early: See an allergist for simple, fast, reliable allergy tests so you can get relief.

Get Shot: Allergy injections are the only immune-based therapy we have that will actually reduce and slow down “allergic disease” progression. It will provide excellent long-term relief in over 85% of patients.

The Next Wave, Allergy Drops: During the last 70 years, state-of-the-art treatment for allergies has been shots, also known as allergy immunotherapy. By receiving small quantities over time of the exact allergens the patient is allergic to, physicians can reduce and potentially eliminate the patient’s allergies. But oral allergy drops could be the wave of the future. An exciting new study recently released offers allergy sufferers an alternative treatment to the traditional shots.

  

The study, out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This scientific review of more than 60 published studies on the use of oral allergy drops, in more than 5,000 European patients, proves them to be an effective option in treating allergy symptoms. The typical allergens used in this review included pollens, dust mites, pet dander and molds. This could potentially be good news for the 40-plus million allergy sufferers in the United States, especially those who hate getting stuck with a needle.

Allergy drops are similar to shots; however, the allergen is taken underneath the tongue, instead of being injected into the arm. Children, adolescents and adults who have allergies in the US may find this approach appealing, as the drops can be taken at home, as opposed to the doctor’s office. Researchers cautioned allergy sufferers to weigh the pros and cons of receiving this treatment before making a decision. There are some side effects associated with the oral allergy drops, including itchiness of the mouth, but no life-threatening reactions were reported.

The drops are currently only available in Europe, as well as some other countries abroad. At the present time, there are no companies producing an oral allergy drop in the US that’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In my opinion, it appears likely the sublingual oral allergy drops for treatment of allergic asthma and allergies will be widely available at an allergist’s office near you in the coming years. As always, see an allergist for recommendations on the best course of effective allergy care and treatment.

Medications Work: Effective and safe choices for relief include: OTC nasal saline sprays/rinses, prescription nasal steroid and antihistamines, oral antihistamines, leukotriene blockers and allergy eye drops.

Clean the Air: At home or when driving, keep windows closed and set the air conditioner on “re-circulate” to keep out the pollens. Clean filters in air conditioners frequently during allergy season to get the best efficiency. The MERV is a rating scale that tells you how good a filter is at removing allergens in your home. The higher the rating, the better off you are. Look for a MERV value of 11-12.

Avoid Window Fans: This is a rather good way to bring in unwanted pollens or mold spores. If you don’t want that, skip window fans.

Avoid Cross-Reactions: As many as 1 in 3 seasonal allergy sufferers may experience “oral allergy syndrome” (tingling of the mouth or itchy throat) after ingesting certain foods (apples, pears, carrots, celery, peaches, cherries, as well as almonds and hazelnuts). If you have seasonal tree pollen allergies, this is due to a cross-reaction between the proteins in these foods and the pollens. Melons, tomatoes and oranges may cross-react with grass pollens. If you are sensitive to weed pollens watch out for melon, chamomile tea, and banana. Review this Seasonal Allergy Cross-Reaction Chart. 

This chart can help you figure out what foods enhance reactions to certain types of tree pollen, so you can be aware of what foods to avoid to help keep your allergies at bay. For a larger printable version of this chart, please click here. 

Enjoy the great outdoors this season with these simple, practical and proven ways to stay allergy-free!
Are you among the 36 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies? If so, you know how they can zap energy levels and make you feel quite miserable. Amp up your allergy survival skills by taking this quiz.

1. An allergen is any substance that can cause an allergic reaction.

True

False

2. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to hay.

True

False

3. Pollen count is usually highest in the early evening.

True

False

4. Pollen levels are typically highest on warm, dry and windy days.

True

False

5. Pollen can cling to your clothes and hair, bringing allergy symptoms inside.

True

False

6. It can be difficult to tell an allergy from the cold or flu. Some of the symptoms they both share include fever and thick, yellow mucous.

True

False

7. Common allergy tests for seasonal and other allergies include a skin prick test or a blood test.

True

False

8.  Mucous is the cause of allergy-induced itchy, red watery eyes.

True

False

9. If you know you suffer from seasonal allergies, begin treatment at earliest onset to get a handle on them.

True

False

10. According to one NASA study, home air quality can be up to 5 times worse than the air quality outdoors.

True

False

11. One out of 10 people are allergic to mold spores.

True

False

12.  Pet allergies are caused by long pet hair.

True

False

13. The #1 indoor allergen is the dust mite.

True

False

14.  Allergies can be inherited.

True

False

Answers: 1-t, 2-f, 3-f, 4-t, 5-t, 6-f, 7-t, 8-f, 9-t, 10-t, 11-f, 12-f, 13-t, 14-t

 

Dr. Oz

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