Depression is a complex issue, with a multitude of physical and emotional causes. If you experience depression, however, or someone close to you does, you may want to consider whether dehydration could be a contributing factor. Dehydration is dangerous not just to your physical health, but also to your emotional well-being.
Scientists report that systemic inflammation underlies most disease processes of the human body. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, and in that context, it is a healthy reaction. For example, a cut in the skin triggers inflammation, and your body produces white blood cells that rush to the site of the cut to heal the skin. But when inflammation persists, it can cause problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The origin of the word “inflammation” is the Latin word for “set afire.” The link is apparent for people who have some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. People suffering from RA experience heat, pain, redness and swelling of their tissues. But in other health conditions in which inflammation is complicit, the connection is not obvious. The inflammation only reveals itself through blood tests.
If you’re throwing a backyard party this summer, you know your guests will be excited about a red, ripe watermelon. But after the melon is cut and served, don’t thrown away those seeds! In an earlier article, we highlighted 10 healthy benefits of watermelon seeds, which are surprisingly packed with nutrients. But there are more – in fact, here are 10 more health benefits of watermelon seeds.
Thousands of years ago, people didn’t floss. They didn’t have toothbrushes, and they probably didn’t make any effort to clean their teeth. Yet, based on archaeological discoveries, their oral health was much better than ours today.
Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, says:
Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth,[but] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up.
Scientists say it’s because of our diets.
Cooper and his researchers studied calcified plaque on the teeth of 34 prehistoric human skeletons. They identified the composition of bacteria in mouths, and found that it changed as the human diet transitioned from meat, vegetables and nuts to carbs and sugar.
Some of those microbes are protective, but other oral bacteria facilitate tooth decay. The researchers found that some types of disease-causing bacteria had evolved to using carbohydrates, and over time these crowded out the more friendly bacteria. The situation deteriorated during the Industrial Revolution, when people began to add processed flour and sugar to their diets.
According to Cooper:
What you’ve really created is an ecosystem which is very low in diversity and full of opportunistic pathogens that have jumped in to utilize the resources which are now free.
You’re walking around with a permanent immune response, which is not a good thing. It causes problems all over the place.
Modern people have harmful bacteria present in our mouths on an ongoing basis, which means we are constantly in a state of disease. That includes not just oral disease – these bacteria support diabetes, obesity, even cardiovascular disease.
Cooper says bacteria comprises 90 percent of the cells in our bodies, and he believes there is too little attention paid to this so-called microbiome.
We brush our teeth and we floss, and we think that we’ve got good oral hygiene. But [we’re] completely failing to deal with the underlying problem. Ten years from now, I think we’re going to find that the whole microbiome is a key part of what you get monitored for and treated for
If you want to take the first step toward the kind of oral health our ancient ancestors enjoyed, eat the way they did. Begin by clearing your diet of processed carbohydrates, and focusing on vegetables, fruits and meat.
If you are in good shape, you may not think you need to exercise. But research conducted by the University of Cambridge and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that you are twice as likely to die from not getting enough exercise as from being obese. Fortunately, a little exercise goes a long way in protecting your health. In fact, the study showed that just a 20-minute brisk walk every day can keep you well.
The researchers examined the health habits of more than 334,000 European men and women. They found the death rate was twice as high for those who did not exercise regularly, as those participants who were obese but inactive. The variable was the 20-minute daily walk, or a comparable cardiovascular activity on a daily basis. According to the study results, walking can reduce your risk of an early death by up to 30 percent.
Of course, obesity does cause major health risks. If your weight falls into the obese range, you are more likely to experience cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallstones, gallbladder disease, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, breathing issues, and some cancers. For optimal health, your best bet is to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
When you spend 20 minutes walking briskly, you expend approximately 90 to 110 calories. Longer exercise sessions can help burn fat, but that 20-minimum basic program, adhered to every day, lowered the risk of premature death by a minimum of 16 percent, and as much as 30 percent. There are other benefits, as well. It reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and metabolic syndrome. Moderate regular exercise can also help you control your weight, regulate your sleep patterns, and strengthen your muscles and bones. It also delivers a boost to your mood, and helps eradicate depression.
Whether or not your weight is at an optimal level, take care of yourself with a 20-minute daily walk. It’s a regimen that delivers tremendous health benefits to people of every shape and size.
Physicians usually advise their overweight and obese patients to exercise daily. Despite the fact we all know exercise can improve our health, about one-third of people are not physically active (and that figure may be underestimated). Because of poor eating habits and lack of exercise, overweight people are at an elevated risk of blood vessel constriction, and ultimately, cardiovascular disease. However, a new study indicates there may be another approach to reducing heart disease in overweight patient, supplementation with vitamin C.
Caitlin Down, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was lead researcher on the vitamin C study. For three months, subjects in the study were divided into two groups. One took vitamin C supplements, and the other participated in aerobic exercise training. The subjects who took vitamin C did not lose weight, but monitoring of their forearm blood flow and their response to an intra-arterial infusion of endothelin-1 before and after each intervention showed an improvement in vascular health. The dose of 500 milligrams of vitamin C created a benefit equivalent to exercise, particularly walking.
Morbidly obese people are known to be deficient in vitamin D, but there has been little research into other potential nutritional deficiencies until a study conducted in Norway. In two public hospitals, 168 morbidly obese patients were surveyed, and the results showed that vitamin C deficiency was prevalent. In addition to the vitamin C deficiencies, people who are morbidly obese are vulnerable to chronic illnesses such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and a variety of inflammatory diseases, as well as heart disease.
Research published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo) proves that, because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C has beneficial effects in the following obesity-related areas:
- Modulating adipocyte lipolysis
- Regulating the glucocorticoid release from adrenal glands
- Inhibiting glucose metabolism and leptin secretion on isolated adipocytes
- Leading to an improvement in hyperglycemia and decrease glycosylation in those who have diabetes
- Reducing inflammatory response.
While it continues to be important for every person, of any body size, to participate in daily exercise, these studies demonstrate the value of supplement with vitamin C. It is useful to work with a natural health practitioner to determine how much vitamin C you may need. As a rule of thumb, the sicker you are, the greater your need for supplementation with vitamin C.
According to Dr. Michelle McMacken, medical schools provide aspiring physicians with only about 20 minutes of education in nutrition. When she established her family practice, she realized she needed to explore the subject herself, for her own health and that of her patients. She says doctors are subject to the same misinformation about nutrition as everyone else.
Peanut butter is not just for kids. The protein and healthy oils in peanut butter make it an excellent food for everyone, with the exception of the one percent of the population that is highly allergic to peanuts. Peanut butter can help with weight loss, diabetes, and can even lower your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Probiotics, the good bacteria present in yogurt cultures, are known to aid digestion. But scientists have discovered that these valuable bacteria do more than just support intestinal health . They now know probiotics offer a whole range of health benefits.