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NUTRITION NEWS

Energizing The Lymph System

The human body is composed of 70% fluid. Keeping fluids flowing throughout the body and preventing fluids from stag-nating is up to the lymphatic system. Cellular waste is trans-ported via lymph vessels to lymph nodes, which process the impurities and eventually empty the now-healthy fluids into the blood system.

Localized infections can cause swelling of the lymph nodes and affected lymphatic channels. Lymphatic stagnation occurs when the amount of fluid, cells, and waste exceeds the body's capacity to remove them. Long-term lymphatic stagnation has been linked to numerous conditions in which tissue swelling exists. Three common conditions that result from improper lymph function are tonsillitis, appendicitis, and fibrocystic breast disease.

Herbs, sound diet, and exercise can improve lymphatic circulation, reducing infectious and inflammatory processes. One of the best ways to promote circulation and support lymphatic flow is to stimulate the body through massage. Exercise also improves both blood and lymphatic circulation.

Botanicals can help the lymphatic system clear congestion and accumulated fluids or wastes from tissues. By helping to remove excessive fluids, these botanicals prevent stagnation.

Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) is a gentle urinary tract stimulant and an astringent that tones eliminative passages and mucous membranes.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a lymphatic tonic, diuretic, blood purifier, and connective tissue tonic.

Nettle (Uritica urens) is a nourishing tonic herb that is used as a lymphatic stimulant and anti-inflammatory. Herb books have reported nettle to be used by people with lung infections and lymphatic stagnation.

Poke Root (phytolacca decandra) is especially recommended for congestion of watery fluid and glandular tissues, specifically when the enlarged lymph node or organ is firm and hard. Poke root has traditionally helped reduce inflammation in cases of tonsillitis and lymphatic engorgement.

Echinacea (angustifolia, E. purpurea) has long been used for infections and as a detoxifying herb to reduce disease-producing waste material in the system.

The lymphatic system can significantly affect health. So keep lymphatic fluid clean and flowing by eating well, exercising, and using herbs to maintain optimal health.

Reference: Keville, K. Herbs for Health and Healing; 1998.

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Nutrients That Lessen Colon Cancer Risk

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer worldwide and affects men and women equally. When detected early, survival rates are quite high. Since colorectal cancer is associated with environ-mental factors and diet, it is preventable.

According to Barbara Levine, R.D., Ph.D., of the Strang-Cornell Cancer Prevention Center, we should "go back to the garden" to stave off cancer. A diet high in fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and legumes provides powerful antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals. Limiting fats and eating whole grains instead of refined products also can reduce risk. Meat and animal fat intake have been shown to be directly correlated with colorectal cancer risk.

The benefit of nutritional supplements for colorectal cancer prevention is a growing area of study. Studies in China, Italy, and the U.S. show an inverse relationship between colon and stomach cancer incidence and garlic intake. Aged garlic extract appears to be the most beneficial garlic preparation, stimulating immune function.

Lutein has been shown to be preventive against colon carcinogenesis. Other carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene, also have similar benefits, according to recent research.

Quercetin, which inhibits colon cancer growth, also appears to enhance natural killer (NK) cell activity (part of the immune system).

Soy foods have inhibited cancer formation in some studies, while epidemiological studies support a protective effect of vitamin E against colon cancer.

Low intake of selenium is associated with risk of various cancers and colorectal cancer rates have been reduced significantly by selenium supplementation among U.S. subjects living in areas with low soil selenium levels.

Reference: Nutr Cancer, 1999; 3491:88-99.

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Nutrients For Better Vision

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. for people over 55, affecting more people than both cataracts and glaucoma. The causes of macular degeneration aren't yet known, but the odds of getting it increase with age as well as for those who are light-skinned, blond and blue-eyed, smoke, and those who have a family history of this disease. Three risk factors, according to a recent article in the International Journal of Integrative Medicine, are genetics, environmental insults, and nutrition.

Recent studies have shown a protective effect of dietary intake of carotenoids. Of 1,354 subjects from 43 to 84 years of age, those with the highest lutein intake were half as likely to develop cataracts as those with the lowest intake.

Men between 45 and 75 years of age with high lutein and zeaxanthin intakes had less cataract extractions, suggesting that these carotenoids may decrease severe cataract risk.

In a 12-year study of 77,000 women, those with the highest lutein and xeaxanthin intake had a 22% less risk of cataract surgery than those with a lower dietary intake.

Antioxidant vitamin E is also important to protect eyes from free radical damage and ultimately, diseases including glaucoma and macular degeneration. Recent research reports that subjects with the highest vitamin E levels were 82% less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration compared to those with the lowest levels.

In Europe, bilberry extracts are part of the conventional medical treatment for eye disorders like cataracts, macular degeneration, and night blindness and are supported by positive, controlled clinical trial studies.

Reference: Current Eye Research, 1999; 19(6):502-5; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999; 70(4):517-24.

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Clinical Studies Show Ginkgo Biloba Benefits The Brain

Over the past 20 years ginkgo has become an increasingly well-known medicinal plant worldwide. In Traditional Chinese Medicine its leaves have been used for "benefiting the brain," as an astringent to the lungs, to relieve symptoms of asthma and cough. Clinical experience in modern China has focused on using ginkgo in the treatment of angina pectoris, chronic bronchitis, and its effect on lowering serum cholesterol levels.

Today ginkgo leaf extracts manufactured in Europe and Asia are used for treatment of poor circulation, heart disease, eye disease, ringing in the ear, dementia, and various conditions associated with senility.

Numerous pharmacological and clinical studies of ginkgo leaf extract have demonstrated a positive effect in increasing vasodilation and peripheral blood flow rate in capillary vessels and end-arteries in various circulatory disorders.

In a double-blind cross-over trial, researchers found that, one hour following a single oral 600 mg dose of ginkgo biloba extract, short-term memory parameters were significantly improved compared with controls. The results of 20 clinical studies, including two double-blind crossover studies, nine double-blind studies, and eight open studies found that the dose used in most of the studies was 120 mg of ginkgo biloba extract per day.

Reference: Clinical Trials Journal 22:149-57.

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Reducing Hair Loss

Here's an interesting connection: high levels of free radical activity and free radical damaged tissues are common among people with diabetes or obesity.

In a recent study, the number of free radicals generated by two types of immune cells in the subjects doubled two hours after drinking a glucose solution. The subjects' vitamin E level dropped by 4% indicating increased free radical production.

The researchers reported a previously unknown strong association between Syndrome X and premature, male-hormone-dependent baldness. Syndrome X is a pre-diabetic condition characterized by insulin resistance, elevated blood fats, high blood pressure, and abdominal obesity. It was observed that insulin resistance could be a promoting factor in premature baldness.

In a related study, Turkish researchers studied male subjects and discovered that bald men had relatively low levels of several antioxidants, including beta-carotene and glutathione peroxidase.

Reference: Lancet, 2000; 356:1165-6.

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According to two recent studies, a high dietary intake of vitamins C and E can substantially reduce the risk of stroke. Researchers from the University Medical School studied 2,100 men and women in a rural community for 20 years.

Subjects with the highest blood levels of vitamin C had the lowest risk of stroke from 40 years onward. Subjects over the age of 64 with high vitamin C levels were 41% less likely to suffer a stroke compared with those who had the lowest vitamin levels.

In a separate study, researchers reported that vitamin E consumption reduced the risk of death from stroke by 60%.

Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000; 72:476-83.

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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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