Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lose Weight With Wild African Mango

Obesity is a major risk factor for many diseases including cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. For many people weight loss has become a necessity. Losing weight, however, proves very difficult at times.

As we age, our metabolism often slows down and it is more difficult to lose weight now than it was when we were in our twenties or thirties. It is important to understand these physiological changes and to adjust our nutrition accordingly. Some people, however, may became either glucose or leptin resistant and need more than a simple adjustment of their nutrition.

There are many products on the market making spectacular claims about weight loss. Some of them have excellent results, while others bring disappointment and may even cause damage to health. Information about weight loss products and dieting is confusing at times and may discourage those who want to lose weight from taking any action at all, especially if they have tried to lose weight before and did not succeed.

A serious research is being conducted all around the world since obesity is becoming an acute problem in many countries. Plants that have been used for weight loss in many traditional cultures are now investigated in controlled laboratory settings. The results are very promising and give hope to countless people struggling with health challenges related to the excess weight they are carrying around.

One such plant is the wild African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) also known as the bush mango or ogbono. Research shows that Irvingia extract  can help overweight individuals shed their unwanted pounds. In addition, this extract can help lower the levels of bad cholesterol.

The bush mango is native to West Africa and grows mostly in Southern Nigeria and Cameroon. The tree produces small fruits that look like mangoes, hence the name. The flesh of these fruits is sweet and juicy, but the natives also utilize their seeds. Just like other nuts and seeds, African mango seeds are high in fat. The oil can be extracted and is used for cooking and in soap making, but more often, the nuts are dried, crashed or ground to a fine flour that is used in local cuisine to thicken soups and stews or to bake a cake called "dika bread". The flour is high in carbohydrates, calcium, iron, proteins, and fiber.

Studies show that the wild mango extract can produce considerable weight loss by inhibiting calorie absorption and storage. The extract exerts potent anti-diabetic effect. It normalizes blood sugar and increases the activity of enzymes involved in cellular energy metabolism. Further, the extract also lowers the levels of "bad" cholesterol, at the same time increasing the levels of beneficial cholesterol in the body. Wild mango extract is also capable of inhibiting the enzyme amylase which is responsible for breaking up the starches into sugar. In this way irvingia extract is useful for dieters who wish to restrict their total carbohydrate exposure. In addition to blocking amylase, the extract acts directly on fat cells in the body. it helps reduce the lipid formation and storage.

What is leptin?

Leptin is a fat-burning and appetite-suppressing hormone. It modulates appetite by sending signals to our brains when we have consumed enough calories. It also enhances the body's ability to utilize fat deposits as energy source.

As we age our cells may become leptin resistant and this hormone loses its ability to regulate body weight. The more overweight we are, the more leptin circulates in the body in attempt to inform the brain that there are enough fat cells in the body and that our food intake is adequate. But because these fat cells are constantly infused with leptin, they lose their sensitivity to this hormone. We develop leptin resistance, or the inability to respond to the satiety signals, and as a consequence are unable to lose belly fat or to maintain optimal weight. This condition is paired with insulin resistance and we develop so called metabolic syndrome.

Seed extract of the wild African mango shows a great promise in correcting leptin resistance. It enhances the breakdown of fat in fat cells and signals the brain to turn on the satiety message. The extract also shows the ability to increase insulin sensitivity and to inhibit amylase - a digestive enzyme responsible for carbohydrate digestion. People who participated in 10-week studies not only lost some weight, but also showed improved blood levels of total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and the C-reactive protein.


The suggested daily dose of wild African mango seed extract is 150mg taken twice a day approximately 30 minutes before meals. It is best to take the extract before breakfast and before lunch.

The extract is fairly safe and it is often mixed with such nutrients zinc, chromium, caffeine, and green tea extract. The extract will not work for overweight people who consume more calories than they can actually utilize. One cannot irresponsibly overeat and expect to lose weight with pills and potions. No pill can substitute a healthy diet and exercise. And no pill can take away our responsibility for the choices we make.

By Dominique Allmon

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

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Lose Weigh With Wild African Mango by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Prepare Your Immune System for the Winter

Foods and supplements to boost immune system

For those of us living in the northern latitudes winter may be a very challenging season. With lower outside temperatures we may experience colds and flu as well as other unpleasant illnesses and symptoms.

There is, however, a way to protect yourself from infections. You simply have to boost your immune system and implement a few simple strategies that will help you stay fit and healthy during the winter months.

By preparing your immune system for winter and strengthening your immune response, you will be able to pass through the cold season without an infection and if you catch a cold, your symptoms will be less severe and you will recover much faster.

Our immune system acts like a protective shield that thwarts harmful pathogens from attacking your organism. In contact with pathogens a series of reactions are taking place within your body. Cells, organs and tissues of your immune system are mobilized to disable the pathogens. The symptoms you may experience (fever, for instance), although very unpleasant, are the signs of a well functioning immune system. Using medication to suppress these symptoms will only weaken your immune system. Instead, you should support your immune system with herbs and natural remedies, get enough rest, and let your body recover from infection all by yourself. You may want to take natural supplements to ease your symptoms, but as the common wisdom goes, it takes a week to cure the cold with drugs, but only seven days to recover without them.

In order for your immune system to function properly, you need to support it with proper nutrition, nutritional supplements and herbs. It is important that you eat more fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably organic) that are rich in vitamins, esp. vitamin C, and minerals, esp. zinc. Zinc may be the most important micro nutrient for your immune system. It is needed for the stimulation of the white blood cells that are important elements of your defense system. People who are deficient in zinc are more susceptible to infections. Zinc works in synergy with vitamin C and in order to be effective in your body it must be taken with its co-factor amino acid Histidine. Taken alone, zinc may be ineffective as the foods you eat interfere with its absorption, especially when you are a vegetarian. The recommended dose is 15 mg per day with up to 1000 mg vitamin C and 100-500 mg Histidine. The other important vitamin for the immune system is the vitamin D3 which works in the body as a potent antibiotic. Vitamin D3 helps the body to increase the production of body's own antimicrobial peptides. The body uses these peptides to destroy pathogenic organisms, including the influenza virus. The suggested dose is 2,000 IU. Another very effective supplement is the polysaccharide beta glucan. The insoluble beta glucans 1,3 and 1,6 derived from medicinal mushrooms and from yeast are very effective immune system modulators and do not overstimulate the immune system. There is no established daily dose of beta glucan, but manufacturers suggest 500-1,000 mg as an effective dose for the enhancement of the immune system.

The Nature supplied us with very effective herbs and power foods that have the ability to boost the immune system and help us stay healthy during winter. They have unique immune enhancing properties and can be used in many different situations to support our overall immune response. They are time tested in many cultures and can be purchased in form of capsules, teas or tinctures in any health food store or pharmacy. Some can simply be used as foods and may be used to enhance your winter cooking.

Here is a list of my favorite winter remedies. You may already know most of them. Or maybe you wish to try something new this winter:
  • andrographis
  • astragalus
  • chamomile
  • colostrum
  • eleutherococus
  • elderberry
  • echinacea purpura
  • garlic
  • onions
  • ginger
  • hot peppers
  • honey
  • propolis
  • royal jelly
  • rose hips
  • lime flowers
  • medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi, maitake and shiitake
  • essential oils of cinnamon, thyme, mint and lavender

The list does not end here. These are, however, the best known and most widely used and time tested winter remedies. Some of them are to be taken as tinctures or infusions, as pills or capsules, others are simply added to your daily meals, or used in aromatherapy and for inhalations to clear the sinus congestion. They all have strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and are known to activate and support the immune system. Chose the ones you feel comfortable with and take them systematically to build up your immune system.

If you catch your first cold, remember to never ever take antibiotics. Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria not viruses, but common cold and flu are caused by viruses that are unresponsive to antibiotic treatment. There are about 200 different viruses that cause the flu symptoms!

Antibiotics will only weaken your immune system as they destroy the flora in the small intestine which is the seat of the immune system in the body. You will only end up in a vicious cycle. Instead, take a concentrated action to boost the activity of your immune system. Do not wait for the symptoms to fully develop to a flu. Take time to heal your infection, rest and relax as much as you can. Sleep is vital as our immune system recovers during the night.

In addition you may want to implement some lifestyle changes during the winter:
  • Wash your hands as often as you can, especially when you come home from work.
  • Avoid sick people.
  • Dress up for winter - keep you body warm, especially your hands and feet.
  • Keep your blood circulating! The idea of taking alternate warm and cold showers in the morning may sound outrageous, but you will soon notice that your body feels warm even in the coldest weather. Use ginger and hot peppers to spice your meals and drink spiced chai instead of ice tea.
  • Reduce the consumption of mucus producing foods such as diary and white bread.
  • Exercise moderately and spend some time outside.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Supplement with best possible immune supporting products.
  • Take high quality multivitamin and bio-available minerals formula.
  • Rest, relax and pamper yourself.
  • Get enough sleep. Remember that your immune system recovers during the night.
  • Reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption, and if you smoke, stop smoking as this habit deprives your body of the vitamin C which is so important to your immune system.
  • Take precautions not to pass your infection on to others.
Preparing your immune system for winter and implementing a few simple strategies will help you enjoy the beauty of this season and pass through it without infection.

Take time to relax and contemplate the changes in nature. And no matter how cold and dark it may be outside, always let the sun shine from the inside out.

By Dominique Allmon

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

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How to Prepare Your Immune System for the Winter by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Health Benefits of Beets

The beet (Beta vulgaris) is a herbaceous biennial plant in the Amarathaceae-Chenopodiaceae family that is best known in its numerous cultivated varieties, of which the beetroot, or the garden beet, is the most popular.

Medicinal use of beets dates back to Ancient Rome where the bulbous roots and the leaves were used to cure variety of ailments that included fever, constipation, blood conditions and law libido.

The roots come in a variety of colors that can range from deep purple to golden yellow and white. The roots are round or oblong and are attached to purple-green leaves that are rich in vitamins, minerals  and carotenoids and can also be eaten.

Health benefits of beets:
  • anti-aging
  • hormonal rejuvenation
  • antioxidant
  • anti-inflammatory
  • detoxification and liver support
  • digestion support
  • cancer prevention
  • great source of energy

Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin (which is a betacyanin pigment) and vulgaxanthin (a betaxanthin) are two best-studied betalains from beets, and both have shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They also support the body's own detoxification processes. Although these betalain pigments are also present in such foods as the stems of chard or rhubarb, concentration of betalains in the peel and flesh of beets is the highest.
Beets are an excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper and iron. They also contain high levels of boron which is responsible for optimal levels of sex hormones in the body.

Raw beets are rich in vitamin C, B1, B3, B5, and B6. They are a great source of dietary fiber. 

Betain present in beets helps lower homocysteine levels in the blood and reduce inflammation. High levels of homocystiene are responsible for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular diseases.

The leaves are rich in carotenoids, flavonoids  and vitamins A and K, and can be eaten raw or cooked. 

Researchers found that the combination of phytonutrients in beets may help prevent a number of cancers including breast, prostate, and colon cancers. They also support healthy vision and overall health of the nerve cells. With an ORAC value of 800 they are fairly good antioxidants.

Although high in sugar, beets do not cause sugar spikes. They have a very low glycemic index which means that the sugar is released very slowly into the blood stream.

Beets are perfect for people who wish to lose weight. They are low in calories and almost fat free. High in fiber, vitamins and minerals, they provide optimal health support. They can be eaten raw, cooked, grilled or marinated.

By Dominique Allmon ©2012

A word of caution

Beets and, especially, the beet leaves, contain oxalic acid that has been implicated in the formation of kidney stones. Oxalates also interfere with the absorption of calcium within the body. 

Individuals with a kidney stones history should eat beets in moderation or avoid them completely.

*ORAC - Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples in vitro.

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.
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