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Do anti-cancer superfoods really work? The short answer to this question is, yes, they really do. While studies are ongoing, and in many cases experts still don’t know exactly how these superfoods work, there’s strong evidence that certain fruits and vegetables rich in plant-based nutrients can both prevent tumors from starting and halt their growth. Here, the top foods to work into the family diet if you’d like to cut cancer risk or help those with cancer recover

Blueberries, Acai Berries, Raspberries, and Cranberries

The rich, dark colors of blueberries, Brazilian acai berries, raspberries and cranberries come from phytochemicals that protect against numerous types of cancer.  The anti-cancer properties of all these berries are so strong that researchers have developing concentrated supplements and other products such as purees and concentrates.

Green Tea

One of the first plant-based chemicals to be studied for its anti-cancer properties, catechins — the chemicals in green tea — have been known for some time to prevent and reduce recurrence of breast and other cancers. With this particular chemical, experts even know why: a chemical known as EGCG inhibits breast tumor growth, a University of Mississippi study shows. Just two cups a day is enough to do the trick.

Garlic

Numerous studies over the years have documented the anti-cancer properties of garlic. The strongest evidence so far has focused on digestive cancers, but garlic appears to protect against all types of cancer, including breast and prostate. According to the National Cancer Institute, an analysis of seven different large-scale population studies showed that the more raw and cooked garlic a person consumed, the lower his risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. Scientists have isolated two active ingredients in garlic, allicin and allyl sulfur, and demonstrated that they prevent and fight cancer in both animals and humans.  Add crushed, fresh garlic to your meals whenever possible; some experts also recommend waiting 15 minutes between peeling and chopping the garlic to get the full effects of the active compounds.

Tomatoes

Harvard researcher Edward Giovannucci reviewed 72 different studies published by the National Cancer Institute, and concluded that lycopene, the active chemical in tomatoes, lowered the risk of many different cancers, particularly prostate, breast, lung and colon cancer.  The good news: cooking tomatoes seems to enhance the effects of lycopene, qualifying tomato-based spaghetti sauce as a nutritional powerhouse. Bring on the pasta!

Resveratrol

The hype about red wine centers on an antioxidant called resveratrol that’s present in grapes and grape juice, but is most concentrated in red wine. Most recently, a University of Nebraska study published in Cancer Prevention Research demonstrated that resveratrol suppresses the abnormal cell growth that leads to most types of breast cancer. Breast cancer is fueled by estrogen, and resveratrol acts to block the action of the estrogen, preventing it from feeding tumor growth. Previously, research conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that mice fed a diet enriched with resveratrol had an 87 percent reduction in their risk of developing prostate tumors of the most dangerous kind.

Soy

The active ingredient in soy is genistein, which is a phytoestrogen that protects against hormone-dependent cancers. It’s also a powerful inhibitor of several proteins that are implicated in the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. To get the anti-cancer benefits of soy, you need to consume about 50 grams per day of the whole food, such as raw fresh soybeans, known as edamame, dry roasted soybeans, or tofu. The research to date shows that supplements containing isoflavones don’t work with the same action as soybeans themselves and in fact can be bad for you rather than good.

Turmeric

The orange-yellow spice turmeric, best known for its role in Indian curries and other Asian dishes, fights cancer because of an active ingredient, curcumin, that’s a powerful antioxidant. Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus reviewed numerous animal studies and concluded that curcumin demonstrated anti-cancer effects at virtually all stages of tumor development. Researchers in France and Britain also have been studying curcumin’s action in the laboratory and concluded that it prevents and slows tumor cell growth. The great news about turmeric is how easy it is to work into the diet, because you don’t need very much. Add a teaspoon of the spice to soups, salad dressings, meat and pasta dishes and you’ll reap the preventative effects.

None of this is to say that an anti-cancer diet or nutritional supplements should be used in place of doctor-recommended treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The experts in this field strongly recommend that those who’ve already been diagnosed with cancer use anti-cancer nutrients to bolster traditional medical cancer treatment, not to replace it.

It’s that time of year when extra calories lurk around every corner — frosted cookies at the office, eggnog at your neighbor’s, jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah or chocolates in your stocking. All these extras add up, and if you’re like most Americans, you’ll put on a pound or two by New Year’s Day.  Of course, it’s not easy to go on portion patrol when the temptations are endless. That’s why we compiled these tips to help you avoid overindulging.

So what can I do this month to avoid Holiday weight gain?

Never Arrive Hungry

Planning ahead can help you maintain discipline in the face of temptation.  Try to have a nutritious snack beforehand. If you do arrive hungry, drink some water to fill up before filling your plate.

Divert Your Attention

Don’t stand around the food table when you are at a party – focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of focusing on foods. Conversation is calorie-free.

Pace Yourself

Have you ever tried telling yourself you’ll only eat during the first half hour of a party? This strategy is a mistake. If you cram in as much as you can in half an hour, you chew faster. Chewing more slowly will fill you up with less food.

Limit Alcohol

Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. It’s not just about calories but about control, if you drink a lot you, won’t have as much control over what you eat.

 Be Choosy About Sweets

When it comes to dessert, be very selective. Limit your indulgences to small portions and only what is very sensual to you.

Don’t skip meals.

Eating every four hours throughout the day will keep your metabolism revved up. Skipping meals doesn’t save you calories over the long haul because by the time you sit down to eat, you’re ravenous, which makes binging hard to avoid. What’s worse, your body, in starvation mode, may more readily sock away the calories you consume as fat instead of burning them.

Walk It Off

Make a new holiday tradition: the family walk. Besides burning some extra calories, this will get everyone away from the food for awhile.

All about essential oils

An essential oil is a liquid that is generally distilled from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. Essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way.

Essential oils are not the same as perfume or fragrance oils. While they are derived from the true plants, perfume oils are artificially created fragrances or contain artificial substances and do not offer the therapeutic benefits that essential oils offer.

The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefits. These benefits are usually achieved through methods including inhalation and application of the diluted oil to the skin.

Essential oils are often used by diluting them with a carrier oil (sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil) and then applying this blend to the skin for absorption. Careful inhalation of the oils can also provide therapeutic benefit as the oil molecules enter the lungs and are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Essential oils can vary greatly in quality and price. Various factors that can affect the quality and price of the oil include the rarity of the plant, country and conditions that the plant was grown, quality standards of the distiller, and how much oil is produced by the plant.

Essential oils can often be purchased as blends of several essential oils. The advantage if it is a blend of pure essential oils is that you can save from having to buy every essential oil individually. The disadvantage is that you have no control over the blend by not mixing it yourself nor can you reliably mix the blend with other oils.

Testosterone deficiency is a factor in causing heart disease, depression, and a host of aging-related ailments in men.  This is a relatively new opinion, but there is evidence to support it.  Age related decreases in the male sex hormone are common in older men; some 30% of men over age 55 have it.  Low levels of the hormone cause symptoms of fatigue, a decreased sex drive, and irritability.  Since a lot of these symptoms are similar to depression some experts have linked them.  Or, as one study of mice showed, low testosterone may directly alter brain chemistry – specifically serotonin levels.  Studies of humans show that serotonin levels are lower in older adults with clinical depression.

Treatment for both clinical depression and low testosterone could improve quality of life for older men.  Aside from testosterone therapy under a physician’s care, there is an herbal product, the bioflavonoid chrysin, extracted from the plant Passiflora coerula (a type of passionflower), which can help the body produce testosterone naturally.  Another useful herbal is an extract made from nettle root.

A word of caution here: Questions remain about the risks of prostate cancer related to testosterone replacement therapy.  Men with prostate cancer, or possible prostate cancer, should not take any herbal that increases the supply of free testosterone because it may enhance the cancer.

Woman and AIDS

The majority of people with HIV and/or AIDS in the United States are men.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, from 1999 through 2003, the annual number of estimated AIDS diagnoses increased 15% among women as opposed to only a 1% increase in men.  In the early years of the epidemic, most women with AIDS contracted the disease through intravenous drug use, but sexual contact has now surpassed intravenous drug use as the leading means of AIDS transmission among women. 

Most women remain undiagnosed as HIV-positive until after the onset of AIDS or until they give birth to a child with HIV who becomes ill.  This delay in diagnosis can have grave consequences for survival, and has contributed to the continuing myth that women’s expected survival time is shorter than that for men.  Experts say that if women were diagnosed at the same point in the disease as men are, their average length of survival would be essentially the same. 

It may be scary but if you are sexually active it is extremely important to get tested.  By educating yourself about HIV and AIDS, you can better guard your health and minimize the impact of living with the virus on yourself or those you care about. http://www.aidshealthcare.net/learn-about-it.html

Suffering from Age Spots?

Age spots are flat brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body as it ages.  They are also called liver spots.  Most age spots appear on the face, neck, and hands.  These spots are harmless, but they can be a sign of more serious underlying problems.  They are the result of buildup of wastes known as lipofuscin accumulation, a by-product of free radical damage in the skin cells.  These spots are actually signs that the cells are full of the type of accumulated wastes that slowly destroy the body’s cells, including brain and liver cells.   In other words, they are a surface sign of free radical intoxication of the body that may affect many internal structures as well, including the heart muscle and he retina.

Factors leading to the formation of age spots include poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, poor liver function, the ingestion of oxidized oils over a period of time, and , above all , excessive sun exposure.  Exposure to the sun causes the development of free radicals that may damage the skin.  Most people who have significant numbers of age spots live in sunny climates or have had excessive sun exposure. 

There are some options that can help lighten age spots, but the best bet is to limit your sun exposure.

Sore throats are one of the most common health complaints.  They are known for a raw, burning and scratchy feeling at the back of the throat.  Most are caused by viral infections like the common cold.  They can also be caused by anything that irritates the sensitive mucous membranes at the back of the throat and mouth. 

A sore throat that comes on quickly usually runs its course within a few days to a few weeks.  Sore throats are seldom serious, but quit often are the first symptom of another problem.  There are several natural remedies that can alleviate a sore throat, such as:

  • Bee pollen, blackberry, calendula, and cayenne all have been known to soothe or heal a sore throat.
  • Echinacea and goldenseal fight bacterial and viral infection.
  • Licorice soothes a sore, hoarse throat.  Lungwort soothes throat irritation.  Slippery elm is very soothing for a painful, scratchy sore throat and for mouth irritation.  Licorice and slippery elm can be found in lozenge form.
  • Olive leaf extract has been found to be a good remedy for a sore throat.

If your sore throat recurs of lasts for longer than two weeks, you may have an underlying illness and should get checked out by a medical professional.  It is always best to try some natural alternatives and a lot of time all you need to do is give it a little rest.

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