Posts Tagged ‘General Health’

Benefits of Aloe Vera

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant has been widely regarded as a “Master Healing Plant.” Aloe has been used for thousands of years to heal a wide range of conditions and digestive issues.

Aloe vera, the most common form of the aloe succulents, is very easy to grow, and a plant every home should have on hand for all-around first aid.  The Aloe plant may be grown indoors in a pot as well as outdoors in areas with a warm climate.  Aloe plants are very low maintenance and only need to be watered every 10-14 days, once the soil is completely dry.

The Aloe plant acts as an antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial agent.  Aloe soothes burns, skin irritations and even helps treat various skin conditions like eczema and ringworm.  When applied to wounds, aloe increases the blood flow to the injured area, stimulating fibroblast, the skin cells responsible for wound healing.  To use Aloe topically, simply cut off a leaf of your Aloe plant (or buy pure Aloe Vera Gel at your local market) and place the soothing clear gel on the areas where it is needed.

Aloe also provides many benefits when taken internally.  Drinking Aloe Vera Juice (which may be found at natural food stores) has shown to help ease digestive discomfort and treat both constipation and diarrhea. Studies also show that when taken internally, Aloe can stimulate and regulate various components of the immune system by stopping and soothing inflammation and improving blood circulation.  Taking Aloe internally is easy; drink around 3-6 ounces a day to benefit from all the wonderful healing properties that Aloe has to offer.

You can buy Aloe plants at most natural food stores, local farmers markets and nurseries.  The low maintenance and numerous uses of Aloe make it an economical and all-around beneficial addition to any household.

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Gluten Free Diet – What’s it all About?

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Gluten WheatIf you’ve paid attention to any media source recently, you’ve probably heard  about gluten sensitivity and gluten-free diets. Even Chelsea Clinton has gone gluten-free and had a gluten-free menu at her recent wedding. This fad has been triggered by the growing awareness of health benefits that a gluten free diet provides. In addition to Chelsea, Jennifer Aniston, Zooey Deschanel (star of Bones), and Rachel Weisz (star of The Mummy) have joined the ranks of the gluten free.

Why is Everyone Going Gluten-Free?
Gluten-free diets are not just for the rich and famous. Marketing surveys indicate that 15 to 25% of shoppers, a startling one out of four, are asking for gluten-free products. Doctor’s estimate that only 1% of the population has an actual gluten intolerance, so there must be some reason that everyone else is giving up gluten. Gluten-free followers find their new diet,  free of most processed foods and rich in fruits and vegetables, gives them a vitality and energy level they never had before. A gluten-free diet will naturally stabilize blood sugar as processed sugars are removed from the foods being eaten. While this is good for everyone, it is particularly good for diabetics.

What is Gluten?
People talk about gluten like it’s pure poison, the worst thing since fat and cholesterol. Gluten is simply a type of plant-based protein that is in many wheat and grain products. It is in most traditional breads, pasta, cookies, cakes, and other baked products. In other words, it’s the comfort foods that most of us think of as “the good stuff.” While a reasonable amount of gluten doesn’t seem to harm most people, if you have a gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, or diabetes, it can cause fatigue, disgestive problems and interefer with the absorbtion of nutrients.

Is a Gluten-Free Diet the Answer to Type 1 Diabetes?
There is a high occurrence of patients with both celiac disease and Type 1 Diabetes. U.S. statistics show that 1 in 100 people in the general population have celiac disease, while 1 in 10 people who have Type 1 Diabetes also have celiac disease. Many celiac patients find that their diabetic symptoms disappear when they follow the strict, gluten-free diet that is recommended for their gluten intolerance. In fact, researchers believe that this correlation may be their first clue to finding a way to prevent Type 1 Diabetes. This is quite a break through because this is the first indication of any firm idea on how Type 1 Diabetes could be triggered. Wouldn’t it be a miracle if Type 1 Diabetes could be prevented or driven into remission by simply changing your diet? It would give Type 1 patients the same hope that Type 2 patients enjoy.

To Go Gluten Free, or Not?
The gluten-free diet will effectively help those with wheat allergies, celiac disease and diabetes if followed 100% but gluten-free may not be for everyone.  If control over your diet is what you are aiming to achieve then gluten free can be beneficial, but if you don’t have a gluten intolerance or diabetes consider the gluten-free diet as a guideline.  Avoid the common foods that contain gluten, like pastries, pizza, beer and even soy sauce and remember to replace these with lots of fruit, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy options.  Also, always be sure to read the nutritional labels on any “gluten-free” products; just because it is gluten-free doesn’t mean it isn’t full of calories, fat or sugars.

Some common foods that may contain gluten:

  • Pastries: Pretzels, muffins, cakes, pastas, cookies, etc
  • Gluten CrissantPizza
  • Beer
  • Lucheon  meats and sausages may contain gluten fillers
  • Soups with a flour base
  • Instant coffee
  • Licorice
  • Hot Chocolate powders
  • Soy Sauce
  • Dry mustard
  • Gravy powders and stock cubes
  • Baked beans
  • Pates
  • Anything with wheat, wheat germ, wheat grass, rye, barley, bulgur, couscous, farina, graham flour, kamut, matzo, seitan, semolina, spelt, or triticale
  • Also avoid foods that contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein
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Health Starts With Proactive Prevention

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Staying healthy starts with proactive prevention.  One of the easiest ways to be proactive is to keep up with your suggested medical check-ups.  Staying up to date with important check-ups is one easiest things you can do to stay healthy and prevent disease and disability. Click on the link below to view a simple guide for scheduling your most important health screenings.

  • Blood Pressure Measurement: at least every two (2) years
  • Cholesterol Test: Every five (5) years starting at age 20
  • Blood Glucose Test: Every three (3) years starting at age 45
  • Thyroid Test (TSH): Every five (5) years starting at age 35
  • Eye Exam: Every two (2) to three (3) years starting at age 18
  • Hearing Test: Every ten (10) years starting at age 18
  • Skin Exam: Annually starting at age 20
  • Colonoscopy: Every ten (10) years starting at age 50
  • Mammogram: Starting at age 40 every one (1) to two (2) years
  • Prostate Exam: Annually starting at age 45
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