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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Sunshine Offers Powerful Healing

The Sun’s amazing healing powers were known to Indians for ages. The Sun is related to our eyes (according to the Purusha Sooktha, the Sun was born from the eyes of the Purusha).

New research explains how exposure to light helps our bio-rhythm and why it is vital for older people to get adequate sunlight exposure.

For decades, scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression. They have scrupulously investigated such suspects as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and an inactive lifestyle.

Now a fascinating body of research supports a largely unrecognized culprit: the aging of the eye.The gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that occur with age disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems, these studies suggest. As the eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, its internal clock.

Circadian rhythms are the cyclical hormonal and physiological processes that rally the body in the morning to tackle the day’s demands and slow it down at night, allowing the body to rest and repair. This internal clock relies on light to function properly, and studies have found that people whose circadian rhythms are out of sync, like shift workers, are at greater risk for a number of ailments, including insomnia, heart disease and cancer.

So-called photoreceptive cells in the retina absorb sunlight and transmit messages to a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (S.C.N.), which governs the internal clock. The S.C.N. adjusts the body to the environment by initiating the release of the hormone melatonin in the evening and cortisol in the morning.

Melatonin is thought to have many health-promoting functions, and studies have shown that people with low melatonin secretion, a marker for a dysfunctional S.C.N., have a higher incidence of many illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

These vital cells, it turns out, are especially responsive to the blue part of the light spectrum. The photoreceptors of the average adult receive just 50 percent of the light needed to fully stimulate the circadian system. By age 55, it dips to 37 percent, and by age 75, to a mere 17 percent.

“Anything that affects the intensity of light or the wavelength can have important consequences for the synchronization of the circadian

People should make an effort to expose themselves to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting when they cannot get outdoors. Older adults are at particular risk, because they spend more time indoors.

“In modern society, most of the time we live in a controlled environment under artificial lights, which are 1,000 to 10,000 times dimmer than sunlight and the wrong part of the spectrum,” Dr. Turner said.

Source: NY Times: Aging of Eyes Is Blamed for Range of Health Woes

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Written by maald

February 29, 2012 at 6:32 am

Posted in Health

Dirt Poor

Crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today.

Comparision of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. There have likely been declines in other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and vitamins B-6 and E, but they were not studied in 1950.

“New varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly but their ability to manufacture or up↑take nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth,” explains Professor Donald Davis of University of Texas at Austin. Also, modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows.

What can be done? Foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favor of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.

Source: Scientific American, Earth TalkHave Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?  

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If you have 90 minutes, watch this: Sugar -The Bitter Truth by Robert H. Lustig, MD at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. This was recently covered in NYTimes: Is Sugar Toxic?, a must read.

Written by maald

June 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Health

Mother, Baby and the Gut Microbe

How Breast Milk Benefits Babies: A large part of human milk cannot be digested by babies and seems to have a purpose quite different from infant nutrition — that of influencing the composition of the bacteria in the infant’s gut. A subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum thrives on the indigestible component of milk and coats the lining of the infant’s intestine, protecting it from noxious bacteria… Link

 

How Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers’ Health:  Feeding infants with breast milk has been shown to improve baby health and even IQ, but the benefits of breastfeeding also appear to stay with mothers for years to come, lowering risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Nursing can start to break down some of the fat that accumulates in women’s bodies during pregnancy. In fact, not breastfeeding after giving birth seems to put women at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other serious health conditions… Link

Written by maald

October 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Posted in Health, Mother Nature

Sunlight 101

What is significant about this map? Cancer rates in the United States are inversely proportional to the intensity of sunlight. And we have been told all along that sunlight gives us cancer. Click on the map for a wealth of information on the relation between health and exposure to sunlight.

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is actually a hormone that we need to survive. 80 to 100 percent of the vitamin D we need comes from the sun. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amount of vitamin D from diet alone. Women deficient in vitamin D are 75% more likely to die from breast cancer.

How Vitamin D Regulates Your Cells and Genes

Vitamin D has a dramatic impact on the health and function of your cells. It reduces cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and improves cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state). That makes vitamin D one of the most potent cancer inhibitors–and explains why vitamin D deficiency has been linked to colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.

But what’s even more fascinating is how vitamin D regulates and controls genes. It acts on a cellular docking station called a receptor that then sends messages to our genes. That’s how vitamin D controls so many different functions–like preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, boosting mood, easing muscle aches and fibromyalgia and building bones.

Written by maald

June 22, 2010 at 1:44 am

Posted in Health

Young Girls Shouldn’t Be Drinking Anyway

For those dying to bring Pub culture to India, here is some news:

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics by the Harvard Medical School indicates that teenage drinking dramatically increases a young woman’s risk of developing breast diseases later in life. The highest correlation was among teens who drank the most frequently, but even teens who only drank once or twice a week were 1.5 times more likely than their peers to suffer from breast disease at a young age.

And the public health message is, these young girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway.

Should parents let teens drink?

Written by maald

June 7, 2010 at 1:50 am

Posted in Health, Parenting

Revisiting Microwave Concerns

If microwaved water can kill a plant, how safe are microwave ovens for you and me? Click on the image for more information on this science project by school students.

Appreciable loss (30-40%) of vitamin B12 occurred in foods during microwave heating due to the degradation of vitamin B12 molecule by microwave heating.

Research by Blanc and Hertel, confirmed that microwave cooking significantly changes food nutrients.They studied the effect that microwaved food had on eight individuals, by taking blood samples immediately after eating. They found that after eating microwaved food, haemoglobin levels decreased. “These results show anaemic tendencies. The situation became even more pronounced during the second month of the study”.

With Microwave ovens becoming common place in Indian kitchens, it is worth spending time to learn the risks involved.

Written by maald

April 26, 2010 at 12:50 am

Posted in Health

Temper Tantrums

These days high-pressure professions offer pre-emptive training in anger management. A few state bar associations now require “civility” training for lawyers renewing their licenses. And as of last year, hospitals must have programs for “disruptive” physicians as a condition of accreditation.

  • If we keep making ourselves feel alike a victim, we will get more angry.
  • Don’t ruminate on past affronts or injustices
  • Recognize that most frustrations, inconveniences and indignities are trivial and temporary.
  • When angry, wait 15 minutes before you say something or an hour before you send an email. If it’s not going to be important in an hour, then let it go. It’s not worth getting angry about.

Written by maald

March 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Health