" Look Into It - Health News










  • What could go wrong? Genetically modified mosquitoes to swarm Houston in latest Zika hoax lunacy
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) As Natural News founder/editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has extensively reported, the Zika virus scare in which the mosquito-borne sickness was blamed for a rash of microcephalis among newborns, particularly in Brazil, was a manufactured hoax. But that isn’t stopping U.S. officials from perpetuating the myth that a) it’s a real problem;...

  • Trump supporters lay blame for Obamacare repeal failure at feet of Paul Ryan, GOP lawmakers
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) If the Republican #nevertrump establishment’s goal was to damage President Donald J. Trump’s presidency by denying him an early victory in repealing and replacing Obamacare – a core campaign pledge – they failed:  Most Trump supporters are defending the president and blaming the RINO faction of the GOP instead. As reported by Reuters,...

  • Bill in West Virginia would BAN homeschooling, treating it as child abuse
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) A new bill proposed in West Virginia could make the act of homeschooling equal to that of child abuse. Lawmakers feel that parents are denying their children an appropriate education. If passed into law, Bill SB 528 would prohibit homeschooling and order CPS investigations for children who had ten or more absences without...

  • Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas BANS jurors from reading the U.S. Constitution
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) The Bundy Ranch trials are underway, having begun in February of this year. There have already been reports that federal court Judge Gloria Navarro, who is presiding over the case, has dealt several blows to the defense teams throughout the trial. She has allegedly given the prosecution favorable treatment regarding time expansion, granting...

  • Quack PR group ACSH and their felony-committing leader push corporate poison for money
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) In America, the companies that regularly advertise on mass media are usually the same ones that poison Americans with chemicals formulated into all forms of medicine, food and personal care products. Public relations firms, shill scientists, journalist hacks and the broadcast news clones read the corporate scripts word for word, as if some...

  • Five new websites to bookmark for the coming collapse
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) If you don’t yet realize that human society is headed for a catastrophic collapse, you’re so far behind the curve that it’s scary. Although no one knows exactly which breaking point is going to fail first, there are now so many candidates for the collapse that an apocalyptic future for humankind is all...

  • Counseling found to lower blood pressure almost as much as dangerous chemical medication
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) Before you reach for your statin medicine, try changing your lifestyle. This was the conclusion researchers at the American College of Cardiology made after finishing their first randomized, double-blind trial of alternative treatments for high blood pressure. Online behavioral therapy, also known as electronic counseling, was proven to decrease blood pressure by 10...

  • COLLAPSE: Hundreds of millions of Pacific salmon presumed dead as fish food sources collapse
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) If you are a salmon lover, you may have to cut back on how much of this vitamin D and omega-3 rich food you eat. If their number keeps declining, eating salmon will become a luxury for which we will have to reach deep into our wallet. You may have heard that at...

  • Project Stargate: CIA, DoD had a well-funded secret program aimed at developing psychic abilities
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) In recent years, the United States has produced some of the most advanced technology the world has ever seen. We have robots that are capable of going out onto the battlefield and carrying out missions that are too dangerous for humans to participate in. We have drones flying through the air that can...

  • Health experts: Stop peeling your vegetables
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 10:03 PM
    (Natural News) Good news for the lazy cook: you can, and should, stop peeling your fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists and dieticians say that doing so actually removes essential vitamins and nutrients needed by the body. Current data show that keeping peels on gives the most health benefits. Peels contain more fiber and vitamins than the actual...

Mercola Natural Health Articles Get a healthy dose of natural health news that you can actually use! In this podcast, Dr. Joseph Mercola provides you with practical lifestyle tips and important health alerts. Dr. Mercola is an internationally renowned natural health physician and a doctor of osteopathy. He has made significant milestones in his mission to bring people practical solutions to their health problems. A New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. Mercola is author of The No-Grain Diet and Take Control of Your Health. He has also been featured in TIME magazine, LA Times, CNN, Fox News, ABC News with Peter Jennings, Today Show and other major media resources. To know more about him visit www.mercola.com.

  • B Vitamins May Protect Against Damaging Effects of Air Pollution, and Improve Cognition and Psychiatric Health
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    B vitamins are important for cognition and mental health, but recent research suggests they may have other important functions as well. A small-scale human trial1 found B vitamins may help protect against air pollution.2,3

    At high doses, B vitamins were actually able to "completely offset" damage incurred by fine particulate matter.

    According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report released last year, only 8 percent of people worldwide are breathing air that meets WHO standards.4 This means 92 percent of the world population are breathing polluted air, and toxic environments are responsible for at least 1 of every 4 deaths reported worldwide.5

    Poor air quality can cause serious damage to your lungs, heart and other organ systems. One of the most dangerous air pollutants is very fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers — about one-thirtieth the width of a human hair — in diameter.

    B Vitamins Help Prevent Damage From Air Pollution

    The featured trial,6 the first of its kind, involved just 10 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60. In the first round, they were exposed to clean air and given a placebo to establish a baseline. In the next round of tests, they inhaled concentrated smog for two hours. Blood samples were collected after each test.

    In the next stage of the experiment the participants received a daily supplement of 2.5 milligrams (mg) of folic acid (B9), 50 mg of vitamin B6 and 1 mg of B12 for four weeks before inhaling "hazardous levels" of PM2.5 pollution (PM2.5 concentrated to more than 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air).

    It's worth noting the dosages used in this study were very high. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of just 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate (B9), 1.3 to 1.7 mg of B6 and 2.4 mcg of B12.7

    This isn't the first time much higher than normal doses of B vitamins have been shown to have distinct health benefits. Interestingly, four weeks of high-dose supplementation:

    • Reduced the genetic damage incurred in 10 gene locations by 28 to 76 percent
    • Protected mitochondrial DNA from the harmful effects of PM2.5
    • Helped repair some of the genetic damage caused by pollution

    According to lead researcher Jia Zhong:8,9

    "Where we quantify the effect, it is almost close to a complete offset on the epigenome of the air pollution. On the mitochondrial DNA side, it also offset a big proportion of it …

    Biologically, B vitamins in the diet are expected to have the same effect on the epigenome as pill-based supplements ... I would suggest maintaining a healthy, balanced diet with sufficient sources of B vitamins."

    B Vitamins Are Also Important for Psychiatric Health

    Several vitamin B deficiencies also have the ability to produce symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders and can be a valuable adjunct in the treatment of everything from attention deficit disorder (ADD) and anxiety to schizophrenia and dementia. This includes vitamins B1, B2, B6, B8 (inositol), B9 and B12.

    For example, recent research10,11,12 suggests high doses of vitamins B6, B8 and B12 in combination were very effective for improving schizophrenic symptoms — more so than standard drug treatments alone, and particularly when implemented early on. Low doses were ineffective. 

    Previous research and work by Dr. Abram Hoffer have linked psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia with severe and chronic niacin (B3) deficiency or niacin dependency — a state that necessitates far more niacin on a regular basis than normal.

    Aside from schizophrenia, researchers have found niacin can be successfully used in the treatment of ADD, general psychosis, anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. B12 deficiency can also trigger mania, psychosis and paranoid delusions.13,14

    Why B Vitamins Are so Important for Mental Health and Wellbeing

    One of the reasons for B vitamins' effect on a wide range of mood disorders and neurological and psychiatric conditions relates to the fact that these vitamins have a direct impact on the methylation cycle, and are required for the production and function of neurotransmitters and the maintenance of myelin, the fatty sheath surrounding your nerve cells.

    Without this protective coating, nerve signals become slow and sporadic, which can lead to motor function problems, cognitive losses and changes in mood. B8 also aids in cell communication, allowing your cells to properly interpret chemical messages and respond accordingly.15

    Meanwhile, B6, folate and B12 (in combination with S-adenosylmethionine or SAMe) regulate the synthesis and breakdown of brain chemicals involved in mood control, including serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. Hence, a deficiency in one or more of these B vitamins can also play a role in depression.16

    B Vitamins Also Protect Against Dementia

    Vitamins B6, B9 (folate, or folic acid in its synthetic form) and B12 have also made headlines for their powerful role in preventing cognitive decline and more serious dementia such as Alzheimer's disease. In fact, mental fogginess and memory problems are two of the top warning signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

    One of the mechanisms of action here is the suppression of homocysteine, which tends to be elevated when you have brain degeneration. High homocysteine levels are associated with dementia and Alzheimer's. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 help convert homocysteine into methionine — a building block for proteins.

    If you don't get enough of these B vitamins, this conversion process is impaired, causing your homocysteine level to rise. Conversely, when you increase intake of folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, your homocysteine levels decrease.

    One study confirming this was published in 2010.17 Participants received either a placebo or 800 mcg of folic acid, 500 mcg of B12 and 20 mg of B6. The study was based on the presumption that by controlling homocysteine levels you might be able to reduce brain shrinkage, thereby slowing the onset of Alzheimer's.

    Indeed, after two years those who received the vitamin-B regimen had significantly less brain shrinkage compared to the placebo group. Those who had the highest levels of homocysteine at the start of the trial experienced brain shrinkage at half the rate of those taking a placebo.

    A 2013 study18 took this research a step further, showing that not only do B vitamins slow brain shrinkage, but they specifically slow shrinkage in brain regions known to be most severely impacted by Alzheimer's disease.

    Moreover, in those specific areas the shrinkage is decreased by as much as 700 percent! As in the previous study, participants taking high doses of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered their blood levels of homocysteine, and brain shrinkage was decreased by as much as 90 percent.

    Vitamin B-Rich Foods

    I recommend getting most if not all of your nutrition from real food, ideally organic to avoid toxic pesticides, and locally grown. Depending on your situation and condition, however, you may need one or more supplements. Ideally, select a high-quality food-based supplement containing a broad spectrum of B vitamins. As you can see, being deficient in one or more of them can trigger a range of problematic neurological effects.

    Also, considering over 90 percent of people breathe polluted air, getting plenty of B vitamins could be a simple way to ameliorate the harmful effects. To start, review the following listing of foods high in B vitamins. If you find that you rarely or never eat foods rich in one or more of these nutrients, you may want to consider taking a supplement.

    Also consider limiting sugar and eating fermented foods. The entire B group vitamin series is produced within your gut provided you have a healthy gut microbiome. Eating real food, ideally organic, along with fermented foods will provide your microbiome with important fiber and beneficial bacteria to help optimize your internal vitamin B production as well.

    Nutrient Dietary Sources Supplement Recommendations

    Thiamine (B1)

    Dietary Sources: Pork, dark leafy greens, wheat germ, green peas, lentils and nuts.19

    Supplement Recommendations: Adult men and women need 1.2 and 1.1 mg respectively each day.

    Riboflavin (B2)

    Dietary Sources: Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, ideally made from raw organic grassfed milk, are high in B2.

    Other sources include: asparagus, dark leafy greens like spinach, fish, chicken and eggs.20

    Supplement Recommendations: Suggested daily intake is about 1.1 mg for women and 1.3 mg for men.

    Niacin (B3)

    Dietary Sources: Liver, chicken, veal, peanuts, chili powder, bacon and sun dried tomatoes have some of the highest amounts of niacin per gram.21

    Other niacin-rich foods include baker's yeast, paprika, espresso coffee, anchovies, spirulina, duck, shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce.22

    Supplement Recommendations: The dietary reference intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board ranges from 14 to 18 mg per day for adults.

    Higher amounts are recommended depending on your condition. For a list of recommended dosages, see the Mayo Clinic's website.23

    For pellagra, discussed above, doses range from 50 to 1,000 mg daily.

    Vitamin B6

    Dietary Sources: Turkey, beef, chicken, wild-caught salmon, sweet potatoes, potatoes, sunflower seeds, pistachios, avocado, spinach, banana, papaya, oranges and cantaloupe.24,25,26

    Supplement Recommendations: Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins, especially B6.27

    One serving (2 tablespoons) contains nearly 10 mg of vitamin B6, and the daily recommended intake is only 1.3 mg.

    Not to be confused with Brewer's yeast or other active yeasts, nutritional yeast is made from an organism grown on molasses, which is then harvested and dried to deactivate the yeast.

    It has a pleasant cheesy flavor and can be added to a number of different dishes.

    B8 (inositol/biotin)

    Dietary Sources: Meat, egg yolks, fish, liver, poultry, nuts and legumes.28

    Supplement Recommendations: B8 is not recognized as an essential nutrient and no recommended daily intake has been set.

    That said, it's believed you need about 300 mcg per day.

    Vitamin B8 is sometimes listed as biotin on supplements. Brewer's yeast is a natural supplemental source.29

    Folate (B9)

    Dietary Sources: Fresh, raw, organic leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens, and a wide variety of beans, especially lentils, but also pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy and black beans.30

    Supplement Recommendations: Folic acid is a synthetic type of B vitamin used in supplements; folate is the natural form found in foods.

    (Think: folate comes from foliage, edible leafy plants.)

    For folic acid to be of use, it must first be activated into its biologically active form (L-5-MTHF).

    This is the form able to cross the blood-brain barrier to give you the brain benefits noted.

    Nearly half of the population has difficulty converting folic acid into the bioactive form due to a genetic reduction in enzyme activity.

    For this reason, if you take a B-vitamin supplement, make sure it contains natural folate rather than synthetic folic acid.

    Nutritional yeast is an excellent source.31 Adults need about 400 mcg of folate per day.

    Vitamin B12

    Dietary Sources: Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal tissues, including foods like beef and beef liver, lamb, snapper, venison, salmon, shrimp, scallops, poultry, eggs and dairy products.

    The few plant foods that are sources of B12 are actually B12 analogs that block the uptake of true B12.

    Supplement Recommendations: Nutritional yeast is also high in B12, and is highly recommended for vegetarians and vegans.

    One serving (2 tbsp.) provides nearly 8 mcg of natural vitamin B12.32

    Sublingual (under-the-tongue) fine mist spray or vitamin B12 injections are also effective, as they allow the large B12 molecule to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.

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  • Resveratrol Proven to Slow Brain Aging
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    What happens when you begin exercising and cutting back on calories? Some may say "weight loss" and "getting healthier," which are good answers, but researchers have found that resveratrol, a compound in the skin of grapes, blue and purple berries and dark chocolate may impart many of the same neuroprotective benefits that working out and eating smaller portions offers.

    In fact, a new study1 reports that resveratrol is comparable to metformin, a drug often prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes, as it helps preserve the muscle fibers that break down during the aging process. It can also protect the neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) between neurons, known as synapses.

    Synapses are important for voluntary movement because they relay motor commands from neurons in your spinal cord to your muscles. Scientists say they're hopeful the information will eventually help alleviate the detriments of aging as it did in studies on 2-year-old mice which, in mouse years, is considered elderly.

    The mice were treated with resveratrol for a year, during which time the researchers watched how their NMJs performed in comparison with mice fed a typical diet, and found the resveratrol group had fewer age-related symptoms. In fact, their muscles and nerves were more like those of 3-month-old mice.

    Gregorio Valdez, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where the study took place, who had already found that the double benefits of a good diet along with exercise can protect against age-related synapse damage, led the featured study. He explained:

    "We all slow down as we get older. Gait, balance issues and impaired motor coordination contribute to health problems, accidents, lack of mobility and a lower quality of life.

    We work on identifying molecular changes that slow down motor deficits that occur with aging. I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits."2

    Resveratrol: Designed to Protect, if Sourced Wisely

    Resveratrol, which acts like a potent antioxidant, is a compound found in grape skins, red wine, raspberries, pomegranates, raw cacao and dark chocolate, among other plant-based foods.

    It's a polyphenol designed to increase the life span of plants through disease resistance and such stressors as drastic changes in climate, too much ultraviolet light and disease.

    It was probably intuition that caused scientists to explore what resveratrol might be able to do for humans and, sure enough, it imparts very similar protective benefits. But if you read this and think you'll get the neuroprotective and anti-aging benefits by drinking more red wine, that's not how it works. As Valdez explained:

    "In wine, resveratrol is in such small amounts you could not drink enough of it in your life to have the benefits we found in mice given resveratrol. These studies are in mice and I would caution anyone from blasting their bodies with resveratrol in any form.

    The next step is to identify the mechanism that enables resveratrol to protect synapses. If we know the mechanism, we can modify resveratrol or look for other molecules that are more effective at protecting the synapses."3

    Further, alcoholic beverages like red wine may damage both your brain and your organs and is itself a neurotoxin, which makes drinking large amounts of red wine for this or any other purpose irresponsible and counterproductive. A U.S. National Library of Medicine article backs this up:

    "Drinking too much alcohol is a sure-fire way to speed up deterioration of thinking skills and can cause brain damage. Too much alcohol in the long term is linked to several cancers, heart disease, stroke and liver disease."4

    One way to access the benefits of resveratrol is by eating muscadine grapes, which contain the highest concentration among foods, especially in the skin. Mulberries and blueberries are other good sources.

    Limit your intake to one-half cup per day, however, because fruit also contains fructose. A whole food resveratrol supplement containing bits of muscadine grape skin is another option.

    Resveratrol 'Zaps' Free Radicals and Performs Many Other Functions

    One of the most dramatic advantages resveratrol provides is its power to annihilate free radicals, produced by your body as a part of normal metabolism. They're a natural biological response to environmental toxins you encounter every day, such as lawn fertilizer, your pet's flea collar, food preservatives and medications.

    When your body can't fight the bombardment of toxins, your cells begin to oxidize, a process that's been described as "biological rusting." Free radicals can damage your DNA, cause disease and compromise your entire immune system.

    Antioxidants, on the other hand, stave off the damage done by free radicals, which is one reason why resveratrol is so remarkable. It can also help fight the aging process throughout your body, from your skin to your cells. A list of several functions resveratrol may help with includes:

    Neuroprotective benefits

    Improves brain blood flow

    Suppresses brain inflammation

    May prevent plaque that leads to Alzheimer's

    Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties

    Combats free radicals

    May protect against depression

    May improve learning and memory

    Another crucial way resveratrol helps your brain is that it can cross the blood-brain barrier, or BBB. Examined Existence explains that a century ago, scientists found that blue dye injected into animal tissues turned those tissues blue, but would not permeate the brain or spinal cord.5

    That resveratrol is able to get across your brain barrier means that brain inflammation can be regulated and decreased in your central nervous system. Part of the significance of this ability is that brain inflammation is a factor in the development of most neurodegenerative diseases.

    Neuroprotective Effects of Resveratrol Positively Impacts Alzheimer's

    The fact that resveratrol improves your brain blood flow is an indication that it may also improve brain function. According to a Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) report:

    "Resveratrol given to Alzheimer's patients appears to restore the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, reducing the ability of harmful immune molecules secreted by immune cells to infiltrate from the body into brain tissues.

    The reduction in neuronal inflammation slowed the cognitive decline of patients, compared to a matching group of placebo-treated patients with the disorder."6

    Scientists equated the role of resveratrol as imposing a sort of "crowd control" at the brain border, shutting out unwanted immune molecules that can worsen brain inflammation and kill neurons. According to Dr. Charbel Moussa, scientific and clinical research director of the GUMC Translational Neurotherapeutics Program:

    "These are very exciting findings because it shows that resveratrol engages the brain in a measurable way, and that the immune response to Alzheimer's disease comes, in part, from outside the brain."7

    Medical News Today explains that brain inflammation which, again, makes Alzheimer's worse, is thought to occur because of a reaction to accumulated proteins in the brain, including Abeta40 and Abeta42.

    Earlier studies appeared to show inflammation came only from immune cells in the brain. This study ostensibly refuted that belief. Also:

    "The primary molecule of interest to the researchers was matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). The team found a 50 percent reduction of MMP-9 in the CSF of those taking [a] daily resveratrol dose."8

    Another study involving resveratrol given to mice had interesting effects, including increased aerobic activity and running time, protection against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, regulated metabolic function and stable health overall.9

    Resveratrol Helps Control Inflammation, Present in Most Disease

    Inflammation can be implicated in nearly every disease. Dr. Josh Axe, founder of Exodus Health Center, one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world, asserts that it's also been found to be associated with just about every health condition:

    "Although inflammation has long been known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson's disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body.

    Inflammation isn't always bad; it is the body's natural defense against damaged cells, viruses, bacteria, etc. It aims to remove these harmful or foreign invaders and heal itself."10

    Because of resveratrol's extraordinary capabilities as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, taking resveratrol supplements and eating the foods that contain it can go a long way toward lowering inflammation. However, another immediate and meaningful way to deal with it is to rid your body of inflammation triggers in your diet. Four common aggravators include:

    • Oxidized cholesterol, such as from overcooked scrambled eggs
    • Any food cooked at high temperatures
    • Trans fats (read labels to avoid interesterified or hydrogenated oils)
    • Sugar and grain

    Several herbs and spices come loaded with potent anti-inflammatory potential as well. Examples cited in Bulletproof 36011 note that one-half teaspoon of ground cinnamon has the same antioxidants as one-half cup of blueberries, and one-half teaspoon of dried oregano has similar antioxidants to those present in 3 cups of raw spinach. Here are more:



    Ceylon cinnamon




    Black pepper




    Resveratrol and Its Impact on Cancer

    A study in Spain discussed how free radicals play a key role in disease, cause DNA damage and leave the door wide open for carcinogens to take root. In fact:

    "Epidemiological studies have established a relationship between the incidence of cancer and consumption of certain types of food. The presence of antioxidants in diet has been directly related to lower incidence of cancer.

    In fact, chemoprevention has attracted the attention of oncologists and molecular biologists to modulate carcinogenesis. A chemopreventive agent can inhibit carcinogenesis either by blocking initiation or by stopping or reversing promotion and progression."12

    Resveratrol is one of the top five chemopreventive agents found in food, among such illustrious players as curcumin, lycopene, capsaicin, lutein, beta carotene, selenium, vitamin E, flavonoids, dietary fiber and many others.13

    Additionally, resveratrol's ability to lower inflammation also helps prevent certain enzymes from forming that would trigger the development of cancerous tumors.14 Resveratrol helps cut down cell reproduction, which in turn lowers the number of cell divisions that might cause cancer cell growth.15

    An example of the way resveratrol works was shown two different ways in one clinical study at the University of Missouri. Melanoma cancer cells were found to be more vulnerable to radiation treatment when treated with resveratrol beforehand. Notably, resveratrol used by itself caused 44 percent of the cancerous cells to undergo apoptosis, or programmed cell death.16

    One very interesting review from Denmark revealed that it's a balance between resveratrol intake via supplementation and food sources, along with exercise, that keeps your sugar levels on an even keel and minimizes inflammation that helps maximize your health.

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  • Prunes or Plums — Which Has More Benefits?
    published on March 26th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    If you know anyone with osteoporosis, you may be familiar with some of the more overt signs, such as broken bones, weak grip strength or back pain. People with this condition may develop a "stooped" posture or even become shorter because their bones are literally being compressed.

    There's good news, though, as a new study has revealed dramatic and positive effects from dried plums. Scientists found that "dried plum not only protects against but more importantly reverses bone loss in two separate models of osteopenia," another name for bone loss and the forerunner of osteoporosis.

    Osteoporosis affects both males and females, although more women than men. One study describes it as a "debilitating disorder" exacerbated by age:

    "As the demographic shift to a more aged population continues, a growing number of men and women will be afflicted with osteoporosis and a search for potential non-pharmacological alternative therapies for osteoporosis is of prime interest.

    Aside from existing drug therapies, certain lifestyle and nutritional factors are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

    Our [three]-month clinical trial indicated that the consumption of dried plum daily by postmenopausal women significantly increased serum markers of bone formation, total alkaline phosphatase, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and insulin-like growth factor-I by 12, 6, and 17 percent, respectively."1

    Ironically, several drugs taken for osteoporosis taken for five years or more have been shown to actually cause esophageal cancer, according to an Oxford study.2 However, in exploring non-pharmacological alternative therapies, researchers discovered dried plums may not only protect against, but reverse, the condition.

    Researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, Ph.D., from Florida State University, said that over his entire career, he'd examined many fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, but none of them come close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums or prunes have.

    He added that in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.3 Studies show that a single serving of dried plums may prevent bone loss in older, osteopenic postmenopausal women as well as the previous recommendation of two servings, equating 100 grams or eight to 10 dried plums.4

    Plum History and Description

    Closely related to apricots, peaches and almonds, plums are an ancient fruit that experts believe may have originated in China, but were cultivated by Alexander the Great in Mediterranean regions by around 65 B.C.

    Plums are about the size of limes, but that's the only similarity. They're dark purple (some have a golden tinge) with smooth, rather dull skins and sweet, delectable flesh inside, wrapped around a single, large pit, the main criteria for a drupe. Prunes are simply dried plums, the latter name thought to be more palatable.

    All prunes are plums, but the reverse is not always the case. The high sugar content in plums allows them to be dried without fermentation. Further, like all dried fruit, dried plums are dehydrated by natural drying, sun drying and the use of dehydrators. Medical Daily clarifies:

    "So if dried plums are just plums with the water taken out of them, why do they lower our colon cancer risk while fresh plums don't? Not only does dried plum retain both soluble and insoluble fiber from its original form, but it also contains more sorbitol than fresh plums."5

    Far more than just a tasty snack, these juicy little fruits are loaded with flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants, primarily lutein and cryptoxanthin, as well as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid, which help prevent cell damage from oxidation of lipid molecules.

    All cell membranes, including those in your brain, are mainly composed of fat-containing lipids, found to inhibit LDL cholesterol oxidation and making them a significant factor in preventing chronic disease.6

    A Comparison of Nutritional Attributes Between Plums and Prunes

    Plums contain 26 percent of the reference dietary intake (RDI) in vitamin C; 13 percent in vitamin K; and 11 percent in vitamin A, or retinol, as well as iron, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin and calcium, plus vitamin B6 and niacin to metabolize one of their most serious drawbacks: high natural sugar and carbohydrate content.

    As for prunes, a 1-cup serving gives you 87 percent of the RDI of vitamin K. The Guardian notes that soluble fiber helps slow down the absorption of glucose, which stabilizes blood sugar levels.7

    Because prunes are a concentrated source of the nutrients and phytonutrients found in plums, their antioxidant potential is six times that of the fresh fruit. Prunes are also significantly higher in antioxidants than many other dried or fresh fruits or vegetables. Comparing the two, Healthy Eating observes:

    "Although most of the vitamin C in plums is destroyed during the drying process, prunes contain significantly higher concentrations of most of the other nutrients found in the fresh fruit.

    One cup of pitted prunes provides 129 percent, 36 percent, 27 percent and 9 percent of the daily recommendations for vitamin K, potassium, vitamin A and iron, respectively. Vitamin K is vital to the function of several proteins involved in blood coagulation, and vitamin A promotes healthy vision."8

    These vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients have several benefits throughout your entire body, including your skin and improved vision due to the high iron, of which a deficiency can cause hair loss.

    Fiber: Good for Gut Health and Colorectal Cancer Prevention

    Bone health isn't the only benefit of this oft-neglected fruit, though. Studies indicate dried plums can lower your risk of colon cancer.

    One factor that helps give plums and prunes such high marks in this category is fiber, crucial for moving food along smoothly through your colon for elimination, but also the natural chemicals sorbitol and isatin, both helpful for relieving constipation.

    These three ingredients are why prunes have the (earned) reputation as a laxative. Media outlet Chatelaine notes that fiber:

    "Helps to … [optimize] cholesterol by soaking up excess bile in the intestine and then excreting it. Bile is made from cholesterol in the liver in order to digest fat.

    When the body excretes bile along with the fiber from prunes and plums, the liver must use cholesterol in the body to make more bile thereby lowering the amount in circulation in the body. Soluble fiber may also inhibit the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the liver in the first place."9

    Plums contain 2 grams of fiber in a 1-cup serving, which also helps produce beneficial gut microbiota.

    One of the big differences between fresh and dried plums is that the dried version contains 12 grams of fiber, which, compared to fresh plums, is about half of the RDI needed for an entire day (although I believe about 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed is ideal).

    According to Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, prunes are even more effective than psyllium as a laxative.10 Plus, the sorbitol pulls moisture into your digestive tract to help bring about a bowel movement.11 That's where its effectiveness as a colorectal cancer preventive comes in.

    More Benefits From Plums and Prunes

    An online resource called Colon Cleansing and Constipation recommends stewed prunes to alleviate constipation, or infrequent bowel movements. Eating them regularly can help prevent subsequent stomach pain and hemorrhoids. All of these can become serious enough to necessitate surgery.

    Aside from skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. It encompasses both rectal and colon cancer, which together have stricken around 140,000 people in the U.S., and more than 50,000 die from it every year, according to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.12

    Medical Daily mentioned one study that found eating dried plums can help lower your risk for colon cancer by maintaining good gut bacteria in your colon, adding that "a diet high in [certain] red meats can increase colon cancer risk while a diet high in fruits … [and] vegetables … can reduce colon cancer risk."13

    A FASEB Journal study backed up the gut bacteria benefit, noting that their data supported their initial hypothesis:

    "Diet is known to alter metabolism and composition of colon microbiota, which has major implications for disease prevention and treatment …

    The hypothesis tested by this experiment was that consumption of dried plums would promote retention of beneficial microbiota and patterns of microbial metabolism throughout the colon, and that by doing so would reduce colon cancer incidence."14

    Fructose in Plums and Prunes

    It takes around 4 pounds of fresh plums to produce 1 pound of dried plums, and both are very versatile. You can chop them up to add to raw grass-fed yogurt, blend them in smoothies and shakes and add them to salads and vegetable dishes. In fact, just about anything you use raisins for, prunes are a tasty, healthy alternative.

    Eating plums and prunes may also help alleviate problems related to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. However, whether it's fresh plums or dried prunes you crave, make sure you consume these in moderation, as they both contain high amounts of sugar. Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat cautions:

    "Prunes are high in natural sugar, so too many may not be good for people watching their weight. After all, excess of anything is stored as fat in your body. Prunes have such high nutritional values ensuring that you can eat just one piece and still gain measurable nutrients."15

    However, the sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol, is not a source of ethanol, the substance found in alcoholic beverages. It's a natural substance found in many fruits and vegetables, and is about 50 percent as sweet as sugar.16

    Plums are often used to make the French form of Armagnac, a quickly distilled version of cognac with a raw, earthy body. They also end up soaked in brandy for several desserts, including brûlée. The sugar (and, for the former, alcohol) content in these, however, is considerable and outweighs the nutritional benefits that the fruit provides.

    Additionally, prune juice is often loaded with high fructose corn syrup and, even if it's not, will still be a significant source of fructose without the fiber benefits, so be aware that consuming the whole fruit is preferable.

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  • Market Rejection of GMOs Grows — Four-Year Plan to Topple Toxic Agriculture
    published on March 25th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Our annual GMO Awareness Week is upon us, and in this interview, Ronnie Cummins, founder of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) details the current state of the opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    We first met about six years ago, when we collaborated to create the direct ballot initiative to label GMOs in California.

    A lot has happened since then, including the passing of what's colloquially known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, ironically misnamed "The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" — this despite a full 90 percent of consumers supporting mandatory labeling.

    The Trump administration has also selected or appointed notorious cheerleaders for GMOs and factory farms to his cabinet — Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA, Sonny Perdue as USDA Secretary, and Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.

    Meanwhile, his Tea Party allies in Congress have called for the abolition of the entire National Organic Program!1

    On the upside, in 2016 we saw, for the first time in nearly 20 years, a decrease in the amount of genetically engineered (GE) crops grown around the world, in terms of acreage.

    As noted by Cummins, "This represents the fact that this technology is failing, in the sense of superweeds and superpests are popping up all over the world." In the U.S., three-quarters of farmers growing GE crops like soybeans, corn or canola are having problems with these herbicide- and pesticide-resistant pests.

    Market Rejection of GMOs Has Grown

    Even more importantly, consumers around the world have become aware of the many problems associated with GE crops and the toxic herbicides and pesticides used on them, and do not want any of it on their plates.

    In other words, the market has started rejecting GMOs, and that's what we've been fighting for all along. Nothing can or will change unless consumers apply pressure in the form of refusing to buy GMOs.

    In the European Union (EU), which is the biggest agriculture market in the world, few if any GMOs are found on supermarket shelves.

    In the U.S. — despite industry spending hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate market preference — about 40 percent of Americans still believe GE foods and GE ingredients are dangerous. Another 20 percent are unsure whether GMOs are dangerous or not.

    "This combination of consumer rejection and, basically, Mother Nature's resistance, has caused a drop-off," Cummins says. "I think this is the beginning of the end of at least this generation, the first generation, of GMO crops.

    Now, industry is saying, 'Don't worry about the fact that we're using more and more toxic pesticides and herbicides … Don't worry about these pests spreading across the fields. We've got a new generation of GMO crops where we can just do gene editing.

    We don't have to pull some DNA from a foreign species and haphazardly splice it into a corn or a soybean crop.'

    But the bottom line is that this gene-splicing and this so-called new gene editing are unnatural processes that disrupt the genetic structure, the natural workings of living organisms. These aren't going to work either."

    Organics and Grassfed Are Increasing in Popularity

    Worldwide, we're also seeing strong growth in organics and grassfed farming and ranching. In the U.S., the organic sector grew 11.5 percent in 2016. Grassfed grew about 50 percent. In France, organics grew by 20 percent.

    "This is because people understand this public health crisis has now spread worldwide, and this environmental crisis and its relationship to the climate crisis are all due to an out-of-control, industrial, chemical-intensive GMO agriculture. People are turning away," Cummins says.

    In the U.S., we now also have a brand new grassfed certification by the American Grassfed Association (AGA), which is the highest certification you can get for dairy, beef and poultry, including chickens, sheep and goats.

    In short, we're seeing a massive demand for healthier foods. A lot more people now know about the drawbacks of factory farmed beef and dairy, for example, and are aware that when herbivores are grazed naturally, without hormones, antibiotics and other drugs, you end up with a far healthier product.

    "What's been driving the growth of the grassfed beef and dairy industry are health concerns," Cummins says. "But also, people have become aware over the years that the factory farm system … is not right. You don't have to be an ethical vegan to have feeling for animals.

    Animals are sentient beings … Industry says if you want cheap food, you've got to go with factory farms. But I think more and more consumers are saying, 'I don't want cheap food if it means it's going to harm my health and the environment, and if you have to be that cruel to animals.'

    I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the factory farm model, which actually has only existed [for] 40 years or so. Most animals used to be raised naturally …

    It's this wonderful coming together in the United States of the American Grassfed Association, merging in the dairy sector with dairy farmers who are already organic, to produce a higher quality 100 percent grassfed dairy.

    In the beef industry, there has been a tremendous growth in the demand for 100 percent grassfed, grass-finished beef. Unfortunately, most other grassfed beef in the United States is still coming from overseas, from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil …

    We still don't have the infrastructure in the United States that we had 50 years ago with processing plants in every region of the country and so on, but we're catching up."

    Challenges Involved in Organic Grassfed Beef Production

    Indeed, the lack of processing plants is really slowing down the reversal of the system. While American farmers have the capacity to provide an ample supply of grassfed cattle, the problem is there aren't enough processing plants to accommodate a massive increase.

    In all, the U.S. has about 500,000 ranchers raising livestock, but there are only three or four major buyers. Ranchers may raise the animals on pasture and treat them well, but after a year and a half or so, they must be sold.

    The cattle are sold at auction, and the buyers, such as JBS (a Brazilian firm that has bought out a large part of the beef industry in the U.S.), Cargill and Tyson Foods, will offer you the lowest possible price, regardless of how much you spent on the cattle's health and wellbeing.

    This cartel-like system effectively prevents farmers from recouping what they've invested, and slows down the pace at which a farmer can possibly make positive changes that require greater expenses.

    Once sold, the animals are transported to gigantic feedlots — basically animal factories — where they're placed in tiny pens. GMO grains and drugs are routinely used to fatten the animals up as quickly as possible. However, in doing so, the animals' health and wellbeing suffer. For example, E. coli 0157H, a virulent pathogen, can thrive in the animals' intestines under these conditions.

    "The reason why it's illegal for journalists or concerned citizens to go in and film in these giant feedlots is because the industry … don't want you to see the filth and the cruelty involved," Cummins says.

    Factory Farmed Meat Is No Bargain

    Next, the animals are sent off to mega slaughterhouses, of which there are only a few dozen in the entire country. As in the feedlots, these are hellish places where photographs and video taping is often illegal. As noted by Cummins:

    "The workers are immigrant workers typically, who don't have citizenship papers. Why is this? Because U.S. citizens will not take this kind of job. They would not work under these conditions … They have terrible health problems, terrible psychological problems. They're underpaid and overworked.

    What comes out on the other end is meat that might appear to be cheap … but it's not cheap in terms of what it does to your health … It clogs up your veins. You're ingesting pesticide and hormone residues. You end up supersizing yourself … Yeah, you've got your cheap burger. You've got your cheap steak. But you have damaged your health. That's going to be very costly over time.

    You also contributed to massive supply chain damage to the environment. The GMO corn and soybeans that make up the bulk of the feed in the feedlots, they have been sprayed with a horrendous amount of chemicals. These factory farms are the No. 1 contributors to water pollution …  You're part of a long chain of animal cruelty, exploitation of workers, destruction of the environment …

    This paradigm is going to end. But we need more awareness [among] consumers, and we need more ranchers to be able to directly come into contact with consumers who want to buy their products so they can cut out the cartel middlemen …"

    Via Organica Paves Way for Organic Chicken and Egg Production

    Mercola.com and OCA are both founding members of an international network called Regeneration International, which is seeking to replace, among other things, the outdated factory farm system with a natural humane system, whereby herbivores are raised on perennial grasses under a system of holistic management.

    The same problems exist in poultry and pig farming, yet innovative farmers like Cummins and many others have proven there are far better ways of raising chickens and pigs on a larger scale as well.

    Cummins' farm, Via Organica, located in the high desert of Central Mexico, uses a system based on the traditional raising of poultry. In the first phase of the project, they installed a couple of thousand laying hens, which live outside all day in a 2.5-acre paddock filled with 400 olive trees and other crops. While the trees offer protection against predators from above, chicken poop acts as a natural fertilizer for the trees, making additional fertilizer use unnecessary.

    By eating the insects, they also eliminate pests that might otherwise pose a threat to the trees and other crops. "If you're a small farmer, it's very difficult to make a living off just your eggs. But if you've got another cash crop in the paddock where the chickens roam, you're going to be bringing in twice as much money over time," Cummins says.

    The chickens roam free all day, pecking in the dirt for worms, insects and other foraged foods. At sunset, they come into the chicken house, which is where they roost and lay their eggs. The feed provided in the chicken coop, given as a supplement to their foraged diet, is grown by local farmers using traditional, non-GMO seeds and regenerative methods.

    "We have a special plow developed in Australia that's now spreading all across the world," Cummins explains. "It's called a Keyline plow. It doesn't disturb the earth the way that traditional plows do. It creates an environment in your field to where when it rains, there's a built-in filtration of the rain into the soil. It turns the soil into a sponge …

    There are no chemical fertilizers. We work with the farmers to be able to have natural compost … [I]f you look at our eggs, one thing you notice is the yolk is bright orange. They taste really good. If you do a nutritional analysis of these eggs and compare them to the factory farmed eggs in the grocery store, there's a world of difference. If animals can live outside or live in a natural environment and exercise their natural behaviors, it ends up being a superior product."

    Why Vegetarianism May Not Be the Most Environmentally Conscious Choice

    Quite a few people have embraced veganism or vegetarianism as a way of bowing out of the factory farm system that abuses animals for per-pound profit.  Cummins was a vegetarian for 40 years for this reason.

    "I was a vegetarian between 1970 and 2010 … until I had some ranchers in New Mexico explain to me this whole system of holistic management and rotational grazing, 100 percent grassfed … [T]hey said, 'Hey, you're an environmentalist, right? You're an animal welfare proponent, right? … You're not any of those things. You're a hypocrite, Ronnie.'

    Because conscious consuming of a moderate level of meat and animal products — where the animals have been raised humanely, where they've been raised naturally, where the end product, the food, is good for your health — is [also] good for the environment. Yes, that last instant of their life, when they're sacrificed for our food, that's not a good moment [for these animals]. But we're all going to have a bad moment at the end of our lives. We're going to physically die.

    When we're in the ground, guess what's going to happen? The little animals eventually are going to eat us. It's all part of this great chain of being. It's natural. There are vegans starting to understand, like David Bronner [CEO of Dr. Bronner's] … David's been a vegan for many years, but he's coined this term — instead of vegetarian — "regenetarian."

    Why Become a Regenetarian?

    A regenetarian is a person who never, ever eats factory farmed meat or dairy products, just like a vegan. A regenetarian will however consume grassfed beef, grassfed dairy and other grassfed animal products.

    "We're talking about fish here, too. Most of the fish in the world are now coming from these factory farm fish operations — horrible industrial trawlers in the oceans that are ripping up everything and killing everything in sight … A conscious consumer who wants to preserve their health, but also knows that we want to preserve the health of the planet — we want regular rainfall. We want climate to be normal again — we have to become regenetarians," Cummins says.

    "I never eat meat or animal products in a restaurant unless that restaurant has on the menu, and has a convincing story, that this is grassfed or genuinely pastured. As soon as enough people start doing that, this system is going to change."

    The average American spends a mere 10 percent of their income on food, which is ridiculously low when you consider what the highest quality, most nutritious food would cost. You cannot expect to get the highest quality at this rock-bottom price. At that level, all you're getting is cheap corn-based meals. As Cummins says, it would be reasonable to spend twice as much on food.

    To pay for it, you may have to consider cutting down on other wasteful spending, such as the trend of treating clothing as single-use, disposable items. Organic foods cost more, and must cost more, because doing it right and not cutting corners costs money. It's the cost-saving measures that have resulted in hormone-laced milk and pesticide-ridden produce. It's cost-saving measures that have turned beef into a metabolic wrecker. Cheap food is cheap for a reason.

    Current State of GMO Movement in the US

    Last August, the so-called "DARK Act" was passed. And while many have placed their hopes on President Trump making sweeping changes, we're not likely to see any difference under Trump when it comes to GMO labeling. As before, the U.S. Congress doesn't seem to care that 90 percent of Americans want to know whether their food has been genetically engineered or not, or contains GMO ingredients.

    To summarize last year's events, on July 1, 2016, Vermont's state law for mandatory GMO labeling took effect, forcing major food companies to start labeling their wares. Alas, the food industry basically bought Congress, sweeping a 100-year tradition of states' rights to implement food safety rules at the state level under the carpet. That's what the DARK Act did. It revoked states' right to impose mandatory labeling of GMOs, and with that, the Vermont law was made null and void.

    In its place, the federal law replaced clear GMO labeling with quick response (QR) codes which, when scanned with your smartphone will bring you to the company's website, where you may or may not find information about the presence of GE ingredients.

    "The only difference under Trump, looks like that we're not even going to have these QR codes, which were ridiculous anyway," Cummins says. Where does this leave us as consumers? I think there's a growing recognition among conscious consumers in this country that right now, we can't count on Congress.

    We can't count on regulatory agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or the Federal Trade Commission.

    These people are in the pockets of the 1 percent. They do what their financial backers tell them to do. We're left with our power in the marketplace. That is, they can't pass a law that tells you what to do when you pull out your wallet. We still have free choice to choose organic or grassfed foods or non-GMO foods in the marketplace …

    At the rate we're going now, most food in the United States will be organic within three decades. It's taken us three decades to get to the 5 to 10 percent range. Most of the food will be organic and grassfed within 30 years. However, when you look at our public health crisis and our climate crisis and all these other things that the economic crisis in rural areas, we can't wait 30 years."

    New Goal: Double Organic Sales in Four Years

    The consumer revolution platform now is an ambitious one — double organic sales in the next four years. At current rates of growth, we could expect it to increase by about 50 percent. Instead, we need to quadruple sales of organic and grass-fed. As noted by Cummins, by speeding up the rate at which we reach the tipping point where 15 percent of our food supply is organic or grassfed, the acceleration will multiply exponentially thereafter.

    "That's our answer to the gridlock in Washington, to the failure of federal government," he says. "Let's get active in the local and state level where we have more power, [and] intensify our impact in the marketplace where no one can tell us what to do. We're going to bring about our revolution in health and nutrition in the marketplace if they won't let us do it with public policy."

    It's time to launch a #ConsumerRevolution boycott that is larger and more powerful than ever. And at the same time, we apparently have no choice but to launch a #PoliticalRevolution, especially at the local and state level, that will "throw the bums out" from Main Street to Washington D.C. — those politicians and the army of lobbyists and PR gunslingers who continue to represent the corporate and financial elite, the "1 percent," instead of the rest of us.

    In order to carry out this "Resist and Regenerate" strategy, the OCA and its closest allies have come up with an Action platform called Consumer Revolution/Political Revolution 2017-2020, which includes the following.

    #Consumer Revolution 2017-2020

    Overarching goal: Force corporations that sell consumer products, including food, clothing, drugs and personal care products, to respond to consumer demand for truthfully labeled products that have a positive impact on human health and are produced using regenerative processes and practices that not only prevent harm to human health and the environment, but also measurably improve soils and combat global warming.

    1. Move toward making organic, 100 percent grassfed and regenerative food and farming the norm, not just the 5 percent alternative in the marketplace, by doubling sales of organic to $80 billion by 2020, and by increasing sales of U.S. grassfed meat and dairy, and organic and pastured poultry and pork by at least 400 percent by 2020.

    Achieve a 50 percent reduction in sales of GMO food and animal feed by 2020, with the aim of driving GMO animal feed off the market.

    2. Force major food brands and companies that fraudulently label their products as "natural," "organic" or "GMO-free" to remove misleading labels and/or transition their products and production methods to organic and/or regenerative practices.

    3. Increase market share for clothing made from organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers through a high-profile "Care What You Wear" campaign that encourages consumers to boycott GMO cotton and synthetic fibers.

    #PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020

    Overarching goal: Reform the current political process to create a democracy that works for all people, not just wealthy corporations and the 1 percent, by uniting the food, climate, economic and social justice, natural health and peace movements in a coordinated effort to support candidates, elected public officials and policies at the local, state and federal levels, that support our common goals.

    1. Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support OCA's #ConsumerRevolution platform

    2. Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support the "Our Revolution" platform, with the addition of:

    On food: a focus on food policy that supports consumer health and consumer right to know, and acknowledges the role food production plays in environmental and climate policy

    On health care: a focus on "Medicare for all" that includes coverage for preventive, natural and alternative health care solutions, and health freedom on vaccines and all medical treatments

    On living wage: a focus on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour so that lower-income Americans can afford organic food and natural health products and practitioners

    On climate: a focus on regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration as a global warming solution, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy

    3. Organize local grassroots meet-ups and coalitions to run candidates, for local and state offices, who support our issues

    4. Oppose any candidates or policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and all forms of discrimination, whenever and wherever they arise

    5. Oppose any laws or illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters

    6. Support the decriminalization of drug use, including the legalization of marijuana, and oppose the war on drugs

    7. Promote candidates and policies that advance regenerative food, farming and land use, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy

    Biodynamics — The Highest Organic Standard

    Biodynamic farming, which originated with Rudolf Steiner in the early 1920s, is also starting to gain recognition, and might even change or modify the organic standard. There are actually two different types of organic certification in the U.S.

    There's the USDA Organic label standards, which are decent but still allow producers to meet only minimum requirements, and then there are the biodynamic standards, which have always been the highest in terms of organic certification. The biodynamic organic certification is indicated with a Demeter sign.2 "What you need to realize is this is absolutely grade A+ organic," Cummins says.


    Many didn't understand the implications of 100 percent grassfed until very recently. Fortunately, we're now starting to see a merger of the Biodynamic Demeter certification and the AGA's grassfed certification. Many farmers, even those certified organic by the USDA, are now stepping it up to the next level by implementing biodynamic or regenerative methods, which in terms of cattle and other herbivores is the 100 percent grassfed way of doing things.

    "I think biodynamic and regenerative are the wave of the future. We need to still seek out organic products, but more and more conscious consumers are realizing that if you're buying a bottle of wine, look for the organic label on it, because that means it doesn't have any added sulfides.

    It means that the farmer was really conscientious in the way they raised those grapes. But look for the biodynamic label as well. In OCA … we're really happy to be working with the next stage of organics, which is biodynamic and grassfed."

    Routing Out GMOs by Expanding the Net

    Over the past two decades, the majority of the anti-GMO movement was focused on GMOs found in processed foods and a small number of whole GE foods.

    Yet that's only 20 percent of the GMOs in the human food chain. Twice as much (40 percent) goes into the making of animal feed for factory farms. The only way to change that trend is by not buying factory farmed animal products, be it poultry (including eggs), pork or beef.

    Another 40 percent of GMOs grown are used to make ethanol, "which is this crazed idea that it's environmentally sound … to produce an additive for gasoline from GMO corn," Cummins says. In essence, Monsanto makes money every time you drive your car, unless you're buying premium gas, which doesn't have ethanol in it. So, the less gas you use, the less money Monsanto makes. Cutting off your contributions to Monsanto is yet another reason for buying an electric vehicle.

    Most also forget (or failed to understand in the first place) that 95 percent of non-organic cotton clothing is made from Monsanto's GE cotton. You may be boycotting Monsanto's food, but if you buy clothes without thinking about what it's made from, you're still feeding the beast. In short, we have to significantly widen the net and consider all the different ways GE crops sneak their way into our lives.

    "My T-shirt's organic. My jeans are organic. My underwear is organic. My socks are organic. I'm trying to consciously fight against Monsanto with everything I do, not just what I eat," Cummins says. "We've got to expand into the full realm of GMOs. Even more importantly, we need to stop talking about GMOs as if it's some abstract technology that poses this kind of really-hard-to-understand danger, gene splicing, disruption of the genome and all that …

    There is no GMO crop that isn't sprayed with large amounts of poisonous chemicals … Or else it's impregnated with a poison, like the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) toxin in the plant that expresses itself in every cell of the plant. When we're talking about pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, we're talking about GMO plants. There's no way to fight against GMOs unless we fight at the same time against chemical-intensive, energy-intensive agriculture and factory farms."

    Many Legislative Changes Are Needed

    We also need to continue fighting for legislative changes that help and support organic farmers. The reason France was able to grow the organic sector by 20 percent last year, compared to 11.5 percent in the U.S. was because the French government started paying farmers who quit using pesticides and use compost instead of chemical fertilizers.

    In a nutshell, France decided to pay farmers to do the right thing, whereas the U.S. rewards farmers who agree to do the wrong thing. France also passed a law that at least 40 percent of food for schools must be organic and purchased from local farmers.

    "I mean what kind of rules do we have regarding [this]? We have the worst school lunch programs in the entire industrialized world. Our food stamp program for poor people is basically junk food that the companies would have disposed of, but they get a tax break for giving us their factory-farmed cheese and milk, and so on.

    We do need to change policies as well as the marketplace. But looking at the federal government, our best way to influence public policy is to get involved at the local level — city council, county board, state legislature, our school boards. We have some power there."

    Become Active in Local Government and Expand Alliances

    OCA is also calling for people of different stripes to start working together more — people in the local food movement, the slow food movement, the natural health movement, the environmental movement, the animal welfare movement, even church and spiritual movements. If you're involved in any of these, consider setting up joint meetings with other groups to discuss what you're doing, how and where your concerns intersect and how you may help each other.

    To volunteer to set up or attend a Regenerative House Party or Community Meet-up in your local area this spring with other organic consumers or natural health activists, contact OCA at campaigns@organicconsumers.org.

    Big corporations are trying to stamp out organic, grassfed, natural health, alternative therapies, environmental protections — you name it. As long as we remain divided, they can conquer. By banding together, by connecting the dots between all of our crucial issues, we will prevail.

    "If the food movement united with these other movements, they couldn't have passed the DARK Act even at the federal level. But because it was just the 30, 40 million people who were most conscientious about what they buy, that wasn't enough to scare the hell out of the politicians to do the right thing," Cummins says.

    "If we're going to get involved politically, and I do think we have to, let's get involved where it makes a difference right now, which is the local level. Let's understand that what we do in the marketplace, whether it's the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, these people are not determining your food choices. These people are not forcing you to consume dangerous Big Pharma drugs.

    Get educated. Take control of your health. Take control of your diet. Meet up with the people in your local community who feel the same way. We can have, down the road, the kind of democracy that people have dreamed about for hundreds of years. We've never had it but it doesn't mean that we can't get it down the road."

    Take Control of Your Health by Making Wiser Choices 

    For the first time in two decades, the average lifespan in the U.S. has decreased, and the U.S. is the only country in the developed world where this is happening. I for one am convinced our emphasis on factory farmed foods play a major role in this decline. Moreover, if we persist with this industrial farming model, we will eventually run out of topsoil and potable water, and that day is approaching at a rapid clip. Some estimates suggest we have less than 60 years of topsoil left if we keep going as we have been.3

    We're causing potentially irreparable environmental damage. If we destroy this infrastructure for future generations, how can they possibly grow food? This is a serious issue and I'm glad so many of you are beginning to appreciate the enormity of the problem — and are embracing the solutions. As Cummins says, your greatest power lies in your choice of spending.

    By avoiding food not grown in accordance with regenerative measures, non-organic cotton clothing, and ethanol-infused fuel, you help cut off the lifeblood of corporations that are destroying your children and grandchildren's chance of a healthy future. When it comes to food, choose organic produce, ideally biodynamic certified organics, and look for the AGA's grassfed certification for animal products.

    The goal of the AGA is to promote the grassfed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education. Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.

    Also, seriously consider making a generous donation to the OCA. Your previous support has been instrumental in catalyzing major changes in the organic and health world. And, please remember that I will match your contributions dollar for dollar.

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  • Easy Bell Pepper Egg Bake Recipe
    published on March 25th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    Scrumptiously Easy Bell Pepper Egg Bake Recipe


    When you think of breakfast food, the egg is probably one of the first things that will come to mind. Eggs are extremely versatile when it comes to the culinary world — they can be hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried or poached. Some people even eat them raw just to make sure that they get the full array of nutritional components they have to offer. (It should be noted, however, that organic eggs should be the only eggs that you eat raw to make sure that you’re not exposing yourself to potential disease-causing bacteria.)


    Because eggs have been part of the breakfast scene for a long time, it’s not surprising that people have managed to come up with creative ways to enjoy this poultry produce. One example that you’ll surely love is the bell pepper egg bake.


    This recipe mixes the concept of stuffed bell peppers and the baked egg, combining the health benefits and flavors of these two ingredients. Try this quick and easy recipe and enjoy this new appetizing and healthy take on this breakfast mainstay.



    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Cook time: 25 minutes

    Serving: 3



    3 small organic bell peppers

    3 large organic pastured eggs

    Fresh herbs of your choice (basil, thyme, parsley, chives, etc.)

    Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt, to taste

    Freshly cracked pepper, to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Put peppers in a small round baking dish. Crack 1 egg into each pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    3. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still a little runny, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs of your choice.

    You’ll Be Impressed by the Benefits You Can Get From This Simple Recipe

    Aside from the fact that this recipe yields a rather beautiful dish, it also boasts the combination of all the nutritional components of its ingredients. Here are some of the health benefits that you can get from each individual ingredient:


    • Bell pepper. This vegetable contains a considerable amount of thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium and copper. The high concentration of these minerals contributes to its ability to aid in the prevention of diabetes, scurvy, cardiovascular diseases and cholesterol buildup.


      The consumption of bell peppers has also been observed to help in the maintenance of eye health, preventing both macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. This is mainly because of the high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in this colorful vegetable.


      Bell pepper also helps in the prevention of anemia, which is the reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Aside from the fact that bell pepper contains a considerable amount of iron, it’s also rich in vitamin C, which helps in increasing the gut’s ability to absorb iron.[1]


    • Eggs. If you’re a fan of eggs, you’ve probably heard all about the campaign against the consumption of egg yolks. This is because of the numerous health claims that say that it poses negative effects on the body. This belief has led to the public’s preference for eating egg white omelets and other egg recipes that exclude the yolk.


      What people usually overlook is the fact that when you throw out the egg yolk, you’re also throwing out numerous vitamins and minerals that come with it. Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E and K, omega-3 fats, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, niacin and folate. These vitamins and minerals help you maintain optimal body processes, such as vision, gastrointestinal function and neurological function (memory and muscle control).


    • Fresh herbs. Aside from adding a boost in flavors, using fresh herbs also gives you various nutritional benefits. Various herbs and spices have been observed to assist in the prevention of diseases, cardiovascular conditions and premature aging.


      Some herbs that can be incorporated into this recipe are cloves, oregano, thyme and sage, which all give the dish a savory and earthy flavor.

      How Can You Handpick the Best Ingredients for This Recipe?

      To ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money, here are a few tips to remember when buying the main ingredients for this recipe:


    • For eggs, keep in mind that the eggs in the market are not at all equal. Organic eggs will always be superior to eggs produced by hens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO farms).


      To make sure that you’re getting the most nutritional value from eggs, purchase organic, free-range or “pastured” varieties from a local farmer. By buying these kinds of eggs, you’re also minimizing your exposure to disease-causing bacteria like salmonella.


    • For bell peppers, the first thing you should check is their firmness. Fresh bell peppers are usually firm and have a wrinkle-free texture.[2]


    It is also important that you go for bell peppers grown in organic farms. Bell peppers are part of EWG’s 2016 Dirty Dozen list, which means that conventionally grown varieties of this produce contain high amounts of harmful chemicals from pesticides and herbicides.


    By choosing organically grown bell peppers, you’re minimizing the risk of accidentally ingesting chemical residues, which can alter essential body processes and even lead to damaging diseases.


  • The Healing of Heather Garden
    published on March 24th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    The inspiring documentary "The Healing of Heather Garden" underscores the value of taking personal responsibility for your health after you've been diagnosed with a serious illness, but I recommend you start sooner than that.

    At the age of 27, Heather Garden, an athletic Canadian woman, was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your body's healthy cells.

    The year was 1991, and Garden's doctors told her she would never walk again and would become increasingly more disabled over time. Doctors told Garden there was "no cure" and "no hope."

    Despite taking conventional treatments for about five years, Garden continued to deteriorate. When she began losing her eyesight and doctors suggested she may spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, Garden became motivated to create her own program for healing.

    Healing Begins by Addressing Your Lifestyle

    Some of the approaches she tried are among those I have spoken about for many years:

    • Eating fresh, whole foods
    • Eliminating pasteurized dairy, sugar, as well as all processed foods
    • Focusing on emotional healing
    • Increasing her intake of key vitamins and minerals

    Let's take a closer look at what causes MS and how you can best address it. Even more than that, by focusing on specific aspects of your diet and lifestyle now, I hope you can prevent MS from becoming become part of your story or the story of someone close to you.

    MS: Attacking a Dangerous Intruder That Doesn't Exist

    MS is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused by a demyelization process, or deterioration of the myelin sheaths. MS results when your immune system thinks the myelin sheaths are a dangerous intruder that must be destroyed.

    Myelin is the insulating, waxy substance around the nerves in your central nervous system. When myelin is damaged, the function of your nerves deteriorates over time, meaning that electrical impulses are slowed or stopped as they travel through your nervous system.

    As such, communication between your brain, spinal cord and other regions of your body are interrupted. Due to those "communication interruptions," the MS sufferer experiences symptoms such as:

    • Imbalance or loss of coordination
    • Muscle weakness, spasms or loss of muscular control
    • Numbness and tingling in arms and legs
    • Problems with cognition or vision
    • Tremors

    Conventional MS Treatments Are Very Toxic

    If you undertake conventional treatment for MS, you should expect your neurologist to routinely prescribe a variety of prescription medications. Drugs and steroids were a big part of Garden's program, and the pain and side effects were horrific.

    "I was getting sicker and sicker with the drugs," said Garden. "I was taking a lot of drugs, and then drugs for the side effects of the drugs."1

    It is my strong recommendation that you reject a purely pharmaceutical approach to treating MS. The use of drugs alone has not been proven successful in countless other cases, and your best bet is a more balanced and holistic treatment program.

    If you're already taking drugs, I suggest you talk to your physician about getting off them. I say that because MS drugs are among the most toxic drugs used in the field of medicine, including:

    • Prednisone: a steroid hormone that can significantly impair your immune system, and cause diseases like cataracts and osteoporosis
    • Interferon: a natural substance typically administered via painful shots in a dose that shuts down your body's natural immune response

    These and other MS drugs do not cure the disease, but they may reduce the frequency and severity of attacks and the development of new brain lesions.

    Fortunately, there are many natural treatments that can alleviate, and often reverse, MS symptoms. Even if you are not battling MS, implementing some or all of the following recommendations will positively affect your health.

    Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

    If you watched the documentary, you know that Garden lived in Canada her entire life — first in Ontario and later in Manitoba. Due to Canada's northern location, its residents receive fewer hours of sunshine and are more likely to be vitamin D deficient.

    According to a survey by the MS International Federation, nearly 100,000 Canadians have MS. That rate is 28 percent higher than second-place Denmark and a stunning nine times higher than the global average.2

    A campaign by the MS Society of Canada actually branded MS "Canada's disease."3 Canada aside, a large number of studies have confirmed that your risk of MS increases the farther away you live from the equator.4

    Lack of exposure to sufficient sunlight was identified as a risk factor for MS as far back as 1922. Information gathered from population studies suggests the relationship between geography or climate and the prevalence of autoimmune disease is "most evident" for MS.

    Increased exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays plays a protective role in autoimmune diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.5

    Simply stated, if you live in a place where the sun rarely shines or you have limited sun exposure due to the climate, your risk of contracting autoimmune diseases such as MS is heightened.

    General Vitamin D Guidelines

    The optimal vitamin D level for general health ranges between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). The ideal way to raise your vitamin D is by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine. If you cannot get sufficient UV exposure, taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement along with vitamin K2 and magnesium is highly advisable.

    You'll forgo many of the benefits of sun exposure besides vitamin D production, but it's far better than nothing. Keep in mind the only way to determine your ideal dose is by measuring your vitamin D, as it is your blood level that matters, not the oral dose. As a general guideline, vitamin D experts recommend 4,000 IUs per day for adults, but depending on your level, you may need 8,000 IUs or more per day to get into a therapeutic range.

    In a pilot study by Johns Hopkins involving 40 people with relapsing-remitting MS, researchers found that vitamin D3 supplementation helped regulate hyperactive immune responses. Study author Dr. Peter Calabresi, professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said, "These results are exciting, as vitamin D has the potential to be an inexpensive, safe and convenient treatment for people with MS."6

    Get Regular Exposure to Healthy Full-Spectrum Light

    Another beneficial treatment for autoimmune disease is light optimization. Light has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Besides vitamin D production, sun exposure — due to the near-, mid- and far-infrared wavelengths in sunlight — has many biological effects, including but not limited to the following:

    • Triggering (via your hypothalamus and pituitary) the secretion of hormones, including those that influence your mood
    • Regulating your circadian rhythm, which in turn affects your health
    • Altering your genetic expression, including ones that regulate your inflammatory responses. During winter months, inflammatory immune-system genes are activated, which helps combat infectious microbes, and during the summer the activity of anti-inflammatory gene activity increases7
    • Increasing nanostructured water in your cells, which aids mitochondrial function and boosts energy production in your cells (ATP)

    Some experts even believe that "malillumination" to light is what malnutrition is to food. The best way to get exposure to healthy full-spectrum light is to do it the way nature intended: by going outside as often as possible to expose your bare skin and "bare" eyes to the sun. To learn more about the healing benefits of light, check out my interview with Michael Hamblin about the benefits of near-infrared light.

    Clean Up Your Diet by Eliminating Pasteurized Dairy, Grains and Sugar

    Another crucial element in the fight against autoimmune disease relates to your food intake. To successfully address MS:

    • Eat healthy seafood that is low in toxins like sardines and anchovies as they are loaded with DHA, which is the most important fat in the treatment of MS. Plant-based omega-3 fats do not convert well at all to DHA, and marine-based DHA supplements are not recommended as they are isolated sources of DHA that do not contain the other supporting fatty acids
    • Drastically reduce your intake of grains: A study of 72 MS patients and their first-degree relatives revealed an increased prevalence of celiac disease (CD), suggesting the need for early detection and dietary treatment of CD with respect to antibody-positive MS patients8
    • Reduce your sugar (especially processed fructose) intake: Healthy individuals are advised to keep their total daily fructose consumption below 25 grams from all sources, but if you're struggling with chronic disease, you may want to consider lowering your limit to 15 grams per day until your condition is under control

    If you haven't yet grasped the toxic nature and profound health dangers of sugar, now's the time. Not only does sugar contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases, it increases uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation. Also, don't make the mistake of simply swapping sugar for aspartame or other toxic artificial sweeteners.

    Aspartame contains methanol, and since the human body lacks the necessary enzyme to safely break methanol down into formic acid, the methanol breaks down into formaldehyde — a potent neurotoxin — instead. It's this formaldehyde that does most of the damage.

    Consider Adopting a Ketogenic Diet

    A ketogenic diet involves lowering your net-carbohydrate intake (total carbs minus fiber), while increasing your consumption of healthy fats. By doing so, you will allow your body to start burning fat as its primary fuel rather than sugar. Subsequently, your liver will boost production of ketones, which are a superior source of energy, especially for your brain.

    The first step toward a ketogenic diet is to clean up your diet as mentioned above. Remove all processed foods, grains and sugar. Then focus on eating as many raw, whole foods as possible, in addition to plenty of healthy fats. Lowering your net-carb intake while eating high-quality healthy fats is the key to success.

    However, it's important to eat the right kind of fats. Avoid the fats most commonly found in the American diet (i.e., the processed fats and vegetable oils used in convenience foods and fast foods. Sources of healthy fats include:

    Animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil and small fatty fish like anchovies and sardines

    Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil


    Olives and olive oil (make sure it's third party-certified, as 80 percent of olive oils are adulterated with vegetable oils, and only use it cold, not for cooking.)

    Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk

    Organic-pastured egg yolks

    Coconuts and coconut oil (excellent for cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without oxidizing)

    Raw cacao butter

    Ghee (clarified butter)

    Raw nuts, such as macadamia and pecans

    Grass-fed meats

    Seeds such as black sesame, cumin, hemp and pumpkin

    Lard and tallow (excellent for cooking)

    Use a Sauna for Detoxification and Pain Relief

    Repeated use of a sweat-inducing sauna may facilitate your skin's ability to eliminate toxins from your body and significantly reduce your toxic load over time.

    Although downplayed by modern medicine as a means of detoxification, studies have demonstrated the value in sweating to increase the excretion of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.9 In one study, sweating was shown to be more effective for eliminating toxins than urinary excretion. The authors also determined:10

    • Sweating may be an important route for excretion of cadmium when an individual is exposed to high levels
    • Sweat-inducing sauna use might provide a therapeutic method to increase elimination of toxic trace metals
    • Sweating should be the initial and preferred treatment for patients with elevated mercury levels in their urine

    Studies have also documented the effectiveness of sauna use as a valuable clinical tool for autoimmune, cardiovascular, toxicant-induced and other chronic health problems.11 In terms of sauna's benefits for pain relief, a study of 46 patients hospitalized for chronic pain of at least six-months duration revealed that just 15 minutes of sauna therapy five days a week for four weeks reduced patient pain and anger scores.

    A follow-up study two years later noted that 77 percent of the sauna-therapy group, as compared to 50 percent of the non-sauna group, had been able to return to work.12 Ideally, look for a full-spectrum infrared sauna with low EMF rating. Remember, there are different healing properties in the various wavelengths that are all beneficial with the right exposure levels.  

    Use EFT to Address Emotional Traumas

    Last but certainly not least, in my experience with MS patients, there is nearly always a precipitating, traumatic emotional event that causes your immune system to crash, leading to the onset of the disease. Uncovering hidden emotional wounds is not only vital to making a full recovery, but also in preventing a future relapse. Paulette Efimenko, one of the alternative-medicine practitioners Garden frequented during her recovery, said:

    "In working with people that have physical ailments, it's extremely important to also address emotional and spiritual things that have happened with them in childhood, marriages and any type of relationships they have had. Resolving old issues is a big factor in how they will be able to heal."

    Often, this wounding occurred at a very young age, almost always before age 7, but sometimes prior to age 5. My preferred approach to handling emotional issues is the use of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). If you recently received a gloomy medical diagnosis such as MS check out a short video by Julie Schiffman on how to use EFT to overcome the intense emotions associated with a diagnosis.

    About the Director

    I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the director, Judith Morrow, from "The Healing of Heather Garden." We sat down with Judith to learn a little more about what goes in to making these films. Thank you to Judith for sharing with us.

    What was your inspiration for making this film?

    Heather and her friend Kim were the most exciting and vibrant people I knew. I had an eclectic background — community development, school social work, health clinics, youth justice, therapy — while keeping an interest in writing, photography and journalism. I decided to learn documentary filmmaking. Finding out what Heather had done to heal from her "incurable" illness seemed like a good project.

    I had no idea it would take 10 years. As I struggled through obstacles, I kept thinking, 'If Heather had done what she did, I could learn to make a documentary to tell her story." One step at a time I entered two new worlds. Filmmakers committed to getting this project done appeared as I needed them. A professional story editor, as an example, came over for a few hours to help me out. He stayed 12 hours.

    Two years later he was still showing up, every two weeks, refusing pay because, "You can't afford it," while ruthlessly castigating me, "Don't you know anything about documentaries?" to correct flaws. At the same time, I was unraveling the puzzle of what Heather had done, and began reading and traveling to Heather's guides in healing. Discoveries about the vast difference in accepted medical practice and healing shocked me and gave me gratitude that I had selected this project. There was no turning back.

    I chose to take you into the world of hope Heather discovered, showing rather than telling the multitude of simple actions people can take to facilitate healing and take back their own health.

    What was your favorite part of making this film?

    The friendship that grew with Heather and Kim, the community of supportive filmmakers, and people who understand health and healing continues to be a favorite part of my life. Encountering Dr. Mercola's online work, for instance, provided me with research to clarify how Heather's changes in lifestyle created this miracle, and continues to be daily reading.

    Where do the proceeds to your film go?

    Directly toward paying back the costs of the film. I had to increase my mortgage.

    >>>>> Click Here <<<<<

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  • Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome
    published on March 24th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In 2013, Elizabeth Williams, a California mother of two, did something you’ve probably done many times yourself: visited a hair salon for a cut and routine wash. Several days later, she began experiencing strange symptoms indicative of stroke, including weakness on her left side.

    Doctors ultimately diagnosed her with a relatively rare condition called vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck,1 otherwise known as beauty parlor stroke syndrome.

    The act of extending her neck over the shampoo bowl was deemed to be the culprit, although it’s unclear if the condition resulted solely from a kink in the neck or in combination with a certain head movement caused by the stylist.2

    Smith, who subsequently filed a lawsuit against the salon, conducted an informal poll of her friends’ stylists and found 80 percent were familiar with the possibility that you could have a stroke while getting your hair washed.3

    What Causes Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome?

    When your neck is hyperextended over the edge of a shampoo bowl, the pressure and/or whiplash-like motions on your neck can lead to a tear in the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to your brain. Dr. Steven R. Zeiler, head of stroke research at Johns Hopkins, told BuzzFeed:4

    “When one of those cervical arteries is damaged in some sort of way, you can get what’s called a dissection, which is damage of the inside of the blood vessel, leading to abnormal flow and clotting, and then those clots can shoot north into the brain and cause a stroke.”

    Having your hair washed is not the only act that can cause this — far from it — although it’s very rare, even when all potential causes are considered.

    In a conversation with The Atlantic, Dr. Richard Bernstein, medical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, explained that the phenomenon can occur due to innocent stretching, sneezing or even getting out of bed wrong in the morning, noting, “It is so rare that it’s a waste of time to worry about it. It’s so unlikely, and there’s really nothing you can do to prevent it.”5

    Other Confirmed Cases of Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome

    Beauty parlor stroke syndrome is not unheard of in the medical literature, and some studies even dispute the phenomenon’s supposed rarity.

    In the International Journal of Stroke, for instance, a 2016 study found that hairdresser-related ischemic cerebrovascular events (HICE) “occur frequently in females without a predilection for the posterior circulation.”6

    The researchers noted that while some cases may occur by chance, in other cases hairdresser visits may have a causal role.

    A 2006 case study also relates the case of a 63-year-old woman who developed sudden dizziness, nausea and vomiting while having her hair shampooed at a beauty parlor. She was diagnosed with beauty parlor stroke syndrome with the researchers noting:

    “Taken together, hyperextension combined with hanging the head backwards in a hair washbasin can be seen as a risk factor for posterior circulation ischemia. It probably occurs more often than assumed ...”7

    Case in point: In December 2016 a U.K. man was awarded a more than $100,000 settlement from a hair salon after suffering a stroke two days after having his hair washed. The Daily Mail also reported another British woman who suffered a stroke in 2000 after having her hair washed at a salon.8

    Cervical Support Reduced Dizziness and Other Symptoms During Hair Washing

    Another study, this one published in 2002, examined symptoms of beauty parlor stroke syndrome among 25 volunteers who had previously reported dizziness during salon shampoos.

    Among this population, significant dizziness, neck pain and carotid blood flow were reported while extending their necks over a salon sink, but the symptoms were significantly reduced when additional cervical support was used.

    “Individuals with a history of such symptoms should probably exercise caution when deciding whether to receive a salon sink shampoo,” the researchers concluded.9

    Yet another study in 2000 linked the hyperextended neck position during salon shampoos to cerebellum vascular insufficiency and recommended that “public education should lead to avoidance of this position during hair shampoo treatment at hair dressing salons.”10

    While the risk of being injured during a salon shampoo is generally minimal, if you have experienced dizziness or other symptoms while having your hair washed previously, you may want to forgo the risk and wash your hair at home instead.

    At the very least, some have suggested that adding a thick layer of towels to support your neck and reduce hyperextension may help.

    Are There Risks to Getting Your Nails Done?

    Hair washing is not the only potential risk at the beauty salon, particularly if you plan on getting your nails done. Nail salon services are big business in the U.S., amounting to $8.54 billion in spending in 2014.11

    The fumes released by nail care products (and other beauty care products) is one concern, particularly for salon workers; however, the nail treatments themselves can also cause damage or infection to your nails.

    Writing in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, researchers identified nail disorders that are induced by nail cosmetics via procedures meant to beautify the nail.12 On the contrary, many may lead to poor nail appearance and other risks.

    “Known risks of traditional manicures include procedure-related infections (bacterial, fungal, mycobacterial and viral, including human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus).

    Inadequately sterilized instruments, such as clippers, blades, abrasive files, electric drills and footbaths, may harbor and abet the growth of micro-organisms.

    Micro and macro-traumas may be induced through the cleaning, filing and trimming of cuticles, thus allowing the infiltration of micro-organisms.

    Materials, such as nail polish and nail enhancers, contain certain chemicals that can serve as contact sensitizers when accidentally applied to periungual skin [skin around the nail].

    Chemicals, including acrylates, formaldehyde and toluene sulphonamide-formaldehyde resin, may lead to contact dermatitis and chronic paronychia [an inflammatory disorder of the nail folds]. Primers and polish removers, which are largely solvents, can dry nails and contribute to brittleness.”13

    Less common disorders that can be caused by a trip to the nail salon include:14

    Mycobacterial infection, which can particularly occur from pedicure footbaths using equipment that is not properly sterilized or maintained with regular filter changes.

    Peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that is a rare complication of acrylic nails, possibly due to methacrylates that are sometimes used in artificial nail products.

    Nail thinning, weakness, brittleness, pseudo leukonychia (white spots), and onychoschizia lamellina (nail splitting), which may occur due to the removal of gel polish.

    Worn down or overfilled nails, which is due to the mechanical trauma that occurs when acrylic nails are removed.

    Traumatic onycholysis, the separation of the nail plate from the bed, is very common in people with acrylic nails.

    It’s caused by inserting thin sharp objects in order to clean under the nails. According to the study, “These patients usually wear very long nails, and adhesion of the acrylic nail to the nail plate is stronger than adhesion of the nail plate to the nail bed.”

    What Else Can Cause Vertebral Artery Dissection From Hyperextension of the Neck?

    As mentioned, having your hair washed is only one precipitating factor. Dr. Wouter I. Schievink of the Cedars-Sinai Neurological Institute in Los Angeles suggested that every year 1 to 1.5 per 100,000 people may suffer from spontaneous vertebral artery dissection from hyperextension of the neck and may account for up to one-quarter of nonhemorrhagic strokes in young and middle-aged adults.15

    Aside from having your hair washed in a beauty salon, other possible causes include chiropractic spinal manipulation, lifting heavy objects or even drinking a shot of alcohol (which is known as “bottoms-up dissection,” according to The New York Times).16

    In the case of chiropractic manipulation, it’s thought that up to one-fourth of people who suffer an arterial dissection may have an underlying disorder or defect that predisposes them to the dissection, and related pain may be what prompts them to seek chiropractic care in the first place. The Times continued:17

    “A champion swimmer developed a dissected carotid from doing too much backstroke. Dr. Schievink also lists precipitating events associated with hyperextension of the neck, including '’practicing yoga, painting a ceiling, coughing, vomiting and sneezing,' as well as medical procedures like receiving anesthesia or being resuscitated and traumatic causes like motor vehicle accidents or sports injuries.

    … There may also be an infectious factor in some cases, since the occurrence of carotid and vertebral artery dissections with no apparent cause peaks in the fall, when respiratory infections are most common.”

    Writing in the Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society, it’s suggested that many events associated with hyperextension or rotation of the neck may result in artery dissection. “Such neck movements, particularly when they are sudden, may injure the artery as a result of mechanical stretching,” the researchers noted.18 The symptoms of arterial dissection depend on which artery is affected and may include the following:19

    Pain on one side of your head, face or neck

    Paralysis of one eye

    Constant headache on one side of your head

    Pain behind an eye

    Impaired ability to taste


    Visual loss

    Temporary loss of awareness

    Should You Avoid Having Your Hair Washed at the Salon?

    There are many potential causes of arterial dissections, so you shouldn’t single out having your hair washed at a salon as a particularly serious risk. That being said, if you experience any discomfort or dizziness when in a position that requires over-extending your neck or looking upward for an extended period of time, you should take it seriously, change the position and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

    If you are concerned, talk to your hair dresser and ask for extra neck support during washing. Ideally, the chair and neck support should be adjustable so you can avoid hyperextending your neck. You can also forgo the process entirely and wash your hair at home. Ultimately, the risk of suffering from beauty parlor stroke syndrome is rare, but it does happen.

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  • Cassia Bark Oil: Why It's Valuable in Traditional Chinese Medicine
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    What Is Cassia Bark Oil?

    Cassia bark oil is derived from the Cinnamomum cassia plant of the Lauraceae family. It is frequently compared to cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon leaf oil, which are both extracted from the same plant species.

    Also known as the Chinese cinnamon, cassia is native to China and is a slender, evergreen tree that grows up to 20 meters or 65 feet tall. It has thick, leathery leaves and tiny, immaculately white flowers.

    Cassia bark oil is widely available and sourced in China and the U.S., where it is distilled. It is a dark brown liquid with a strong warm and woody-resinous odor and sweet balsamic undertone. The tannins in the bark give the essential oil a dark color if copper stills are used. Rectified cassia bark oil, on the other hand, has a yellowish color.

    Uses of Cassia Bark Oil

    Although cassia bark is very seldom added to perfume products because of its dark color, it is commonly used as a flavoring agent in food, beverages and pharmaceutical preparations just like cinnamon.

    As an herbal preparation, cassia bark can be used to assist in improving digestive issues, such as flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, and diarrhea. Cassia bark oil, on the other hand, has been found beneficial in helping treat fevers, colds, flu, and chills when used in vapor therapy.

    Composition of Cassia Bark Oil

    The main chemical components of cassia bark oil are cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, benzaldehyde, linalool and chavicol.1 Similar to cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon leaf oil, cinnamaldehyde is also one of the major constituents of cassia bark oil.

    Benefits of Cassia Bark Oil

    Traditionally, the cassia bark plant is extensively used in Chinese herbal medicine, particularly in vascular disorders. Cassia bark oil, however, is said to be effective in improving cardiovascular, digestive, genito-urinary, circulation and immune system disorders.2 It is also known to deliver remarkable effects in:3

    Helping treat nausea and vomiting

    Lowering body temperature in fever

    Improving blood circulation

    Relieving viral infections

    Aid in curing diarrhea

    Easing depression

    Relieving joint pain

    Fighting microbial infections in the body

    Strengthening the gums, hair roots, and muscles

    How to Make Cassia Bark Oil

    Cassia bark oil is produced through the process of steam or water distillation. This essential oil is usually extracted from the leaves, barks, twigs and stalks of the slim, perennial cassia tree.

    Produced on a large scale in China and the United States, cassia bark oil is often adulterated, which in turn results in high levels of toxicity.

    To ensure that you only get cassia bark oil at its highest possible quality, I highly recommend that you buy only from trusted and reputable manufacturers that only produce their oils from wholesome organic ingredients and safe practices.

    How Does Cassia Bark Oil Work?

    Cassia bark oil is one of the many essential oils worth adding in your medicine cabinet due to its well-documented healing properties.

    It works well as a febrifuge (reduces fever), antiemetic (helps stop vomiting), carminative (lessens instances of gas or flatulence) and anti-arthritic agent. Suggested applications for cassia bark oil include:4

    Antiseptic. Dilute cassia bark oil in a mild carrier oil and apply a small amount to the reflex points of the feet.

    Anti-diarrhea. For diarrhea and other digestive issues, dilute and massage the essential oil into the reflex points of the feet and over the abdomen.

    Antifungal. Apply a small amount of diluted cassia bark oil to the affected area at least once or twice daily.

    Antiviral. For colds and flu, diffuse the essential oil through the room.

    Is Cassia Bark Oil Safe?

    Cassia bark oil can be a potential skin irritant and dermal sensitizer. Cassia bark oil is definitely not safe to be used on babies and small children, given the extremely delicate nature of their young skin.

    Because of its 100 percent sensitization value, I strongly discourage topical applications of pure cassia bark oil. You may dilute it in a mild carrier oil in low concentrations to reduce its strength.

    Nevertheless, I still say it's best to seek the expert advice of an experienced aromatherapy practitioner before doing anything to avoid unfortunate incidents.

    In addition, cassia bark oil also has potent emmenagogue (stimulate blood flow) and antigalactogogue (prevent or decrease the secretion of milk) properties, which is why I do not advise pregnant or lactating women to take any form of it.

    Side Effects of Cassia Bark Oil

    While there may be existing recommendations to use cassia bark oil in aromatherapy or vapor therapy, let me warn you that too much inhalation of this warm essential oil may possibly induce insomnia, debility or depression in some individuals.

    I recommend that you seek expert medical opinion practitioner first before incorporating cassia bark oil, or any herbal oil, into your health and wellness regimen.

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  • Simple Brain Training Techniques Can Turn You Into a Memory Master
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    How’s your memory these days? If you’re like most, you could probably use some help in this area. Your memory holds a record of your entire life and helps shape your identity, but the ability to form memories does not occur until around the age of five

    In the video above, two-time world memory champion Alex Mullen and fellow medical student Cathy Chen explain a memorization system called Memory Palace, also known as Method of Loci,1 which can help you improve your short-term recall.

    The process involves using a space or location you’re familiar with to memorize unfamiliar or new things. The reason it works so well is because most people have very good spatial and visual memory.

    As noted by Chen, “Visualizing an image makes it way more memorable and interesting to your brain than, say, random names or numbers.”

    As an example, Chen and Mullen explain how you might memorize items on your grocery shopping list. You probably know your dining room really well, so to memorize “eggs” on your list, mentally travel into your dining room, look at a bowl of, say, fruit, and imagine a hen has laid eggs in your fruit bowl.

    Then, when you’re in the store, you can mentally travel around the space (your dining room), recall the bowl of fruit — and the funny image of eggs laid in the bowl. Another example: Imagine toothpaste smeared all over your placemats. When you recall the placemats, you automatically remember the item on your list, namely the toothpaste.

    You Too Can Become a Memory Master

    According to recent research,2,3,4 anyone can become a memory master by training their brain using these kinds of techniques. In fact, people who had never used memory techniques prior to the study were able to master it, and in just six weeks, their brains began resembling those of the world’s top-ranked memory masters.

    The study also confirmed what Chen and Mullen say — that the memory centers in memory masters’ brains communicate very strongly with their visual and spatial centers, and this appears to be a key to their impressive feats of memorization. As noted by CNN:5

    “[Researcher Boris Nikolai] Konrad said this is because of how memory athletes train: by picturing familiar places and filling them with imaginary objects, like a cow eating moss to represent the city of Moscow.”

    Essentially, what you’re doing is improving and expanding the connectivity between different centers in your brain. You’re not altering the actual structure.

    Compared to using a technique like Memory Palace, memory training involving repetition showed only minor gains in recall. They also didn’t improve the connectivity in their brain, which was evaluated using brain scans. If you want to try it out or learn more about Memory Palace, visit MemoCamp.com.6 

    Other mnemonic devices — tools to help you remember words, information or concepts — include using:

    • Acronyms (such as PUG for "pick up grapes")
    • Visualizations (such as imagining a tooth to remember you have a dentist's appointment)
    • Rhymes (if you need to remember a name, for instance, think "Shirley's hair is curly)
    • Chunking, which is breaking up information into smaller "chunks" (such as organizing numbers into the format of a phone number)

    Other Activities That Help Improve Memory and Keep Your Brain Sharp

    Advances in brain research have revealed the human brain has remarkable plasticity, or the ability to regenerate and form new connections throughout your life.

    “Use it or lose it” applies here, and previous research7 has shown engaging in stimulating social activities, artistic pursuits and crafts such as knitting or quilting8 help keep your mind sharper with age and prevent cognitive decline. As reported in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services:9

    “Chess and bridge are leisure activities that demand working memory and reasoning skills. Older adults who play bridge score higher on working memory and reasoning measures compared to non-players and working crossword puzzles has also been associated with maintained cognition in older adults.”

    Other helpful pastimes include the following:

    Learn a new language. Language lessons have been shown to provide a beneficial brain workout and increase neuronal connections10

    Meditate. While it may seem you’re not doing much of anything in terms of challenging your brain when meditating, research shows it alters the structure of your brain for the better and has a number of neurological benefits, including improved attention and concentration11

    Listen to Mozart. It's long been theorized that listening to music may boost your brainpower; you've probably heard of the "Mozart Effect," which suggests listening to classical music can help make you smarter.

    Indeed, research12 shows people who listen to Mozart’s classical music have an increase in brain wave activity linked to memory, understanding and problem solving. Interestingly, music composed by Beethoven showed no such effect.

    According to the researchers:13 “These results may be representative of the fact that Mozart's music is able to activate neuronal cortical circuits (circuits of nerve cells in the brain) related to attentive and cognitive functions”

    Sniff rosemary oil. Engaging your olfactory senses may also have an effect on memory. Smells get routed through your olfactory bulb, the smell-analyzing region in your brain, which is closely connected to your amygdala and hippocampus, brain regions that handle memory and emotion.

    One study14 found people who sniffed rosemary essential oil performed better on memory tasks than those who did not. The aroma of peppermint has also been shown to enhance memory and increase alertness.

    Indeed, research shows that odors are especially effective as reminders of past experience, much more so than cues from other senses, such as sights or sounds15

    Laugh it up. Laughter has been shown to improve memory by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.16 As explained by study co-author Lee Berk, doctor of public health:

    "It's simple, the less stress you have the better your memory. Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal neurons, lowers your blood pressure, and increases blood flow and your mood state …

    There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what's called the gamma wave band frequency, which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer …"

    Sources to Add to Your Brain Training Arsenal

    If you’re not quite ready to take up a foreign language, piano lessons or knitting, you may still be able to bolster the growth of new brain cells and neural connections by challenging your mind with various games and puzzles. Here are a few resources you can try:  

    Lumosity:17 This brain-training app provides personalized brain workouts using more than 50 different cognitive games designed to boost memory, attention, problem solving and more.

    Brain HQ:18 Developed by Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of California, who has pioneered research in brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) for more than 30 years, Brain HQ is a computer-based brain-training program that can help you sharpen a range of skills, from reading and comprehension to improved memorization and more.

    Like Lumosity, the website allows you to track and monitor your progress over time. While there are many similar websites, Brain HQ is one of the oldest and most widely used.

    Iota: Iota19 is a card game involving placing cards in grids according to simple rules that require complex moves and strategic thinking on your part. This game must be played with at least one other person, so it makes for a fun social activity while also improving spatial relation skills, visual discrimination and strategic thinking.

    The Puzzle Book. Nancy Linde's “399 Games, Puzzles and Trivia Challenges”20 is a popular book with games designed to improve neurogenesis, or the formation of new brain cells. Each puzzle is designed to get your brain thinking in new ways and targets cognitive functions such as logical thought, language and attention.

    Physical Exercise Also Boosts Cognitive Functions and Memory

    Last, but certainly not least, no article on improving memory would be complete without at least a brief mention of physical exercise. As noted by psychiatrist Dr. John J. Ratey, author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” there’s overwhelming evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia.

    For example, studies show those who exercise have a greater volume of gray matter in the hippocampal region, which is important for memory.21,22 Exercise also prevents age-related shrinkage of your brain,23 preserving both gray and white matter in your frontal, temporal and parietal cortexes, thereby preventing cognitive deterioration.24,25

    One of the mechanisms by which your brain benefits from physical exercise is via a protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Exercise initially stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5, which in turn triggers the production of BDNF, which is a remarkable rejuvenator. In your brain, BDNF preserves existing brain cells26 and activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, effectively making your brain grow larger.

    Another mechanism at play here relates to a substance called β-hydroxybutyrate, which your liver produces when your metabolism is optimized to burn fat as fuel.27 Your brain can use both glucose and fat for fuel, but the latter is preferred. When glucose is depleted from exercise, your hippocampus switches over to use fat as a source of energy, and it is this fuel switchover that triggers the release of BDNF and subsequent cognitive improvement.

    When your blood sugar level declines, β-hydroxybutyrate serves as an alternative source of energy. That said, β-hydroxybutyrate also blocks histone enzymes that inhibit the production of BDNF. So, it seems your body is designed to improve BDNF production via a number of different pathways in response to physical exercise.

    Interestingly, research also shows that exercising four hours after learning something new helps you retain what you’ve just learned long-term.28,29 The same effect was not found when the exercise was done immediately after learning.

    Why this four-hour delay boosted memory retention is still unclear, but it appears to have something to do with the release of catecholamines, such as dopamine and norepinephrine — naturally occurring chemicals in your body known to improve memory consolidation. One way to boost these catecholamines is through exercise, and apparently delayed exercise is part of the equation.

    One of the best ways to have your body create ketones is to teach it to burn fat as your primary fuel. Not only will this radically improve your memory and brain function but will address the primary cause of chronic disease, which is mitochondrial dysfunction. One of the most effective ways to learn how to burn fat as your primary fuel is my new book "Fat for Fuel" which can be pre-ordered now with some exciting bonuses.

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  • Can Pink Noise Help You Sleep?
    published on March 22nd, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You probably don't think of noise in terms of colors, but there is a rainbow of noise out there — from the familiar white noise that occurs when a TV turns to static to the higher-pitched blue noise, which sounds similar to a hissing spray of water.1

    Somewhere in the middle is pink noise, gentle sound similar to that of rushing water or wind blowing through leaves on a tree.

    Pink noise contains frequencies from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz, just like white noise, but the lower frequencies are louder and more powerful than the higher frequencies (white noise, in contrast, has equal power in all of its frequencies).2

    However, pink noise has equal power per octave (a range of frequencies whose upper frequency limit is twice that of its lower frequency limit), which is why most people hear it as an even noise.3

    To an untrained ear, pink noise may sound quite similar to white noise, but the former, it seems, may have particular promise for helping you sleep and improving other areas of human health, including that of your brain.

    Pink Noise at Night May Help You Sleep Better and Improve Memory

    Research published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience revealed that listening to pink noise could improve sleep and memory among 60- to 84-year-olds, a population that tends to have reduced slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, compared to younger individuals.4 Slow wave sleep is also associated with memory consolidation.

    While spending the night in a sleep lab, participants listened to pink noise one night and no noise the next. Notably, the pink noise was played in bursts to match the timing of participants' slow wave sleep.

    Not only did the pink noise enhance slow wave sleep, it also was linked to better scores on memory tests. The participants scored about three times better on memory tests the morning after listening to pink noise in their sleep.5

    Senior study author Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Time, "The noise is fairly pleasant; it kind of resembles a rush of water … It's just noticeable enough that the brain realizes it's there, but not enough to disturb sleep."6

    Does the Timing of Pink-Noise Exposure Matter?

    Zee and her team are working on developing a device you can use to deliver pink noise at home, although there are many apps already available that claim to do so.

    Zee said that the memory benefits, however, may depend on the pink noise enhancing slow wave sleep, which means the noise may need to be administered at appropriate times to be most effective.7 She said in a press release:8

    "This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health … This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline."

    Past research also found that steady pink noise helped to regulate brain waves and led to more stable sleep and improved sleep quality in adults, both during the night (a 23 percent improvement with pink noise) and during naps (a 45 percent improvement).9

    Seventy-five percent of the study participants also said they experienced more restful sleep when exposed to pink noise.10

    Sleeping Too Much or Too Little Linked to Higher Weight

    Sleep influences far more than your energy level; it's intricately involved in virtually every aspect of your health, including your weight. Among people genetically predisposed to obesity, the amount you sleep may also make a difference.

    A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who slept less than seven hours or more than nine hours a night weighed more, on average, than those who slept the recommended seven to nine hours.11

    The short sleepers weighed about 4.5 pounds more while the long sleepers weighed nearly 9 pounds more than the normal sleepers.12

    The association persisted regardless of diet, and it was also found that shift work and daytime napping was associated with higher weight among this population. Study co-author, research associate Carlos Celis-Morales, BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glasgow, said:13

    "It appears that people with high genetic risk for obesity need to take more care about lifestyle factors to maintain a healthy body weight. Our data suggest that sleep is another factor which needs to be considered, alongside diet and physical activity."

    In this study, there was not as strong a link between sleep duration and weight among people with low genetic obesity risk; however, other studies have shown links between weight and sleep.

    For instance, people who typically slept five hours or less a night showed a 32 percent gain in visceral fat (a dangerous type linked to heart disease and other chronic diseases) versus a 13 percent gain among those who slept six or seven hours per night, and a 22 percent increase among men and women who got at least eight hours of sleep each night.14

    Night Owls May Eat Less Healthy Than Morning People

    There are various reasons why sleep affects weight. Lack of sleep also decreases levels of the fat regulating hormone leptin while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in hunger and appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain.

    In addition, according to a study in the journal Sleep, later bedtimes correlate to greater weight gain even in healthy, non-obese people.15

    Late-night snacking further increases that risk. In fact, avoiding food at least three hours prior to bedtime is one of my standard recommendations as it helps to make sure that your body is burning fat as its primary fuel which will keep you lean.

    A recent study published in the journal Obesity further revealed that the types of foods chosen by morning and evening types of people differ, with night owls tending to eat less healthy, perhaps as a consequence of "living against their internal biological time."16

    Specifically, on weekdays the night owls tended to choose breakfast foods that were higher in sugar and lower in fiber compared to those chosen by the morning types. In the evening, the night owls also tended to eat more sugar.

    "On weekends, the differences were even greater," The New York Times reported. "Evening people ate significantly more sugar and fats, had more irregular mealtimes, and ate meals and snacks twice as often as morning people."17

    Since "our society is pretty much structured to suit morning types better," the study's lead author Mirkka Maukonen of the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare told the Times, "awareness of one's own chronotype [when you are naturally predisposed to sleep and wake] may encourage paying more attention to overall healthier lifestyle choices."18

    Sleeping More Than Nine Hours a Night Linked to Dementia

    Your brain is also affected by how much you sleep, and research again shows that there appears to be a "Goldilocks" zone that's best — neither too much nor too little.

    Those who sleep for more than nine hours a night consistently, for instance, had a six-fold greater risk of developing dementia in the next 10 years compared to those who slept less.19

    Long sleep duration was also associated with smaller brain volume and poorer executive function, which suggests prolonged sleep duration may be a marker of early neurodegeneration, the researchers said. Too little sleep has also been linked to dementia.20 As Newsweek reported:21

    "Missing out on deep non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep may allow proteins linked to dementia to have easier access to the brain.

    Beta-amyloid, a protein suspected of triggering Alzheimer's, aggregates in higher concentrations in the brains of those who chronically suffer from poor sleep. As beta-amyloid accumulates, the protein further inhibits the ability to sleep, which feeds into a terrible cycle linked to dementia."

    The Link Between Sleep and Mental Health

    Episodes of insomnia may also be predictive of mental illness, while addressing sleep problems may support mental health. Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at the University of Oxford, wrote in Epoch Times:22

    "To date a surprisingly large number of genes have been identified that play an important role in both sleep disruption and mental illness. And if the mental illness is not causing disruption in sleep and circadian rhythm, then sleep disruption may actually occur just before an episode of mental illness under some circumstances.

    Sleep abnormalities have indeed been identified in individuals prior to mental illness. For example, we know that sleep disruption usually happens before an episode of depression. Furthermore, individuals identified as 'at risk' of developing bipolar disorder and childhood-onset schizophrenia typically show problems with sleep before any clinical diagnosis of illness."

    In the case of schizophrenia, for instance, up to 80 percent of those affected have sleep disturbances such as insomnia.23 Separate research found that 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks whether the person took an antidepressant or a placebo pill.24

    Interestingly, exposure to dim light at night, which can also interfere with your sleep, has also been linked to depression. The link could be due to the production of the hormone melatonin, which is interrupted when you're exposed to light at night.

    There are many studies that suggest melatonin levels (and by proxy light exposures) control mood-related symptoms, such as those associated with depression. For instance, one study about melatonin and circadian phase misalignment (in which you are "out of phase" with natural sleeping times) found a correlation between circadian misalignment and severity of depression symptoms.25

    Does Daylight Saving Time Affect Your Health?

    Daylight Saving Time (DST), the practice of moving clocks ahead one hour in the summer months and returning them back an hour in the winter, may not seem like a big deal in the scheme of things, but it's enough of a shift to throw off your body's sensitive circadian rhythm. As such, there are consequences to both health and productivity.

    One study found that the shift to DST results in a "dramatic increase in cyberloafing behavior," or the tendency to waste time surfing the web while at work.26 This drop in productivity was linked to lost sleep (quality and quantity wise) the night before.27 Night owls also fared worse following the DST switch, feeling more fatigued during the day for up to three weeks compared to those who went to sleep earlier.28

    Your heart health may also suffer. One 2012 study found that heart attacks increased by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday following the time change to DST.29 Heart attacks decreased by 10 percent on the first Monday and Tuesday after clocks are switched back in the fall. Other consequences include an increase in workplace accidents and injuries, increases in traffic accidents and a compromising effect on immune function.

    While some studies have suggested a slight benefit to the extra hour of daylight for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as the potential to burn more calories during exercise (because it stays light outside later),30 it's likely not enough to compensate for the negative effects.

    Pink Noise and Other Tips for Improving Your Sleep

    Taking steps to improve your sleep quality is crucial for optimal health. Adding soothing noise to your bedroom, such as pink noise, soothing music, nature sounds, white noise or a fan, is one simple tip that helps many people sleep better.

    If you're having trouble sleeping, I also suggest reading my Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for 33 tips on improving your sleep. Getting back to the basics of improving your sleeping environment is important. No. 1 on my list? Avoid exposure to blue light, including LEDs, after sunset. Wearing blue-blocking glasses is a simple way to achieve this. Further:

    Avoid watching TV or using your computer/smartphone or tablet in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed.

    Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can't appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production.

    Get some sun in the morning. Your circadian system needs bright light to reset itself. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals during the night.

    Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep, so cover your clock radio up at night or get rid of it altogether. Move all electrical devices at least 3 feet away from your bed. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades, or wear an eye mask when you sleep.

    Install a low-wattage yellow, orange or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. Salt lamps are handy for this purpose, as are natural, non-toxic candles.

    Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes too warm (particularly their upstairs bedrooms). Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees F.

    Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready to sleep.

    Avoid using loud alarm clocks. Being jolted awake each morning can be very stressful. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, you might not even need an alarm, as you'll wake up naturally.

    Be mindful of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom. EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well.

    A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home. If possible, install a kill switch to turn off all electricity to your bedroom. If you need a clock, use a battery-operated one.

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  • Why Colon Cancer Scare Is Fake News
    published on March 21st, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Colorectal cancer, which includes both cancers of the colon and rectum, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

    An estimated 135,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year (about 95,500 cases of colon cancer and 39,900 cases of rectal cancer1), and more than 50,000 die from it.

    Historically, colon cancer has been confined to those over the age of 50, but that’s changing. According to a recent report2 by the American Cancer Society, prevalence among younger people is rising.3,4,5 As reported by STAT News:6

    “Among adults between the ages of 20 and 39, colon cancer has increased by 1 percent to 2.4 percent a year since the mid-1980s. This rise has been so dramatic that those born in 1990 and afterward have rates of colon cancer not seen since 1890.”

    The findings made headlines and, not surprisingly, younger people are now urged to consider colon cancer screening, which is typically done by colonoscopy.

    What the study and many news sources fail to mention, however, is that if you’re in your 20s and 30s, your mortality risk from colonoscopy is FAR greater than your risk of colon cancer! This is a vitally important consideration that simply isn’t given the proper attention.

    It’s a mistake to equate screening with prevention and, if anything, the findings are a wakeup call to Gen-Xers and Millennials that they really need to reassess their lifestyle choices, as the ramifications of poor diet and sedentary behavior are catching up to them at an increasingly younger age.

    Colon and Rectal Cancer Rates on the Rise Among Young Adults

    According to the featured report, while colon cancer incidence is on the decline overall, we’re seeing a rather rapid rise of incidence in 20- and 30-somethings. Rectal cancer is also on the rise. Some statistics revealed in the report include the following:7

    • Since the mid-1980s, rates of colon cancer in adults between the ages of 20 and 39 increased by 1 percent, now affecting 2.4 percent of the population in this age-group annually
    • Since the mid-1990s, colon cancer rates in adults between the ages of 40 and 54 have risen by 0.5 percent, now affecting 1.3 percent of this age group
    • In adults aged 20 to 29, rectal cancer incidence rates increased 3.2 percent annually between 1974 and 2013
    • In adults under the age of 55, rates of rectal cancer doubled, from 14.6 percent in 1990 to 29.2 percent in 2013
    • An estimated 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in adults under the age of 50 this year

    According to the authors: “Consequently, compared with adults born circa 1950, those born circa 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer.”

    Based on these findings, the American Cancer Society is reassessing its colon cancer screening guidelines, which currently recommend screening to begin at age 50.

    Comparing Your Risk of Cancer With Risks of Screening

    While all of that may sound frightening, let’s take a deeper look at your risk, and compare that to the risks of colonoscopy screening. The rate of colon cancer mortality among young adults has risen by about 1 death per 100,000 among young adults, to a 3-in-100,000 risk.

    However, the risk of death from colonoscopy is anywhere from 1 out of every 16,318 procedures,8 to 1 for every 1,000 procedures,9 depending on the source!

    With some 15 million colonoscopies being done each year in the U.S.,10 that means as many as 15,000 Americans die as a result of this routine screening test, and numbers are likely to increase further if guidelines are changed to encourage people under 50 to get tested.

    Again, an estimated 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in adults under the age of 50 this year, and if you extrapolate the potential number of deaths at 37 percent (the average death rate for all age groups), then less than 5,000 individuals under the age of 50 will die from colorectal cancer.

    This means you may be three times more likely to die from the screening procedure than the disease itself. Serious complications for colonoscopy also occur at a rate of about 1 per 20011 to 35012 procedures, again depending on the source of the data.

    According to the report “Complications of Colonoscopy in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System,” the combined injury and kill-rate of colonoscopy-related complications is 0.5 percent, or about 70,000 per year.13

    Recall, for comparison, 50,000 die each year from colon cancer and rectal cancer combined, so in the final analysis, if you’re still young, your risk of serious harm and/or death from colonoscopy is FAR greater than your risk of colorectal cancer.14

    Other large studies have found that 1.5 to 3 colon cancer deaths are prevented for every 1,000 people screened once every 10 years, while 2.5 per 1,000 people screened are severely harmed or killed.15

    That seems like a toss-up in terms of risk, but at least if you’re older and are in a higher risk category, screening becomes a more reasonable risk.

    Also beware that X-ray exposure from virtual colonoscopy raises your lifetime risk of all forms of cancer by 20 percent. As noted by GutSense.org,16 “Virtual colonoscopies are now recommended every five years.

    By age 70 one’s risk of developing any other form of cancer grows to 100 percent. Killing you with another form of cancer before the colon gets affected is one hell of [a] way to ‘prevent’ colon cancer.”

    Other Side Effects of Colonoscopies

    Aside from the chance of death, other risks of colonoscopy include the following:17,18

    Perforation of the colon, which occurs at a rate of 1 in 80019 (people at higher risk include those with diverticulitis, diseases of the colon and adhesions from pelvic surgery). Research20 shows the risk of death subsequent to perforation is nearly 52 per 1,000 colonoscopic perforations and 64.5 per 1000 sigmoidoscopic perforations

    Dysbiosis and other gut imbalances, caused by the process of flushing out your intestinal tract before the procedure with harsh laxatives21

    Complications from the anesthesia. Many experts agree you should opt for the lightest level of sedation possible, or none at all, as full anesthesia increases risks

    Infections caused by poorly disinfected scopes

    False positives. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation,22 an estimated 30 to 40 percent of men treated for prostate cancer have harmless tumors that would never have caused problems in their lifetime. As noted by Jessica Herzstein, a preventive-medicine consultant and member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, “you’re going to die with them, not of them.”

    False positives lead to unnecessary treatments that are nearly always harmful, in addition to the anxiety a cancer diagnosis brings. For example, incontinence and erectile dysfunction are two common side effects of radiation therapy, and hormone therapy has been linked to osteoporosis and depression

    Sigmoidoscopies Are Far Safer but Not Used as Often

    Sigmoidoscopies tend to have 10 times fewer complications, yet most doctors still recommend colonoscopy 95 percent of the time. Moreover, while there are three acceptable methods to screen for colon cancer,23 colonoscopy — which is the riskiest of the three — is still most commonly recommended by doctors and chosen by patients.

    Aside from getting a colonoscopy every 10 years, colorectal cancer can also be diagnosed using fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) on an annual basis (to check for signs of blood in your stool), or a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years. Researchers have found that in most instances, doctors fail to review all of these options — and the benefits and drawbacks of each — with their patients.

    Interestingly, other developed countries favor the FOBT stool test. Part of the reason for this is that in other countries doctors do not get paid for procedure referrals. In the U.S., however, doctors typically do get financial kickbacks when referring patients for various procedures, and as noted by Greger, “it’s estimated that doctors make nearly a million more referrals every year than they would have if they there were not personally profiting.”

    A Simple Pre-Procedure Question That May Save Your Life

    As discussed in my previous interview with David Lewis, Ph.D., a retired microbiologist with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-disposable tools used for colonoscopies and flexible sigmoidoscopies carry serious risks for patients. Since these tools must be reused, they require careful cleaning and sterilization before each use.

    However, these kinds of tools cannot be autoclaved (heat sterilized), and testing reveals the disinfection techniques and agents used 80 percent of the time are grossly inadequate. As a result, the tools can spread all manner of infections from one patient to another.

    Considering multi drug-resistant bacterial infections are on the rise, this is a tremendous concern. The good news is you CAN protect yourself and dramatically reduce your risk of infection by asking the right questions before you schedule your appointment:

    How is the endoscope cleaned between patients?

    Specifically, which cleaning agent is used?

    If the hospital or clinic uses peracetic acid, your likelihood of contracting an infection from a previous patient is slim

    Glutaraldehyde, or the brand name Cidex (which is what 80 percent of clinics use), does NOT properly sterilize these tools. If glutaraldehyde is used, cancel your appointment and find a clinic that uses peracetic acid

    How many of your colonoscopy patients have had to be hospitalized due to infections?

    Asking these questions, specifically which type of cleaning agent the clinic or hospital uses, could literally save your life. And, if you’re a health care professional, I urge you to start addressing this issue from the inside. You really need to be aware of how improper disinfection is placing your patients at risk for serious — and potentially untreatable — infections.

    What Causes Colon Cancer and How Can You Prevent it?

    Your colon, also known as your large intestine, plays an incredibly important role in your health. As food passes through your colon, liquid and salt are removed to prepare it for elimination. Aside from helping to form, store and eliminate waste, your colon contains billions of bacteria, a healthy balance of which is essential for optimal health.

    While colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., evidence suggests many of these cases are preventable using simple lifestyle changes. Generally speaking, researchers have concluded anywhere from 90 to 95 percent of cancers are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. As noted in a 2008 study, “Cancer Is a Preventable Disease That Requires Lifestyle Changes,”24 some of the most prominent lifestyle factors contributing to cancer are:

    • Smoking and environmental pollutants
    • Diet
    • Infections
    • Stress
    • Inactivity

    In terms of diet, fried foods, excessive amounts of protein, processed meats, alcohol, lack of fruits and vegetables and excess caloric intake have all been linked to an increased cancer risk. Processed meats such as hotdogs, sausages and lunch meats, have been linked to colorectal cancer specifically, being classified as a Group 1 carcinogen (meaning it is considered carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015.25

    The institute explicitly warns that that "there is no safe threshold" for eating processed meats, as it poses the same cancer risk as cigarette smoking and asbestos. It also recommends limiting red meat to a maximum of 18 ounces per week, to avoid raising your risk for colorectal cancer.

    Common-Sense Tips to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

    Below are several diet and fitness suggestions that may significantly lower your risk of colorectal cancer, regardless of your age:

    Eat more vegetables

    Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else, like magnesium. Results from one meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-milligram (mg) increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent.26

    The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors.

    Beyond magnesium, plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA.

    Vegetables are also one of the best forms of dietary fiber. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have lower rates of cancer.27

    Cruciferous vegetables may be particularly beneficial due to the sulforaphane they contain. If you’re healthy, consuming fruit in moderation may also be beneficial. According to one study, dried plums (i.e. prunes) may lower your risk of colon cancer.28

    Eat more fiber

    For optimal health, I recommend getting about 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories. If you follow the tip above and eat more vegetables, you’ll naturally be eating more fiber from the best possible source.

    Psyllium seed husk, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds also provide valuable sources of soluble and insoluble fiber that nourish healthy gut bacteria, promote healthy bowel movements and lower your risk of colorectal cancer.

    Optimize your vitamin D level

    Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. According to one recent study:29 “Evidence suggests protective effects of vitamin D and antitumor immunity on colorectal cancer risk.

    Immune cells in tumor microenvironment can convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D to bioactive 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, which influences neoplastic and immune cells … High plasma 25(OH)D level is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer with intense immune reaction, supporting a role of vitamin D in cancer immunoprevention through tumor–host interaction.”

    Sensible ultraviolet exposure, ideally from the sun, and/or vitamin D3 supplementation can get your vitamin D levels into the optimal range of 45 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). You’ll need to monitor your level to be sure you stay within this target range.

    Lower your protein intake and avoid processed meats entirely

    Most Americans eat far more protein than they need, thereby raising their risk for cancer. A more ideal protein intake is likely around one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.

    The quality of your animal protein and mode of cooking should also be considered. When it comes to beef, I recommend eating organically raised grassfed meats only, and cooking your steak only lightly (rare, not well-done), to avoid heat-generated toxins.

    Avoid processed meats of all kinds, i.e., those preserved by smoking, curing, salting or the addition of chemical preservatives. This includes bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, some sausages, hamburgers (if preserved with salt or chemical additives) and more.

    Get regular exercise

    There’s convincing evidence that regular exercise can significantly reduce your risk of colon cancer.30 For instance, one study31 revealed physically active men and women have about a 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer compared with inactive persons.

    Exercise drives your insulin levels down, and controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risk. It's also been suggested that apoptosis (programmed cell death) is triggered by exercise, causing cancer cells to die.

    Exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The job of these cells is to neutralize pathogens throughout your body, as well as destroy precancerous cells before they become cancerous.

    The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at defending itself against infections and diseases like cancer.

    Maintain a healthy weight and control belly fat

    A number of studies have linked obesity to an increased risk for about a dozen different cancers, including colon cancer. If you’re overweight or obese, even a modest amount of weight loss can lead to significant benefits for your health.

    In terms of cancer prevention, losing excess belly fat is particularly important, as belly fat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer regardless of your body weight.

    Limit alcohol and quit smoking

    Both excessive alcohol intake and smoking are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. When it comes to alcohol, I generally define "moderate" alcohol intake (which is allowed in the beginner phase of my nutrition plan) as a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer or 1 ounce of hard liquor, with a meal, per day.

    As you progress further in the nutrition plan, I recommend eliminating all forms of alcohol. If you’re a smoker, you can find tips for quitting here.

    Eat more garlic

    Research has shown that women who regularly ate garlic (along with fruits and vegetables) had a 35 percent lower risk of colon cancer.32 Another study also found that those who consume high amounts of raw garlic have a lower risk of stomach and colorectal cancers.33

    When you add raw garlic in your diet, the fresh clove must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called alliinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin.

    Allicin, in turn, rapidly breaks down to form a number of different organosulfur compounds. So to “activate” garlic’s medicinal properties, compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, chop it finely to add to a salad, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice.

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  • Fatal Forecast: Lyme Disease Will Plague America
    published on March 21st, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    National surveillance for Lyme disease began in 1982 and since then the number of reported cases has grown over 25-fold.1 Between 1990 and 2015, the number of reported cases in the U.S. doubled.2 The disease has also spread geographically.3

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the U.S.4

    The CDC reports the disease, and the ticks that carry the disease, are concentrated in the northeast and upper Midwest.5 Ticks carry more than Lyme disease, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and human babesiosis, a rare microscopic parasite that infects red blood cells.

    Each year approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC.6 However, this number does not reflect all cases diagnosed in the U.S. Following two studies by the CDC, researchers estimate 10 times that number are infected with Lyme disease each year, for a total ranging between 296,000 and 376,000 cases.

    Lyme disease is often called "the great imitator,"7 as it may mimic a number of other disorders, such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease.

    Outwardly, most infected individuals appear healthy, in spite of suffering severe symptoms. Vague and dispersed pain complaints may be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.

    What Lyme Disease Is and How It's Spread

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks that have previously fed on an infected host. However, some top authorities on Lyme disease, like Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, warn the bacteria that cause the disease may also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders.

    Lyme disease remains one of the most serious and controversial epidemics today. The disease usually starts with fatigue, fever, headaches and joint or muscle pain.

    It can then progress to muscle spasms, loss of motor coordination, intermittent paralysis, meningitis and even heart problems. Lyme disease was named after the east coast town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the illness was first identified in 1975.

    It wasn't until 1982 that Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., discovered the bacteria responsible for the infection — a cousin to the spirochete that causes syphilis. They look almost identical under a microscope.

    Burgdorfer named the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The corkscrew shape allows the bacteria to hide in a variety of different body tissues, causing a wide range of symptoms.

    The bacteria may also live inside your cells in an "L-form" or coated as a cyst. The ability to change forms explains why diagnosis and treatment is so challenging and why recurrence of symptoms may result after standard antibiotic protocols.

    Ticks are not born with the bacteria, but acquire it after feeding on a host. White-footed mice, which are a common carrier, infect an estimated 75 to 95 percent of larval ticks that feed on them. Urban sprawl and reduction in natural predators have allowed the mouse population to quickly multiply, and with them the infected ticks.

    The growing number of infections are not surprising, but how the medical community may respond will determine the extent of the damage in the coming years.

    Although chronic Lyme disease is more widely recognized as an actual disease, there continues to be resistance in the medical community and with insurers. Sufferers are often told the problem is psychiatric.

    Early Spring Is Creating the Perfect Lyme Storm

    The majority of time Lyme disease is spread through tick bites. However, it can also be spread by mosquitoes, spiders, fleas and mites.

    According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, spring was scheduled to arrive three weeks early this year for nearly half of the U.S.8 If you love being outside without layers of clothing, this may sound like a good thing. However, the warm weather will also pose public health challenges.

    Early spring may have an effect on the spread of insects that spread diseases, such as mosquitoes and ticks. Dr. Aaron Bernstein, associate director of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Center, commented on the spread of disease and diseases for which no good treatment is currently available:9

    "There's no question that when it's too cold, ticks and mosquitoes cannot thrive. An overall warming trend opens up the chance for them to live in new places and to stay alive for longer periods of time.

    We don't want to have to resort to spraying potentially harmful pesticides over large swaths of land to kill mosquitoes, or quarantining people who enter the country from certain parts of the world, or exposing our children to vaccines that haven't been tested thoroughly."

    The combination of higher risks of flooding with an early spring, milder temperatures, growing populations of ticks and Lyme infected mice and more people being more active outdoors, may increase the number of people infected with Lyme disease.

    Interestingly, the ticks do not get sick from the bacteria they carry. Joao Pedra, Ph.D., studies microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He wanted to know what was happening in the ticks' immune system and found several genes necessary for mosquito immunity was absent in ticks.10

    Instead of identifying a foreign invader by sugar molecules, a tick's immunity identifies lipid molecules, making them uniquely adapted to handle a bacteria that uses lipids to keep the cell structure intact. Pedra speculates the bacteria may also enable ticks to live through cold weather.

    Areas Affected by Lyme Disease in the United States Are Growing

    Areas of the U.S. affected by Lyme disease are growing, and most notably in the coldest, more northern states. The CDC estimates the two states to be hardest hit by Lyme disease this season are New Jersey and Pennsylvania.11 Researchers in New York have also found the regional mouse population is exploding.

    Lyme disease is not exclusive to the eastern U.S., but also has a presence in Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, in recent years the tick population has spread to Michigan, in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

    The number of diagnosed cases increased five times over a four-year study period, indicating an expanding geographic distribution northward.12

    The increasing number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease may be the result of better diagnosis and an increasing number of physicians who suspect Lyme disease. It may also be attributed to an increasing number of people who are moving to suburban areas that are being reforested.13

    Although the number of areas affected by Lyme disease is growing, another challenge is convincing people the threat of this condition is real.

    According to a survey of more than 11,000 people done by the CDC between 2009 and 2012, 21 percent of households had one person bitten by a tick in the past year,14 but only 10 percent of those reported seeing a health professional.

    Unfortunately, over 50 percent of the respondents to the survey reported they did not take any precautionary or preventive measures during warm weather.

    The survey found that exposure to ticks was common and the understanding of Lyme disease was widespread, but preventive methods were used infrequently. This may indicate a poor understanding of the secondary effects of chronic Lyme disease, or a belief that the respondents would not contract the disease.

    Symptoms of Lyme Disease May Baffle Your Physician

    In this video, U.S. Congressman for New Jersey's 4th District, Chris Smith, describes the challenges patients are facing in the recognition and treatment of Lyme disease. People with Lyme disease are often described as "looking good" and their blood work often comes back normal, making diagnosis of the acute and chronic condition challenging.

    In fact, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) doesn't believe there is a chronic condition, stating symptoms should be gone in two to four weeks after antibiotic treatment.15 As a result, many patients are referred to a psychiatrist and some doctors have gone so far as to accuse patients of being attention seekers fabricating their symptoms. A significant contributing challenge is the disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose using lab testing.

    The bacteria is able to infect your white blood cells. Testing measures the antibodies white cells produce, but infected cells don't respond appropriately. Antibodies to the disease appear only after your white cells are functioning normally. This means that to get an accurate blood test, you first have to undergo treatment.16 To overcome this challenge, the CDC recommends a two-step testing process.17

    IGeneX lab, which specializes in Lyme testing, has a potentially more accurate test. They are accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and hold licensure in several states. Their test is highly specific for bacterial strains and co-infections. They check for bacterial DNA, ideal for people who do not produce antibodies to Lyme disease.18,19

    There is great variation in presenting symptoms and the characteristic "bulls-eye" rash is not present in nearly half of patients. The difficulty in diagnosis has led to resistance in acknowledging both the acute and chronic phase of the disease. This occurs in patients who are medical professionals as well. Dr. Neil Spector, oncologist at Duke University, recounts his journey with Lyme disease in his autobiographical book, "Gone in a Heartbeat."20

    Spector's doctors attributed his symptoms to stress as his blood work was negative, until severe heart failure required a transplant. He commented:21

    "Heaven help the patient whose diagnostic tests do not point to a specific disease. They are likely to end up neglected by the very system that was designed to help them … despite my instincts and research into the field, I was largely being discounted by the medical community. If this can happen to a physician-scientist with extensive knowledge of medicine, just imagine what is happening to others who lack a medical background."

    Important to Take Prevention Seriously

    The treatment for Lyme disease is challenging and often controversial, making prevention vital. Many people are unaware that young ticks are the size of poppy seeds and may crawl over your shoes and up your pants. Adult ticks are more likely to drop from trees or crawl under an untucked shirt.22

    If you live or travel through a high-risk area, maintain your guard against tick bites. Here are several ways you can prevent contracting Lyme disease:23,24,25

    Avoid tick-infested areas, such as leaf piles around trees. Walk in the middle of trails and avoid brushing against long grasses. Don't sit on logs, wooden stumps, stonewalls or the ground.

    Ticks are very tiny. You want to find and remove them before they bite, so do a thorough tick check upon returning inside and take a shower.

    Continue to check your body and bedding for several days after being in an area likely to have ticks.

    Considering the high infection rate of rats, you'd be wise to take precautions if you're in an area where rats have been sighted.

    Tuck your pants into socks and wear closed shoes and a hat, especially if venturing out into wooded areas. Also tuck your shirt into your pants.

    Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeves with a tight weave, to make it easier to see the ticks.

    Once you return home, place your clothing in the dryer (before washing) on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any ticks on your clothes.

    Your pet can become a host for ticks and may also become infected with Lyme disease, although it is more likely they will test positive but won't experience symptoms.

    I don't recommend using chemical repellents directly on your skin as this introduces toxins directly into your body. If you choose to use them, spray the outside of your clothes while outside and avoid inhaling the fumes.

    Keep long hair tied back, especially when you are gardening. Remove leaves from your lawn each fall, as ticks will seek shelter from cold weather and snow under piles of leaves.

    If you find that a tick has latched onto you, it's very important to remove it properly. For detailed instructions, please see lymedisease.org's tick removal page.26

    Once removed, make sure you save the tick so that it can be tested for presence of pathogenic organisms.

    Antibiotics Are NOT the Best Treatment Option

    While early treatment is critical to prevent complications, traditional treatment involving a course of antibiotics is often unsuccessful in preventing complications, including arthritis, cognitive deficits, heart rhythm irregularities or neurological symptoms.27 Antibiotics damage your gut microbiome and increase your risk of yeast and fungal infections.

    For these reasons, it is advisable to exhaust natural strategies to help your body fight Lyme disease. One example is the Nutramedix line of herbal antimicrobials, recommended by one of the most prominent alternative medicine experts, Dr. Lee Cowden. The best feature of this natural treatment for Lyme disease is that it rotates various herbal antimicrobials, so you don't have to worry about bacteria developing resistance.

    To help your body fight the infection, you should consume a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants. You can also take antioxidants and other supplements, to help your body fight the infection and relieve symptoms. Here are some supplement recommendations if you are embracing a natural treatment approach:

    Astaxanthin: neutralizes toxins and relieves joint pain

    Probiotics: optimizes gut flora and supports immunity

    Grapefruit seed extract: may help treat Borrelia in cyst form

    Cilantro: a natural chelator for heavy metals

    Krill oil: helps in reducing inflammation and relieving Lyme symptoms

    Resveratrol: helps with detoxification and it may treat the common co-infection, Bartonella

    Quercetin: reduces histamine, which is usually high in Lyme patients

    Whey protein concentrate: may help with nutrition, a common problem in Lyme patients who are unable to eat properly

    Andrographis and Artemisinin: herbs that treat the common co-infection, Babesia

    Curcumin: helps reduce brain swelling and eliminates neurological toxins

    GABA and melatonin: addresses insomnia, which is common in people with Lyme disease

    CoQ10: supports cardiac health, alleviates muscle pain and reduces brain fog

    Transfer factors: helps boost immune function

    Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt is one of the top authorities on Lyme disease. He has a Lyme disease protocol that can help you recover from the infection. His website explains the protocol in detail, but here are the basic steps to give you an idea of what it entails:28

    1. Evaluate all external factors, and address as appropriate. These include molds, electromagnetic fields, electrosmog and microwave radiation in connection to wireless technologies. Klinghardt advises shielding your home using Y shield (special graphite paint) in order to reduce microwave radiation coming from the outside. Cloth coated with silver is used for curtains. Patients are advised to turn off all fuses at night and eliminate all cordless telephones until they recover from the illness.
    2. Address stress and emotional issues. Energy psychology tools like the Emotional Freedom Techniques can be helpful to address the emotional components of Lyme.
    3. Address parasitic, bacterial and viral infections. Parasites need to be addressed first, followed by bacteria and then viruses. Klinghardt uses an antimicrobial cocktail composed of wormwood, vitamin C, phospholipids and different herbs. Viral infections are addressed with BioPure's Viressence, a tincture of Native American herbs.
    4. Address other lifestyle factors. Determine your need for supplementation (antioxidants) to address nutritional deficiencies.

    Additional Resources

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  • Damage and Death From Toxic Chemicals Are Reaching Epidemic Levels
    published on March 21st, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You are likely aware that air pollution may affect your lungs, but did you know it has a significant effect on your brain and your cognitive functioning? These changes affect not just adults, but have also been linked to lower IQ testing, development of ADHD in children1 and an increased risk of death.

    Toxins from the environment, both inside and outside, are almost impossible to avoid. Moreover, the traditional view of toxin exposure is outdated, so you'll need to consider different factors if you're attempting to reduce your exposure and susceptibility to disease and illness triggered by toxic chemicals.

    Today toxins can be inhaled, applied to your skin, injected or eaten with your food. The Environmental Working Group reports the average person has 91 toxic chemicals in their body.2

    Unfortunately, while exposure to some chemicals are studied, researchers have no idea how this combined toxic soup and chemical interactions affect your health.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 25 percent of all deaths worldwide are attributable to poor environmental conditions, including air pollution. Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, commented:3

    "A healthy environment underpins a healthy population. If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young."

    America Has Lost 41 Million IQ Points

    Reduced ability for U.S. education to compete against other countries around the world may be the result of more than the educational system.

    According to Philippe Grandjean, professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, rates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder are rapidly increasing.4

    Problems with cognitive function that are not severe enough for diagnosis are becoming even more common than neurobehavioral development disorders.

    In 2012, David Bellinger, Ph.D., professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, published a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he demonstrated a reduction in the IQ of children exposed to toxins.5

    The children, born to mothers exposed to organophosphates, mercury or lead during pregnancy, suffered a loss of 16.9 million IQ points. Researchers calculated a collective loss of 41 million IQ points in the U.S. from the same exposures.6

    Later Grandjean and Landrigan announced 12 substances, easily found at home, are believed to be linked to lower IQ, ADHD and autism disorder. Both Grandjean and Landrigan recommend organic foods to reduce exposure to pesticides, especially for expectant mothers. Landrigan told The Atlantic:7

    "I advise pregnant women to try to eat organic because it reduces their exposure by 80 or 90 percent. These are the chemicals I really worry about in terms of American kids, the organophosphate pesticides like chlorpyrifos."

    Standardized Test Scores Are Falling

    In standardized testing across 73 countries, the U.S. ranked 23rd in science and reading and 39th in math.8 Some believe poor test scores are the result of averaging scores, including a large number of poor and disadvantaged students in the U.S.9

    However, this does not account for the fact that only 2 percent of American students reach the highest level of math performance, while the average in other tested countries was 3 percent of students.

    Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on the impact poverty may have on the educational system in the U.S., saying:10

    "While our poverty rate is about 22 percent, in Vietnam [ranking significantly higher than the U.S. in science and math], the poverty rate is about 79 percent. The real educational challenge in America is not just about poor kids in poor neighborhoods.

    It's about many kids, in many neighborhoods. The PISA results underscore that educational shortcomings in the U.S. are not just the problems of other people's children."

    That American students are consistently outranked by other countries has a significant public health and economic impact. However, as with most social and public health challenges, there is more than one factor.

    Lack of quality education, access to quality teachers, early preschools and good health are just some of the factors that play a role in educating the youth of America.

    Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, a bipartisan advocacy group whose mission is to increase access to early childhood education for disadvantaged students, commented on the U.S. test scores, saying:11

    "It is no coincidence that the countries with the strongest PISA scores also have rapidly growing economies. Global leaders recognize that in order to continue strong economic expansion, they must invest in their youngest learners.

    But the U.S. trails behind almost every developed country in the world when it comes to access to high-quality preschool."

    Scientists also acknowledge the impact that toxins have on the development of young children's neurological system.12 This includes cognitive development, a reduction in IQ and ADHD. In his comments, Grandjean compared the challenges with toxic chemical exposure in children to climate change:13

    "We don't have the luxury to sit back and wait until science figures out what's really going on, what the mechanisms are, what the doses are, and that sort of thing.

    We've seen with lead and mercury and other poisons that it takes decades. And during that time we are essentially exposing the next generation to exactly the kind of chemicals that we want to protect them from."

    How Many Children Must Die Before Responsible Decisions Are Made?

    Children are suffering even greater consequences for decisions made by governmental agencies and industrial giants.

    While falling IQs, plummeting test scores and increasing numbers of children suffering from ADHD and autism spectrum disorder will significantly impact the future economic health of the U.S. and other countries, it is not the ultimate price children are paying.

    Untested chemicals should not be presumed safe,14 as they are contributing to the worldwide problem of environmental pollution.

    The WHO finds a polluted environment, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, toxic exposure, unsafe water and second-hand smoke, kills 1.7 million children every year.15 The top five causes of death for children under 5 are related to their environment.

    Chan reports only 1 in every 10 people around the world live in an area that meets WHO air quality standards.16 She commented on the susceptibility of children, saying:17

    "A polluted environment is a deadly one -– particularly for young children. Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."

    A recent report from CHEMTrust, a British charity working internationally to prevent man-made chemicals from triggering damage to wildlife or humans, found current chemical testing is not adequately picking up chemicals that cause developmental neurotoxicity.18

    Their "No Brainer" report19 evaluated the impact of chemicals on the development of a child's brain. The report praised the European Food Safety Authority for work on risk assessment of pesticides and recommended their approach be expanded to include chemicals from other sources.20

    They also recommended chemicals used for food contact material be routinely tested and screened for developmental neurotoxicity. The report also called for a taskforce to identify and develop better ways to screen chemicals before use.

    Pollution Affects Cellular Changes in Humans and Bacteria

    More than four decades after the war on cancer began, science is no closer to finding a cure. Progress has been made in treating breast and colon cancers, both with relatively high diagnosis rates.21

    But the rate of cancer diagnosed during childhood has continued to rise22,23 with the majority of those cancers being acute lymphocytic leukemia and cancers of the brain and nervous system.24

    Although cancer is often considered a disease of old age, exposure to environmental carcinogens that occur early in life increase the risk of childhood cancer. While the latency period between exposure to toxins and the development of disease is longer for most adult onset cancers, children's developmental status place them at greater risk with shorter periods before cancer develops.25

    It is evident that past efforts have been focused on the wrong factors. In 2010, President Bush's Cancer Panel made it clear that a majority of cancers occur in people with healthy genes and as a result of exposure to toxins.26 Winning the battle against cancer has less to do with understanding the triggers than it has to do with fighting large industries who have a massive financial stake in production.27

    For example, the 1930s saw a significant rise in the rate of smoking, as physicians prescribed cigarettes to their patients.28 At the same time that questions arose about the health risks associated with smoking, Philip Morris Tobacco Company devised ad campaigns to protect their financial interests. It wasn't until 1964, over 30 years later, and following 7,000 research studies,29 that a warning from the Surgeon General was printed on cigarette packages.

    The answers have less to do with what is known about cancer prevention and potential treatments, and more to do with affecting policy change on energy, building, food and manufacturing. You can read more about how the health of your mitochondria are affected by toxins that trigger an abnormal cell growth pattern in "How Roundup Damages Your Mitochondria and Makes You Sick."

    Bacteria Affected by Air Pollution

    Air pollution has an effect on bacteria that cause respiratory infections in humans, increasing the resistance to antibiotics and making them more difficult to treat and for your body to fight. Recent research evaluated the effects of exposure to black carbon that results from the burning of fossil fuels. The researchers focused on two bacteria that are the major causes of respiratory illnesses, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae.30

    They found exposure to black carbon alters the antibiotic tolerance to penicillin, increasing resistance by inducing structural and functional changes to the bacteria biofilm that allows bacteria to adhere to surfaces. Lead researcher Julie Morrissey, associate professor in microbial genetics at the University of Leicester's Department of Genetics commented:31

    "This work increases our understanding of how air pollution affects human health. It shows that the bacteria which cause respiratory infections are affected by air pollution, possibly increasing the risk of infection and [ed. note: reducing] the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment of these illnesses."

    Industry Profits Placed Over Public and Environmental Health

    Manufacturers and industrial giants have had an influence in several sectors of the public health, including governmental agencies. At present, President Trump is planning to dismantle current policies that govern the emission of carbon dioxide and regulate water pollution.32

    He already signed legislation to repeal regulations that require coal mining companies to clean the water once they're done using it, calling protection of the waterways a "wasteful regulation."33

    US Air Pollution Impacted by Asia

    Air quality in the U.S. is also being affected by pollution from other countries. Over the past 25 years, increasing smog (particulate pollution) on the west coast has occurred as pollution has traveled over the Pacific Ocean from China, India and several other Asian countries.34

    Ozone layers have been measured over 16 national parks in the western U.S. for the past 25 years. Levels in the spring and summer months are well above normal as the pollution from eastern countries is pushed by wind and weather patterns to the western U.S. Despite a 50 percent reduction in U.S. emissions, smog levels in the western states have increased. The same increases have not been found in the Midwest and eastern states.

    Researchers believe pollutants from Asia contribute at least 65 percent of the increase of ozone in the west, with much of the remainder coming from methane gas and wildfire emissions. As the Trump administration begins dismantling environmental protections, the U.S. may well begin to suffer a reduction in both air and water quality, and an increase in disease and illness attributed to pollution.

    Reduce Your Toxic Load

    How you react to toxins is highly individualized and dependent on several factors. These factors include:35

    Level, duration and frequency of exposure

    Genetic variation, including gender

    Nutritional status and current diet

    Health of your gut microbiome

    Epigenetics, how your genes are turned on and off by environmental factors

    Methylation status, or the ability of your body to detoxify, which may be impaired by lifestyle choices or genetics

    There are specific choices you may make to reduce the toxic burden you and your family experience. In the following two articles you'll find strategies to keep you and your child safe from toxic chemicals. Read more at, "Warning: Your Child's Car Seat May Be Loaded With Toxic Chemicals" and "Why the U.S. Doesn't Crack Down on Toxic Chemicals."

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  • United Nations Calls for Worldwide Treaty to Phase Out Pesticides and Transition to Sustainable Farming
    published on March 20th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In a 2013 survey, 71 percent of Americans expressed a concern over the number of chemicals and pesticides in their food supply.1 And no wonder — research has linked long-term pesticide exposure to infertility,2 birth defects,3,4 endocrine disruption5 and obesity, reduced IQ,6 neurological diseases7 and cancer.8

    It is only a common-sense conclusion that reducing your pesticide exposure would result in improved health.

    The amount of pesticides used both commercially and in residential areas has grown immensely since 1945. More than 1 billion pounds are used each year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing.9

    According to a 2012 analysis,10 each 1 percent increase in crop yield is associated with a 1.8 percent increase in pesticide use. Logic tells us this is an unsustainable trajectory when you consider the health and environmental ramifications associated with pesticide use and exposure.

    As just one example, studies done by the Chinese government show that 20 percent of arable land in China is now unusable due to pesticide contamination!11 Every now and then, though, a ray of hope descends.

    Earlier this month, two United Nations (UN) experts called for a comprehensive global treaty to not only regulate but actually phase out toxic pesticides in farming, and to move food production across the world toward more sustainable agricultural practices.

    This is a significant change in stance that can — and hopefully will — have far-reaching consequences.

    UN Calls for Global Treaty to Promote Sustainable Farming Without Toxic Pesticides

    The two experts, Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food and Baskut Tuncak, the special rapporteur on toxics, shared research with the Human Rights Council in Geneva showing pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year.

    Chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility. As reported by Sustainable Pulse:12

    “The experts particularly emphasized the obligation of States to protect the rights of children from hazardous pesticides … The experts warn that certain pesticides can persist in the environment for decades and pose a threat to the entire ecological system on which food production depends …

    The experts say the use of neonicotinoid pesticides is particularly worrying because they are accused of being responsible for a systematic collapse in the number of bees around the world. Such a collapse, they say, threatens the very basis of agriculture as 71 percent of crop species are bee-pollinated.

    While acknowledging that certain international treaties currently offer protection from the use of a few pesticides, they stressed that a global treaty to regulate the vast majority of them throughout their life cycle does not yet exist, leaving a critical gap in the human rights protection framework.”

    The special rapporteurs challenged the pesticide industry’s “systematic denial of harms” and “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics,” noting the industry is spending massive amounts of money to influence policymakers and contest scientific evidence showing their products do in fact cause great harm to human and environmental health.

    Toxic Pesticides Are Not an Irreplaceable Farming Necessity 

    Even more importantly, their report firmly denies the idea that pesticides are essential to ensure sufficient amounts of food for a growing world population, calling the notion “a myth.”13

    Not only have decades of heavy pesticide use failed to eliminate global hunger, they said, the same chemicals have now become a troubling food contaminant — contaminants made all the worse by the fact that they cannot be washed off like many older generation pesticides could. According to Elver and Tuncak:14

    “The assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading.

    In principle, there is adequate food to feed the world; inequitable production and distribution systems present major blockages that prevent those in need from accessing it …”

    Moreover, the report highlighted developments in sustainable and regenerative farming, where biology can completely replace chemicals, delivering high yields of nutritious food without detriment to the environment.

    “It is time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production,” they said.

    Which Foods Are the Most Contaminated?

    According to the 2017 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” reports,15,16,17 which rank foods based on highest and lowest pesticide contamination, strawberries still top the list of foods most likely to contain the highest amounts of residues, containing a minimum of 20 pesticides — twice the amount of the second-most contaminated crop — while non-GMO sweet corn has the lowest amounts.

    EWG’s Dirty Dozen — Foods containing the highest amounts of pesticide residues and therefore best to purchase organic include:

    1. Strawberries

    2. Spinach

    3. Nectarines

    4. Apples

    5. Peaches

    6. Pears

    7. Cherries

    8. Grapes

    9. Celery

    10. Tomatoes

    11. Sweet bell peppers

    12. Potatoes

    EWG’s Clean 15 — Foods containing the lowest amounts of residues, and therefore safer to buy conventional if you cannot afford organic varieties include:

    1. Non-GMO sweet corn

    2. Avocados

    3. Pineapple

    4. Cabbage

    5. Onions

    6. Frozen sweet peas

    7. Non-GMO papaya

    8. Asparagus

    9. Mangos

    10. Eggplant

    11. Honeydew melon

    12. Kiwi

    13. Cantaloupe

    14. Cauliflower

    15. Grapefruit

    European Parliament Report Highlights Benefits of Organic Foods

    Another favorable piece of news is the recently released report,18 “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture,” by the European Parliament, detailing the many benefits of organics. The report is unusually comprehensive in that it reviews a wide range of effects of organics, from nutritional content and the benefits of fewer pesticides to environmental impacts and sustainability.

    Its conclusions are based on hundreds of epidemiological and laboratory studies and food analyses. The clearest benefits of organics on human health were found to be related to lowered pesticide, antibiotic and cadmium exposure. As noted by Civil Eats:19

    “Most striking in its findings is the evidence suggesting organic food can help protect children from the brain-altering effects of some pesticides. And while there is evidence of greater nutrient content in some organic food — particularly milk and meat — as health benefits, these differences appear to be less significant than organic food’s lack of hazardous chemicals …

    The report was prepared for a European audience, but its findings clearly apply to the U.S. ‘They did a really comprehensive job of a global literature search, so I don’t think anything in the report wouldn’t be applicable,’ said Boise State University assistant professor of community and environmental health Cynthia Curl, who researches links between diet and pesticide exposure …

    ‘As a consequence of reduced pesticide exposure, organic food consequently contributes to the avoidance of health effects and associated costs to society,’ write the authors, noting that research suggests these costs are currently ‘greatly underestimated.’”

    Consumer Rights Group Sues EPA Over FOIA Violations

    Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide — as a probable human carcinogen in 2015,20 the product has not been pulled from the market. Citing this finding and other research, more than 60 cancer patients are coordinating lawsuits against Monsanto.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contradicted the IARC’s findings when it, in September, 2016, declared glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic” to humans21 — a determination that has been met with severe criticism and accusations of violating EPA guidelines22 and protecting Monsanto’s interests23 at the expense of public health.

    Now the consumer rights group, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), has filed a federal lawsuit against the EPA for violating Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provisions. As reported by USRTK:24

    “The lawsuit … seeks documents related to EPA’s assessment of … glyphosate … [USRTK] requested the EPA records after the EPA posted an internal memorandum titled 'GLYPHOSATE: Report of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee' to the agency’s website on April 29, 2016.

    The internal EPA report, known as the CARC report, concluded that glyphosate was 'not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.' The EPA then deleted the public posting on May 2, saying that the document was posted inadvertently.

    But before it was deleted Monsanto officials copied the document, promoted it on the company website and on social media and made reference to it in a court hearing dealing with lawsuits filed by agricultural workers and others who allege Monsanto’s herbicide gave them cancer.

    The May 12, 2016 FOIA request asked for certain records relating to the CARC report on glyphosate as well as records of communications between Monsanto and EPA officials that discussed glyphosate issues. Under FOIA, the EPA had 20 working days to respond to the request, but well over 190 working days have now passed and the EPA has yet to produce any records in response to the request …”

    Glyphosate — A Most Troublesome Toxin

    Glyphosate is most heavily applied on GE corn, soybeans and sugar beets, but it's also commonly used to desiccate conventional (non-GMO but non-organic) wheat and protect other conventional crops from weeds. Disturbingly, glyphosate and Roundup may actually be even worse than DDT, having been linked to an ever-growing array of health effects, including but not limited to:25,26

    Nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop

    Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)

    Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself)

    Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency

    Systemic toxicity — a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens

    Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut and food allergies such as gluten intolerance)

    Enhancement of damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes

    Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer's disease

    Increased antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics

    Increased cancer risk.27,28,29,30 Since the IARC’s determination, agricultural personnel have begun suing Monsanto over past glyphosate exposure, claiming it played a role in their bone cancer and leukemia31,32

    The Many Drawbacks of Industrialized Agriculture

    The UN’s special report on pesticides and call for a transition toward sustainable agriculture worldwide adds ammunition to an already well-stocked munitions store against conventional agriculture and genetic engineering. I’ve detailed a wide range of drawbacks of chemical-dependent industrial farming in previous articles, including the following:

    Degrades and contaminates soil

    Grains account for about 70 percent of our daily calories, and grains are grown on about 70 percent of acreage worldwide. The continuous replanting of grain crops each year leads to soil degradation, as land is tilled and sprayed each year, disrupting the balance of microbes in the soil.

    Top soil is also lost each year, which means that, eventually, our current modes of operation simply will no longer work. Soil erosion and degradation rates suggest we have less than 60 remaining years of topsoil.33

    Forty percent of the world's agricultural soil is now classified as either degraded or seriously degraded; the latter means that 70 percent of the topsoil is gone. Soil degradation is projected to cause 30 percent loss in food production over the next 20 to 50 years. Meanwhile, our global food demands are expected to increase by 50 percent over this span of time.

    As explained in Peter Byck’s short film, “One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts,” farm animals form symbiotic relationships where one species helps keep parasites from overwhelming another. It is the separation of crops and animals into two distinctly different farming processes that has led to animal waste becoming a massive source of pollution rather than a valuable part of the ecological cycle.

    Contaminates water and drains aquifers

    Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of our fresh water use. When the soil is unfit, water is wasted. It simply washes right through the soil and past the plant's root system. We already have a global water shortage that's projected to worsen over the coming two or three decades, so this is the last thing we need to compound it. On top of that, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a major water polluter, destroying what precious little water we do have.

    The EPA has noted that U.S. states with high congregations of CAFOs report 20 to 30 serious water quality problems each year.34 According to a report35 by Environment America, corporate agribusiness is “one of the biggest threats to America’s waterways.” Tyson Foods Inc. is among the worst, releasing 104.4 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways between 2010 and 2014; second only to a steel manufacturing company.

    Contributes to greenhouse gas emissions

    While fertilizer production produces its share of greenhouse gases, most of the emissions occur upon application. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1 out of every 100 kilos of nitrogen fertilizer applied to farm land ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas (300 times more potent than CO2) known to deplete the ozone.36

    In 2014, the amount of N2O created by nitrogen fertilizer spread on American farmland was equal to one-third of the N2O released by all cars and trucks in the U.S. More recent research suggests the real number is three to five times higher than that.

    Reduces biodiversity

    The efficiency model of large-scale industrialized agriculture demanded a reduction in diversity. Hence, we got monoculture: farmers growing all corn, or all soy, for example. Monoculture has significantly contributed to dietary changes that promote ill health. The primary crops grown on industrial farms today — corn, soy, wheat, canola and sugar beets — are the core ingredients in processed foods known to promote obesity, nutritional deficiencies and disease.

    According to a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K., one-fifth of all plants worldwide are now threatened with extinction, primarily through the expansion of agriculture.37 Ethanol and corn sweetener subsidies have also led to farmers abandoning conservation measures designed to preserve fragile lands and protect biodiversity in the natural landscape.38

    Worsens food safety and promotes pandemic disease

    Agricultural overuse of drugs, especially antibiotics, has led to the development of drug-resistant disease,39 which has now become a severe health threat. Pandemic outbreaks are also becoming more prevalent in CAFOs, revealing the inherent flaws of industrialized animal farming.

    In 2015, an avian flu outbreak spread across 14 states in five months. The year before that, a pig virus outbreak killed off 10 percent of the American pig population. As noted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:40 “The rapid spread of new disease strains ... is one very visible reason why the expansion of factory-style animal production is viewed as unsustainable.”

    Threatens food security by decimating important pollinators such as butterfly and bee populations.41

    Promotes nutritional deficiencies and poor nutrition

    Industrial farming is set up and subsidized to grow ingredients used in processed foods. This is the cheapest way to feed the masses. However, what people really need more of in order to thrive is fresh produce.

    According to research42 presented at the 2016 American Heart Association's Epidemiology meeting, reducing the price of fruits and vegetables by 30 percent could save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years by lowering rates of heart disease and stroke.

    If people added just one additional serving of fruits and vegetables a day, up to 3.5 million deaths from heart disease could be prevented in just two years. Testing also reveals nutrient content of foods has dramatically declined across the board since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925. For example:

    • To receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples; today you have to eat 36
    • Between 1950 and 1999, levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C levels in 43 different vegetables and fruits significantly declined43
    • Analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that, on average, calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels dropped 37 percent; vitamin A levels dropped 21 percent; vitamin C levels declined by 30 percent

    Healthy soils contain a large diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant’s nutrient uptake,44,45 health and the stability of the entire ecosystem. The wide-scale adoption of industrial farming practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants.

    If we do not change, we will eventually reach a point of no return, where soils will be too depleted and microbially “dead” to grow food. Conventional may be more efficient, and may provide somewhat greater yields in some cases, but in the long term it’s unsustainable.

    Necessitates the use of toxins, poisons and harmful mechanical farming methods

    Industrialization led to the separation of crops and livestock farming into two different specialties. That change alone has done tremendous harm, as livestock are actually a core component of regenerative agriculture. As a result, a whole host of land maintenance services that animals serve for free have had to be replaced with chemical and mechanical means — all of which have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

    Is less profitable than organic farming and cannot affordably and sustainably increase production

    Research has even shown that conventional farming cannot significantly compete with organic in terms of profitability. At least 1,000 studies have compared organic and conventional farming in terms of productivity, environmental impact, economic viability and social wellbeing.

    One such study46,47 found that organic farms are more profitable,48,49 earning farmers anywhere from 22 to 35 percent more than their conventional counterparts. They also produce equally or more nutritious foods with fewer or no pesticide residues. Organic farms also use far less energy, were found to be at a distinct advantage during droughts, and provide unique benefits to the ecosystem, along with social benefits that are hard to put a price tag on. According to one of the authors:

    “If I had to put it in one sentence, organic agriculture has been able to provide jobs, be profitable, benefit the soil and environment and support social interactions between farmers and consumers. In some ways, there are practices in organic agriculture that really are ideal blueprints for us to look at feeding the world in the future. Organic may even be our best bet to help feed the world in an increasingly volatile climate.”

    Assures decimation of food production should feared climate changes turn into reality

    Recent research50,51 indeed confirms that conventional farming methods cannot protect us from a repeat of the devastating conditions experienced during the 1930s “dust bowl,” a time when consecutive droughts decimated food production in the U.S. According to simulations, if the U.S. were to experience the same kind of drought as in 1936, we’d lose 40 percent of our corn and soy, and 30 percent of our wheat.

    These losses are very similar to those back in 1936. But when including current climate change trends into their calculations, crop losses increase by 25 percent for each 1-degree increase in temperature. A 4-degree increase in average temperature would reduce crop yields by a staggering 80 percent over the course of a season. As noted by bioethicist George Dvorsky:52

    “Given recent predictions53 that parts of the U.S. could soon experience 'megadroughts' lasting for as long as 35 years (yes, you read that correctly), these results should serve as a serious wakeup call.”

    Directly promotes ill health and chronic disease

    Health statistics suggest the average toxic burden has become too great for children and adults alike. More than half of all Americans are chronically ill, and toxins in our food appear to play a primary role. According to Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno,54 founding president of Bastyr University, toxins in the modern food supply are now “a major contributor to, and in some cases the cause of, virtually all chronic diseases.”

    A recent report55,56 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.57 which represents OB-GYNs in 125 countries, warns that chemical exposures, including pesticides, now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction. Pesticides are also included in a new scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals by the Endocrine Society task force.58,59

    This task force warns that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals is such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them — especially those seeking to get pregnant, pregnant women, and young children. Even extremely low-level pesticide exposure has been found to considerably increase the risk of certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

    What Can You Do to Protect Your Family Against Pesticides?

    In order to reduce your exposure to toxic pesticides, you’d be wise to make some changes in your lifestyle choices. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get started.

    • Eat organic foods. Look for organic produce and grassfed meats and dairy products. Investigate the farmers markets in your area and consider planting your own garden to supply produce through the summer months. Although buying organic foods may be slightly more expensive today, they help to reduce your overall health costs in your future.
    • Go green in your lawn and garden care. You don’t have to give up a green lawn if you want to remove pesticides from your garden. However, it may take a season or two in order to get the growth you’re looking for.
    • Talk with your school board about lawn care at your children’s school. Pesticides sprayed on the school lawn and play areas can increase your child’s exposure. You may be able to change how they care for the lawn when you educate the administration about the risks involved to the children.
    • Play in a healthy environment. Before joining a golf club or playing frequently, talk with the course superintendent about the pesticides they use to control weeds and insects. Bring members together to request cleaner and safer lawn care. Talk to your city administrators about the care given to the lawn in your local parks. Educate them about the risks to adults, children and pets from pesticides.

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  • The War on Water Is a Very Real Crisis
    published on March 20th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    One of the hidden costs of industrial agriculture is its intensive water usage. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 80 percent of U.S. consumptive water (and more than 90 percent in many Western states) is used for agricultural purposes.1

    Only about 3 percent of the water on Earth is fresh water, which is dependent on rain for replenishment. Fresh water stored in aquifers, meanwhile, is being increasingly depleted, at a rate that cannot be naturally restored.2

    In some areas, pollution has left water largely undrinkable while industry (often the same ones responsible for the pollution) is draining underground aquifers at alarming rates. Irrigation is necessary to grow crops (including alfalfa hay used primarily for cattle feed) in arid regions of the U.S., but experts say it's unsustainable.

    Some farmers are responding by using new forms of irrigation technology and farming methods to improve water efficiency, but will it be enough to offset the impending water crisis?

    Farmers Attempt to Use Less Water in the Southwest

    Farmers in the Southwest are using methods such as laser-leveling technology, which ensures smooth fields to prevent water pooling, and cover crops to help reduce water usage.

    However, strained aquifers, droughts and lack of verification of farmers' water usage is resulting in less-than-impressive gains. The Christian Science Monitor reported:3

    "One way or another, farms are likely to have to keep getting more efficient with their water resources, as … drought years [become] more common in this region. Despite a wet winter in the West, the groundwater aquifers upon which farmers rely remain strained.

    That will likely be the case for decades. Efforts to reduce water waste might need to come through policy.

    Western water rights are awarded to users on a 'first come, first served' basis and typically require rights owners to use all their allocation to maintain their rights. On top of that, most states have incomplete data on groundwater or can't easily verify whether farmers are using more water than allowed."

    Flood irrigation, which drenches fields with water, allowing the excess to run off into nearby streams, is one of the top water wastes and facilitates pollution.

    While laser-leveling technology may help reduce waste, drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to roots of the plants, is much more efficient and could cut such water usage by 30 percent to 70 percent.4

    Cover crops also help to enrich soil and reduce water waste, while other farmers are adding magnesium and clay to soil to help reflect sunlight and reduce the effects of the heat.5

    Lawsuit Over Water Rights in Kansas

    In the U.S. Midwest, meanwhile, corn and cattle are kings, but both require large amounts of water to be sustained.

    This double blow to water supplies in the region has led to the rapid depletion of one of the most important water sources to Midwestern farmers — the High Plains Aquifer System, also known as the Ogallala aquifer.

    It is this extensive underground aquifer that allowed farmers to grow crops in what was previously known as the "Great American Desert."

    However, it's been estimated that within the next 50 years, 70 percent of the High Plains Aquifer System may be depleted.6 Already, many wells in southwestern Kansas are dry, putting strain on the region's farmers.

    The state uses a "first-in-tie, first-in-right" water rights system, which means those who have owned wells the longest get first dibs on water. In 2012, a farmer filed a lawsuit alleging that his neighbor's pumping was impairing his own water supply. The farmer who filed the suit also held "senior" water rights over the neighbor.

    In 2017, a judge ruled in the filing farmer's favor, calling for two wells to be shut down in order to protect the water rights of the plaintiff. Ultimately, however, the issue is one of too much demand for water and too little supply in return.

    The Desert Sun cited Haskell County District Court Judge Linda Gilmore, who noted the area aquifer drops by an average of 6 feet every year while being naturally recharged at an estimated rate of 1 inch per year — or less.7

    Pumping Groundwater Is Leading to Sinking Land in California

    Meanwhile, in California expanding agriculture as well as urban growth are leading to increased pumping of groundwater that, in turn, is causing land to sink.

    Richard Howitt, a professor emeritus of agricultural and natural resource economics at the University of California, Davis, described underground groundwater as "the reserve bank account."8

    However, anyone living in the state can drill a well in their backyard. With water becoming more scarce, a drilling company in Fresno, California, told NBC News they have a year-long backlog of customers waiting and are drilling deeper wells on properties, "taking water that hasn't been touched in millions of years."9

    Land subsidence, or the sinking of the Earth's surface, has since become a serious problem in areas of California.10 In the San Joaquin Valley, an agricultural mecca, for instance, groundwater pumping has caused land to sink by one foot a year.

    The resulting sinking is uneven, which means drops upstream or downstream can affect surface water canals that carry snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada to area farmers, essentially crippling the delivery of surface water that's available.11 The U.S. Geological Survey California Water Science Center explained:12

    "Reduced surface-water availability during 1976-77, 1986-92, 2007-09, and 2012-2015 caused groundwater-pumping increases in the San Joaquin Valley, declines in water-levels to near or beyond historic lows, and renewed aquifer compaction.

    The resulting land subsidence has reduced the freeboard and flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal — as well as the California Aqueduct and other canals that transport floodwater and deliver irrigation water — requiring expensive repairs."

    There are other risks of land subsidence as well, including damage to buildings and infrastructure and increased flood risk.

    Mexico City Is Also Sinking and Struggling With Water Stress

    Like areas of California, Mexico City, plagued with rising demand for water, high temperatures and drought, is struggling due to subsidence. The New York Times reported:13

    "More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city's collapse.

    In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly [2] million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in."

    An estimated 20 percent of the city's residents also lack a reliable water supply from their tap. These people depend on water trucked in via delivery trucks at a price that's often much higher than what residents in wealthier neighborhoods pay.

    Even then, residents may have to wait days (even 30 days) for water deliveries, and must plan their lives around being home when the truck arrives, lest the delivery be canceled. Mireya Imaz, a program director at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told the Times:14

    "Women in Iztapalapa can spend all night waiting for the pipas, then they have to be home for the trucks, and sometimes they will ride with the drivers to make sure the drivers deliver the water, which is not always a safe thing to do.

    It becomes impossible for many poor women to work outside the home. The whole system is made worse by corruption."

    Nearly 36 Percent of Americans Could be Unable to Afford Water in Five Years

    Water affordability is a serious problem in the U.S. as well. A new report from Michigan State University suggests that if water prices continue to rise in the U.S., nearly 36 percent of Americans may be unable to afford water within the next five years.15 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that water and wastewater should account for no more than 4.5 percent of household income, but nearly 12 percent of U.S. households may surpass this level. The report found:16,17

    "Mississippi has the highest concentration of 'high-risk' areas with families that make less than $32,000 and cannot afford water bills. Southern states dominate the "high-risk" list, though Ohio ranks ninth and Michigan ranks 12th. Further, water rates have increased 41 percent since 2010, and if they continue at that pace over the next five years the number of households that cannot afford water and wastewater services could soar to an estimated 40.9 million, or 35.6 percent of all households."

    Farm Runoff and Pollution Has Tainted the Mississippi River

    The Mississippi River was named the second-most polluted waterway in the U.S. in 2012,18 but it still maintained swatches that were considered to be relatively pristine, particularly in the Upper Mississippi in Minnesota.

    However, hundreds of miles of forest, marshes and grasslands in the area have been lost to agriculture (mostly corn, soy and potato fields) and urban development in recent years. As a result, the natural areas that played a part in keeping the Upper Mississippi pristine are being quickly lost.

    Remember, what is upstream will travel downstream, so pollution in this area — the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi — will quickly become pollution throughout much of the U.S. Among the environmental assaults already being seen include increased nitrate contamination in drinking water, which is the result of fertilizer pollution. Park Rapids, Minnesota spent $3 million to dig deeper wells due to nitrate contamination.

    It's estimated that 10 percent of private drinking wells in the area may have nitrate levels that pose dangers to pregnant women and infants.19

    In a report released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, they noted, "It's hard to overstate the river's importance as a drinking water source to millions of Minnesotans and (other) Americans downstream."20 The PCA identified the major threats facing the upper Mississippi in northern Minnesota, including:21

    • Development leading to loss of shoreline and aquatic habitat
    • Increased sedimentation due to forest management practices
    • Stormwater runoff from development, leading to increased nutrient, contaminant and sedimentation loading
    • Loss of biodiversity due to invasive species

    There Were 295 Chemical Spills From Trains Into the Mississippi River in 2015

    The U.S. Coast Guard manages, and the EPA uses, the National Response Center database to track oil and chemical spills.22 It listed 295 chemical spills from trains into the Mississippi in 2015, for instance, which is noteworthy because more than half of them do not contain information on the amount spilled.

    This omission of data is not unusual, unfortunately. As Reveal of The Center for Investigative Reporting stated, the database also lists "0" as the amount of metam sodium, a pesticide, spilled into California's Sacramento River due to a train accident in 1991. The disaster actually contaminated the river with 19,000 gallons of the toxic chemical.23

    Lark Weller, water quality coordinator with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, called the lack of data concerning, noting "it's sort of difficult to get information" from rail companies after spills, even though they're required to report such data to the Coast Guard. According to Reveal:24

    " … [F]ive spills alone dumped nearly 190,000 gallons of toxic chemicals into the upper portion of the Mississippi. Chemicals flow downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico until a response team arrives at the scene.

    … Weller is a lead author of the 2016 State of the River Report, an assessment of the Mississippi and its ecosystem published in September. The report found the greatest source of chemical contamination to the Mississippi is agricultural runoff. Although train spills are also a source, Weller said her team doesn't receive much information regarding this means of pollution, including spill volumes."

    Tiny Pieces of Plastic Are Polluting the Ocean

    In addition to chemicals, it's estimated that 165 million tons of plastic are polluting the world's oceans, but when you calculate microplastic, the kind that's found deep beneath the surface, the number is probably far higher.25 Plastic trash is of particular concern, as bits and pieces of plastic are mistaken for food by birds and sea animals.

    Debris in the ocean also blocks sunlight from which plankton and algae sustain themselves, and this has negative implications on up the food chain as it eventually becomes micronized and winds up in some of the seafood you eat. Also, once in the waterways, plastic particles also act like sponges for waterborne contaminants such as PCBs, pesticides like DDT, herbicides, PAHs and other persistent organic pollutants.

    This phenomenon makes plastics far from benign, and scientists have yet to determine the full extent of the dangers posed by their consumption, or the effects higher up the food chain — which is where you are. As noted by Scientific American:26

    "The worry now is these tiny toxic pieces of plastic may affect more than just fish — possibly causing cancer in humans, altering our hormones and maybe even killing us. 'In a little more than 60 years, we know we've littered more than 150 million tons of plastic into the oceans,' says Henrik Beha Pedersen, founder and president of the Danish nonprofit Plastic Change.

    'Where does it all end up? Is it in the fish? Is it in the birds? Is it on the beaches? Is it on the deep-sea floor? Where has all the plastic gone? Is it in us, us humans?'"

    Plastic, along with pollution from industrial waste and the agriculture and aquaculture industries, is also adding to pressure from overfishing, leaving once-rich marine ecosystems like the Bay of Bengal in India largely depleted and struggling with dead zones. The Guardian reported:27

    "What is unfolding in the bay is a catastrophic convergence of flawed policy, economic over-exploitation, unsustainable forms of waste management, and climate change impacts that are intensifying in unpredictable ways.

    The scientists who identified the bay's dead zone warn that this stretch of ocean is approaching a tipping point that will have serious consequences for the planet's oceans and the global nitrogen cycle. Should the bay's fisheries collapse there will also be very serious human consequences, including intensified conflict and mass displacement."

    A Simple Way to Conserve Water

    It's going to take change on a global scale — to industry, agriculture and public policy — to stop the water pollution that's already taking a health and environmental toll, but you can also act on an individual level to help the problem and protect yourself. For starters, choose organically grown foods, which are grown without the synthetic fertilizers that are now devastating so many waterways.

    In addition, it's best to assume yours is less than pure and take steps to remedy it, such as using a high-quality water filtration system (unless you can verify the purity of your water). If you have well water, it would be prudent to have your water tested for nitrates and other contaminants. If you have public water, you can get local drinking water quality reports from the EPA.

    To be certain you're getting the purest water you can, filter the water both at the point of entry and at the point of use. This means filtering all the water that comes into the house, and then filtering again at the kitchen sink and shower. In addition, adding a rain barrel or two to your backyard is a simple way to help conserve water. This is simply a large container that you use to capture stormwater (that would otherwise be lost to runoff) from your roof.

    The collected rain water should not be used for drinking water unless you filter it as it is contaminated with pollutants, but you can easily collect thousands of gallons of water in a season — plenty for watering your flower beds and vegetable garden. Be sure you choose a natural material, such as food, for your rain barrel, as plastic versions have chemical-leaching issues.

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  • Surprising Recycling Mistakes Most People Make Daily
    published on March 20th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    In the U.S., nearly 260 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) are generated annually. Nearly 90 million tons of this MSW are recycled or composted, for a recycling rate of close to 35 percent.1

    It's a good start, but there's clearly room for improvement, especially because many of the items Americans throw in their recycling bins are not actually recyclable.

    Many people toss questionable items in their bins hoping to give them a shot at being recycled, but the reality is that certain non-recyclable items will only be tossed into the trash bin at the recycling center.

    Worse, some of the items may end up contaminating entire loads of recyclables that would otherwise have gone on to other uses. During a visit to Denver's recycling facility, and specifically the waste management sorting facility, The Denver Post identified some of the top mistakes well-meaning recyclers make.2

    Six Top Recycling Mistakes

    Recycling requirements vary by municipality, but in general you can use these suggestions from Denver, Colorado to determine if you're making common recycling mistakes. To verify the recycling guidelines in your area, contact your local facility.

    1. Plastic Bags Shouldn't Go Into Your Recycling Bin

    Municipal recycling facilities often do not recycle plastic bags, which can get caught in their machinery causing damage. Many grocery stores, however, have collection bins where you can drop off plastic bags to be recycled.

    2. Avoiding Putting Your Recyclables Into Trash Bags

    If you put your recyclables into closed trash bags, they'll get thrown straight into the trash. This is because sorters don't have time to open them, and they're also considered to be a safety hazard.

    3. Greasy, Wet or Food-Soiled Items Cannot Be Recycled

    Grease, liquids (even water) and food are considered contaminants. If they make it down the sorting line without being tossed out, they can contaminate an entire load of recyclables, causing it to be thrown out. Examples of items that cannot be recycled include:

    • Foil potato chip bags
    • Greasy pizza boxes (if you rip off the unsoiled cardboard lid, that can be recycled)
    • Foil lids from yogurt containers (however foil food trays and pie tins may be accepted as long as you remove as much food as possible)
    • Paper cups with shiny coatings, such as hot-serve coffee cups
    • Paper food bowls with plastic lining (such as those used for Chipotle burrito bowls)

    4. Very Small Items Cannot Be Recycled

    The Denver Post described it as "anything smaller than a Post-it note" cannot be recycled, because it's too small to be sorted properly. This includes plastic bottle caps, unless you screw them onto the bottle (be sure to empty all liquid out first, or the bottle will be discarded).

    5. Don't Flatten Milk Cartons

    Waxy milk cartons can be recycled, but if they're missed via hand sorting an infrared optical sorter will pick them out (and certain other three-dimensional items) from the mix. If you crush the cartons, they may be missed.

    6. These Items Can't Be Recycled

    Anything that enters a recycling center that cannot be recycled is considered a contaminant and will be thrown out. If too many contaminants are found in a bundle of recyclables, it runs the risk of being rejected. Examples of non-recyclable items in Denver include:

    Scrap metal

    Plastic that does not hold a shape

    Christmas tree lights

    Wire hangers

    Electronics (there are specialized centers for this)

    Auto parts

    Propane tanks


    Bowling balls


    Reducing Food Waste Via Composting Is Another Form of Recycling

    Food waste is actually the second largest component of waste sent to U.S. landfills, making up 18 percent of the waste stream, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).3

    Yard trimmings make up another 7 percent. When combined, this organic waste makes up the largest share of U.S. trash, more than any other material, including paper and plastic. In all, the food waste alone amounts to more than 30 million tons of waste entering U.S. landfills every year.

    Fortunately, food recycling, also known as composting, is catching on throughout the U.S. Residential food composting programs are currently being tested in a number of U.S. cities, including New York City, Austin and Milwaukee, and more than 180 communities collect food waste from residences.4

    As of 2013, there were about 3,560 large-scale community composting programs in the U.S.5 Many of the programs started out by allowing residents to add food scraps to their yard waste recycling bins, but some areas, including New York City, also have food-scrap drop-off sites.

    San Francisco was the first U.S. city to make composting food waste mandatory — back in 2009 — as part of a zero-waste initiative to send to no materials to landfills by 2020.

    As of 2013, San Francisco had succeeded in recycling or composting about 80 percent of its waste, compared to just 15 percent in New York City.6

    Companies Save Money by Reducing Food Waste

    A report by Champions 12.3, a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, farmer groups and civil society working to reduce food loss and waste, found that businesses have significant financial incentive to reduce food waste, saving an average $14 for every $1 spent toward that end.7

    The report noted that "[food waste] amounts to economic losses of $940 billion per year," and while some companies, like Kellogg, are getting involved by revamping confusing food expiration dates or improving food production and delivery processes, businesses can get involved in composting, too.

    North Carolina (NC) State University Extension has a publication on how to start compost bins at summer camps and childcare centers, for instance, not only reducing food and yard waste but also educating children in the process.

    "Composting is an easy, natural way to recycle and absolutely fascinates children as they begin to understand nature as a process of transformation," NC State explains.8 The EPA also maintains success stories from businesses that have saved money by implementing composting programs. Among them:9

    New Seasons Markets, which operates 12 grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest, has increased the amount of organic materials, including food waste, composted by 109 percent since 2006. Since 2011, they've kept more than 2,410 tons of food out of landfills and saved more than $25,000 in waste expenses.

    Petco Park, a baseball park in San Diego, California, started a food composting program in 2005. In 2011, they diverted 164 tons of waste from landfills and have saved $75,000 since 2005.

    Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont, started a food waste composting program in 1993. Ninety percent of their food waste (370 tons) was composted on campus in 2011, saving them more than $100,000 in landfill fees (from composting and recycling).

    Composting Helps Lock Carbon Into Soil

    You may be aware that compost adds nutrients and valuable organic matter to soil, but did you know it also helps soil absorb carbon? It's estimated that one-third of the surplus carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stems from poor land management processes that contribute to the loss of carbon, such as carbon dioxide, from farmlands.10

    So-called carbon farming is a simple premise that involves using agricultural methods like composting that can naturally trap carbon dioxide in the ground (for decades, centuries or more), while also absorbing it from the air. The process, known as "carbon sequestration," could help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while regenerating the soil and more.

    The Marin Carbon Project in Northern California, which began in 2008, is the poster-child for composting and its potential to radically help the environment. Researchers applied one-half inch of compost over land used for grazing cattle and have been observing the land for nearly a decade.11 SF Gate reported:12

    "The research showed that if compost from green waste — everything from household food scraps to dairy manure — were applied over just 5 percent of the state's grazing lands, the soil could capture a year's worth of greenhouse gas emissions from California's farm and forestry industries.

    The effect is cumulative, meaning the soil keeps absorbing carbon dioxide even after just one application of compost, the researchers found.

    In theory… if compost made from the state's green waste were applied to a quarter of the state's rangeland, the soil could absorb three-quarters of California's greenhouse gas emissions for one year, due in large part to the one-time offset from waste diversion."

    It's Easier to Compost Than You Think

    Composting may sound intimidating at first, but it's actually incredibly easy and, when done correctly, poses little risk of unpleasant odors or attracting rodents or other pests.

    "If you create the proper balance of materials, you'll have aerobic conditions, and the microorganisms that thrive there break down scraps with little to no odor," says Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist in the National Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) Food and Agriculture program.13 The formula she refers to is 2 to 3 parts "browns" to 1 part "greens," such as:

    Browns (2 to 3 parts) Greens (1 part)

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Shredded newspaper and other paper

    Greens (1 part): Fruit and vegetable scraps

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Dead leaves

    Greens (1 part): Breads and grains

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Food-soiled paper (but not coated paper)

    Greens (1 part): Coffee grounds and filters, tea bags

    Browns (2 to 3 parts): Cardboard

    Greens (1 part): Grass clippings

    Greens (1 part): Crushed eggshells

    You'll first need a space to compost, such as a fenced off corner of your yard or a bin made for the purpose. The latter is very convenient but can cost upward of $200. Less expensive options include making your own from wood, recycled plastic or even chicken wire.

    Tumblers (rotating drums) are great because they make aeration a breeze — all you have to do is turn the drum every few days, which takes less effort than turning a pile with a fork or shovel. They are also much faster to compost; you can get great compost in as little as one to two weeks, while the piles will take many months to digest.

    Many local municipalities also have bins available for a reasonable price. You can even compost if you live in an apartment. According to NRDC, "Indoor bins stocked with red worms, critters you can order online, process food scraps in a smaller space."14

    Turning Kitchen Scraps Into Valuable Organic Matter

    Keep a small compost pail in your kitchen to collect scraps, then empty into your compost bin daily. As you dump food scraps into your bin, try to cover it up with a layer of leaves or yard clippings to discourage attracting animals. You can also add in a sprinkling of soil to introduce beneficial organisms.15

    Next, you simply wait for the materials to break down, giving your bin a tumble or turn over once a week or so. You may need to add a bit of water on occasion to keep the moisture level to damp, similar to a wrung-out sponge.

    As for what can't be composted, although some community-wide composting programs accept meat, dairy and certain plastics, you shouldn't put these items in your backyard compost bin. Other items to avoid include eggs (the shells are fine), oils or grease, meat or fish bones, pet feces and litter or yard trimmings that have been treated with pesticides.16

    The next question is what to do with the "black gold" you've created. If you garden, add compost to your flowerbeds and vegetable garden. You can also add it to houseplants and even onto your lawn. If you don't have a yard to use up your compost, don't let that stop you. NRDC recommends "[sharing] the bounty by offering friends, the whole office, or your children's school a free donation. Another tactic is guerrilla composting: Dump some compost at the base of street trees."17

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  • Superfoods That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck
    published on March 19th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    Ideally, food is your "medicine." It's certainly one of the best preventive strategy I can think of, and getting more raw organic foods and healthy fats in your diet are key considerations.

    However, while any type of whole food is better than none, some choices can give you more bang for your buck than others.1

    For example, while lettuce is a staple in most people's homes, even if they don't eat a whole lot of vegetables in general, and many may even spend the extra money on organic lettuce, there are far more cost-effective ways to get higher quality nutrients into your diet.

    Below are 17 of my personal favorites in no particular order, with some added cost-saving and nutrition-boosting tips thrown in along the way.

    1. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon

    Research suggests eating clean fish like salmon, sardines or anchovies once or twice a week may increase your lifespan by more than two years and reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 35 percent.2

    However, the devil's in the details, and when it comes to salmon, it's quite crucial to buy the right kind.

    What you're looking for is wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Steer clear of all farmed and genetically engineered varieties.3 Virtually all salmon marked "Atlantic salmon" comes from fish farms, and researchers have shown farmed salmon may be one of the most toxic foods in the world.

    Levels of healthy omega-3 fats are also reduced by about 50 percent in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon, due to the use of grain and legume feed.

    Canned salmon labeled "Alaskan Salmon" is a cost-effective way to buy salmon, as it is far cheaper than whole salmon steaks. If you're not a fan of salmon, you can get many of the same health benefits by eating anchovies or sardines, ideally canned in water rather than olive oil, as inferior grades of olive oil are typically used.

    2. Avocado

    In addition to being an excellent source of healthy fats, avocados also have other unique health benefits, including enhancing your body's absorption of nutrients and inhibiting production of an inflammatory compound produced when you eat beef.4

    They also contain compounds that inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells,5,6 and being very high in potassium avocados will help balance your potassium to sodium ratio.

    Avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally-grown, so you don't need to spend the extra money for organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides.

    Another cost-saving measure is to keep them refrigerated. If you buy unripe avocado in bulk when they're on sale, storing them in the fridge will significantly slow down the ripening process and save a bundle.

    Simply place however many you want to use within the next day or two on the counter, and they'll rapidly ripen.

    3. Sprouts and Microgreens

    Many of the benefits of sprouts and microgreens relate to the fact that, in their initial and early phase of growth, the plants contain more concentrated amounts of nutrients.7,8,9

    As a result, you need to eat far less, in terms of amount, compared to a mature plant. Sprouts may be harvested within just a few days or a week of growth, while microgreens10 are typically harvested after two to three weeks, when they've reached a height of about 2 inches.

    Essential fatty acids heighten and the protein quality of several vegetables improves when sprouted. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than their full-grown counterparts, and help protect against chemical carcinogens.11 Watercress may be the most nutrient-dense of all.12,13

    Sprouts and microgreens are easy and inexpensive to grow at home. They're a particularly excellent choice during winter months, when outdoor gardening is limited or ruled out.

    Another major benefit is that you don't have to cook them. A simple way to dramatically improve your nutrition is to swap out lettuce for sprouts and/or microgreens in your salad, or on burgers, sandwiches or tacos.

    Even a few grams of microgreens per day can "entirely satisfy" the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, E and K.14

    4. Broccoli

    Research shows this cruciferous veggie may reduce your risk for many common diseases, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease and more.

    When you eat broccoli, you're getting dozens of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health, including fiber, the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane15,16,17,18 and glucoraphanin,19,20 anti-inflammatory and free radical quenching phenolic compounds21,22,23 and immune-boosting diindolylmethane (DIM).24,25

    Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.26 Sulforaphane also helps raise testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat, helps detox carcinogens27 and helps protect your muscles against exercise-induced damage.28

    Ideally, choose raw broccoli, as frozen broccoli has diminished ability to produce sulforaphane. The enzyme myrosinase,29 which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, is quickly destroyed during the blanching process.30

    Even better, opt for broccoli sprouts, which can contain 20 to 50 times more chemoprotective compounds than mature broccoli.31,32

    When using raw broccoli, steaming it for three to four minutes will optimize the sulforaphane content. Do not go past five minutes. If you want to boil your broccoli, blanch it in boiling water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, then immerse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.

    The sulforaphane content can be further optimized by eating it with mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and/or cole slaw.33

    5. Onions

    Onions are another potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer food. Recent research shows people with the highest consumption of onions have a lower risk of several different types of cancer.34,35,36,37

    Research has also revealed that the stronger the flavor of the onion, the better its cancer-fighting potential. In one analysis,38,39 shallots, Western yellow and pungent yellow onions were the most effective against liver cancer. The latter two were also particularly effective against colon cancer.

    Onions also contain compounds known to protect against cardiovascular disease and neurological dysfunction or decline. They also help prevent obesity and diabetes, in part by inhibiting certain enzymes in your digestive tract, and by supporting healthy blood sugar control.

    Antioxidants are most concentrated in the outer layers of the onion, so peel off only the outermost paper-like layer. Overpeeling can reduce important antioxidants and chemoprotective compounds by as much as 75 percent.40

    On the upside, the anti-cancer compound quercetin does not degrade when cooked over low heat. Store whole, dry bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air movement to maximize shelf life.

    6. Spinach

    Spinach is also rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin K1 (good for your veins and arteries), magnesium and folate, the latter of which is important for short-term memory and helps lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA. It also contains more potassium than banana.

    One caveat and contraindication: If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, spinach is on the list of foods to strictly avoid, as it is high in oxalate. Also keep in mind that boiling the spinach will leach valuable nutrients like vitamin C into the water. After 10 minutes of boiling, three-quarters of the phytonutrients in spinach will be lost, so you're better off eating it raw, or lightly steamed or sautéed.

    7. Coconut Oil

    Coconut oil provides a mix of medium-chain fats, including C6, C8, C10 and C12 fats, the latter of which (lauric acid), is most well-known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

    The shorter-chained MCTs, on the other hand, are more readily converted into ketones, which are an excellent mitochondrial fuel. Ketones also help suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, and coconut oil has been shown to aid weight loss and improve your HDL to LDL cholesterol balance.41

    My new book, "Fat for Fuel," explains many of the health benefits associated with a diet high in healthy fats, including coconut oil. Indeed, the ketogenic diet, featuring low net carb and high fat intake, has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic health conditions, including cancer, and can significantly improve your chances of weight loss. 

    One way to save money on coconut oil is to buy it by the gallon. Big box stores like Costco also tend to have better prices on such bulk items. Unlike other healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil is very resistant to oxidation that occurs once you open the jar or apply heat, so buying in bulk is not a major concern.

    8. Fermented Cabbage

    Cabbage tends to be inexpensive, and you can supercharge its health benefits by fermenting it, thereby also significantly extending its shelf life. The fermenting process produces copious quantities of beneficial microbes that are extremely important for your health, as they help balance your intestinal flora and boost your immunity.

    These beneficial bacteria can even help to normalize your weight, and play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, depression and other mood disorders.

    9. Organic, Pastured Eggs

    Free-range or pastured eggs are a relatively inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients, especially protein and fat. A single egg contains nine essential amino acids, high quality protein, lutein and zeaxanthin for your eyes, choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems, and naturally-occurring B12.

    Ideally, you'll want to eat your eggs as close to raw as possible, such as soft-boiled or poached. Scrambled or fried eggs are the worst, as this oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have kidney damage, you may want to discard the egg white. If you chose to use the egg white, avoid eating it raw unless it's in combination with the yolk. Eating only egg white could potentially lead to biotin deficiency.

    Besides superior nutrition, pastured chickens are much healthier than factory farmed chickens and therefore have a far lower risk of producing eggs infected with salmonella. To find a free-range pasture farm in your local area, check out www.eatwild.com or www.localharvest.org.

    Keep in mind that eggs sold as "cage-free" does not mean the chickens were raised under ideal conditions. They're not raised in cages, but they may still not have access to the outdoors. So, there are still significant differences between "cage-free" and "free range" or "pastured" eggs. To identify better commercial producers and brands, see the Cornucopia Institute's egg report and scorecard, which ranks 136 egg producers according to 28 organic criteria.

    10. Berries

    Berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that impart a host of health advantages. Importantly, their antioxidant power helps keep free radicals in check and fights inflammation. Some of the most important antioxidants in berries are anthocyanins, flavonols, ellagic acid and resveratrol, which studies say help protect your cells and fight off disease.

    Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are known as some of the world's best dietary sources of bioactive compounds associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, neurodegeneration, diabetes, inflammation and cancer. One way to prevent waste — as berries can get moldy within days if you don't eat them — is to buy frozen berries and simply thaw what you need. Frozen berries also tend to be less expensive pound-for-pound compared to fresh berries.

    11. Kiwi

    If you need vitamin C, which helps support immune function, look no further than the kiwi. One medium-sized fruit provides 117 percent of your daily recommended intake. They're also a good source of fiber, vitamins E and K, potassium and antioxidants that help ward off chronic disease. Interestingly, kiwis have also been shown to help lower blood pressure.42

    Acerola cherries are far better but they are not available commercially and need to be grown in subtropical environments. They are less than 10 percent the size of a kiwi and have more vitamin C. I have two trees that supply me with 50 to 75 or more cherries a day for about 8 months out of the year, which supplies me with many grams of a complete vitamin C matrix.

    12. Raw Yogurt and Kefir

    While most commercial yogurts are little more than glorified desserts loaded with sugar, yogurt and kefir made from cultured raw, organic grassfed milk are a real superfood, providing an array of healthy bacteria that support optimal health, along with high-quality protein, calcium, B vitamins and even cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

    If you want to know which commercial yogurts are healthy and which are not, refer to The Cornucopia Institute's Yogurt Report. Their investigation found many products being sold as yogurt do not even meet the standards for real yogurt. The report also includes a comparative cost analysis of commercial yogurt brands.

    The good news is many organic yogurts are actually less expensive, on a price-per-ounce basis, than conventional, heavily processed yogurts (although some of the organic brands of yogurt actually contained some of the highest amounts of sugar). Your absolute best bet — and also your least expensive — is to make your own kefir or yogurt using organic grassfed milk. It's a simple process requiring nothing more than the milk, some starter granules and a few mason jars.

    13. Grassfed Beef and Beef Liver

    Swapping grain-fed beef from concentrated animal feeding operations for organic grassfed beef is well worth the added price, as you get higher quality nutrients and less exposure to antibiotics and pathogenic bacteria. As for organ meat, it is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds vital to your health, many of which Americans are deficient in.

    Liver is particularly packed with nutrients. In fact, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food, including choline, B vitamins, bioavailable iron, vitamin D and CoQ10.

    You can save money by buying directly from a farmer and then freezing the meat. To ensure you're getting the highest quality possible, look for the American Grassfed Association's certification. Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.

    14. Grassfed Raw Butter

    Butter, when made from grassfed cows, is rich in CLA, known to help fight cancer and diabetes. Butter is also a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A and other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2) that are often lacking in the modern industrial diet, plus trace minerals such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).

    About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which your body uses right away for quick energy. Real butter also contains Wulzen Factor, a hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.

    Here, you again have the option of making your own butter from raw grassfed milk. You may also find unpasteurized grassfed butter at your local farm or farmers market. The next best is pasteurized butter from grassfed cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter common in supermarkets.

    Even the latter two are healthier choices by orders of magnitude than margarines or spreads. Just beware of "Monsanto Butter," meaning butter that comes from cows fed almost entirely genetically engineered grains. This includes Land O'Lakes and Alta Dena.

    15. Mushrooms

    A number of different mushrooms — including shiitake, maitake and reishi — are known for their immune-boosting powers. In fact, some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and this is one reason why they're so beneficial for both preventing and treating cancer. Long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha- and beta-glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms' beneficial effect on your immune system.

    They're also rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, selenium, calcium, minerals and antioxidants, including some that are unique to mushrooms. One such antioxidant is ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a "master antioxidant."

    When it comes to mushrooms, make sure they're organic, as mushrooms tend to absorb and concentrate toxins from soil, air and water. Growing your own is an excellent option, but avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you're picking. Some mushrooms are guaranteed lethal and have no known antidote.

    16. Kale

    The nutritional density of kale is virtually unparalleled among green leafy vegetables, boasting all essential amino acids and nine non-essential ones. One-half cup of raw kale provides 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, 340 percent of your vitamin K and 67 percent of your vitamin C. It's also loaded with both lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for good eyesight. Gram-for-gram, kale even contains more calcium than milk.

    Like many other superfoods on this list, kale contains potent chemoprotective agents, including the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol — which has been shown to aid DNA cell repair and slow the growth of cancer cells — and sulforaphane. Its anti-inflammatory capabilities have also been shown to help prevent and even reverse arthritis, heart disease and several autoimmune diseases.

    17. Whey Protein Concentrate

    Whey protein, a byproduct of milk and cheese, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:

    Helping your insulin work more effectively, which helps maintain your blood sugar level after a meal

    Promoting healthy insulin secretion, which is imperative for optimal health

    Helping to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals needed for your overall wellness

    Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine

    Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins

    Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range

    Whey protein concentrate (not to be confused with the far inferior whey protein isolate) is an ideal choice as it's a rich source of amino acids.

    It's also the best food for maximizing your glutathione levels as it provides all the raw materials for glutathione production (cysteine, glycine and glutamate). Glutathione is your body's most powerful antioxidant and has even been called "the master antioxidant." It is a tripeptide found inside every single cell in your body. When shopping for a whey protein, be sure to look for a product that is:

    • Cold pressed
    • Derived from organic grassfed cows
    • Free of hormones
    • Toxin-free
    • Free of artificial sweeteners and sugar

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  • Eat This, Not That for Longer Life
    published on March 19th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    You've probably heard that "eating right" can go a long way toward keeping you healthy, while it stands to reason that if you don't, just the opposite will happen — at least sooner than it might have otherwise.

    It turns out this is more than just conjecture, since a new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reports that if you eat the right foods in the right amounts, your risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — among the most common killers in the U.S. — could be cut nearly in half.

    That's pretty impressive, but what does "eat the right foods" even mean? It turns out there's a "substantial body of evidence" showing that "suboptimal" diets are undeniably culpable in causing the development of these illnesses, collectively known as cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), for several reasons. Specifically:

    "Dietary factors studied have included individual nutrients (macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, electrolytes, and phytochemicals), foods, and overall dietary patterns."1

    Lead study author Renata Micha, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said the scientists' most important finding of the review was that scientists now understand more about which foods would help keep people in the U.S. from dying prematurely from these diseases.

    The challenge, however, is getting people to sit up and take notice. But instead of focusing on foods that are bad for you, Micha asserts that a more compelling approach might be to emphasize the merits of eating beneficial foods and the nutritional aspects they offer.2

    Good Foods, Bad Foods and How They Affect Your Health

    If you're at a loss regarding what's really good for you and what's really not, the study examined several types of foods to clarify their good and bad aspects.

    Researchers combed through numerous studies, including National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 to 2002, and 2009 to 2012, for evidence regarding what foods and/or dietary components affect your health most. Those included:



    Processed and unprocessed meats

    Soybean and corn oils

    Omega-3 fats

    Sugary drinks


    Grains, nuts and seeds

    Of the 702,308 deaths from the top three diseases, 318,656 were determined to be a result of dietary factors from eating too much — or not enough — of these foods or dietary components.

    Not surprisingly, information from this study echoed what scientists had already concluded regarding how the right foods can help, such as heart health.3

    Not eating enough nuts and seeds was tied to 59,374 deaths; too much processed meat like bacon was tied to 57,766 deaths; too little fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, were implicated in 54,626 deaths, and not enough vegetables to 53,410 deaths.

    Additionally, 51,695 deaths were tied to too many sugar-sweetened beverages. Interestingly, the study showed that more women than men die of cardiometabolic diseases due to unhealthy diets.

    Additionally, younger and less educated people, blacks and Hispanics are at greater risk than older, more educated and white people.4

    Eat More of These Foods for Optimal Health

    In the U.S., most people follow family tradition for meals so that generally, they'll consist of protein (meat), vegetables such as potatoes or corn, grains including bread, rice or pasta, a salad and, often, dessert.

    That's not all bad, but there are factors to consider. One is portion size, and the unfortunate trend nowadays is that too many people get too much of a good thing. Optimal amounts of good foods for a healthy diet, the study showed,5 will include:

    • 3 pieces of fruit a day
    • 2 cups of cooked or 4 cups of raw veggies per day
    • 5 1-ounce servings of nuts or seeds per week (about 20 nuts per serving)
    • 8 ounces of seafood weekly
    • 1 5- to 8-ounce serving of red meat per week

    Meat and Seafood: Eating to Optimize Your Health

    Protein is necessary for good health, but serving sizes are critical because your body can only use so much.

    Excess protein requires your body to rid itself of excess nitrogen waste from your blood, stressing your kidneys, and may lead to dehydration. It can trigger the pathways rapamycin (mTOR) and GCN2, involved in cancer and aging.

    Most people eat twice as much meat as they need, but how it's cooked is another factor to consider. Grilled meat, for instance, undergoes a chemical reaction that may produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), each linked to deadly diseases.

    As for chemically "enhanced" and processed meats, including bacon, salami, pepperoni, ham, pastrami, hot dogs, some sausages and hamburgers, you may be interested to know they're now classified as carcinogenic (along with tobacco and asbestos), as studies show they can cause cancer in humans.

    Further, they may cause male infertility. Most meat sold in the U.S. comes from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), associated with antibiotic-resistant disease. Organic pastured meats have a better nutritional profile overall with far lower risk of pesticide contamination.

    There's also a reduced risk of contamination with drug-resistant microorganisms that can cause illness.

    Regarding seafood, there are factors that have changed the dynamics over past decades. Some of what was once considered good for you is now potentially toxic, including shrimp and tuna, two of the most popular.

    Fish from all over the world are now largely compromised due to toxic waste, fish farming operations and mercury contamination, which become cumulative as large fish consume smaller ones — all factors to consider when choosing seafood.

    Salmon, an excellent source of omega-3 fats, must be wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed.

    Why You Need Omega-3 Fats, Nuts and Seeds

    To improve your health and advance your life, add optimal amounts of omega-3 fats, as well as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables to your diet (if you haven't already). At the same time, eliminate sodas, as well as processed meats and meats from CAFOs.

    Omega-3 comes from both animal and plant sources. The primary animal sources are krill oil and fish oil, which provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are heart protective, and in fact markedly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and premature death.6

    What sets krill oil apart from fish oil is that its omega-3 fats are in a much more absorbable form that's ready to be used by your body. The primary plant sources of omega-3s are flaxseed, chia and hemp.

    That introduces the topic of healthy nuts and seeds, specifically tree nuts (peanuts have the name, but are actually legumes, and not one I recommend) and seeds.

    A handful of raw nuts is a great snack and contains healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and minerals and, as such, is great for your heart and may even help control your weight.

    Eating raw seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, with their high level of good fats and oils, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, helps boost your immune system, fights free radicals and may help improve insulin levels, as well as benefit your heart and immune system.

    The Facts About Soda and 'Not Enough Fruits'

    One of the dietary components identified by the study involved fruit, with an admonition that people don't eat enough, which they attributed to 52,547 deaths. Closely connected is the fact that in the study, soda was a definite no-no, and there are exacerbating circumstances for both.

    Regarding fruits, they offer many vitamins, enzymes and minerals, but should be eaten in moderation due to fructose content. Drinking fruit juices with added sugars does not provide the same benefit as consuming whole fruits.

    Another important point is to eliminate high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. In a laboratory, HFCS is considered similar to table sugar, but contains higher levels of fructose. Some manufacturers say it contains no more than 55 percent fructose (with 45 percent glucose), which is comparable to white sugar.

    But tests show the fructose in HFCS can reach as high as 65 percent, which explains why HFCS is so much worse for you than refined sugar. Soda consumption, even sugar-free soda, packs on pounds rather than helping you lose. Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are not a suitable replacement for HFCS, as they're linked not only to weight gain, but to diabetes, insulin resistance and leptin resistance.

    It's worth noting that soda and fruit juice have something in common: Both can cause gout. Plus, one study showed that women who had a single soda or a 6-ounce glass of fruit juice had a 74 percent and 41 percent higher risk, respectively, of this debilitatingly painful foot problem.7

    Something else you should know is that virtually all processed foods contain HFCS, and much of it is hidden. My best recommendation for fructose is to limit it to 25 grams per day, from all sources, and as little as 15 grams a day if you're diabetic or have chronic health issues (including the fructose from whole fruits).

    Another thing to note is that pesticides render some of the most delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables rather contaminated. The "Dirty Dozen" list8 for 2016 reports the most pesticide-sprayed fruits and vegetables. Peeling them can greatly diminish the hazards contained in these fruits, but then you're also losing some of the most valuable nutrition. There's also the "Clean 15" list of the least contaminated.

    Excess Salt Isn't the Problem — Not Enough Potassium Is

    The featured study also noted that ingesting too much salt was tied to 66,508 deaths. However, it's an unbalanced sodium-potassium ratio that leads to hypertension. Studies show that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure.9 To say that maintaining balanced levels is crucial for health is not an understatement.

    Potassium may be one of the least understood minerals. Suffice it to say that it's crucial not just for optimal health, but for life. Unfortunately, however, only about 2 percent of the U.S. adult population gets the recommended daily index (RDI) of 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day; the other 98 percent get far less than that.10

    Potassium needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood; if you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you'll have an increased need for potassium. With enough potassium in your diet, your hypertension and stroke risks diminish.Also, when you eat the right vegetables, so too does your risk of developing heart disease.

    Potassium is an electrolyte and as such, helps conduct electrical charges in your body, along with calcium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. It's important to help maintain a balance between the chemical and electrical processes in your body.

    What Makes Potassium so Important

    Potassium is considered a "major" mineral because it helps your muscles contract, regulates your body fluids, balances low blood sugar, transmits nerve impulses and lowers blood pressure. Leafy greens are one of the best potassium sources.

    While getting the right amount can decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease, not getting enough can cause your blood sugar to plunge and kick in symptoms such as weakness, trembling, sweating and confusion. Further, low levels can contribute to the development of kidney stones and high blood pressure.

    One of the amazing things about including potassium-rich foods, such as beet greens, avocados, bananas, wild-caught salmon, raw organic, grass-fed yogurt and black beans, in your diet is how quickly your body responds by lowering your risk of such problems, including that of heart disease. Also, organic is always best.

    How to Change Your Eating Habits Without Becoming Overwhelmed

    While there's no "silver bullet" in regard to foods that will eliminate your risk of developing these or any other disease, the study's senior author, also dean of the Friedman School at Tufts University, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, believes the way the food system is set up needs to change.

    Mozaffarian's advice for people who feel overwhelmed by the prospect of changing their eating habits is to choose one area to improve and nail it down before moving on to another.

    An example, you might start your quest for better health by eliminating HFCS or soda, which undoubtedly would bring about a huge health improvement. With each upgrade, your risk factors for these and many other diseases will begin to diminish, and you'll even feel better. To quote Micha, "Eating healthy is key, and if we remember that simple fact, most of us can have healthier and better lives."11

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  • Latest Perk for Coffee Drinkers: A Boost of Beneficial Enzymes
    published on March 19th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    By Dr. Mercola

    A recent study has revealed even more evidence to indicate coffee has more to offer than just a boost of energy. Caffeine offers much more, actually, as it may help protect against the development of dementia.

    Researchers at Indiana University discovered that caffeine and 23 other compounds kick-start an enzyme known as nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2, or NMNAT2, and it's this compound that scientists say may block the effects of neurodegenerative disorders.

    To identify substances with the potential to produce the NMNAT2 enzyme in the brain, the scientists screened over 1,280 compounds, including existing drugs, in order to identify 24 compounds that could potentially increase the enzyme's production.

    The study,1 led by Hui-Chen Lu of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, followed research done by Lu's team in 2016,2 which found that the NMNAT2 enzyme not only protects neurons in the brain from stress but binds to tau proteins via the "chaperone function."

    The enzyme prevents tau, which is similar to plaques that accumulate in the brain due to aging, from misfolding and causing subsequent cell death.

    Misfolded proteins are implicated in such neurodegenerative disorders as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases, as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

    Dementia, Alzheimer's and How They Might Be Prevented

    Dementia is a group of symptoms, not a disease in itself, associated with diminished cognitive skills such as memory, reasoning and communication, severe enough to interfere with daily activities.3

    Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia, which worsens over time, and accounts for as much as 80 percent of known dementia cases. It affects more than 5.4 million people in the U.S., and the number of people affected is expected to triple by 2050.4 Medical News Today notes that:

    "Though researchers are still unclear on the precise causes of Alzheimer's, it is known that the condition arises as a result of brain cell death. The formation of 'tangles,' which are misfolded strands of a protein called tau, is believed to play a role in brain cell death."5

    Science is still at a loss in regard to what causes Alzheimer's, but the fact that it stems from brain cell death due to the "tangling" of tau proteins is an important clue in getting to the bottom of how to keep it from happening, reversing it or lessening its effects.

    The Significance of NMNAT2 for 'Blocking' Dementia

    The Epoch Times noted:

    "Lu's earlier research found that mice altered to produce misfolded tau also produced lower levels of NMNAT2.

    To confirm the effect of caffeine, researchers administered caffeine to mice modified to produce lower levels of NMNAT2. As a result, the mice began to produce the same levels of the enzyme as normal mice."6

    Other compounds also gave NMNAT2 a production boost, such as rolipram, an "orphaned" antidepressant discontinued since the mid-1990s, a few other drugs and retinoic acid, which is derived from vitamin A. However, caffeine was found to be one of the most effective at increasing NMNAT2 production.

    Significantly, 13 other compounds were identified that actually lowered this important enzyme's production. They're important, Lu says, because they help researchers understand how they might contribute to dementia. According to Lu:

    "This work could help advance efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain, creating a chemical 'blockade' against the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative disorder.

    Increasing our knowledge about the pathways in the brain that appear to naturally cause the decline of this necessary protein is equally as important as identifying compounds that could play a role in future treatment of these debilitating mental disorders."7

    How Your Morning Brew Might Benefit Your Health

    As previously mentioned, coffee was one of the 24 substances that increased NMNAT2 formation to effectively inhibit neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia.

    While Lu says knowing this information will help other scientists create drugs to increase levels of the NMNAT2 enzyme for the purposes of combating dementia, coffee has been identified as having other substances that are useful. A plethora of studies indicate that coffee offers benefits in cancer prevention and treatment.

    One study showed that drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily lowered the risk of colon cancer recurrence or death by 52 percent.8 A meta-analysis on coffee and cancer risk published in 2016 concluded with the statement:

    "Our study demonstrates that coffee intake can reduce the risk of oral, pharynx cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and melanoma by 31 percent, 13 percent, 54 percent, 11 percent, 27 percent and 11 percent respectively for the highest versus lowest coffee intake.

    Furthermore, coffee intake could reduce the risk of liver cancer, prostate cancer and endometrial cancer by 27 percent, 3 percent and 12 percent with an increment of 2 cups of coffee intake."9

    In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reversed its longtime position that coffee may cause cancer, and the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that coffee consumption may actually help reduce chronic disease.10

    Another study reported that drinking at least five cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of some brain cancers by as much as 40 percent.11

    A 2009 study showed that coffee increases the growth of beneficial gut bacteria called Bifidobacterium.12 Other diseases and conditions caffeine has been shown in clinical studies to positively impact include:

    Type 2 diabetes

    Parkinson's disease

    Liver, prostate, kidney and colorectal cancers

    Heart rhythm problems


    Beneficial gut bacteria

    It's What You Put in Coffee That Causes Problems

    If you haven't heard how damaging fake creamers and artificial sugars are — in some peoples' minds, the only way to make it palatable — you may want to sit up and take notice. Another way of saying it is: You know what's in your coffee, but do you know what's in your creamer?

    High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), implicated in mitochondrial malfunction

    Dipotassium phosphate, often used in fertilizer and cosmetics

    Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which contains trans fats, known to cause inflammation

    Mono- and diglycerides may be synthetic, derived from partially hydrogenated oils or both

    Sodium stearoyl lactylate is an additive often used as a cleanser, foaming agent and emulsifier in cosmetics

    Sodium caseinate, often treated with the chemical sodium hydroxide, which can damage or suppress nutrient absorption

    Raw, organic cream from pastured cows is a far better creamer in your coffee because it's natural and contains a healthy amount of "good" fat, but your best option is to drink your coffee black.

    Sweeteners for Your Coffee: Best Left Out

    Then there's artificial sweeteners, another popular item in coffee circles, which can be worse for you than sugar and fructose. Aspartame, for instance, is shown in numerous studies to increase weight gain, worsen insulin sensitivity and even cause cancer and neurological problems.

    While natural sweeteners such as honey and agave syrup may seem to be much healthier than chemically contrived sweeteners, they contain high amounts of fructose and may be highly processed.

    If you like your coffee sweetened, you can try the herb stevia, which doesn't raise your blood glucose level like sugar does. It may be one of the safest alternatives for sugar. Luo han guo, also known as monk fruit, is another natural sweetener with this attribute and some say it has a superior flavor.

    The Importance of Choosing Organic Shade-Grown Coffee

    Conventionally grown coffee is one of the most chemically contaminated foods in the world. In contrast, organic coffee contains no chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. The beans have a richer flavor and come with natural antioxidants. It's healthy for you, more sustainable for the farms that grow it and vastly better for the planet.

    Additionally, coffee is a shade-loving plant, but growers often strip forests to make growing and harvesting easier. This destroys the ecological habitat of many natural pest deterrents, such as birds and lizards, while the pests flourish, resulting in additional pesticide use.

    The downward spiral to the environment involves chemical run-off, erosion and potentially contaminated water supplies. Organic shade-grown coffee is available at numerous retail markets, but you can also order it online.

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  • This Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe Will Be Your New Favorite
    published on March 18th, 2017 at 04:43 AM

    When the word “pudding” comes to mind, most people think of a very sweet and creamy food item. Pudding is usually made with a sweet milk base to produce a dish with a similar consistency to egg-based custards or mousse.[1] However, if you’re tired of that typical heavy texture, you can use seeds to make a light but delicious pudding.


    This Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe is everything that an ideal pudding should be. It’s sweet and flavorful, but has the right amount of texture, courtesy of the chia seeds. This recipe allows you to use your imagination, since you can add your favorite fruits as a topping. Clearly, it’s pudding that anyone, from kids to adults, can gladly enjoy.




    1/3 cup chia seeds[JC1] 

    1 cup organic coconut milk

    2 Tbsp. Dr. Mercola’s raw [MJU2] honey

    1/2tsp. Dr. Mercola’s vanilla extract

    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    1/4 tsp. Dr. Mercola’s Himalayan salt, optional




    1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for five to 30 minutes so the chia seeds absorb the moisture and becomes a pudding.
    2. If pudding is too thick, you can add more milk to thin it out to your desired consistency.
    3. Add your favorite topping such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or slices of banana and enjoy!


    This recipe makes 2 servings.

    Preparation time: 5 minutes

    Total time: 30 minutes


                                This Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Is an Exceptional Delight for Your Health


    Various recipes for healthy puddings are rising in popularity, and this Guilt-Free Chia Seed Pudding Recipe is no exception. You can assemble this pudding in minutes and it will be ready within five to 30 minutes, making it a nutritious meal that’ll energize anyone, especially people who are usually on-the-go.


    Plus, with ample parental supervision, kids may help out in mixing the pudding’s main ingredients or by assembling the dish’s final touches by adding their favorite fruits.


    Choose Chia Seeds for Improved Well-Being


    Chia seeds are a staple in many healthy food lists today, and for good reason. The seeds are rich in a plant-based omega-3[JC3]  fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which offers health benefits like:[2]


    Decreasing triglyceride (bad cholesterol) levels

    Supporting healthy cholesterol levels

    Delivering anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties

    Reducing blood pressure and heart disease risk

    Possessing liver-protective properties

    Providing defenses against arthritis[JC4], autoimmune diseases and cancer


    Plant compounds in chia seeds, namely myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol, have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer capabilities.[3] Meanwhile, expect your body’s levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese to rise too, since these minerals work together to improve bone health, inhibit hypertension, maintain healthy weight, metabolize energy and synthesize your DNA.[4]


    If you want to increase your fiber intake, add chia seeds to your meals, since just two tablespoons can give you 10 grams of fiber. High fiber levels were shown to lower your risk for premature death from any cause. Lastly, chia seeds are also an excellent source of protein, antioxidants[JC5]  and vitamins.


    Chia seeds possess a mild flavor and are gluten-free, ideal for people with celiac disease[JC6]  or a gluten intolerance. Just remember to get animal-based omega-3s as well, in addition to plant-based omega-3s like chia seeds, to ensure that both types of fat are well-accounted for.


    Black and white chia seeds are available at local health food stores, grocery stores, warehouse stores and discount retailers.[5] While both types of seeds are healthy since these contain similar portions of omega-3s, proteins and fiber, dark-colored seeds tend to have more antioxidants.


    Eating a combination of these two chia seeds is ideal. When buying chia seeds, Bon Appétit recommends choosing those that are either a speckled black or white, but not uniformly brown. While all seeds are naturally vegan and gluten-free, these aren’t a guarantee that they are automatically organic and non-GMO, so check the labels first before picking them up.[6]


    Store the seeds in a cool and dry place.[7] Chia seeds can last for two years without refrigeration because they are rich in antioxidants.[8] Plus, these don’t require additional grounding prior to use, so you can sprinkle them on any of your favorite dishes anytime.


    Coconut Milk: A New Way to Enjoy ‘Milk’


    Made by grinding coconut meat and diluting it with plain water, coconut milk has a consistency that’s similar to fresh cow’s milk, and is a valuable source of health boosters. It is rich in protein and healthy fats like medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which the body can convert into energy instead storing it as fat.


    Lauric acid, a beneficial fatty acid rarely found in nature, is found in coconut milk. This possesses germ-fighting, anti-fungal and anti-viral capabilities that could eliminate viruses, bacteria and other illnesses from the body. It can also decrease your body’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels, thereby lowering your risks for heart disease and stroke.[9]


    Coconut milk is a storehouse of antioxidants that can prevent or reverse free radical damage and stall the aging process. Vitamins C and E in coconut milk can boost your immune system, while vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6 deliver energy to your cells. Plus, these minerals in the milk are able to enhance your body, too:


    • Magnesium: responsible for some of the body’s vital biochemical functions like regulating the heart’s rhythm and supporting nerve cell function
    • Potassium: maintains tissues of the heart, kidneys, brain and muscles
    • Phosphorus: increases teeth and bone strength
    • Iron: forms blood cells and carries oxygen throughout the body[MJU7]


    If you’re lactose-intolerant, you can use coconut milk as a dairy substitute. You just have to be very careful if you’re buying boxed coconut milk, since these might contain preservatives, emulsifiers or stabilizers. Avoid purchasing canned coconut milk since these may contain harmful BPA chemicals that could leak into the milk.[10] Follow this checklist when buying coconut milk:[11]


    Choose brands without added sugar.

    Choose brands without carrageenan.

    Choose brands made with organic coconuts.

    Avoid brands with BPA-lined cans.

    Avoid brands that use preservatives like sulfates.

    Be wary of vitamin A palmitate, based on your total vitamin A intake.


    Why Raw Honey Is the Best Type of Honey


    Raw honey is responsible for delivering sweetness to this pudding recipe. Plus, it offers its own share of health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies honey as a demulcent, or a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film.[12]


    Research showed that honey works just as well as dextromethorphan, an ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines, when it comes to treating children’s cough and sleeping difficulties[JC8]  caused by upper respiratory tract infections.[13]


    Raw honey is a good wound treatment, as its antiseptic properties are connected to an enzymatic process that releases hydrogen peroxide. If you have seborrheic dermatitis, a scalp condition that triggers dandruff and itching, dilute honey with a bit of warm water to improve the condition. Meanwhile, if you’re lacking energy, consume a spoonful of raw to kick start your day.


    One of raw honey’s most important health benefits is its ability to decrease allergy symptoms. Locally produced honey contains pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants. The pollen spores will then introduce a small amount of allergens into your body, activating the immune system and allowing you to develop natural immunity against these allergens.


    A few months before the pollen season begins, eat a teaspoon of raw honey daily to enable your body to increase its immunity. This will only work, however, if you use locally produced raw honey that’s more likely to contain pollen from local plants you are allergic to. Raw honey made from other parts of the country may not have these types of pollen, so the effect won’t be the same.


    Sadly, not all honey is created equal. When buying honey, purchase raw, unfiltered and 100 percent pure honey from a trusted source. Honey sold in stores are often heavily processed and lack natural health benefits.


    Consume raw honey in moderation too, since a teaspoon already has nearly 4 grams of fructose[JC9] , which can worsen insulin resistance and damage your well-being, if consumed in large quantities. You can lower the amount of honey that you use in the pudding if you’re still adding fruits, to ensure you meet the ideal fructose requirement of less than 25 grams of total fructose a day.

    [3] See ref. 2

    [7] See ref. 6

    [8] See ref. 4

    [13] “Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children …,” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.



    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/10/20/health-benefits-honey.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/07/06/chia-seeds-benefits.aspx





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