Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jet Lag remedies

Jet Lag Hurts Both Mental and Physical Performance
February 23, 2017 | 53,048 views

By Dr. Mercola
Jet lag, also known as flight fatigue, time zone change syndrome or desynchronosis, occurs when travel across time zones disrupts your internal body clock, resulting in mental, emotional and physical symptoms such as:1,2
  • Daytime sleepiness and lethargy followed by nighttime insomnia
  • Anxiety, irritability, confusion and poor concentration
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache, nausea, indigestion, dehydration and/or general malaise
The mental effects are fairly well-established, but recent research suggests jet lag can have a significant effect on your physical performance as well — a finding of particular importance for athletes who travel to participate in games and races.
Jet Lag Takes Toll on Physical Performance
Looking at Major League Baseball data culled from more than 40,000 games over two decades, including the players' travel schedules, researchers found "subtle but detectable" effects when players traveled across one or two time zones for a game.3,4 As reported by Time Magazine:5
"For example, teams from eastern states who had just returned home from a game out west tended to have fewer stolen bases, doubles and triples, and were subject to more double plays, than those who hadn't traveled as recently …
The effects are enough to erase a team's home-field advantage … The effects of west-to-east travel were stronger than those of east-to-west travel, supporting the argument that they are due to the body's circadian clock — not just time on an airplane or scheduling issues in general …"
According to Dr. Ravi Allada, associate director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern, the reason for this decline in physical performance is likely due to the fact that your muscle cells are tied in to your circadian clock.
Hence, "it makes sense that one might see an impairment in muscle activity or muscle efficiency, as a result of this misalignment," he says.
Helpful Tips to Minimize Jet Lag
As a general rule, your body will adjust to the time zone change at a rate of one time zone per day. To prevent athletic deterioration due to jet lag, Allada suggests baseball teams may want to make sure their starting pitchers are on location a day or two earlier when cross-country travel is required.
This would allow their internal body clocks to adjust to the local time zone, allowing them to perform at their best. Other athletes would be wise to follow the same advice — especially if you're traveling eastward, which tends to desynchronize your internal clock more severely than westward travel.
If you cannot squeeze in an extra day or two, you could fake it by pretending you're in your destination time zone while still at home.6
This suggestion may be particularly helpful if you're traveling with young ones. It's hard to rest and recuperate when you have one or more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed children rearing to go at 4 a.m. once you reach your destination.7
To do this, simply wake up and go to bed according to the destination time rather than your local time. In the morning, be sure to expose yourself to bright full-spectrum light. If the sun is not yet up, use a clear incandescent light bulb along with a cool-blue spectrum LED to shut down melatonin production.
As an example, if you were to travel from New York to Paris, start going to bed an hour earlier each day, three days ahead of your flight, and avoid bright light for two to three hours before going to bed.
This may necessitate closing the blinds or shades, and turning off all lights and electronic screens. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. When you wake, be sure to get some bright sunlight exposure.
If it's still dark out, use a light box or the artificial light combination mentioned above. Also be sure to shift your mealtimes accordingly.
Wear your blue-blocking glasses on the plane if you are traveling at night and continue wearing them until you get to bed. The excess blue light without the balanced red and near-infrared will seriously impair your melatonin production.
Once you get to your destination, it is best to get up close to sunrise and go outside and look in the direction of the sun. You can safely do this for about an hour after sunrise.
This will help to reset your melatonin production. If weather and circumstances allow, it would be best to do this outdoors with your bare feet on the ground.
Effects of Chronic Jet Lag Can Be Severe
Other research has investigated the health effects of jet lag by focusing on airline professionals like pilots and flight attendants, who end up struggling with jet lag on a chronic, long-term basis.8
Here, population-based studies have found flight crews have higher rates of cancer than the general population, including melanoma and cancer of the breast and prostate.
While cosmic radiation exposure is thought to be a factor that increases this risk, circadian rhythm disturbance also plays a significant role. Animal research has confirmed that chronically jet lagged mice indeed have higher rates of breast cancer than non-jet lagged controls.
Chronic jet lag also appears to speed up cognitive decline — an effect associated with elevated cortisol levels.
In one study, long-distance flight crews were found to have higher cortisol levels than ground crews, and flight crew members who had worked there the longest scored lower on memory tests compared to those with fewer years on the job.
Inconsistent Sleeping Habits May Have Similar Effects
It's worth noting that you don't necessarily have to go anywhere to experience the effects of jet lag. A very similar scenario is created if you stay up really late and sleep in on the weekend and then have to get up early on Monday morning.
If you have something important going on that day, say an athletic competition, written test or a presentation, your performance may suffer.
Ditto for those who work night shifts on a rotating basis. I reviewed the ill effects of working the night shift in November last year, and why you'd be wise to avoid working them if possible. If you have no other choice, then the following suggestions can help minimize the health risks:
• When you get up at night, get some blue light exposure, as this will help wake you up. I suggest using a conventional clear incandescent bulb in combination with a bright cool white (blue-enriched) LED bulb.
You need both, not one or the other, as the LED will give you the blue and the incandescent the balancing red and near infrared spectrum.
Ideally, start with incandescent light immediately after getting up, thereby simulating sunrise. After half an hour or so, add the LED light, mimicking the sun´s ascent toward high noon. Using the LED light for 15 to 30 minutes will help you to establish your new circadian rhythm.
Once you feel the photonic energy boost, you can stop the LED use, since too much will do more harm than good. (Bluish LED light generates excessive amounts of free radicals if not adequately balanced by red and near infrared light.)
• After this, avoid further exposure to blue light. This means using only incandescent bulbs at home and at work. Alternatively, wear blue-blocking glasses to avoid any additional exposure to LED or fluorescent bulbs.
These strategies are better than nothing, but please be aware that by working nights, you are depriving yourself of natural sunlight, which is a really crucial component for health.
The sun's rays not only are the catalyst that allows your skin to produce vitamin D, but sunlight also plays a role in mitochondrial health, biological energy production, and is really important for healthy vision.
What About Using Melatonin?
Your master biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain (SCN), which is part of your hypothalamus. Based on signals of light and darkness, your SCN tells your pineal gland when it's time to secrete melatonin and when to turn it off. Melatonin is often recommended when traveling across time zones to help reset your internal clock.
According to a government survey, 3.1 million Americans report using melatonin supplements for jet lag and insomnia. However, it's important to realize what you're really doing here. More than being a simple "sleep hormone," melatonin is a biological marker for darkness. Routinely exposing yourself to bright lights and simply taking melatonin is inadvisable. As reported by The Guardian:9
"Researchers at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who originally patented synthetic melatonin as a sleeping aid in 1995, reported the ideal dose to be between 0.3 mg and 1 mg, and argued that prolonged use of larger doses could change how the body responds to the hormone, potentially undermining sleep."
That said, if you're traveling or rotating on and off the night shift, it can definitely be useful for helping you realign your internal clock.10 According to a 2002 Cochrane Database review,11 people who traveled across five or more time zones who took melatonin close to bedtime at their destination experienced less severe jet lag symptoms compared to placebo.
The greatest benefits were reported by those traveling eastward, those crossing the greatest number of time zones, and those taking doses closer to 5 mg (which is FAR more than typically recommended). Epileptics and those taking warfarin (a blood thinner) need to beware they're at increased risk for harmful side effects when taking a melatonin supplement.
Ancient Trick to Eliminate Jet Lag

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In the short video above, originally taped in 2009, cardiologist Dr. Lee Cowden explains a simple technique that can help minimize jet lag. Here's a summary of the steps:
1. The day of your trip, set your clock to match the local time at your destination (depending on the time of your flight, you may have to do this a day ahead)
2. At 11 a.m. (the local time at your destination), stroke your heart meridian three times on the left and three times on the right. Your heart meridian begins just to the outer side of your nipple, up through your armpit and down the ulnar aspect (inner side) of your arm, down the outside of your pinky. Once you reach the end of your pinky, gently press into the base of the fingernail (heart point in Traditional Chinese Medicine). For a demonstration, please see the video above
3. At noon, repeat the heart meridian strokes
Before and after boarding the plane, take a high-quality, broad-spectrum antioxidant. Astaxanthin may be an ideal choice, as it also helps shield against cosmic radiation exposure, provided you've been taking it for at least three days ahead of time.
Once you reach your destination, take a fast-acting sublingual melatonin along with a slow-release oral melatonin around 10 p.m. (or just before bedtime if you go to bed earlier). Keep in mind that only a very small dose is required — typically 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to start with, and you can adjust it up from there.
Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg, can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier, so adjust your dose carefully. Also be sure to stay well-hydrated, whether you're flying or driving to your destination. Your brain controls sleep and it functions best when fully hydrated.
Optimal Health Depends on Optimal Sleep
Remember, when your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body produces less melatonin, which means it has less ability to fight cancer, and less protection against free radicals that may accelerate aging and disease. Suffering from jet lag due to occasional travel is not going to have any significant long-term effects, but can certainly deteriorate your mental and physical functioning over the following day or two.
If you're expected to perform at your best — either mentally or physically — it would be wise to take steps to re-synchronize your body clock to the local time at your destination, either by giving yourself a couple of extra days to reacclimatize, or by altering your wake-sleep schedule while still at home. Using melatonin and strategies such as the heart meridian stroke demonstrated above can also be helpful.
If you're chronically jet lagged, either from shift work or frequent travel across time zones, you can minimize the health risks by working with artificially-created light and dark exposure — bright light when you're supposed to be awake, and darkness when you're supposed to be asleep.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How to Stop Hiccups

Support Your Liver With Healthy Foods

Support Your Liver with Healthy Foods
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Cleansing the liver is a good idea, and usually promoted in the spring or early summer. But it's also important to eat to support your liver all throughout the year. Here are some of the nutrient-rich foods that help support a healthy liver—and a healthy you.

Fresh Vegetable Juices: A good combination would be 25 percent apple and/or beets and/or carrots and 75 percent greens with lemon or lime.

Chlorophyll-Rich Super Foods: Wheat- or barley-grass juice powder, chlorella and spirulina, and wild blue-green algae have in many cases proven to be useful in clearing up a sluggish liver.

Garlic and Onions: Garlic contains allicin, which is a sulfur-based compound required by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver rid the body of mercury, certain food additives and hormones.

Fresh Vegetables: Fresh, raw vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables such as parsley, kale, watercress, alfalfa and collard greens are great for the liver. Orange, yellow, purple, and red colored fruits and vegetables are also good, as they contain living enzymes, fibre, vitamin C, natural antibiotic substances, and anti-cancer phytonutrients.
Sub Acid Fruits: Apples, papaya, grapes, and all the berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries) are all high in antioxidants, which help to protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that are naturally produced during the process of detoxification.

Bitter Foods: The bitterness of foods such as dandelion, arugula, endive, radicchio, sorrel, and watercress helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver.

Herbs: Dill, caraway seeds, garlic, onions, boldo, turmeric, and cayenne are easy to use in your food and can help protect the liver.

Dandelion Root Tea: Enhances the entire digestive track. It is excellent at relieving digestion after consuming a high-fat meal. Dandelion is also an excellent herb for weight loss, as the leaves are diuretic and the root improves fat metabolism.
Raw Fats (Nuts, Seeds, Avocados): These are good food sources of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, all less harmful to the liver than saturated fats. The key is not to overeat, even on good raw fats.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Good sources of these raw fats are ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, borage oil, krill oil, chia seeds, purslane, acai, spirulina algae, hemp seeds, and grape seed oil.

Water: Drink eight to twelve cups of water per day to help the kidneys get rid of the toxins that the liver has broken down. It's important to note that heavy metals, chemicals, radioactive elements, chlorine, bacteria, viruses, E-coli and thousands of other impurities are in most water supplies, and many of the harmful substances present in municipal and well water can slowly damage and/or harden the liver. Even spring and mineral water contain inorganic minerals that are virtually indigestible. Filtering water may seem like the obvious solution, but purified medical grade water is the only water that removes up to 99 percent of the impurities in the water.

Cleansing your liver isn't about time-consuming lotions and potions. It's about giving your body nutrient-rich fuel that can, and will, prevent problems in the first place, and actively cleansing occasionally to keep your liver functioning at peak performance.
[Editor's Note: If you want to eliminate unhealthy ingredients and chemical additives from your diet for good, click here to sign up for a Naturally Savvy Get Healthy Challenge.]

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How to Stop Hiccups

How to Stop Hiccups

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Safe Cookware

The Skinny on Safe Cookware
 by  Irina Webb |  posted in: CookwareKitchen ProductsProducts I Like  |  104 

Chances are that you know that aluminum and non-stick cookware have been deemed to be toxic. But what are the alternatives? In this post, I will update you on my research into what might be considered safe cookware. It turns out that what might be considered safe cookware is not so straightforward. And I have some unanswered questions, which I am hoping you, my readers, can help answer, and possibly even motivate companies to be more transparent and share the actual test reports of their cookware.

Safe Cookware: Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel looks safe, and has earned a reputation as being safe. But how safe is it? Stainless Steel leaches chromium, nickel, and iron into food during cooking. While iron and chromium are essential nutrients for which stainless steel may be useful, nickel is not needed for our health.
This study determined that the amounts of chromium and nickel significantly increase with longer cooking times, with the use of new cookware, and with cooking tomato sauce. While generally these amounts are under the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, some people may have adverse reactions such as dermatitis even when the exposure amounts are under the established tolerable upper intake levels.
I use a big stainless steel pot for making beef bone broth that I cook for over 36 hours.   And I drink the broth almost daily. A recent heavy metal test, which shows how much if any heavy metals my body has accumulated over time, shows that I do have some nickel, but it is within the safe level.
Stainless Steel Cookware We Use
All-Clad. Pan and pots are made in the US. The accessories and tea kettles are made in China.
Safe Cookware: Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron leaches iron into food during cooking. Iron is an essential nutrient; however, in this case, you can get too much of a good thing: iron overdose is toxic. Like with stainless steel safe cookware, acidic foods, high moisture content, and long durations of cooking increase the release of iron significantly. Studies show that the amount of iron varies from 1.7 mg per 100 g to 26 mg per 100 g, while the upper intake level for pregnant women, those who need iron the most, is 27 mg. So if you cook tomato sauce for long period of time, it is possible to overdose on iron. There is an inexpensive blood test to take to determine your iron level. For more information, check my post here.
My recommendation is to use cast iron for pancakes, bacon and hamburgers, and frying eggs and hash browns. If you’re curious how well cast iron works for frying an egg, see my video, here. It works like a charm. I’m sure it has more uses, but we do not use it as a staple when cooking because of the iron content issue.

Cast Iron Cookware We Use
Lodge. Made in the USA. We use it for frying eggs, hash browns, and making pancakes – things that I can’t do with other safe cookware.

Safe Cookware: Enameled Cast Iron

Le Creuset is a major producer of enamel-coated cast iron cookware. Le Creuset manufactures its cast iron cookware in France. I asked them what their enamel is made of. They informed me that the enamel contains nitrates, potash, agile, aluminate, bentonite, and clay. The enamels outside and inside are fired at 790 Celsius.  The melting point of metals is below that, which makes the enamel inert.
I also addressed my concern of lead and cadmium. Good news! La Creuset emailed me a letter confirming that their enameled cast products are tested to California Proposition 65 standards for lead and cadmium and are found to be in compliance.  The California Proposition 65 test is the most stringent test available to consumers.  It requires companies to have a warning label on products when the amount of toxic substances they contain exceed certain levels. In this case if more than 0.1 micrograms per milliliter of lead or 0.049 micrograms per milliliter of cadmium leached into a 4% acetic acid solution (which is the standard used for the Proposition 65 test), Le Creuset would have to attach a warning label.
Also, Le Creuset stated that there might be traces of lead or cadmium in the exterior enamel.  The two colors that do not contain any lead or cadmium are palm and dune. We own a red one, which I bought long before I started doing this research. If you own one already, keep it. But if you are in the market for a new dutch oven, go for palm or dune colors.

Safe Cookware: Slow Cookers

Slow cookers usually have ceramic inserts (unless you want to pay big, big bucks for commercial grade slow cookers). Ceramic slow cooker inserts may contain lead, either because lead is added or because it comes with raw materials used to make the ceramic cookware.
I talked to KitchenAid and they assured me their ceramic has very small amounts of lead – below the FDA’s limit – and that the protective glaze does not have any lead, which is re-assuring to some extent. They would not say how much and would not provide anything in writing. I keep heavy metals under scrutiny because they are bio-accumulative and persistent. In other words, once ingested, they accumulate and stay in the body for a long time.
We use Cuisinart’s slow cooker. Cuisinart assured me there is no lead or cadmium in their slow cooker inserts. However, they admit that they do not test for lead or cadmium because they know they do not add them, which did not sound very reassuring to me, because these metals are contaminants, and so the ceramic inserts may contain heavy metals. Also, Amazon has a link to Proposition 65, which means that the slower cooker might “contain[s] chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm if those products expose consumers to such chemicals above certain threshold levels.”
Cuisinart would not disclose what is in the glaze they use, which is not terribly confidence-inspiring.
Unfortunately, our slow cooker broke shortly after this research and I do not have a replacement for it yet. With what I know now, I am looking for a slow cooker manufacturer who can provide a copy of a test report that shows that the lead and cadmium levels are below those set by California Proposition 65. This is what you should be asking too if you are in the market for a slow cooker. Share in the comments what you have found.

Safe Cookware: Ceramic Cookware

Xtrema cookware makes ceramic cookware that they claim is free of lead and cadmium. It is the only ceramic cookware I know of that you can use on the stove top. Unfortunately, they do not fully disclose the ingredients of their ceramic so we would have to rely on their word.
As it turned out Dr. Mercola sells the same cookware under his brand name.  His company representative sent me a list of ingredients, which include silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide, sodium oxide, potassium oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, titanium dioxide, zirconium oxide, cobalt oxide, chrome oxide, nickel oxide, and lithium oxide.
These minerals are fired at 2500ºF, which is way above melting points of all this minerals.  For example, the melting point for aluminum is 1,227ºF. This is probably how this cookware is inert and leaching of any metals is extremely small. On the Dr. Mercola website, it states that leaching of aluminum is 0.01, although it doesn’t specify the units. Assuming it refers to micrograms, this seems insignificant to me (
Xtrema cookware is in compliance with stringent California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium.  In fact Dr. Mercola sent me the actual test report that showed leachable lead and cadmium into 4% acetic acid.  The California Proposition 65 limit for this type of cookware is 0.1 microgram per milliliter of lead and 0.049 microgram per milliliter of cadmium. The test report shows less than 0.05 for lead and 0.01 for cadmium respectively, which is pretty good.
Keep in mind that Xtrema is not non-stick and you have to be careful with it since it is ceramic after all.
We use Xtrema cookware as a tool in our struggle to reduce our exposure to toxins. We own two pieces.

Safe Cookware: Glass Cookware

Pyrex glass cookware is the major glassware brand made by World Kitchen. There are different types of glasses and Pyrex glass is a tempered soda lime glass. Before 1998, Pyrex was made of borosilicate glass by Corning. European Pyrex called Pyroflam is still made of borosilicate glass, which is more heat resistant. However, when it is dropped instead of breaking into pieces, it shatters into tiny particles.
I called and emailed Pyrex and, unfortunately, they do not disclose the materials with which their soda lime glass is made. They recommended searching on the Internet, which I did and my blog came up (which I found extremely illuminating) (just kidding, kind of).
According to Wikipedia, borosilicate Pyrex is composed of (as percentage of weight): 4.0% boron, 54.0% oxygen, 2.8% sodium, 1.1% aluminum, 37.7% silicon, and 0.3% potassium. And according to Wikipedia also, “soda-lime glass is prepared by melting the raw materials, such as sodium carbonate (soda), limedolomitesilicon dioxide(silica), aluminium oxide (alumina), and small quantities of fining agents (e.g., sodium sulfatesodium chloride) in a glass furnace at temperatures locally up to 1675 °C.”
As you might have noticed, both types of glasses contain small amounts of aluminum. I do not have much information on how much aluminum leaches into food. I found two studies here and here that pointed to the fact that aluminum can leach out into the content. I wish I could hear from the maker of Pyrex themselves about the composition of Pyrex glass and what I may be leaching.
In the meantime, I am not super concerned about the possibility of alumimum leaching. I have a feeling if there is any leaching, the amounts should be minimal. Unlike lead that has no safe amounts, our bodies can tolerate bigger amounts of aluminum before it becomes toxic. I have recently had a heavy metal test done and no aluminum was found in my body, while we use Pyrex all the time.
On the bright side, glass is not known to contain lead unless it is leaded crystal, which soda lime or borosilicate glass is not.
All in all, considering the alternatives, I think glass is one of the safest cookware to use. It is considered the gold standard being inert.
Be careful when you use glass cookware though. After World Kitchen switched to making Pyrex with soda lime glass, there are reports of glass containers breaking. It is glass after all. Do not subject it to drastic temperature changes and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. We use Pyrex all the time – some we bought before 1998 and some after, and have not had many breakages. Knock wood.

Safe Cookware: Carbon Steel Cookware

Carbon steel is commonly used for woks.  There are virtually no studies done on the health effects of leaching elements from carbon steel. Carbon steel is an alloy consisting mainly of iron and small percentages of other elements such as carbon, manganese 1.65, silicon 0.60, copper 0.60Copper and manganese are essential for good health in small doses, and silicon and carbon are part of our body compositions. Considering that carbon steel has small percentages of them, I do not think we should worry about them too much.
The main concern here is iron, which is essential to our health but can become toxic when the body is overloaded with it. But iron leaching is great if you have anemia. For more information on how much iron is too much, read my post here.  Unless you have hemochromatosis, I believe carbon steel is a good tool to use for stir frying.

Carbon Steel Cookware We Use

In conclusion, while there are safe cookware options out there, there remain concerns and unanswered questions about each type of safe cookware. I recommend using a balance of stainless steel, cast iron and ceramic, in order to avoid the issues associated with any of the methods, and because different platforms are better for cooking different types of foods.