April / May 2004
( to: Health Newsletter Archive )
Greetings once again and welcome to this edition of the Archangel Health News!
Our health is something we sometimes take for granted. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on good food alone to nourish us. We must also be willing to exercise regularly and explore other ways to keep fit and stay healthy. In the end, the best decisions will be the ones you make in conjunction with your health care practitioner. Part of our goal with this newsletter is to provide some general health-related information that will assist in that process.
Featured in this month's issue:
GARDENING AND ARTHRITIS -- Gardening as a form of exercise helps you maintain joint mobility and reduce arthritis pains. Your joints are made to move and if you rest your joints day after day, the muscles that support those joints will slowly weaken. For instance, the tendons that attach your muscles to your bones will become less elastic which, to an arthritis sufferer, means even more pain and suffering. Despite having arthritis, gardening helps prevent stiff joints and maintain the full range of joint motion so that you can move more freely.
GETTING ENOUGH SELENIUM? -- Selenium has been found to be beneficial in the fight against free radicals, which contribute to premature aging, among other things. Selenium is found in the highest concentrations in seafoods, grains, muscle meats, and Brazil nuts. A multivitamin that contains between 70-100 mcg is recommended, but an additional supplement is not necessary. It has also recently shown that selenium can help prevent cancer.
EATING TIPS FOR MORE ENERGY -- Avoid the use of refined, devitalized, foods. Fresh foods are best. Avoid overeating any food! Avoid eating too great a variety of foods at one meal, as this stimulates you to overeat. Avoid eating when you are extremely tired or emotionally upset, as this inhibits digestion and creates fermentation. Do not eat when you are ill or if you are not hungry. Avoid eating between meals; your body can use the break to cleanse itself. Do not drink excessive liquids with your meals. Excessive amounts of liquids can dilute your digestive juices. Eat natural foods in simple combinations. Eat slowly and chew all foods to a liquid. Have a tranquil mind at mealtime. Whenever possible eat foods that are not strained. Enjoy all that you eat.
FOOD POISONING SIGNS -- Food poisoning may cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, and headache. It usually clears up by itself, but if it does not or you have the following symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control recommends you see a doctor: Bloody diarrhea - a sign of possible E. coli infection, which may lead to kidney failure and death; Stiff neck, severe headache and fever - all three occurring at once could be a sign of meningitis (inflammation of the brain's lining that can be caused by Listeria); Excessive diarrhea or vomiting - these can lead to dangerous dehydration. You are probably dehydrated if you have not urinated for 12 hours; Any symptoms that last more than three days.
SIT UP STRAIGHT! -- Remember what Grandma always said: "sit up straight." In fact, slouching puts 40% more pressure on your lower back than standing up straight. And there is no doubt about it for those who must remain seated throughout the day: sitting up straight can help you alleviate back pain and/or help prevent it from developing.
AT-HOME TREATMENT FOR DRY, ITCHY SKIN -- Dr. David Leffell, chief of dermatologic and laser surgery at Yale School of Medicine, knows dry, itchy skin can be a real annoyance. So he's come up with an at-home treatment for particularly bad cases that he likes to call "Chicken Soup for Your Skin." Take a 100-percent cotton pillowcase and soak it in tepid tap water. Wring it until it is just moist. Lay the pillowcase on the skin for 10 minutes. Repeat as needed, up to 30 minutes in any given area. Apply a good moisturizer to the affected area.
HEALTHY BOWEL MOVEMENTS -- Most experts agree that you should have at least one bowel movement each day, and it is even healthier to have two. Some even believe that you should have a bowel movement an hour or two after each meal. Generally speaking, if you have one each day you would be doing better than most people. However, it is important to have them on a regular basis so that waste material does not remain in your colon too long. Your stool should be soft, yet well formed and easily eliminated - not dense and hard. One way to evaluate it is to observe whether or not it naturally floats upon elimination - it should float rather than sink. If you are not eliminating on at least a daily basis, there is a good possibility that some of the toxins your body is trying to eliminate may be absorbed back into your bloodstream from your colon. It is important to remember that what seems to be "normal" is not necessarily "healthy." So, if you are one of those individuals who are "normal," you may still not have "healthy" bowel function. To help support your body’s natural elimination processes, there are several factors to keep in mind. Of all of them, four are especially important: include adequate fiber in your diet, drink plenty of water, maintain healthy microflora in your colon, and walk some each day. The fiber and water in your diet helps to insure that your stool contains plenty of fibrous material and is hydrated properly. This facilitates bulk, lubrication, and movement through your whole digestive tract, including your colon. Healthy levels of microflora in the colon help to maintain proper pH and several other important factors. They play a big role in healthy bowel ecology. To support healthy bowel ecology you can find sources of lactobacillus in yogurt containing active and live culture as well as various forms of dietary supplementation. Importantly, there is no question that walking is a great way to help your natural elimination process.
NUTRITIOUS ALTERNATIVE TO MEAT -- Research from Tulane University in New Orleans found that eating beans at least four times a week could decrease your risk of heart disease. But beans are not just heart healthy, they are nutritional superstars, says Dayle Hayes, R.D., a consultant for the Council for Women's Nutritional Studies. Eat beans several times a week in place of meat and you will lose weight and feel healthier. Why are they so good? Beans are high in protein and fiber, and also low in fat. Hayes offers some advice for making beans count: add a can of dried beans to soup; mix a can of black beans with a jar of salsa; or sprinkle beans over salads and pizzas. Anyway you make it, beans are they way to go.
ALLERGIES -- Just what is an allergy anyway? It is actually a malfunction of your immune system! That complex protective network of bacteria and virus-fighting antibodies sometimes gets so fired up, it tries to protect you from things in the everyday environment. The list of potential allergens - things that inadvertently trigger your immune system - is unfortunately fairly long. Most of us are allergic to something or other. But the big allergy culprits include pollen, dust mites, dander, mold, mildew, and even foods. We have all had a friend with a dairy allergy envy our enjoyment of an ice-cream cone. So, what is the best way to handle an allergy? The simple solution is just staying away from anything that triggers a reaction. Too bad if you want to own a cat, take a walk through a Spring meadow, or enjoy that ice-cream cone. Fortunately, medical science has made some great advances in allergy relief. To learn the best way to begin fighting your allergies, nothing beats an old-fashioned visit to your doctor.
PREVENT CANCER WITH SLEEP -- Getting a good night's rest may be an important part of cancer prevention. A recent study revealed there may be a connection between poor sleep quality and cancer incidence. Poor sleep appears to disrupt the patterns of certain hormones that may influence cancer cells. These hormonal disruptions could reduce a person's defenses against the development or worsening of cancer.
WELLNESS QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
** Q & A #1:
Can walking really help me lose weight?
Yes - for one thing it helps you burn calories. A 200-pound person who starts walking one mile per day and continues to eat the same amount of calories can lose up to 14 pounds in one year!
** Q & A #2:
What is caffeine withdrawal?
Giving up coffee cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness, headache, and fatigue. To avoid the unpleasantness, cut down coffee consumption by half a cup every two or three days. Drink coffee in smaller cups and increase the amount of milk in the coffee. Chamomile tea can help caffeine withdrawal related headaches. Consider using energy boosting teas like green tea or Siberian ginseng, which have health benefits without the negative side effects.
** Q & A #3:
Does fiber reduce absorption of other nutrients?
In general, no, especially when you consider the vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients absorbed when we eat them. It is known that insoluble fiber contains phytic acid, which will hold on to a limited amount of some minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, and copper. High-quality nutritional supplements such as Colon Formula, contain soluble fiber, which really poses no absorption problems. The only persons who should be concerned are those pure vegetarians not supplementing their diets with vitamins and minerals.
** Q & A #4:
What are "phytosterols?" I have heard that they are like cholesterol in meats. Are they good for you?
Phytosterols and cholesterol are members of a family of substances called "sterols." Sterols are compounds arranged in a multiple ring-like structure. Some examples of these are male and female sex hormones, bile acids, adrenal hormones, and vitamins. Sterol-based substances are essential components of cell membranes of animal tissue. Phytosterols are found only in plants, but they differ in structure and shape from cholesterol. Because sterols are fatty compounds, phytosterols are found in plant foods that contain fat. Very low-fat diets, especially those that eliminate nuts and oils, are low in phytosterols. Refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils are also low in phytosterols.
** Q & A #5:
Will eating more protein-rich foods help me to be less hungry?
If you usually have a glass of fat-free milk and a slice of whole-grain toast in the morning, you may experience hunger pangs by late morning. Spreading some reduced-fat peanut butter on your toast will stave off those belly rumblings. Numerous studies, dating as far back as the 1950s, have found that when people go on low-calorie diets they often fail to get enough protein. The lack of protein can make people feel hungry all the time. Simply adding the protein can send the hunger packing. Recent European studies have found that eating more protein for breakfast and lunch leads to a lower food intake at the next meal. However, overdoing the protein, like some of the trendy diets, is not the answer. These protein blasts usually rid water weight, and do not teach you how to manage your eating when the crash-course is finished. These diets work on the assumption that carbohydrate calories are bad. In reality, it is all excess calories - no matter from what source - that add to weight gain.
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THE HERBAL CORNER
The fiery taste and bright color of CAYENNE make it one of the world's most noticeable and widely used spices. Recently, this herb has become as hot in healing as it is on the tongue. Cayenne - also known as red pepper, capsicum, chili pepper, and several other names - is a perennial plant in its native tropical America but is annual when cultivated outside tropical zones. It grows to a height of three feet and only its fruit is used for its culinary and medicinal value.
Cayenne extract has proven remarkably effective at relieving certain types of severe, chronic pain. It may also aid digestion, stimulate the appetite, fight colds, relieve diarrhea, reduce cholesterol, and prevent heart disease. Herbalists regard cayenne as a powerful tonic. The fruit stimulates the heart and promotes circulation while boosting energy. Like other species of hot garden pepper, Cayenne contains the stimulant known as "capsaicin."
Although considered relatively safe, cayenne usage does come with precautions. Pregnant women and patients with ulcers, gastritis, or bowel diseases should avoid cayenne or use only under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. Large doses can cause stomach pain or vomiting. Prolonged application of Cayenne on the skin can cause dermatitis or blistering. Cayenne is readily available in powder form, in capsule or tablet herbal formulations, as tincture, dried herb, tea, or essential oil. An oil preparation can be rubbed on sprains, swelling, sore muscles, and joints to ease pain. Cayenne can be combined with myrrh and used as a gargle or antiseptic wash to treat laryngitis.
- Digestive Aid. Red pepper assists digestion by stimulating the flow of both saliva and stomach secretions. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the breakdown of carbohydrates, while gastric juices contain acids and other substances that further digest food. In cultures with bland cuisine, such as traditional American meat-and-potatoes cooking, people often believe that highly spiced foods damage the stomach and contribute to ulcers. This is not the case. According to a study published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association," researchers concluded that ingestion of highly spiced meals by normal individuals is not associated with gastrointestinal damage.
- Diarrhea. Like many culinary spices, cayenne possesses antibacterial properties, possibly explaining traditional claims that it helps relieve infectious diarrhea.
- Colds. Cayenne is loaded with nutrients. It contains vitamin C, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and B-complex vitamins. Cayenne tea is excellent for a cold and chills because it heats you up and forces you to sweat-out toxins. It also cleanses the digestive tract, further helping to rid your system of germs. Cayenne's active ingredient capsaicin also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
- Chronic Pain. Recently, Cayenne has been shown to possess real pain-relieving (analgesic) properties for certain kinds of chronic pain. For reasons still not completely understood, capsaicin interferes with the action of "substance P" which is the chemical in the peripheral nerves that sends pain messages to the brain. Several recent studies all showed capsaicin so effective at relieving a particular type of chronic pain that two over-the-counter capsaicin creams, Zostrix and Axsain, have won Food and Drug Administration approval. Zostrix is the most effective treatment yet for the severe pain that follows the disease known as shingles or herpes zoster. Axsain is used to treat the severe ankle and foot pain, known as burning foot syndrome, which affects approximately half of all diabetics.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you know that might benefit from any of the above information - or refer them to http://www.aomega.com/ahs/newsletters/nl040504.htm - we would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you for reading this edition of the Archangel Health News and may God bless you and your HEALTH!
Darrin and Sandi Quiles
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Copyright © 2004 by Sandi and Darrin Quiles. All rights reserved.
Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any products mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.