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Salt Could Make You Stupid, Says Research

A new study suggests that eating less salt and exercising more may keep our brains smarter longer–in case you needed further motivation to put down the Doritos and head to the gym. This isn’t the first time that physical activity has been linked to better brain function, but the bit about sodium is something that might surprise you. Researchers didn’t investigate the mechanism by which salt makes us stupid (if that’s really true); they found a strong correlation between sedentary lifestyle, high sodium consumption and declining cognitive function. So should you put down the salt shaker?

If you love salty foods but you don’t love to exercise, the short answer is: yeah. The link between salt and brain function is hazy; researchers simply analyzed data from the Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging, and found a strong correlation between sodium intake, low physical activity and a decline in brain function with age. And that’s even after controlling for other factors like education level and overall diet. The researchers don’t claim that salt itself is responsible for eroding grey matter; they mainly see it as a marker that heralds poor overall health: Sodium is linked to blood pressure, and many think it also impacts bone health and overall cardiac health. But “this is  has been proven to cause high blood pressure.

But there is some good news in all this, especially for anyone who’s highly active. According to the researchers, your workouts could earn you a free salt pass. Says lead study author Carol Greenwood, a nutrition scientist and interim director of the Baycrest Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research in Toronto:

People who were physically active were protected, regardless of their sodium intake. What’s important is maintaining the integrity of the cardiovascular system, and the benefits of exercise are going to outweigh any negative effects we see with salt.

And Dr. David Katz, director of Medical Studies in Public Health at Yale University, adds:

It stands to reason that people who are more active, and fitter, and thus healthier overall, would better ‘withstand’ the potential harms of excess sodium than those lacking this immunizing benefit.

But at the end of the day, Katz reminds us:

Whether or not dietary sodium directly affects cognitive function in older people, its intake should be restricted to recommended levels, best achieved by eating fewer processed foods, and more foods direct from nature.

www.healingpowerhour.com

The healing power of touch

posted by Nazia Mallick

Touch is the first sensation we feel when we come into this world. A child’s mental, emotional and physical well-being initially depends a lot on a tender touch. Doctors insist on a newborn baby being placed immediately on the mother’s bosom to feel her heartbeat and to experience the gentle touch of her arms around the body. This helps the child gain a profound sense of security and it later helps in developing their self-esteem, as an adult.

Touch is a very important sensation for human beings to gain a sense of healthy emotional responses later in life. Every child learns the sensation of love and tenderness first with his mother’s touch. Even plants and animals respond to touch. They grow well, feel nurtured and cared for when they are touched. We bring animals into our homes and call them pet. The word pet is all about petting, touching, indulging and caring.

Touch is the nourishment for our soul. Touch releases the endorphins in the brain and essentially helps us feel good.

Ever wondered how a quiet touch conveys a lot to a grieving person than many words of solace? Personally speaking, I feel absolutely at loss with words when I come across a grieving person. I feel that how could words, no matter how right they are, calm the heart torn asunder with grief? However, I have found on few occasions that just placing a quiet hand on the shoulder or gently caressing the hand of a person broken down with emotional pain, calm the sobs to a great extent. It sends across the silent message that you care and empathize with them in their pain. I have experienced that they almost always become quiet in their wailings and give in to a more healthy response of shedding quiet tears. And Psychologists say that to give yourself the permission to cry heartily is to bless your body with the benediction of healing. When a person is frozen with grief and shock, a touch brings on the healing response. They begin to cry, and it lifts them off the dry rocks of their sudden distress.

Touch calms anger, grief and aggression. It brings on healthy tears, stops unchecked and hysterical tears and helps a person gain a balanced perspective on many difficult situations. No words are required when touch is used to convey messages of compassion.

It is observed that more often than not those who are acting hysterical respond to a quiet touch. Though, generally speaking, we as people stay away from such a person. Feeling that they might react violently, but unless a person is medically declared a psychotic, most aggression changes into quietness with a gentle touch.

We all are inherently programmed to receive and give touch to each other. Without touch, relationships fail to blossom, not just among lovers, but between parent and child too. We all know how a crying child responds instantaneously to the touch of his mother and become quiet immediately. How we are told to hug our children to help them grow into emotionally healthy and caring persons in life. Most failing marriages lack the right touches and need a right touch to set it right!

Often when Psychoanalysts talk about troubled childhood and children having grown up with baggage that are at times too hard a burden to carry for their inner world, it is about the lack of proper nurturing and touching as children. Often neglected by a distant father and unloving mother the boys grow up without love and affection for a woman and are unable to commit fully to other relationships in their lives later.

Without getting into the convoluted discussion of troubled childhood and its impact on an adult, lets just sum it up and say that it is the lack of touch, hug and caress in the childhood that creates an intense sense of separateness in a child and they grow up feeling a deeply disturbing loneliness almost all through their lives.

Mother Teresa discovered the power of touch when she said that more than hunger, poverty and physical suffering it is the lack of love, which make people die everyday. She used to touch the lepers and bathe their wounds with her own hands.

It is hard to be Mother Teresa as she was a noble soul, but we could all realize the power of touch and just give it out freely to our fellow human beings only to share with all humanity the feelings of brotherhood and equality.

Let’s, begin from home. Let’s just reach out and hug our child or our parent today, and watch that sunny beam spread on their faces, to warm the cockles of our own heart. Go touch.

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www.healingpowerhour.com

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