The Importance of Trace Minerals Part I (Boron)

Boron is a little known yet essential trace mineral found in food and the environment.  A trace mineral is any mineral that the body requires in small amounts to support numerous functions. It is also available in supplemental form for treatment of specific conditions.  It can be found in abundance in many foods like apples, oranges, red grapes, pears, plums, kiwis, dates, avocado, soybeans and nuts.  Chickpeas, hazel nuts, currants, peanut butter, red kidney beans, tomato, lentils, olive, onion, potato wine, and beer are also notable sources of Boron.  It is required for proper growth and functioning of our body.  Deficiencies are rare because it is found in an abundance of foods.

Boron is helpful in the prevention of arthritis as well as a very effective treatment.  In fact, it gives significant improvement to more than 90 percent of the patients who are given treatments that include ingestion of boron. This is brought about by the effective calcium instillation in the bones and cartilage. Bones weaken and become porous as people age. Boron can help inhibit bone deterioration efficiently.  It can also reduce the allergic reactions caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Boron has also been found to be effective in cancer therapy since it can capture the agents used for this type of therapy and develop powerful enzyme inhibitors.  It can also be used as an antibody that can identify useful saccharides in the body.  It also helps in estrogen production which is especially helpful to women in the menopausal stage.  It brings back an intense sex drive by increasing levels of natural body hormones, prevents postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and postmenopausal related osteoporosis.  It can even substitute for hormone replacement therapy.

Studies have shown that boron has a positive effect on important brain functions such as enhancing various cognitive skills including visual perception, concentration, short memory, eye to hand coordination, fine motor skills and logic.  It helps maintain proper cell membrane functions and stabilizes hormone reception as well.  If you suffer from depression, mental fatigue or memory loss, boron may be beneficial.  While there are many causes of these symptoms, adequate levels of boron are required for healthy mental function.

It has been found to be significantly useful in alleviating symptoms brought on by congestive heart failure as well.  CHF that is typically marked by poor functioning of the heart causes breathing problems, fluid retention in the legs, weight gain and decrease in appetite. Intake of boron through diet or in supplemental form can play a crucial role to improve these symptoms.

It is also important for maintaining healthy bones.  The bone building capacities of boron are often overshadowed by calcium.   Boron works in unison with calcium to strengthen the bones and plays a very important role in minimizing the risks of osteoporosis and arthritis.  Boron helps in the metabolism of minerals that are involved in bone development such as calcium, magnesium and copper

It can also improve circulation of the blood and aids in the removal of toxins and cholesterol from the body.  While it doesn’t get the attention of other mineral’s because it’s needed in small amounts, it’s still essential for healthy body function.

Staying Healthy While Traveling

Whether you are flying or on a road trip, one thing no one wants to bring home with them is a cold. When traveling, you are prone to be in places with far more germs than you would be exposed to under normal circumstances. Here are some tips on staying healthy while traveling.

One of the biggest challenges of travel is protecting against colds and flus. Being on an airplane with a bunch of people coughing and sneezing or a rest stop is a great way to get sick. But frequent hand washing (or use of hand sanitizer) can make a real difference and help keep you well. Keep some hand sanitizer in your bag for those times when a faucet and soap aren’t available and try not to touch your face after touching any surfaces such as handrails and door knobs.

Eating healthy foods will give your body the necessary vitamins and nutrients it needs to keep your immune system running smoothly. Bring healthy snacks or purchase meals that will give your body a boost rather than greasy or preservative filled foods that will make your body feel sluggish.

Getting exercise will keep your body happy but can be a challenge while traveling. Hit the hotel fitness center for a quick walk on the treadmill. If you are traveling to a place with restaurants and attractions close by-choose to walk to your venue rather than drive or catch a cab. The less time you spend in areas with potential germs such as rental cars or cabs the less you are exposing yourself to.
Getting adequate rest is just as important as eating well and exercising. Our bodies need to recharge in order for our body systems to run at optimal levels and they can’t do that when we are short changing ourselves on sleep.

Be flexible because things don’t always go the way we want them to when traveling. Delayed or canceled flights to mix-ups at the hotel can put a damper on our plans. But rather than struggle against things that are beyond your control, why not use these unpredicted events as opportunities. During a flight delay, catch up on those phone calls you’ve been putting off, or write that email or blog post you’ve been procrastinating on. Stress bogs our body systems down by using more energy to combat the stress which leaves less energy for the rest to run smoothly.

Being prepared by keeping snacks with you instead of planning on eating at the airport or rest stop will help if plans don’t go smoothly. You can avoid getting over tired or shaky if your plans go awry by planning ahead with a few healthy snack choices that will give your body a boost and hold you over until you can get a full meal.

The last thing anyone wants to deal with while traveling is a cold so it’s better to plan ahead and make a conscious effort to keep yourself healthy rather than just hoping for the best. It’s never fun to suffer through a cold on the flight or ride home but it can be avoided with a little effort. Happy Travels!

Health Benefits of Spices

Adding spices to your food can add to the flavor and give some pizazz to an otherwise bland meal. Besides adding some flavor to your meal-spices offer amazing health benefits in a small package.

For those who like it hot-studies have shown that people who eat a spicy meal consume less calories and these same studies found that chemicals in peppers called capsaicinoids (which cause the burn)reduce cravings for fatty, salty and sweet foods. This only pertains to those who don’t eat spicy food on a regular basis and not chili-heads.

Foods with Turmeric which contains curcumin help us breath easier. For centuries, Ayurvedic doctors have used turmeric (curcumin) to treat respiratory problems. Studies show that it protects the lungs from irritants, pollutants and infectious agents in the air such as cigarette smoke, exhaust, dust and viruses. This results in a lower risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, laryngitis, bronchitis and other lungs diseases. It’s because of curcumin’s ability to prevent infection and to suppress a protein called NF-kB, which causes inflammation and mucus in the airways.

Many who eat spicy foods tend to sweat because of the spice. Sweating helps us rid our bodies of germs that are making us sick. Adding a little spice to your chicken soup while you are fighting a cold will help you sweat out more germs and can help break a fever.

Certain spices can cancel out the damage of a high fat meal. When you eat a high fat meal your levels of triglycerides (heart disease and diabetes) surge, as well as your insulin, which stores unused glucose as fat. When you season a high fat meal with turmeric or clove your triglyceride response and insulin is decreased. These spices are particularly high in antioxidants that improve insulin sensitivity.
Speaking of antioxidants rich spices- turmeric and clove also fight off free radical damage which causes cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, immune dysfunction, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and other age related diseases.

Need another reason to add spice to your meals? Grilling and barbecuing at temperatures above 375 degrees leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — toxins linked with colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers. Those crispy, burnt bits are the highest in HCAs. But a study at Kansas State University found that marinating or dry-rubbing beef patties with rosemary cut HCAs by 61 to 70 percent and that Thai spice preparation reduced HCAs by 40 to 42 percent. While that doesn’t mean you can burn your meat without worry-it does show that the antioxidants in rosemary combat that those cancer causing carcinogens before they have a chance to wreak havoc in your body.

So next time you are cooking, add a little spice to your meal and enjoy these amazing benefits.

Health Benefits of Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is an extra-hard dairy product made from cow’s milk. Its sharp, nutty, slightly salty flavor is a popular accompaniment to Italian cuisine. It boasts an abundance of health benefits along with a wonderful flavor. It requires a long process of ageing so that the proteins in parmesan can be broken down into peptones, peptides and free amino acids, in effect the protein has been pre-digested; making the it readily available which puts very little strain on the metabolism.

Our bodies use protein to repair and maintain itself. A major part of your skin, muscles, organs, blood and glands, protein exists in every cell in your body. A 2-ounce serving of Parmesan cheese contains about 20.3 grams of protein, which is 41 percent of the daily value. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein also improves brain function, prevents disease, helps maintain blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health and improves sleep.

Parmesan cheese is also rich in calcium which is essential to your body’s proper growth and development. It prevents osteoporosis, is heart healthy, prevents cancer, helps with weight management and plays a crucial role in other bodily functions, such as nerve transmission and muscular function.

It’s also rich in Vitamin A which aids in good vision, particularly in low light. Sufficient vitamin A is also needed for healthy skin, teeth and body tissue. It also boosts our immune system health, prevents cancer, helps develop the nervous system, prevents signs of aging and keeps our reproductive systems running smoothly in males and females.

It contains phosphate which is essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates, and is widely distributed in cell membranes. It is also required for muscle contraction and the mineralization of your teeth and bones. A 30 gram serving will boost your phosphate intake by one third, and also provide you with a quality amount of calcium which is shown to regulate body fat storage.

Many people are instantly put off by the fat content of cheese. In fact those who love cheese totally ignore it, and those who are conscious about their weight believe that the benefits of cheese are outweighed by the fat content. It is important to be aware that fat is a fundamental part of nutrition. Muscular activity is dependent on fatty acids and, again, because of the changes that occur during the ageing of Parmesan, much of the fat is in the form of short chain fatty acids, these compounds are absorbed more easily and supply energy very quickly to the body; in fact, they are treated by the body in much the same way as glucosides.

Parmesan cheese has a lower fat content than most other cheeses and does pack a healthful punch of benefits to add to our diet.

Health Benefits Of Figs

Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. California figs are available from June through September and boast a sweet and unique taste while packing in an amazing amount of health benefits.

Figs are a good source of potassium which is the third most abundant mineral in human body and is a powerful food source for maintaining good health. Potassium helps to control blood pressure, provides relief from stroke, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions and nervous system.

They are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods have a positive effect on weight management because they help you feel fuller for longer. Fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, maintains a healthy digestive system, lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, prevents kidney stones and helps maintain healthy skin.

Figs are also a good source of vitamins A, C, E and K. Vitamin A is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, maintaining a healthy nervous system, cancer prevention, maintaining healthy skin and cell growth. It also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.

Vitamin C, another antioxidant powerhouse, is also important for a healthy immune system, cancer prevention, regulating blood sugar levels, preventing heart disease and stroke, prevents cataracts, maintaining healthy skin, reduces the risk of neurological disorders and helps us better deal with stress.

Vitamin E, yet another antioxidant, helps protect against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. It also helps us maintain healthy skin, prevents cancer, reduces cholesterol levels, prevents blood clots, alleviates fatigue and strengthens capillary walls.

Vitamin K helps maintain bone health, prevents blood clots, helps maintain healthy skin, helps with wound healing, prevents cancer and prevents heart disease. Vitamin K has also been shown to be essential for the synthesis of sphingolipids (a crucial fat) that helps form the myelin sheath or outer wrapping around the nerve. These crucial fats are essential for proper brain and nervous system function. This is beneficial in preventing Alzheimer disease.

Figs also contain calcium which prevents osteoporosis, helps with weight management, prevents cancer and is heart healthy. They also contain Tryptophan which induces good sleep and helps get rid of sleep disorders such as insomnia.

If you are already a fan of figs-now you know just how good they are for you and if you’re not a fan, maybe now is the time to give them another try!