Coffee and Health

From the year dot, my mother taught all her children that coffee was not bad for you. But of course it is. As a result, I managed to keep away from coffee, at least until the difficult age of 10, when, as I recall, I was allowed to join my mother and her neighbors in their regular gossip sessions at the coffee table.

That was when I started to exercise my taste buds on coffee. In those days, I developed a liking for coffee with milk. Perhaps I should have said I drank milk with coffee. However, I know now that the coffee I was drinking back then really was not so good. It was pre-ground, over-boiled and sometimes brewed with the grounds from the day before. Could you imagine anything worse? No wonder I wanted to hide that hideous flavor with tons of milk.

In the meantime, I probably took a good sip of coffee on the road and woke up to a much more pleasant reality. Coffee can be very good. But why do so many voices whisper that coffee and health do not belong together?

Caffeine

Call it food or beverage, coffee is free of any nutritional value. As indecent as it may sound, we consume it exclusively for pleasure.

Yes, the caffeine content in coffee is partly responsible for that pleasure. Caffeine acts as a mild stimulant across the central nervous system. It leads to a better memory, better judgments and idea associations, better coordination of body movement.

A single-serve espresso contains between 80 and 120 milligrams of caffeine. A normal cup of coffee (even drip coffee) contains about 100 – 150 milligrams of caffeine. Common sense calls this moderate consumption at one sitting. Within several hours (although this may vary from one person to another) caffeine is eliminated from the body. Average coffee drinkers can have three or four cups of coffee every day without from any health risk.

As with other foods and beverages, the effects of coffee consumption vary with the dose. Moderate coffee-drinking can be medicinal. Excessive coffee-drinking can be poison. The average female coffee drinker can experience ill-effects after ingesting 550 milligrams at one session. The amount for males is 700 milligrams. These effects refer to headaches, nausea and petulance. Ten grams of caffeine constitutes an overdose. This would be impossible to reach exclusively by drinking coffee. You would need to ingest 100 cups at one session. If you ever do, this may be the last thing you will ever do.

Coffee consumption is not recommended when certain health problems arise. While we have no solid proof for this it is wise to avoid unwanted risks.

Acidity

Acidity describes the sour component of the coffee taste. It is particularly strong in Arabica coffee and in light roasts. It may have a negative effect on digestion. People less tolerant of acidity but who still wish to drink coffee, can choose a decaffeinated coffee or a natural low-acidity coffee from Brazil, India or the Caribbean.

Other effects noted (for example, in pregnant women) have not been proved to be significantly negative. The medical community today has tended to clear coffee of long-term negative effects upon human health.

The beneficial effects of coffee

Coffee has proved beneficial for asthma sufferers. Two to four small cups of coffee throughout the day will help to reduce the recurrence of astma-attacks, and moderate their intensity.

Coffee contains natural antioxidants called ‘flavonoids’ which are widely known as disease protectors.

The beneficial effects of moderate caffeine consumption are widely recognised: caffeine works on alertness, mood, sensorial activity and memory. Of course, you may choose to take your daily caffeine ration from other foods and beverages, such as chocolate, carbonated drinks based on coca-nut extract, or tea.

Beside these effects, more or less proved by the medical community, I would mention one more: the pure pleasure of sipping a good cup of coffee. If every person on this planet did this every day, I believe there would be fewer wars, suicides and health problems generally, fewer people who suffer from depression. But I could be wrong.

Alternative Medicine and Your Diet

How can alternative medicine and your diet be beneficial? The major fact that practitioners of the alternative medicine industry push is the fact that what you put into your body has an intense effect on your health. Many practitioners will recommend herbs, vitamins and other supplements to assist the average person with occasional complaints, but for people with chronic or serious illnesses a special diet is more often than not recommended.

There are many different diets that are commonly prescribed by alternative medicine practitioners for those patients with regular complaints. Those who complain of fatigue, weight gain, or just general poor health can often benefit from a detoxifying or cleansing diet. Patients with diabetes and acid reflux are often put on specific diets to improve their conditions. For more serious illnesses like cancer, more strict diets are enforced. Many people have had incredible luck beating cancer by using a macrobiotic diet.

So let’s look at the definition of a macrobiotic diet and start with analysing the word macrobiotic. Macrobiotics, from the Greek “macro” (large, long) + “bios” (life), is a lifestyle that incorporates a dietary regimen. The earliest recorded use of the term macrobiotics is found in the writing of Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine. But the modern day diet and philosophy was developed by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa, who believed that simplicity was the key to optimal health. A macrobiotic diet consists of low-fat, high-fiber diet of whole grains, vegetables, sea algae, and seeds and is rich in phytoestrogens from soy products. It is much more than a diet though it is a way of life that aims at achieving balance with nature which includes a balance with your own body.

However a word of warning, as with any change to your dietary or exercise regimes it is important to follow a medical professionals advice when trying a diet, so be sure to check with your practitioner before starting any restrictive diet.

Know More About Green Tea and Health

Do you know the facts about green tea and health? How can it benefit you in more than one ways? This article provides complete information on this aspect. But a brief background first.

Nowadays, many companies and individuals promote a healthier and cleaner living. In fact, a majority of individuals use organic products instead of artificial ones. There are a variety of products in the market that claim to be natural. But in reality, these products do not contain any organic ingredients at all.

Like for instance, in losing weight, the market offers a whole bunch of slimming pills or dietary supplements. Some are ineffective while some are synthetic.

Another example is muscle pain and headache. Due to stress in work or school, muscle pain and headache are a prevalent condition among workers or students. Pain relievers are usually the answers to these symptoms. But constant intake of these pain relievers will alter your body’s natural flow.

There is also a variety of remedy that eliminates bad breath or nasty cavities. But none is as effective as what you will learn in this article.

Green Tea and Health Benefits

To be sure that what you are buying produces the effect that you want and does not further damage your body, try using products that contain green tea. The relation between green tea and health is visible since many years now.

For centuries, green tea has long been used by ancient Chinese. They integrate this into their lifestyle. They consume it every day. That is why, it is common to find Chinese people who are more than a hundred years old.

Green tea comes from the leaves of a plant known as Camillia Sinensis. The leaves contain anti-oxidants which are beneficial to the body and safe to consume. In fact, these leaves are processed in different ways. Some are steamed, fermented or dried. The process of steaming is the best as it retains the anti-oxidants that are abundant in the leaves.

This medicinal tea is absolutely safe for the body. In fact, it’s only known side effect is insomnia. And that is because similar to coffee it too contains caffeine. Actually, consuming it is more effective than coffee if you want to stay awake and alert.

However, there are caffeinated and decaffeinated green tea available in the market today. So, you have better options to choose from. And the healthful benefits are not affected if you choose either of the two.

More importantly, studies have shown that green tea prevents the risk of cancer. This is a good news to cancer patients who undergo the painstaking treatments. Although cancer cells are not reduced overnight, a constant intake of this tea will minimize the growth and development of these abnormal cancer cells.

There is so much to talk about green tea and health. With the numerous benefits that can be acquired from it, it would not be wrong to say that this tea is really a miraculous medicinal herb.

So, now that you know the close association of green tea and health, why not you too include green tea supplements in your diet? For more information on how this supplement can help you, visit my website listed below.

Women and Health Journals Explained

There are many important issues when it comes to women health and so whether you are a woman yourself or not it is important that you are keen on these matters.

Using a women and health journal may very well be one of the best things that you ever do for yourself. Regardless of whether you are studying the issue of women health or would just like to learn about it more for your own benefit, using a women and health journal will offer you many advantages.

A women and health journal will be just about the most reliable and informative resources available to you, and one that you should definitely use to your advantage.

You will discover literally 1000s of different options when it comes to a women and health journal, but a few in particular that are going to be worth you checking out, and which will be discussed in detail here.

Women Health Journal

As the name implies, this can be a women health journal that basically provides you with everything. The company publishes a number of different publications, one being the most widely-read biotechnology trade publication worldwide. They were also the primary to publish a medical journal on AIDS, long before the sickness was designated as being a serious threat to world health.

These publications not just contribute significantly towards the literature but in addition they play an active and incredibly important role in the advancement of their respective fields.

If you need to know anything about women and health care this can be a great resource, then one that you should definitely take some time to check out.

Another Options: Journal Watch

Another great option for a women and health journal is Journal Watch. As among the finest known and most reputable health journals in the world, you can feel safe and assured knowing that you are getting your health information from here.

They feature information not only on women general care, but as well general medicine, hospital medicine, pediatrics and adolescent medicine, cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, neurology, oncology and hematology, and psychiatry, only to name a few.

These are generally just two of many journals that are available, so the best idea is going to be for you to take a moment to check out the different options that are available to you and this way if you are looking for some specific information you will be able to locate just the right journal to do so.

Wine and Health – An Introduction

The use of wine and our strong convictions of its health benefits, abstainers and teetotalers notwithstanding, are probably as old as wine itself dating back to the first civilizations in the ancient world. In Mesopotamia ca. the third millennium BC, the Babylonians believed wine to have medicinal and therapeutic effects and it was considered so pure and free of contaminations that it was preferred-along with beer-over water. In Ancient Egypt more than two thousand years BC, wine also became a common ingredient in “prescription drugs” for curing a variety of ailments. The drugs were formulated using other ingredients too, such as water and particularly those derived from medicinal plants.

And stories abound from the Far East where the Chinese would lace wine with animal parts to concoct drugs to cure just about any ailment. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine who had a keen sense of physiological and metabolic reactions in the human body not only used wine as a prescription drug in Ancient Greece but also pioneered it into an antiseptic for treating wounds.

The link between wine and its medicinal and therapeutic benefits grew stronger through the various eras and Middle Ages up to modern times. So compelling was the link that following the decreasing death rate of convicts and migrants who were treated with wine aboard Australia-bound ships in the early part of the nineteenth century, it spawned the founding of vineyards and wineries by British doctors throughout the rest of the century. Many such wineries have grown into global businesses responsible for some of the largest wine outputs in the world. For example, Lindemans and Penfolds were founded in the early 1840s by Drs. Henry J. Lindeman and Christopher R. Penfold, respectively.

But as wine became integral to religions from Biblical times and the evils of alcohol took root into societies, wine, its health benefits, and its sociological impacts became very controversial and spawned the anti-alcohol temperance movement in colonial America. In 1916, federal health authorities removed alcohol from the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), “the official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other health care products manufactured or sold in the United States.” Then in 1920, the Volstead Act was enacted under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution making the manufacture, sale, importation, and distribution of alcohol illegal which lasted until 1933 when the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified to repeal National Prohibition. During Prohibition, consumption of alcohol and homemade wine for personal use was still allowed though each state and often towns or counties were left to implement further control according to local needs. Wine for sacramental and medicinal uses was also exempt. In Canada, provinces had already started implementing prohibitory laws in 1917.

Much research on the health benefits of wine has been documented particularly since the nineteenth century. But the temperance movement had been strong and gained renewed momentum in the 1980s in advocating the evils of alcohol on public health. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a now very influential organization, was first founded in 1980. Then during Ronald Reagan’s first presidential term in the 1980s, First Lady Nancy Reagan launched the “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign which naturally included alcoholic beverages. Senator James Strom Thurmond, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 1993 and whose wife later became addicted to alcohol, was a long-time, staunch anti-alcohol advocate. He led the offensive responsible for implementing (in 1988) the now-familiar warning on labels of all wines sold in the U.S. The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, now the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB) text reads as follows:

GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery and may cause health problems.

But there was a major turnabout in 1991 when French scientist Dr. Serge Renaud made public his theory of the French Paradox which observed that the French suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart diseases (CHD) which is the major cause of death in industrialized countries despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats found in, for example, eggs, dairy products and particularly cheese, and meat. Renaud’s work catapulted sales of red wine in the U.S. and a renewed interest in the health benefits of wine when CBS aired its French Paradox TV segment on 60 Minutes that same year. The French Paradox, the countless epidemiological studies and laboratory studies and experiments, such as those by renowned Kaiser-Permanente cardiologist Dr. Arthur Klatsky make a strong case in asserting the J- or U-shaped relationships between the consumption of alcohol and mortality rate. More specifically, these have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption resulted in a lower mortality rate compared to abstainers and teetotalers or heavy alcohol drinkers. As well, moderate consumption has also been linked to a lower morbidity (disease) rate.

Moderate consumption is generally defined to represent 14 g of pure alcohol (ethanol) per day which can be obtained from 148 mL (5 fl oz) of twelve-percent-alcohol wine-careful with that “two glasses a day” guideline-or from 355 mL (12 fl oz) of five-percent-alcohol beer or from 44 mL (1½ fl oz) of forty-percent-alcohol spirit. And to enjoy and maximize the health benefits of moderate drinking, consumption must be daily and not averaged out by, for example, drinking seven times the recommended amount at one Saturday-evening party, and should be part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle including regular exercise.

As of 1999, wine destined for the U.S. market could then be labeled by TTB approval with a directional health-related statement directing consumers “to consult [their] family doctor about the health benefits of wine consumption” or to request the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) and Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) published Dietary Guidelines for Americans “to learn the health effects of wine consumption.” But Senator Thurmond and temperance advocates such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and MADD struck again and effectively forced the TTB in 2003 to defeat directional statements on labels on the grounds that these were inherently misleading and confusing and gave the impression that the government endorsed the health benefits of alcohol consumption which encouraged consumers to imbibe further. After all, the whole premise of alcohol control is that wine as well as beer and distilled spirits have been considered intoxicating beverages and not medicines.

The wine industry with the support of such trade organizations as the Wine Institute and the American Vintners Association (AVA) lobbied the federal agencies for more substantive health-related claims and reached a compromise of sort. Henceforth, under the authority of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act), the new TTB regulations stipulated in part that:

A specific health claim on a label or in an advertisement is considered misleading unless the claim is truthful and adequately substantiated by scientific evidence; properly detailed and qualified with respect to the categories of individuals to whom the claim applies; adequately discloses the health risks associated with both moderate and heavier levels of alcohol consumption; and outlines the categories of individuals for whom any levels of alcohol consumption may cause health risks.

Such requirements have made it almost impossible to obtain approval to include health claims, directional or substantive, on labels or in advertisements particularly that claims must contain a disclaimer “advising consumers that the statement should not encourage consumption of alcohol for health reasons,…” According to Richard Mendelson in From Darling to Demon: A Legal History of Wine in America, not a single health claim has been approved by the TTB since the regulation came into effect.

But there is hope. There has been vast progress in the last decade in the health benefits of moderate wine consumption. Though we-except for anti-alcohol advocates-have been thirsty for more good news on the role of wine on our health, research is nonetheless far from conclusive given the often contradictory findings and the breadth of malaises, illnesses and diseases on which wine is believed to have effects. The list ranges from heart diseases, strokes, cancer, dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes to arthritis and osteoporosis, and yes, even erectile dysfunction just to name a few. But a great deal of focus has naturally been on cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

In future articles, we will examine the science of the complex interactions between wine and health that are so near and dear to our hearts-literally.

Alternative Medicine and Natural Health Practices

People choose alternative medicine and natural health over conventional health practices for a number of reasons. Perhaps you are at a point in your life where you are experiencing minor health problems and are seeking alternative methods to conventional health practices that often don’t work. Or, perhaps you feel healthy and want to maintain this health by supplementing your current diet and lifestyle with natural health practices.

Types of Alternative Medicine

Since there are varying types of alternative medicine each offering their own philosophy and discipline, you will have to decide what form of alternative medicine is best able to help you heal any particular health problems that you have. Following are types of alternative medicine:

Herbal medicine. Herbal medicine uses certain properties of herbs and other plants in the form of dietary supplements as a means to promote health and to heal specific health problems. Plant parts used can include the leaves, flowers, stems, or a combination of all. Examples of some commonly used herbal medicines include green tea which may have an anti-cancer effect, valerian root used to treat insomnia, peppermint tea for digestive issues, and Echinacea extracts to limit the length of colds.
Chinese herbal medicine. Also known as “herbology,” Chinese herbal medicine involves combining medicinal herbs to heal the body. The focus is on preventing disease before it has a chance to manifest itself, as well as treating existing health problems. A key to the success of Chinese herbal medicine is the treatment of each patient as an individual with herbs mixed specifically for each patient.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating needles into acupuncture points on the body to stimulate nerve impulses and restore health and well-being. It is believed that your life energy, or “qi,” travels along your body on what are known as “meridians”. When this flow of energy is broken and damaged, your body is weak and results in health issues.
Acupressure. Acupressure involves placing physical pressure by hand or elbow on acupuncture points on the surface of the body. Shiatsu is a form of acupressure that promotes the prevention and recovery of illnesses by stimulating the immune system and natural healing power the people already possess.
Massage. The goal of massage is to apply pressure, tension and motion to the soft tissues of the body to assist with healing injury, relieving psychological stress, manage pain and improve circulation.
Reflexology. Also known as “zone therapy,” reflexology is the practice of stimulating nerves on the feet, hands and ears to encourage a beneficial effect on other parts of the body, or to improve your general well-being. It stimulates the blood flow to particular parts of your body while relieving the tension in your body and mind.
Homeopathy. Homeopathy is the principle of “treating like with like.” Homeopathic remedies are substances derived from plants and minerals that are diluted in a precise way as to cause toxic behavior and cure the symptoms.
Yoga. Yoga uses specific body “postures” to reduce stress, slow breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and promote relaxation that is necessary for a healthy mind and body.
Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses the extracts of plants, known as essential oils, and other scented compounds to relax and balance the body. An example of aromatherapy is eucalyptus oil and mint which is used to provide relief for the airways during a cold or the flu.
Ayurveda. Ayurveda operates on the precept that various materials of vegetable, animal, and mineral origin have some medicinal value for curing illness and/or for maintaining good health. Ayurveda originated in India and is based on the philosophy that disease occurs when you are not living harmoniously within your environment.
Meditation. Meditation is a relaxation technique used to reduce and alleviate symptoms of ill health including headaches, back pain and high blood pressure.