Unusual and Natural Health “Secrets”
Some of these “secrets” are a bit unusual, but they have a basis in scientific fact…
A single tablespoon contains the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for most of the B vitamins, including folate. Folate is one of the most important B vitamins because it breaks down and eliminates homocysteine, an amino acid, from the blood. Reducing homocysteine has been linked to a reduction in risk for stroke, heart disease, and a variety of cancers, including colon cancer. Other B vitamins are needed for the maintenance of blood cells, nerves and the immune system. Brewer’s yeast also contains a variety of minerals, including chromium, a trace mineral that reduces blood sugar and improves glucose tolerance.
In addition, 2 ounces provides 8 grams of protein, more than the amount in a large egg.
What to do:
Take 1-2 tablespoons of brewer’s yeast daily. You can dissolve it in water or sprinkle it on your cereal or yogurt. Start with a smaller amount and gradually increase it to avoid possible gastrointestinal reactions. Any brand is fine, but look for a kind that’s debittered – the taste is more palatable.
Researchers have found that cold-water submersion increases levels of disease-fighting white blood cells. Exposure to cold water also may increase glutathione, one of the body’s main antioxidants – the study of Berlin swimmers found that they had elevated levels of glutathione.
What to do:
Ease into it. Turn on the cold water for 30 seconds or so. With the shower running stick your head in to wet your hair. Turn off the water, shampoo your hair, then turn the water back on to rinse off the lather and get your skin wet. Turn off the water again, soap your body, then turn the water bak on to rinse off. The entire event should take about five minutes. Added bonus- you’ll be using less hot water!
(Caution: If you have a heart condition, Raynaud’s disease or blood pressure issues, talk to your doctor first.)
Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Researchers at the University of Western Australia found that people who began using garlic were able to reduce their sick days by more than 50%. Some of the active ingredients in garlic inhibit the ability of platelets to form clots in the arteries – important for preventing heart disease and stroke. People who eat garlic regularly may decrease their systolic blood pressure about 10mm Hg.
What to do:
Chew a clove of garlic whenever you feel a cold coming on or you want to give your health a quick boost. It’s best consumed raw, as cooking may destroy some of its health benefits.
(Caution: If you’re on a blood thinner or have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia, talk to your doctor before consuming large amounts of garlic.)
Probiotics, bacteria in the digestive tract, have been shown to relieve many gastrointestinal conditions and to boost the body’s immunity, reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol. Probiotics that live in the intestine make it harder for disease-causing germs to take up residence. People who have low levels of probiotics – after taking antibiotics, for example – get infections more often than those with healthy probiotic levels.
What to do:
Eat one or more servings of yogurt (with live cultures), fermented soybean pastes (miso or tempeh), sauerkraut, and fermented cheeses, such as cottage cheese daily. Supplements are also available, but look for a blend of several organisms.
The traditional American diet, with a lot of meat, sugar and fat, is highly acidic. It’s possible that diseases thrive when the body’s pH – a measure of acidity/alkalinity – is out of balance. Proponents of the pH theory of health argue that our shift away from a plant-based, low-protein diet, which naturally keeps the body’s pH at ‘neutral’ levels, have created epidemic levels of disease. Medical anthropologist and nutritionist Susan Brown, PhD, have linked diseases to a state of metabolic acidosis, which can occur when the kidneys don’t process acids fast enough.
What to do:
Before you can achieve an optimal pH, you have to know your baseline. You can buy pH test-strip kits at pharmacies and health-food stores. Basically, you hold a strip in your first morning urine stream, then compare the color to the chart to determine your pH. Most people will be too acidic. To become more alkaline, eat highly alkaline foods such as most vegetables, legumes and olive oil. Avoid meats and processed foods because they make your body more acidic. Even critics of this theory agree that eating more vegetables and fewer processed foods is important for good health.
Gene Stone, health journalist, interviewed over 100 health people for his latest book:
The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick.
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