Health On Life's Journey

Health On Life's Journey

7 foods to help you lower your cholesterol levels naturally

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

Do you have an unhealthy cholesterol level and are wondering what you could do about it without resorting to drugs?

Here’s a very simple solution – eat more foods that help to lower cholesterol in your body. Below are 7 such foods that can be very beneficial to your condition.

Apple
Though it might sound cliché, an apple a day could actually keep the doctor away. For the fruit is useful not only for lowering your cholesterol. It is also helpful for lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart diseases and type II diabetes. In addition, the nutrients found in this cheap and widely available food can help improve your digestive system, as well as alleviate symptoms of gout and arthritis. Keep the skin on (after cleaning it with a natural vegetable wash) as you munch away on your apple for maximal quercetin antioxidant intake.

Eggplant
Studies have found that the eggplant is a beneficial food for those with unhealthy cholesterol levels. Animals fed the food were found to have lowered cholesterol levels in their blood and arteries, relaxed blood vessel walls as well as improved blood flow in these vessels. It seems that the eggplant also contains a compound known as nasunin, which prevents blood cholesterol from being converted into a highly reactive toxic form and causing more damage to your cardiovascular system.

Guava
Guavas are rich in fiber and hence can offer you extra protection when it comes to high cholesterol, heart diseases and type II diabetes. Its phytonutrient-antioxidant lycopene also makes the fruit a powerful anti-tumor food. Guava also contains 5 times as much vitamin C as oranges. So if you have access to this wonderful fruit, grab it!

Garlic and Onion

Garlic is one of the famous foods for lowering blood cholesterol. Numerous studies have found that as little as a clove of garlic a day could help lower your cholesterol level by 15%. Besides garlic, onion is another food-spice-herb-condiment that is useful against unhealthy cholesterol levels. Just half an onion a day could do the trick. What’s more, both garlic and onion have additional benefits in lowering blood pressure, fighting pathogens and enhancing your immunity. These properties make them powerful foods to eat everyday for great health and well-being.

Oat bran

In general, food rich in fiber are useful for lowering cholesterol. Such foods include (fresh) fruits, vegetables and beans. Nonetheless, foods like the oat bran can provide extra power when it comes to reducing your cholesterol. The soluble fiber in oat bran combines with cholesterol in your intestinal tract and removes it from your body. ND. Amy Rothenberg recommends consuming 3-quarter cups of cooked oat bran cereal daily to reduce your cholesterol levels by 10%.

Shiitake mushrooms

If you are a mushroom lover, you would be glad to know that the shiitake mushroom contains a compound known as lentinan, which is beneficial for keeping your unhealthy cholesterol in check. In addition, the mushroom has also been found to have anti-viral, anti-tumor and immune-boosting properties. So top up on your shiitake mushrooms today!

Read more about choosing your foods and planning your diet to reduce your cholesterol levels

References
[1] Collins, Elise Marie. An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods: A Shopper’s Companion. San Francisco, California: Conari Press, 2009. Print.
[2] Duke, James A., PhD. The Green Pharmacy. New York, NY: Rodale, 1997. Print.
[3] Murray, Michael, ND., Pizzorno, Joseph, ND., and Pizzorno, Lara, MA, LMT. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books, 2005. Print.
[4] Duke, James A., PhD. The Green Pharmacy. New York, NY: Rodale, 1997. Print.


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog.

The 30 names of MSG no one told you about

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

If you consume processed foods regularly, or eat out very often, it is very likely that you are feeding your body a substantial amount of MSG. And this amount might be a lot more than you are aware of. This is because MSG is added to many processed foods, in the guise of at least XX names.

Below are some of these names that food producers use to “disguise” their MSG and try to pass off as a healthier food product.

According to Dr Joseph Mercola and Author Bill Gottlieb, the following food ingredients always contain MSG:

  • Monosodium glutamate

  • Monopotassium glutamate
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamic acid
  • Hydrolyzed protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
  • Autolyzed plant protein
  • Textured protein
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Yeast food
  • Yeast extract
  • Yeast nutrient
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Maltodextrins
  • Hydrolyzed oat flour

And the following food ingredients often contain MSG:

  • Malt extract

  • Malt flavoring
  • Malted barley (flavor)
  • Barley malt
  • Flavors, Flavoring(s)
  • Natural flavoring(s)
  • Natural chicken, beef or pork flavorings or seasonings
  • Reaction flavors
  • Caramel flavoring (coloring)
  • Food seasonings
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Stock

But that is not all. There are actually more names that food producers use to confuse their customers.

So it seems like it is not easy to avoid MSG in your diet if you consume quite a bit of processed foods. And since many restaurants also use MSG in preparing their foods, you are likely to encounter more MSG when you eat out.

Don’t be fooled by those who claim that just a little bit of MSG won’t kill. You are probably taking in more than just a bit of MSG when you are not careful. This is because the amounts add up from different sources. And MSG can bring you neurotoxic side effects.

The best way of avoiding MSG is really to prepare your own meals using fresh ingredients (without using MSG, of course) as often as possible.

References
[1] Gottlieb, Bill. Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problems. Rodale, 2000. Print.
[2] Mercola, Joseph, Dr., and Pearsall, Kendra, Dr. Take Control of Your Health. Schaumburg, IL: Mercola. com, 2007. Print.


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

7 safety facts about MSG in your food

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is found in many processed foods, as well as is used by many restaurants.

How safe is MSG for consumption?

Are the assertions that MSG is harmless in small amounts accurate? Can we trust the claim that MSG can be beneficial as it helps you reduce your salt intake while keeping your food tasty?

Brace yourself for the 7 safety facts that you are going to read about MSG.

MSG and the “Chinese restaurant syndrome”

Some people experience what is known as the “Chinese restaurant syndrome” after consuming MSG. The feelings of discomfort include headaches, tingling, numbness, sweating and flushing. In some instances, the symptoms could parallel severe allergic reactions and be life-threatening, for example, chest pains, heart palpitations, breathlessness and swelling of the throat.

MSG and heart attacks

MSG could over-stimulate your heart’s electrical conduction system. It is a potential source of danger for you if you have pre-existing heart problems, as the substance could trigger sudden cardiac arrest or arrhythmia in you. This is especially the case if you are also low in your magnesium levels.

MSG and brain damage

MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, and too much glutamate in the body has been associated with neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. A 1968 study by Washington University found that excessive MSG led to brain damage in lab animals. That is why MSG was discontinued for use in many baby-foods.

MSG and cancer

Studies have found that MSG alters the function of genes and increases free radicals in the body. This probably explains why MSG stimulates the growth of malignant tumors, and conversely, drugs that block glutamate actually help shrink tumors.

MSG, obesity and diabetes

Research has found that MSG causes rats to become obese and even develop Type II diabetes. So if you are working hard to lose weight, or are at a risk of developing Type II diabetes, it is best that you do your best to stay away from MSG.

MSG and pain

Since glutamate plays a major role in the sensation of pain, eating foods high in MSG can actually worsen your pre-existing pain problems.

The many unknown names of MSG

MSG has more than 30 other names. Food producers often use these names to conceal the fact that they use MSG to make their foods taste better, so as to pass off as being healthier. Find out more about these alternative names in my next blog entry.

Sources for this article include
[1] Blaylock, Russell L, MD. Natural Strategies For Cancer Patients. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing, 2003. Print.
[2] Fischer, William L. How to Fight Cancer & Win. Rev ed. USA: Agora South, 2000. Print.
[3] Bollinger, Ty. Cancer: Step Outside The Box. 5th ed. USA: Infinity 510 510 Partners, 2011. Print.
[4] Mercola, Joseph, Dr., and Pearsall, Kendra, Dr. Take Control of Your Health. Schaumburg, IL: Mercola. com, 2007. Print.


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

Should you be taking TCM herb Eucommia? 6 instances when the answer is “Yes”.

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

Considered a power-herb just second to Ginseng, Eucommia is a Chinese herb that has a wide variety of health and medical properties, and has been used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners for thousand of years. It is only recently that elsewhere, people are starting to learn about and use this herb for its health-promoting qualities.

Should you be incorporating the herb into your health routine? Here are 6 instances when the answers to these questions are “Yes”.

Yes, if you often have backaches

TCM practitioners believe that backaches are usually a sign of Shen deficiency, and Eucommia can help address this deficiency. In 2000, some Japanese researchers found that the bark and leaves of the Eucommia plant contain a compound that increases collagen formation in rats. Collagen is essential for healthy connective tissues (e.g. tendons and ligaments) which are found extensively along the back.

Yes, if you have high blood pressure

Studies since 1970s have shown the blood-pressure lowering properties of Eucommia, which some researchers attributed to its mild diuretic actions. This effect of the herb is especially useful if you have borderline hypertension and could be helped with dietary and lifestyle modification (instead of having to resort to pharmaceutical drugs).

But even if you do not have high blood pressure, you could still take the herb, as unlike pharmaceutical drugs, the herb does not further lower blood-pressure in those already with low blood pressure.

Yes, if you are male and have impotency

If you are male and suffer from impotency or premature ejaculation, and your problems are due to a deficiency in Shen yang (you would need to be diagnosed by a TCM practitioner for that), then Eucommia is the herb for you. Modern studies have found that the herb increases the production of nitric-oxide in your body, which probably explains its function in addressing impotency issues.

Yes, if you are female and are pregnant

TCM practitioners have traditionally used Eucommia in supporting pregnancies, by reducing the occurrence of miscarriages. The herb is extremely mild in terms of side effects and toxicity, and so can be quite safely consumed by almost everyone. Nonetheless, if you are pregnant and are considering whether to take the herb, it might be best to consult your TCM doctor first. Your physician would be in the best shoes to advise you if the herb is suited for your body constitution.

Yes, if you have low immunity

Eucommia has been found to immunity-enhancing properties. It enhances adrenocortical functions and possesses anti-inflammatory abilities. It increases interferon production, which triggers your body’s immune system into defense mode. The herb also enhances phagocytic action, which increases the elimination of foreign materials in your blood by your white blood cells.

Yes, if you deficiencies in Gan and Shen

If you are diagnosed by a TCM practitioner as having deficiencies in Gan and Shen, Eucommia could be very useful for you. The herb could help you address problems brought about by your deficiencies, including the premature graying of hair, blurry vision, tinnitus, poor memory, menstrual issues, as well as fertility issues (in both men and women).

Find out more about HOW you could take Eucommia to enjoy its health benefits.

Here’s when you need to be extra cautious

You need to be extra cautious when taking Eucommia if you experience symptoms of yin-deficient-huo-excessive, which include but are not limited to night sweating, hot flashes, and dry cough with little or bloody phlegm. It is best to consult a TCM practitioner for a proper diagnosis if you are unsure about your body constitution. You should also reframe from consuming Eucommia if you are down with flu or have a sore throat.

References
[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3435100295.html
[2] http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new05309.html
[3] http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/4/338.pdf
[4] http://www.med66.com/new/201202/zm201202213710.shtml


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

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