Juicing Tips by Dr. Michael Murray

Numerous studies show that the elderly have increased oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense systems. As a result, the aging process in general increases with aging as a result of this double whammy. And, in addition to the aging faster, the combination of increased oxidative stress and impaired defenses also increases inflammation and the progression of many other disease processes.

The focus of interventions trying to address this basic consequence of aging has focused on dietary and supplement measures to increase antioxidant intake. Not to diminish this approach, but a new study shows a powerful new way to improve antioxidant status as we age – physical exercise.

Background Data:
Regular physical exercise is obviously a vital key to good health. While the immediate effect of exercise is stress on the body, with regular exercise the body adapts – it becomes stronger, functions more efficiently, and has greater endurance. The entire body benefits from regular exercise largely as a result of improved cardiovascular and respiratory function. Simply stated, exercise enhances the transport of oxygen and nutrients into cells. At the same time, exercise enhances the transport of carbon dioxide and waste products from the tissues of the body to the blood stream and ultimately to eliminative organs. As a result, regular exercise increases stamina and energy levels.

Regular exercise also exerts a powerfully positive effect on mood. Tensions, depressions, feelings of inadequacy, and worries diminish greatly with regular exercise. Exercise alone has been demonstrated to have a tremendous impact on improving mood and the ability to handle stressful life situations.

Researchers have estimated that for every hour of exercise, there is a two hour increase in longevity. That is quite a return on an investment.

Some of the benefits of exercise, especially in the elderly, may be the result of improved manufacture of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, an essential component of the mitochondria – the energy producing unit of the cells of our body. CoQ10 is involved in the manufacture of ATP, the energy currency of all body processes. Its role in the energy production within our cells is similar to the role of a spark plug in a car engine. Just as the engine cannot function without that initial spark, our cells simply cannot function without CoQ10.

Although CoQ10 can be synthesized within the body, deficiencies do exist as a result of impaired CoQ10 synthesis or increased tissue needs. Examples of diseases that require increased tissue levels of CoQ10 are primarily those that affect the heart, liver, brain, and muscles.

In addition, the elderly in general may have increased CoQ10 requirements as CoQ10 levels are known to decline with advancing age. Finally, cholesterol-lowering drugs, especially statins, are known to lower CoQ10 levels.

New Data:
In a study designed to examine the blood levels of CoQ10 in both younger and older adults an interesting finding occurred. In young people, higher physical activity correlated with lower Q10 levels in plasma whereas in older adults physical activity was directly related to the levels of Q10 in plasma. In other words, higher physical activity in elderly subjects was associated with higher blood CoQ10 levels. Furthermore, the higher CoQ10 levels in physically active elderly were associated with significantly improved measures of oxidative damage (e.g., lower levels of lipid peroxides and oxidized LDL cholesterol).

These results indicate that physical exercise in elderly subjects is associated with increased natural manufacture of CoQ10 and all of the benefits that this important compound is able to exert. In particular, the practice of physical activity at old age can improve antioxidant capacity in plasma and help to slow down the aging process and prevent chronic degenerative diseases via increased production of CoQ10.

One of the questions that this study asks is "Why are lower CoQ10 levels associated with increased physical fitness in younger adults?" The answer to this question is that there is also a strong relationship between LDL cholesterol levels and CoQ10 levels. Higher LDL levels are associated with higher blood levels of CoQ10. The reason for this association is the LDL is also the primary carrier of CoQ10 in the blood. Lower physical fitness in younger adults is associated with higher LDL levels and as a consequence higher CoQ10 levels.

The higher CoQ10 levels in LDL simply reflect the body's attempt to reduce the oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol. With aging, there is less CoQ10 being produced and as a result less protection being offered LDL cholesterol. Regular physical exercise increases the production of the CoQ10 levels in the cells and that results in the natural attempt by the body to utilize CoQ10 to protect LDL against oxidative damage. The results noted in the study show this attempt is very successful.

Reference: Del Pozo-Cruz J1, Rodríguez-Bies E, Ballesteros-Simarro M, et al. Physical activity affects plasma coenzyme Q10 levels differently in young and old humans. Biogerontology. 2014 Apr;15(2):199-211.

As far back as the 9th century B.C.E., celery leaves were used for medicinal properties. The use of celery as a food, however, took root in Europe in the 1700s. Celery is one of those vegetables we tend to keep in the bottom of our vegetable drawer and only think about when it's time to make soup, as it's a basic ingredient for most soup broths. It's a humble and often overlooked vegetable. However, there are good reasons to find ways to eat more of it. Here are 5 of them.

  1. It's high in nutrients and fiber, low in calories. Let me dispel a myth. Celery is not a net-zero-calorie food. Some people believe that the body burns more calories eating celery than the vegetable itself contains. Not true. However, one celery rib only contains 20 calories, and because it's such an excellent source of fiber, it will make you feel full and cost few calories. For people who have the need to crunch and chew, but are trying to cut down on caloric foods, celery can't be beat. Celery is also high in vitamin C, and contains potassium, folic acid, vitamins B6, B2, B1 and calcium as well.
  2. It has phytochemicals that are protective against cancer. Celery contains phytochemical compounds called coumarins, which have been shown to help prevent cancer by enhancing the activity of white blood cells. Coumarin compounds in celery also aid the vascular system, and help ease migraines.
  3. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Celery contains 3-n-butylphthaline (3nb), a compound that has been found to lower blood pressure. In an animal study conducted at the National University of Singapore, a small amount of this compound lowered blood pressure by 12-14 percent and cholesterol by 7 percent. Humans can get the equivalent dose of this marvelous compound by eating just 4-6 ribs of celery.
  4. It's beneficial for people with pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. The compound 3nB, mentioned above, has also shown tremendous promise as a pain reliever in arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout. The studies that have been conducted use a concentrated form derived from the vegetable—celery seed extract standardized to contain 85 percent 3nB. During one 12-week study out of University of Queensland, Australia, 15 subjects suffering from osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or gout received 34 mg of the celery seed extract twice daily. After three weeks of taking the celery seed extract, the average reduction in subjects' pain scores was 68 percent, with some subjects experiencing 100 percent relief from pain.
  5. It helps replenish electrolytes. If you're an athlete who loses a lot of water from sweat during vigorous exercise, you probably know about the value of replacing your electrolytes. But instead of grabbing a sugary drink laden with artificial flavors, go for a rib of celery instead. Or better yet, juice some ribs. Celery juice can act as an electrolyte due to its high levels of potassium and sodium

Acne is the most common skin problem, and it requires an integrated approach in order to avoid supplement toxicity while attaining the desired clinical results. Effective approaches for mild to moderate acne include nutritional supplementation, topical treatments, good hygiene, and importantly, a healthy diet that avoids sugar, trans-fatty acids, milk, fried foods, and iodine.

But one of the best ways to heal acne is by drinking fresh, raw fruit and vegetable juices that are high in the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants known to reduce acne. Fresh juices not only deliver targeted nutrition, they also cleanse the body from the inside out because the soluble fiber in raw juice revs up the digestive system - your body's detoxification organs.

For acne, in addition to these three juice recipes below, try zinc supplementation, which can be highly effective in the treatment of acne. Use a highly absorbable form such as zinc picolinate or citrate at a dosage of 30-45 mg per day for best results.

Go-Go Green

  • Handful of parsley or wheatgrass
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise

Juice the parsley, followed by the celery, kale pepper, spinach, and cucumber.

Purple Cow

  • 1/3 head of red cabbage,. cut in to wedges
  • 2 kale leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 red apples, cut in to wedges

Juice the cabbage, followed by the kale, pepper, and apples.

Better Red than Dead

  • 1 beet with top
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, cut in to strips
  • 3 carrots

Juice the beet, followed by the sweet potato strips and carrots.

Strawberries and blueberries are rich sources of beneficial plant pigments known as flavonoids. In particular, these berries provide specific types of flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which provide exceptional protection against damage to the lining of blood vessels. Studies are emerging showing a high intake of these berries or other food, beverages, and supplements rich in similar flavonoids is an important step in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis – the process of hardening of the arteries that leads to heart attacks and strokes.

Background Information
The interest in flavonoids as a heart protective food component was spurred on by researchers trying to explain the "French Paradox." Because the French consume more saturated fat than people in the United States and the United Kingdom, yet have a lower incidence of heart disease, it is thought that diet may be the underlying reason. Research has focused on red wine consumption. Presumably this protection offered by red wine is the result of its flavonoid components. The consumption of green tea and dark chocolate, like that of red wine, has also been shown in population studies to be associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.

New Data
Data from a massive study known as the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) II provides additional support for the heart protective effects of a high intake of dietary anthocyanins. In this study, 93,600 women 25 to 42 years of age who were healthy at baseline (1989) filled out food-frequency questionnaires every 4 years. Recent analysis showed that a combined intake of >3 servings a week of blueberries and strawberries was associated with a 34% decreased risk of having a heart attack compared to those consuming the berries once a month or less.

One of the interesting findings was that this protective effect of blueberries and strawberries was noted even in women who otherwise ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables indicating the results are likely due to the anthocyanins. Other rich sources of anthocyanins are thought to provide the same benefits including other berries such as cranberry, bilberry, raspberry, and blackberry; as well as blackcurrant, cherry, eggplant peel, black rice, Concord grape, muscadine grape, red cabbage, and red-fleshed peaches.

Cassidy A, Mukamal KJ, Liu L, et al. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation. 2013 Jan 15;127(2):188-96.

Despite what you may have heard, overcoming food cravings has nothing to do with willpower.The body has powerful mechanisms that move us to eat. The brain is quite sensitive to drops in blood sugar when we haven't eaten, and releases a number of chemicals that drive us to crave sugars and sweets to raise blood sugar levels.Our intestinal tract and fat cells also secrete hormones that tell us it's time to eat.

People without weight problems benefit from a fully functioning system of appetite control - compounds such as hormones, peptides, neurotransmitters, and glucose that circulate in the blood and are sensed and acted upon by the brain. People of normal weight don't usually experience frequent cravings for unhealthy foods.They simply feel hungry at appropriate times and are satisfied after they eat modest amounts. Unfortunately, when abdominal fat cells are enlarged in overweight and obese individuals, this complex system of appetite control becomes altered. The key factor that leads to this disruption is insulin resistance, which sets the stage for intense food cravings. The first step to eliminating food cravings is to treat the cause - in most cases, blood sugar volatility due to insulin resistance.

When people are on a blood sugar roller coaster, they have very little control over their appetite or portion sizes. This is because every time they experience a quick drop in blood sugar levels, the brain goes into panic mode and secretes powerful appetite stimulators, as well as hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to boost blood sugar. Because of insulin resistance and its accompanying poor glucose regulation, overweight people often experience near constant commands to eat.

So how do you improve blood sugar controland insulin resistance? Here are seven keys:

1. Eat a low-glycemic-load diet.
Stay away from sugary foods and keep portion sizes of bread and other carbohydrate sources to a very small amount.

2. Use PGX.
PGX is the most important naturalproduct for appetite control. It promotes feelings of satiety to reduce the amount of food (calories) consumed. For more information go to www.PGX.com. Take 2.5 to 5 grams before each meal.

3. Supplement with chromium.
Chromium is necessary for insulin to work property, at a dosage of 200 - 400 meg per day.

4. Get a handle on stress.
Most people's food cravings get worse when they are under stress.Work on achieving a good balance of sleep, work, home activities, leisure time, R&R. and exercise.

5. Don't let yourself get hungry.
Ensure that you never really get hungry by consuming low-calorie snacks, such as high fiber fresh vegetables and fruit between meals.

6. Get moving.
Engage In physica1 exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.

7. Plan your meals and shopping.
Plan your daily menu - including between-meal snacks - in advance, and make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy choices. If you don't buy unhealthy foods, you won't be tempted to grab them out of habit.

When you can't sleep, the temptation to pop a sleeping pill is strong. But there's a large body of research indicating that sleeping pills may contribute to as many as 500,000 deaths each year in the United States. Most sleeping pills are "sedative hypnotics"- a class of drugs used to treat anxiety. Examples include Xanax, Valium, Lunesta, and Ambien. Most of these drugs are highly addictive and come with a range of side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired coordinat ion. Here are four natural products that can help improve sleep quality- without the deleterious side effects.

The most popular natural aid for sleep is melatonin. Supplementation with melatonin has been shown in several studies to be very effective in helping induce and maintain sleep in both children and adults, and in both people with normal sleep patterns and those with insomnia. However, the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent if melatonin levels in the body are low. In other words, using melatonin is not like taking a sleeping pill. It has a sedative effect only when one's melatonin levels are low. Melatonin supplementation appears to be most effective in treating insomnia in the elderly, in whom low melatonin levels are quite common. A dose of 3 mgat bedtime is usually enough, because doses as low as 0.1-0.3 mg have been shown to produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low. Melatonin appears to have no serious side effects as long as one takes the recommended dosage.

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)
5-HTP is converted in the brain to serotonin- an important ini tiator of sleep. It is one step closer to serotonin than L-tryptophan, and has shown more consistent results in promoting and maintaining sleep, even though used at lower dosages.

One of the key benefits of 5-HTP is its ability to increase REM sleep (typically by about 25%), while increasing deep sleep stages 3 and 4 without lengthening total sleep time. The sleep stages that are reduced to compensate for the increases are non-REM stages 1 and 2- the least important stages. To take advantage of the sleep-promoting effects of 5-HTP, the recommended dosage is 50- 150 mg, 30-45 minutes before retiring. Start with the lower dose for at least three days before increasing it if necessary.

L-theanine is a unique amino acid found almost exclusively in tea plants (Camellia sinensis). Clinical studies have demonstrated that L-theanine reduces stress, improves the quality of sleep, diminishes the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), heightens mental acuity, and reduces the negative side effects of caffeine. At typical dosages, e.g., 100- 200 mg, L-theanine does not act as a sedative, but it does significantly improve sleep quality. It is an excellent support agent to melalonin and 5-HTP.

When taken together, the above three ingredients exert synergistic effects to promote restful sleep. NOTE: At higher single dosages, e.g., 600 mg, L-theanine does exert a sedative effect.

In terms of herbal medicine, there is no question that valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is the most popular remedy for insomnia. Recent scientific studies have substantiated valerian's ability to improve sleep quality and relieve insomnia. In a large double-blind study involving 128 subjects, it was shown that an aqueous extract of valerian root improved the subjective ratirgs for sleep quality and sleep latency (the time required to get to sleep), but left no "hangover" the next morning.

In a follow-up study, valerian extract was shown to significantly reduce sleep latency and improve sleep quality in sufferers of insomnia and was suggested to be as effective in reducing sleep latency as small doses of benzodiazepines (Valium).

The difference, however, arises from the fact that these drugs also result in increased morning sleepiness. Valerian, on the other hand, actually reduces morning sleepiness. As a mild sedative, valerian may be taken at the following dose 30-45 minutes before retiring: dried root (or as tea): 1-2 g; tincture (1:5): 4- 6 ml (1- 1.5tsp); fluid extract (1:1): 1- 2 ml (0.5- 1 tsp); or valerian extract (0.8% valerie acid): 150- 300 mg.

If morning sleepiness does occur, reduce the dosage. If the dosage was not effective, be sure to eliminate those factors that disrupt sleep, such as caffeine and alcohol, before increasing the dosage.

Adapted from the new book, Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia! What the Drug Companies Won't Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn't Know.

Michael T. Murray ND is a naturopathic physician regarded as one of the world's top authorities on natural medicine. An educator, lecturer, researcher, and health food industry consultant, he is the author of more than 30 books, including his newest with coauthor Jcseph Pizzorno ND, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Atria, 2012).

Is there such a thing as a gulit-free pleasure when it comes to food? Absolutely, and chocolate is one of them. This delectable, seemingly addictive food is produced from the beans of the cacao tree, whose official name is Theobroma cacao. Its scientific name reflects our long-standing love of chocolate that's endured for millennia (theobroma is the Greek word for "food of the gods"),

Here are a few scientifically proven health benefits of consuming moderate amounts of heavenly, high­quality chocolate. You know you want to do it so:

  1. It improves your mood.
    Chocolate has long been associated with love,and now scientists have discovered a possible chemical connection. Chocolate contains a compound known as phenylethylamine (PEA), a brain chemical that's released during moments of emotional euphoria. In addition to PEA, controversial findings suggest that chocolate contains pharmacologically active substances with the same effect on the brain as marijuana. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, isn't found in chocolate, but another neurotransmitter called anandamide is. Like THC, anandamide is naturally produced in the brain and binds to the same receptors as THC, which may help explain why, while eating chocolate will not make you high, it's likely to engender some pleasant feelings or at least make you feel more relaxed and less anxious.
  2. It's good for your heart.
    One of the key areas of research into the benefits of chocolate consumption is its effect on cardiovascular disease. A growing amount of recent research suggests that:
    • Chocolate is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants that are especially important inprotecting against damage to the lining of the arteries.
    • Chocolate flavonoids prevent the excessive clumping together of blood platelets that can cause blood clots.
    • Unlike the saturated fats found in meat and dairy products, the saturated fats found in chocolate do not elevate cholesterol levels.
    • Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with a nearly 40% reduced risk for heart disease and a 30% reduced risk for a stroke.
    • Chocolate can provide significant amounts of arginine, an amino acid that's required in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps regulate blood flow, inflammation and blood pressure.
  3. It's associated with weight loss.

    A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that frequent chocolate consumption was associated wtih lower body mass index (BMI) -a ratio of height and weight that's used to measure obesity.The authors used data from 972 patients who answered the question."How many times a week do you consume chocolate?" Their data indicated that chocolate consumption frequency was associated with lower BMI, even after adjusting for total calorie intake, exercise activitv, and saturated fat intake.

    These results are extremely promising. The researchers believe the benefits are once again related to the antioxidant flavonoids in chocolate. They do caution that the benefits of chocolate are only apparent with moderate consumption, and that consuming large quantities of chocolate would obviously be counterproductive to losing weight.

How much and what kind?
Since dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids, it offers the greatest health benefits. Most experts agree that the recommended "dose" of dark chocolate is approximately 30g to 60g/day (roughly 1to 2 ounces).

In order to provide the most healthful choices of chocolate products, here are some suggestions:

  • For the biggest flavonoid bang for your caloric buck, choose high-quality dark chocolate. Limit daily intake to 1-2 ounces. The darker, the better.
  • Unsweetened dark cocoa powder is great for you, because it has no fat or sugar, and it's high in antioxidants.
  • Avoid chocolate candies and treats made with hyarogenated fats or refined flour, neither of which promotes health.
  • Also pass on products labeled "artificial chocolate" or "chocolate flavored." These imitations are not even close to the real thing in flavor, texture or health benefits.

In the right form, chocolate is a true super food. Of all the foods available on planet Earth, chocolate is perhaps the most magical and maybe one of the best health foods around. Fortunately, it's also one of the most deilcious, so enjoy it in good health.

This time of year, everyone wants to be outside. It feels so good to have the warm sun on our bare skin. If you haven't heard that being out in the sun, unprotected by sunscreen, puts you at risk for wrinkles, at best,and skin cancer, at worst, then you've probably been living under a rock!

However, while most people are aware of the dangers of too much sun, many don't realize that sunlight confers enormous health benefits as well. Keeping in mind that you need to protect your skin with a high-quality sunscreen when you go outdoors, let's look at some of the surprising benefits of sunlight.

Sunlight may help prevent cancer.
It's not just plants that metaboilze sunlight. Humans do too. Through a complex process, our bodies turn sunlight into life-giving vitamin D. The connection between vitamin D deficiency and cancer was first made by Drs.Frank and Cedric Garland from the University of California, San Diego. After finding that the incidence of colon cancer was nearly three times higher in New York than in New Mexico, the Garland brothers hypothesized that lack of sun exposure, resulting in a vitamin D deficiency, played a role. Research now indicates that being deficient in vitamin D increases the risk of many cancers, especially breast and colon. For example, a four-year, plalcebo-controllcd study involving 1,179 postmenopausal women concluded that vitamin D supplementation produced a dramatic 60% drop in the risk of developing any form of cancer.

Sunlight is beneficialfor Alzheimer's patients.
Clinical research has shown that exposure to full-spectrum light throughout the day coupled with darkness at night can help improve some aspects of Alzheimer's disease- reducing agitation, increasing sleep efficiency,decreasing nighttime wakefulness, and decreasing nighttime activity in these patients.

Sunlight may lower risk for multiple sclerosis.
MS is more common in populations that live farther from the equator. People who move from a low-risk area to a high risk area before the age of 15 acquire a higher risk of developing MS, whereas those who make the same move after adolescence retain a lower risk. These observations suggest that environmental exposure, and in particular, early sunlight exposure (which is correlated with vitamin D levels) in the first two decades of life , influences the risk of developing MS. Related to this finding, several European population studies observed that there is a lower risk of MS for births occurring after October and a higher risk for MS for births occurring after May. This suggests that maternal levels of vitamin D during the third trimester of pregnancy may influence risk of MS.

Sunlight helps healpsoriasis.
Exposure to sunlight is extremely beneficial for individuals with psoriasis. In one study, an outdoor four­ week sunbathing therapy was shown to promote significant clearance of psoriatic symptoms in 84 percent of subjects.

Sunlight can ease mild depression.
There has been a lot of research on the link between sunlight and mood. One soild study found that sunlight actually increases levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain. On sunny days, the brain produces more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin than on darker days.

Sunlight contributes to bone healthin older adults.
It is well known that vitamin D stimulates the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium. The process of vitamin D manufacture begins when sunlight changes the 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin into vitamin D3. Emerging research is showing a direct correlation between both bone density and blood levels of vitamin D3. Higher blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with a lower rater of fractures of virtually all types; lower blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with a higher rate of fractures of all types.

Sunlight canimprove sleep quality.
When sunlight hits your eyes,your optic nerve sends a message to the gland in the brain that produces melatonin(a hormone that helps you sleep); the gland decreases its secretions of melatonin until the sun goes down again. In other words, exposure to sunlight during the day increases the natural production of melatonin at night. Low levels of melatonin production are linked to poor sleep quality, especially in older adults.

Our thoughts, actions, practices, and habits affect our health, but they also have an impact on the health of others and the health of our planet. Realizing this undeniable fact gives us the opportunity to create a better life for ourselves, but also to have a direct, positive impact on our world. Here are 7 practices that are not only good for you, but good for everyone on our planet.


  1. Reduce your Intake of meat and animal products.
    Americans consume about 52 billion pounds of meat each year - that's about 270 pounds for each one of us, and more than just about every country in the world. Many of us don't eat meat, so it means there are a lot of others out there making up the difference. America's meat habit has had a devastating effect on our environment and is the main driving force behind the destruction of the tropical rain forests of the Amazon. Livestock production is also responsible for more than half of all water consumed for all purposes in the United States.
  2. Eat less, waste less.
    With 8 out of 10 Americans over the age of 25 overweight or obese, most of us need to reduce our calorie intake. The easiest way to do this is to reduce our portion sizes. Don't be wasteful; only order or prepare what you intend to eat. Here is a startling statistic: Americans waste more than 40% of the food produced for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion. If we didn't waste these foods, it would mean less fertiizer, pesticide, and water used.That has huge environmental repercussions.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables
    All medical organizations and departments of the U.S.government dealing with health recommend that Americans consume 2 3 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. Unfortunately, less than 10% of the population is meeting even the lowest recommendation of 5 servings of a combination of fruits and vegetables. If we ate more of these foods and fewer foods that require a lot of water to produce, it would dramatically shift water requirements, especially important to states like California.
  4. If you eat meat, choose organic.
    Industrially farmed meat has the highest impact of any other food product on the environment. If you do eat meat, always go organic. Not only are the animals raised in a healthier environment, fed organic feed, and often eat a wider range of nutrients than those raised in factory farms, but they are not allowed to be fed antibiotics, the bovine human growthhormone (rbGH),or other artificial drugs. Animals are higher on the food chain, so it's even more important to eat organic meats than organic produce (which I also recommend).
  5. Go local.
    One of the most powerful ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy locally grown and processed foods. Not only is the food likely to be fresher than if it were shipped halfway across the world, but it is likely to taste better and retain more nutrients. Your money has power; choose to support stores that demonstrate care for the planet by offering local food selections. And, by supporting your local farmers and growers, you will be supporting your local economy.
  6. Avoid fast food chain restaurants.
    America's love affair with fast food restaurant chains has not only hurt our health (and waistlines), it has also caused considerable environmental damage. In addition to the issues raised above, fast food outlets are our country's primary source of urban litter. Styrofoam and other food packaging materials are a huge problem, as they often become a permanent fixture in our environment when littered. These lightweight materials easily travel through gutters and storm drains to create one of the largest sources of marine debris. Approximately 1 mlilion birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded Styrofoam, plastics, and other food packaging, which block theri digestive tracks.
  7. Avoid plastic.
    While there is some concern over the health effects of various plastics leaching into our food and drinks, of greater concern is their environmental impact. Even choosing plastic over paper at the store has a negative impact. Only a small percentage of plastic bags are recycled - whichmeans that the rest end up in land fills, oceans, or elsewhere in the environment. In addition, the 100 billion new plastic bags used each year in the United States require 12 million barrels of oil to produce. So, bring a reusable bag with
    you to the grocery store next time you shop.

Lots of patients ask me about probiotics.They know what antibiotics are, but they don't really know what probiotics are for, when they should be used, and who needs them. It's time to clear up the confusion.

The term probiotic is derived from Creek, and literally means "for life." It's used to describe the beneficial bacteria that inhabit the human intestinal tract. Scientists have found a way to freeze-dry this beneficial bacteria and put it in capsules. You can buy probiot capsules in most health food stores and drugstores. Probiotics are also found in fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. The specific microorganisms found in these products are usually lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which are the major probiotics found in the humanintestinal tract.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of probiotics, noted by clinical research, are many. Probiotics promote proper intestinal environment (also known as "gut flora"), and stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and systemic immunitv. By strengthening this important part of the digestive system, probiotics have been shown to help with the following conditions:

  • Antibiotic induced diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis
  • Eczema
  • Food allergies
  • Cancer
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Traveler's diarrhea
  • Lactose intolerance

Probiotic Supplements

The quality of probiotic supplements depends on two main factors: (1)the characteristics of the strains contained in the supplement, and (2) adequate viability, so that sufficient numbers of bacteria are viable at the point of consumption. Viability at consumption depends on factors such as proper manufacturing and the "hardiness" of the strain, as well as packaging and storage of the product in the right amount of moisture and at the correct temperature.

Strains of bacteria can be likened to different breeds of dogs. All dogs belong to the genus Canis and the species familiaris. Within this one species is great diversity in size, shape, strength, and other physical characteristics - ranging from the Saint Bernard to the Chihuahua. A similar division occurs within species of bacteria; each species of bacteria comprises a multitude of strains. Some probiotic strains are resilient and strong, able to survive passage through the upper gastrointestinal and inhibit pathogenic bacteria, and others are weak and can't survive or kill pathogenic bacteria.

What all of this means is that consumers must utilize products developed and manufactured by companies that have done the necessary research to insure the viability of their product. With probiotics, as with other supplements, be a smart consumer and read up on the top manufacturers, or talk to the supplement consultant at your local health food store.

Specific Applications of Probiotic Supplements

To a very large extent, the intestnal flora plays a major role in the health of the host. Therefore, probiotic supplements can be used to promote overall good health. However, there are numerous specific uses for probiotics based upon clinical studies. One of the best-documented applications of probiotic supplements is in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTis). The normal microflora of the vagina and urethra in women is dominated by lactobacili, where they play a significant role in acting as a barrier to UTIs.

Another important application of probiotic supplements is preventing and treating antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Although it is commonly believed that acidophilus supplements are not effective if taken during antibiotic therapy, research actually supports the use of probiotics while you're taking antibiotics. If you take the antibiotic at night, take the probiotic supplementin the morning. In other words, take the two as far apart as possible.

Lastly, probiotics are very important for children for several important reasons, including an ability to boost immune function and prevent gastrointestinal infection. Formulas that are specially designed for chlidren are best.


The dosage of probiotic supplements is based solely on the number of live organisms present in the product. Therefore, I recommend using products that list the number of live bacteria at expiration versus at time of manufacture. Successful results are most often attained by taking between 5 billion and 20 billion viable bacteria per day.

Stress affects our circulation, slows our digestive system, and even increases our blood sugarlevels. Try these tips from naturopath Dr.Michael Murray to reduce stress and boost your health.

  • STEP 1: Become an Optimist
    Optimism is a vital component of good health and an ally in the healing process. Focus on the positives even in challenging situations.
  • STEP 2: Become Aware of Self-Talk
    Our self talk makes an impression on our subconscious mind. Become aware of your internal dialogue, and then consciously work to send positive messages to the subconscious mind.
  • STEP 3: Ask Better Questions
    Author Tony Robbins contends that whatever question you ask your brain, you willget an answer. For example, if an individual is met with a particular challenge or problem, he or she may ask: "Why does this always happen to me?" Instead, try "What can I do to make the situation better?"
  • STEP 4: Employ Positive Affirmations
    Positive statements of affirmation can imprint the subconscious mind to create a healthy, positive self-image. In addition, affirmations can actually fuel the changes you desire. Choose an affirmation like "I am blessed with an abundance of energy", and recite it to yourself through the day.
  • STEP 5: Set Positive Goals
    Achieving goals helps you feel better about yourself, and the better you feel about yourself,the more likely it is that you will achieve your goals. Make your goals attainable and realistic, and be specific. The more clearly your goals are defined, the more likely you are to reach them.
  • STEP 6: Practice Positive Visualizations
    Positive visualization or imagery is another powerful tool in creating health, happiness, or success. In terms of health, you must picture yourself in ideal health if you truly want to experience this state.
  • STEP 7: Laugh Long and Often
    Researchers have found that laughter enhances blood flow to the body's extremities, improves cardiovascular function, and plays an active part in the body's release of endorphins and other natural mood-elevating and pain-killing chemicals.

PRACTICE: Learnlng to Relax

An important step in fighting stress is learning to calm the mind and body. Use these techniques to trigger a physiological "relaxation response."

Diaphragmatic Breathing
Breathing from your diaphragm physically activates the relaxation centers in the brain. Try this 10-step technique:

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your abdomen near your navel. Place the other hand on your chest.
  3. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  4. As you breathe, pay attention to which hand is rising and falling with each breath.
  5. Gently exhale most of the air in your lungs.
  6. Inhale while slowly counting to four. As you inhale, slightly extend your abdomen, causing it to rise about one inch. Make sure you are not moving your chest or shoulders.
  7. Imagine the warmed air flowing into your lungs and through your body.
  8. Pause for one second, then slowly exhale to a count of four. As you exhale, your abdomen should move inward.
  9. As the air flows out, imagine all your tension and stress leaving your body. Repeat the process until you feel a sense of deep relaxation.
  10. Progressive Relaxation

Many people are not aware of the sensation of relaxation. In progressive relaxation,an individual learns what it feels like to relax by comparing relaxation with muscle tension.

The basic technique is to contract a muscle forcefully for a period of one to two seconds, and then give way to a feeling of relaxation in that muscle. Begin with contracting the muscles in the face and neck, then the upper arms and chest, followed by the lower arms and hands. The process is repeated progressively down the body, from the abdomen through the buttocks, thighs and calves to the feet.

Repeat the process two or three times.

Many fruits and vegetables have powerful healing properties for specific illnesses, and for boosting immune function in general. However, supplementing raw fruit and vegetable juices with fresh herbs and spices can provide additional health benefits.

Here are four of the many super-healing herbs and spices that will boost the healing power of the raw vegetable juices you make at home.

  1. Garlic
    Garilc has many health-promoting properties, including antibiotic, immune-enhancing, anticancer, cholesterol-lowering, blood-pressure-reducing, and detoxification-enhancement activities. Fresh garlic is much more potent than cooked, dried, or prepared garlic,and can be easily included in fresh juices.
  2. Ginger
    Another popular addition to juice is fresh ginger. This is a great idea if a little zest is desired or if an individual is suffering from intestinal spasms, arthritis, or nausea due to morning sickness or motion sickness. Although most scientific studies have used powdered ginger, fresh ginger or an equivalent dosage may yield even better results because it contains active enzymes. Most studies utilized 1 gram of powdered ginger. This would be equivalent to approximately 10 grams, or 1/3 ounce, fresh ginger.
  3. Parsley
    Parsley is extremely rich in a wide number of nutrients, chlorophyll, and carotenes. The high chlorophyll content of parsley can help mask the odor and taste of many other foods, such as garlic - so it makes a great addition if you add fresh garlic to your juice. However, parsley has many well-documented benefits beyond breath-freshening. It has been used for treating urinary tract infections, kidney stones, various gastrointestinal disorders, osteoarthritis, and anemia among other conditions.
  4. Turmeric
    One of the most powerful spices to add healing effects to fresh juice is turmeric. If you can get fresh turmeric root - which many healthy food and vegetable stores are starting to carry - by all means use it. Turmeric root looks a bit like an orange-colored ginger root and has a mild flavor. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory agent that has been proven effective against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diseases that speed aging, such as Alzheimer's and metabolic disorder.

More than 150 juicing recipes, as well as information on how to use raw juice to treat various health conditions, from cancer and obesity to ulcers and eczema, are in my book, The Complete Book of Juicing.

After a sports injury or sprain, immediate first aid is very important. The acronym RICE summarizes the approach:

  • Rest the injured part as soon as it is hurt to avoid further injury.
  • Ice the area of pain to decrease swelling and bleeding.
  • Compress the area with an elastic bandage to limit swelling and bleeding.
  • Elevate the injured part above the level of the heart to increase drainage of fluids out of the injured area.

But that's not all you can do. In the next few days after injury, you can greatly improve recovery time by taking nutrients that decrease inflammation and speed healing. Here are four especially good strategies:

  1. Healing vitamins and minerals
    Several nutrients are important for the promotion of healing. Vitamin C supplementation is important, since vitamin C plays a major role in the prevention and repair of injuries. Deficiency of vitamin A is associated with defective maintenance of tendon and bursal tissues. In addition to C, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin E, and selenium are also important, not only for their wound-healing properties but also for their antioxidant effects.
  2. Flavonoids
    Flavonoids, a group of plant pigments responsible for the colors of many fruits and flowers, are extremely effective in reducing inflammation and strengthening collagen structures. Collagen is a major protein in tendons and other connective tissues. Flavonoids help maintain a healthy collagen structure by (1) decreasing bloodl vessel permeability, thereby decreasing the influx of inflammatory mediators into areas of damage; (2) preventing free radical damage by means of their potent antioxidant properties; (3) inhibiting damage to collagen tissue caused by enzymes that break down collagen; (4) inhibiting the release of inflammatory chemicals; and (5) reinforcing the natural cross-linking of collagen fibers to make them stronger. Great sources of flavonoids are pine bark or grape seed extract. Take 150 to 300 mg daily.
  3. Bromelain and other proteolytic enzymes
    Bromelain, the protein-digesting enzyme complex of pineapple, has been reported to exert a wide variety of beneficial effects, including reducing inflammation in cases of sports injury or trauma and preventing swelling after trauma or surgery. One of the most interesting studies that used bromelain to treat sports-related injuries involved 146 boxers. Seventy-four received bromelain; in 58, all signs of bruising cleared completely in four days. Among the 72 boxers who did not take bromelain, at the end of 4 days only 10 had completely healed of their bruise; Take 200 to 500 mg twice daily between meals.
  4. Curcumin
    Curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric, possesses excellent anti- nflammatory and antioxidant effects. Curcumin has been found to be as effective as cortisone or the potent anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in animal studies. However, while cortisone and phenylbutazone are associated with significant toxicity, curcumin is without side effects. One concern regarding curcumin has been absorption, but there now exist a number of methods and products that enhance the absorption of curcumin. One of those methods is complexing the curcumin with soy phospholipids to produce a product called Meriva. Studies with another advance form of curcumin, Thermacurmin, show even greater absorption (at least 27 times greater than regular curcumin). Follow label instructions with either of these enhanced forms.

If you've sustained a sports injury that feels serious, you will definitely want to see a doctor. There are also a number of physical therapy techniques that can be quite helpful in speeding recovery and relieving pain. But you can get a jump start on the healing process yourself usning these four natural strategies.

Do you want to lower your blood pressure without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals? The good news is that there are a number of safe, effective, and natural foods and nutrients that will help you do it.

Over 60 million Americans have highblood pressure, including more than half (54%) of all Americans age 65 to 74 years old and nearly three quarters (72%) of all Amercian blacks in the same age group.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for a heart attack or stroke. In fact,it is generally regarded as the most significant risk factor for a stroke.

Here are four ways to lower your blood pressure without medication:

  1. Drink beet juice.
    Several recent studies have shown that drinking fresh beet juice can lead to clinically meaningful reductions in blood pressure. For example, a study at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found that drinking just 16 ounces of fresh beet juice a day significantly reduced blood pressure in healthy subjects. Beet juice lowered blood pressure within just an hour with a peak drop occurring 3 to 4 hours after ingestion.
    Why it works:
    The decrease in blood pressure is due to the chemical formation of nitrite from the dietary nitrates in the juice. Once in the general circulation, nitrite can be converted to nitric oxide (NO) by the cells that line blood vessels. NO is a powerful dilator of blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure.
  2. Eat fresh, raw garlic.
    Garlic has a wide range of well-documented effects, including helping to lower blood pressure. Studies showing a positive effect of garlic and garlic preparations are those that deliver a sufficient dosage of allicin. In double-blind studies with garlic preparations providing a daily dose of at least 10 mg allicin, blood pressure readings dropped with typical reductions of 11 mm Hg for the systolic and 5.0 in the diastolic within a 1 to 3-month period. To get enough allicin, eat 1 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic a day. If you want to avoid garlic breath in public, add minced fresh garlic to your salad dressing in the evening at dinner.
    Why it works:
    All of the beneficialeffects of garlic are attributed to its sulfur-containing compounds: allicin, diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and others. Allicin is mainly responsible for the pungent odor of garlic. It is formed by the act on of the enzyme alliinase on the compound alliin. The enzyme is activated by heat oxygen, or water. This accounts for the fact that cooked garlic, odorless supplements, "aged garlic preparations," and garlic oil prodJcts produce neither as strong an odor as raw garlic nor nearly as powerful medicinal effects as raw fresh garlic.
  3. Drink black tea.
    An Australian study published in january 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine analyzed the effect of black tea on 95 men and women with normal to high-normal blood pressure levels. Half of the participants drank 3 cups of black tea daily for 6 months, and the other half drank a placebo drink with a similar flavor and caffeine content.
    At the end of the study, the black tea-drinking group had an average reduction of 2 to 3 points in their systolic (the top number in a blood pressure reading) level, and about two points in their diastolic (the bottom number] level. Although this doesn't sound like much, the researchers said it's enough to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 7 to 10%.
    Why it works:
    It's believed that black tea's hypertension benefits may be due to the fact that the beverage improves the function of the endothelial cells that line the interoir of blood vessels and affect blood pressure. Other research suggests that flavonoids in black tea can improve the tone of blood vessels, helping them channel blood more efficiently.
  4. Get more magnesium.
    A British analysis of 22 studies, published in 2012 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking at least 370 mg of magnesium per day reduced systolic blood pressure by 3-4 points and diastolic pressure by 2-3 points in 1,173 study subjects. This is key, because research shows many adults don't get the recommended dietary allowance of at least 320 mg of magnesium for women and 420 mg for men, and that for every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of stroke is reduced by about 9 percent.
    Why it works:
    Magnesium helps dilate blood vessels and prevents spasm in your heart muscle and blood vessel walls. It also dissolves blood clots. All of these aid optimal heart and blood vessel function and can help to lower blood pressure.

Allergies refer to anabnormal immune response that can produce a wide range of symptoms (e.g.hives, asthma, anaphylactic shock and death). The most common allergic condition is hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis), which is an allergic reaction of the nasal passages and airways to windborne pollens. Ragweed pollen accounts for about 75% of all hay fever cases in the United States. Other significant pollens that induce hay fever include various grass and tree pollens.

If hay fever develops in the spring, it's usually due to tree pollens; if it develops in the summer, grass and weed pollens are usually the culprits. If hay fever symptoms persist year-round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis. This form of hay fever may or may not be due to pollens.

An estimated 50 million Americans have allergies to ariborne triggers that cause symptoms of hay fever. While many Americans reach for prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines to treat their condition, natural medicines can offer signfiicant advantages. Keep in mind that popular antihistamine drugs, whether they're prescription or OTC, offer only symptomatic relief - they don't solve the problem. The drug companies love these antihistamine drugs because they only suppress symptoms, they don't effect a cure; they create dependence, and most important to the drug companies, they're expensive, so they offer tremendous profits.

Before you go reaching for OTC medications,try these natural preventives and treatments instead.

  1. Reduce exposure.
    Track the pollen count in your area and try to stay indoors when pollen counts are highest. A great site for this is weather.com's allergy tracker.
  2. Shower it off.
    If you've been outside and are prone to seasonal allergies, shower before bed to remove pollen, especially from your face and hair.
  3. Try nasal irrigation.
    Get a neti pot at your local health food store or pharmacy. Wash your nasal passages with a saline solution twice per day.
  4. Filter it out.
    Equip your home with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which can be attached to central heating and air conditioner systems.
  5. Deallergize your home.
    If you have beloved pets, try to keep them out of your bedroom, because they carry pollen in their fur. Pollen can also collect on furniture and in rugs, so consider using throw rugs on wooden floors rather than wall-to-wall carpeting, or vacuum frequently. You may want to use bedding made with Ventflex,a special hypoallergenic synthetic material. Install an air purifier in the rooms you spend the most time in.
  6. Try immunotherapy.
    A popular treatment for seasonal allergies is immunotherapy, in which the patient receives a series of injections of the allergy-causing agent in minute amounts until the body builds up an immune response. Typically, at the end of three years about a third of patients will be cured. If shots aren't your thing, the treatment can be performed sublingually (liquid placed under the tongue). It's more convenient and takes less time. Permanent results are often seen within weeks or months.
  7. Try quercetin
    Quercetin consistently demonstrated the greatest antiallergy effects among the flavonoids studied in experimental models. Recently, a highly bioavailable, enzymatically modified form of isoquercitrin (EMIQ) has been developed. This form has shown significant effects in improving some of the symptoms of hay fever in double-blind clinical studies.The dose of EMIQ is 100 mg twice per day.
  8. Take polyphenols.
    Two double-blind studies showed apple polyphenols reduced hay fever symptoms. Patients receiving both a low dose (50 mg per day) and a higher dose (250 mg per day) showed significant improvement in sneezing attacks and nasal discharge. Take apple polyphenolextract 100-250 mg twice per day. Results similar to the apple polyphenols may be achieved with other polyphenol-rich extracts such as grape seed, pine bark, or green tree extract. The dosage for green tea extract is 150-300 mg per day. For grape seed or pine bark extract (90% polyphenols), it's 150-300 mg per day.
  9. Use fish oils.
    Fish oil is great for immune boosting and reduces inflammation associated with allergies. The dosage is 1,000 mg EPA and DHA per day.

Scientists are encouraged by new research showing that a chemical found in our brains called phosphatidylserine, or PS for short, might be able to help chlidren with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) better manage symptoms that impede their ability to learn and sociailze.

What PS Does In The Body
Phosphatidylserine is an important chemical with widespread functions in our body. Part of the cell structure, it's essential in the maintenance of cellular function, especially in the brain. PS is the major fatty substance in the human brain, where it plays a key role in determining the structure, integrity, and function of the membranes in brain cells. Normally the brain cells can manufacture sufficient levels of its own phosphatidylserine, but there's evidence that insufficient production is common, especially in people over the age of 50 and in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now there's promising research showing that PS may benefit children or adults with ADHD.

The membrane of brain cells is a major action center. It not only regulates what goes in and out of the nerve cell, but also serves as a transmitter and receiver of chemical messages that allow cells to talk to one another.

PS is critical in the function of healthy brain cells. Not only does PS affect the outer nerve cell membranes, it also becomes incorporated within the inner cell membranes, thereby improving energy production within the brain cells. When the individual cells of the brain have more energy, the brain as a whole is energized, has more power, and functions better. As a result, PS may help children with ADHD have more mental clarity and demonstrate improvements in memory and mental tasks.

New Research On Phosphatidylserine And Children With ADHD
A recent landmark study conducted in Japan offers some fascinating data that may serve as a jumping­off point for further investigation. Thirty-six children, aged 4 14 years, diagnosed with ADHD who had not previously received any drug treatment related to ADHD, received either a placebo or 200 mg/day of PS for two months in a randomized, double-blind study. The main outcome measures included: (1) ADHD symptoms; (2) short-term auditory memory and working memory; and (3) mental performance to visual stimuli.

The results showed that PS supplementation produced significant improvements in all main outcome measures as well as inattention and impulsivity. PS was well tolerated and showed no side effects.

These results are extremely promising and indicate that PS supplementation may offer a safe and effective alternative to conventional drug therapy for chlidren with ADHD.

I'm hearing about more and more people getting vitamin B injections, but then Iread that this is appropriate only for people with a deficiency. What's your advice?

Vitamin B12 works with folic acid in many bodily processes, including the synthesis of DNA, red blood cells, and the myelin sheath that speeds the conduction of signals along nerve cells.

Vitamin B12 is found in significant quantities only in animal foods. The richest sources are liver and kidney, followed by eggs, fish, cheese, and meat. Strict vegans are often told that fermented foods like tempeh are good sources of vitamin B12, but that is not true. Therefore, vegetarians should supplement their diet to get enough B12.

How important is the body's pH balance? Alternative health professionals say it is very important for saving bones and maintaining health. Conventional practitioners say your body will always achieve the proper balance. Who's right?

One of the basic goals of the body is to maintain the proper balance of acidity and alkalinity in the blood and other bodily fluids. There is accumulating evidence that certain disease states like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and many others are influenced considerably by the acid-alkaline balance of a diet. For example, osteoporosis may be exacerbated by consuming more acid-forming foods (especially soft drinks and meat) than alkaline-forming foods, leading to the bone being constantly forced to give up alkailne minerals (calcium and magnesium) in order to buffer the excess acid.

With regard to maintaining a proper pH balance, the dietary goal is quite simple: take in more alkaline­ producing foods than acid-producing ones. Basically, an alkaline diet is one that focuses on vegetables, fruit, and legumes while avoiding the overconsumption of grains, meat, dairy, and most nuts except hazelnuts. Keep in mind that acidic foods are not the same as acid-forming foods. For example, while foods like lemons and other citrus fruits are acidic, they actually have an alkalizing effect on the body. The pH level of the food in the body is determined by the metabolic products of digestion. For example, the citric acid in citrus fruit is metaboilzed in the body to its alkaline form (citrate) and may even be converted to bicarbonate, another alkaline compound.

Many of my friends have "adrenal fatigue." Is this a legitimate thing or a catchall for every malady?

The adrenal glands control many bodily functions and play a critical role in our resistance to stress. If an individualexperiences a great deal of stress, or has taken corticosteroid drugs like prednisone for a long period of time, the adrenal glands will shrink and not perform properly, contributing to symptoms like anxiety, depression, or chronic fatigue. A popular term used to describe this occurrence is adrenal fatigue and it is a legitimate thing. An individual with adrenal fatigue will also typically have a reduced resistance to allergies and infection.

One of the best ways to support your adrenal glands is learning how to effectively deal with stress through relaxation techniques and exercise. Another is to ensure adequate potassium levels within the body. This can best be done by consuming foods rich in potassium and avoiding foods high in sodium. Most Americans consume twice as much sodium as potassium, but a natural diet rich in fruits and vegetables can flip that around, giving you more than 50 times as much potassium as sodium. If you want a quick hit, try bananas (with a potassium-sodium ratio of 440 to 1), or oranges (260 to 1).

I'm juicing vegetables every morning and only recently started adding some of the fiber pulp back to the glass because I was worried that I was missing out on the fiber. How much fiber is necessary?

I often get asked, "Why juice? Aren't we supposed to eat whole fruits and vegetables to get the fiber?" The answer is,"Of course you are, but you should juice too. I don't think it's necessary to add fiber pulp back into the juice. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables does provide some fiber, particularly soluble fiber, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Think about it-fiber refers to the indigestible material found in plants. Whlie it is important for proper bowel function, the juice is what nourishes us. Our body actually converts the food we eat into juice so that it can be absorbed. Juicing quickly provides the most easily digestible and concentrated nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables.

Nutrients play an enormous role in preventing and treating the leading causes of impaired visionin North America ­ cataracts and macular degeneration. In both conditions, the eye's normal protective mechanisms are unable to prevent damage to the lens and macula, respectively. Certain nutrients are essential in maintaining eye health, preventing these diseases, and improving visual function when these conditions do develop.

A diet high in richly colored fruits, particularly berries and grapes, and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, helps to lower your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. Initially it was beileved that this protection was the result of increased intake of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. However, various "nonessential" food components, such as non-provitamin A carotenes like lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and flavonoids, were later shown to be even more significant inprotecting against cataracts and macular degeneration than traditional nutritional antioxdiants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium.

If you have any signs of visual impairment, you absolutely must be properly evaluated by a physician. I recommend that you get a baseline eye exam and then follow the program for a minimum of six months before getting retested. Success is achieved if the condition has not worsened or if there are signs of improvement.

Let's look at some of the most important nutrients for improving eye health.

Critical to the health of the macula are the carotenes lutein and zeaxathin. These carotenes function in preventing oxidative damage to the area of the retina responsible for fine vision, and play a central role in protecting against the development of macular degeneration. In one study, subjects with macular degeneration who took 10-15 mg of lutein daily showed significant improvements in several objective measurements of visual function, including glare recovery, contrast sensitivity, and visual acuity vs. those who took a placebo. Three large studies have shown that the intake of lutein was inversely associated with cataract surgery. In other words, the higher the intake of lutein, the less likely cataract surgery would take place. In addition to offering protection against cataract formation, lutein can also help improve visual function in people with cataracts.

Where to find Lutein: dark leafy greens, pistachios, peas, cucumber and celery

Nutritional Antioxidants
Nutritional antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, and selenium are extremely important for eye health. While researchhas often focused on just one of these nutrients, studies conducted by the Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group (AREDS) confirm that a combination of these nutrients produces better results than any single nutrient alone. Yet, even something as simple as taking vitamin C or zinc can produce dramatic effects in preserving eye health. In one study, the use of vitamin C supplements for greater than 10 years was associated with a 77% lower rate of cataract formation compared to those who did not take a vitamin C supplement.

Zinc is perhaps the most important mineral for eye health, as it plays an essential role in the metabolism of the retina and the visual process. Levels of zinc have been shown to be greatly reduced in over 90% of cataract cases. Zinc is also involved inprotecting against macular degeneration. A two-year double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 151 subjects demonstrated that the group taking a zinc supplement had significantly less visual loss than the placebo group.

Where to find Vitamin C: Bell peppers, kale, kiwi, papayas, oranges and clementines, strawberries.

Where to find Zinc: Oysters, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, crab.

Flavonoid-rich Extracts
Flavonoid-rich extracts of blueberry, bilberry, pine bark, or grape seed also offer valuable benefits in improving eye health as well as protecting against cataracts and macular degeneration. In addition to possessing excellent antioxidant activity, these extracts have been shown to exert positive effects on improving blood flow to the retina as well as improving visual processes-especially poor night vision. Take 150 to 300 mg of one of these flavonoid-rich extracts to support eye health.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Acetyl-L-Carnitine
These two nutrients play a critical role in energy production. For example, the role of CoQ10 in our cells is very similar to the role of a spark plug in a car engine, while acetyl-L-carnitine functions as the fuel injection system. Just as the car cannot function without that initial spark, cells in our body cannot function properly without CoQ10 and carnitine. CoQ10 and carnitine perform their functions primarily in the mitochondria, the cell's energy producing compartment. Although the body makes some of its own CoQ10 and carnitine, considerable research shows significant benefits with supplementation. The mitochondria within the retina are especially vulnerable to toxic byproducts of cell metabolism, making supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine (a highly absorbable form of carnitine) and CoQ10 especially important. In one double-blind study, the combination of acetyl-L-carnitine (200 mg), omega-3 fatty acids (EPA 460 mg/DHA 320 mg) and CoQ10 (20 mg) was shown to improve visual function and macular alterations in the early stages of macular degeneration. In addition, it stopped the disease from progressing in 47 out of 48 cases.

Fish Oils
There is a strong relationship between hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and eye health. So, just as in atherosclerosis, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils play an important role in prevention of eye conditions like macular degeneration. The recommended dosage of a fish oil supplement to support eye health is enough to provide approximately 1,000 mg of EPA+DHA, the two important omega-3 fatty acids.

Q: My sleep problems started after age 30 and grew worse as I became a mother. I wake in the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. Why do we have a harder time sleeping as we age, and what can I do?

A: One of the biggest causes of sleep-maintenance insomnia is faulty blood sugar control. Anytime blood sugar levels drop rapidly, it causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol. If this situation occurs when we are sleeping, it causes us to wake up and makes it difficult to get back to sleep. The best approach is to work to reduce blood sugar volatility during the day by eating a low-glycemic diet, avoiding foods that cause a big elevation in blood sugar level such as high-sugar foods or too large a portion of starchy food. I also recommend taking a highly viscous dietary fiber supplement such as PGX, guar gum, or psyllium before meals to help stabliize blood sugar levels throughout the day and night.

Q: There is so much misinformation out there about hormone replacement therapy. I'm surprised that I still have friends taking HRT. Is it worth the risk?

A: Despite clear evidence that there is significant risk with HRT, there are still many women going this route. The use of HRT was supported by most physicians until 2002, when the National Institutes of Health halted a major clinical trial of HRT in postmenopausalwomen because the risks were too high. The study concluded that the risks of taking estrogen and progestin in combination, including an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and breast cancer, outweighed the potential benefits of the therapy. The number of women using HRT dropped significantly after the study. Not surprisingly, there was a parallel sharp decline in the rate of new breast cancer cases-a number that prior to 2002 had been climbing steadily. But it is a sad fact that approximately 30 mlilion prescriptions for HRT are still filled each year-about a third of what it once was, but still too high.

The natural approach to coping with the symptoms of menopause focuses on improving the woman's physiology through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and botanical medicines. In particular, several nutrients have been shown in clinical studies to be effective in relieving hot flashes, including fish oils, hesperidin (a flavonoid) in combination with vitamin C, pine bark extract, gamma oryzanol (a compound in rice bran oil), and vitamin E. Black cohosh(Cimicifuga racemosa) extract is the most widely used and thoroughly studied herbal alternative to hormone replacement therapy in menopause.

Beat Acid Reflux With These Home Remedies

Acid indigestion is not normally considered a life­ threatening illness. In the old days they just called it heartburn. My Aunt Ruby used to frequently get it after she ate little red peppers. And she loved little red peppers, which meant that every time I visited her when I was growing up, I had to witness her grab her chest and announce that she was most certainly having a heart attack. (Hmm.I wonder if hypochondria is genetic.) She wasn't supposed to eat greasy food, high-fat dairy products, or anything spicy, either. (Not that it stopped her from constantly consuming all of the above.) Alas, when she was actually having a heart attack, everyone just assumed it was "agita" from the fried clams. PS: She survived to eat again!!

However, with the recent news that doctors have linked Dolly Parton's cancer risk to the damage to her esophagus from many years of acid reflux, this common complaint takes on a whole new urgency. So it's a good time to review what we can do to naturally prevent and treat this condition before it gets extremely serious.

Now we all know lots of people who have indigestion and buy over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to help relieve its various symptoms. These can include not only heartburn, but acid reflux, upper abdominal pain, general gaseousness, difficulty swallowing, feelings of pressure, heaviness or bloating after eating, and stomach or abdominal cramps.

"The problem is, OTC drugs can actually make indigestion worse." Contends Dr. Michael T. Murray, an educator, lecturer, researcher, health food industry consultant, and the author of more than 30 books, including his newest, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. "Take the popular acid-blocking drugs, for example. They work by blocking one of the most important digestive processes - the secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach. While it may reduce discomfort, it also substantially stops the normal body process of digestion. Furthermore, acid blockers are associated with numerous digestive disturbances such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea."

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