Dr Akilah El – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

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Category Archives: Inflammation

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Turmeric You Didn’t Know

 

turmericThe medicinal properties of turmeric have been slowly revealed over hundreds of years. It has been long known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  Recently research has shown that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

 

1. First Aid:  A natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.  Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and anti-baterical agent which disinfects wounds from the minute you apply it and promotes faster healing. It is also amazing at stoping a wound from bleeding, sprinkling dry turmeric to a bleeding wound instantly clots the blood and help promote regeneration of news cells which help close the wound quicker. It is also has analgesic action which relieves pain. Turmeric acts as an antibiotic which prevents infection from E. Coli, staphylococcus and bacillus.

 

2. Anti-cancer:  When combined with cauliflower, it has been shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer. It may prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to die. It reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.  It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.  Turmeric can boost the effects of the chemo drug paclitaxel and reduce its side effects.  Also, promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer and in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.  It has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

 

3. Body cleanser:  Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier, may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing plaque buildup in the brain, is a potent natural anti-inflammatory .

 

4. Brighten Teeth:  Former Miss USA Susie Castillo swears by her recipe for homemade toothpaste, which includes turmeric powder. Although turmeric is known for its staining prowess, it is commonly (if not counter-intuitively) used to whiten teeth – presumably it’s not in contact with the enamel long enough to change the color.

 

5. Reduce Sprain Swelling:  A traditional homeopathic sprain treatment involves making a paste using one part salt and two parts turmeric and enough water to make it spreadable. Apply to the affected joint and wrap in an old cloth that you don’t mind staining. Leave on for 20 minutes to an hour, once a day. (Don’t do this on body parts that can be seen; you don’t want a temporary yellow tinge!) Also of note: the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests taking turmeric to help reduce sprain swelling and makes the effect of bromelain (an anti-inflammatory derived from pineapple enzymes) stronger. Take 250 to 500 milligrams (mg) each of turmeric and bromelain, three times a day between meals.

 

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9 Ways to Beat Bloating

By Jessica Herman

OverweightWe’ve all been there: days when you feel as bloated as the blow-up Shrek in the Macy’s parade. Okay, sometimes you know that having that third helping of your sister’s peach cobbler wasn’t the best idea. But when you’re eating right and exercising regularly but still can’t zip up your skinny jeans, what gives? One of the main causes of bloat isn’t how much you eat; it’s eating certain foods that are difficult for your stomach and intestines to digest.

1. Use Instagram
“Pull up a favorite pic of yourself on your phone, and look at it during the day,” suggests Ashley Solomon, a psychologist in Chicago. You may feel more preggo than hot chica right now, but the image reminds you how you felt in that moment. Warm fuzzies may ensue.

2. Activate Your Abs
“Rotating your core muscles helps force gas out of your intestines,” says Lindsay Hallam, a Pilates instructor at The Studio (MDR), in Marina del Rey, California. Get into side-plank position, and bring your top arm across your abdomen and under your body to twist your torso. Do 5 reps; switch sides.

3. Run an Errand
You may feel like curling up in a fetal position and avoiding all human contact until, say, the week after your period. But getting your body moving helps relieve stomach discomfort, according to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Lace up your sneaks, and walk briskly for 30 minutes.

4. Pamper Yourself
To stop obsessing over your pooch, focus elsewhere-paint your nails with some crackle polish, maybe. And from the so-crazy-it-might-work files: A recent study found people perceived a woman wearing a spicy-floral fragrance as 12 pounds thinner than when she went perfume-free or had on another scent.

5. Eat a Snack
Water-rich fruits and veggies-think grapes, cukes-will help flush out excess fluid, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, an RD in Chicago. Or try pineapple: It’s high in bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down food.

6. Try a DIY Massage
Sounds weird, but stay with us: Applying gentle pressure to your belly can push out gas and help get things going if your bloat is caused by constipation. Lie down on your bed, smooth a little oil on your tummy, and slowly rub with both hands counterclockwise. Nice, no?

7. Have a Drink
Water is tops, but drink it 20 minutes before or after your meal, not during. “Otherwise, you may dilute your stomach enzymes, which can disrupt digestion,” Blatner says. Skip fizzy drinks, which release carbon-dioxide gas.

8. Hang Up That Muumuu
“For a slimmer silhouette, the key is to wear something that comes in at your waist,” says Allison Firestone, a stylist in Los Angeles. Fake a flat belly with these outfit options: a flow-y dress that’s belted; an A-line skirt with a tucked-in, billowy top; or skinny jeans with a loose cami and a tailored jacket.

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The Harmful Effects of High Protein Diets

Keith Markel

So your friend tells you she’s starving and has a case of hunger pains. After your workout, you both head to lunch. She orders a cheeseburger deluxe platter, no bun, extra cheese, no fries. She explains the carbs are totally bad for her and that she’s on a high-protein diet. Whether it’s the Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, The South Beach Diet, Meat-Mania, Proteinopia or whatever fancy name they call that high-protein diet she’s on, it’s doing more harm than good.
 
The calling card of high-protein diets is that your body burns fat for energy and that, in turn, will result in weight loss. Prolonged consumption of high protein sends the body into a state of ketosis. That’s top of the list of cons of high-protein diets. Ketosis occurs when the liver converts fats into fatty acids for use as energy and the by-product, ketones. Ketones increase the acidity of the blood and can be detected in the urine. In extreme cases of starvation or fasting, the body undergoes gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from sources other than carbohydrates, primarily protein.

Possible kidney damage

High-protein diets place a lot of stress on the kidneys. The initial weight loss on high-protein diets is from water loss. When carb intake is restricted, the body uses muscle and liver glycogen for energy. For each gram of glycogen, two grams of water are used or “lost.” The minute you give into your carb craving, that weight will come back. The diuretic effect of eliminating carbohydrates from your diet stresses the kidneys while they remove urea, a by-product of protein synthesis, from the body. Compounding that problem, when the body is in a state of ketosis, increased levels of calcium are excreted — that can lead to kidney stones; a build-up of calcium in the urine. Think about the experiment when you put a nail in a cup of Coke: After a few days the acid in the soda starts to dissolve the nail. The same breakdown happens to your bones. Calcium (along with other minerals) is leached from bones and teeth because of the increased acidity of the body. Literally pissing away calcium is a major con of high-protein diets because that will have a negative effect on your workouts. Calcium is a necessary mineral for muscle contraction and nerve impulse. Calcium loss can also lead to stress fractures.    

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

A balanced diet consists of approximately 60% carbs, 25% protein and 15% fats. However, 30% to 50% of calories come from protein on diets like Atkins. That shift also means an increase in fat consumption: up to 50% of calories come from fat, and increased calorie consumption. For every gram of carbohydrates there are four calories compared to nine calories per gram of fat. Meats, cheese and eggs — animal and dairy products — all contain saturated fats and cholesterol, even the leaner varieties. When you think about it, how healthy does eating sausage, egg and cheese for breakfast, a cheeseburger and milkshake for lunch and (let’s say you’re trying to be healthy) a salad for dinner with chicken, egg, bacon bits, nuts, and with Ranch, Caesar or blue cheese dressing sound? Over time, consumption of this sort of diet, along with limited fiber and fruit consumption will raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. 

Negative effect on social interactions

Complex and simple carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is used for energy. Not getting enough glucose is next on the list of the cons of high-protein diets. Glucose is the only fuel source for your brain (not to mention your boys below the belt). When your brain is lacking that vital nutrient, you become fuzzy and can’t think straight. You also become irritable and cranky, and may experience dizziness, fatigue and headaches. What causes this change in mood is low serotonin levels and tryptophan. That moody and tired disposition definitely doesn’t make you a fun person to be around. And while you’re telling off your friends or yelling at your boyfriend or girlfriend, they’ll recoil from your breath. Bad breath is a “symptom” of high-protein diets. The body releases ketones through the lungs as well. Your breath will have a sickly, sour or alcoholic odor.

Increased risk of constipation

The restriction of carbohydrates on high-protein diets also reduces the amount of fiber you get in your diet. Fruits and grains are considered off-limits. Limited fiber intake can cause constipation, not to mention the dehydration caused by ketosis and limited carbs. Insoluble fiber found in fruits, veggies and whole cereal grains can prevent constipation. Soluble fiber can decrease blood cholesterol. And when you pop those laxatives, you may still have a hard time eliminating your bowels because diets high in meat can cause hemorrhoids.

Protein isn’t particularly dangerous, but an over-consumption of protein may be associated with:

  1. Dehydration. Experts advise drinking a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
  2. Seizures. Seizures have been linked to excess protein intake – but only if insufficient amounts of water are consumed.
  3. Increase in liver enzymes.
  4. Nutritional deficiencies. Just focusing on protein intake causes some high-protein dieters to overlook other nutrients. Ensure that your diet is balanced and nutritious.

While this list may seem alarming, it’s important to remember that many of these side effects are only associated with highly excessive protein diets coupled with unbalanced nutrition.

The average person needs about .4 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Active individuals may require .6 grams. People that exercise frequently and at a high intensity – like myself – require about a gram per pound of body weight. Bodybuilders and athletes may require even more.

high-protein = high-risk

Remember, any diet that encourages you to limit or totally eliminate a certain food or food group — such as carbs on a high-protein diet — should be carefully considered before following. The best diet for health, weight management or weight loss is a balanced diet that will not harm vital organs or systems in your body.

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5 Foods That Can Trigger a Stroke

By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com

Few things feel more terrifying and random than a stroke, which can strike without warning. And fear of stroke — when a blood vessel in or leading to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot, starving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients — is well founded. After all, stroke is the number-three killer in the U.S., affecting more than 700,000 people each year. Here are five foods that cause the damage that leads to stroke.

1. Crackers, chips, and store-bought pastries and baked goods

Muffins, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and many other baked goods are high in trans fats, which are hydrogenated oils popular with commercial bakeries because they stay solid at room temperature, so the products don’t require refrigeration. Also listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated” or hydrogenated oils, trans fats are found in all kinds of snack foods, frozen foods, and baked goods, including salad dressings, microwave popcorn, stuffing mixes, frozen tater tots and French fries, cake mixes, and whipped toppings. They’re also what makes margarine stay in a solid cube. The worst offenders are fried fast foods such as onion rings, French fries, and fried chicken.

Why it’s bad

For years scientists have known trans fats are dangerous artery-blockers, upping the concentrations of lipids and bad cholesterol in the blood and lowering good cholesterol. Now we can add stroke to the list of dangers. This year researchers at the University of North Carolina found that women who ate 7 grams of trans fat each day — about the amount in two doughnuts or half a serving of French fries — had 30 percent more strokes (the ischemic type, caused by blocked blood flow to the brain) than women who ate just 1 gram a day. Another recent study, also in women, found that trans fats promoted inflammation and higher levels of C-reactive protein, which have been linked to an increased risk of diabetesheart disease, and stroke.

What to do

Aim to limit trans fats to no more than 1 or 2 grams a day — and preferably none. Avoid fast-food French fries and other fried menu items and study packaged food labels closely. Even better, bake your own cookies, cakes, and other snacks. When you can’t, search out “health-food” alternative snacks, such as Terra brand potato chips and traditional whole grain crackers such as those made by Finn, Wasa, AkMak, Ryvita, and Lavasch.

2. Smoked and processed meats

Whether your weakness is pastrami, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, or a smoked turkey sandwich, the word from the experts is: Watch out.

Why it’s bad

Smoked and processed meats are nasty contributors to stroke risk in two ways: The preserving processes leave them packed with sodium, but even worse are the preservatives used to keep processed meats from going bad. Sodium nitrate and nitrite have been shown by researchers to directly damage blood vessels, causing arteries to harden and narrow. And of course damaged, overly narrow blood vessels are exactly what you don’t want if you fear stroke.

Many studies have linked processed meats to coronary artery disease (CAD); one meta-analysis in the journal Circulation calculated a 42-percent increase in coronary heart disease for those who eat one serving of processed meat a day. Stroke is not the only concern for salami fans; cancer journals have reported numerous studies in the past few years showing that consumption of cured and smoked meats is linked with increased risk of diabetes and higher incidences of numerous types of cancer, including leukemia.

What to do

If a smoked turkey or ham sandwich is your lunch of choice, try to vary your diet, switching to tuna, peanut butter, or other choices several days a week. Or cook turkey and chicken yourself and slice it thin for sandwiches.

3. Diet soda

Although replacing sugary drinks with diet soda seems like a smart solution for keeping weight down — a heart-healthy goal — it turns out diet soda is likely a major bad guy when it comes to stroke.

Why it’s bad

People who drink a diet soda a day may up their stroke risk by 48 percent. A Columbia University study presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2011 International Stroke Conference followed 2,500 people ages 40 and older and found that daily diet soda drinkers had 60 percent more strokes, heart attacks, and coronary artery disease than those who didn’t drink diet soda. Researchers don’t know exactly how diet soda ups stroke risk — and are following up with further studies — but nutritionists are cautioning anyone concerned about stroke to cut out diet soda pop.

What to do

Substitute more water for soda in your daily diet. It’s the healthiest thirst-quencher by far, researchers say. If you don’t like water, try lemonade, iced tea, or juice.

4. Red meat

This winter, when the respected journal Stroke published a study showing that women who consumed a large portion of red meat each day had a 42-percent higher incidence of stroke, it got nutrition experts talking. The information that red meat, with its high saturated fat content, isn’t healthy for those looking to prevent heart disease and stroke wasn’t exactly news. But the percentage increase (almost 50 percent!) was both startling and solid; the researchers arrived at their finding after following 35,000 Swedish women for ten years.

Why it’s bad

Researchers have long known that the saturated fat in red meat raises the risk of stroke and heart disease by gradually clogging arteries with a buildup of protein plaques. Now it turns out that hemoglobin, the ingredient that gives red meat its high iron content, may pose a specific danger when it comes to stroke. Researchers are investigating whether blood becomes thicker and more viscous as a result of the consumption of so-called heme iron, specifically upping the chance of strokes.

What to do

Aim to substitute more poultry — particularly white meat — and fish, which are low in heme iron, for red meat. Also, choose the heart-healthiest sources of protein whenever you can, especially beans, legumes, nuts, tofu, and nonfat dairy.

5. Canned soup and prepared foods

Whether it’s canned soup, canned spaghetti, or healthy-sounding frozen dinners, prepared foods and mixes rely on sodium to increase flavor and make processed foods taste fresher. Canned soup is cited by nutritionists as the worst offender; one can of canned chicken noodle soup contains more than 1,100 mg of sodium, while many other varieties, from clam chowder to simple tomato, have between 450 and 800 mg per serving. Compare that to the American Heart and Stroke Association’s recommendation of less than1,500 mg of sodium daily and you’ll see the problem. In fact, a nutritionist-led campaign, the National Salt Reduction Initiative, calls on food companies to reduce the salt content in canned soup and other products by 20 percent in the next two years.

Why it’s bad

Salt, or sodium as it’s called on food labels, directly affects stroke risk. In one recent study, people who consumed more than 4,000 mg of sodium daily had more than double the risk of stroke compared to those who ate 2,000 mg or less. Yet the Centers for Disease Control estimate that most Americans eat close to 3,500 mg of sodium per day. Studies show that sodium raises blood pressure, the primary causative factor for stroke. And be warned: Sodium wears many tricky disguises, which allow it to hide in all sorts of foods that we don’t necessarily think of as salty. Some common, safe-sounding ingredients that really mean salt:

  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Sodium alginate
What to do

Make your own homemade soups and entrees, then freeze individual serving-sized portions. Buy low-sodium varieties, but read labels carefully, since not all products marked “low sodium” live up to that promise.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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Health Tip of The Week

Natural Health Tips to Reduce Pain from Inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process, even though sometimes it may be painful. Consider this: When you cut yourself, the area around the cut gets red, warm, and swollen. This is your body’s natural response, enabling immune cells and other blood cells to travel to the area and repair the damage.

Inflammation can either be internal or external

Inflammation happens externally as the result of an injury, and it also happens internally as the result of disease. When the body tries to heal itself, it increases enzyme action as well as swelling in the injured area so that cells can travel there more efficiently. This response makes the area warm. It can also be painful-swelling causes the tissues to stretch, while the immune response releases chemicals that attract and stimulate the blood’s white cells to fight infection. Sometimes this response is all that is needed and the body heals. However, occasionally the inflammatory response causes more pain and damage than the original injury. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are often prescribed to reduce inflammation and avoid further damage after an acute injury.

Internal inflammation is difficult to recognize

How can you tell if there is internal inflammation? Pain is a good sign that inflammation is present. Especially in chronic diseases, the body is attempting to repair itself. Sometimes it succeeds and the tissues heal. Other times the inflammation process becomes chronic as with arthritis, asthma, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies, and many other chronic conditions.

Tips to reduce internal inflammation

Reducing internal inflammation can be as easy as removing the irritants. It is almost like removing a splinter from the skin. While the splinter is there, the body will create more and more inflammation until the splinter is pushed out. As soon as the splinter is gone, the healing process can begin. Toxins and waste products are irritating to the body. Decreasing the toxins brought into the body and assisting the body in eliminating waste products can lead to a reduction in pain and inflammation. Here are some dietary tips to reduce internal inflammation:

1.  Drink water to carry away waste products

The body needs water to carry away waste products. Clean water instead of coffee or soda gives the body clean water in the bucket to do its cleaning with. Drink plenty of water everyday.

2.   Avoid foods that cause allergies or sensitivities that cause inflammation

These foods, which vary person to person, cause inflammation in the intestinal tract by stimulating the immune system. By eliminating the foods the body has made antibodies to, the inflammatory chemicals decrease and there are fewer toxins in the body.

3.   Regulate the immune system with acidophilus and calm down inflammation

Sixty percent of our immune system is based in our intestines. By tonifying the immune system in the intestines, inflammation calms down.

4.   Increase your intake of essential fatty acids (omega 3 oils)

Deep water fish (or wild fish) are a great source of essential fatty acids.

5.   Eat hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, poultry and fish to avoid toxins

Meats that are raised with hormones and antibiotics retain these chemicals even when cooked. The body then needs to process and eliminate them while digesting the food. By avoiding these toxins, you lessen the burden on your body.

6.   Eat a whole foods diet high in vegetables, fish and whole grains to detox and heal

Vegetables contain natural antioxidants and minerals that are necessary to decrease inflammation. Brightly colored vegetables are very high in vitamins and minerals that the body can use to detoxify and heal.

7.   Avoid inflammatory foods

These foods include coffee, chocolate, dairy, sugar, potatoes, corn, peanuts, and wheat. All these foods are difficult for the body to digest and create inflammation.

See what happens. With less inflammation, your pain will decrease and your body will heal more effectively. And you will experience numerous additional benefits from these simple dietary changes.

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