UK hospitals on the verge of collapse as socialized medicine fails

NaturalNews) If you want to get a good look at the future of healthcare in America, compliments of the “Affordable Care Act,” the monstrosity reform law known not-so-affectionately known as Obamacare, look across the Atlantic to Great Britain. Because of that law, our system is set to become nearly as socialized a system of medicine as is the system in England, where top doctors are now predicting that a number of hospitals there are “on the brink of crisis,” the BBC is reporting.That’s not politics, that’s reality.According to the Royal College of Physicians, a trio of issues – rising demand, increasingly complex cases and falling numbers of hospital beds – is contributing to the destruction of the healthcare system there.In fact, the college’s assessment said urgent care was already being compromised, warning that the situation was going to get worse unless some real workable solutions were implemented.As is usually the case, especially in the U.S. – where messianic faith in the “government-knows-best” approach is rampant among our entrenched bureaucracy and many of our elected leaders – British paper-pushers are tut-tutting the school’s assessment, claiming the country’s National Health Service (NHS) can handle any challenge, pending or in the future.Worsening standards, smaller budgets, less carePart of the problem, the college said, was that medical science had led to longer lives. But just because people are living longer doesn’t mean they are always living healthy lives; conditions such as dementia are complex and require more care, thereby adding to expenses.At the same time, the college noted that the number of hospital beds have fallen by one-third in the past 25 years (a similar fate has befallen U.S. hospitals too, by the way), amid rising numbers of emergency admissions.In addition, the RCP reported that standards of care were also sliding in hospitals throughout the country. The report “cited the way older patients were repeatedly moved around wards, the lack of continuity of care while in hospital and tests being done during the night as some of the examples of how care was suffering,” the BBC reported.The report went on to highlight the results of member surveys, in which a number of physicians and health care professionals voiced concerns over discharge arrangements and the workload they were enduring.”This evidence is very distressing. All hospital patients deserve to receive safe, high-quality sustainable care centered around their needs,” said RCP Prof. Tim Evans.”Yet it is increasingly clear that our hospitals are struggling to cope with the challenge of an aging population who increasingly present to our hospitals with multiple, complex diseases,” he continued. “We must act now to make the drastic changes required to provide the care they deserve.”But how to fix things?The RCP report recommended closing some hospitals and concentrating services in fewer, though larger, medical sites that are able to provide better round-the-clock care. But that approach would have to be accompanied by resultant improvements in community services as well, since there have been many British patients who wound up in the hospital because they didn’t have adequate help closer to their home.”These latest findings are alarming but, unfortunately, not surprising,” said Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society. “It is painfully evident that the healthcare system stands on the brink of crisis. People with dementia are going into hospital unnecessarily, staying in too long and coming out worse.”Britain is the futureWhat does all of this have to do with America and Obamacare?The British NHS is all government (taxpayer) funded; there is very little room for private-sector innovation and management. It is simply a top-down, top-heavy bureaucracy, much like Obamacare when it gets fully up and running.What’s more, as care becomes more expensive and the resources to fund the system become more scarce, the NHS has resorted to rationing care.Oh, but wait. That’s Great Britain, right? That can’t happen here in the United States. Obamacare fixes all of that.No, it doesn’t. A government-run healthcare system in the country of our founding fathers does not work either. And you should know, there are already advocates in the U.S. calling for rationing.One such advocate is Peter Singer, a “prominent Princeton University ethicist.”Still confident “the system” will take care of you into your old age?Sources:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19577489http://www.independent.co.ukhttp://www.nytimes.comLearn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037301_hospitals_collapse_socialized_medicine.html#ixzz27WIBNVJo

Nano-Velcro Clasps Heavy Metal Molecules in Its Grips

 

ScienceDaily (Sep. 9, 2012) — Researchers develop nano-strips for inexpensive testing of mercury levels in our lakes and oceans with unprecedented sensitivity

 

Mercury, when dumped in lakes and rivers, accumulates in fish, and often ends up on our plates. A Swiss-American team of researchers led by Francesco Stellacci at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Bartosz Grzybowski at Northwestern University has devised a simple, inexpensive system based on nanoparticles, a kind of nano-velcro, to detect and trap this toxic pollutant as well as others. The particles are covered with tiny hairs that can grab onto toxic heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. This technology makes it possible to easily and inexpensively test for these substances in water and, more importantly, in the fish that we eat. Their new method can measure methyl mercury, the most common form of mercury pollution, at unprecedentedly small attomolar concentrations. The system is outlined in an article appearing September 9, 2012 in the journal Nature Materials.

Methyl mercury, toxic and difficult to monitor

Researchers are particularly interested in detecting mercury. Its most common form, methyl mercury, accumulates as one goes up the food chain, reaching its highest levels in large predatory fish such as tuna and swordfish. In the US, France and Canada, public health authorities advise pregnant women to limit fish consumption because mercury can compromise nervous system development in the developing fetus.

“The problem is that current monitoring techniques are too expensive and complex,” explains Constellium Chair holder at EPFL and co-author Francesco Stellacci. “We periodically test levels of mercury in drinking water, and if those results are good, we make the assumption that levels are acceptable in between those testing periods.” But industrial discharge fluctuates.

A simple, inexpensive new technology

The technology developed by the Swiss-American team is simple to use. A strip of glass covered with a film of “hairy” nanoparticles is dipped into the water. When an ion — a positively charged particle, such as a methyl mercury or cadmium ion — gets in between two hairs, the hairs close up, trapping the pollutant.

A voltage-measuring device reveals the result; the more ions there are trapped in the nano-velcro, the more electricity it will conduct. So to calculate the number of trapped particles, all one needs to do is measure the voltage across the nanostructure.

By varying the length of the nano-hairs, the scientists can target a particular kind of pollutant. “The procedure is empirical,” explains Stellacci. Methyl mercury, fortunately, has properties that make it extremely easy to trap without accidentally trapping other substances at the same time; thus the results are very reliable.

The interesting aspect of this approach is that the ‘reading’ glass strip could costs less than 10 dollars, while the measurement device will cost only a few hundreds of dollars. The analysis can be done in the field, so the results are immediately available. “With a conventional method, you have to send samples to the laboratory, and the analysis equipment costs several million dollars,” notes Stellacci.

Convincing tests in Lake Michigan and Florida

The researchers tested the system in Lake Michigan, near Chicago. Despite the high level of industry in the region, mercury levels were extremely low. “The goal was to compare our measurements to FDA measurements done using conventional methods,” explains Stellacci. “Our results fell within an acceptable range.”

A mosquito fish from the Everglades in Florida was also tested. This species is not very high on the food chain and thus does not accumulate high levels of mercury in its tissues. “We measured tissue that had been dissolved in acid. The goal was to see if we could detect even minuscule quantities.” says Bartosz Grzybowski, Burgess Professor of Chemistry and Director of Non-Equilibrium Energy Research Center at Northwestern University. The United States Geological Survey reported near-identical results after analyzing the same sample.

From quantum to real applications

“I think it is quite incredible,” Grzybowski adds, “how the complex principles of quantum tunneling underlying our device translate into such an accurate and practically useful device. It is also notable that our system — through some relatively simple chemical modifications — can be readily adapted to detect other toxic species” Researchers have already demonstrated the detection of cadmium with a very high femtomolar sensitivity.

“With this technology, it will be possible to conduct tests on a much larger scale in the field, or even in fish before they are put on the market,” says lead author Eun Seon Cho. This is a necessary public health measure, given the toxic nature of methyl mercury and the extremely complex manner in which it spreads in the environment and accumulates in living tissues

Real-Time Observation Of DNA-Repair Mechanism

 

ScienceDaily (May 25, 2008) — For the first time, researchers at Delft University of Technology have witnessed the spontaneous repair of damage to DNA molecules in real time. They observed this at the level of a single DNA molecule. Insight into this type of repair mechanism is essential as errors in this process can lead to the development of cancerous cells.

 
Researchers from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft are to publish an article on this in the journal Molecular Cell.

Cells have mechanisms for repairing the continuous accidental damage occurring in DNA. These damages can vary from a change to a single part of the DNA to a total break in the DNA structure. These breaks can, for instance, be caused by ultraviolet light or X-rays, but also occur during cell division, when DNA molecules split and form two new DNA molecules. If this type of break is not properly repaired it can be highly dangerous to the functioning of the cell and lead to the creation of a cancerous cell.

One major DNA-repair mechanism involved in repairing these breaks is known as homologous recombination. This mechanism has been observed for the first time by Delft University of Technology researchers in real time and at the level of a single DNA molecule.

To observe this, a DNA molecule is stretched between a magnetic bead and a glass surface. A force is exerted on the magnetic bead using a magnetic field, enabling researchers to pull and rotate a single DNA molecule in a controlled fashion. As the position of the bead changes when the DNA molecule is repaired, researchers are able to observe the repair process in detail

Unraveling food industry lies – Your salmon and meat are artificially dyed to look more appealing

NaturalNews) There is a reason why those radiant, pink salmon filets and juicy, golden chicken breasts in the meat case at the grocery store typically appear unusually appetizing — but it often has nothing to do with the natural colorings of these animals’ flesh. It might come as a surprise to many readers, but conventional salmon, chicken, and various other meats are often artificially dyed to give the illusion that they are healthier and more nutritious than they really are.

It turns out that 95 percent of the Atlantic salmon sold in stores is farm-raised, and that the vast majority of this farmed salmon is artificially dyed to look more similar to wild salmon. Pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche is a major producers of pink dyes specifically used in farmed salmon pellets, also known as processed salmon food, which obviously turns salmon flesh more pink.

But instead of being composed of the natural salmon antioxidant astaxanthin (http://www.naturalnews.com/Files/Astaxanthin.pdf), the deceptive pink color found in farmed salmon is nothing more than a synthetic color chemical known as “Carophyll” that is designed to look like astaxanthin and other natural salmon colorings. Hoffman-La Roche and others actually have a salmon color chart known as “SalmoFan” that allows salmon farmers to pick the shade of pink they want added to their salmon food, much in the same way that one would pick a wall paint color using color tiles at the hardware store. (http://www.puresalmon.org/human_health.html)

For those with a trained eye, it is fairly obvious that farmed salmon is not the same as wild salmon, as the former is typically a duller pink color and lacks the vibrant rose color that is characteristic of wild salmon. But if it were not for the artificial color additives chosen from the SalmoFan, farmed salmon would likely not even be pink at all, but rather a disgusting gray color that nobody would dare purchase.

Farmed salmon, after all, are subjected to unnatural, cramped environments in which they are not allowed access to the open sea. Such environments create excess waste, and subject salmon to high amounts of toxic chemicals. Farmed salmon also contains far lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients compared to wild salmon.

Conventional chicken often dyed yellow, gold

Just like consumers would refuse to buy gray salmon meat, they also would never touch gray chicken meat. So to make inferior, factory-farmed chicken look like high-quality, pasture-raised chicken, many large-scale chicken producers add various dyes and additives to chicken feed to make their meat appear more yellow and golden.

It is hardly surprising that highly-processed foods like cookies, crackers, snack mixes, cereals and chips contain numerous additives, colorings, and other chemicals. But most people do not expect that the meats they purchase have undergone the same chemical alterations, as it is generally assumed that meat is meat, and that it is all the same.

This is why it is important that you know where your meat comes from, and whether or not the animal feed used to produce it contained artificial additives or coloring chemicals. When buying fish, stick with wild varieties rather than farmed, and select organic, grass-fed, pastured meats of other varieties whenever possible.

To learn more about food secrets, be sure to check out the FREE NaturalNews report, 25 Amazing (and Weird) Facts About Food: http://www.naturalnews.com

Sources for this article include:

http://www.cracked.com

http://www.salmonnation.com/animations/tour/facts_and_footnotes.pdf

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037136_food_industry_salmon_artificial_colors.html#ixzz2644zPDvR

Modern-day wheat is a ‘chronic poison,’ says doctor

NaturalNews) All set to order that next sandwich on wheat bread? Using wheat-based pasta instead of regular spaghetti noodles tonight because you’ve been told wheat-based foods are better for you?

Not so fast, says one doctor.

William Davis, a cardiologist, calls modern-day wheat a “chronic, perfect poison” in a new book all about the world’s most popular grain.

What gives?

Davis says the wheat we are currently eating isn’t the same thing your grandparents used back in the day.

Modern wheat is “an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the ’60s and ’70s,” he told CBS’ “This Morning” program in a recent interview.

“This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there’s a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It’s not gluten,” he said.

“I’m not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I’m talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate,” Davis continued. “This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year.”

Can you say expanding waistline?

‘We’re seeing hundreds of thousands’ lose weight

In the interview Davis was asked if the agriculture industry is capable of changing back to using the grain it once produced.

That’s possible, he said, but it would be costly to farmers because the old-style wheat doesn’t produce as much yield per acre, and in a hungry world where the population is growing, food is becoming more scarce and prices are already on the rise, that choice would be a tough sell to today’s agriculture giants.

Nevertheless, Davis notes that a movement is afoot to drop the weight-causing grain, and that those who have done so have said goodbye to wheat are dropping clothes sizes.

“If three people lost eight pounds, big deal,” he said. “But we’re seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing 30, 80, 150 pounds. Diabetics become no longer diabetic; people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and on and on every day.”

Those are real results and they are widespread, Davis said – not isolated or fluky.

Okay, so someone decides to shun the wheat; what are their alternatives? “Real food,” Davis suggested, like avocados and olives, olive oil, some meats and, yes, veggies.

“(It’s) the stuff that is least likely to have been changed by agribusiness,” he said. “Certainly not grains. When I say grains, of course, over 90 percent of all grains we eat will be wheat, it’s not barley… or flax. It’s going to be wheat.”

So, this is “really a wheat issue,” he said.

Smart diets, sans wheat, will help trim the belly

There are those health resources and dieticians, he said, that are serving up and advocating a more balanced diet, like the Mayo Clinic, that does not include wheat. But in his interview, Davis said what they are offering is just a poor alternative.

“All that literature says is to replace something bad, white enriched products with something less bad, whole grains, and there’s an apparent health benefit – ‘Let’s eat a whole bunch of less bad things,'” he told the program. “So I take…unfiltered cigarettes and replace with Salem filtered cigarettes, you should smoke the Salems. That’s the logic of nutrition, it’s a deeply flawed logic. What if I take it to the next level, and we say, ‘Let’s eliminate all grains,’ what happens then?”

“That’s when you see, not improvements in health, that’s when you see transformations in health,” he added.

Without question, the nation is in the throes of an obesity epidemic. Cheap foods (for the most part) like wheat-filled pastas and other fillers have caused the country’s collective waistline to expand to bursting. But as Davis notes, you don’t need fad diets and gimmicks to lose the belly fat and cut back on the calories. You just need to eat smarter.

Sources:

http://www.cbsnews.com

http://www.naturalnews.com/036845_wheat_belly_weight_gain_gluten.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/035557_wheat_enriched_gluten.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037133_wheat_gluten_poison.html#ixzz2640kJC00

Skin and Immune System Influence Salt Storage and Regulate Blood Pressure

 

ScienceDaily (Sep. 7, 2012) — High blood pressure is responsible for many cardiovascular diseases that are the leading cause of death in industrialized countries. High salt intake has long been considered a risk factor, but not every type of high blood pressure is associated with high salt intake. This has puzzled scientists for a long time. However, new findings by Professor Jens Titze (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA and the University of Erlangen) now point to previously unknown mechanisms.

Accordingly, the skin and the immune system play an important role in the regulation of the sodium balance and hypertension, as he reported at the 1st ECRC “Franz-Volhard” Symposium of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin on September 7, 2012 in Berlin-Buch.

The water and salt balance of the body is of great importance for blood pressure. The decisive factor is the kidney, which regulates how much water is retained in the body and how much is excreted. In this way it regulates the volume of blood and thus influences blood pressure. However, new findings by Professor Titze, one of the leading experts in the field, show that organs and systems of the body that hitherto were not associated with water and salt balance have an influence on blood pressure: the skin and the immune system.

Professor Titze showed that sodium can be stored in the connective tissue of the skin. “The sodium concentration can be higher in the skin than in blood. This means that not only the kidney regulates sodium balance but that there must be additional mechanisms,” the researcher explained. His research group demonstrated that the immune system plays an important role in this mechanism: A specific type of immune cells, the macrophages — literally “big eaters” in Greek — recognize high sodium levels in the skin. They subsequently activate a gene that in turn ensures that the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-C) is released in large amounts into the skin. VEGF-C controls the growth of lymphatic vessels that transport fluid and sodium. If this factor is released in higher amounts, lymphatic vessels grow into the skin and ensure that the stored sodium can be transported away again.

In animal experiments Professor Titze’s research team blocked this mechanism. As a result, the rats and mice in the experiment developed high blood pressure. “The immune cells apparently regulate salt balance and blood pressure,” Professor Titze said. “In addition, data from a first clinical study showed that large amounts of salt are stored in the skin of patients with high blood pressure.”

Forget Prozac – Try probiotics to ease anxiety, curb depression and elevate mood

NaturalNews) Could eating yogurt be a replacement for antidepressants? A group of scientists believe so. Groundbreaking research has shown that a common strain of probiotic can create GABA within the gut while also enhancing brain receptors for this neurotransmitter. Naturally produced GABA is a safe alternative to dangerous psychiatric drugs — it calms the nervous system, promotes tranquil sleep, minimizes anxiety and alleviates depression. This is good news for over 50 million people around the world who use antidepressants.

Perils of a Prozac nation

With a 400 percent increase of antidepressant use from 1994-2008, it looks as though the United States certainly is a Prozac Nation. An astounding one in five women between the ages of 40-59 use Prozac while nearly four percent of adolescents are on antidepressants. Second only to cholesterol drugs, prescriptions for antidepressants rose to an incredible 255 million in 2010 alone. World-wide, the sale of antidepressants totals over 20 billion dollars a year. This industry does not come without serious health risks. Side-effects of antidepressant drugs include:

- Sexual dysfunction

- Insomnia

- Fatigue

- Nausea

- Blurred vision

- Constipation

- Restlessness, anxiety, agitation

As if the above were not disheartening enough, antidepressants have been linked with increased suicide rates. There has to be a better way to foster emotional harmony.

The sunny side of probiotics

A common bacteria may hold the answer as a safe, natural and economical solution for depression along with its siblings — anxiety and insomnia. Canadian neuroscientist Jane Foster found that the microflora of the gut have a significant connection with the central nervous system. “The cross talk between the gut biome and the brain is continual. That’s the important take-home message. These are not two separate systems; they are two parts of a single system,” says Foster in the Psychology Today article “Your Back-up Brain.”

John Cryan of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork in Ireland has taken this idea further by studying how lactobacillus bacteria in the gut specifically influence the brain. Cryan discovered that lactobacillus actually alters the brain-cell receptors for GABA in a positive manner, thereby reducing anxious behavior. The bacteria not only create more GABA receptors, but also produce the neurotransmitter itself which then circulates in the blood. All of this has a profound impact on emotional balance and the nervous system. As observed by Emily Deans, MD, “GABA is a nice glass of wine in front of the fire. GABA is restful sleep. GABA is tranquility and yoga.”

It’s easy to cultivate a healthy dose of this calming neurotransmitter by traveling no further than the refrigerator. Simply enjoy foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi or sauerkraut. After all, everyone could use a little GABA boost now and then.

Sources for this article include:

“Look Around: 1 In 10 Americans Takes Antidepressants” Scott Hensley, NPR. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://www.npr.org

“Antidepressants: Get tips to cope with side effects” Mayo Clinic staff. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antidepressants/MH00062/METHOD=print

“Your Backup Brain” Dan Hurley, Psychology Today, November 01, 2011. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com

“More than 1 in 10 Americans on Suicide-Linked Antidepressants” Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society, October 20, 2011. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://naturalsociety.com/antidepressants-causing-suicide/

“Do Probiotics Help Anxiety?” Emily Deans, M.D., Psychology Today, June 17, 2012. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com

“The Use of Anti-Depressants” Clay Tucker-Ladd, Ph.D., Psych Central. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://psychcentral.com/library/antidepressants.html

“Acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus)” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on September 5, 2012 from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lactobacillus/NS_patient-acidophilus

About the author:
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision.

Read her other articles on Natural News here:

http://www.naturalnews.com/Author1183.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/037132_Prozac_probiotics_depression.html#ixzz263rqnSd2

Champagne Proves a Fantastic Playground for Physicists

ScienceDaily (Sep. 5, 2012) — Produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France, champagne was first associated with French royalty in the 17th century and is now enjoyed across the globe in moments of celebration.


 

of champagne is in large part due to the effervescence that occurs during pouring, which results from the interplay between dissolved carbon dioxide gas molecules, tiny air pockets trapped during the pouring process, and the properties of the glass. A standard bottle of champagne contains dissolved carbon dioxide equivalent to five litres of gas at atmospheric pressure which when uncorked is released to form about one hundred million bubbles about half a millimetre in diameter.

The fleeting life of champagne bubbles intrigues scientists; collapsing bubbles are common in our everyday lives but are still not fully understood. Two reviews published in the most recent issue of the journal Bubble Science, Engineering & Technology explore collapsing bubbles and bubble flow patterns in champagne glasses. These phenomena are of much wider interest because of the huge importance of bubbles in many natural and industrial processes.

The lead author of the reviews is Dr Gerard Liger-Belair of the University of Reims in Champagne-Ardenne, based at the heart of the Champagne region. He is one of a handful of physicists engaged in exploring the physics of bubbles and foam in champagne and sparkling wine. With 15 years of experience, his research has made him leader of the ‘bubble team’ in the University’s laboratory of oenology — wine research where — he has studied the rise and fall of champagne bubbles from bottle to glass.

Understanding the source of the bubbles could potentially help to improve champagne production, Dr Liger comments in his second review: “From the consumer point of view, the role of effervescence is essential in champagne, sparkling wines, beers and to a great extent in any other carbonated beverage. Without bubbles, champagne would be unrecognisable as such, and beers and sodas would be flat.” The author continues to say “However, the role of effervescence is suspected to go far beyond the solely aesthetical point of view.”

The first review surveys the physical phenomena relating to bubble collapse on the basis of striking images obtained by high speed photography of bubbles at the top of a glass poured with champagne. It is shown how the jetting and avalanche processes linked to bursting or collapsing bubbles radiate tiny droplets and aerosols that release flavours and how rising and collapsing bubbles provide continuous lift and circulation for aromas in a glass of champagne. The authors comment that further experimental studies and numerical simulation are required to achieve further understanding of these highly complex phenomena.

The second review focuses on ascending bubble flow patterns in flute and coupe style champagne glasses and their impact on gaseous carbon dioxide and ethanol release under standard tasting conditions. It is well recognised that tasters’ perceptions of wines are affected by the shape of the glass, and with champagnes are augmented by the aesthetic and sensory effects of the effervescence — through the sensation of bubbles on the tongue and the release of flavours and aromas

Honey and its many benefits to overall health and wellness

NaturalNews) Honey is a popular sweetener produced from nectar, propolis or “bee glue” and enzymes in a bees’ saliva. Other insects produce honey but bee honey is the more popular kind. Honey is composed of simple sugars easily used by the body. It was the earliest reliable sweetener used in baking, enjoyed as spreads and added to drinks. It is also currently used in the manufacturing of certain processed foods like ham.

Light colored honeys are generally milder in flavor while darker ones are more robust. Depending on the bees’ nectar source, the color and flavor of honey may differ. There are currently more than 300 kinds of unique honey in the United States.

Forms of honey

Although honey is normally found in a liquid state, it can also change into a semi-solid state otherwise known as granulated honey. This condition can sometimes happen when glucose, the main sugar in honey, separates from the honey solution creating crystallization; losing its water content. The crystal then forms a framework that places other elements of honey into suspension resulting in the semi-solid state.

The displaced water condenses in some part of the container increasing moisture content; jump-starting the growth of yeast and fermentation. Although honey can sometimes crystallize on its own, dust and pollen or air bubbles can serve as triggers for crystallization of honey. To avoid crystallization, it is essential to store honey properly. Using air tight, moisture resistant containers is recommended when storing honey for long periods of time.

Honey that has crystallized; however, does not need to be thrown out as it has not gone bad. Heating it slowly in a warm bath will dissolve the sugar crystals back to liquid form. Other forms of honey include comb honey, which is honey in its original state, cut comb honey; which is liquid honey with added chunks of honey comb in the jar, liquid honey; which is honey extracted from the honey comb and whipped honey, which is brought to markets in a crystallized state. According to Honey.com, crystallization is controlled so that the honey can be spread at room temperature like jelly or butter. Whipped honey is a popular choice in certain parts of the world and, for breakfast, it is sometimes preferred over liquid honey.

Most of the honey available in the United States is in liquid form.

Uses of honey and its nutritional benefits

Honey is popularly known as a sweetener, but many do not know that it also contains nutritional and medical qualities praised by none other than Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

Nutritional Benefits

According to a Swiss study that discussed the nutritional value of honey, honey is rich in carbohydrates but has a low glycemic index (GI). Its GI varies within a range of 32 to 86 depending on the botanical source. Fructose rich honey, such as acacia honey, has a low GI; lower in fact than sucrose which is pegged at 60 to 110. Foods with low GI release glucose into the blood slowly and steadily; high GI foods cause blood sugar to spike. High GI foods are not suitable for diabetics; but those after a workout or are experiencing hypoglycemia will benefit from its ability to give immediate energy.

Honey contains the following trace minerals: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, chloride, sulfur, iron, copper, iodine and zinc which although marginal, may contribute to the recommended daily intake requirements. It contains choline, a B-vitamin essential for brain and cardiovascular functions, cellular membrane composition and repair; and a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Medical Benefits

Honey has anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-parasitic effects. Its capacity to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms and fungi is well documented. The low water activity of honey inhibits bacterial growth and honey glucose oxidase produces the anti-bacterial agent hydrogen peroxide.

Depending on its botanical source, honey gives significant anti-oxidant activity protecting against oxidation responsible for chronic diseases. It also has anti-mutagenic, anti-tumor as well as anti-inflammatory qualities that stimulate anti-body production.

Honey is effective in dressing wounds. It has recently been used in clinical settings for treating fist sized ulcers extending to the bone as well as in the treatment of first, second and third degree burns. Complete recovery has been reported with no infections, muscle loss or any need of skin grafts. When the wounds are clean, honey acts as a healer. Garlic honey, which is just a mixture of honey and garlic, can be applied directly to infected wounds to clean the area. Dr. Peter Molan of Waikato University in New Zealand observed that honey was more effective in managing infections on burn wounds than anti-bacterial ointments used in hospitals.

Moreover, in a study conducted by Penn State University, honey was discovered to be better at alleviating cough than over the counter drugs. The study led by Dr. Ian Paul found that a small amount of buckwheat honey, given before bedtime, provided better relief for kids from night time cough and sleep difficulty than the use of dextromethorphan (DM). DM is an over the counter cold medication. This finding is significant in light of a recent Food and Drug Administration advisory that cautioned against giving cough and cold medicine to children below six years old due to its potential side effects ineffectiveness. Incidentally, consumers spend billion of dollars each year for medication not proven to give significant relief.

Who can benefit from honey?

Clinical studies have found that honey sits well with infants. It was observed to increase their weight, haemoglobin content, give them better skin and digestion while increasing their immunity from disease. In fact, honey has been observed to produce a mild laxative effect and is recognized as a treatment for constipation in Eastern Europe.

Athletes will find honey to be an effective source of carbohydrates that can improve their athletic performance. Patients suffering from hepatitis A can benefit from honey’s capacity to cause a decrease in the alanine aminotransferase activity (an increased ALT is indicative of liver damage) and a decrease in bilirubin production (a product breakdown responsible for the yellow color in bruises and urine and increased levels may indicate certain diseases). Among cancer patients undergoing cancer radiation therapy, honey was observed to reduce incidents of radiation mucositis, a common toxicity for head and neck cancer whose consequences include pain, weight loss and micro-nutrient deficiencies.

Side effects

Generally, honey is safe for children and adults even in large qualities. Avoid giving honey to infants under 12 months to avoid the risk of botulism poisoning. Allergic reactions to honey have also been reported in individuals allergic to pollen.

Source for this article:

http://www.honey.com/nhb/about-honey/
http://www.naturalnews.com/029470_honey_health.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19155427
http://www.naturalnews.com/021506.html
http://live.psu.edu/story/27584
http://www.clinlabnavigator.com
http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org

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Mushroom found on birch tree holds promise as a potent anti-cancer tonic

NaturalNews) A little known mushroom is establishing a solid reputation in medical circles as a powerful defense against cancer. Although relatively unheard of in mainstream media, the chaga mushroom has been used in folk medicine for generations. Research has shown chaga to be extremely effective in protecting cellular DNA from damaging free radicals. It also has anti-tumor and immune stimulating benefits.

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus that grows on birch and other hardwood trees. The variety that is found on birch is believed to be the most potent because of its high concentration of betulinic acid which is toxic to cancer cells. Chaga is unusual in the mushroom world as it resembles porous wood and is black and hard – similar to lumpy charcoal. Natives of China, Siberia, Finland, Japan, Poland, and North America have all recognized chaga’s importance for centuries. Russian author and Nobel laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is given credit for introducing chaga to the West where the principal character in his novel Cancer Ward is cured of his illness by the mushroom.

Healing properties

Several studies support chaga’s medicinal value. Researchers at Kyunghee University in Seoul, South Korea examined chaga’s effectiveness in protecting cellular DNA. Cells were treated with chaga mushroom extract then exposed to oxidative stress. The extract-treated cells had 40 percent less DNA mutation compared with the untreated cells. In another study, Japanese researchers discovered that chaga had higher levels of cell protective antioxidants than other medicinal mushrooms included in the investigation. Chaga has been shown to be effective against cancers of the liver, uterus, breast, colon, skin, cervix and lung. It also attacks tumor cells without disturbing healthy tissue. Additionally, this mushroom has been found to be antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

Chaga mushroom is nutrient rich. Sterols, flavonoids, polysaccharides, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals are just a few of the constituents found in chaga. Immune function is enhanced by the beta glucans present in the mushroom which activate T-cell activity and the production of antibodies.

Methods of consumption

Chaga can be taken as a tea, applied to the skin, consumed as a powder or inhaled as smoke. For a traditional tea, dissolve one teaspoon of the dehydrated mushroom in one cup of water. Recommended dosage for alcohol extract (1:5 tincture): 40-60 drops, two to three times a day.

Sources for this article include:

“Chaga Mushroom” Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved on July 26, 2012 from: http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/chaga-mushroom

“Chaga mushroom health benefit, review of effect on immune system and cancer” Ray Sahelian MD. Retrieved on July 26, 2012 from: http://www.raysahelian.com/chaga.html

“Benefits and Properties of Chaga Mushroom” Malja Haavisto, August 17, 2009, Natural Medicine at Suite 101. Retrieved on July 26, 2012 from: http://suite101.com

About the author:
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision.

Read her other articles on Natural News here:

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