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Watermelon: A Natural Viagra

A cold slice of watermelon has long been a Fourth of July holiday staple. But according to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That’s because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.

“The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.

“We’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.”

Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions, Patil said.

In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta carotene and the rising star among its phyto-nutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.

Scientists know that when watermelon is consumed, citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system and maintains a good immune system, Patil said.

“The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Patil. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it.”

While there are many psychological and physiological problems that can cause impotence, extra nitric oxide could help those who need increased blood flow, which would also help treat angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

“Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” Patil said, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.”

The benefits of watermelon don’t end there, he said. Arginine also helps the urea cycle by removing ammonia and other toxic compounds from our bodies.

Citrulline, the precursor to arginine, is found in higher concentrations in the rind of watermelons than the flesh. As the rind is not commonly eaten, two of Patil’s fellow scientists, drs. Steve King and Hae Jeen Bang, are working to breed new varieties with higher concentrations in the flesh.

In addition to the research by Texas A&M, watermelon’s phyto-nutrients are being studied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Lane, Oklahoma.

As an added bonus, these studies have also shown that deep red varieties of watermelon have displaced the tomato as the lycopene king, Patil said. Almost 92 percent of watermelon is water, but the remaining 8 percent is loaded with lycopene, an anti-oxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health.

“Lycopene, which is also found in red grapefruit, was historically thought to exist only in tomatoes,” he said. “But now we know that it’s found in higher concentrations in red watermelon varieties.”

Lycopene, however, is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs certain fats in the blood for better absorption by the body, Patil said.

“Previous tests have shown that lycopene is much better absorbed from tomatoes when mixed in a salad with oily vegetables like avocado or spinach,” Patil said. “That would also apply to the lycopene from watermelon, but I realize mixing watermelon with spinach or avocadoes is a very hard sell.”

No studies have been conducted to determine the timing of the consumption of oily vegetables to improve lycopene absorption, he said.

“One final bit of advice for those Fourth of July watermelons you buy,” Patil said. “They store much better uncut if you leave them at room temperature. Lycopene levels can be maintained even as it sits on your kitchen floor. But once you cut it, refrigerate. And enjoy. It is suggested that you would have to eat 1560g of water melon as a starting dose to see “performance increases”

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

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Six Healthy Eating Tips to Prevent Bingeing

Knowing exactly how much (and what kind) of food your body needs to stay healthy and maintain your weight—or lose if need be—is not an exact science. Far from it, as anyone who has ever noshed until they were uncomfortably full knows all too well. These six tips will teach you how to spot hunger and eat to stay satisfied, so you can control calories and shed pounds without “dieting.”

1. Use the hunger scale
Do you really know what hunger feels like? Before eating, use our hunger scale below to help figure out your true food needs:

Starving: An uncomfortable, empty feeling that may be accompanied by light-headedness or the jitters caused by low blood sugar levels from lack of food. Binge risk: high.

Hungry: Your next meal is on your mind. If you don’t eat within the hour, you enter dangerous “starving” territory.

Moderately hungry: Your stomach may be growling, and you’re planning how you’ll put an end to that nagging feeling. This is optimal eating time.

Satisfied: You’re satiated—not full, but not hungry, either. You’re relaxed and comfortable and can wait to nosh.

Full: If you’re still eating, it’s more out of momentum than actual hunger. Your belly feels slightly bloated, and the food does not taste as good as it did in the first few bites.

Stuffed: You feel uncomfortable and might even have mild heartburn from your stomach acids creeping back up into your esophagus.

2. Refuel every 4 hours
Moderate to full-fledged hunger (our ideal window for eating) is most likely to hit 4 to 5 hours after a balanced meal. Waiting too long to eat can send you on an emergency hunt for energy—and the willpower to make healthful choices plummets.

To slim down: If you’re feeling hungry between meals, a 150-calorie snack should help hold you over. Munch on whole foods such as fruit and unsalted nuts—they tend to contain more fiber and water, so you fill up on fewer calories.

3. Eat breakfast without fail
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tracked the diets of nearly 900 adults and found that when people ate more healthy fats and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and ate less over the course of the day than those who ate their bigger meals later on.

To slim down: If you’re feeling full-blown hunger before noon, there’s a chance you’re not eating enough in the morning. Shoot for a minimum of 250 calories and make it a habit, with these three strategies.

  • Prepare breakfast before bed (cut fruit and portion out some yogurt).
  • Stash single-serving boxes of whole grain cereal or packets of oatmeal and almond or soy milk at work to eat when you arrive.
  • Eat a late breakfast if you can’t stomach an early one.

4. Build low-cal, high-volume meals
Solid foods that have a high fluid content can help you suppress hunger. “When we eat foods with a high water content like fruits and vegetables, versus low water–content foods like crackers and pretzels, we get bigger portions for less calories,” says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan and a professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

To slim down: Eat fewer calories by eating more food. Try the following healthy ways to fill up.

  • Start dinner with a salad, or make it into your meal (be sure to include protein such as sea food or beans).
  • Choose fresh fruit over dried.
  • Boost the volume of a low-cal frozen dinner by adding extra veggies such as steamed broccoli or freshly chopped tomatoes and bagged baby spinach.

5. Munch fiber all day long
Because the body processes a fiber-rich meal more slowly, it may help you stay satisfied long after eating. Fiber-packed foods are also higher in volume, which means they can fill you up so you eat fewer calories.
To slim down: Aim to get at least 25 g fiber a day with these tips.

  • Include produce such as apples and carrots—naturally high in fiber—in each meal and snack.
  • Try replacing some or all of your regular bread, pasta, and rice with whole grain versions.

6. Include healthy protein at each meal
When researchers at Purdue University asked 46 dieting women to eat either 30% or 18% of their calories from protein, the high-protein eaters felt more satisfied and less hungry. Plus, over the course of 12 weeks, the women preserved more lean body mass, which includes calorie-burning muscle.

To slim down: Boost your protein intake with these ideas.

  • Have a serving of lean protein such as egg whites, chunk light tuna, or baked fish at each meal. A serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand—not including your fingers.
  • Incorporate beans into your meals. Black beans, chickpeas, and edamame (whole soybeans) are low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with protein.

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

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

The Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has been used for healing purposes since before recorded history. It is made from a mixture of volcanic ash and sea mud. It draws toxic material out of the body if taken internally, and it reduces pain and infection in open wounds. Clay molecules carry negative ions in its minerals, which attract positive ions located in impurities found in the intestinal tract. In a process called adsorption, the clay draws the impurities

What Bentonite Does

Bentonite stimulates unhealthy organs and body tissues, helping these tissues regain function. There are highly active ingredients in bentonite clay which binds to itself like a magnet and holds on to them until the body can eliminate both. restore cells and hasten healing and normal body function. Bentonite acts like a magnet, pulling itself toward and attracting toxins in the intestinal tract when it is consumed. It has been used to help with food allergies, intestinal mucous issues, colitis and intestinal viruses and can inhibit parasite reproduction. Bentonite Clay has been used to draw out poisons from insect and animal bites and to draw infection out of open wounds. It has even been used to draw out toxins from radiation treatments. According to the Journal of Physical Chemistry, 16 studies have shown the electromagnetic or electrochemical properties of bentonite clay and its ability to bind with electricity found in cells. The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University found that “healing clay” was effective against MRSA infections. The Mayo Clinic defines MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, as “a strain of staph that’s resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it.” MRSA is potentially fatal. 
  • Bentonite clay posseses a negative charge, and most poisons in your body have positives. Once you consume bentonite clay, it attaches itself to harmful toxins, bacteria and impurities. As with the food you eat, it can take a couple of days for your body to process and discard the waste. Bentonite clay will not be absorbed by your body and will come out as if it were the waste your body couldn’t break down. As the material is making its way through your body, it is constantly attaching itself to these toxins and taking them with it when it is deposited in the toilet.

The Clay Cure

  • In “The Clay Cure: Natural Healing From The Earth,” author Ran Knishinsky offers a lot of information on bentonite and other forms of healing clay. Knishinsky discusses how to choose the right kind of clay, the science involved and the many uses for this dietary supplement. The book describes when and how to take clay as a powder, a liquid gel or in capsules. Knishinsky details health benefits of bentonite, such as treating digestive ailments, benefiting circulation, helping with menstrual problems and aiding the liver and prostate.

There are specific people who should refrain from the use of this substance. Women who are pregnant and senior citizens shouldn’t consume bentonite clay or products that contain the material. You should also avoid taking bentonite clay within two hours of consumption of any medicine, including supplements.

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

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

How To Stop Punishing Yourself For The Past

How often do we overlook the above aphorism as we repeatedly revisit past mistakes, injuries, and confrontations?  There are times I lie sleepless and recall arguments I had with college sweethearts, high school teachers, and even the grade school bully.  What do I get for my trouble?  Sometimes I experience that all-too-familiar wave of panic, other times an uneasy stomach or a rapidly beating heart; that feeling is almost always accompanied by guilt, resentment, or both.  The experience never benefits me and I’ve reached the point in my life where I need to stop it.

The Problem of Repunishment

We’ve been conditioned from birth to retain our flaws and mistakes in two ways: by example and through confrontation.  The first form of conditioning is by example; we see and hear our parents do it every day.  Your dad forgets to take the trash out after dinner; your mom gets angry and calls him on it.  But instead of saying: “Dear, your forgot the trash”, she says: “You forgot the trash again!  You NEVER remember to take it out!” Now your dad doesn’t deal with the current situation, rather he relives every time he forgot.  He feels guilt and frustration well up, he becomes defensive, and the argument begins.  The second form of conditioning is more direct; someone will be displeased and say: “How many times do I have to tell you…” Then we relive each of our past mistakes and feel the guilt, the pain, and the frustration.

By the time we’re in high school (if not long before), we’ve become so conditioned that we put ourselves through the ringer.  We don’t need anyone else to do it to us; we start repunishing ourselves.  You run late for work after school, again.  Instead of focusing on today’s tardiness, you relive each time you have been late.  The panic and guilt start to build, and build, and build as you revisit each transgression.  When you finally get to work you have rehashed every time you have been late to work, and you re-experience all of the negative energy from each time.

The worst part of the situation, however, is that we don’t let anything go.  We retain all of this emotional poison and add the new stuff.  Then, the NEXT time something happens, we get to revisit it all AGAIN.  And the cycle continues, because we have great memories and consciences.  We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find our selves guilty, and we punish ourselves.  No wonder we go through our lives feeling defensive, guilty, and uncertain.

Taking Control Of Our Lives

However, we can take control of our lives and stop this painful cycle.  The process isn’t difficult, but it will be unsettling at first and require some adjustment.  We experience this discomfort as we rebel against what we’ve learned and become accustomed to our entire lives.  The more ingrained our solution becomes, however, the more comfort it provides as we adapt to the new standard.  I’ve outlined below the process I have been using to stop this self punishment.

1. Acknowledge and own the mistake. This not only calms us but gives us some power over the situation.  If something “isn’t our fault”, then how can we take action to correct the situation?  We can’t.  By accepting responsibility for a situation, we make ourselves “response able” (thanks to Steven Covey for this phrase).

2. Identify the mistake. Analyze the situation and see just exactly what caused the undesired outcome.  It could have been a simple typo, it could have been procrastination, it could have been a misunderstanding, it could have been an omission, etc.  Whatever the source of the problem, we need to identify it as clearly and completely as possible.

3. Correct the problem. Implement a new system to avoid omissions, determine where our scheduling technique broke down, etc.  Make sure that, to the best of our ability, that we have implemented a solution that should prevent the same (or a very similar) mistake from recurring.  Be proud of this accomplishment – it enables us to let go of our disappointment, guilt, frustration, fear, anger, etc.

4. Move on. Obviously this is harder than it sounds.  However, our preparation above has led us to a position where we can honestly tell ourselves that we know what happened, we don’t like what happened, and we have fixed the problem that led to it occurring.  By taking both responsibility and action, we create a powerful combination that allows us, with a bit of discipline, to live in the present and not rehash the past.

Final Thoughts

If we find ourselves trying to rehash a past mistake, it is important to STOP.  Observe what we are doing, identify the problem triggering this response, and remind ourselves of the solution we implemented to stop that problem from repeating.  Then focus on our solution and a couple of instances where our solution has led to positive outcomes.  As we train ourselves to make this part of our process, we’ll be pleasantly surprised to find this easier and easier to accomplish.

About the author: this post was written by Forrest McDonald.

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For more tips on relieving emotional pain from the past please visit our Emotional Wellness Page or click on this link http://www.celestialhealing.net/emotional_stress_therapy.htm

5 Foods That’ll Make You Look Younger

The key to glowing skin lies in your stomach.

1. Sweet Potatoes

Beta-carotene, which makes these tubers orange, balances your skin’s pH, helps combat dryness, and promotes cell turnover, all resulting in smoother skin.

2. Wild Salmon

The pigment that makes the fish pink, astaxanthin, is a powerful foe of free radicals, rogue molecules that damage cell membranes and DNA and cause skin to age. A study found that eating one serving every five days can prevent actinic keratoses—ugly rough patches that are precancerous.

3. Tomatoes

The fruit’s red pigment, lycopene, is a potent antioxidant that shields skin from sun damage—like sunscreen, but from the inside out. To best absorb lycopene, eat tomatoes with olive oil.

4. Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is essential to building collagen, a vital component of young-looking skin, which starts breaking down in your twenties. Citrus also contains bioflavonoids, which protect skin from UV rays and help prevent cell death.

5. Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and other greens contain lutein, which protects skin from sun-induced inflammation and wrinkles.

Stay Away From White Foods

Need another reason to avoid white bread, pasta, rice, and other refined grain products? They’re quickly broken down into the ultimate white food: sugar. Once in the bloodstream, sugar bonds with protein and creates advanced glycation end products (aptly abbreviated AGEs), which cause collagen to become inflamed and stiff, leading to wrinkles.

Why Food Is Always Better Than a Pill

“There are so many factors in food that haven’t been studied. It’s very likely that these unknowns work synergistically for a bigger benefit than what you can find in a supplement.”
—Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist

According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, red wine contains skin-friendly grape-seed extract and resveratrol, two powerful antioxidants. Hops in beer, it turns out, may also offer antioxidant benefits.