Continued from last month's blog entitled “Free Radicals – Part One”
The Pinch Test
We are constantly being bombarded by free radicals, both from external and dietary sources. If you want to know how much your body has already been affected by free radicals, there is a simple test you can do. Extend your hand, palm down, pinch the skin on the back and lift the fold upwards. Release it and see how long it takes to go back in place. If you are young or have minimal free radical damage, it will snap back instantly. If not, it will slowly go back into place, sometimes taking several seconds, indicating considerable free-radical damage and cross-linkage of collagen.
The first step in protecting yourself from free radicals is to minimize exposure.
Environmental sources stem from smog, exhaust fumes, tobacco smoke, cleaning fluids, chlorinated swimming pools, radioactive substances, and X-rays. Another source is airline travel. Flying at high altitudes increases exposure to cosmic radiation because the atmosphere is too thin to offer much protection.
Ingested sources come from nitrates and nitrites (found in processed meats), artificial food colorings, chlorinated drinking water, rancid and hydrogenated fats. The most difficult one for people to accept is the one posed by polyunsaturated vegetable oils. They are a mixed blessing because they provide essential fatty acids, however, they are chemically unstable. They contain bonds that readily break apart upon exposure to heat, light, or air releasing a cascade of free radicals in the body. The more unsaturated an oil, the greater its risk. Safflower, sunflower, corn, soy, sesame, and canola oils are hazardous when heated, and all of them have been heated during processing. Even “cold-pressed” oils are subjected to temperatures up to 90º C from the friction of the extraction machinery. Ironically, those who consume polyunsaturated fats intending to reduce their risk of heart disease, may be inadvertently contributing to its progression.
The more stable fats/oils less likely to contribute to free radial overload are butter and ghee, olive, avocado, macadamia, and peanut oils. This is because of their high content of monounsaturated and saturated fats. Olive oil is 79% oleic acid (monounsaturated), 13% saturated, and 8% polyunsaturated fat. Oleic acid contributes to the stability of cell membranes, helping them resist invasion by free radicals. It is also the predominant fat in mother's milk and sebum, the protective substance secreted by sweat glands.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and are key to protecting tissue from damage! A few examples are vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and selenium. Zinc has the ability to inhibit free radicals as well. Concord grape juice and green tea, among several other food sources have high antioxidant potential and should be consumed daily. The more bombarded you are from free radicals, the more antioxidants you need each and everyday.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecular fragments that interact aggressively with other molecules in the body to create abnormal cells. They can penetrate into the DNA of cells and change their blueprint so that they now produce maverick cells that proliferate out of control.
Free radicals are highly unstable because they have unpaired electrons in their outer orbits, which cause them to react almost instantly with any other substance in their vicinity. They are constantly trying to 'steal' electrons from other molecules in an attempt to balance themselves.
White blood cells (leukocytes) use free radicals, in a controlled way, to kill invading bacteria and virus-infected cells. The liver also uses free radicals to detoxify harmful chemicals. Outside this regulated environment, however, free radicals destroy cellular membranes, enzymes, genetic material, and even life itself. They accelerate aging and contribute to the development of arterial disease, cancer, and cataracts. They damage collagen by causing a cross-linkage of molecules and the loss of elasticity. Wrinkled skin, stiff joints, high blood pressure, and premature aging are often the result of this deterioration process and the more technologically advanced a society becomes, the more exposure it has to free radical damage.
Free radicals are also released in the body from the break down of many chemical compounds such as petrochemicals (in drugs, artificial food colorings, smog), preservatives in processed meats (nitrates, nitrites), exhaust fumes (carbon monoxide), cleaning fluids (carbon tetrachloride), alcohol, the tar in tobacco smoke, drinking or swimming in chlorinated water (which forms chloroform in the body), cadmium and other heavy metals, radiation (X-rays, gamma radiation), hydrogenated fats, rancid fats, and polyunsaturated oils. The more we expose ourselves to these hazards, the greater the load of uncontrolled free radicals we subject our bodies to, the more likely we are to exceed the ability of our immune systems to protect us from their potential damage.
One free radical hazard is an internal one. During constipation, renegade chemicals are released into the colon and the bloodstream, contributing to the likelihood of both colon cancer and arterial disease. Our ancestors ate unprocessed foods, rich in fibre, which tend to fill out the colon and aid in its evacuation, the way nature intended. We would do well to emulate their habits because the fibre has been removed from refined flour and sugar products, so these 'foods' tend to be constipating.
By now, we've all heard about probiotics, the beneficial microflora that inhabit our gut and how crucially imperative their presence is to our overall health. There are so many things that can disrupt the balance of these microflora including stress. Various medications can also eradicate our little warriors like antibiotics, birth control, chemotherapy, steroids, etc.
Like any living creature, all beneficial microflora need to be fed. The foods that feed these little guys are called prebiotics. Prebiotic foods contain fiber or starch that can resist being digested before reaching the colon, i.e., they are resistant to the normal digestive processes of the stomach and small intestine. Once in the colon, these prebiotics act as food for the beneficial microflora and keep them nourished so they can continue to perform their never-ending duties.
The Best Prebiotic Foods Include:
acacia gum (or gum arabic)raw chicory rootraw Jerusalem artichokeraw dandelion greensraw garlicraw leekscooked or raw onionsraw jicamaraw asparagusunder-ripe bananasraw honeywhole-grain wheat or cornpsyllium husksRS (Resistant Starch) - cooked and then cooled potatoes, rice, legumes/lentils, e.g. potato salad, rice pudding, hummus, etc.
7 Benefits of Prebiotics:
1. Better Gut Health and Improved Digestion - Prebiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria which help balance harmful bacteria and toxins living in the digestive tract, having numerous health implications, including improving digestion.
2. Enhanced Immune Function and Cancer Protection - The “prebiotic effect” has been associated with the modulation of biomarkers and activities of the immune system, including a reduction of the concentration of cancer-promoting enzymes and putrefactive (bacterial) metabolites in the gut.
3. Lower Inflammation - Prebiotics can help lower inflammation, which is one of the root causes of diseases.
4. Reduced Risk for Heart Disease - Prebiotics have a hypo-cholesterolemic effect, improving the body’s ability to prevent ischemic heart diseases.
5. Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance - Higher intakes of all types of fiber are linked to lower body weight and protection against obesity.
6. Protection of Bone Health - Prebiotics enhance the absorption of minerals in the body, including magnesium, and possibly iron and calcium.
7. Hormone Regulation and Improved Moods - Research regarding the “gut-brain connection” is still in its infancy, but it’s becoming clear that mood-related disorders like anxiety or depression are highly tied to gut health.
BioScan MSA (meridian stress assessment) Technology provides a comprehensive test that measures the flow of energy according to European medical research through acupuncture points, which are related to the body’s organs, glands and bodily systems. This technology combines with Traditional Chinese Medicine to give an extraordinary perspective on the state of your body’s health. Each acupoint is connected to a meridian or energy channel which, in turn, is connected to an organ, gland or bodily system.
The test requires that the client hold a small brass hand mass in one hand while the practitioner uses a blunt-ended stylus to touch various meridian points, or acupoints, on your hands and feet. A small current of 2.4 volts goes into each point. It is painless and non-invasive. The equipment measures the time it takes for the current to make one complete circuit using a highly sensitive ohmmeter, much like an EKG machine. If there is any inflammation impeding the flow of energy, the equipment detects and reports it on a print-out, so the practitioner can make nutritional recommendations that will strengthen and balance your body in the area(s) needed, working on high-priority areas first.
The practitioner can use this equipment to find natural remedies for people, and as common sense would have it, what will work for one person won’t always work for the next. In this way, the results are completely customized to each client’s needs. The practitioner can pull the frequency of a potential remedy from the software’s virtual library or use the metal test plate that is wired in as part of the client’s circuit and place a sample remedy on it. The test plate can be used to test anything against the client’s meridians by absorbing the frequency of what is on it and incorporating it into the client’s circuit. This way, the practitioner can find out if something balances that person or throws them off.
BioScan technology can also be used to determine nutrient deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, and digestive enzymes; as well as hormonal imbalances, the presence of parasites, bacteria and Candida, and food/environmental sensitivities.
To book a BioScan appointment, please email Janice Buckler, BSc, RHN in Tatamagouche, NS, at natural.legends.health@ gmail.com.
In some cultures, people thrive on vegetarian or near-vegetarian diets. These people are extremely healthy, with little or no degenerative disease. This led many enthusiasts to proclaim that the only healthy diet is a vegetarian one; however, there are other cultures, equally disease-free, who live almost entirely on animal foods. The common thread to both dietary extremes is what they leave out!
Both groups get plenty of exercise and eat only natural foods, i.e., no refined sugar/flour, soft drinks, artificial fats/colorings/flavorings, or preservatives. If we were to exercise heavily and skip the processed foods, we would probably be as healthy as they are, no matter what else we ate.
The following guidelines provide a plan for a healthy, long-tern diet.
Drink half your weight in ounces of purified water daily.Eat four (4) cups of veggies each day, with two (2) of those being green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, celery, green peppers, green beans, etc.)Eliminate all refined sugars, refined flours, alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, and processed meats.Consume concentrated sugars separately, i.e., not with proteins or fats at the same meal. Examples of concentrated sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, molasses, honey, maple syrup, sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, and malto-dextrin.Ideal fat sources are butter, olive oil, peanut oil, fish oils, and the naturally-occurring fats found in poultry, lean meats, raw nuts/seeds and avocado.Regularly eat fermented foods (yogurt, sauerkraut, tofu, miso, and kefir) to provide the body with the beneficial microflora we all need.Most meals should contain high-quality protein (eggs, fish, poultry, raw milk/cheese, and/or balanced legume-grain/seed/nut combinations).Choose organic foods whenever possible.Aim for the following proportions:
*Complex carbs are natural, unrefined starches (whole grains, vegetables, legumes).
*Simple carbs are natural, unsweetened fruits and fruit juices.
*Refined carbs are any foods containing white flour or concentrated sugars (examples in #4 above).
Blood tests for thyroid function only measure the thyroid hormone in the blood, which may have no relation to the amount of hormone that actually gets into the cells which need it. Blood tests can show adequate levels of T-4 hormone but the person has all the signs of low thyroid function, because not enough T-3 hormone is getting to the tissues. As a result, most cases of hypothyroidism (low functioning thyroid) go undetected.
There is a simple and reliable test you can do at home to test if your thyroid gland if functioning optimally or not. It’s called the basal temperature test (BTT). The BTT measures the result of one critical thyroid activity, the maintenance of body temperature.
The ideal temperature at which all bodily biochemical reactions function most efficiently is 37 C (98.6 F). When temperatures are below or above this norm, chemical messengers become mis-shapen and no longer precisely fit into the receptor sites they are intended to activate. A shift in temperature of only a fraction of a degree can have a significant effect on the degree of “fit” between enzyme and substrate, neurotransmitter and receptor, hormone and target cell, antibody and foreign protein.
The BTT requires taking underarm (axillary) temperature first thing in the morning before rising, when the entire body is at complete rest. Men, prepubescent and post-menopausal women can take this test any time. To eliminate the temperature fluctuations that accompany one’s cycle, menstruating women need to do the BTT on the second and third mornings after their flow begins.
To do the BTT, place a liquid-type clinical thermometer, well-shaken down, by your bedside. Upon awakening and before stirring from bed, place the bulb of the thermometer under your arm and hold it there for 10 minutes. Record the reading for two consecutive days. A range from 36.6 C (97.8 F) to 36.8 C (98.2 F) suggests normal thyroid function. Temperatures below 36.6 C (97.8 F) indicate low thyroid function (hypothyroidism). Those above 36.8 C (98.2 F) indicate an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
If a person has both a low BTT reading and symptoms of low thyroid function, then hypothyroidism is almost certain.
Nutrients that support thyroid function include iodine, selenium, cysteine and the B-complex vitamins.
This is a time-tested technique for safely removing gallstones from the gall bladder. Some find it easy to do. Some find it harsh. But, it has a very high success rate with no known reports of injury. Although, it has never happened in thousands of cases, there is a ‘theoretical’ risk of a large stone becoming lodged in the bile duct whereby it would need to be removed surgically, however, most gallstones are solidified cholesterol. The following procedure makes them very soft, so they can be expelled easily. Stones as large as ¾ of an inch have been safely passed in this manner, without surgery.
For at least two weeks prior to starting this cleanse, take two flaxseed oil capsules and at least 400 IU of vitamin E daily.On the first day of the cleanse, take no prescription meds or supplements that are not essential.
Eat a zero-fat breakfast and lunch (i.e., only fruit, vegetables, whole grains and/or protein supplement).Eat nothing after 2pm.Mix 3 TBSP of Epsom salts into 3 cups of water and put it in the fridge.At 6pm, drink ¾ cup of cold Epsom salt solution.At 8pm, drink another ¾ cup of cold Epsom salt solution.At 9:45pm, pour ½ cup of olive oil into a glass, squeeze in a whole grapefruit and mix until watery.At 10pm, drink the olive oil mixture and immediately lie down.Stay still for 20 minutes, then go to sleep.
After 6am, take another ¾ cup of cold Epsom salt solution.Two hours later, take the rest of the cold Epsom salt solution.Two hours after that, start to eat again.Start with fruit or fruit juice.Eat a light lunch and by suppertime, you will be feeling like your usual self again.
By the end of the second day, stones should appear in the toilet bowl, mixed with feces. There may be a hundred tiny ones, a few larger ones, some fragments, or perhaps only sludge. Colors range from pea green to emerald green to very dark green (almost black). The cleanse can be repeated every three weeks until the gallstones stop coming out (sometimes there may be over 1000 tiny stones).
Firstly, insulin-dependent diabetics should not fast. Having said that, and continuing from “Ways to Detoxify – Part One”, the next part of this topic involves “The Cleansing Fast”.
The Cleansing Fast cleanses the kidneys, liver and bowels, the three major eliminative organs. It may be repeated two to three times per year.
DAYS 1 – 3: Mix 1.5 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice with two litres of pure water (add a little honey if desired for palatability). This tonic is to be sipped slowly throughout the day. In addition to this, once a day in a large glass of water, take a heaping TBSP of a good dried herbal-fibre blend containing as many of the following you can get: psyllium, pectin, guar gum, peppermint leaf, garlic, papaya, dandelion root, buchu leaf, burdock rot, yellow dock root, rhubarb root, cinnamon bark, barberry bark, plantain leaf.
DAYS 4 – 5: Stop the lemon water drink, but continue with the herbal-fibre mixture and drink as much as you want of any of the following: pure water, tomato juice, carrot juice, dilute grape juice, or other vegetable or fruit juices (except citrus).
DAYS 6 – 7: Continue with the herbal-fibre mixture and add raw vegetables and fruits.
DAY 8: As above and add lightly steamed vegetables.
DAY 9: As above and add raw unsalted nuts and/or seeds.
DAY 10 and onward: Stop the herbal-fibre mixture and gradually return to a sound, healthful diet.
NOTE: Two liters is the minimum amount of liquid each day. More may be consumed if desired. Use of supplements can be given a break during your fast, however, vitamin C is usually beneficial during this time. If fresh lemons are not available, use pure, concentrated lemon juice in equivalent amounts (preferably organic).
Successful nutritional programs include two fundamental aspects: (1) Detoxifying; and (2) Rebuilding. Today we are going to talk about detoxification (internal cleansing).
Cells take in nutrients and discard wastes. If wastes are not eliminated, they accumulate and prevent cells from receiving proper nourishment. The best diet/supplements in the world cannot help cells that are strangling in their own waste.
WAYS TO DETOXIFY
Reduce Internal Pollution: The first step to cleansing the body is to stop ingesting so many toxins. We typically overload our bodies by ingesting substances that were never meant to be consumed, e.g., refined sugars, refined flour, tobacco smoke, soft drinks, drugs, alcohol, artificial colorings, preservatives, artificial flavorings, airborne pollutants, etc. These things create an overload of toxins for the body to eliminate. Even healthy food can create a toxic overload if we eat too much of it.
Exercise: Lymph vessels are the "sewage highways" of the body. Lymph fluid is the intermediary between the blood and cells, in which nutrients are exchanged and wastes carried off. The body has more lymph than blood, which must circulate without the benefit of a heart or pump. Exercise gives the lymphatic system the "massage" it needs to keep working efficiently.
Water: Water provides the medium in which all biochemical reactions take place. It is needed to eliminate wastes through the kidneys and colon, yet most of us do not drink enough. It is a good habit to consume half your weight in ounces of purified water daily.
Healthy Colon: The human colon is convoluted in shape and works best when it is full of fibre. Fibre is the indigestible outer covering of plant cells that acts like a "broom" to clean out the intestines, e.g., psyllium. It is best to consume at least 60% of food from plant sources. Animal products do not provide any fibre at all.
Mini-Fasting: Insulin-dependent diabetics should NOT fast. It could cause blood sugar levels to drop too quickly. Just about everyone else can fast safely for short periods, including most hypoglycemics. Fasting means not eating for brief periods so the body can do its "housecleaning". Fasting eases the load on the digestive organs which enables the liver to catch up on its blood-cleansing functions.
A complete rest from food can be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Ideally, it is best to choose a 24-hour period where very little activity is required. During this time, drink a minimum of 2 liters of purified water. If you feel tired, rest. If you feel sleepy, sleep. If you feel lightheaded, weak or hungry, drink more water. If at any time, you wish to end the fast, then do so. The first meal after the fast should consist of fresh, raw vegetables or fruit. Then, about two or three hours after this mini-meal, other kinds of foods can be re-introduced.
Stay tuned for next month’s issue to learn about the “Cleansing Fast” and the “Gall Bladder Flush”.
Digestive health affects every system in the body.
Due to all the toxins around today, there is a decrease in function of our digestive systems. This affects our ability to utilize nutrients and rid ourselves of cholesterol. This triggers inflammation which causes many chronic conditions.
Our digestive tracts are critical to our health because 80% of our immune system is located in the gut. It is the second largest part of our neurological system and is called the enteric nervous system or our second brain!
Many people with health issues like thyroid imbalances, chronic fatigue, joint pain, psoriasis, autism and more don’t realize that these illnesses originate in the gut.
The secret to restoring digestive health is to balance the good and bad bacteria. If you are going to be healthy, you MUST consider consuming probiotic-rich foods and supplements daily.
Probiotics hold the key to a strong immune system, treating digestive issues, mental health illness and neurological disorders. It is proven that the benefits of probiotics go far beyond what was previously thought.
Probiotics are bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. There are 10 times more probiotics in your gut than cells in your body!
A newborn in the birth canal is when a baby is exposed to the bacteria of his or her mother for the first time. This event starts a chain of events inside the baby’s GI tract, and the infant starts to produce good bacteria.
If you don’t have enough probiotics, things such as digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease, and frequent colds and flus can arise.
Our food contains little to no probiotics today, and in some cases, actually contain dangerous antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our bodies.
Benefits of adding probiotics into your diet:
Stronger immune systemImproved mood, gut bacteria produce 95% of the body's seratoninImproved digestionIncreased energy from production of vitamin B12Better breath because probiotics destroy CandidaHealthier skin….probiotics naturally treat eczema and psoriasisReduced cold and fluHealing from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseaseWeight loss
Beneficial Probiotic Strains:
Bifidobacterium bifidum — most dominant in infants, supports vitamin production and immune system response, inhibits harmful bacteria, prevents diarrhea.