Importance of Limiting Pesticide Exposure by Eating Organic

Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is all well and good, but there’s a catch. Most of us are not aware of the pesticides and chemicals that go into our food production process. Chances are that what you consider to be healthy might just be killing you. Commonly used pesticides like organophosphates are neurotoxins can be terribly harmful to your body. Other chemicals like phthalates are endocrine disruptors can also cause severe harm to your reproductive, nervous, and other body systems.

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to eat whole food that has zero exposure to these chemicals in today’s food supply, but a little is much better than a LOT.  Researchers have found that eating a completely organic diet can reduce your pesticide exposure by 90%. These pesticides have ghastly effects on your body. Some of which can be hard to shake while others can be managed by an altered diet.

Here are some frequently used pesticides and what they might be doing to your body:

Organophosphates and Carbamates

Exposure to these pesticides causes increased salivation and perspiration. It can also cause narrowing of the pupils, nausea, diarrhea, decrease in blood pressure, muscle weakness and fatigue. The symptoms fade after the exposure to these chemicals decreases. Some pesticides of this variety also have a delayed neurological reaction which causes weakness in muscles and arms.

Chlorpyrifos

Created in the 1960s, this pesticide has been around for a while. Once used in home gardening they have now found their way into cotton, almonds, oranges, and even corn crops. This pesticide can cause a number of ill effects in the body. From a mild headache to an increased risk for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to much more serious conditions like respiratory paralysis.

Pyrethyroids

Exposure to these chemicals can cause aggression, uncoordinated behavior, whole-body tremors, and seizures. Skin exposure can also cause allergic responses, cancer or even developmental defects.

Glyphosate

The active ingredient in the popular weed killer called RoundUp, glyphosphate is designed by the seed makers for use on genetically modified soy, corn, canola, cotton and in parks. Its residue has become ubiquitous and has even been discovered in the Mississippi basin. Its ill-effects include neurological disorders, birth defects, infertility, and is a known carcinogen. There are some serious issues that one should be worried about when eating foods laden with pesticides. You should be aware of the following:

Memory Loss

A review from the University College London concluded that low level of pesticide exposure can cause cognitive impairment. It can affect memory, the speed with which you process information, and higher brain functions like long-term planning.

Diabetes

Tolyfluanid, a fungicide used on crops, can increase insulin resistance in cells. This can accelerate the development of diabetes and may be contributing to the national epidemic that is happening right now.  It’s estimated that 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2020.

Cancer

There are more than 260 studies linking pesticides with cancer like lymphoma, leukemia, soft tissue sarcoma in a wide-range of tissues including breast, brain, prostate, bone cancers among others.  There are many resources explaining these risks and all of the package inserts of these pesticides have warnings about the potential of cancer from exposure to these chemicals.

Parkinson’s Disease

Over 60 studies have identified a strong correlation between long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides with Parkinson’s disease. The only way to avoid this is to eat food that has no traces of pesticides in them at all.

Developmental Diseases

Leading autism researchers believe that there is link between pollutants and genes causing autism. Insecticides usually kill bugs by disrupting their neurological functioning. The same thing seems to be happening in children. A 2010 Harvard study found that children with organophosphate pesticide breakdown materials are more likely to have ADHD.

How is Organic Food Different?

Organically grown vegetables, fruits, and grains do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers or any other chemicals to support their growth. This means the growing food process utilizes natural fertilizers such as manure and compost. It is important that animal products are also organic as these animals should be reared on organic feed (not treated with growth hormones) and allowed regular access to the outdoors. Organic produce is clearly labeled, and this is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

There is emerging research that organic food has a higher percentage of antioxidants. This is because plants produce a large percentage of their antioxidant compounds to fight against pest attacks. Supplementing their growth with chemical pesticides only inhibits their ability to grow the compounds we eat these food items for. Moreover, food grown this way is far safer for the environment while also being safer to consume. Be it plants or animals, organically reared food is undeniably better for the body and keeps you safe from ingesting harmful chemicals. Most would argue that it tastes much better as well.

Summary

Eating organic food is the best way for you to limit your exposure to pesticides and dangerous chemicals. While it may seem more costly, it is definitely a cheaper option to the health risks of ingesting chemical-laced food. There are a number of health risks that have been identified as being associated with pesticides as mentioned above. Many Americans are realizing the value of prevention being better than cure and shifting to an organic lifestyle in droves.

Health Effects of the Myers’ Cocktail

Created by Dr. John Myers in the 1960s, the Myers’ Cocktail is a uniquely formulated nutrient drip. This intravenous (IV) vitamin blend was created to treat a wide range of issues. Even though Dr. Myers passed away in the early 1980s without revealing the recipe, Dr. Alan Gaby was able to reproduce the concoction. The IV blend consists of a special combination of magnesium chloride, calcium gluconate, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium pantothenate, vitamin B complex, vitamin C and diluted hydrochloric acid. Though the results tend to remain relatively constant, doctors around the world can differ significantly in their own preparation of the infusion.

Myers’ Cocktail is a rapid way of providing your body all the critical nutrition and hydration it needs. This is why it has become a favorite among those that are volume depleted from infection, inflammation, poor dietary choices, intense workouts, post-procedure, and even veisalgia (hangover) among many others. Its administration through an IV makes it fast and easy for it to get directly into our bloodstream for its myriad of beneficial effects. This is particularly helpful for those that are nauseous or otherwise unable to drink massive amounts of fluid rapidly.

What are Nutrients?

We need some very basic nutrients to drive almost every reaction that occurs in our body, from moving your pinky finger to choosing the right career to be able to have fun with your friends. These nutrients include elemental metals (calcium, phosphate, magnesium, selenium), antioxidants (glutathione, oxygen), vitamins (B12, C, D), and buffers (sodium bicarbonate, lactate).  There are countless others and the field of biochemistry is the study of the way these nutrients interact with each other to powers our body.

Why Does Almost Everyone Need the Myers’ Cocktail?

The American diet stinks. There has been a marked increase in digestive issues over the last few decades. This has been in tandem with a national increase in the consumption of fast food and sugar. In fact, even our healthy foods have gotten less nutritious from some of manufacturing and processing methods (Nutritional Inflation, Who’d a Thunk it?).

These and other more sinister factors have led to a marked rise in the incidence of Leaky Gut Syndrome which ultimately leads to a reduction in the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This, in turn, causes a weakening of the immune system which makes it harder for the body to fight infections and abnormal cellular mutations, like those of cancer. The lack of ample nutrients in the body also has a direct effect on one’s mood and ability to function. Not being able to absorb nutrients from food, or not consuming the right diet, can also lead to obesity as most of these individuals are actually malnourished from eating foods that have low nutritional value.  All of these facts make it easy to understand the root cause of most of our serious chronic diseases and highlights the importance of having a good balance of nutrients available to your body.

How Does it Work?

Because of the aforementioned factors, it is essentially impossible to attain the concentrations of nutrients required by the body for optimal function through our typical American diets. Moreover, because of the leaky gut syndrome, simply increasing the oral intake of nutrients can not directly lead to an increase in that particular nutrient in the bloodstream. This not-to-mention that most people can not tolerate high doses of oral nutrients that are commonly associated with side effects. The Myers cocktail, however, is intravenously administered using a small IV catheter. The patient can relax comfortably in a chair during an infusion which can roughly about 30-minutes. Especially when you are deficient in these vitamins and minerals, infusing them in this manner is a great way for managing problematic digestive issues or for providing an immediate boost in existing nutrient levels.

So in summary, the Myers’ Cocktail helps restore the body’s nutritional balance by delivering essential nutrients directly into the bloodstream. The combination of vitamins and minerals are absorbed at a cellular level and show an immediate effect on the patient. Because almost none of us eat the recommended 12 servings of vegetables a day, this therapy is useful for almost anybody. Not only for people suffering from ailments such as asthma, migraines, and chronic pain, but also for those battling many common chronic diseases.

Frequency of Administering a Myers’ Cocktail

For people that have normal kidney and liver function, it is almost impossible to overdose on a Myers Cocktail.  However, administering this infusion depends on the patient’s overall condition and the specific ailment being treated. For conditions like sinusitis, muscle spasm, or upper respiratory infections, about two treatments would provide results. For those preparing for athletic events or in anticipation of high-stress events like surgery, even one administration can provide fast results but this cocktail should generally be taken weekly for three to five weeks. Your specific frequency of administration is best decided by your physician prior to your first treatment. Chronic conditions need ongoing treatment with regular assessment according to the disease.

Side Effects of the Myers’ Cocktail

While there are no adverse effects of the Myers’ cocktail there may be mild side effects for some people. The patient may feel a warming or a flushed feeling because of the magnesium in the infusion. Magnesium can also lower the blood pressure and some susceptible patients may experience fainting. When coupled with high-dose vitamin C, GI symptoms like dyspepsia and nausea can occur. Unlike most pharmaceutical therapies, these cases are rare and hardly ever occur when your care emanates from experienced professionals.

Ailments Treated by the Myers’ Cocktail

From the common cold to more serious ailments, the Myers’ Cocktail has been used for a large variety of purposes. Here are a few:

Boosting Immunity

The high dosage of vitamins in your bloodstream is a great way to keep yourself safe from common ailments.

Asthma

Myers’ Cocktail has been found to be wonderful in reducing symptoms of asthma and allergies. As an additional “side-effect”, it also helps reduce anxiety during attacks as well as controlling blood pressure.

Pain Relief

Back pain, post-op pain, injury and muscle aches can be rapidly relieved by the Myers’ Cocktail. It can also ease the widespread pain and muscle aches of fibromyalgia and common inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

Mental Issues

Lack of essential vitamins and minerals contribute greatly to mental ailments like anxiety and depression. When taken regularly, the Myers’ Cocktail modulates nutrient levels over time so that its beneficial mood and emotional effects help you deal with normal everyday stress as well as more serious mood disorders.

Almost anything and everything

The Myers’ Cocktail has also been found to be useful in treating Lyme disease, narcotic withdrawal, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. It is also used commonly as an antiaging treatment around the world because of the way it promotes collagen production and boosts energy. This unique treatment has often made patients report an immediate effect on their skin and energy levels.

Conclusion

The Myers’ Cocktail is a highly efficacious and versatile treatment that can also be customized to the needs of almost any patient.  A number of other IV infusions that have been modeled after it. No matter what your ailment, the Myers’ Cocktail will help balance your body’s nutritional status until you adjust your diet accordingly. Anyone that has ever received this treatment will want to thank Dr. Myer’s for introducing the modern world to this timeless treatment.

13 health benefits of a plant-based diet

A plant-based diet is primarily one that is based on plant products, which includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, legumes, nuts, with minimal or no inclusions of animal products. There are many different types of plant-based diets but they all feature foods with great health benefits.

Those who follow this type of diet also avoid plant fragments such as refined flour, sugar, oil or junk food and focus on consuming the whole plant or only minimally processed versions thereof.

Major health benefits

Lowers blood pressure

People following a plant-based diet have better control on their blood pressure as their diet consists of mostly potassium-rich foods. Potassium is an excellent nutrient for good blood pressure health.  Almost all whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and all fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of potassium and Vitamin B6, which help lower blood pressure. On the contrary, meat and most animal foods contain little to no potassium and actually raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels when consumed regularly.

Euglycemia- control of blood sugar levels

A plant-based diet incorporates ingredients that are rich in fiber content, and the best and easiest way to fight high blood sugar is to consume more fiber. Fiber in your diet slows down the absorption of sugars in the bloodstream, which in turn helps to control blood sugar. Many dieticians are correct when they counsel patients not to drink fruit juices. However people that make their own fruit juices that include the fibrous portion of the fruit with no added sugar should be encouraged to continue doing so.

Lowers Cholesterol

Since “bad” cholesterol is primarily due to animal proteins, embracing plant-based foods is the simplest way to control cholesterol levels. Plants contain no cholesterol; not even the saturated sources such as coconut and cacao. If you don’t put it in, you don’t have to control it.

Weight management

Conventional approaches to weight loss like formal exercise programs and calorie counting are flawed in many ways- they don’t address the root causes of the weight problem. For people that can follow a plant-based diet, losing and managing weight is a cinch. Weight loss occurs naturally when you consume most of your calories more from fiber, vitamins, and minerals than animal fats and proteins. People that follow a plant-based diet can easily lose weight without depriving or starving themselves and don’t have to worry about taking on formal exercising programs if their existing activity level is vigorous enough. As the number of meat-substitutes increase and get tastier, our nation of meat-loving sick people will naturally become plant-loving healthy people!!

Improves heart health

Several studies and emerging research has shown that higher intake of plant-based foods lowers the chances of cardiovascular diseases. For those who are already suffering from heart diseases, switching to a plant-based diet can help reverse or get rid of heart disease completely. Atherosclerotic diseases are most common and there is no more effective treatment than a plant-based diet. Don’t want to take expensive pills anymore? Use the money you’ll save on prescriptions to buy good, clean, organic whole foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts) and watch your coronary artery disease melt away.

Good for your gut

If you follow a fiber-rich plant-based diet, and choose foods high in resistant-starches, which come mostly from whole foods like grains, seeds, and legumes, it facilitates the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, thus helping you reap the benefits of a harmonious microbiome. If you’re not making nice fluffy, voluminous stool, your gut health is in serious trouble.

Healthy vision

It is a well-known fact that the vitamin A in carrots aids vision. Your eyes will definitely thank you for a plant-based diet rich in spinach, kale, corn, squash, kiwi and grapes. The lutein and zeaxanthin pigments present in these foods help to prevent cataract and macular degeneration. In fact, even colorful fruits and vegetables as well as leafy greens are packed with antioxidants that are vital for good eye health.

Excellent skin health

95% of common acne is due to your diet. When you cut back on chemical-rich foods and animal products, you stop clogging the pores that lead to acne. The vitamins, pigments, and phytochemicals present in fruits and vegetables in a plant-based diet leave you no choice but to have healthy skin. For example, the lycopene in tomatoes protects your skin from sun damage and the vitamin C in sweet potatoes helps smoothen wrinkles by stimulating collagen production. Your favorite skin-care companies cannot patent naturally occuring elements that are contained in whole fruits and vegetables.

Helps in cancer treatment

There is strong evidence that whole food and plant-based eating is the best protection and one of the best dietary choices complementing conventional cancer treatment. Your doctors should be strongly recommending plant-based diets as part of your cancer treatment.  Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet will give you the best chance to recover from even the rarest cancers.

Improves brain health

Emerging evidence is overwhelmingly showing that diets based on legumes, grains, and healthy oils are associated with better brain health in older adults.  Those who favored fruits and vegetables had less brain shrinkage, linked with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. We don’t commonly come across vibrant people in their geriatric years, but the next time you do, ask them what type of food they’ve been eating throughout their life.

Lowers risks of hypothyroidism

Plant-based diets can help lower the risks of hypothyroidism. Depending on the root cause of your condition, a plant-based diet can help control and even CURE this condition while also offering all of the other benefits listed here.

Improves hormone health

A plant-based diet helps improve hormone health and relieves symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This diet is also known to treat infertility naturally and help heal polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Trying to have a baby? Make sure your doctors are giving you proper nutritional counseling.

Protects the environment

What is the most common source of dangerous greenhouse gases that deplete our ozone layer? It’s NOT trains, planes, and automobiles… It’s cattle!!! Furthermore, it takes an incredible 660 gallons of water to produce one hamburger!! We are currently on an unsustainable path to permanently damage our ozone layer and water supply. If you love Earth as much as we do, please reconsider your fast food choices and give veggie burgers and black-bean burgers a try- they’re delicious!!

Conclusion

A plant-based diet presents a host of health and environmental benefits.  It also comes packed with nutrients. It can be the most powerful asset in your overall wellbeing and can even help reverse any chronic health issues that may have been troubling you for long. So, reduce your meat intake and choose a delicious plant-based food at your next meal for a healthier you!

We salute Dr. Michael Greger for his tireless work in promoting the medical benefits of a plant-based diet. His non-profit website, nutritionfacts.org, is easily the most plentiful resource on the topic and we encourage you to check out his tremendous entertaining and informative videos on the latest evidence for great nutrition.

Why IV Nutrient Therapy is Effective

Intravenous nutrient therapy (IVNT) has found a lot of takers over the last few years and rightly so. IVNT is the process of infusing vitamins, essential amino acids, supplements, and minerals directly into the bloodstream. This treatment has been used to treat a range of diseases including migraines, fibromyalgia, acute asthma, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, acute alcohol intoxication, and many, many others. Of late, it has gained favor to support the recovery of high-performance athletes and although retail clinics are opening up everywhere, there is significant variation in the quality and quantity of the services provided. There are many reasons for the variation including poor regulation, lack of adoption by major pharmaceutical companies, and level of training of IVNT providers.

What is IV Therapy?

The first attempts at IV therapy date back to the 17th century and it became a broadly viable practice with the advent of plastic bags for storage and transport of IV fluid. In a nutshell it is an effective method of supplying the body with the nutrients that are urgently required. IV therapy can be used for pain management, blood transfusion, medication administration, or to replete important essential amino acids and minerals the body may be lacking.

Vitamins and minerals function as the gatekeepers of the body, allowing for body reactions to slow down or speed up based on their relative concentration. Most Americans are severely deficient in vital nutrients such as vitamin D, B12, folate, or iron. Furthermore, the liver has trouble producing the highly oxidative substances (chiefly glutathione) which function as the “bouncer” of the body, clearing it of unwanted chemicals and toxins.

Myths about IV Nutrient Therapy

Myth: It is not commonly given by doctors, therefore it is unsafe

Fact: IV nutrient therapy is FAR from an experimental practice! With hardly any adverse reactions, it is the best way to provide the body the nutrients it needs safely in rapid fashion. Most common treatments are known as the “banana bag” and “Total Parenteral Nutrition” (aka TPN), this age-old treatment is done countless times in hospitals all around the globe.

Myth: Doesn’t help people with chronic illnesses

Fact: There is emerging evidence that supports the benefits of high-dose IV vitamin C therapy in patients with breast cancer. IV vitamin C therapy can be used with conventional treatment that can help improve the quality of life of the patient. It has also been shown to have benefit in a common hospital condition called sepsis. Previously with little hope, fibromyalgia patients have reported reduced symptoms after IV therapy. There are many more examples and the literature continues to evolve in this area.

Myth: It is only needed once

Fact: How many people eat once a day? Although some IV nutrients may only need a one-time infusion for a long-lasting effect, most others need to be taken regularly over a few weeks until levels have reached a steady state. Even still, if your diet and lifestyle are not modified to correct the deficiency, you’ll end up requiring additional treatments in due time. Regular use of IVNT should be guided by an experienced physician or medical provider whenever possible.

There’s no evidence, it’s a money-making scheme

Any experienced medical practitioner will confirm that less than 50% of the treatment commonly prescribed in any healthcare setting is actually confirmed to be grounded in evidence-based literature. Still, open any biochemistry book and you’ll find vitamins and minerals as catalysts in virtually every vital reaction in the body, from the detoxification of noxious substances to the production of energy in the cell’s mitochondria. Just like most things in clinical medicine, there is literature for and against the use of IVNT for specific conditions. However, the multi-billion dollar neutraceutical industry is only getting larger. Unfortunately, there also some bad actors. Products like energy drinks advertise their B vitamin content but contain stimulants like caffeine and significant amounts of sugar as well which virtually eliminates their clinical utility. Most importantly, IVNT has very low risk to cause harm when taken under the guidance of trained professionals.

Benefits of IVNT

Boosts Immunity

A concentrated blend of vitamins and minerals can boost the body’s immune system. The effects of it are immediate, unlike orally administered supplements or intramuscular injections. Nutrients like vitamin C are a natural immune booster and can be protective against the flu and cold. The IV blend should be tailored to the specific requirement of the patient to ensure best outcomes.

100% Absorption

Absorption of nutrients is difficult for some patients when they take nutrients orally. Digestive problems are extremely common for people eating an American diet and is often the root cause of this issue. With IVNT, however, the process of absorption is bypassed and 100% of the infused nutrients get into the bloodstream. This makes cellular absorption a function of the dose administered rather than the health of the gut. Simply stated, this puts YOU in control of how much nutrient your body gets.

Detoxification

Over time the blood in our body can accumulate a number of harmful toxins. The process of infusing your blood with electrolytes, nutrients, and fluids allows the cleansing to begin. It aids the detoxification process of your blood and makes you feel healthy again. Balanced nutritional status is crucial when weaning people off of narcotics and can make all the difference in people who are struggling with chemical addictions.

Fights Fatigue

Chronic fatigue is generally due to lifestyle choices or disease. Poor nutrition commonly causes vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, or mineral deficiencies among other things. Unfortunately, these diagnoses are under-recognized by conventional practitioners who are generally more focused on diseases that have pharmaceutical interventions. IVNT is a nutrient-rich recharge for the body and can provide immediate improvement of fatigue no matter what the root cause.

Aids Recovery

Hydration is the key to recovering from cold, flu, and other infectious and inflammatory illnesses. IVNT replaces the lost nutrients in your body it also hydrates you which is a tremendous part of its overall benefit. Even people that feel well get regular IVNT infusions because they quickly realize how much better they feel from proper hydration and nutrient balance. They modify their diet and lifestyle accordingly with the ultimate objective to feel good without having to supplement their health with IVNT, a very laudable goal.

Energy Boost

Many patients have reported an immediate increase in their energy levels after receiving an IV nutrient infusion. This is because of the absorption of essential nutrients directly into the bloodstream. Unlike food or medication, it does not require the digestive process for absorption and works much faster. B vitamins are commonly used as “energy boosters” in the supplement industry.

Summary

Intravenous nutrient therapy is a time-tested treatment that repletes vital minerals, essential amino acids, and vitamins in the body. When individualized to your specific requirements it can provide a tremendous number of benefits and is much faster than taking oral supplements which are not easily-absorbed from the gut. The science of IVNT is rock-solid and emerging literature is supplementing the list of clinical indications to include serious conditions like cancer, sepsis, and fibromyalgia. There are few things in modern medicine that are as cost-effective and have the tremendous benefit of IVNT. There are virtually none that have the amazingly sparse profile of side-effects from treatment. Unlike most of the products you’d find in a retail pharmacy, IVNT is a natural treatment option that can not be patented.

Because of its low cost and high clinical efficacy, IVNT is the type of treatment that great medical practitioners crave for use in their patients when indicated.

9 Evidence-based Reasons Why Transcendental Meditation Is Great for You

Stress is something that nearly everyone is struggling with. Too many people complain of being stressed out, be it at work, in relationships, or with their own health issues. Transcendental meditation (TM) has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve stress and calm the mind. It has a myriad of benefits, including enhanced clarity of mind, better concentration and improved communication skills. With regular practice, it is believed that the physiology of our body changes and each cell is filled with more energy.  Here are some key benefits of doing TM regularly:

Boosts immunity

Our immune system is directly related to our brain. This means that the brain transmits our thoughts and moods to the immune system. So, the more positive your brain is, the stronger your immunity. This is helpful for patients dealing with major illnesses like cancer, who are struggling with compromised immunity. Regular TM enhances the body’s ability to fight against disease before it can make you sick.

Lowers blood pressure levels

The two most common stress-related diseases gripping our current generations are high blood pressure and diabetes. TM reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels among many other beneficial effects not-to-mention it also increases the threshold for anxiety attacks. If not treated properly, high BP and sugar levels can lead to major health issues. It is therefore best to make TM a daily habit to help keep your body in its best state of balance through regular practice. The American Heart Association recommends TM as first-line therapy in controlling pre-hypertension and Stage 1 hypertension (pharmaceuticals should be considered for Stage 2). Very few primary care practitioners and cardiologists are aware of these recommendations, (Hypertension, Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure, volume 61, number 6).

Increases fertility

Increased stress is known to decrease sperm count and motility. Women who are under intermittent duress are said to produce hormones like cortisol and prolactin, both of which interfere with regular ovulation. Since TM helps alleviate stress, it is beneficial for couples who are looking to conceive.

Fights depression

The incidence of depression is rising higher than ever before American society. Many studies show that TM increases the serotonin levels in the body, which in turn helps to improve mood and behavior. Modern mental health practitioners are using a mindful meditation as treatment for their depressed patients with outstanding results. With the complicated side-effect profiles of conventional pharmaceutical therapy, TM is being recognized as increasingly effective in treating mental illnesses without any side effects. How often can your doctor prescribe a pharmaceutical drug without side effects?

Relieves tension-related aches

TM also helps patients deal with stress-related pain including migraine headaches, ulcers, muscles and joint problems. These conditions can even be cured in many cases by using TM. Emerging research shows that TM improves pain by modulating the parts of the brain that are responsible for pain processing.

Improves sleep patterns

Insomnia has gripped half the population and so many people out there struggle to sleep peacefully. Regular TM helps subside thought waves, which are responsible for sleeplessness. In addition to this, it also helps to relax the body and release tension, thus ensuring a peaceful state of mind in which sleep comes effortlessly.

Helps with inflammation

Stress leads the way to inflammation, a condition associated with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin disorders such as psoriasis. Evidence shows that TM can prevent and treat these symptoms by reducing stress. As crazy as it may sound, TM has been shown to reduce inflammation!

Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

If patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome start to practice TM, their symptoms of diarrhea, bloating, and constipation can improve considerably. Studies show that relaxing the body with the help of meditation is an easy, inexpensive way to improve the clinical outcomes and general well-being of patients suffering from IBS.

Enhances focus and concentration

TM sharpens the mind by improving focus and attention. It is particularly beneficial for school and college-going students. Improvement in concentration and focus helps in reducing age-related memory loss, thereby making it important for the older ones of the population too.

Start today!

To experience the benefits of transcendental meditation, training and regular practice is a must. Remember, even a few minutes of deep relaxation daily can work wonders for your overall well-being.  It’s time to ditch the excuses and get meditating for a healthier and happier you!  Visit http://tm.org for more information and to learn about certified training centers near you.

Nutritional Inflation?!?! Who’d a Thunk it?

by
Rashida Ghauri, MD, ABIHM
Sarah Emslie
Baber Ghauri, MD, FHM, FACP, ABIHM

Introduction

We all understand that the value of the dollar is based on the relationship between the number of actual dollars in circulation and the number of precious resources we have in our federal reserves. When there are too many dollars floating around, economists call it inflation and suddenly your dollar is worth less today than yesterday. There is clear evidence that a similar thing is also happening with our FOOD supply!! Food today does not nearly have the same value as it did as early as twenty years ago!! We’re not talking about Twinkies here, we’re talking about apples, carrots, and other whole foods. As an example of this, most obese people are actually nutritionally deficient causing them to seek more nutritional value through more eating. Depending on the sugar/fat content of what they eat, they are usually entering the vicious cycle that leads to metabolic syndrome X, diabetes, and serious heart disease.
Nutritional inflation is something that most of us have never heard of and the purpose of this post is to help us understand the lethality of this phenomenon. There are a number of factors contributing to nutritional inflation:
  1. Selective breeding
  2. Crop management
  3. Modern farming methods
  4. Supply-chain management

Selective Breeding

One of the most important and furthest reaching factors in the loss of nutritional value of fruits and vegetables over the years is the selective breeding that humans have performed on plants. Tracing different crops back through history to their wild ancestors reveals that farmers always chose the sweetest and best tasting varieties to begin planting on farms, understandable when nutrition was not as understood as it is now. Studies of the nutritional content of plants now show that the most bitter and sour varieties actually have the greatest nutritional content in the form of compounds called phytonutrients. These compounds have been shown to fight cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and many other modern scourges. However, since our brains are wired to want sweeter, starchier food, we’ve often bred these compounds out of our crops. For example, Native Americans gathered wild dandelions in abundance in the springtime.  These plants have seven times more phytonutrients than our modern spinach. Their bitter taste made them not widely consumed and have never truly been domesticated in the way that other crops have because of it. Despite the low demand, it makes sense that they sell at premium cost at most grocery stores underlining the idea that the market cost of most food is directly proportional to its nutritional value.

Crop Management

A more recent culprit of nutrient loss can be found in the management and development of new crops. With the advent of refrigeration, crops could suddenly be transported across the country and still arrive fresh for consumption.  In addition, new farming equipment allowed for mega-farming producing never-before-seen yields. This change in the way that farming was done led to a push for higher yield crops, whether through selective breeding of the plants themselves, or the use of fertilizers and pesticides. These higher yielding crops have been consistently associated in studies with a downward trend in nutrient levels. In a study done in 1979 (Hughes et al.) raspberry plants were grown in soil that naturally contained phosphorus. One group was given no additional phosphorus-based fertilizer, and the other two groups were given increasing amounts of 22 ppm and 44 ppm. Although the additional fertilizer created large increases in the size of the plants themselves, it also caused a drop in almost every mineral that was measured in the plant, with the one exception of phosphorus. The fertilizer created more of the plant itself, but it was less
nutritious.

Figure 1. Dilution effects of phosphorus fertilization in red raspberry plants; 1, 22, and 44 ppm added to soil containing 12 ppm (Hughes et al., 1979; dry weight basis). The relative plant dry weight was respectively, 1:1.4:2.2.

Modern farming methods

It isn’t just what humans are putting into the soil that’s detrimental to the nutrition of our food, it’s also what’s being taken out. Modern farming methods are not kind to the soil, farmers often plant the same crop in the same field year after year, stripping the soil of its nutrients and forcing the addition of more chemical fertilizers in future years. Rotating different crops through different fields, or allowing fields to lay fallow for a year or two in between plantings gives the soil time to recuperate its lost nutrients. Restructuring the way that modern agriculture is practiced, and employing more organic growing methods may be one of the keys to recapturing some of the lost nutrients in plants.

Supply-chain management

What happens to crops after they’re harvested is also important. Before refrigeration was possible, crops were picked at the peak of ripeness and delivered straight to their destination, they would be on the tables of the people who purchased or picked them within a few days at the most. Sadly with the exception of our local farmer’s markets (and those who have their own personal gardens at home), this is not the case anymore. Food is picked weeks before it is ripe so that it will not spoil in transport, and is often left to languish in holding warehouses for yet more weeks where it is force ripened with ethylene gas before it ever sees the light of a grocery store display. So while the tomatoes you buy at the store may look perfect and red, being taken off of the vine and out of the sun while unripe, greatly reduces their nutritional value.

Solutions

So with all of these factors out of the general consumer’s control, this article may seem to paint a bleak picture of nutrition in modern times. However, it’s important to remember that there are things that we can do to ensure that we get the most nutrition possible out of our food.
  1. Cutting out as much processed food as possible from one’s diet is a great place to start.  Watch this How It’s Made classic on the 21+ steps it takes to produce household sugar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWl141Bu7fc
  2. Shopping organic or at farmer’s markets when possible is another quick way to get more nutrition in your food. Though obviously not possible for everyone, even the most antiquated grocers are understanding the value of selling organic and whole foods.
  3. Picking fruits and vegetables from the store with the darkest colors is a great way to ensure greater phytonutrient content even if they aren’t grown organically.
  4. For those who have the space, growing your own vegetables in the backyard or in pots is the best way to ensure the greatest nutritional content in your fruits and vegetables. You, the farmer, have complete control over the variety, harvest time, fertilizer, and pesticide use, all factors that have a huge influence on the nutritional content of your harvest!
  5. Ask your grocer!  Even if they don’t know the answer this time, chances are they will the next time.  The more we share this knowledge, the better we’ll eat!!

With the proper knowledge, you can make better choices about your food and help improve the long-term health and wellness of yourself and your loved ones.  The most important thing to remember from this post is that the COST of food is usually directly proportional to its nutritional value.

Want to learn more?  Here is a short video about the nutritional value of many commonly sold foods by the wonderful Dr. Michael Greger, MD, http://nutritionfacts.org.

References

  1. Davis, Donald R. “Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?” HortScience. American Society for Horticultural Science, Feb. 2009. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
  2. Herro, Alana. “Crop Yields Expand But Nutrition Is Left Behind.” World Watch. Eye on Earth, n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
  3. “Leading Causes of Death.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
  4. Ray, C. Claiborne. “A Decline in the Nutritional Value of Crops.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Sept. 2015. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
  5. Robinson, Jo. “Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 May 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.
  6. Scheer, Roddy, and Doug Moss. “Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?” Scientific American. EarthTalk, 27 Apr. 2011. Web. 02 Aug. 2016.