January 26th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
It’s surprising when something that was once considered questionable for your health turns out to have health benefits, usually with the proviso to consume it “in moderation.” This happened with chocolate and alcohol, and now it’s coffee’s turn, according to the February edition of the Harvard Health Letter. Here’s some of the mostly good news about coffee:
Results from long-term studies show that coffee may not increase the risk for high blood pressure over time, as previously thought. Study findings for other cardiovascular effects are a mixed bag.
Coffee may have anti-cancer properties. Last year, researchers found that coffee drinkers were 50% less likely to get liver cancer than nondrinkers. A few studies have found ties to lower rates of colon, breast and rectal cancers.
Two substances in coffee—kahweol and cafestol—raise cholesterol levels. Paper filters capture these substances, but this doesn’t help the many people who now drink unfiltered coffee drinks, such as lattes. Researchers have also found a link between cholesterol increases and decaffeinated coffee, possibly because of the type of bean used to make certain blends.
Heavy coffee drinkers may be half as likely to get diabetes as light drinkers or nondrinkers. Coffee may contain chemicals that lower blood sugar. A coffee habit may also increase your resting metabolism rate, which could help keep diabetes at bay.
Coffee seems to protect men, but not women, against Parkinson’s disease. One possible explanation for the gender difference may be that estrogen and caffeine need the same enzymes to be metabolized, and estrogen captures those enzymes.
Organic Authority Article Link
Mug Shots: Buying Organic Coffee and Tea
Read More:Coffee May Protect Against Disease
January 20th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
I’ve been writing this week about the joys of cooking with fresh wasabi, as well as favorite organic wasabi products. In fact, during this time of year, many individuals turn to spicy foods like chili peppers and wasabi to clear their sinuses as they endure seasonal allergies, a winter cold or the flu. It seems like a perfectly sensible approach to personal care—but you may be setting yourself up for trouble.
According to the latest research, eating wasabi and other spicy foods offers brief relief, causing your nose to run, itchiness to disappear and your sinuses to drain. But in reality, your nasal congestion will worsen, making you even more miserable. Here’s why: Allylisothiocyanate—the pungent ingredient found in wasabi, horseradish and mustard—causes a transient burning sensation in the nose, and the dilator naris muscle temporarily allows more air to enter. Receptors within the nose then tell your brain that you’re breathing easier.
Unfortunately, your nose is fooling your brain. Eating spicy foods ultimately produces greater nasal congestion and increased mucus production, according to a clinical study conducted by Drs. David S. Cameron and Raul M. Cruz of the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, California.
So, Mom may have known best after all: Drink plenty of fluids, particularly hot beverages like organic tea and chicken soup (often referred to as “Jewish penicillin”).
“For a long-term effect, we recommend rinsing the sinus cavity twice a day with a saline solution,” says Dr. Mark Kerner, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) with offices in Encino and Northridge, California. “See a qualified otolaryngologist who specializes in sinusitis if the problem continues.” He or she will want to rule out a bacterial sinus infection.
Read More:Spicy Foods & Your Sinuses
December 19th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Traveling during the holidays can be extremely stressful, so you need to protect your body and give some extra TLC to your organic spirit. If you’re flying home or driving for more than a few hours, it’s particularly vital to protect your back.
“All that sitting in seats that aren’t designed specifically for you can take a toll,” says Dr. Scott Donkin, a chiropractor, ergonomics expert and author of “Sitting on the Job.”
“Even though you’re sitting in a plane, car or bus,” he adds, “there is still activity in your body. There are pressures and forces at work”—all of which can flatten your spine when it should remain curved or tilt your head at an awkward angle.
Dr. Donkin and the American Chiropractic Association encourage holiday travelers to heed the following tips to avoid aches, strains and soreness:
- Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain this curve when you take your seat. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the beltline. Lay another pillow across the gap between your neck and the headrest. If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets to raise your buttocks slightly.
- Check bags heavier than 20% of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reduce the risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags, stand straight—away from the overhead compartment—so the spine is not rotated during the process. Don’t lift your bags over your head, and don’t turn or twist your head and neck in the process.
- When stowing belongings under your seat, don’t force the object with an awkward motion of your legs, feet or arms. This may cause muscle strain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles. Instead, sit in your seat and, using both hands, stow your bags in the space directly in front of you.
Tune in tomorrow for more holiday travel tips that fit your organic lifestyle…
Read More:Body-Conscious Holiday Travel