Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Improve Dental Health with Nutrition

16 foods for a healthier smile

By Ryan Maclean

Good dental hygiene involves more than just brushing, flossing and the use of mouthwash.


Whatever you put in your mouth can have an effect on the health of your teeth and gums. We list the best foods that can help you on your way to a whiter, brighter and healthier smile

Apple
An apple a day will not only just keep the doctor away, but the dentist too!

Chewing on a crisp apple forces you to chew for longer. This helps brush away more bacteria from your teeth and help you produce more saliva, which on top of the water within the apple help wash away the bad microbes in your mouth.

Green tea

Green tea is not only a great addition to a weight loss diet but it can also help you with your smile.

Catechins, which are contained in the leaves, are compounds that are able to combat the plaque and cavity causing bacteria that live on your teeth.

The catechins fight the bacteria in three ways:
  • making it harder for the bacteria to stick to teeth
  • making it harder for them to produce plaque
  • having a toxic effect on the bacteria themselves

Carrots

Carrots and other hard fibrous foods make your mouth and jaw work hard to cut through and crunch them down.

This process helps massage your gums as you chew making them slightly red as blood fills the tissues. Making sure your gums get enough nutrients provided by your blood is important in making them look more healthy.

Nuts

These little snacks contain a healthy supply of important minerals such as magnesium, phosphate and calcium. These are essential for teeth growth and maintenance and should be an important factor in your diet for a healthy mouth.

Shiitake mushrooms

These are the only mushrooms which contain an important sugar called lentinan. This sugar has a direct affect on the bacteria that live on your teeth and in your mouth and can inhibit them from producing plaque.

Plaque is the slimy film which you can feel on your teeth, this can mature into tartar and lead to gum problems such as gingivitis.

Mustard

This popular condiment usually found on hotdogs is a natural antibacterial. Containing isothiocyanates, this important compound has the ability to actually stop the bacteria in your mouth from multiplying.

Mustard oil also has the properties of a stain remover, lightly rubbed on the teeth it can help remove stains from smoking and coffee drinking.

Onions

The natural compounds found in onions have an antibacterial action. These have a toxic effect on the bacteria which live in your mouth and on your teeth. The less bacteria you have on your teeth the less likely you are to suffer from cavities as they erode your teeth.

Unfortunately, these compounds are most effective when the onion is raw, so perhaps have some gum to hand after eating some.

Mint

This natural breath freshener is a common flavoring to most oral hygiene products. Its unrivaled popularity is not only due to its clean and freshening flavor and scent, but the plant itself also has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps protect your gums when you brush and eat.

The fresh breath you get is due to vinyl compounds which can get deep into the lungs and maintain the freshness as you breathe.

Water

The mechanism of drinking and swallowing causes turbulence in the mouth, making your mouth like a small washing machine which washes away food particles and cleanses your mouth. The amount of food you have on your teeth has a direct effect on the activity of the bacteria and the acid they produce. Less food means less acid.

In addition, drinking and swallowing makes you produce more saliva which helps neutralize any acids that remain on your teeth

Cheese

This important dairy option keeps your mouth and teeth healthy in a whole manner of ways. It is low in carbohydrate which is a foodstuff favored by the bad bacteria in your mouth.

The alkali pH of cheese has a neutralizing effect, similar to your saliva, which helps fight the cavity causing acid produced by bacteria.

Guava

This tropical fruit contains many vitamins and minerals, however one of the most important is vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for the healthy growth and maintenance of hair and teeth.

This fruit and its compounds help you keep the enamel on your teeth making sure your smile remains white.

Kiwi fruit

This little furry fruit contains an excellent source of vitamin C. This particular vitamin is important for collagen and so makes sure your gums are healthy help support a strong foundation for your teeth.

A lack of this vitamin can lead to gum disease such as gingivitis which can cause tooth loss.

Chicken

These feathered friends and other lean meats contain important minerals such as calcium and phosphate.

These nutrients help repair and maintain the enamel on your teeth. Your enamel can suffer especially if there is too much bacteria in your mouth eating away at this important layer of your teeth.

Celery

The tough fibers of this vegetable act as a natural toothbrush. Food particles are literally rubbed off the teeth as you chew your way through the stems.

The less bacteria on your teeth, ultimately means less acid being made which causes cavities in your teeth.

In addition, chewing also releases more saliva which helps neutralize any excess acid in your mouth.

Sesame seeds

Seeds such as sesame act as a natural exfoliator for the inside of your mouth.

Whilst eating them they move around your mouth and teeth scraping away any excess food particles and plaque from your teeth. Sesame seeds are also high in calcium which helps build and maintain your teeth.

Parsley

This herb is usually just used as a garnish, but it can be so much more.

This plant, like mint, has a freshening property caused by the fact that it contains compounds such as monoterpenes. These help counteract any strong smelling foods you may have eaten and is a great way to finish a meal to make sure your breath stays fresh.



Article source here

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Laughter is the Best Medicine

By Dr. Joe Kosterich

It is impossible to feel stressed when you laugh. Laughter has been shown to be beneficial for our health in a number of ways. When we laugh our physiology literally changes. Our blood pressure goes down and our heart health benefits. There is a release of the body’s natural “happy hormones” the endorphins, which lift our mood and a reduction in the production of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. We tend to breathe more deeply which is good for the lungs and the supply of oxygen to the cells. Our blood vessels relax improving blood circulation.


In addition to this, laughter has a positive effect on the immune system and also the brain. There are also social benefits. It is hard to be angry with someone when you are laughing. A shared laugh strengthens relationships and enhances teamwork. This is why many companies employ comedians for staff development days. In fact the overall effect of laughter on our well being is a similar one to the effect of exercise.

Between political correctness and general busyness people tend to laugh less these days. Somewhere in the growing up years we seem to lose our capacity to laugh spontaneously. It is estimated that children laugh over 300 times a day compared to around 20 for adults. Children see the funny side of just about anything and laugh at things adults regard as “silly”. Maybe it is the children who have got it right and it is the adults who are being silly by not laughing more.

The late Leslie Nielsen had the ability to make many people laugh. His roles in Flying High and The Naked Gun movies (amongst other roles) made millions of people laugh. To be honest, watching the academy awards scene in Naked Gun 33 1/3 made me laugh so much I cried. Even seeing it again years later I was in tears. The humor is classic and to a degree dateless as my children who were born some years after the film was made also cracked up despite it being “an old film, Dad”.

So what else can you do to laugh more? Reading the comics in the paper, watching comedies instead of serious films, getting a joke of the day calendar, watch funny videos on the net. Dare I say even laugh at the joke emails which do the rounds.

Some people really struggle to laugh and there are now classes being run on how to laugh. There is even a form of laughter yoga. Strange as it sounds some of us need to relearn how to laugh and these sorts of classes can be very beneficial.

Step one is a change in attitude. Everything has a funny side if you look for it. Next time, rather than get frustrated at events in life, laugh at them. We cannot influence all the events in life but we can control how we respond to them.

Choosing to look for the funny side and to be less serious will benefit your health and the more of us who do this the more society will benefit as well.


About the author:

Dr. Joe is an author, keynote and motivational speaker, general practitioner and health industry consultant. He previously held senior positions in the Australian Medical Association and sat on numerous industry and government boards. He also has extensive corporate experience in the setting up and management of medical centers.

To read other interesting articles please visit Dr. Joe's website Dr. Joe


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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Argan Oil - The Moroccan Anti-Aging Miracle

Miracle is not an understatement. Any product that can reverse signs of aging is welcome news to the millions of consumers who want youthful looks. But a single product that can reduce skin aging, moisturize, fight acne and even heal psoriasis?


What makes argan oil so effective as a moisturizer, anti-aging solution, hair repair oil, nail strengthener, cuticle softener, stretch mark eliminator, and even acne fighting solution is its unique molecular makeup.

In its purest form, with no additives or enhancers added, Mother Nature’s miracle oil already  includes a potent series of tocopherols, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, squalene, polyphenols, sterols, and triterpene alcohols – all of which play a critical role in keeping you looking fresh, radiant, and youthful.

And we know this because over the last 15 years, the medical community has invested considerable time studying the outstanding cancer-fighting and cardiovascular health benefits of argan oil. And their findings grabbed the attention of the dermaceutical and cosmetics industries, who then began running extensive studies of their own.

Scientists are proving in labs what Moroccan women have known for over 3,500 years:  Argan oil has outstanding moisturizing, healing, and anti-aging properties!

When analyzed in pharmaceutical laboratories, argan oil has been shown to include:

Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

Argan oil contains 200% more tocopherols (Vitamin E) than olive oil, acting as an important antioxidant and free-radical scavenger. It protects the fibroblast of the skin (the cells that make collagen, elastin, and the glycoproteins of the extracellular matrix).  It also improves your skin’s water-binding ability, increases the natural moisture content of the skin, boosts the effectiveness of your sunscreen, prevents and treats scars, plus heals damaged skin.


Argan oil offers 771 mg of tocopherols per kg of oil. That’s more than double the 320 mg/kg found in olive oil! And while doctors recommend you look for skin care products that include a minimum of 0.5% tocopherols, argan oil typically offers 5-9% tocopherols!

Tocopherols also help the skin to absorb other compounds and studies show it’s well-absorbed by human skin.

It’s also worth mentioning that pure argan oil is reported to contain 300% more tocopherols than skincare products that include argan oil in a series of ingredients due to the poor solubility of tocopherols in solvents. Which means you’re better off spending your money on pure argan oil, as the purity preserves the integrity of the Vitamin E!

Essential Fatty Acids

Argan oil includes high levels of fatty acids, primarily oleic (Omega 9) and linoleic (Omega 6) acids, which are both easily absorbed by the skin. Fatty acids are essential to the health of your cellular membranes – keeping the skin elastic and firm, and improving moisture retention. They are also critical in the formation of prostaglandin, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and healing agent.

A Breakdown Of The Fatty Acids In Argan Oil
  • Oleic Acid           43-49.1%
  • Linoleic Acid      29.3-36%
  • Stearic Acid        4.3-7.2%
  • Palmitic Acid      11.5-15%

Natural Antioxidants

Argan oil is high in natural antioxidants that, when applied externally, help to protect your skin from environmental factors like chemicals, pollution, and sun damage – preventing free radical damage, assisting in skin repair and rejuvenation, and giving your skin that hard-to-achieve "glow."

Not only does it include exceptionally high levels of tocopherols, but it also includes traces of copper, which not only acts as an antioxidant, but also supports collagen production for more youthful looking skin.

Squalene

Squalene is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon liquid that is naturally produced by your skin. It functions very much like Vitamin E, acting as an important antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage while preventing the breakdown of your skin's natural collagen and elastin, which is what keeps your skin looking firm and youthful.

Squalene contains lipoproteins that help to prevent the formation of harmful peroxides that can destroy important vitamins in your skin. Plus, squalene has many wound healing and antibacterial properties that make it an excellent choice for those suffering with eczema and psoriasis.

It's deeply moisturizing and acts as an emollient, helping to prevent water loss from the skin. It is also quickly absorbed without making your skin feel greasy.

Polyphenols

Argan oil contains high levels of polyphenols, which fight sun damage and photoaging with UV protection. They also help promote skin repair with anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and free-radical fighting properties.

In particular, argan oil contains high levels of Ferulic Acid, which is prized because it actually increases in potency as an antioxidant when exposed to sunlight, making it particularly effective in helping to prevent photoaging. Other phenols in argan oil include vanillic acid, syringic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, (-)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin.

Sterols

Sterols help prevent skin aging by promoting moisture retention as well as optimizing the function of the skin barrier. Sterols are important for healthy skin because they mimic the effects of cholesterol on the skin, and cholesterol is an important part of the skin's epidermal layer and contributes to overall skin health.

Sterols have been shown to help prevent wrinkles and increase skin elasticity. Plus argan oil contains the very rare D-7 stigmasterol, which is highly regarded for treating skin diseases and healing wounds and compromised skin tissue.

Triterpene Alcohols

Argan oil also contains a series of triterpene alcohols, which are noted for their potent anti-inflammatory action.  Initially studies reported this action occurring upon ingestion, but more recent studies are now showing that they act as an anti-inflammatory when applied topically as well. This may well be another reason why argan oil is known to be so effective for healing a variety of skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Argan oil is a pleasure to use. It's light when compared to other beauty oils and quickly absorbs into the skin. It's not greasy, so you don't need to worry about clogged pores – in fact, it's well-known for its blemish and acne-healing effects. And it's also almost completely odorless; at most you might notice a light, nutty fragrance.

But most important, it completely transforms dry, aging, lackluster skin to give you a refined, dewy, radiant look – with fewer visible lines and wrinkles.

To find out more please click here



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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Aging and Resveratrol

Good for the body, good for the mind, red wine has multiple health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Drink red wine for good health, great skin and even some jump to the genitals. But how does it work? What gives red wine its anti-aging benefits and makes it so important to aging well?


Resveratrol is an antioxidant compound that gained attention in the 1990s, when researchers examined red wine for its anti-aging properties and if it might indeed extend one’s life. And while its anti-aging benefits have been demonstrated in mice and rodents, a recent study claims proof of the same benefits in humans.

The study, conducted by the University of Buffalo, took place over six weeks and consisted of 20 people. Researchers split the group in half, with ten participants in a group receiving a placebo pill and the other a 40 milligram supplement of resveratrol. The researchers took blood samples from the participants at the beginning of the study, and again at weeks one, three and six.

The results will garner attention from anyone with an interest in living well and how to reduce risk of a variety of ailments associated with aging – resveratrol suppressed generation of free radicals in the supplement group, and the placebo did nothing.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that release inflammatory substances in the blood. Wrinkles, accelerated aging and conditions including Alzheimer’s and heart disease are linked to free radicals and degeneration of cells.

The researchers also noted that resveratrol suppressed an inflammatory protein tumor, TNF, and other compounds that inflame blood vessels and inhibit insulin, raising insulin resistance and risk of diabetes. Dietary sources of resveratrol include:

Red wine and grapes – The most common source of resveratrol, one ounce of red wine might have up to 1,000 micrograms of resveratrol. You’ll get more resveratrol in red wine than white, which isn’t fermented with grape skin and loses health benefits in the process.

Blueberries – A true super-food, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and resveratrol is among them. Studies link blueberries to enhanced cognitive function and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

Dark chocolate – Proof that chocolate can be good for your health, dark chocolate is the second leading source of resveratrol, after red wine.

While the results suggest that resveratrol suppressed free radicals and might reduce the effects of aging, it’s possible that it wasn’t resveratrol, rather another anti-inflammatory within the extract responsible for the effects. The researchers note that just 20% of the supplement was resveratrol, and when further studied, the remaining ingredients might hold further promise as a free radical suppressant and link to aging well.

That said, resveratrol persists, for its purported anti-aging benefits and its ability to prevent common killers like diabetes and heart disease. And considering that the latter accounts for 25% of all deaths in the United States and is the leading killer of men and women in Canada and the United Kingdom, there’s little to lose in exploring resveratrol and what it might do.

Article courtesy of Natural Health Source website



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

Friday, February 3, 2012

Health Benefits of Chili Peppers

Chili pepper also called chile pepper or chilli pepper (from Nahuatl term "chilli" ) is the fruit of a plant from the genus Capsicum, in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Chili peppers originally grew in America, but spread around the world after the discovery of the continent by Christopher Columbus.


The fiery fruit found its way into many ethnic cuisines. Its medicinal qualities were quickly discovered and applied for variety of ailments. Modern science confirms most of the popular uses.

The main active compund that gives chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically is capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide). Several other related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids, work in synergy to the same effect.

Chili contains vitamin A, C, B6, and folate. When ripe and red, it contains significant amounts of beta carotene. The hot fruit is also an important source of phosphorus, iron, sodium,  magnesium and silica. They are also rich in lycopene, lutein, and zeaxantin - compounds that help fight free radicals in the body.

Regular intake of chili peppers delays oxidation of serum lipids, and lowers and improves insulin and glucose profiles following a meal, both of which contribute to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Australian researchers also demonstrated that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contained chili pepper. When chili was consumed on regular basis, the insulin requirements dropped even more.

The benefits of chili may even increase with a higher body mass index - an obesity indicator. In obesse individuals, chili not only significantly reduces the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar levels after a meal, but it also results in a lower ratio of C-peptide to insulin, an indication that the rate at which the liver is clearing insulin has increased.

The levels of C-peptide in the blood also indicate how much insulin is being produced by the pancreas. The pancreas produces proinsulin, which splits into insulin and C-peptide when it is secreted into the bloodstream. Each molecule of proinsulin breaks into one molecule of C-peptide and one molecule of insulin. Lower levels of C-peptide indicate that less insulin has been secreted into the bloodstream. Since chili positively affects this ration, regular consumption of chili may help prevent adult diabetes.

Capsaicin improves the ratio of bad versus good cholesterol in blood and stimulates the liver enzyme responsible for the fat metabolism.

Scientists found out that chili stimulates blood circulation and is a great anticoagulant. Both, capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin reduce platelet aggregation and the activity of blood clotting proteins in blood samples. Regular consumption of hot peppers may help reduce the risk of thrombosis and prevent stroke.

A team of scientists found out that capsaicin has the potential to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the cells of the prostate cancer. The cancer cells alter their genetic information to avoid the genetically programmed apoptosis. Capsaicin demonstrated the ability to interfere with this maneuver and slow the proliferation of the cancer cells and the development of prostate tumors.

Hot peppers can provide some relief for cold and sinus problems because capsaicin has as expectorant effect. It increases lung function and facilitates the elimination of mucus.

There is a strong scientific evidence that capsaiconoids in chili boost metabolic rate. This brings hope to many who wish to lose weight. Chili stimulates receptors in the bowel when a spicy meal is eaten and increases thermogenesis. Increased heat means increased energy expenditure and thus the boost to the metabolic rate. It must be said, however, that excessive consumption of hot chili peppers may irritate stomach in sensitive individuals. A safer option for weight loss is available on the market in form of a non-irritant capsaicin pill.

Capsaicin has been used externally with great success to control pain. Such conditions as painful joints, arthritic inflammation, muscle pain, athletic injuries, and frostbite improved considerably with topical application of capsaicin containing ointments. Scientists in Scandinavia found out that capsaicin increases the DNA synthesis and triggers production of pain suppressing collagenase and prostaglandin.

Since capsaicin improves blood circulation, hot chili may be used as an aphrodisiac. It is wise, however, to avoid contact with the genitalia as the stinging may have an adverse effect.

Adding a little chili to daily meals not only makes a bland diet tastier and more appealing, but, most importantly, helps prevent disease and improve many degenerative conditions associated with aging.

By Dominique Allmon

*Information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

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Health Benefits of Chili Peppers by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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