Endometriosis: A Holistic Approach
The diagnosis of endometrio-sis can be made through exploratory surgery as well as ultrasound in some cases. However, the cause of the condition currently is unknown. Most experts currently believe that it either stems from an imbalance of estrogen and progestin or occurs as a result of immune deficiency. In either case, nutritional and herbal supplements, exercise, and relaxation may decrease the occurrence of endometriosis symptoms.
Holistic endometriosis therapies seek to balance hormone levels and improve immunity by nourishing the whole person. Holistically healing endometriosis requires a sincere dedication to diet and lifestyle changes.
Weakening of the immune system is thought to be a factor in the spread of endometrial growths outside of the uterus. Several nutrients and herbs can bolster immune functions to improve health and decrease the painful symptoms of endometriosis when taken regularly.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is one of the most powerful immune stimulants available.
Vitamin A is necessary for repairing body tissues and reducing susceptibility to infections.
Vitamin B2 aids in protein metabolism and the formation of red blood cells and antibodies.
Vitamin B12 can increase energy. Vitamin C helps heal scar tissue, serves as an antioxidant, and builds resistance to infections.
Vitamin E can alleviate fatigue by supplying oxygen to the blood and organs as well as strengthening red blood cells.
Selenium's antioxidant properties can protect cell membranes and prevent free radical generation.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Milwaukee, WI-based Endometriosis Association, 63% of women suffering from endometriosis found that exercise helped to reduce its symptoms, and 62% found dietary changes and supplements helped do the same.
Reference: Mills, Dian Shepperson, Dip ION, M.A. Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition.
Vegan For Health
Deviating from a vegan diet increased the number of heart disease deaths among villagers in southwest rural China, according to T.C. Campbell, Ph.D., of Cornell University.
A typical Chinese diet con-tains 90% less animal protein, half the fat, and three times the fiber as a North American diet. The average cholesterol level in China is 129 compared with a soaring 203 in the United States. Chinese heart disease death rates are 16.7 times lower for men and 5.6 times lower for women than North American rates.
Although Chinese diets are healthful, minor disparities make a difference. Campbell collected detailed dietary data and blood samples from 50 adults in each of 130 rural Chinese villages and then extrapolated the data to the general population and compared it with death rates. Although each village's citizens ate low-fat, plant-based diets, slight variations correlated with differing rates of heart disease and cancer.
Eating more green and light-colored vegetables, legumes, and plant protein reduced death rates from heart disease, and eating even small amounts of meat, animal protein, and salt increased rates. The difference was so significant that researchers concluded a clear linear relation exists between eating animal products and dying of heart disease.
In addition, breast cancer mortality rose with dietary fat intake and blood cholesterol levels. Researchers suggest that high-fat diets, thought to contribute to breast cancer, increase childhood growth rate and lower the age of puberty, which is itself a breast cancer risk factor. Higher blood levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene were also linked to lower cancer rates.
Reference: American Journal of Cardiology, November 26, 1998; 82(10B):18T-21T.
Nuts And Heart Health
Many people consider nuts off-limits because of their high fat content. How-ever, snacking on them appears to protect against heart disease, according to a new analysis by Frank Hu, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, MA.
Hu examined data from 86,000 U.S. women who participated in the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study from 1980 to 1990. The nurses were grouped according to how often they ate nuts.
Hu found that women who ate more nuts-five or more servings per week-had only two-thirds the rate of heart disease deaths and nonfatal heart attacks as infrequent nut eaters.
There are several possible reasons for his findings: unsat-ur-ated fatty acids in nuts reduce blood lipids. Nuts are rich in the amino acid arginine, which relaxes blood vessels and inhibits clotting. The magnesium, copper, folic acid, fiber, and vitamin E content of nuts may also have heart-protect-ing qualities. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid precursor known to protect against heart disease.
Peanuts were also analyzed, although they are technically not nuts, but legumes. Peanuts were linked to the same health benefits as nuts, but interestingly peanut butter was not. Researchers speculate that the reason for this is because most commercial peanut butters contain hydrogenated oil that counteracts peanuts' healthy com-ponents (which is another good reason to use natural, organic peanut butter).
It may be that fat-conscious Americans are avoiding nuts when they should be reaching for them.
Reference: British Medical Journal, November 1998; 317:1341-5.
The Anti-Cancer Role Of Tomatoes
Dr. Edward Giovannucci of Harvard Medical School has a lot of positive news about tomatoes, especially since he completed a review of 72 prior studies in regard to the tomato's role in reducing the risk of cancer. Overall, 57 of these studies implicated higher tomato intake with cancer protection. Of these, 35 studies showed a strong, statistically significant connection.
Cancers affecting the pros-tate, lung, and stomach showed the greatest risk reduction in tomato-lovers, although benefits were also suggestive for cancers of the pancreas, colon, esophagus, mouth, breast, and cervix.
Lycopene, a compound primarily found in tomatoes, is the likely source of cancer protection, although there are "numerous other potentially beneficial compounds present in tomatoes, and, conceivably, complex interactions among multiple components may contribute to the anticancer properties of tomatoes," asserted Giovannucci.
When tomatoes were first brought to Europe in the 1500s, the fruit was considered poisonous. What a long way this fruit has come: now it is revered as a potent cancer fighter.
Reference: Giovannucci, E. "Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: Review of the epidemiological literature" J. Natl. Cancer Inst., 1999;91:317-31.
Breathe Easy With Vitamin C
Cornell University of Ithaca, NY, and the Chinese Academy of Preven-tive Medicine in Beijing compared the lung capacity of 3,085 people in 69 rural Chinese countries with their vitamin C intake. Vitamin C intake ranged from as much as 295 mg per day to as little as 42 mg per day. People with more vitamin C in their diet had greater lung volume-meaning they could exhale more air than those eating less of the vitamin. In fact, for each 100 mg per day increase of vitamin C, lung volume increased 22 ml. This study, completely controlled for smoking, determined the increase was the same in smokers and nonsmokers alike.
Vitamin C may help lung function in several ways. It is involved in the collagen formation needed to rebuild damaged lungs and in the production of prostaglandins, fatty acids that help keep airways open.
Reference: American Journal of Epidemiology, November 1998; 148(6):594-9.
A large prospective study shows for the first time that vitamin K lowers the risk of hip fractures among middle-aged and older women. Vitamin K, found mainly in lettuce, is required to form the bone protein osteocalcin and may also reduce calcium excretion and bone loss. Researchers suspected it might also protect against osteo-por-osis in postmenopausal women.
As part of the Nurse's Health Study, 12,700 women aged 38 to 63 filled out dietary questionnaires in 1984, 1986, and 1990. By 1994, 270 of the women with a median age of 62 had fractured their hips. Diane Feshkanish, M.D., of Harvard Medical School found that the 20% of women who consumed less than 109 mcg of vitamin K a day had a 43% higher hip fracture risk. The other 80% of women had the same fracture risk regardless of their vitamin intake. Thus, postmeno-pausal women may need a minimum of 109 mcg Vitamin K each day-considerably higher than the RDA of 65 mcg.
Women who ate lettuce each day had only 55% the risk of hip fracture as those who ate it once a week.
Vitamin K had a pronounced effect in women who had never used estro-gen, but no effect in current estrogen users. This may be because estrogen, like vitamin K, strengthens bones.
Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 1999; 69:74-9.
Written by: Ecomall
Disclaimer: These statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is for educational purposes only. For any serious illness or health related disorders please consult your physician.
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