Archived Articles - August 2013

Use home remedies to treat stretch marks

Although stretch marks are not detrimental, no one likes having them. Besides indicating weight gain, stretch marks are actually white or pale purplish scars produced due to the rapid skin distension. They are ugly and people having them lose confidence in engaging in activities requiring body exposure, such as swimming. Even as the pharmaceutical companies have produced and marketed some quack remedies for stretch marks, including hazardous surgical processes like dermabrasion, natural remedies are not only the safest, but effective too. Some such natural home remedies for stretch marks are discussed below.

Aloe vera gel: This is a common remedy for several skin-related problems, counting acne and sunburn. Perhaps aloe vera is among the best remedies for stretch marks, as this herb contains high levels of vitamin C as well as E. Just apply a little aloe vera gel to the stretch marks each morning and it will facilitate the marks to fade and may even help to get rid of them for good.

Almond oil: This natural remedy contains high levels of omega-3 fats, which have a reputation for promoting the skin's health. For optimal results, use the oil on the affected areas twice or thrice daily.

Cocoa butter: Preferred for their anti-wrinkling and anti-aging attributes, cocoa butter treats stretch marks effectively, as it has the aptitude to keep the skin moist and augmenting blood flow, thereby enhancing the natural suppleness of the skin. Different from aloe vera, which is applied only once daily, cocoa butter needs to be applied no less than twice daily - preferably once in the morning and again in the evening. It is more effective when applied following a warm shower.

Lemon Juice: As application of lemon juice augments collagen production, it is a wonderful remedy for removing stretch marks. It is so resourceful that you may include lemon juice in any of the treatments mentioned above to enhance their potency.

Tea tree oil: This essential oil is extracted from an aromatic shrub called tea tree and indigenous to southern Australia and New Zealand. It possesses antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, making it an effectual remedy for any skin injuries. Tea tree oil is very potent and, hence, it should be applied to the stretch marks only once daily. Its potent remedial smell may repel some people.

Warm olive oil: This natural oil is rich in vitamins A, D and K and, therefore, a preferred remedy for stretch marks. Insufficiency of these vitamins often intensifies the color of stretch marks. As aloe vera contains vitamin C and E, many combine it with warm olive oil to produce a very potent natural remedy for stretch marks.

Physical exercise: Workouts like sit-ups, swimming and abdominal crunches that help to tone the primary muscles are help to lighten stretch marks caused by rapid stretching of the skin. Similarly, consuming plenty of water (preferably 8 to 12 glasses daily) is helpful for enhancing the suppleness of the skin and harmonizing the consequences of your preferred remedies.

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Dietary benefits of using quinoa

Quinoa, often called 'super grain of the future' or 'gold of the Incas', offers plenty of health benefits. Although the popularity of this super food is increasing in the US and across the globe, very few people are aware of the health benefits of eating quinoa.

This pseudo-cereal is eaten just like cereals, but it is not a member of the grass family; instead it belongs to the plant family that also includes spinach, beets and Swiss chard. A few health benefits of quinoa are discussed below.

Rich antioxidant super grain: Quinoa encloses antioxidants like kaempferol and quercetin, in addition to containing anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It supports tissue growth and also helps to repair tissues and in combating infections and diseases.

Protein-rich food: Dissimilar to other grains or carbohydrates, quinoa offers substantial protein every serving. Quinoa also contains additional isoleucine and lysine, making it a complete source of protein in our diets. It also possesses the entire nine amino acids, which makes quinoa a genuinely protein-rich food.

High calcium content: Compared to other grains in the same class, this super food contains more calcium. For instance, quinoa contains two-fold more calcium compared to whole wheat for every ounce of each.

Fiber-rich pseudo-grain: An essential nutriment, fiber controls the sugar levels in blood and the digestive system by avoiding and easing constipation. Fiber-rich foods, such as quinoa, lower blood cholesterol and may help in losing weight. Different from other grains in the same class, the glycemic index of quinoa is low owing to its chemical composition as well as the high fiber content, which makes this super grain a wonderful carbohydrate alternative for people with diabetes. It does not add to blood sugar levels.

Diminishes heart disease, type 2 diabetes risks: Very few researches have been undertaken to correlate quinoa consumption and diminished chances of developing heart ailments and type 2 diabetes, but this super grain shares many attributes with other foods that are effective in diminishing these risks. Hence, in all probability, the high fiber, antioxidant and protein content of quinoa, will help people consuming this pseudo-grain to diminish the chances of developing these two types of ailments.

Riboflavin (B2) source: Since quinoa contains a notable quantity of riboflavin (B2), it is helpful in promoting metabolism. Quinoa regulates as well as promotes energy generation in the cells located in the brain and the muscles, besides augmenting metabolism. It has also been established that riboflavin helps in easing migraine problems.

Quinoa can be prepared easily and does not contain gluten. It can be included in several recipes, counting soups, salads and side dishes. It is loaded with nutrients and worth your money. Quinoa is considered to be among the healthiest foods available worldwide. It contains vital antioxidants and possesses anti-inflammatory attributes. Quinoa is also rich in fiber, protein, calcium and riboflavin content and helps to diminish the chances of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. No doubt, it is called the 'grain of the future'.

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Babies born by Caesarean section suffer more from allergies

Recent studies undertaken by scientists at universities in Scotland and Sweden and published in the journal 'Gut' have found that compared to babies having vaginal births, those born through Caesarean section suffer from allergies more often and the fewer diverse gut microbiota may be responsible for this.

According to senior author Anders Andersson, a metagenomics researcher at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Science for Life Laboratory, among the 24 children aged up to two years examined by scientists for development of macrobiota in Sweden's Småland and Östergötland, 15 were born normally, while nine were born by Caesarean section. It was found that compared to those born vaginally, children delivered through Caesarean section possessed fewer diverse gut microbiota in the first two years after birth.

Caesarean section children had low Bacteroidetes, which are especially related to defense against allergies. Hence, these children were not only more susceptible to allergies, but also faced the risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome and diabetes. One of the study author Maria Jenmalm says that while it is sometimes necessary to deliver through Caesarean section, the expectant mothers as well as physicians should know that this type of delivery may harm the baby's health.

While studies have shown that the gut of a child is totally sterile till he/ she is born, bacterial colonization is considered to be important for the development and maturity of the immune system during the initial years after birth. The absence of this may result in the over-reaction of the system to the environment, such as foods. In fact, the chances of having asthma are six times more in school children having allergies.

Children born the natural way come in contact with bacteria in their mother's birth canal and this helps the child to have his own gut microbiota. Contrarily, special measures are needed for children born by Caesarean section. Jenmalm says only breastfeeding for six months may not be sufficient, as exposure to solid foods earlier may promote gut microbiota's diversity further.

Currently, scientists in Puerto Rico are testing a more fundamental concept. A study involving several pregnant women screened their vaginal microbiota prior to their intended Caesarean. Following the birth, the mother's vaginal secretions were spread over the child's face. It is thought that this will help to transfer the vital bacteria from the mother to the child. Scientists in Sweden plan to undertake a similar study.

It has also been found that babies born normally also possess elevated levels of blood plasma related to Th1 cells in their immune system that may help in slowing immune responses to allergies.

Gut microbiota is considered to be the largest organ in our body, comprising over 100 species in humans. The number of bacteria in an adult's large and small intestines are ten-fold more compared to all the cells in the entire body. These bacteria survive on nutriments consumed by us, and reciprocate by offering an assortment of services, including production of substances akin to antibiotics that eliminate harmful bacteria.

According to Andersson, the recent progresses in biotechnology have helped to understand the interesting world of bacteria. DNA sequencing as well as computer analysis techniques have made it possible to determine the composition of species in several hundred samples simultaneously and also know about their distinctiveness.

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Vitamin D not effectual in lowering high BP in hypertensive patients

Use of vitamin D by patients with hypertension did not show any effect vis-à-vis lowering average office high blood pressure or reveal any notable healing result for any secondary consequences when it was used in the form of oral cholecalciferol in dosage of 100,000 U or corresponding placebo once in three months for a period of one year. This was stated in a recent media release by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Findings of a recent study undertaken by Scotland-based University of Dundee's Miles D. Witham, Ph.D. and his colleagues showed that taking vitamin D supplements did not seem to lower the blood pressure or improve the vascular health markers in aged patients having isolated systolic hypertension - a widespread nature of blood pressure.

Altogether 159 patients suffering from isolated systolic hypertension and having an average age of 77 years took part in the randomized medical experiment undertaken by the team led by Witham. The participants were divided into two groups - one group given vitamin D, while the other given corresponding placebos. The participants were given the supplements once in three months for a period of a year. During the clinical trial covering 12 months, the scientists gauged the differentiation in 24-hour blood pressure, office blood pressure, arterial stiffness, insulin resistance, cholesterol level, endothelial function as well as the levels of b-type natriuretic peptide.

The researchers did not notice any significant effect of the treatment for office blood pressure, or any notable consequence of the treatment for any other secondary consequences (for instance, 24-hour blood pressure, endothelial function, and arterial stiffness, level of glucose in bloodstream, blood cholesterol level and even walking distance) covered by the participants.

The study concluded that nevertheless use of vitamin D supplements may possibly have a positive outcome on the health of the cardiovascular system by means of effects not related to the blood pressure. It further stated that the results of the continuing large randomized experiments are expected sometime during the next few years.

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Ginseng is aphrodisiac and much more

Ginseng roots are available in a number of varieties, including the American ginseng (botanical name Panax quinquefolius) and the Korean or Asian ginseng (botanical name Panax ginseng). A number of people also include Siberian ginseng or eleuthero to this family, but this species does not enclose the essential element ginsenosides.

Ginseng is a therapeutic herb that works in the form of a powerful tonic to augment blood circulation and flow. For this reason, ginseng in conjunction with other herbs has often been recommended for people desiring a boost to their libido. Owing to its ability to increase blood circulation, people believe that ginseng also helps to improve concentration as well as the functioning of the cognitive system, as in the instance of ginkgo biloba.

While ginseng has been held in high esteem, particularly by people in Asia, scientists are yet to undertake sufficient studies to corroborate the health benefits offered by the herb. Scientific studies have shown that ginseng may possibly enhance immunity to a certain extent by protecting us from or thwarting common colds, which adults usually suffer from.

In December 2007, scientists undertook some clinical trials among 747 healthy adults primarily to evaluate the results of American ginseng compared to placebo treatments. The findings of these clinical experimentations revealed that risks of contacting common cold were 25 per cent less in people taking ginseng compared to those given placebos. It was also found that using ginseng as a preventive remedy for some time before catching cold helps to weaken the strength as well as reduce the period of the cold.

Other health benefits of ginseng

A number of researches undertaken on American ginseng have show promise of using it to treat people with type 2 diabetes, mainly because this herb has been found to possess the aptitude to regulate as well as lower blood sugar levels. Some people think that ginseng can also help in weight control and combat obesity, as it has been found that a tea prepared from the herb can restrict appetite to some extent.

Since ginseng augments blood circulation, this herb may possibly be of use to athletes by controlling their metabolism and enabling the optimal utilization of their oxygen levels. Augmented blood circulation also results in elevated levels of energy and almost certainly in reducing the time required by the muscles to recuperate from powerful physical activities.

Consumption of a tea prepared from American ginseng is also helpful for women enduring repeated menstrual problems. This herbal tea not only eases the occasional intolerable cramps, but also the pain associated with menstruation.

While there is not enough scientific proof regarding the health benefits of ginseng, it is thought that ginseng may be helpful in treating a variety of health conditions, including exhaustion, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, menopausal symptoms, hepatitis C, and even cancer.

Three natural weight loss foods

These days, going on a diet is rather challenging. It seems that humans are moving more and more fast every day, adding the worth of convenient, if detrimental, substitutes to a appropriate meal. In such a scenario, it is not surprising that so many people are suffering from obesity.

Nevertheless, still there are some foods that are easy to prepare as well as consume compared to the staples that we eat daily. Three such healthy foods are discussed briefly below.

Beans: Since the structure of proteins and fiber molecules is complex, they are hard to digest compared to sugar, flour and different simple foods. If a food takes longer time to be digested, the eater experiences fullness for a longer period. Beans are a humble vegetable that contain reasonable to great quantities of fats, they also enclose plenty of proteins. It also encloses a reasonable amount of fiber and it is among the healthiest basic foods available, making it a wonderful option for people requiring simple as well as reasonably priced wholesome foods for consumption and feel full for about an hour.

Celery: Celery has a fibrous stem, which is poor in nutriments and also hard to digest in comparison to many other plants. Hence, one requires additional calories to digest celery that what this food actually provides. Therefore, eating celery in between meals is not only an excellent way to diet, but also delay hunger. Consuming celery helps to avoid the impulse for foods and, at the same time, lowers the number of calories consumed by the eater through other foods.

Oatmeal: An excellent choice for breakfast, oatmeal is packed with fiber that is slow to digest. Considering the fact that the metabolism of the body increases remarkably after taking the day's first meal, it is possible for a dieter to reorganize the calories consumed throughout the day by taking a very reasonable amount immediately after waking in the morning. In fact, this is responsible for augmenting calories that are burnt inactively by the body in the absence of any exertion on the part of the dieter. Therefore, oatmeal not only provides us with dietary fiber that delays hunger, but it is also an excellent food for breakfast, as it gives a boost to passive metabolism.

In addition to beans, celery and oatmeal, there are several other foods that provide us with the necessary nutriments and also help in losing excessive body weight. In fact, any sensible diet will comprise foods that offer elevated levels of protein and fiber, in addition to low to reasonable amount of carbohydrates (read calories). Foods that can be included in this category include legumes, pork tenderloin, lean fowl and others. It is not difficult for any person to make out foods that contribute to our wellbeing and, at the same time, help to reduce the surplus flab, provided one does a little investigation at his/ her neighbourhood grocery.

Fish oil may help to reverse liver ailment in kids with intestinal failure

A key discovery by scientists at the Las Angeles-based University of California (UCLA) may possibly bring an end to liver ailments in kids with intestinal failure. The findings of a study undertaken by the UCLA scientists and carried in Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition showed that administering omega-3 acid-rich fish oil injections intravenously can help to totally reverse liver ailments, thereby doing away with liver transplants plus other medical interventions.

During the study, scientists examined the results of the therapy concerning administering fish oil injections intravenously to 10 children whose age varied from two to 18 years. All the children suffered from an advanced stage of liver disease associated with intestinal failure - a highly risky condition that results in early death in many cases.

Children participating in the study were provided with the innovative therapy for six months, and the results were assesses with another group of 20 children also suffering from the ailment, but instead of fish oil, were given conventional treatment. It was found that as the group receiving conventional treatment, children who were administered fish oil recovered notably fast and they recuperated from the liver disorders completely only after 17 weeks.

According to Dr. Kara Calkins, an assistant profession and physician at the Mattel Children's Hospital Department of Neurology and Development Biology at UCLA, they undertook the study to find if administering fish oil for a fixed period of six months helped to reverse the damaged liver in such children and the results were very positive.

Currently available treatments approved by the FDA involve administering GMO soybean oil injections to children suffering from intestinal failures. Hence, children in the control group received soybean oil injections; notwithstanding the fact very few children who are given this treatment are benefitted. In addition, many genetically-modified soybean oils also present inherent dangers, but the FDA still deems it to be a safe and effectual cure for such patients.

Commenting on the obstacles regarding fish oil use, Dr. Calkins said as the FDA is yet to approve the use of fish oil and also because it is more expensive compared to soybean oil, usually insurance firms do not provide cover for it. Consequently, fish oil is only regarded as experimental and at present only available under exceptional protocols. Provided it is established that using fish oil is safe, it will be made available for extensive use.

This study also shows that soybean oil is extremely toxic and may kill children. In addition, compared to fish oil, soybean oil is only 5% effective. A press release issued by UCLA says injecting soybean oil may result in liver disease associated with intestinal failure, causing early deaths.

While the merits of administering fish oil as intravenous injections to cure liver disease associated with intestinal failures have been demonstrated by earlier studies too, none of them mentioned the precise period for which the treatment should be continued. It is hoped that the findings of the UCLA study will prompt the FDA to finally approve the use of fish oil as a superior choice for treating such conditions over soybean oil, which is not only ineffective, but also dangerous.

Bioactive elements in green tea, red wine stop progression of Alzheimer's disease

It is believed that Alzheimer's disease is caused when there is an abnormal build-up of amyloid plaque in the region of the nerve synapses obstructing the conduction of chemical and electrical transmitters, which enable the brain to maintain an elevated level of cognitive functioning as well as storage and retention of memories. In fact, Alzheimer's disease is assuming epidemic proportions as numerous Americans suffer from one or the other stage of this condition in their middle age or later and it is anticipated that during the next five decades, the disease will increase four-fold affecting at least one of every 45 Americans.

During the last decade, scientists have discovered a few innate, bioactive chemicals possessing the aptitude to change the advancement of Alzheimer's disease. Scientists from the UK-based University of Leeds have proved that natural compounds present in red wine and green tea may help in interrupting a vital stage in the progression of Alzheimer's disease. In their reports, carried in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the scientists have discovered the course that permits detrimental protein clumps to bind to the cells of the brain, resulting in their death.

It has been found that the extracts from red wine and green tea obstruct the formation of amyloid, thereby preventing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists believe that amyloid proteins present in the brain accumulate to develop into various forms of noxious, muggy balls, which bind to the nerve cells' surface inside the brain by attaching to prions (proteins on the surface of the cells), resulting in the malfunctioning and eventual death of the cells. According to Dr. Jo Rushworth, co-author of the study, they wanted to examine if the amyloid balls need to have a precise form to bind to the receptors on prions.

The scientists wanted to find if amyloid balls can be prevented from attaching to prions by maneuvering their form, thereby preventing the death of the nerve cells. They developed amyloid balls inside a test tube and, subsequently, inserted them into the brain cells of humans as well as animals. The scientists concluded that when they inserted the red wine and green tea extracts, which were found to alter the shape of amyloid proteins, the amyloid balls were no more detrimental for the nerve cells.

The scientists found that red wine and green tea enclose bioactive chemicals, such as EGCG and resveratrol, which change the form of amyloid balls, thereby stopping them from attaching to prions and disturbing the functioning of the nerve cells. Further researches have also found that curcumin, an active chemical present in turmeric, also passed the subtle blood-brain obstruction to prevent the progression of dementia. Hence, it is advisable that people concerned about their health ought to drink red wine and green tea or consume identical supplements on a regular basis in order to put off the development as well as advancement of Alzheimer's disease.

Five potent foods that heal Candida infection

In North America, where people are virtually addicted to grains, sugars, alcohol and dairy, it is really difficult to cure the prevalent digestive ailments there. The condition worsens and gives rise to an excellent environment for development of candidiasis, an ecological imbalance inside the body, when you take into consideration detrimental factors like adulterated foods poor in nutriments; prescription drugs and antibiotics; lots of unnecessary stress; and intake of heavy metals through vaccinations, dental fillings and the environment. Nevertheless, you can overcome the situation by including potent foods in your daily diet. Some such foods are listed below.

Apple cider vinegar
It contains high levels of enzymes and aids in regulating Candida's existence inside the body. Apple cider vinegar is also an excellent natural resource of probiotics, helps to balance pH, and get rid of harmful gut biofilm that houses different pathogenic parasites.

Fermented vegetables
In order to combat pathogenic bacteria effectively, it is essential to develop friendly bacteria so that they can be in-charge of the internal environment and help to sustain a suitable balance. The best way to achieve this is to consume fermented vegetables.
Earlier, fermented vegetables were a preferred way to preserve food for prolonged periods, but have now turned out to be more accepted for being an outstanding source of vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, minerals and also to get remove toxic substances, revitalize the cells and fortify the immunity. Precisely speaking, fermented vegetables are an excellent way to promote friendly bacteria and heal Candida growth.

Garlic possesses antifungal properties and is effectual against Candida. While a study undertaken in 1988 found that aqueous garlic extract (AGE) successfully inhibited the candida's growth, an article carried in the Huntington College of Health Sciences stated that research has shown that garlic counteracts Candida, slowing down its development and the functioning of Candida Albicans.

Coconut kefir
Although not as popular as kombucha and dairy kefirs, coconut kefir is reputed to be effective in healing Candida infections, as it contains elevated mineral levels. While it introduces helpful probiotics into the intestines, coconut kefir also aids in removing mucosal layer, generally attributable to prescription drugs, that thwarts the assimilation of beneficial bacteria and other nourishments, laying down a beneficial mucosal layer, especially for good bacteria.
In addition, coconut kefir helps in digesting foods, cleansing the endocrine system and liver.

Coconut oil
It has been established that coconut oil is a resourceful fat containing dissimilar fatty acids like capric acid, caprylic acid and lauric acid, which are effectual against Candida. Caprylic acid is vital for people with Candida, as it possesses potent antifungal attributes that inhibit the cell walls of Candida and eliminate them. Lauric and capric acids have similar actions; together they provide a forceful antifungal treatment.
Apart from these, there are several different herbs and foods that you may consider incorporating in the anti-Candida diet. These include substances like aloe vera, oregano oil, cloves and pau d'arco. The main objective is to consume foods rich in enzymes and probiotics with a view to create a balanced internal environment that promotes good bacteria and avoids development of Candida.

Study finds vitamin C reduces detrimental outcomes of air pollution

Vitamin C is among the most potent antioxidants and we are familiar with its aptitude to help growth and repair of tissues. Recently, scientists at London's Imperial College have discovered that consuming lemons and oranges, which contain high levels of vitamin C, also protects us from the detrimental consequences of pollutants in the air like car exhaust and contaminants from power plants.

During their research, the scientists examined 209 patients based in London during the period between 2008 and 2009 to find out the relation between coarse particulate matter and oxidative stress. All the subjects, aged between 54 and 74 years, had been admitted to hospitals owing to asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The scientists discovered that exposure to all added 10 mcg/ m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) of coarse particular matter (air pollution caused by fossil combustion), to which all the patients were exposed) increased the risk of being hospitalized due to COPD or asthma by 35 per cent. It was also found that the chances of being hospitalized increased by 1.2 times for patients having low levels of vitamin C - an association that continued to be correct even when aged patients as well as people who smoked earlier were kept out of the evaluation.

Study co-author and the Respiratory Epidemiology and Public Health department of the Imperial University research associate, Dr. Cristina Canova said that vitamin C's protective effect remained even after keeping out elderly patients and former smokers. This denotes that the results of vitamin C were not elucidated either by age or smoking.

It may be noted that the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. and its counterpart in Europe have fixed 50 mcg/ m3 as 'safe' benchmarks for levels of air pollution for coarse particulate matter.

Why vitamin C helps

Scientific studies have revealed that free radicals add to the development of heart disease, cancer, and respiratory problems like asthma and COPD. As vitamin C is rich in antioxidants and can counteract the actions of free radicals, it is believed that people who consume foods rich in vitamin C on a regular basis are protected better against such ailments caused by deficiency of this vitamin.

Intake of vitamin C on a regular basis is vital, as our body does not possess the aptitude to either produce or store this vitamin. As a result, it is crucial that people, particularly those who live in urban areas or places that have an elevated intensity of coarse particulate matter should avoid sporadic intake of vitamin C and ideally, try to take it every day in even amounts. This will help in maintaining a steady level of vitamin C in their body.

Several foods contain high levels of vitamin C and some of them include citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables (particularly uncooked kale), cauliflower, green and red chilli peppers, bell peppers, strawberries, papaya and fresh herbs (particularly thyme and parsley).