Author Archives: Allison Daughtery

Got funky Breath? Here are Some Causes – and Fixes

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Got chronic halitosis? If you do, chances are that your friends haven’t told you, because, well, they’re your friends and they don’t want to hurt your feelings. But halitosis — bad breath, as it is more commonly known — is a common problem, so you might have a problem and just not know it.

How common is halitosis? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, about 80 million people suffer from chronic bad breath. But there is good news: Finding a cure for this embarrassing condition is very much possible, if you first know what causes it.

For many people, the solution lies in what they eat; that’s because certain foods, like garlic and onions, are huge contributors to bad breath. What’s more, after they have been digested, odor-causing agents then travel through the bloodstream and are emitted through the lungs. Avoiding these foods — or, at least, cutting back on them — reduces halitosis.

Also, as reported by Guardian Liberty Voice:

Yet other cases of bad breath are due to poor oral hygiene. When food particles are trapped between the teeth, bacteria start to break them down releasing noxious odors. While regular brushing is a good start on preventing this type of bad breath, it is also important to floss, use mouthwash (those containing chlorine dioxide are a good choice) and even brush the tongue. The tongue is often a surprising source of bacteria-induced odor and regular usage of a tongue scraper can make a big difference in how fresh a person’s breath is. Regular visits to the dentist to detect and prevent gum disease are also important.

Some causes have nothing to do with the mouth

If a person has had poor dental hygiene for a long period of time, seeing a dentist is the first step in reversing a history of halitosis. Dentists can spot whether bad breath is being caused by gum disease — a condition that can develop due to poor hygiene. When a person neglects to see his or her dentist for years at a time, coupled with poor brushing/cleaning habits, plaque can build up on teeth, which can then cause a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Toxins from the bacteria then irritate gums, and the entire process leads to funky breath.

Tobacco use can also cause bad breath, especially chewing tobacco, and the only way to fix this cause is to not chew or smoke tobacco. Besides causing a number of other physical health problems, tobacco use can also cause stained teeth, gum irritation and inability to taste foods.

Certain medicines and medical conditions can also cause halitosis. For instance, medications that cause dry mouth can leave a person with unpleasant breath.

Bad breath can also be caused by conditions that have nothing to do with the mouth or teeth. For instance, chronic lung, sinus and throat infections can certainly cause sufferers to have chronically bad breath. In addition, stomach ulcers, acid reflux and hiatal hernia, the latter of which causes regurgitation of food, can also cause bad odors.

So, what to do about the problem? Here are some possible fixes:

–Always practice good dental hygiene. Spend time every morning and evening, before you go to bed, brushing your teeth and flossing with a good floss. The time you put into this will pay off in terms of fresher breath.

–Invest in a good mouthwash. [Editor’s note: This item has been removed by me because the writer’s suggestion was not accurate. Antibacterial mouthwash is useless and full of toxic chemicals.]

–Reconsider your diet. You like spicy foods — got it. But maybe cutting down on them or giving up certain foods altogether is something that you should think about.

–Don’t be afraid to bring it up with your doctor. He or she may be able to help you pinpoint the problem and direct you to a cure.

For his part, our editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, recommends chlorophyll. It’s Mother Nature’s amazing green cleaning machine, and the more you take, the cleaner you get, he says.

 

Prickly Pear: Discover the Healing Power of an Ancient Aztec Superfood

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If you live in Latin America, or a semi-arid region of the United States, a wild superfood may be ripe for the picking in your own backyard. Known as prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp), the leaves and fruit of this desert plant can be harvested and consumed to treat a variety of conditions — including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

Native to the mountainous areas of Mexico, prickly pear cactus has been used since ancient times as a potent medicine, as well as a daily food source. Many of the nutritional advantages of the plant are attributed to its growing habitat – namely, volcanic soil and high altitude. The Aztecs so valued prickly pear that it was considered food fit for warriors and royalty. Jump to the present day and you’ll find health enthusiasts have also embraced the food for boosting stamina, improving health and slimming down.

Health perks

A common sight in Hispanic communities and Latin America, cactus as a food may seem exotic to those unfamiliar with its use. And yet, science is beginning to recognize prickly pear as a beneficial food and therapeutic medicinal for many of the health disorders plaguing us today. One of the more intriguing uses for the cactus paddle (known as nopales) is in the treatment of diabetes. As a low-glycemic, high-fiber food, nopales lowers blood sugar levels, helping to keep obesity and diabetes at bay. Moreover, research published in Chemistry Central Journal found that consuming either tortillas or bars made with nopales increased vitamin C plasma levels, and reduced both cholesterol as well as triglycerides – which is good news for those concerned about cardiovascular disease.

As an added benefit, the plant sterols found in prickly pear act as antioxidants in the system, reducing inflammation and deterring the formation of plaque on blood vessel walls. What’s more, the flavonoids present in the cactus minimize free radical load, which lessens the strain on the liver and boosts overall immunity. Since the fruit and leaves of the plant are loaded with non-carbohydrate polysaccharides in the form of pectin, hemicellulose and mucilage, prickly pear soothes and coats the digestive tract, relieving constipation as well as ulcers.

How to use

Fresh prickly pear nopales and fruit can often be found in your local supermarket – just be cautious about the source as some varieties from Mexico are contaminated with a potent neurotoxic pesticide. Tortillas and fruit bars made from prickly pear are also available. Additionally, organic nopales powder is an easy way to spruce-up your favorite smoothie. If you are lucky enough to have prickly pear cactus growing wild in your neighborhood, have a look at this informative tutorial on how to harvest and juice the fruit.

Vitamin C Could Reduce Risk of Stroke

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The benefits of vitamin C on the immune system have been well documented for a number of years. Vitamin C is crucial to the overall health of the body in its efforts to fight off infections – both bacterial and viral. Recent research has discovered another advantage to ensuring that levels of vitamin C are at the optimum.

Strokes and vitamin C

Recently, at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, a small French study presented evidence that those people who have normal levels of vitamin C showed a significantly reduced risk for hemorrhagic stroke when compared to those people whose vitamin C levels were deficient or low. Hemorrhagic stroke, while less common than ischemic stroke, is more deadly.

Dr. Stephane Vannier, of Frances’ Pontchalilou University Hospital, cited the results of this study as pointing to low levels of vitamin C as a risk factor for strokes of this type. Other risk factors that he pointed out include being overweight, having high blood pressure and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

Details of French study are startling

Dr. Vannier, and his colleagues, studied 130 people. Half of those people had not had a stroke while the other half had suffered one. Out of all 130 people, 45 percent had vitamin C levels that were classified as being very low. Another 45 percent of the study participants had levels of vitamin C that were normal. Of those 65 people in the study that had never had a stroke, all of them had normal levels of vitamin C.

Accumulating evidence shows stroke and vitamin C connection

This French study data is still quite new as it has not yet been through the peer review phase. However, it already corroborates some earlier studies that showed similar results. A University of Cambridge study, undertaken in 2008, showed that participants with high vitamin C levels in their blood had a 42 percent reduction in the occurrence of strokes.

Another study, undertaken in 1995 and cited in the British Medical Journal, showed that among elderly people, those with lower levels of vitamin C showed the greatest risk of having a stroke.

Recently, a 20-year research project was completed in Japan. Dr. Tetsuji Yokoyama, an epidemiologist who led the study, stated that his study showed that sufficient levels of vitamin C had positive effects on all types of strokes, including the type that is most common. Of the more than 2,100 participants in the Japanese study, those people who were in the group with the lowest amounts of vitamin C suffered more strokes.

Given all the research that points to the plethora of benefits that are possible with the correct levels of vitamin C, it makes sense to enjoy an extra serving of fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Men need 90 milligrams a day while women should get 75.

Six Ways Women can Reduce their Risk of Stroke

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Studies have shown that women are more at risk of suffering a stroke than men, and for the first time, women and their physicians are now armed with evidence-based guidelines on how best to reduce those risks.

“The take-home here is really about starting prevention earlier,” Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, an associate professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., told National Public Radio. Bushnell is the lead author of the guidelines published recently in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

“For the most part the focus of our guideline is for women who are thinking about getting pregnant,” said Bushnell, who added that that includes women who are actively trying to avoid pregnancy with birth control pills and women who are trying to become pregnant.

“The only controversy for us is that we are recommending blood pressure treatment [with medication] during pregnancy,” Bushnell says. “That’s something the obstetricians may disagree with.”

Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, M.D., Director of Neuroscience Critical Care and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, added that women should be evaluated a little differently for stroke risk than men.

“Evaluation and management of stroke in women has some nuances that are unique to women. In particular, a woman may present with sudden pain in her face and limb, sudden nausea or sudden hiccups rather than the more common stroke symptoms seen in both sexes,” she told Natural News. “When evaluating a woman, particular attention needs to be paid to her headache history; whether she is pregnant, on oral contraceptives or on hormone replacement therapy; and if she has a history of autoimmune diseases such a lupus.”

How to reduce women’s risk of stroke

There are several ways that women can mitigate their risk of stroke, experts say. Michale J. (Mickey) Barber, M.D., an anesthesiologist and academic, as well as an age management expert who works primarily with women on heart disease/stroke prevention, offered the following measures in particular:

— Control that blood pressure. Like other experts, such as Bushnell, Barber says she believes that keeping blood pressure under control is vital. “Many women tend to ignore or are undertreated for hypertension. The first step in many cases is to improve body composition as a drop in weight of 10 pounds can translate to a drop in systolic BP by 10 mm mercury,” she told Natural News.

— Watch low folate and vitamin B12 levels. “These levels are reflected by high homocysteine levels,” she said. “It is common in women over the age of 45 to become less and less efficient at absorbing B-12 from the gut. High levels of homocysteine increase thrombosis (clot), impair microcirculatory function and increase inflammation.”

— Diet is, as always, very important. Barber recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables “to provide adequate antioxidants to counter oxidative stress (inflammation).” As reported by Natural News, some of the best antioxidant foods include berries (tropical acai berries rank the highest, followed by blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranates and strawberries); veggies like kale, spinach and broccoli; legumes like black beans and kidney beans; nuts and grains like pecans, walnuts and steel-cut oats; and chocolate (in moderation) [http://www.naturalnews.com].

— Eat like a Greek. Barber recommends a Mediterranean-style diet consisting of higher intake of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, as well as moderate-to-higher consumption of fish and limited animal fats. Obesity is a huge stroke factor.

— Exercise. Making time for vigorous physical exercise “like your life depends on it” is vital, says Barber. This is especially true as we age; a sedentary lifestyle is not conducive to a long, productive life.

— Limit alcohol and stop smoking. Some alcohol — like red wines — has been found to be beneficial for the heart, in limited amounts, but there is nothing good that comes from smoking. Besides increasing your risk of cancer, smoking is devastating to your heart and cardiovascular system, and this can be especially true for women.

Some other things that women can do to reduce their risk, Barber said, is to consider a low-dose aspirin per day (after discussing this with your health professional), eliminating toxic stress, increasing your meditation and controlling diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions “with a low glycemic diet and exercise.”

 

The Benefits of Going Vegetarian

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Weight loss, a healthier heart, drastically reduced cancer risk and more…

With the proper planning and education, research shows that going vegetarian is an excellent step to improve and protect your health. By minimizing processed foods and emphasizing whole plant foods, vegetarians enjoy a more nutritious and far less toxic way of eating than the average. The bottom line: As a vegetarian, you will be better protected from a range of major diseases, take in more nutrients and potentially lose a lot of weight.

Weight loss

The high water content and fiber in plant foods is probably to thank for the weight loss that occurs when an omnivore becomes vegetarian. Overweight people typically lose 10 percent of their body weight when they switch to a vegetarian diet, and the body-mass index (BMI) of vegetarians is generally lower as well. Vegetarian diets have less saturated fat and are likely to contain less fat overall.

Better digestion

Fiber, the indigestible matter that gives structure to plant foods, is essential for speeding waste out of the body. Virtually all whole plant foods have a positive impact on digestion. Animal foods, on the other hand, contain no fiber and move sluggishly through the digestive system. This results in constipation and putrefaction of meat in the digestive tract, letting harmful bacteria linger.

A healthier heart

Fiber has another health benefit – reducing cholesterol. One type, soluble fiber, actually pulls cholesterol out of the body. Vegetarians also have a head start on healthy cholesterol, since plant foods don’t contain any. As a result, cholesterol levels in vegetarians are typically 40 points lower than those of omnivores. Blood pressure is also lower overall, suggesting that vegetarians have a 20-40 percent reduced risk of heart disease and a 30-60 percent reduced risk of stroke. In fact, an analysis of five studies concluded that vegetarians have a 34 percent reduced risk of dying from a heart attack compared to omnivores.

Slowed aging

High antioxidant content in many plant foods like berries and raw chocolate combats the cellular damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals, which are ingested from cooked foods and polluted air (among other sources), are one of the main causes of aging. A diet high in whole and fresh foods can actually turn back the clock by knocking these down.

Reduced risk of cancer

One of the best reasons to go vegetarian is this: Vegetarians have a 40 percent reduced risk of getting cancer. There are several explanations for this statistic. Vegetarians tend to be thinner, and obesity in particular is associated with increased cancer risk. The high fiber content of plant foods speeds waste through your system, which cuts the risk of colon cancer. And diets high in fat and animal foods spike cancer risk, especially that of breast cancer, through their action on hormones.

A less toxic body

Since animals concentrate the toxins they ingest in their tissues, meat and milk is much higher in toxins than plant foods are. Wild fish contain alarming amounts of mercury; the FDA recommends eating fish only 2-3 times per week. And the EPA reports that 95 percent of human exposure to dioxin, a dangerous toxin, comes from consuming meat, fish and dairy. Animal foods are also often high in pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

Sources for this article include:

 

  • http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dxmarkers
  • http://healthluv.com
  • http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/

Plateau! How to Get Over the Flatline

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Every dieter’s experienced it: The dreaded weight loss plateau. You’ve been cruising along smoothly for months, and suddenly, your weight loss stops. Plateaus can be incredibly frustrating. You may not feel as though you’ve made any changes to your diet and fitness routine, but you’ve stopped dropping the weight. If you’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to check and recheck your behavior so you can jump-start your weight loss and get back in the game. Let’s look at some ways you can increase the effectiveness of your diet plan, so that you can continue to drop weight.

Revisit your food journal

Beginning dieters are often advised to keep a food journal, so that they can stay aware of what they’re eating each day. Often, though, as weight loss picks up, the food journal falls by the wayside. When you hit a plateau, it may be time to start writing down everything you eat again. You may find that certain foods trigger small binges that are holding you back, that you’re eating more calories than you’d estimated, or that you’re right on target. Keeping a food journal for a week or two will provide you with the information you need to start getting back on track.

Measure your portion sizes carefully

Once you’ve been dieting for awhile, it’s tempting to stop counting calories and measuring portion sizes. You’ve got the hang of the system, after all, and you understand the correct portion sizes for most of the foods that you eat. If you hit a plateau, however, it may be time to reevaluate your portion sizes and start to measure and count again. It only takes a few extra calories per day to stall your weight loss plan. You’ll quickly end up maintaining your current weight instead of dropping the pounds you want to lose.

Switch to a different physical activity

If you find yourself skipping workouts, having trouble dragging yourself to the gym or simply not exercising as much as you need to for weight loss, it may be time to consider switching up your physical activity. If you’ve been jogging, consider swimming or hiking instead. Regular cardiovascular exercise is key to weight loss, so choose a physical activity that you enjoy and will look forward to doing, instead of one that you hate the thought of. This will make it easier to exercise on a regular basis.

Check your food labels

Take the time to check your food labels thoroughly, even if they’re foods you’re familiar with. Manufacturers change package sizes from time to time, which could make a difference in calorie counts, fat content and more. If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, it may be time to assess the foods that you consume on a regular basis and re-read their labels. You may be surprised to learn that a serving size has changed, or that a food simply has more fat, calories or sugar than you’d remembered it having. Careful calorie counting is one important key to weight loss, and label reading is an important part of this process.

Diet plateaus are almost always temporary, so don’t stress too much about yours. Instead, focus on healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating cleanly and getting regular cardiovascular exercise. It’s only a matter of time before your weight begins to drop again, and you’ll soon be well on your way to achieving your weight loss goal.