Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah

Tag Archives: depression

5 Foods to Prevent Winter Ailments

Winter presents a number of fitness obstacles. Shorter, darker days and icy roads can freeze training in its tracks, while a storm of season-specific health problems–including cold fingers and toes, stiff, achy joints, and even seasonal depression–can leave you wanting to skip your workout altogether. Luckily, making certain foods and drinks a regular part of your diet can help you avoid common winter problems, says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Optimal Life Foods. So before a winter woe sidelines you, try these consumable prescriptions for staying healthy all season long.

COLD HANDS AND FEET
FOOD FIX
 The amino acid arginine helps expand blood vessels and encourages blood flow, Grotto says. Arginine is found in protein-rich foods, including hormone-free poultry,  fish, as well as cashews, almonds, and peanuts, plus cereal grains, such as oats and barley. Tea, wine, cocoa, and dark chocolate can also help: They’re rich in catechins, tannins, and other bioflavonoid compounds that help improve circulation.

STIFF, ACHY JOINTS
FOOD FIX Anti-inflammatory omega-3s, found in abundance in such fatty fish as salmon, help reduce joint inflammation and even soothe exercise-induced muscle soreness. Omega-3s are so effective that in one study nearly 60 percent of neck-and back-pain patients taking fish-oil supplements were able to stop using NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen. Barbara Lewin, R.D., a sports nutritionist, recommends also reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids (found in corn oil and red meat), as they can actually promote inflammation.


SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
FOOD FIX
 Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., coauthor of The Serotonin Power Diet, explains that eating small doses of carbs (about 25 to 30 grams, or 120 calories’ worth) will help your brain produce serotonin. Consume the carbs without other foods (make sure your snack has no more than two or three grams of protein, which prevents serotonin production) and on a nearly empty stomach. Doing so will banish that SAD feeling within 20 minutes. Try an English muffin or half a bagel with jam, natural granola, pretzels, or even a a bowl or oatmeall.


THE COMMON COLD
FOOD FIX
 Vegetable soup: Research from the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that a bowl of chunky vegetable  soup has anti-inflammatory effects that ease symptoms of upper-respiratory-tract infections. The warm broth soothes throats, carrots provide beta-carotene (which is linked with immunity), and onions and garlic have antibacterial properties. Boost your stay-healthy odds with a daily cup of organic yogurt or kefir. A study published in 2008 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that long-distance runners who consumed the probiotic lactobacillus (found in yogurt and kefir) had shorter and less-severe bouts of respiratory illness than those who took a placebo.

DRY SKIN
FOOD FIX Research shows that essential fatty acids found in salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, and olive oil can help skin cells stay hydrated. In fact, a study published in 2009 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who took flaxseed-or borage-oil supplements for three months had a significant increase in skin moisture and a reduction in roughness. Grotto also encourages people to get plenty of ACES–his acronym for vitamins A, C, E, and selenium. “They’re all antioxidants that help heal our skin from the inside out.”

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Herb of the Week – LAVENDER

Lavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia, is one of the most widely used, versatile herbs known today. It is considered a member of the Labiatae family, which also includes mints and the plant originated in England, France, Tasmania, and Yugoslavia.

Lavender flowers have long since been used to treat digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. Until World War I, lavender was used to treat and disinfect wounds. For centuries, English farmers would place lavender flowers in their hats to prevent headache and sunstroke. Women would place sachets of lavender in their closets and wardrobes for fragrance, in addition to using it in potpourri. Hospitals used lavender as an antiseptic and disinfectant to sterilize surfaces and equipment.

Today, lavender is used in much of the same way, for many of the same reasons. Both the flowers of the plant and the essential oils derived from the plant can be used for therapeutic uses.

According to the book The New Healing Herbs, the essential oils extracted from the flowers contain more than 150 compounds. Lavender essential oil is easily and quickly absorbed into the skin, and can be detected in the blood in as little as 5 minutes.

Today, lavender is most commonly used for anxiety, depression, mental exhaustion, insomnia, scrapes and wounds, digestive problems, headaches, skin problems and women’s health problems. In addition to this, lavender can be used to treat exhaustion, heat exposure, fevers, aches and pains, over-exertion, jet lag, rashes, sprains, sunburn, sunstroke, bruises and burns. It can also be used as a disinfectant and insect repellant. Lavender is an antiseptic, natural antibiotic, sedative, detoxifier.

Anxiety and depression. The essential oil of lavender has a calming, sedative, and anti-convulsive effect. It can also increase the effectiveness of other relaxants.

According to the Smell and Taste Foundation in Chicago, the scent of lavender increases brain waves associated with relaxation.

Commission E, the German counterpart of the FDA that regulates herbal remedies, also approves lavender for treating relaxation and restlessness.

Insomnia. A study conducted at the University of Leicester in England showed that the use of lavender essential oil is just as effective in promoting sound sleep as traditional medication. In fact, many British hospitals offer their patients lavender pillows to help with sleeplessness.

Scrapes and wounds. Lavender essential oil has very powerful antiseptic properties. Applying it to wounds can not only increase cell growth causing the wound to heal faster, but it also decreases the appearance of scars. The oils anti-microbial action protects scrapes and wounds from infection, while allowing them heal.

Digestive problems. Lavender has also been endorsed by Germany’s Commission E to treat all sorts of stomach and digestive disorders. It soothes the lining of the digestive tract and promotes the secretion of bile, which helps the body digest fats. In addition to this, lavender can also relieve gas pressure and constipation.

Headaches. Massaging lavender oil onto the temples, neck and forehead can relieve neck and head tension and promote relaxation, thus relieving a variety of headaches. Those included are general headaches, gastric headaches, nervous headaches, sinus and tension headaches.

Skin problems. By massaging lavender oil into the skin, it can be used to treat a number of skin problems such as acne, burns, dry skin, eczema, itchy skin, sunburn, seborrhea, and skin inflammation.

Women’s health problems. For pregnancy, lavender can help sooth and relieve flatulence and indigestion. It can diminish the look of stretch marks and scars. It can relieve cramps, edema, exhaustion, infection, breast abscesses, and post-natal depression. A study of lavender by British researchers suggests that using lavender oil during pregnancy and childbirth can help ease delivery pain and promote a speedy recovery.

By either adding lavender to the bath or massaging it into the skin, lavender can help relieve pre-menstrual syndrome, and menstrual cramps. It is effective in aiding the treatment of chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, thrush, vaginal infections, inflamed vaginal tissue, vaginitis, cystitis, Raynaud’s Disease, breast abscesses, and cervical cancer. If being treated with radiation for any form of cervical or uterine cancer, lavender oil can prevent and diminish irradiation burns.

The uses of lavender are endless. Lavender is a must-have for all homes because of its calming, antibiotic, antiseptic, disinfectant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It is good for treating or aiding in the treatment of a number of health problems.

By mixing lavender with water, it can be sprayed on surfaces and used as a household disinfectant, and applying it to the skin can deter insects.

According to the book The New Healing Herbs, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute believes that a particular compound in lavender, known as perillyl alcohol has been shown to exert remarkable action against a variety of cancer tumors in the breast, lung, liver, colon and pancreas. It is noted that currently, this particular compound is being tested as a possible cancer preventative, as well as treatment.

Applications and safety.

Lavender can be applied a number of different ways. It can be massaged onto the skin, placed in diffusers for inhalation, added to baths, added to vaporizers, and mixed with water or other substances for spray purposes.

Lavender is very potent and should always be used sparingly. The oil must always be diluted with water or a carrier oil such as olive, jojoba, avocado, or grape seed oil. Never place lavender oil directly on the skin without diluting it. Lavender flowers can be placed in sachets, potpourri, heat packs, ice packs and wraps. Lavender is safe for most anyone. The flowers remain effective long after they have dried.

To store lavender, both the oil and flowers should be placed in a dark, glass container, away from direct sunlight or heat.

Lavender is an extremely useful, beneficial and versitale herb. It can be used to therapeutically treat a variety of ailments, contains antibiotic, antiseptic, disinfectant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, is safe for most all adults, has a pleasant aroma and calming qualities. Lavender is truly a must for every home and should become an excellent addition to the first aid kit.

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Happiness and Optimistic Attitudes Important in Preventing Breast Cancer

Want to lower your risk of getting breast cancer? Recent research in Israel published in the British journal BMC Cancer has given us one more thing to take note of.

Breast Cancer Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after non-melanoma skin cancer, cancer of the breast is the next one which most commonly afflicts American women. In 2004 alone, over 185,000 women and more than 1,800 men were diagnosed with the disease, while almost 41,000 women and 362 men actually died because of breast cancer.

Overall, in that year, breast cancer was the number five killer of American women, while being their number two cancer killer. For Hispanic women, breast cancer was also the type of cancer which caused the most deaths.

These numbers do not make for good reading at all. What actually causes breast cancer, and what can we do to stave it off?

Possible Causes of Breast Cancer

Those who are familiar with natural health and healing will know that breast cancer, like all other forms of cancer, can be prevented and even treated using powerful dietary and lifestyle choices, such as consuming enough fiber, exercising regularly, as well as getting enough sunshine and vitamin D.

What is also clear is that breast cancer, again like all forms of cancer, is a multi-factorial disease which needs to be tackled from various angles.

Recent research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel has given us one more piece of the jigsaw – it seems that happiness and optimistic attitudes may reduce one’s risk of contracting the disease. On the flip side, adverse life events may increase one’s susceptibility to it.

Details of the Study

For the study, 622 women aged between 25 and 45 were asked about their life experiences, and researchers then assessed their levels of optimism, happiness, anxiety and depression before diagnosis. This information was then used to draw a link between life events, psychological distress and the occurrence of breast cancer. Of the participants, 255 were breast cancer patients, while the other 367 had never had cancer.

According to Professor Ronit Peled, the leader of the study, its findings “showed a clear link between outlook and risk of breast cancer, with optimists 25 percent less likely to have developed the disease”.

On the other hand, women who had been through two or more traumatic events in their lives had a 62 percent higher risk of contracting the disease.

The Emotion-Health Connection

Generally speaking, there have been other studies which have drawn a link between positive mental and emotional states and better health. For example, some studies have shown that positive emotions cause the body to produce more immune cells, while negative ones have the effect of suppressing one’s immune system.

But exactly and specifically how attitudes contribute to health, is something which we cannot say we know very well. One theory is that the body’s immune system is influenced by brain chemistry, which is in turn affected by one’s emotional experiences.

“The mechanism in which the central nervous, hormonal and immune systems interact and how behaviour and external events modulate these three systems is not fully understood,” said Peled. “The relationship between happiness and health should be examined in future studies and relevant preventative initiatives should be developed.”

One thing we do know, though, is that emotions such as happiness, stress, anger, anxiety and fear affect the human at a biochemical level. In other words, when our emotions change, our bodies also become chemically different.

What Next For Us

One thing that must be noted about the study is that the women were in fact interviewed after their cancer diagnosis, could very well affect their recollection of their emotional state in the past. When a person is going through a crisis, it would perhaps be a natural tendency to view events in the past more negatively.

Despite this, and although the “how” is still uncertain, Peled is convinced that the link between emotional events and health exists. He feels that “we can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or mild to moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role”.

According to him, young women who have gone through a number of adverse life events should be identified as being ‘at-risk’ for breast cancer and then be treated as necessary.

Most of us wish to find a specific solution for every health problem. The truth is, many degenerative diseases, and most certainly cancer, have their roots in multiple causes. That being the case, many factors would contribute to one’s risk profile, and a multi-pronged approach in preventing and dealing with the disease is almost always necessary.

What we now know, being happy and optimistic forms are an important part of such an approach.

And if you have been through some tough events in life, you may want to seek some help to address unresolved issues, either through professional counseling or otherwise. Leaving these issues lingering would just be adding more ammunition to the potential cancer time bomb.

Article by: Reuben Chow

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