Natural Health


Should Vegans be Adding Brain Boosters to their Diet? 21

vegan dietSuccess and intelligence are essential to getting ahead in the competitive business world today, and children and college students find those attributes to be very important when it comes to their academics, too. However, in order to retain your sharp-witted sense throughout the years, you need to find ways to boost your brain power. While many rely on prescriptive methods to get an edge on the overachievers, you’ll find natural methods such as nootropics to be more beneficial.

What are Nootropics? The term was coined back in the 1960s by Romanian chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea. In order to qualify as a nootropic, the drugs should be able to boost the body’s ability to learn, memorize and provide protection to the brain from injuries. It should also have no toxicity, stimulant or sedative effects. The natural substances in these drugs can also increase the brain’s neurotransmitter count, activate nerve growth and increase the supply of oxygen that reaches the brain. Natural nootropics can enhance the brain's abilities to function through essential vitamins, minerals and herbs. From B6, bacopa and amino acids to huperzia serrata, vinocetine and ginko biloba, you’ll find this natural substance improves brain health and cognitive aptitudes. Scientifically synthesized nootropics work similarly to their natural counterparts and include products such as racetums and noopept and piracetums. Nevertheless, individuals need to do their research before taking any chemical or synthetic nootropic.

The Many Benefits of Nootropics The long-term benefits of nootropics are plentiful, and they begin by helping to improve the brain’s abilities to function well beyond old age. From enhanced alertness and a rise in attention to sustained focus and improvements in memory, these substances can give an individual the smarts that they need to succeed and function throughout life. They are also essential to people as they age, especially seniors. Since the memory declines as a person ages, nootropics can aid in cognitive functioning and help alleviate symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The right nootropics can also elevate a person’s mood, energy and reduce stress and anxiety.

Adding Nootropics to a Vegan Diet Natural nootropics are easy to obtain when you follow a healthy diet. However, some may think that consuming “smart foods” aren’t a part of a vegan diet. Vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, corn, spinach, blueberries, grapefruit, avocado’s, cherries, bananas and prunes are vegan-friendly and part of a brain boosting diet. Whole-grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and barley are just as important. While vegans stay away from meat and fish, you'll find that nuts, seeds, beans and dark chocolate are just as satisfying and healthy for consumption. Creative ways to add the foods naturally can include green or fruit smoothies, sweet potato hash, curried quinoa and dark chocolate mousse for dessert. In addition to consuming a healthy diet, natural supplements can also be added to a vegan diet to help obtain the benefits of nootropics. Taken separately, ginkgo biloba, huperzine, bacopa monnieri, vinpocetine and lion’s mane can all help improve the functions of the brain. However, you can also stack the supplements safely when you combine them based on your own specific needs. There are also products on the market today that do this for you and include Alpha Brain, Focus Factor and BrainStack.

Brain Boosting Smoothie Juicing recipes give a boost to your cognitive function. To make optimal smoothies, you'll need to have a masticating juicer in your kitchen. These juicers are best for leafy green vegetables. The beets in the recipe below are rich in nitrates, making them a great cognitive enhancer. The berries are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, which are helpful in staving off cognitive decline as you age.

Brain Builder Smoothie Mix together one Beet, and two handfuls each of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the juicer. Strain the mixture if needed, and pour into a glass and enjoy. Nootropics can improve the body’s ability to concentrate, memorize and improve mental clarity. While synthetic varieties are just as safe as their natural counterparts, eating a healthy diet can be an added boon for vegans who are looking for creative ways to consume the many brain inspiring foods.

Author: Holly Chavez

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Vitamin D: Does Less Sun Mean More Disease? 7

Around 9 out of 10 people you know are deficient in vitamin D, which we get from the sun. Find out why, what that does to you, and what you can do about it, right now by watching this short, stunning animation.

"From sunlight, our skin makes a vital substance, Vitamin D. Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin, has a major impact on our bodies. It increases activation in more than 2000 genes This increased gene activation allows the body to combat disease. It is these changes that help us to combat disease. In fact, over 5000 scientific studies have shown the clear association of Vitamin D deficiency with more than 100 diseases and health problems, most of which have seen dramatic increases over the past 50 years. These include some of the big ones: cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis,obesity and heart disease Even rickets, which supposedly had gone away 80 years ago, has reappeared."

Learn more about the video and the vitamin:
  • Sheryl Lyon

Is Your Prescription Hurting You? Some Common Meds With Problems 7

these pills are fine to pass the time Although most people like to believe that medication will improve their quality of life, there are some prescription drugs available that have been proven to cause serious side effects. Therefore, it is necessary for all patients to take the time to familiarize themselves with each medication that their doctor prescribes before they head to the pharmacy.

After all, if you find out that your primary care physician wants you to begin taking a medication that has been implicated in several lawsuits, you should definitely discuss your options before you simply agree to fill the prescription.

What if I Already have a Dangerous Medication? Unfortunately, many people start taking a new medication before they find out that it could be dangerous. This can happen for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from a lack of research to taking a prescription drug that was recently released. For example, many stroke patients were thrilled when they learned about all of the positive benefits of taking Pradaxa after it was approved for usage in the U.S. on October 19, 2010. Sadly, none of these patients had access to the data that is widely available today that makes it clear that Pradaxa can be worse than the problem that it was created to prevent. In fact, it was linked to 120 deaths in the U.S. during the first six months that it was available, and more than 800 other serious issues also occurred. Unfortunately, these numbers continue to climb because this prescription is still legally available in the U.S. even though it has been the most complained about drug in the country since its release.

Other Examples of Dangerous Medications There are several other medications that have caused serious side effects. For example, Pradaxa was released as an alternative option to Warfarin because the stroke medication had long been known to cause hemorrhages and other serious issues. Unfortunately, Pradaxa has now surpassed Warfarin's annual rate of consumer complaints and lawsuits. This illustrates how easy it is for a medication to gain a positive reputation that is completely unfounded.

After all, Pradaxa was once looked at as a miracle drug that would make life much easier for stroke patients. A similar claim has been refuted among patients who take Lipitor for high cholesterol. Although the prescription medication does typically provide patients with relief from their high cholesterol, it has also been linked to several cases of diabetes. In fact, postmenopausal women who take Lipitor have a high risk of ending up dealing with type 2 diabetes as a result of their cholesterol treatment, and this has caused several lawsuits.

If you have suffered from a health complication after taking a medication such as Pradaxa, you should contact an attorney who specializes in cases that involve dangerous prescription drugs. Keep in mind that the manufacturers of these pills know that they can be dangerous, but they have not taken any steps to recall them. Therefore, you should hold them accountable for injuring you due to their willful negligence.

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Healthy Shopping, Top Fitness Trends and A Biotech Holiday 3

[caption id="attachment_7062" align="alignleft" width="400"]healthy shopping via Ian Junor on Flickr[/caption] Proper Shopping Posture for Healthy Shopping Holiday shopping can be stressful due to lack of parking, inclement driving weather, long lines and crowds. To make matters worse, many people can actually hurt themselves physically by shopping for hours while making poor use of their body. Common bad practices including wearing high heels to shop and carrying heavy purses/packages on only one side of your body. Do yourself a favor, wear comfortable shoes and balance your load or make it really easy on yourself, save yourself gas and stress and shop online. Top Fitness Trends for 2009 The top fitness trends for 2009 as reported by CBS news include a return to classic fitness as well as new ways to keep fitness interesting. From here is the rundown:
  • "Boot camp-style fitness programs.
  • Workout plans that are less expensive.
  • Specialty classes like Zumba, Bollywood, Afro-Cuban, and ballroom dancing. These classes are set to rhythmic music and aim to increase cardiovascular fitness while folks have fun.
  • The basics. Fitness professionals believe that people will want to return to basic fitness programs.
  • Circuit training. Circuit training blends strength training and cardiovascular activity at different intensities. Another plus: gyms can set up their own circuit for members to follow.
  • Kettlebell training. These iron weights, traditionally used in Russia, aim to develop whole body fitness and core strength.
  • Boomer fitness. A focus on fitness led by people 50 and older.
  • Technology-based fitness. Using high-tech gadgets like iPods to help keep workouts engaging, plus an increase in interactive fitness video games.
  • Event or sports-specific exercises. A focus on the simple things, like basketball or volleyball games, or day bike rides.
  • Mixing it up. Low-intensity cardio or weight-training on one day, followed by a high-intensity workout on another day."
  Click here gifts for fitness fanatics for some great ideas to give fitness buffs in your life. Bonus: Many don't require a trip to the mall. Biotech and Big Pharma Christmas Have you ever wondered what Big Pharma and Monsanto dream of instead of visions of sugarplums? Why genetically engineered pear trees and self stuffing turkeys of course! Sneak peek from The Ethicurian: "....thanks to an innovative set of enzymatic modifications, Atlanta-based Necro/gen’s Stodge-Ready® bird will be able to process a specialized diet of bread, onions, celery, and sage and store it internally, making this the first self-stuffing Christmas turkey. A Thanksgiving version is slated for late 2009. (Necro/gen researchers are currently at work on a “Taste-Terminator®” turkey gene, designed to render the cooked bird entirely flavorless immediately upon cooling, making it useless for leftovers.)" Check out the whole article. It is as scary as it is hilarious...seriously, we all know that they would if they could. Have a happy, healthy holiday!!

How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving 4

Gratitude is a dish best served daily but as for the rest of Thanksgiving fare, it is a great thing that the holiday only comes once a year or we would all be obese. Baked goods, fried foods, sugar and fat. We gather around and eat until our pants pop. Would you like time with your family yet long for something a little less stressful on your body? Here are a few recent articles that offer some tips to for a Healthy Thanksgiving. Here are some tips from “Nuts: They’re your friend, says Martica. Limit yourself to one serving (about a small palmful) before the big meal, and she points to research that says you’ll eat less food later. Green veggies: They sound healthy, but creamed spinach or a rich green bean casserole? Not so much. Instead, think outside of the box when it comes to green veggies. Focus on simple preparations and maybe even do something unexpected. “One year I brought sauteed artichokes and kale to Thanksgiving,” says Martica. Turkey: “It’s really healthy,” she says, noting our favorite fall bird’s nutritional rap: low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a good source of folic acid. So don’t be afraid to enjoy some. But keep serving sizes in mind. “One serving of turkey is the size of a deck of cards. And save 50-60 calories by choosing white meat without skin.” Gravy: Use Martica’s logic for salad when it comes to gravy. “Think of gravy like you would salad dressing,” she says. “Do you need to slather every lettuce leaf with creamy dressing, or can you make due with a tablespoon and just spread it around?” Cranberry sauce: Time to get culinary, says Martica. “Store-bought, canned kinds of cranberry sauce,” says Martica, “often have lots of calories and corn syrup.” Better bet? “Make it from scratch with less sugar and add fruit juice instead.” Her favorite technique is to reduce the cranberries down over the stove with a little sugar and fruit juice such as pomegranate or orange juice. Mashed potatoes: They have a bad reputation, says Martica, but they shouldn’t! “Potatoes are high in vitamin C and high in fiber.” But, instead of loading up on cream and butter when you make them, mash them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper instead, and you’ll have a much healthier dish of spuds. Eggnog: Yes, it’s pretty rich, says Martica. “But it also has a lot of nutrients, like protein and calcium.” So don’t deprive yourself of your (and my!) favorite holiday treat. Just have a half cup, says Martica, which will save you 200 calories. Then, cut with a little skim milk. “It’s always best to dilute it a bit.” Pie: Put simply, choose apple or pumpkin. Apologies to pecan pie, but it’s a dieter’s death trap, says Martica. And, skip the whipped cream and ice cream. Pie is delicious without the trimmings!” More tips come from Stuffing. Prepare stuffing with whole grain bread. Cook the stuffing separate from the turkey. If you add the turkey drippings, be sure to skim off the fat. You save fat calories and provide whole grain goodness. Mashed Potatoes. Using chicken broth instead of butter will lighten up the texture of mashed potatoes and make them fluffier. Using broth instead of butter eliminates most of the fat from a mashed potato dish. For a creamier texture, add a little low-fat or fat-free half and half or buttermilk. Vegetable Tray. Add some new vegetables to those boring celery and carrot sticks by including jicama, snow peas, grape tomatoes, scallions, mushrooms, orange and yellow pepper strips and other varieties of produce. Serve with a balsamic vinegar-based dressing instead of a mayonnaise-based dip.” My advice: Skip baked desserts and fried foods and don’t overeat on the rest. Or if you are vegetarian like me, consider volunteering at your local soup kitchen or food bank and skipping the feast altogether. Image Source: