Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for May, 2009

How Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals

Free radicals are the common cause of tissue damage. Thousands of scientific studies have linked them to every known disease. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce by-products, or free radicals. These are damaged molecules which have become unstable because they have lost an electron. When that happens, they attack healthy cells nearby and steal electrons from them. Those cells then become unstable as well and end up attacking and stealing electrons from other nearby cells.

If nothing is done to stop the process, the instability spreads in a chain reaction, healthy cells quickly become damaged, and sickness or disease results. The signs of aging also begin to show. In fact, free radical damage accumulates with age.

In another post titled “Attack Of The Killer Free Radicals”, I list various ways to protect against free radical damage. One of the quickest ways is to increase your intake of antioxidants, substances which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. Antioxidants are found in various foods, but taking antioxidant health supplements is probably the easiest way to get concentrated doses.

An antioxidant is essentially a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. By using antioxidants to remove free radical intermediates, the chain reaction where one healthy cell after another becomes damaged may be terminated. Also known as free radical scavengers, antioxidants can prevent and repair free radical damage.

Not all antioxidant supplements are equal. Some criteria you need to look out for:

• There are many forms of free radicals, so go for antioxidant supplements which combine a wide variety of antioxidants, not just one or two substances or nutrients.

• The antioxidant supplement should have high ORAC values. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and measures how well the food or antioxidant supplement combats health conditions like heart disease and cancer.

• To be effective, antioxidant supplements need to be easily absorbed and assimilated right up to cell level. Check that your supplements have high bio-availability before you buy them.

Choose your antioxidant supplements wisely. It could make all the difference in your battle against aging and sickness.

Clockwork Healing

Women working the night shift are four times more vulnerable to breast cancer because of a disruption in their internal physiology – or circadian clocks. This discovery was made by Professor Paolo Sassone-Corsi and his team from the University of California, Irvine. He spoke at the sidelines of the inaugural Euro Gold Singapore 2009, a symposium which brought together 12 eminent scientists from around the world in early May.

“Everybody has their own 24-hour internal clock. It determines the time at which you go to sleep at night, when you decide to eat during the day and even when you may decide to go for a run.”

These internal clocks are made up of molecules that regulate a number of activities, including the metabolic rate. Disrupting these clocks can cause disturbances that lead to obesity, neurological disorders, depression, insomnia and even cancer.

An earlier study established that women on rotating shifts were 79 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer, as they produced lower levels of melatonin, a hormone as well as a powerful antioxidant produced during sleep which provides protection against the disease. Melatonin is also an immune system regulator, anti-aging agent and anti-depressant. Sleeping at erratic times, going to bed too late, and sleeping in environments which are not conducive for a good night’s sleep (too noisy or too bright, for instance) disrupts the production of melatonin. Bright light can even stop the production of melatonin completely.

No animal or even machine is designed to go without rest. The Bible tells us that even God rested after six days of working on creation. If you watch animals, they spend most of their time resting. Humans, however, are prone to pushing themselves, partying till late, burning the midnight oil and skipping sleep.

Doctors sometimes induce coma in patients to aid healing and recovery. This may seem bizarre, but coma is a deep form of sleep and rest.

Don’t compromise on sleep. Give it priority. Try to get to bed at a reasonable time every night (10 a.m. is a good time). Create a conducive environment for a peaceful, restful sleep. Turn off the TV. Close the curtains or shades. Switch off the lights. Make sure your room is in complete darkness. Don’t let worry disturb your mind and spirit. For me, praying and casting my cares on Jesus really helps (1 Peter 5:7). I often play soothing Christian music as well before I sleep, as it comforts me.

Getting sufficient quality sleep is vital, because it gives me the strength, energy and clarity of mind I need to face the day. When I don’t get enough rejuvenating sleep, it affects my ability to function well, as well as my mood.

Good night, and sweet dreams.

Fresh & Juicy Goodness

Refreshing pineapple, delicious papaya, crunchy celery, tangy orange, sweet carrots, crisp apples – mmmm. Nothing beats freshly-blended fruit and vegetable juice for giving a healthy boost to your day. This is how I like to start my mornings. Packed with enzymes, vitamins and minerals, my blended juices do a great job of cleansing out my system while providing quick and easily assimilated nourishment for my body. Yum!

Are you eating mostly living or dead food? Processed and cooked foods are deficient in living elements. Our bodies are composed of billions of microscopic cells which depend on live, active nourishment. Logically, if we do not feed ourselves with the kind of food which will nourish the body constructively, we increase the likelihood of dying prematurely and suffering along the way. Think of it this way, if your car needs petrol to function, would you think of putting anything else into the tank?

Raw vegetables, fruits, sprouted seeds and nuts are rich in enzymes which enable us to digest and absorb foods. Enzymes like papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple are known to digest protein efficiently. They are popular in cancer-fighting diets, as cancer cells are protected by a tough protein membrane. One of my favorite combinations uses pineapple (minus the skin but including the core), mature but green, unripe papaya (including the skin), and orange. Adding a few drops of vanilla essence and a little honey produces a lip-smacking smoothie-like juice.

Raw fruit and vegetable juices are digested and absorbed within 10 to 15 minutes after drinking. They are used almost entirely in the nourishment and regeneration of the cells and tissues, glands and organs of the body. The entire process of digestion and assimilation is completed speedily and efficiently, and with a minimum of effort on the part of the digestive system. It’s the best quick breakfast food.

Heat kills enzymes, so be sure to add ice and cold water to your raw vegetables and fruits before blending, as the blender generates heat. Enjoy!