‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for July 14

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

This is a day that God has made, rejoice and be glad in it.

What we do with each day is largely decided by the thought we give it in the beginning and how we start a new day plays an immense part in the success or failure of either carefully laid plans or helter-skelter activity.

We should open this day with as much reverence as if it were gift wrapped and presented to us personally, which it is.

What wonderful thing can I do this day that no one else can do! Shall I spend these precious moments complaining? Shall I sit glum at my work to make others feel morbid? Should I continually acknowledge how little I have and how badly I feel?

Or should I speak kindly, think kindly, feel kindly, and be so grateful that I have another opportunity today to do something for others that will bring them joy and lift their spirits?

This day is in your hands. You will reap from it what you plant. If you would be loved, then be lovable; if you want peace, be peaceable; and if you would ask freedom, grant freedom. And learn to forgive without reservation.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet:

 

http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 14

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 14

“It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.”

–Chief Luther Standing Bear, TETON SIOUX

Touching the earth – getting grounded, centered. There is magic in touching the earth and feeling her healing power. This is especially healthy to do during a troubling time when our minds are racing or can’t stop thinking or are locked onto fear or resentment. When I need to feel free I can go to the Mother Earth. The Mother Earth is full of life and love. She always gives her powers to those who come to her. The Mother Earth is alive.

Today, my Great Spirit, let me remember to touch the earth. Let me slow down and live just for today. Let me be gentle, patient and kind.

July 14 – Daily Feast

July 14 – Daily Feast

Never quit when the going gets tough. Now is the time to bear down even harder. It would be a shame to quit and find we had almost reached our goal. If a person that can’t swim panics in deep water, he will sink. But if he rolls over and floats for a while, he can get his sense of balance and make the distance easily. The Cherokee believes he can endure, he can work, and he can fight. He will not be a tsv na, turned back. We owe it to ourselves to see what we can accomplish. And it may well be that we can do what others said is not possible.

~ You showed me….the spirit shape of things as they should be. You have shown me, and I have seen. ~

BLACK ELK

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Daily Motivator for July 14 – Whatever you can imagine

Whatever you can imagine

You are not your problems. You are not the world’s problems.

You are not your possessions. You are not your job title, your social  standing, your credit score or your bank balance.

You are a unique and beautiful spirit, immersed in a universe that’s  overflowing with abundance. You are a bundle of magnificent possibilities, with  the desire and the skills to fulfill those possibilities.

You are able to enjoy beauty and to give love. You can create joy where it  has not existed before and spread that joy far and wide.

You can brilliantly and successfully adapt and thrive in an endless variety  of situations. You can focus your awareness and your efforts to bring into  reality whatever you envision.

You are the wonderful and amazing person who can rise above all the pettiness  and succeed no matter what. You are whatever you can imagine, so always, always,  imagine the very best.

— Ralph Marston

 

The Daily Motivator 

Daily OM for July 14 – Earth Living

Earth Living

Following Nature’s Cycles

Nature, in all its myriad forms, is the most powerful force on earth. Although mankind has tried, we have not found a way to match its awesome power, but we have found ways to work with it. Science often confirms the wisdom of the ancients who observed and then harnessed nature’s rhythms and cycles to shape and enhance their lives. We can begin to do this in our own lives by first paying attention to our own natural rhythms, such as when we wake or when we feel the need to sleep. If possible, we may want to try to rise and sleep with the sun or live without electricity for a weekend and then monitor how we feel. We can make the choice to eat the foods of the seasons and to seek fresher, locally grown, or organic produce whose own cycles have not been tampered with by technology.

We can create harmony in our homes by making a smooth transition between our indoor and outdoor spaces. By bringing some of the outdoors inside and taking some of our indoor décor out, we can simultaneously enjoy nature and the comforts of home and the feeling that our living space is expanded. Then, whether inside or out, we can lounge on a comfortable piece of furniture and feel the wind, inhale the scent of deeply breathing plants, listen for the many songs of life, and observe the moon and the stars. As we do this more often, we may find ourselves noticing the pull of the full moon on bodies of water, as well as the water in bodies, or the music of the night acting as a lullaby.

When we seek balance in our lives, we want to balance not just our roles in life but also the natural elements in our spaces. Having representations of the elements in the colors, shapes, and textures of our homes will appeal to our mind, body, and spirit. We may find that when we sync ourselves with nature’s rhythms, we ride the waves of energy to feel more in harmony with life and the world around us.

12 Foods With Super-Healing Powers

12 Foods With Super-Healing Powers

Caring.com, supporting caregivers

As part of a healthy diet, whole foods play a significant role in helping our  bodies function optimally. There are hundreds of extremely nutritious whole  foods, but the dozen on this list do more than contribute healthy nutrients —  they help you heal. In fact, every food on this list boasts multiple healing  effects, from fighting cancer to reducing cholesterol, guarding against heart  disease, and more. Eat these super-healing picks and start feeling pretty super  yourself.

1. Kiwifruit This tiny, nutrient-dense fruit packs an  amazing amount of vitamin C (double the amount found in oranges), has more fiber  than apples, and beats bananas as a high-potassium food. The unique blend of  phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in kiwifruit helps protect against  heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease. Kiwifruit’s natural  blood-thinning properties work without the side effects of aspirin and support  vascular health by reducing the formation of spontaneous blood clots, lowering  LDL cholesterol, and reducing blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown that  kiwifruit not only reduces oxidative stress and damage to DNA but also prompts  damaged cells to repair themselves.

Kiwifruit is often prescribed as part of a dietary regimen to battle cancer  and heart disease, and in Chinese medicine it’s used to accelerate the healing  of wounds and sores.

How much: Aim to eat one to two kiwifruit a day while  they’re in season, for the best taste and nutrition. California-grown kiwifruit  are in season from October through May, and New Zealand kiwifruit are available  between April and November.

Tips:

  • Kiwifruit contains enzymes that activate once you cut the fruit, causing  the flesh to tenderize. So if you’re making a fruit salad, cut the kiwifruit  last.
  • The riper the kiwifruit, the greater the antioxidant power, so let them  ripen before you dig in.

2. Cherries Cherries boast a laundry list of healing  powers. For starters, they pack a powerful nutritional punch for a relatively  low calorie count. They’re also packed with substances that help fight  inflammation and cancer. As if that weren’t enough, in lab studies, quercetin  and ellagic acid, two compounds contained in cherries, have been shown to  inhibit the growth of tumors and even cause cancer cells to commit suicide —  without damaging healthy cells. Cherries also have antiviral and antibacterial  properties.

Anthocyanin, another compound in cherries, is credited with lowering the uric  acid levels in the blood, thereby reducing a common cause of gout. Researchers believe anthocyanins may also  reduce your risk of colon cancer. Further, these compounds work like a natural  form of ibuprofen, reducing inflammation and curbing pain. Regular consumption  may help lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

In Chinese medicine, cherries are routinely used as a remedy for gout,  arthritis, and rheumatism (as well as anemia, due to their high iron content).  Plus they’re delicious.

How much: Aim for a daily serving while they’re in season  locally. And keep a bag of frozen cherries in your freezer the rest of the year;  frozen cherries retain 100 percent of their nutritional value and make a great  addition to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Tips:

  • Buy organic, since conventionally grown cherries can be high in  pesticides.

 

3. Guavas Guavas are a small tropical fruit that can be  round, oval, or pear-shaped. They’re not all that common, so they might be hard  to find, depending on where you live. But if you can track them down, it’s more  than worth it. Guavas contain more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene  than any other fruit or vegetable, and nearly 20 percent more than tomatoes. Our  bodies can’t process much of the lycopene in tomatoes until they’re cooked; the  processing helps break down tough cell walls. However, guavas’ cell structure  allows the antioxidant to be absorbed whether the fruit is raw or cooked, and  the whole fruit offers the nutrition without the added sodium of processed  tomato products.

Lycopene protects our healthy cells from free radicals that can cause all  kinds of damage, including blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system  problems, and even cancer. Lycopene consumption is associated with significantly  lower rates of prostate cancer; in addition, men with prostate tumors who  consumed lycopene supplements showed significant improvements, such as smaller  tumors and decreased malignancy. Lycopene has also been found to inhibit the  growth of breast cancer cells, and research suggests that this antioxidant may  also help protect against coronary heart disease.

This strange-looking little fruit is also packed with vitamin C and other  antioxidants. Serving for serving, guava offers more than 60 percent more  potassium than a banana, which can help protect against heart disease and  stroke. In fact, the nutrients found in guavas have been shown to lower LDL and  boost HDL cholesterol, reduce triglycerides, and lower blood pressure.

How much: Aim to eat fresh guavas as often as you can when  you can find them in stores. They’re not commonly available in the freezer  section; and most guava juices are processed and sweetened, so they don’t  provide the same superior nutrition that the whole, fresh fruit does. One to two  guavas a day is a good goal.

Tip:

  • Opt for the red-fleshed variety if you can; both are loaded with  antioxidants, but the red type has more than the white-fleshed apple  guava.

4. Beans Beans are a miracle food. They lower  cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production, promote digestive  health, and protect  against cancer. If you think of fiber, protein, and antioxidants and  immediately think whole grains, meat, and fruit, think again — beans offer all  three in a single package.

An assortment of phytochemicals found in beans has been shown to protect  cells from cancerous activity by inhibiting cancer cells from reproducing,  slowing tumor growth. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health  reported that women who consumed beans at least twice a week were 24 percent  less likely to develop breast cancer, and multiple studies have tied beans to a  reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast  and colon cancers.

Beans deliver a whopping amount of antioxidants, which help prevent and fight  oxidative damage. In fact, the USDA’s ranking of foods by antioxidant capacity  places three varieties of beans (red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans)  in the top four — and that’s among all food groups. Beans are a great source of  dietary fiber, protein, and iron. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan;  foods with high amounts of tryptophan can help regulate your appetite, aid in  sleep, and improve your mood. Many are also rich in folate, which plays a  significant role in heart health. And depending on the type of bean you choose,  you’ll also get decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B2, and  vitamin K. Soybeans are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

In Chinese medicine, various types of beans have been used to treat  alcoholism, food poisoning, edema (particularly in the legs), high blood  pressure, diarrhea, laryngitis, kidney stones, rheumatism, and dozens of other  conditions.

How much: Aim for a minimum of two servings of beans per  week.

Tips:

  • Adzuki and mung beans are among the most easily digested;  pinto, kidney, navy, garbanzo, lima, and black beans are more difficult to  digest.

5. Watercress Not only is watercress extremely  nutritious, it’s about as close as you can get to a calorie-free food. Calorie  for calorie, it provides four times the calcium of 2 percent milk. Ounce for  ounce, it offers as much vitamin C as an orange and more iron than spinach. It’s  packed with vitamin A and has lots of vitamin K, along with multiple antioxidant  carotenoids and protective phytochemicals.

The nutrients in watercress protect against cancer and macular degeneration,  help build the immune system, and support bone health. The iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to  your body’s tissues for energy. The phytochemicals in watercress battle cancer  in three ways: killing cancer cells, blocking carcinogens, and protecting  healthy cells from carcinogens. They’ve also been shown to help prevent lung and  esophageal cancer and can help lower your risk for other cancers.

In Chinese medicine, watercress is thought to help reduce tumors, improve  night vision, and stimulate bile production (improving digestion and settling  intestinal gas). It’s used as a remedy for jaundice, urinary difficulty, sore  throat, mumps, and bad breath.

How much: Eat watercress daily if you can. In some regions,  it’s more widely available during the spring and summer, when it’s cultivated  outdoors. But since it can also be grown hydroponically in greenhouses, you can  find it year-round in many grocery stores and at your local farmer’s market.

Tips:

  • You can cook it, but watercress is better for you when you eat it raw. Tuck  it into a sandwich in place of lettuce.
  • Toss it with your favorite vegetables and eat it in a salad.
  • Watercress is great in pesto — just replace the basil with watercress — and  soups.
  • Use watercress as a wonderfully detoxifying ingredient in a juice or  smoothie.

6. Spinach You already knew spinach was good for you,  but did you know just how good? Spinach protects against eye disease and vision  loss; it’s good for brain function; it guards against colon, prostate, and  breast cancers; it protects against heart disease, stroke, and dementia; it  lowers blood pressure; it’s anti-inflammatory; and it’s great for bone health.  Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K,  calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and iron.

A carotenoid found in spinach not only kills prostate cancer cells, it also  prevents them from multiplying. Folate promotes vascular health by lowering  homocysteine, an amino acid that, at high levels, raises the risk of dementia  and cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Folate has also  been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal, ovarian, and breast  cancers and to help stop uncontrolled cell growth, one of the primary  characteristics of all cancers. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach  protect against colon cancer in addition to fighting inflammation, making them  key components of brain health, particularly in older adults.

Spinach is loaded with vitamin K (one cup of cooked spinach provides 1,111  percent of the recommended daily amount!), which builds strong bones by helping  calcium adhere to the bone. Spinach is also rich in lutein, which protects  against age-related macular degeneration, and it may help prevent heart attacks  by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol buildup.

How much: Fresh spinach should be a daily staple in your  diet. It’s available in practically every grocery store, no matter where you  live, it’s easy to find year-round, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more  nutritionally sound, versatile green. So do yourself a healthy favor and aim for  a few ounces, raw or lightly steamed, every day.

Tips:

  • Add a handful of fresh spinach to your next fruit smoothie. It’ll change the  color but not the taste.
  • Conventionally grown spinach is susceptible to pesticide residue; stick to  organic.

7. Onions Onions get a bad rap for their effect on the breath, but  that’s not the only part of the body where they pack a wallop. Onions contain  potent cancer-fighting enzymes; onion consumption has been shown to help lower  the risk of prostate and esophageal cancers and has also been linked to reduced  mortality from coronary heart disease. Research suggests that they may help  protect against stomach cancer. Onions contain sulfides that help lower blood  pressure and cholesterol, as well as a peptide that may help prevent bone loss  by inhibiting the loss of calcium and other bone minerals.

Onions have super antioxidant power. They contain quercetin, a natural  antihistamine that reduces airway inflammation and helps relieve symptoms of  allergies and hay fever. Onions also boast high levels of vitamin C, which,  along with the quercetin, battles cold and flu symptoms. Onions’ anti-inflammatory properties  help fight the pain and swelling associated with osteo- and rheumatoid  arthritis. Onions are also extremely rich in sulfur and they have antibiotic and  antiviral properties, making them excellent for people who consume a diet high  in protein, fat, or sugar, as they help cleanse the arteries and impede the  growth of viruses, yeasts, and other disease-causing agents, which can build up  in an imbalanced diet.

 

How much: For all the health benefits onions provide, it  would be ideal to eat one a day. However, if that’s not doable for you, add a  few onions to your weekly grocery list and try to eat a little bit every day.  All varieties are extremely good for you, but shallots and yellow onions lead  the pack in antioxidant activity. Raw onions provide the best nutrition, but  they’re still great for you when they’re lightly cooked. And cooking meat at  high temperatures (such as on a grill) with onions can help reduce or counteract  carcinogens produced by the meat.

Tips:

  • Onions should be stored at room temperature, but if they bother your eyes  when you cut them, try refrigerating them for an hour beforehand.

8. Carrots Carrots are a great source of the potent  antioxidants known as carotenoids. Diets high in carotenoids have been tied to a  decreased risk in postmenopausal breast cancer as well as cancers of the  bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Conversely, diets low  in carotenoids have been associated with chronic disease, including heart  disease and various cancers. Research suggests that just one carrot per day  could reduce your risk of lung cancer by half. Carrots may also reduce your risk  of kidney and ovarian cancers. In addition to fighting cancer, the nutrients in  carrots inhibit cardiovascular disease, stimulate the immune system, promote  colon health, and support ear and eye health.

Carrots contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C,  and an incredible amount of vitamin A. The alpha-carotene in carrots has shown  promise in inhibiting tumor growth. Carrots also contain the carotenoids lutein  and zeaxanthin, which work together to promote eye health and prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts. In Chinese medicine, carrots are used to treat  rheumatism, kidney stones, tumors, indigestion, diarrhea, night blindness, ear  infections, earaches, deafness, skin lesions, urinary tract infections, coughs,  and constipation.

How much: Eat a serving of carrots each day if you can, and  enjoy them year-round. Carrots are good for you whether they’re raw or lightly  cooked; cooking helps break down the tough fiber, making some of the nutrients  more easily absorbed. For the best nutrition, go for whole carrots that are firm  and fresh-looking. Precut baby carrots are made from whole carrots and, although  they’re convenient, they tend to lose important nutrients during processing.

Tips:

  • Remove carrot tops before storing them in the fridge, as the tops drain  moisture from the roots and will cause the carrots to wilt.
  • Buy organic; conventionally grown carrots frequently show high pesticide  residues.

9. Cabbage Cabbage is a powerhouse source of vitamins K  and C. Just one cup supplies 91 percent of the recommended daily amount for  vitamin K, 50 percent of vitamin C, good amounts of fiber, and decent scores of  manganese, vitamin B6, folate, and more — and it’ll only cost you about 33  calories. Calorie for calorie, cabbage offers 11 percent more vitamin C than  oranges.

Cabbage contains high levels of antioxidant sulforaphanes that not only fight  free radicals before they damage DNA but also stimulate enzymes that detoxify  carcinogens in the body. Researchers believe this one-two approach may  contribute to the apparent ability of cruciferous vegetables to reduce the risk  of cancer more effectively than any other plant food group. Numerous studies  point to a strong association between diets high in cruciferous vegetables and a  low incidence of lung, colon, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancers.

Cabbage builds strong bones, dampens allergic reactions, reduces  inflammation, and promotes gastrointestinal health. Cabbage is routinely juiced as a  natural remedy for healing peptic ulcers due to its high glutamine content. It  also provides significant cardiovascular benefit by preventing plaque formation  in the blood vessels. In Chinese medicine, cabbage is used to treat  constipation, the common cold, whooping cough, depression and irritability, and  stomach ulcers. When eaten and used as a poultice, as a dual treatment, cabbage  is helpful for healing bedsores, varicose veins, and arthritis.

How much: The more cabbage you can include in your diet, the  better. A study of Polish women found that those who ate at least four servings  of cabbage per week as adolescents were 72 percent less likely to develop breast  cancer later in life than their peers who consumed only one weekly serving or  less.

Tips:

  • Try raw sauerkraut. It has all the health properties of cabbage, plus some  potent probiotics, which are excellent for digestive health.
  • Use the whole cabbage; the outer leaves contain a third more calcium than  the inner leaves.
  • Both are nutritional stars, but red cabbages are far superior to the white  variety, with about seven times more vitamin C and more than four times the  polyphenols, which protect cells from oxidative stress and cancer.

10. Broccoli You’ll find it difficult to locate another  single food source with as much naturally occurring health-promoting properties  as broccoli. A single cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of  the RDA for vitamin C (again, more than oranges), nearly as much of vitamin K,  and about half of the daily allowance for vitamin A, along with plentiful  folate, fiber, sulfur, iron, B vitamins, and a whole host of other important  nutrients. Calorie for calorie, broccoli contains about twice the amount of  protein as steak — and a lot more protective phytonutrients.

Broccoli’s phytochemicals fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and  accelerating their elimination from the body, in addition to inhibiting tumors  caused by chemical carcinogens. Studies show evidence that these substances help  prevent lung and esophageal cancers and may play a role in lowering the risk of  other cancers, including gastrointestinal cancer.

Phytonutrients called indoles found in broccoli help protect against  prostate, gastric, skin, breast, and cervical cancers. Some research suggests  that indoles also protect the structure of DNA and may reduce the risk of  prostate cancer. Extensive studies have linked broccoli to a 20 percent  reduction in heart disease risk. In Chinese medicine, broccoli is used to treat  eye inflammation.

How much: If you can eat a little broccoli every day, your  body will thank you for it. If you can’t swing it, aim for eating it as  regularly as possible. Like many other vegetables, broccoli provides fantastic  nutrition both in its raw form and when it’s properly cooked. Cooking reduces  some of broccoli’s anticancer components, but lightly steaming it will preserve  most of the nutrients. Broccoli is available fresh year-round in most areas, but  if you can’t find it where you live, frozen broccoli is a good substitute.

Tip:

  • Steaming or cooking broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of the  antioxidant sulforaphane.

11. Kale Kale is highly nutritious, has powerful antioxidant  properties, and is anti-inflammatory. One cup of cooked kale contains an  astounding 1,328 percent of the RDA for vitamin K, 192 percent of the RDA for  vitamin A, and 89 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. It’s also a good source of  calcium and iron.

Kale is in the same plant family as broccoli and cabbage, and, like its  cruciferous cousins, it contains high levels of the cancer-fighting compound  sulforaphane, which guards against prostate, gastric, skin, and breast cancers  by boosting the body’s detoxification enzymes and fighting free radicals in the  body. The indoles in kale have been shown to protect against breast, cervical,  and colon cancers. The vitamin K in kale promotes blood clotting, protects the  heart, and helps build strong bones by anchoring calcium to the bone. It also  has more antioxidant power than spinach, protecting against free-radical damage.  Kale is extra rich in beta-carotene (containing seven times as much as does  broccoli), lutein, and zeaxanthin (ten times the amount in broccoli). In Chinese  medicine, kale is used to help ease lung congestion.

How much: Like cabbage, the more kale you can eat, the  better. A daily serving is ideal. Eat it as much as you can, as long as you can  find it fresh at your local grocery or farmer’s market. In some areas, it’s  available all year; in others, it only makes an appearance during summer and  fall.

Tips:

  • Kale’s growing season extends nearly year-round; the only time it’s out of  season is summer, when plenty of other leafy greens are abundant.
  • Steam or saute kale on its own, or add it to soups and stews. Cooking helps  tenderize the leaves.
  • Kale is also a great addition when it’s blended in fruit smoothies or  juiced with other vegetables.

12. Dandelion The same pesky weed known for ruining  lawns has a long history of being used as a healing herb in cultures around the  globe. One cup of raw dandelion greens provides 535 percent of the RDA of  vitamin K and 112 percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Dandelion greens are also a  good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, and potassium. Among all foods,  it’s one of the richest sources of vitamin A; among all green vegetables, it’s  one of the best sources of beta-carotene.

Dandelion has been used for centuries to treat hepatitis, kidney, and liver  disorders such as kidney stones, jaundice, and cirrhosis. It’s routinely  prescribed as a natural treatment for hepatitis C, anemia, and liver  detoxification (poor liver function has been linked to numerous conditions, from  indigestion and hepatitis to irritability and depression). As a natural  diuretic, dandelion supports the entire digestive system and increases urine  output, helping flush toxins and excess salt from the kidneys. The naturally  occurring potassium in dandelions helps prevent the loss of potassium that can  occur with pharmaceutical diuretics.

Dandelion promotes digestive health by stimulating bile production, resulting  in a gentle laxative effect. Inulin, a naturally occurring soluble fiber in  dandelion, further aids digestion by feeding the healthy probiotic bacteria in  the intestines; it also increases calcium absorption and has a beneficial effect  on blood sugar levels, therefore being useful in treating diabetes. Both the  dandelion leaves and root are used to treat heartburn and indigestion. The  pectin in dandelion relieves constipation and, in combination with vitamin C,  reduces cholesterol. Dandelion is excellent for reducing edema, bloating, and  water retention; it can also help reduce high blood pressure. On top of all  that, dandelion contains multiple antidiarrheal and antibacterial  properties.

In Chinese medicine, dandelion is used in combination with other herbs to  treat hepatitis and upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and  pneumonia. The sap from the stem and root is a topical remedy for warts. Imagine  — all this from a lowly weed!

How much: How much dandelion to incorporate into your diet  boils down to two factors: availability and personal preference. Dandelion  greens are considered a specialty item in some areas and therefore can be  difficult to find. They also have a pungent taste, and people tend to love or  hate the flavor. If you can find fresh dandelion greens and you enjoy the taste,  make them a regular part of your diet.

Tips:

  • Use the root in soups or saute it on its own.
  • If the raw leaves are too bitter for you, try them lightly steamed or  sauteed.

 

Dietary Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Dietary Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Inflammation has recently emerged as an important player in the development  of age-related disability and many of our major chronic diseases including heart  disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Now that laboratory tests  such as C-reactive protein have been developed, we can measure the effects  different foods and diets have on inflammatory markers.

Most plant-based foods decrease inflammation. Processing destroys the  anti-inflammatory effects of some (garlic decreases inflammation but garlic  powder does not), but improves these effects in others (tomato juice decreases  inflammation but whole tomatoes do not).

Do these anti-inflammatory plant foods actually have an impact on  inflammatory disease mortality though?  I profile a new study  out of Australia, which followed about 2,500 older adults and their diets for 15  years. In that time, about 200 participants died of inflammatory diseases,  allowing the scientists to calculate the specific aspect of the survivors’ diets  that seemed to help the most. It was nuts! The equivalent of half a walnut a day  appeared to cut the risk of dying from inflammatory disease in nearly half. Fish  consumption, to their surprise, didn’t seem to help, which may be due to pro-inflammatory  industrial pollutants that build up the food chain. This may help explain  why most studies done to date on those eating vegetarian or vegan have found  lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers in their bodies.

However, just because plant-based diets decrease markers of  inflammation doesn’t necessarily mean that plant-based diets can successfully be  used to fight inflammatory disease. To find that out, you’ve got to put it to  the test. The gold standard for evidence in nutritional science is an  interventional trial. You split people into two groups and ask half to go on one  diet, half to go on another, and then stand back and see what happens. That’s  just what researchers recently did for the autoimmune inflammatory bowel  condition known as Crohn’s disease.

Inflammatory bowel disease risk has been tied to arachidonic acid, which may partially explain the  animal protein connection given the levels in chicken and eggs. The anti-inflammatory nature of  plant foods may explain why those eating plant-based diets have less diabetes, fewer allergies, less heart disease, better moods, and fewer chronic diseases in chronic diseases in general.

In health, Michael Greger, M.D.

Home Is Where The Health Is

Home Is Where The Health Is

Habitat for Humanity is well known for how successfully they use volunteers  to build homes for families in need. All you have to say is “Habitat” and most  people can conjure up an image of diverse groups working together with lumber,  insulation and bricks and mortar. Habitat is busily building all over the world,  because the need for housing is profound and ever growing. In America alone, 95  million people have housing problems that include insurmountable mortgages,  overcrowding, substandard shelter and homelessness. When families who have been  living in substandard housing are given a chance to buy, and have a hand at  building their own homes, aspects of their lives can take dramatic turns for the  better. The benefits go far beyond just having a solid roof over their heads.  One crucial improvement is the health of their children.

According to Houston Habitat  for Humanity, the number of low-income families that lack safe and  affordable housing is related to the number of children that suffer from viral  infections, anemia, stunted growth and asthma. All of these factors are  attributed to the lack of stable housing. In addition, 10,000  children aged 4 to 9 are hospitalized for asthma attacks each year because  their homes are infested with cockroaches,  a known asthma trigger. For children without stable housing, the effects of  chronic health problems are long-term and far-reaching. Housing  deprivation leads to an average of 25%  greater risk of disability or severe ill health across a person’s  lifespan.

On the other hand, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to  Build a Better America, ”…when adequate housing protects individuals  and families from harmful exposures and provides them with a sense of privacy,  security, stability, and control, it can make important contributions to  health.” Children in stable, healthy home environments are more likely to  stay in school and experience improved test scores in math and reading.

Poor Children Need Healthy Homes

We already know that poor  children are disproportionately affected by environmental pollutants like  those from power plants and refineries. But they are also exposed to indoor  health hazards like lead, mold, mites and other insects and pests, a myriad of  other allergens, radon, volatile organic compounds and asbestos. These  pollutants make them sicker and more susceptible to other illnesses. Of the 26  million Americans who suffer from asthma, 7 million are children. Asthma is the most common chronic diseases among children. And poor children and  children of color suffer asthma at higher rates. Approximately 40% of diagnosed  asthma in children is attributed to residential exposures. The annual economic  cost of asthma, including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect  costs such as lost school and work days, amounts  to approximately $56 billion. These are costs that families on the economic  edge cannot afford.

All Families Need Energy-Efficient Homes

Habitat homes are built with stability and energy efficiency in mind. Each  Houston Habitat home receives Energy Star certification, demonstrating a  commitment to energy efficiency and affordability. The families that will buy  the homes take part in their construction. They become homeowners and thus  stakeholders in their community. This is how Habitat not only improves the  health of families, but of entire communities.

Where We Live Matters

Where we live is at the core of our daily lives. Our homes have the most  significant impact on how we survive and how we view our place in the world.  Habitat for Humanity provides the opportunity for families to improve their  economic situations and live in safe homes as sanctuaries against the onslaught  of health and safety threats outdoors. For these families, in a very real sense,  their Habitat homes help them live better and longer.

Habitat for Humanity is doing their part to address pollution, the asthma  epidemic here in Houston, the environment, and preventable childhood illnesses  worldwide. Each of us must do our part too.

EVERY CHILD DESERVES A HEALTHY HOME PLEASE TAKE ACTION WITH  MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE

10 Surprising Clues to Stroke Risk

10 Surprising Clues to Stroke Risk

By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com senior editor

Strokes come on suddenly and can be deadly or debilitating, placing them among the scarier health concerns. Yet many people ignore stroke risk, mistakenly believing there’s nothing to be done. While some strokes do come out of the blue, in many cases there are signs of the impending danger — if you know what to look for.

Some risk factors are well known, such as being a longtime smoker or having high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation, but many come as big surprises. These ten surprising clues can alert you to a higher-than-normal risk of stroke. If one or more of these applies to you, you’ll want to up your awareness, because acting fast can mean the difference between life and death.

 

1. You get migraines.

 

Migraines, particularly those accompanied by aura — visual disturbances such as flashing lights — boost the risk of stroke by 21 percent. This comes from long-term studies in Iceland that followed men and women for 26 years. Researchers are looking for an underlying genetic risk factor that could contribute to migraine, heart attack, and stroke.

Scary fact:

 

Migraine sufferers are also more likely to have a heart attack or peripheral artery disease, which causes narrowing blood vessels in the legs.

Best bet:

 

The precise connection between migraines and stroke isn’t understood, but both conditions involve blood vessels in the brain. Migraines occur when the blood vessels in the brain constrict, then swell, while ischemic strokes — the most common kind — are caused by a blood clot blocking an artery in the brain. With that in mind, some experts recommend taking steps to prevent and treat migraines, either with natural remedies or medication to minimize effects on blood vessels.

 

2. You’re Hispanic.

 

According to the American Stroke Association, Hispanics of both genders are much more likely to have a stroke than any other race. What’s more, the strokes are more deadly: 33 percent of all deaths of Hispanic women are due to stroke, while in men it’s a still startling 25 percent. Diet and other factors seem to paly a role, but researchers also predict that an underlying genetic predisposition will be discovered.

Scary fact:

 

People of Hispanic descent also tend to have strokes earlier in life; the average age of stroke in Hispanics is 67, compared with 80 in whites.

Best bet:

 

The higher risk of stroke in Hispanics is partially linked to higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, all of which up stroke risk, so controlling these underlying conditions can provide some protection.

 

3. You love bacon.

 

If your diet includes regular consumption of processed meats such as sausage, bacon, lunch meats, ham, and hot dogs, your stroke risk is 23 percent higher. The scientific explanation isn’t clear-cut, but researchers suggested that sodium in meat may increase risk both by boosting blood pressure and by causing vascular stiffness. Nitrate and nitrite preservatives may also contribute to stroke risk by a mechanism that isn’t known yet. Of course, there are other foods that can trigger a stroke, but processed meat is among the worst culprits.

Scary fact:

 

It’s not just processed red meat that’s the culprit; lower-fat deli meats such as turkey, chicken, and bologna were found to carry just as high a stroke risk.

Best bet:

 

Make processed meats a special-occasion treat. Unfortunately, you can’t just offset a bacon or salami habit by eating healthier overall; studies show that people who eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but who also eat large amounts of processed meats are still at higher risk.

 

4. You hate the gym.

 

Sorry, couch potatoes, but that attachment to the remote really could kill you. Would you get off the couch if you knew that even moderate exercise could lower your risk of a nonfatal stroke by 20 percent and your risk of a fatal stroke by 30 percent? Overall stroke risk drops substantially with even moderate levels of cardiovascular fitness. Even a little helps. According to researchers, all you need is 30 minutes or more of aerobic activity — brisk walking, for instance — five times a week.

Scary fact:

 

Lack of activity also makes strokes worse when they do happen. People who were less active before having a stroke had more severe strokes and didn’t recover as fully afterwards, research shows.

Best bet:

 

Build regular, moderate activity into your schedule. According to the Nurses Health Study, which followed 72,000 women between the ages of 40 and 65, regular exercise cut the risk of ischemic stroke by half.

 

5. You have diabetes.

 

People with type 2 diabetes are two to three times more likely to have a stroke. And the risk can be even greater if you continue to smoke or develop hyperglycemia or atrial fibrillation. Strokes are also more severe and cause higher mortality in diabetics, particularly if their glucose levels were higher when they were admitted.

Scary fact:

 

The increased stroke risk that comes with diabetes doesn’t change, no matter how proactively you control the disease. According to recent research, being proactive about glucose control lowers the risk of vascular complications such as loss of vision but doesn’t lower stroke risk.

Best bet:

 

Taking hypertension medication and a statin to cut cholesterol lowers stroke risk considerably. And preventing diabetes by keeping active and losing weight lowers stroke risk as well.

 

6. You’re black.

 

People of African-American descent are twice as likely to die from strokes as Caucasians. The risk comes with both a first stroke and with subsequent strokes. Also, in blacks strokes tend to occur earlier in life and to be more disabling if they aren’t fatal. The genetic disorder sickle cell anemia also ups stroke risk because sickle-shaped cells can block blood vessels to the brain.

Scary fact:

 

Between 6 and 8 percent of people with sickle cell anemia will have a stroke, and the danger is highest in children ages 2 to 10.

Best bet:

 

You can’t control genetics, but quitting smoking and making lifestyle changes to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and prevent diabetes can help reduce your stroke risk.

 

7. You like to kick back at the local bar.

 

Would you cut back on the booze if you knew that three or more drinks a day can raise your stroke risk by 45 percent? That’s the conclusion of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which followed 38,000 men between the ages of 40 and 75 for 15 years. There’s also some alarming research — albeit from a small study — showing that the chance of stroke increases greatly in the first hour after consuming a drink.

Scary fact:

 

Binge drinking, in particular, leads to a spike in stroke risk. And if you have high blood pressure and go on a bender, watch out; research found that drinking six drinks or more doubled the risk of stroke in men with hypertension.

Best bet:

 

If you’re a moderate drinker — defined as having one or two drinks approximately every other day — your risk of stroke is actually lower than it is for teetotalers. So limit your drinking to a few glasses (preferably of red wine, which is heart-protective) per week.

 

8. You’re anemic.

 

Anemia, caused by a lower-than-normal level of red blood cells, causes changes in the blood vessels of the brain, making it more vulnerable to a stroke and less able to counteract a stroke once it occurs. For some time, researchers have known that children and teenagers who were severely anemic had a high risk of stroke, but it’s now known that even mild anemia ups stroke risk for adults, too.

Scary fact:

 

New research published in February 2012 found that men who were only slightly anemic nonetheless had triple the chance of dying in the first year after a stroke.

Best bet:

 

Treat anemia to increase red blood count with a diet high in iron or an iron supplement.

 

9. You buy your jeans in the husky or XL department.

 

Being overweight is associated with higher stroke risk in three different ways: Above-average BMI, above-average waist circumference, and above-average waist-to-hip ratio all correlate with increased stroke risk. If you already have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, adding weight into the mix doesn’t make as much of a difference because you’re already at three times the average risk for stroke. But if your blood pressure and blood lipids are under control and you’re still overweight, it’s time to slim down.

Scary fact:

 

An estimated 63 percent of men and 55 percent of women are considered overweight, and 30 percent are considered obese. If you’re obese, your stroke risk skyrockets to as high as seven times that of the general population. Being overweight increases your risk of all types of heart disease, as well.

Best bet:

 

Embark on a gradual, supervised weight-loss program with the goal of decreasing BMI to between 18.5 and 24.9. Guys, try to get down to a waist circumference of less than 40 inches. And gals, try for a waist measurement of less than 35 inches.

 

10. You don’t like fruit or veggies.

 

Study after study shows a direct relationship between the quantity and proportion of fruit and vegetables you eat and your stroke risk. Eat a diet low in fruits and veggies and high in saturated fat (such as meat) and carbs, and your stroke risk spikes. Eat a super-healthy diet in which half the food you eat comes from plants, and your stroke risk goes down in inverse proportion. Studies also show that specific antioxidants and phytochemicals present in carrots, citrus, white fruits (such as apples), greens, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables protect against stroke. One study found that an increase of one gram per day of white-fleshed fruits and vegetables is associated with a 9 percent lower risk of stroke. Another found that those who ate the most citrus fruits and juice had a 10 percent reduced risk of stroke compared with those eating none. That old-fashioned admonishment to eat an apple a day had science behind it after all.

Scary fact:

 

Diet is one of the biggest contributors to stroke risk. Researchers at Harvard divided women into groups based on diet and found that those who ate the worst diet increased their total stroke risk by 47 percent, their ischemic stroke risk by 33 percent, and hemorrhagic stroke risk by 70 percent.

Best bet:

 

Eat a fruit salad for breakfast. If your diet consists of close to 50 percent fruits and vegetables, you can slash your stroke risk by half.

Caring.com

5 Surprising Killers Lurking in Your Bathroom

5 Surprising Killers Lurking in Your Bathroom

Nobody’s thinking about danger while relaxing in a warm shower. Yet potential  danger, even the fatal kind, is all around you in a bathroom. According to a  2007 research report by the Home Safety Council, preventable home injuries are  the fifth largest cause of death in the U.S. And safety researchers point to the  bathroom, along with the kitchen and stairs, as the most dangerous zones in the house.

Here are five threats that often trip up (sometimes literally) the  unwary:

1. Water, water everywhere

The most basic part of the “water closet” — the water in the sink, tub, and  shower — is probably its number-one danger. More people are injured, even  fatally, in bathroom falls than in any other room in the house. Trouble is,  water doesn’t always stay where it should. Poorly fitting shower curtains and  simple wet feet are two of the biggest causes of water winding up on the  bathroom floor.

A better way: The ideal shower has a shatterproof  glass door, rather than a curtain. Failing that, you can minimize leaks by  hanging a curtain liner that falls inside the tub and a second, decorative  curtain that falls outside. To stop slips, try tiles in the shower with a  slightly uneven surface (such as bumpy smaller tiles, rather than large, smooth  squares) that feet can grip onto. A cheaper alternative: strips of adhesive  nonslip decals on the shower or bathtub floor.

Keep a nonskid rug on the floor next to the shower/bath exit and in front of  the sink. Basic scatter rugs are themselves a tripping hazard; look for one made  to absorb moisture and stay in place on the floor. And if you’re renovating, be  sure to use nonslip tiles on the floor.

2. Bathroom danger: Slick tub or shower bed

Modern Americans use lots of products in the shower and bath. Trouble is, all  that shampoo, conditioner, body wash, exfoliant, bath gel, shaving cream, and  bubble bath collects as residue on the sides and floor, making them  slippery.

A better way: Soapy buildup should be cleaned off  regularly. Giving the shower or tub a quick wipe down with a washcloth after  each use helps minimize slickness. A strong adult may be able to withstand the  residue, but someone with balance problems, such as a frail older adult, can  slip just enough to lead to a fall.

Be sure, too, to install well-anchored grab  bars wherever slips are likely.

3. Bathroom danger: Bright white surfaces

A pristine white bathroom might look great, but the combination of lights,  white surfaces, and reflective surfaces (such as mirrors and chrome) can be  disorienting. The glare can even be blinding to someone with less-than-perfect  vision, as is the case with many older adults. What’s more, all that brightness  can mask standing water on the floor, increasing the risk of slipping.

A better way: Switching from regular light bulbs to  frosted ones can help reduce glare. A row of contrasting tile (or a wallpaper  border) to break up an expanse of white wall can also help someone maintain  balance. Consider painting the walls a contrasting color to fixtures if this is  a problem for someone with low vision or orientation problems, such as  dementia.

4. Bathroom danger: A space heater

People trying to save on heating bills or attempting to keep a bathroom warm  for an older adult or a child sensitive to the cold have been known to use an  electric space heater in this room. Like any electric appliance (hair dryer,  razor) in the bathroom, where there’s so much water, space heaters are a  potential risk for electrocution.

Another space-heater danger in the bathroom is someone slipping into the  device and burning themselves. Or a towel or throw rug, or even a tissue or bit  of toilet paper, could catch fire.

A better way: If keeping warm is a problem, install  a permanently wired heating system just in the bathroom. Or you could run the  shower for a bit before the bath for an older adult or child, to produce warming  steam. Fluff towels and a cotton robe in the dryer during the bath, so they’re  warm and ready when the person comes out of the water.

5. Bathroom danger: Shattered shower door

Glass shower doors became popular in the 1980s as an alternative to vinyl  shower curtains. Most of the time, they work fine. But they’ve been known to  shatter; in 2009, there were almost 2,000 reports to the Consumer Products  Safety Commission of glass enclosure doors suddenly shattering due to improper  installation. They can also break if someone falls hard into the door because of  a slip.

Because most doors are made of tempered glass, they tend to instantly break  into many small pieces rather than larger jagged ones. This is less likely to  cause a bad cut, but it can nevertheless seriously injure a child or frail older  adult who then falls onto the glass bits.

A better way: You don’t have to give up on glass.  Just let family members know not to use the towel racks sometimes installed  along such doors for support, which can stress them. (Install well-anchored  shower grab  bars into the walls of the shower, instead.)

Regularly check older shower doors for cracks, chips, or the glass rubbing  against metal. Some repairmen say frosted glass shatters more often than clear,  although there’s no safety data on this. If a glass door or even a mirror does  break, the safe thing to do is throw a large towel over the shards so you can  more safely exit.