For some, constipation proves to be a discomforting and utterly irritating, whereas for others it can be outright painful. And while commercial laxatives are there to solve the problem, natural alternatives shouldn’t be ignored. In this article, we take a closer look at 10 different foods that double up as laxatives.
Why Natural Laxatives?
Certain laxatives like fiber supplements or stool softeners directly affect the composition of feces (in their own special way) to ease bowel movement. Whereas those like the stimulant and osmotic variants target the nerves or the water-bloodstream pathway in the large intestine respectively, in order to produce an excretion conducive atmosphere. Needless to say, these drugs can have harsher side-effects in some people.
This brings us to the topic of natural laxatives. Simply put, these are normal foods that naturally regulate bowel movements, and because of their natural attributes, they don’t produce undue side-effects like their medicinal counterparts.
Mentioned below is a descriptive list of 10 foods that offer relief from constipation apart from imparting nutritional inputs to your body.
1. Water: It may be considered a boring drink by the younger lot but the truth is that you could suffer from chronic constipation from not drinking enough water. A dehydrated body looks deep into it’s reserves for water and in doing so absorbs more water from the intestines than what’s deemed necessary.
Less water in the bowel translates to harder stool and constipation. In that respect, drinking ample quantity of water not only lubricates the intestinal walls, but also softens the stool as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract. Plus, it hydrates the system so that it doesn’t have to look elsewhere for water.
2. Prunes: Otherwise known as died plums, this sticky chewy food is naturally blessed with fibers and sorbitol. Fiber when passed down to the intestinal area mixes with the stool to add volume as well as soften it, whereas sorbitol is a natural carbohydrate that performs a similar stool bulking function. In fact, the laxative qualities of prunes are so good, that they can heighten bowel movement (and cause running stool) in a normal person when taken in large quantities.
3. Whole Grains: Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grain produce aren’t stripped of their most nutrient-rich parts i.e. the bran and germ. A notable mention is brown rice, which has good amounts of dietary fiber, magnesium and trace selenium minerals. Fiber provides the necessary bulk and softening attributes to stool, while both magnesium and selenium are well known for their laxative qualities.
4. Yoghurt: Gut flora or good bacteria found in the digestive tract help in breaking down a large chunk of the processed food we consume on a daily basis. As such, fresh, natural bio yoghurt rich in acidophilus and bifidobacterium strains, when taken daily during breakfast, can certainly contribute to your ‘gut flora’ and therefore keep a check on irregular bowel movements.
4. Coconut: Be it the soft flesh of a ripe coconut, or the sweet water tapped straight out of green coconuts, the laxative effects are quite prominent. Coconut flesh is high on fiber and so consuming a good chunk of it regularly does a lot of good for your bowels. Similarly, coconut water is an excellent hydrating fluid, with a laxative potency high enough to cause watery bowels in some people when consumed in excess!
5. Aloe Vera: For the uninitiated, ‘aloin’, a liquid encapsulated inside the skin of aloe-vera plant is highly effective in relieving constipation. That’s why certain commercially available, herbal laxative pills contain aloin extracts in them. Another chemical component found in aloe-vera is ‘anthraquinone’, which can help in reducing rigidity in stool.
6. Flax Seeds: Now, it would be unfair to pick from the colossus health benefits of flax seed or its oily derivative. But, since we are talking wholly about laxatives in this article, it would be helpful to note that flax seeds can promote bowel movement. This gentle laxative effect is partly due to the fiber content and partly due to its oily content that acts like a coating for the intestinal wall.
7. Blakstrap Molasses: Pure sugarcane juice boiled to a concentrate and crystallized yields regular molasses. When the same is boiled the third time, the result is blackstrap molasses which contains a range of vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is one such mineral found in this sweet food, which also happens to be a good laxative agent.
8. Raw Vegetables: Incorporating a variety of raw vegetables into your dietary cycle can ensure a healthy body along with a fit gastrointestinal tract. The one major component in green leafy vegetables is fiber which is a known promoter of healthy bowel movement. Additionally, certain vegetables like carrot, beet, tomatoes and cabbage among others are specifically known for their mild laxative qualities.
9. Raw Fruits: There is a lot to gain in terms of colon cleansing by incorporating raw fruits into your diet. While bananas act like natural bulk-producing laxatives, apples on the other hand, contain pectin in them, which stimulates intestinal action while imparting volume to the stool. Likewise, melons are great in colon cleansing because they are so easy to digest that they proceed directly to the intestines. Also, fruit derivatives like lemon juice or apple cider are equally effective in regularizing bowel movement.
10. Legumes And Beans: It’s the mix of carbohydrates, fibers and other minerals like magnesium, selenium etc that make lentils, peas, beans, and nuts natural laxatives. Together, the above contents can regulate intestinal action and impart bulk to the stool.
Foods apart, factors like sedentary lifestyle and stress can also cause constipation. Therefore, a fully decked solution has to be a trifecta of healthy diet, exercise and stress free living. Also, it’s worth noting that some people might be allergic to the foods mentioned above. If so, then they should first consult a doctor before trying them as a remedy for irregular bowel movement.
|Fresh green tea plant(Camellia sinensis) leaves|
The tea plant has been used in the traditional Asian medicine for its therapeutic qualities for thousands of years. Today, clinical and basic science research confirms and specifies its preventive and curative properties . Consumed in larger quantities, green and black tea decrease the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
The green tea has an additional advantage, because it seems that it can prevent certain types of cancers.
We know about the “French paradox” attributed to the the phenolic molecules contained in the wine, the polyphenols. Now here is the “Chinese paradox ” or “Asian paradox“, according to which the phenolic compounds of green tea seem to protect the body not only of cardiovascular diseases, like wine does, but also prevents the occurrence of cancers.
A Chinese proverb says: “When you have tea and rice wine you have a lot of friends”. It would seem, according to recent studies, that you would also be in better health.
There are numerous ways and types of preparation and cultivation/processing of the green tea plant (Camellia sinensis), but we are going to mention the most common and well known ones below.
First used as a medicinal plant, green tea was imposed in the ceremonies of Chinese dynasties and in various forms of preparation. It’s the glorious Tang dynasty (618-907) that develops the true art of tea. During this dynasty, the poet Lu-Yu wrote in the Eighth century, the Code of the tea known under the name of “Tchaking”. The first book is about the complete and thorough process of tea manufacturing, from the picking of the leaves to the preparation of the drink.
Green tea is then object of the very active and flourishing trade and the imperial government is not hesitant to introduce a tax, called tribute tea. For centuries, green tea is consumed in the form of sheets or “bricks” as we now call them, which were pressed and dried in the form of a cake. It was also used for cooking, often boiled with rice, spices, milk and onions.
Prepared as a decoction in the Song dynasty (960-1279), the tea is often grind to a powder and served as a foamy emerald green drink, which we now know as matcha green tea. This practice continues even to this day, with some refinements used mainly in the art of tea ceremonies in Japan. Finally, it is probably under the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) when green tea replaces the coffee as a main stimulating drink and the tea leaves began to be consumed primarily as tea.
Europe discovered this drink at the beginning of the 17th century and was causing a real craze in England, in fact its currently their national drink. Today, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water.
From a few thousand years, the tea leaves are used in traditional medicine throughout Asia. For the traditional chinese medicine, tea clears the head and eyes, aids digestion, promotes urination, and neutralizes toxins. It relates to the meridians of the heart, lungs and the stomach. In addition, chewing tea leaves would be used as a method to cure bad breath.
Finally, it’s recommended not to throw away the leaves of the tea: used as a pillow, they would supposedly provide an incomparable deep sleep.
Cultivation and production of green tea and black tea
In its wild form, the tea plant Camellia sinensis is a shrub from five to ten metres high. But in most of the plantations it is pruned to approximately 1.20 m to facilitate the collection of the leaves. In plantations they harvest the leaf buds, or “green pekoe” in chinese. from the first flush in the spring up to the third flush depending on the quality of the tea they are producing. There are three categories of tea:
– non-fermented or green tea, accounting for 80 to 90 % of the chinese production;
– semi-fermented tea, which is called Oolong,
– and fermented tea, or black tea, called red in China, represents 90 % of the indian production.
To produce green tea, the leaves are subjected to a stabilization process by drying or steaming, depending on what type of tea is needed. This operation has the effect of destroying the enzymes, especially polyphenol oxidases, which, as their name indicates, oxidize the polyphenols. It is traditionally done by roasting in pans of cast iron. Then the leaves are rolled by hand or machine, and are subject to a new roast. In modern production processes, especially in Japan, the stabilization is carried out with steam.
The production of black tea requires several steps: withering is to let the leaves cool on the trays for about two hours. Thus relaxed, they are then rolled by hand or machine, helping the release of the polyphenols oxidases in the leaves. Then starts the fermentation in a humid atmosphere, which lasts three to five hours. This treatment leads to a profound modification of the chemical composition of the leaves, which get a brown to black color and that is the result of this enzymatic oxidation. Finally, the leaves are dried with hot air.
Ingredients and chemical content of green tea
The most active and essential ingredients in green tea are the caffeine and the polyphenols. The content of caffeine in the leaves is 2% to 4%. Long called theine, the caffeine alkaloid is in fact the same molecule as in coffee. Phenolic compounds are represented by substances from the group of flavanols, called catechols: epicatechol, epigallocatechol and a derivative, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) see diagram.
The EGCG are large part of the tea content, representing approximately 25 % of the weight of the dried tea leaves. It’s important to note that in the black tea fermentation causes a transformation of these active polyphenolic compounds in more complex thearubigines and theaflavins, which are responsible for the red color of the infusion. Vitamin C is also quite abundant in the fresh tea leaves with 0.6 % of the total content. It is found in the green tea, but is almost completely destroyed in the black tea. Finally, the fluorine ( not to be confused with fluoride (?) ) content of tea leaves is sufficient to prevent tooth decay naturally.
Green tea is a well-known stimulant of the central nervous system. This effect, is due to the caffeine, which stimulates both brain function and physical activity. Caffeine is also responsible for the diuretic properties of the tea and its ability to stimulate the cardio-respiratory system.
In coffee, caffeine is partially combined with the phenolic compounds found in green tea such as theanine, which is another extremely beneficial phenol tea has to offer. For this reason that the caffeine is released into the body more slowly and steadily, when you drink the tea, and its stimulating action is more gentle than that ingested from coffee.
Researches show evidence that green tea fights cancer, atherosclerosis, free radicals and aids in weight loss
Research on the beneficial effects of green tea on atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease prevention
In recent years, numerous works published in international scientific journals have reported on the preventive or curative properties of tea on atherosclerosis. Specifically, the Japanese researchers K. Imai and K. Nakachi, from the Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute, have carried out epidemiological studies, concerning 1 371 men over 40 years and is divided into three groups according to their consumption of tea. They have shown that regular intake of green tea decreased significantly the levels of lipids circulating in the blood and in particular that of the cholesterol. They also found that when consumption is higher, cholesterol levels are lower, especially among consumers, drinking ten or more cups of tea.
Thus, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease would be 26 per 1,000 for this group, compared to almost 40 per 1 000 among the drinkers of three cups or less. Qualitatively, the rate of HDL for high density lipoprotein , the lipoprotein carrying the “good” cholesterol, was significantly increased and the rate of LDL low density lipoprotein, corresponding to ” bad ” cholesterol implicated in cardio-vascular diseases, decreases at the same time. These results have been corroborated by tests in animals subjected to high fat food regimes.
A Dutch study called “the Zutphen study,” and this time the studied tea is black, was conducted by the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in Bilthoven. For more than fifteen years, the researchers followed 552 men over 50 years of age and showed that the subjects drinking more than five cups of tea had a risk of stroke reduced by 69 % compared to those drinking less than two cups. However, not all studies go in the same direction, as the results of these epidemiological observations are based on samplings and statistical calculations that are quite complex to follow.
Research on the beneficial effects of green tea on cancers prevention
Several recent studies suggest that green tea may prevent the onset of certain types of cancers. Epidemiological studies of the ministry of Health in Japan have shown that the rate of mortality by cancer, including stomach cancer and colon cancer, was significantly lower in the green tea growing regions such as Shizuoka, located south-east of Tokyo. In the same way, the statistics of the ministries of Health indicate that the rate of lung cancer would be smaller in Japan than in the United States, while the consumption of cigarettes is much higher.
These results are obviously to be interpreted with caution, especially as the “tea drinkers” often have healthier dietary habits that are very different than that of most people in the western world and a consumption of alcohol much lower than the average.
Research on the beneficial effects of green tea on tumors prevention
Experimental work in vivo are currently being carried out on induced tumors in animals. In general, the administration of green tea provides protection against certain tumors of the skin and lungs. Thus the work of Zhi Wang, and Hasan Mukhtar, of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cleveland, clearly show the inhibitory activity of green tea when it is applied in mice having a skin lesion in addition to ultraviolet rays, B7. The control group receives only water, the groups tested will receive the green tea one week prior to treatment with UVB and during the week of treatment. The surface, the intensity and severity of lesions were significantly lower in animals consuming green tea.
In a similar experimental study, the treatment with UVB rays is followed a week later by the application of a compound that causes the development of tumors. The number of skin tumors is much lower in mice consuming green tea and the time in which the tumors fully develop and worsen is much longer. Another interesting study by D. Hoffmann, of the American Health Foundation in New York, reveals the preventive action of green tea and its active ingredient, EGCG, on a type of a lung tumor(cancer). In these last two cases the number of tumors is reduced significantly, by about 50%.
Research on the beneficial effects of green tea on neutralizing and decreasing free radicals
The green tea fights free radicals, which might in part explain its preventive effect in the occurrence of cancers. Its detoxifying effect was evaluated with a special purple colored molecule: the test is done with the DPPH 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl. This is a stable compound and a free radical, which fade out under the action of chemicals and molecules that destroy free radicals, thus enabling an assessment of a inhibiting properties with a simple colorimetric measurement. The infusion of green tea shows effects comparable to that of rutoside( rutin ), a natural polyphenol used as a reference, and is superior to that of vitamin E. This activity is dramatically increased when using an EGCG green tea extract.
Finally, a recent article by a team of Toledo in Ohio shows that EGCG blocks the urokinase, an enzyme degrading protein that is overexpressed in many human cancers and appears to be involved in the dissemination of these cancers. The research approach is quite interesting: the authors have modeled a three-dimensional structure of the active site of the urokinase, and then they have queried the data banks for sculpting in this mold protein molecules that may be blocking the site.
The EGCG would have precisely the geometry required for binding to this enzyme, thereby inhibiting its biological activity. In the meantime to validate this property of green tea and use it as an adjuvant in the treatment of cancers, it can be emphasized that the absence of side effects of EGCG makes it a serious candidate in the chemo-prevention of cancers.
In the United States, the National Cancer Institute has deemed all of these results interesting enough to start phase I clinical studies on the activity of the green tea in the prevention of cancers, including colon cancer.
With regard to their effect on fat metabolism, black tea and green tea are very similar, at least in animal models. For the prevention of cancer, the green tea is, without a doubt, at the present time the right and better choice. In Europe, tea drinkers prefer mostly variations of black tea, though green tea is increasing its popularity in recent years there too. To take advantage of the chinese paradox mentioned in the beginning of this article you will have to go with green tea.
Anyway, no matter which is your favorite, whether it be green tea or black tea, they both offer excellent health benefits, so whichever you choose you can’t go wrong.
Enjoy your cup of tea!
Which type of tea you like the most? Is is black tea or green tea? Do you notice and feel any health benefits when you drink green or black tea? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Adrenalin or epinephrine induces the ‘Fight or Flight’ syndrome in us; it makes us face dangers or back away from it. But what happens when the danger has passed? Which hormone is going to tell the body to calm down?
This is where norepinephrine comes into the picture. It is neither an opposing nor aiding hormone to adrenalin, it simply ensures that you don’t keep fighting or running away once danger has passed.
Norepinephrine, Its Functions and Areas of Production in The Body
Chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters are produced in the body to act as a control element for the various essential internal functions and processes taking place within it. Neurotransmitters are transported via nerve channels to the target site. Conversely, hormones are produced by special organs called ‘endocrine glands’ in the body and are released into the blood stream to find their way to the target site.
Epinephrine is both a neurotransmitter and a hormone, especially if one looks at its sites of production and its respective functions.
As a neurotransmitter, it is produced in special nerve cells called ‘postganglionic’ neurons present in the involuntary nervous system. Here, it is manufactured either through conversion of another neurotransmitter called dopamine or processed from an amino acid called tyrosine. Within the brain, norepinephrine is primarily concerned with producing a feeling of well-being and euphoria in a person, apart from regulating other mental attributes such as learning, attention, emotions and sleep pattern.
As a hormone, norepinephrine is synthesized in adrenal glands, which are situated at the tip of the kidneys. When produced in this capacity, norepinephrine plays a pivotal role in defining your body’s response mechanism during stress.
Norepinephrine As A Part Of Homeostasis
|skeletal chemical structure of norepinephrine|
Two hormones namely epinephrine and norepinephrine are released during emergency situations. In such situations, epinephrine is released across the body to accelerate specific processes and increase efficiency in order to accomplish the self-preservation aspect by making you more alert and responsive.
From a physiological point of view, everything from your lung functions, blood flow volume, muscle strength and sensory sharpness see an uncharacteristic increase for the period that the stress situation exists.
As the threat perception subsides, norepinephrine is released to instruct the body processes to return back to their normal state of functioning. This biochemical method of reinstating balance of bodily functions is known as homeostasis and it prevents the body from burning out from such high octane situations.
Norepinephrine Used As A Drug
In cases of medical emergencies, where a person’s blood pressure becomes dangerously low, artificially synthesized norepinephrine is injected into the body to increase the blood volume and get the pressure back to normal.
However, when administered in inappropriate quantities, the same life saving drug can produce severe consequences such as numbness in the hands and legs owing to muscle pain or weakness, discolored skin, bluish lips etc. In some cases, patients may also experience disorientation and changes in vision.
Epinephrine Deficiency And Excesses
When epinephrine is produced in inadequate quantities as a neurotransmitter, it affects brain functions. Depression is one of the symptoms when there is a deficiency of the neurotransmitter in the brain. As a result, the individual is less alert, faces concentration issues and engulfed in a low mood state.
On the other hand, excess presence of norepinephrine in the brain causes a condition called ‘Hyperarousal’, which results in a person experiencing extreme anxiety, irritation and restlessness. The same individual might also face physical effects such as jumpiness and tension in the muscles.
A recent medical study announced that regular consumers of coffee have a relative risk of death higher than the others. Saying this, however, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the lovers of the black drink, smoke more, drink more alcohol, eat more calories and red meat, and engage in physical activity less than the rest of the population.
Considering these biases, the authors of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in may 17, 2012, have been able to isolate the specific effect of the coffee. And the result of the observation is quite different. The mortality would decrease by 10% in men and about 15% in women if drinking beyond two or three cups per day. The hot beverage, with or without caffeine, offers a protection against all causes of death except cancer, against which it is neutral.
Conducted in the United States between 1995 and 2008, that study is a follow-up of another study of 230000 men and 173000 women aged 50 to 71 years old. “No one has ever seen such a great cohort mobilized for such a subject before,” says Thomas Perneger, manager of the Department of clinical epidemiology at the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG). Although it is solid, this work is only observational. It therefore does not provide the formal proof of a causal relationship between coffee consumption and a decrease in mortality. We can’t say for the moment there is a close link between the two.”
Is Then Coffee Consumption Recommended?
Still, the doctors of Geneva wouldn’t go so far as to advise patients to start drinking coffee. But at least, this is a habit, he says, he will not have to worry about during his consultations.
Coffee even has some effects in psychiatry. A large observational study has examined the link that may exist between the coffee and the onset of depression. More than 50,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study in the United States (one of the largest and oldest investigations on the health of women of the world) participated between 1996 and 2006. Published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, 26 September 2011, the study concluded there was a significant decrease in the onset of depressive episodes proportional to the dose of coffee gulped down by the participants.
“This result is important and encouraging, but the Nurses’ Health Study was not designed to recognize individuals suffering from anxiety disorders or sleep disorders, says Denis Rentsch, head of clinic at reception Service and emergency psychiatric at HUG. So, we can’t exclude that, instead of a decrease in depression among consumers of coffee, there was an increase of this disease in the ones drinking it. The latter are more likely to find the negative effects instead of those who renounce the black beverage, because they fear that because of this drink they could not sleep or will make them anxious. And maybe depression is more frequent in this category of the population.”
While we could still exclude the bias, the doctor believes that he would have to convince 1500 sober to drink three cups of coffee per day for a year in order to avoid a depressive episode during the same span of time. We can say that such measure would be inefficient from the view of public health.
Coffee Protects The Liver.
In an article published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology in November 2010, it finally appears that the coffee would also be a powerful protector against diseases of the liver. The review article, which provides a synthesis of the scientific literature published on this topic, shows as well as in alcoholics, the consumption of more than four cups a day seems to play a protective role against cirrhosis of the liver. In patients not addicted to alcohol, we find a similar trend although the results are not statistically significant.
“On the liver, the higher the dose of coffee is important, the more the effect is marked”
In the same way, a number of studies have shown that there is an inverse correlation between coffee consumption and, on the one hand, the development of liver cancer and, on the other, the number of decompensations of the liver during viral infections of the body.
“Again, it is each time relationships of correlation and not causation, says Thierry Favrod-Coune, head of clinical Unit of the dependencies in the medicine of first use of the HUG. We cannot exclude alternative explanations. That said, several elements speak in spite of everything, in favor of a causal relationship: the studies are concordant between them, the number of subjects enrolled is large, the populations studied are heterogeneous and, argument, particularly convincing, the higher the dose of coffee is important, the more the effect is marked.”
There Is No Reason To Abandon Your Coffee!
More than a thousand chemicals
Consumption of coffee may bring many good effects on health. But what is the mechanism? This remains a mystery. However, one is for sure: the stimulant effects of caffeine are well known, but is not the only one. The benefits measured mortality are independent of the presence or absence of caffeine. This, except for death caused by an accident and for which the decaffeinated coffee does not, without surprise, no protection in contrast to regular coffee.
Also, the benefits on liver diseases (cirrhosis, cancer or viral infection), disappear if we replace coffee with tea, and that means theine and caffeine in reality are the same molecule.
The explanation lies, therefore, probably in more than one thousand chemical compounds that include coffee, among whom there are tens of bioactive principles. Among others, we can mention cafestol (a molecule that seems to increase slightly the rate of cholesterol in the blood, but who is stopped by the paper filters), the kahweol (a substance present in the arabica with many virtues), chlorogenic acid and an army of antioxidants (polyphenols, catechins and other flavonoids).
The effects of coffee on our body
Coffee Health Benefits:
- Increase alertness, concentration and memory, especially in people tired
- Decrease of the onset of depressive episodes
Decrease of mortality from all causes except cancer
- Beneficial effect on cancer of the endometrium and liver. However, the coffee has no influence on the mortality due to cancer
- Decrease in the risk of myocardial infarction in the healthy person, or patients whose disease has stabilized.
- Protective effect against cirrhosis of the liver in alcoholics
- Reduction of insulin resistance and a decrease in the incidence of type II diabetes
- Decrease the chance of Parkinson’s disease
- Decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
- Decreased risk of developing gout
Coffee Side Effects:
Insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks in susceptible individuals, or already suffering from psychiatric disorders
Effect of tolerance and withdrawal in a third of consumers, without that there is a true effect of dependence
The stimulant effect of caffeine may lead to a myocardial infarction in susceptible individuals or in patients where the disease has not yet stabilized.
Increase in the risk of osteoporosis in women classified as “at-risk” (over the age of 65 and a low intake of calcium)
The “excesses” of coffee during pregnancy may lead to miscarriage or development of tumors in the brain of the newborn., however, pregnant women dislike coffee
Other Harmless Delights
A widespread opinion is that the small pleasures of everyday life end up one day with a heavy cost to the health. In this pessimistic view, the coffee offers a nice counter-example. And it is not the only one.
Emblematic of the french paradox, the consumption of wine has its own advantages. A Danish study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine September 19, 2000 drives the nail. It shows that for moderate drinkers (between one and seven drinks per week), mortality due to coronary heart disease and cancers is lower than among abstainers. Drinkers are more intensive to see their relative risk of death increase, but it is necessary all the same consumption of half a dozen glasses of wine per day, so this risk exceeds again the sober.
An older study, published in the journal British Medical Journal of December 20, 1997, shows the importance of sexual pleasure for the health. Based on a group composed only of men, it yields an increase in the risk of death from all causes among people whose frequency of orgasms is low (less than once per month).
What are these stretch marks, actually?
The skin consists of 3 layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. Stretch marks are scars that are located at the level of the dermis. They are caused by a rupture of the deep elastic areas of the skin (collagen fibers) and are replaced by thinner fibres and often they get disorganized.
As soon as they appear, stretch marks form zebra like stripes purple-red in color and slightly swollen.
Over time, they will become clear, will become nearly pearl white and will leave slightly crumpled scratches on your skin.
During pregnancy, stretch marks can appear from the 5th month, on the belly, hips, thighs and breasts. There is no rule, but it seems that the young skins, which are white and clear are more at risk.
Where are the stretch marks ?
We tend to think that stretch marks are the result of too much distention of the skin. This is not the only reason. Our body secretes more cortisol, a hormone that weakens the elastic fibers, in particular the collagen. This is why stretch marks appear especially during these periods of life. Namely : excessive weight gain enhances their appearance. The action of cortisol is indeed facilitated by a too great distension of the tissues. Be careful not to take pounds too quickly.
How to prevent stretch marks ?
Use Scrubs on a regular basis. Even if the prevention is the best way to combat these unsightly scratches, it is not 100% effective. Once a week, you can replace your shower gel with a mild scrub. The skin breathes better, which stimulates the penetration of the cream.
The key to a good prevention is to massage with the right product, at the beginning
of the pregnancy, and up to 4 months of the baby. This promotes micro-circulation and helps the skin to stretch gently. Use a special anti-stretch marks or oil (sweet almond, argan). That is to say: the sooner you start this little ritual, the more chance you have of passing through these unsightly streaks. Also remember to drink plenty of water. Finally, be vigilant, stretch marks should not be exposed to the sun.
Can we do away with the stretch marks ?
Use a special cream twice a day. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to make them go away.
However, if you treats them when they are still red and puffy, you may be able to get rid of them.
You can then apply the anti-stretch marks cream 2 times a day. Their size will decrease significantly, and their color will change from red to white.
The medical solutions. If you want to try them, it is necessary to wait for the birth and the end of
the breastfeeding period. Your dermatologist will prescribe you creams with vitamin A, which is actually feels very irritating to the skin. You can also try doing sessions of vascular laser treatment. But the price is quite high : 150-200+ dollars and the results can prove to be quite unsatisfactory.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the fat tissue and in the liver. The name “K” comes from the German word “Koagulationsvitamin”. This vitamin helps in blood clotting and coagulation of blood.
Vitamin K is of three types – Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin K3.
It is found mainly in plants, especially in green vegetables,
Vitamin K1 helps in maintaining blood clotting.
Made by bacteria, Vitamin K2 protects the heart by keeping calcium out of artery linings and body tissues. It also prevents osteoporosis.
A synthetic form of the vitamin, Vitamin K3 is not much-needed because it can cause toxicity in infants.
What are the health benefits of vitamin K
• Helps in blood clotting
Glumatic acid, the acid that causes carboxylation, is an important component of Vitamin K. When blood oozes out, carboxylation makes the blood stick to a nearby tissue. This clots the open wound and prevents excess blood from flowing out.
You can recognize if a person is deficient in Vitamin K or not by checking his or her symptoms of menstrual bleeding, nose bleeding, etc.
• Helps in formation of healthy bones
Vitamin K helps in the formation of healthy bones by blocking the over-formation of osteoclasts, which take away minerals from the bones and deliver them to other bodily functions. This process is demineralization. Over the due course, this process can leave bones depleted of minerals and having the disease called osteoporosis.
• Vitamin K has Anti-Inflammatory properties
A normal level of Vitamin K reduces the release of glycoprotein interleukin-6, a component that causes inflammation in the body.
|Chemical Structure of Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
• Prevents Calcification
Calcification is a process that builds up calcium inside tissue within the body, leading to cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin K contributes to the process of carboxylation and thus prevents calcification. GLA Protein (called MGP) is formed in the process helps in the tissue formation of calcium. A person with lack of Vitamin K is at a risk of suffering from stroke, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
Foods with High Amount of Vitamin K
Some foods with high amount of Vitamin K include fresh and dried herbs, spring onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, dark green leafy vegetables, paprika, cayenne, asparagus, cabbage, pickled cucumber, prunes, kale, turnip, beef liver, spinach, and green tea.
Note: There is loss of Vitamin K when food is freezed; however, heating does not affect it.
Vitamin K Recommended Doses
It is advisable to check with your doctor before you consume Vitamin K supplements. Patients with gallbladder, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease will benefit by consuming Vitamin K in the form of multipurpose vitamins than as an individual supplement.
According to Al established by FNB in 2001, the recommended allowances are:
0 to 12 months – 2 mcg
1 to 3 years – 30 mcg
4 to 8 years – 55 mcg
9 to 13 years – 60 mcg
14 to 18 years – 75 mcg
Men above 19 years – 120 mcg
Women above 19 years – 90 mcg
Precautions When Taking Vitamin K
1. Because of possible side effects, take supplements only under the recommendation of a professional and certified health care provider.
2. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before taking Vitamin K supplements because it is foind in breast milk.
3. If you have Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, you must avoid taking Vitamin K.
4. If you take Coumadin, you should not consume Vitamin K.
|image source: wikipedia|
Five Glances On Probiotics.
Probiotics are good bacteria in the gut . Here are some important facts that will help you find and use them to maintain the health of your gut.
What Are Probiotics?
In short , probiotics are good bacteria . Many bacteria , good and bad , are found in the digestive system. A healthy ” microbiota ” , as we call this collection of microbes, helps maintain the immune system and digestive health . When there is imbalance between good and bad bacteria , a person can become vulnerable to infections , including yeast infections and urinary tract infections. Diarrhea is a symptom that commonly occurs when the balance between these two types of bacteria is disturbed.
How To Maintain The Delicate Balance Between These Bacteria?
Protect yourself against pathogens (eg . Escherichia coli , Salmonella ) by following good food handling practices , such as keeping raw foods away from cooked foods in the kitchen . Always wash hands thoroughly before handling food and after using the toilet . Eat a variety of nutritious foods. And until we unequivocally demonstrates the efficacy and safety of probiotic supplements , it is preferable to maintain the bacterial balance in your gut by eating probiotic foods .
What Foods Contain Probiotics?
More and more food manufacturers offer consumers products fortified with probiotics. Found in the dairy department of the grocery store yogurt, soft cheeses and cottage cheese with probiotics . Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common ingredients . Miso soup , kimchi , sauerkraut , pickles and other fermented foods are also a source of some probiotic cultures.
Probiotics As A Food?
Although all the little things contribute to the balance of good and bad intestinal bacteria , it is important to know that most foods do not contain a therapeutic dose of probiotics. Consumption of probiotic foods proves a preventive measure rather than a treatment . Probiotics are not required to remain in good health, but they can protect against harmful bacteria and promote better digestion. Please consult your doctor before taking probiotic supplements . Some supplements can not be taken with certain medications and are not suitable for everyone.
What Benefits Can We Expect From Probiotics ?
If you have taken antibiotics , probiotics can help restore some of the good bacteria that may have been eliminated by drugs .
– Lactobacillus acidophilus seems a good way to control vaginal and urinary tract infections women.
– Lactobacillus delbruckii subsp. bulgaricus is a microorganism of the genus Lactobacillus. It is a gram-positive bacillus.
Its discovery is due to the Bulgarian student of Medicine Stamen Grigoroff in 1905, and in 1919 it is named Thermobacterium bulgaricum by the Danish Sigurd Orla Jensen (1870-1949).
From 1971 to 1983 its name was Lactobacillus bulgaricus, later renamed by Morrison Rogosa and Dane Poul Arne Hansen (1902-1972).
It is well known for its use in the manufacture of yogurt in combination with Streptococcus thermophilus and in the brewing of some German beers. It is a lactic acid bacterium, it produces lactic acid from lactose.
The bacterium has complex nutritional needs, including the inability to ferment different sugars other than lactose, which produces lactic acid, which gives yogurt tart flavor, coagulates milk proteins and acts as a preservative. It is often helpful for the lactose intolerant, whose digestive system is not equipped with the enzymes that break down lactose into simpler sugars. By fermenting milk, produces acetaldehyde, a major aromatic components of yoghurt.
– Bifidobacterium may play a role in the prevention of allergies.
A good ” microflora ” from the gut can protect you against all kinds of diseases , including colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease .
Probiotic supplements can help reduce the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease .
Probiotics containing Lactobacillus reuteri drops soothe babies with colic .
Yogurt can help relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Unfortunately, many (perhaps most) of these same people are experiencing problems with their weight, due to their unwillingness or impossibility to spend little time for exercise.
But can you lose weight without doing any exercises or it is just an advertising myth from the television? Let’s find out.
Losing weight without exercise?
Probably already ahead of me you answered with “no”, “absurd”, “impossible”, “not gonna happen”. And actually You are not far from the truth, but my goal in this article is to examine the reasons and factors that make the exercises to be mandatory aspect of the ultimate goal – losing weight.
Why exercise is important for weight loss?
Let’s for a moment accept that the weight loss is just a bonus to our effort to be fit and healthy. And in fact, exactly this effort will surely help you in any activity that is part of your everyday life – to be better and more efficient in the office, at school, at university.
Increased physical activity is directly related to reduced risk of heart disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome. When you exercise, you work not only about how you look, but also for your cardiovascular system, high muscle tone and flexibility.
If that does not sound good enough to make you start exercise, then understand that, when you are on a diet without physical activity or exercise, this would lead to loss of more muscle fibers rather than unwanted fat.
In other words, you are reducing your weight, but not at the expense of the fats in your body. And is that what you want to achieve with weight loss? I think you most certainly don’t want this. You don’t want to lose muscle mass and your precious muscle fibers.
You want to lose as much fat as possible. However when you practice a diet without enough physical exercise you are unlocking the catabolic processes and hormones(such as cortisol) in your body, which is resulting in loss of muscle mass and not fat, and in addition that is harming your body and health.
So, you have to combine your diet with an appropriate exercising plan in order to achieve effective balance between loosing weight and your health.
Don’t be totally disappointed and just see the facts from that point of view: our body is designed to be in motion and perform(even be it partial/occasional) physical activity. Try 1-2 physical workouts (whether fitness or running, swimming, football, the choice is yours).
If you have already tried to be “active”, but the result was disappointing, then think about what repels you in such physical activity. Try to motivate yourself and find and realize the benefits for you and your health of being physically active.
How to start exercising and lose weight?
Here are some tips how to include the sport to your weight loss plan:
– Find sports activity that you like – ask yourself what is the first thing you would do, when you put your sport suit on. Yes, such suit or similar and relevant sport outfit is required, because we are not talking about playing chess here.
– Start with realistic goals and expectations – Olympic preparations and physical form is an amazing achievement, but not when you want to play sport at a time when you were almost sure to go with just dieting. If you can do the exercise with 12 kg dumbbells at the moment, don’t fall in love in those with label “30 kg” until the end of the month. Don’t hurry, you have all the time in the world.
– Keep track of your training, your diet, your recovery – understand that you are starting from a certain starting level of physical fitness and training. How you exercise, eat and recover will depend precisely on this level of training. Don’t worry if your training is different
from that of others in the sports center. They probably just have started earlier from a different “starting point.”
– You are thinking something like: “I have a workout after three days, until then I shouldn’t exercise” – Really?
If you have the energy, the desire and drive to do another workout, and you expect it three days later, well apparently you are doing great with your regimen. If you feel that you want to exercise aniway, then you can combine and exercise something with a lighter load, which will free your mind and help you relax, untill your next training session.
Finally, I would like to summarize – weight loss without exercise will not give you the results to which you aspire. If you do not exercise, you will not be able to “tell” your body to burn only unwanted fat, and not to “break down” your muscle tone and then despite that you will lose some weight, you won’t feel slim at all.
Author: Jessy Donston
image source: med-health.net
Once endemic to North African landscape, Argania Spinosa or the Argan tree today features in list of endangered botanical species, and grows almost exclusively in semi-arid regions of Morocco; this in spite of the plant being naturally adapted to harsh environmental conditions.
With regards to health benefits, the oil obtained from the kernel of the fruits of the Argan tree can give olive oil a run for its money, and yet it’s only just beginning to get recognition in the Western world.
So, to those truly interested in learning more about this ‘golden oil’, we urge you to read on.
The Tree of Life
The Argan tree has played a life-sustaining role for people living in semi-arid regions of Morocco as well as their livestock for centuries. Whereas sheep, goats and camels feed off the leaves and fruits from the tree, local population on the other hand use the nutty kernel of the Argan fruit to extract oil for their dietary as well as cosmetic needs.
As for the press-cake left after extracting the oil, that becomes feed for the cattle and horses. It’s no wonder why the Berber community in Morocco consider Argania Spinosa as the ‘Tree of Life’. Today, Argan tree plantations exist primarily in Morocco, but one can also find them scattered around Algeria and Israel.
Argan Oil And Its Pro-Health Properties
Explained below are different health benefits of Argan oil:
1. Skin And Hair Protection: Wrinkles and photo-aging are two problems associated with prolonged exposure to the sun. In that respect, the high level of polyphenols present in Argan oil prevent damage to the skin by reducing the effect of UV-B rays of sun on it.
Sebum is an oily excretion from the pores of the skin, which produces greasiness on the face, not to mention the various disorders associated with it. Here too, Argan oil comes to the aid by reducing the sebum secretion thereby keeping the face clean and clear.
Furthermore, its been observed that shampoos containing a combination of cosmetic-grade Argan oil and polyglycerin-6 tends to reinstate the natural silkiness and softness to hair follicles.
2. Immune And Circulatory Efficiency: Both mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats are considered to be good fats because they are capable of reducing plasma cholesterol level, and given that they are present in high quantity in Argan oil only augers well for the body. Then there is the aspect of linoleic acid, another form of fatty acid that promotes the production of prostaglandins in the body which in turn helps in keeping your body’s immune and circulatory system healthy.
3. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Aragon oil shows great potential in being used as a check against various types of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension (high BP) and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). This can be grossly attributed to the rich composition of poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and tocopherols (Vitamin E) found in the oil.
Anti-Cancer And Anti- Diabetic Potential
There still isn’t enough proof to suggest that Aragan fruit extracts can actually cure cancerous growths or diabetes in humans. However, based on animal studies conducted over the last decade, argan oil does show a lot of promise in these areas.
The tocopherols and saponins derived from Argan oil have exhibited varying degrees of anti-proliferation characteristics against different types of cancer cells in rats.
As for diabetes, a major part of the problem lies with the inability of the pancreas to produce a hormone called insulin. And without the dissemination of this hormone into the blood stream, the body simply struggles to acquire energy from the food one eats.
In this regard, tests done on rats using argan oil extracts have shown a form of ‘insulin signaling’ in liver and fat cells thereby giving weight to the theory that the oil might just have an anti-diabetic role to play in the future.
Do you use Argan oil in your everyday life and what do you think about it?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.