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Hormonal Imbalance In Women: Top Causes And Home Remedies

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Hormonal Imbalance In Women: Top Causes And Home Remedies
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Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

At certain times in a woman’s life, hormonal fluctuation is expected — during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause, for example.

Other times, a hormonal imbalance may occur because of a stressful time in your life, lack of sleep, or even certain health conditions.

If you want to know whether you may have a hormonal imbalance, what are its symptoms, and what you can do about it, read on.

What Is a Hormone Imbalance?

Hormones are chemical compounds in your body that act as chemical messengers. Produced by endocrine glands such as the pituitary, thyroid, and ovaries, hormones regulate various bodily functions, from menstruation and ovulation to mood and even digestion and hunger.

Hormones are released into your bloodstream, with each targeting different parts of the body.[1] An abnormal amount of any hormone — whether too much or too little — causes a hormonal imbalance. Even a small shift in hormone levels can cause big changes within the body!

Top Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms

Some of the more common symptoms women with a hormonal imbalance may experience include the following.

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Change in libido (sex drive)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Mood swings, irritability, or anxiety
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Night sweating
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Foggy brain
  • Painful periods and heavy bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Heart palpitations
  • Constipation and diarrhoea
  • Sensitivity to cold environments
  • Headaches
  • Skin tags
What Causes Female Hormone Imbalance?

There are many different reasons why women may experience a hormonal imbalance. Common causes of female hormonal imbalance include:

Menopause

Menopause marks the time of your life when your period stops permanently. Though a normal part of aging, it has a tremendous impact on hormone production in the body.

The average age at which women experience menopause is 52 years old.[2] First, however, women go through a menopausal transition period, or perimenopause, as their bodies adjust to hormonal changes.

In perimenopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen than usual and progesterone levels also fluctuate.[2] Some symptoms of low estrogen, as well as progesterone levels shifting include:

Birth Control

Estrogen and progesterone levels in your body fluctuate at different times in your menstrual cycle. Birth control disrupts your body’s natural hormonal production. Though birth control options work in different ways in the body depending on the type you use, most of them suppress ovulation in order to prevent pregnancy from occurring.[3]

Did you know the CDC found that 64% of women aged 15–49 in the United States are taking some form of birth control?

Because birth control alters the hormones your body naturally produces, some women experience both physical and emotional symptoms.

There are a variety of different forms of hormonal contraception, including birth control pills, skin patches, hormone-releasing contraceptive coils, hormonal injections, and vaginal rings. Most influence a woman’s hormone levels to prevent pregnancy.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder. In healthy women, ovaries produce and release an egg each month as part of the menstrual cycle.

A woman with PCOS may experience premature ovarian insufficiency — the egg may or may not develop as it should and ovulation may not occur.

In addition to unpredictable ovulation, women with PCOS may experience irregular menstrual cycles. Other symptoms of PCOS include excess body hair, acne, dry skin, hair loss, insulin resistance, and weight issues.

Though the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, high levels of androgens — male hormones, such as testosterone — may be the cause.[4]

Pregnancy

While the ebb and flow of hormone levels is normal and expected in pregnancy, it may leave you feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster with your hormones operating the ride. In addition to affecting mood, hormone changes may also cause pregnancy fatigue, tender breasts, nausea (aka morning sickness), and skin changes.

Whoa! Your hormones start fluctuating immediately after conception!

Hormonal changes in pregnancy begin almost immediately after conception. Once an egg gets fertilized by sperm and becomes an embryo, it travels to the uterus where it implants.

At implantation, hormones — such as estrogen, progesterone and the growth hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) — kick in to help the body support and sustain a pregnancy. These hormones all fluctuate throughout pregnancy.[5]

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland produces, secretes, and regulates certain hormones. Hypothyroidism — or underactive thyroid — occurs when the thyroid fails to produce enough of these hormones.

Did you know that women are more than 5 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder caused by hormonal imbalance; women are five to 20 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism, and this rate increases with age.[6] Muscle weakness, fatigue, constipation, and weight gain are common symptoms.

Poor Diet & Nutrition

Eating a diet rich in processed foods, starchy carbohydrates, and sugar may lead to a hormonal imbalance by raising your body’s insulin levels, increasing cortisol in the body.

People who live with chronic stress tend to make poorer food choices and may increase their intake of “snack foods” that are not nutrient dense, leading to weight gain. [7, 8]

Science shows that a diet rich in processed foods and meat will cause a hormonal imbalance.

Consuming animal products can disrupt your endocrine system and lead to a hormonal imbalance, too. Researchers discovered that eating meat or drinking milk from cows treated with hormones has a “profound” biological effect on humans.[9]

Lack of Sleep

We spend a third of our lives asleep. And while that may sound like a lot of lost time to engage in the activities we enjoy, sleep is absolutely essential to good health.

Wow! Did you know that estrogen can affect sleep?

Sleep quality can have an impact on our endocrine system and hormones. While we sleep, our bodies are working at releasing and balancing our hormones.[10]

For example, estrogen plays a role in sleep quality and lack of sleep may cause changes in estrogen levels. It can be a vicious cycle; lack of sleep affects hormones, and changing hormones affect sleep!

If you are struggling with sleep deprivation, consider a light yoga or stretching routine in the evening, or meditation to help calm your body and mind to help you get a restful sleep.

Chronic Stress

Can’t focus or remember important things? You may have elevated cortisol levels in your body. Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol affects blood sugar levels, metabolism, and even our ability to form memories.

And that’s not all. Chronic stress can cause fluctuations in many hormone levels and can lead to a number of health problems, including digestive issues, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, and endocrine disorders.[11]

Effective stress management can break the hold that chronic stress has on your life, lowering cortisol levels and helping you feel happier and healthier in the process.

Consider starting a daily meditation practice, or do a few minutes of relaxing breathing exercises when you feel particularly stressed. Know your limits and ask for help when possible, rest when you can, and be sure to get adequate sleep each night.

Estrogen Dominance

Bloating, breast tenderness, and moodiness are all symptoms of normal, expected hormonal fluctuations in women. But these symptoms can also be a sign of abnormally high estrogen levels, known as estrogen dominance.

Toxic estrogens called xenoestrogens can cause estrogen dominance. Xenoestrogens come from common household items such as plastic water bottles, home-cleaning supplies, pesticides, and other environmental toxins.

Estrogen dominance may also be caused by obesity or taking medications such as birth control pills.[12]

Natural Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance in Women

If you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance, there is hope for improvement! Let’s explore some natural remedies and lifestyle changes that may help you restore balance and improve your health.

Adaptogen Herbs

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt, particularly to stress.[13] 

Adaptogens work to bring your hormones back into balance. Some adaptogenic herbs to consider using to restore hormonal balance include milk thistle, ashwagandha, and licorice root.

Supplementation

No matter your age or issue, you may benefit from supplementation to help balance your hormone levels. Some of the best herbs and supplements for female hormone balance include:

Iodine

Iodine is a crucial component to helping your thyroid gland produce hormones.[14] These hormones support growth and development, regulate metabolism, and repair damaged cells.

Iodine also plays a critical role in supporting women’s health, particularly reproductive and breast health. Your ovaries require almost as much iodine as the thyroid.[15]

Probiotics

Probiotics are microbes that have a beneficial effect on the body and human health. In women, probiotics support hormonal and vaginal health.

The probiotics in your gut play a role in recycling and metabolizing the hormones your body produces, such as thyroid hormones and estrogen.[16] If you are looking for probiotics that specifically support women’s healthLactobacillus species are ideal. If you need more information, check out our guide to choosing the best probiotic.

Vitamin A & D

Supplementing with vitamins A and D can help regulate insulin, balance blood sugar levels, and support your body’s natural hormone cycles. One of vitamin A’s most important jobs is to help the thyroid function properly.[17]

Wow! There could be a link between vitamin D deficiencies and fertility.

Vitamin D helps balance blood sugar levels in the body and regulates adrenaline and serotonin. A study exploring the impact of vitamin D on a woman’s reproductive system showed that 93% of participants who experienced infertility were vitamin D3 deficient.[18]

Chaste Tree Berry

Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) is known to help reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. A review of several clinical studies done on chaste berry discovered that along with managing PMS side effects, it can reduce heavy periods, help with hormone-induced acne, and help regulate menstrual cycles.[19]

Exercise

Exercise does more than just help us stay fit — it can have a big impact on hormonal health, too.

Exercise can help promote normal insulin levels by helping balance insulin sensitivity.[20] High levels of insulin can cause inflammation throughout the body, weight gain, heart disease, and other lifestyle-related diseases.

Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week! You’ll feel the difference.

You don’t need to do intense aerobic exercise to enjoy the benefits of physical activity — even walking regularly may balance hormone levels to improve your strength and quality of life.[21]

Diet

Eating a nutrient-dense, plant-based, balanced diet can do wonders for your physical and mental health, including hormonal health. Try to enjoy a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Refrain from consuming too many refined carbohydrates and processed foods, which can cause hormonal imbalance. Though it isn’t always easy in our busy world, you’ll find your investment in your health will be worth the extra time it may take to prepare healthy foods.

Yoga

Staying in Savasana (“corpse pose”) all day sounds relaxing, but you’ll actually discover many health benefits by practicing yoga!

Going through menopause? Yoga can decrease hot flashes by 66 percent.[22] No matter what age and stage of life you’re in, yoga can have a positive effect on your endocrine system and help balance your hormones when they’re off-kilter.

Research shows that regular yoga sessions can significantly decrease premenstrual symptoms such as moodiness and tender breasts.[23]

Meditation

Today’s stress triggers — such as an impending deadline or loud construction across the street — can raise adrenaline and cortisol levels. Meditation can lower stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, while also promoting normal blood pressure and heart rate.[24]

As a bonus, meditation also helps produce dopamine — a “feel good” hormone that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centres.[25] Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on meditation.

Traditional Treatments

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a traditional option, particularly for menopausal women but studies linked it to higher rates of cancer and heart disease. However, we recommend more natural methods. After all, menopause is a normal, unavoidable part of life for women.

Many natural health stores sell a natural progesterone cream, which can reduce symptoms of menopause. Many of these are made from Mexican wild yam root. The hormone is bioidentical to the one your body produces, and research indicates it is generally safe.

Points to Remember

Hormones are chemical messengers created by endocrine glands that control major bodily functions. When in balance, our hormones help us feel our best. But even a small hormonal imbalance can upset this delicate system and cause our bodies to experience unwanted symptoms.

There are many things that may cause hormonal imbalance in women. The good news is there are things you can do to help restore balance to your hormones. Dietary supplements, hormone balancing herbs, yoga, meditation, a healthy diet, and exercise can all help maintain hormonal balance — and good health — helping you live your best life in a healthy body.

Have you experienced a hormonal imbalance? What did you do about it? What helped?

Article Sources
  1. Hormones. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 5 Nov 2018. Accessed 5 Mar 2019.
  2. Menopause Basics. Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. 22 May 2018. Accessed 4 Mar 2019.
  3. Contraception: Hormonal Contraceptives. Informed Health Online. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. 29 Oct 2008. Accessed 5 Mar 2019.
  4. Ndefo UA, et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome: a review of treatment options with a focus on pharmacological approach. P T. 2013 Jun; 38(6):336-338,348,355.
  5. Kumar P, Magon N. Hormones in pregnancy Niger Med J. 2012 Oct-Dec; 53(4):179-183.
  6. Gietka-Czerne M. The thyroid gland in postmenopausal women: physiology and diseases. Prz Menopauzalny. 2017 Jun; 16(2):33-37.
  7. McGrice M, Porter J. The effect of low carbohydrate diets on fertility hormones and outcomes in overweight and obese women: a systematic review. Nutrients. 2017 Mar;9(3):204.
  8. Duong M, et al. High cortisol levels are associated with low quality food choice in type 2 diabetes. Endocrine. 2012 Feb; 41(1):76-81.
  9. Malekinejad H, Rezabakhsh A. Hormones in dairy foods and their impact on public health – a narrative review article. Iran J Public Health. 2015 Jun; 44(6):742–758.
  10. Kim TW, et al. The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. Int J Endocrinol. 2015; 2015: 591729.
  11. Ranabir S, Reetu K. Stress and hormones. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan-Mar; 15(1): 18–22.
  12. Xu Z, et al. Biological effects of xenoestrogens and the functional mechanisms via genomic and nongenomic pathways. Environ Rev, 2017, 25(3):306-322.
  13. Liao L, et al. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018; 13:57.
  14. Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar; 19(1):8-12.
  15. Slebodzi?ski A. Ovarian iodide uptake and triiodothyronine generation in follicular fluid. The enigma of the thyroid ovary interaction. Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2005 Jul;29(1):97-103.
  16. Kim J, Park YJ. Probiotics in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal vaginal infections: review article. J Menopausal Med. 2017 Dec; 23(3):139-145.
  17. Broussad J, et al. Vitamin A, endocrine tissues and hormones: interplay and interactions. Endocr Connect. 2017 Oct; 6(7):R121-R130.
  18. Pal L, et al. Vitamin D insufficiency in reproductive years may be contributory to ovulatory infertility and PCOS. Fertil Steril. 2008.Volume 90,S14.
  19. van Die MD, et al. Vitex agnus-castus extracts for female reproductive disorders: a systematic review of clinical trials. Planta Med. 2013 May;79(7):562-575.
  20. Krishnan S, et al. Association between circulating endogenous androgens and insulin sensitivity changes with exercise training in midlife women. Menopause. 2014 Sep;21(9):967-974.
  21. Yamada M, et al. Mail-based intervention for sarcopenia prevention increased anabolic hormone and skeletal muscle mass in community-dwelling Japanese older adults: the INE (intervention by nutrition and exercise) study. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015 Aug 1;16(8):654-660.
  22. Avis NE, et al. A pilot study of integral yoga for menopausal hot flashes. Menopause.2014 Aug; 21(8):846-854.
  23. Tsai SY, et al. Effect of yoga exercise on premenstrual symptoms among female employees in Taiwan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jul; 13(7):721.
  24. Pascoe MC, et al. Mindfulness mediates the physiological markers of stress: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Dec;95:156-178.
  25. Kjaer TW, et al. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002 Apr;13(2):255-259.

Originally published at Global Healing Center & reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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4 Ways To Know If Your Body Is Overwhelmed By Toxins

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4 Ways To Know If Your Body Is Overwhelmed By Toxins
Photo Credit: Pexels

Mary West, Guest Writer

We live in a toxic environment, being exposed to an estimated 2.5 billion pounds of chemicals each year. Once these toxins accumulate in the body, they may manifest in an array of symptoms.

It is impossible to escape this continuous bombardment of harmful chemicals; we come into contact with substances that can negatively impact our system several times a day. We breathe toxic chemicals in the air, ingest them in our food and absorb them through our skin.

Synthetic ingredients are found in fragrances and lotions, and sodium laurel sulphates are present in some toothpastes, soaps and shampoos. And the chemical assaults in the home don’t end there.

Our homes are laden with the toxins found in household cleaning products, “air fresheners” and pesticides, and some clothing, furniture upholstery and carpeting are even treated with toxic, hormone disrupting flame-retardants.

And our food? Well, it’s no secret that our food is loaded with chemical additives such as MSG, dyes and sucralose, while food containers can contain BPA. OUCH!

Think you can cleanse with just a healthy dose of H2O? Think again. Water systems are contaminated with lead and have been treated with fluoride, chlorine and many other chemicals.

4 Signs of Toxicity
1.  Constipation

Bowel evacuation is the body’s natural way of eliminating waste. If you do not have a good-sized bowel movement every day, toxins are being reabsorbed into the blood stream and affecting your health.

2. Bad breath

This problem can indicate that your colon and liver are not eliminating toxins well.

3. Extra sensitivity to smells

If you have strong reactions to smoke, perfumes and other smells, you may be experiencing toxic overload.

4. Overweight

Difficulty in shedding extra pounds can be due to eating the wrong foods, but toxicity can also play a role. Some toxins like dioxins and pesticides are stored in the fat cells. When the body is storing a large quantity of these harmful chemicals, it poses a greater challenge to weight control.

Symptoms of Toxicity

The maladies that can ensue from chronic toxicity are too numerous to mention, but here are a few. Toxic overload can cause headaches, joint pain and rashes along with difficulty concentrating, food cravings and acne. Diseases related to toxicity include cancer, depression and attention deficit disorder in addition to autoimmune conditions, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.

11 Easy Ways to Detoxify
  1. Drink green tea, which is a natural purifier.
  2. Drink plenty of filtered water to flush toxins out of your system.
  3. Eat foods high in fibre, which include fruit, vegetables and grains as well as nuts and seeds. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are especially helpful. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day is beneficial as well. Incorporate garlic, parsley and cilantro into your diet, as they are natural detoxifiers.
  4. Avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta. Get in the habit of reading food labels to avoid those that are high in additives.
  5. Exercise regularly to eliminate toxins through perspiration.
  6. Dry-brush your skin with a natural bristle brush or loofa sponge. Use brushing strokes that more toward the heart rather than away from it. If you need some dry brushing tip, check out this article.
  7. Practice deep-breathing techniques.
  8. Reduce alcohol intake and avoid taking unnecessary drugs.
  9. A 24-hour fruit fast is very beneficial for internal cleansing and eliminating toxins. In this type of fast you only eat only fresh raw fruits, instead of those that are canned or cooked.
  10. Fit for Life  authors recommends a daily fruit fast by eating nothing but fruit and fresh fruit juices every morning until noon. It is a means of everyday cleansing.
  11. The use of a castor oil pack is a time-honoured method of detoxification.
Article Sources
Recommended Articles by Mary West

Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance overall wellness. Ms. West is the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies, and  the creator of alternativemedicinetruth.com, a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects.

About the Author

This article was republished with permission from Live in the Now, one of the fastest growing natural health newsletters. Visit LiveInTheNow.com to browse their complete library of articles, or join the nearly 60,000 readers subscribed to their Newsletter

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8 Foods That Boost Your Immune System

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8 Foods That Boost Your Immune System
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

If you’re looking for an immune system boost, the right vitamins and minerals can help. Although diet gets little attention in conventional media when it comes to supporting the immune system, it is one of the most powerful methods for keeping colds and other illnesses at bay. Nutrition isn’t the only means of immune system support but it is one of the oldest and most reliable natural approaches.

The 8 Best Foods for Your Immune System

The majority of your immune cells reside in your intestines, so doesn’t it make sense to consume healthy foods for keeping your immune system top notch? Here are 8 foods you can eat right now to boost your immune system.

1. Bell Peppers

Reach for all the bell peppers you want because they can actually have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. In addition, bell peppers are a great source of beta-carotene, which not only helps maintain healthy skin and eyes but studies suggest they could also provide an immune system boost. [1] [2]

2. Citrus

Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C. Believed to increase the production of white blood cells, C is essential for fighting off infections. Since your body doesn’t produce or store this vitamin, load up on citrus to help keep your immune system up and running. Supplementation with the vitamin may be helpful, but it’s always best to receive the vitamin from its natural source.

3. Ginger

Ginger is thought to work much like vitamin C in that it can even stop a cold before it starts. That said, it’s also a great food to reach for after you’re sick. Ginger can have a little heat due to the gingerol, a cousin of sorts to capsaicin—the stuff that makes chilli peppers hot. It’s the “kick” of the gingerol that can even act as a strong soothing agent. [3]

4. Turmeric

You can find this spice in many curries; it’s bright yellow in color, and a little bitter in taste, but it can definitely be pretty amazing for your health. While it’s already been used for its soothing capabilities for arthritis (among other things), a recent study suggests high concentrations of curcumin—what gives turmeric its color—could also reduce fever. [4] [5]

5. Spinach

With vitamin C, beta-carotene, and plenty of antioxidants, spinach is a perfect vegetable for your immune system. If you want to get the most out of it though, cook it as little as possible or even keep it raw. But don’t stop at spinach; a study suggests that other leafy green vegetables are good choices as well. [6]

6. Broccoli

Like spinach, broccoli is another great vegetable choice packed with antioxidants and vitamins. With vitamins A, C, and E, broccoli could easily be one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. Just like with spinach, cook it as little as possible to retain its nutrients.

7. Yogurt

If you like yogurt, make sure you’re getting the full health benefit by eating the kind with live cultures. Recent research suggests these cultures may strengthen your immune system. [7] Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, which can also help boost the immune system. [8]

8. Almonds

When your immune system needs a boost, vitamin E sometimes loses the spotlight to vitamin C, but both are crucial for a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means fat is needed in order for it to be absorbed properly. You can get almost all of your daily allowance of this vitamin by reaching for a half-cup of almonds. How easy is that?

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References
  1. Hughes, D. A. Effects of carotenoids on human immune function. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 58 (3).
  2. Chew, B. P. & Park, J. S. Carotenoid Action on the Immune Response. The Journal of Nutrition. 134 (1).
  3. Grzanna, R. et al. Ginger—An Herbal Medicinal Product with Broad Anti-Inflammatory Actions. Journal of Medicinal Food. 8 (2).
  4. Jagetia G. C, & Aggarwal B. B. “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin.Journal of Clinical Immunology. 27 (1).
  5. Sultana, G. N. et al. Analgesic principle from Curcuma amada. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 163.
  6. Li, Y. et al. Exogenous Stimuli Maintain Intraepithelial Lymphocytes via Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation. Cell. 147 (3).
  7. Meydani, S. N. & Ha W. Immunologic effects of yogurt. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 71 (4).
  8. Aranow, C. Vitamin D and the Immune System. Vitamin D and the Immune System.
Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

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Here’s What You Should Know About Pumpkins

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Here’s What You Should Know About Pumpkins
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. MercolaGuest Writer

From the time you were a small child, you may have been conditioned to expect new and exciting things as autumn arrives. Every fall, children go back to school, see their friends and begin to anticipate the holiday season. One of the fruits closely associated with fall is pumpkin.

From pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes or jack-o-lanterns it’s likely you associate fall with some type of pumpkin. Kathryn Lively, professor of sociology at Dartmouth College, spoke with a reporter from The Huffington Post about the expectations children have and how this conditions a response pattern that often travels into adulthood.1

Fall is a structural landmark, in the way significant dates help create structure in the perception of the passage of time.2 For example, just as January 1 is a landmark associated with developing personal growth and development goals, fall may be a time when your anticipation begins to grow, and you’re motivated to learn new skills or change behaviours.

Licensed psychologist and professor at Chapman University Amy Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., says, “We all crave the comfort and security that comes with traditions and predictability.”3 Many of us have traditions and events associated with fall weather, while others may dread the leaves changing or signs that winter is coming.

What Color Are Your Pumpkins?

Many have an interest in the science behind your anticipation of fall weather, fall foods and the hope of curling up with a blanket and a good movie. But it may still be difficult to explain the vast number of people who buy pumpkins each fall. In the U.S., Illinois is the No. 1 producer of this round orange squash, growing twice as many each year than in the other five top producing states.4

While you might think of it as a vegetable, the pumpkin is a fruit that’s known as much for its place in the kitchen as on your front porch. Mary Liz Wright, a University of Illinois Extension specialist, does not advise using your typical jack-o-lantern pumpkin in your fall recipes.5

This is because there are two distinct species of pumpkin. The first has been bred for size, structure and color to enhance your fall decor. The second is bred for consistency, flavour and texture of the meat. Pumpkins that are bred for flavour are tan or buckskin color on the outside with bright orange flesh on the inside.

They’re also more reminiscent of butternut squash in shape, rather than the more rounded outline of decorative pumpkins. Nathan Johanning, also a University of Illinois Extension specialist, spoke about the 2020 fall crop and the agritourism trade pumpkins support, sharing that one farm in Illinois had 5,000 tourists pass through in one weekend.

If you’re planning on saving the flesh from your pumpkins, Wright advises you cook and freeze it, since it is not advisable to can pumpkin or even pressure can it. The center of the dense flesh may not get hot enough to prevent botulism growth, which you can avoid by cooking it first and then freezing it.

Nutritious and Delicious Pumpkins

There are many health benefits to eating pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, as you’ll see in this short video. Although you can buy them year-round at the store, consider adding pumpkins to your garden since nearly every part of the plant can be eaten. You’ll be assured of a toxin-free fruit from which you can harvest the seeds as well as carve and cook your pumpkins in the fall.

Dried pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are high in healthy fats and rich in omega-3 fats, zinc, calcium, iron and an array of phytochemicals.6 After being dried and shelled, the seeds have just 180 calories in one-fourth cup and are also packed with manganese, phosphorus, copper and magnesium.7

People have used pumpkin seed extract and oil in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that may respond to the nutrients found in pumpkin seeds. Because most of the studies have involved extracts or oils from pumpkin seeds, it’s not possible to extrapolate the information to eating the pumpkin seeds themselves.8

The meat of the pumpkin contains only 49 calories in 1 cup of cooked mashed flesh. It is rich in riboflavin and vitamins A, C and E.9 The rich orange color indicates the high level of beta-carotenes and antioxidants that your body uses to neutralize free radicals.

The high levels of vitamin A and C have a positive impact on your immune system, and it is a major source of lutein and zeaxanthin linked to healthy eyesight.10 The high levels of potassium, vitamin C and fibre are all associated with cardiovascular benefits.

For instance, one literature analysis found an inverse association between potassium and the risk of stroke.11 Another study demonstrated people with higher levels of potassium intake had lower risk of high blood pressure.12 The levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C all contribute to healthy skin, collagen production13 and protection against the damage of ultraviolet rays.14

Pumpkin Seeds May Reduce Your Risk of Kidney Stones

In addition to the health benefits listed above, pumpkin seeds have a special superpower: They protect your kidneys by reducing the risk of calcium-oxalate crystal formation, better known as kidney stones. There are four types of kidney stones that can form, including calcium, struvite, uric acid and cystine stones.15 Of these, calcium oxalate is the most common.

Nearly 80% of calcium stones that form are calcium oxalate. By manipulating urine chemistry through dietary intake, you can help prevent calcium stone formation. The highest urine chemistry risk factors for calcium oxalate crystals are hypercalciuria and hyperoxaluria.16

Dietary risk factors that increase your potential for calcium oxalate stones include chronic dehydration and a diet that is rich in protein, oxalates, sodium and sugar.17 People with certain digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, can also have a higher risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate can be found in these foods:18,19

BeansBeetsBeer
ChocolateCoffeeCranberries
PeanutsRhubarbSoda
Sweet potatoesTea (black)Dark green vegetables, such as spinach

One study evaluated the ability of pumpkin seed supplementation to change the chemistry of the participants’ urine and reduce the risk of calcium oxalate crystal formation.20 Researchers engaged 20 boys from the Ubol Province in Thailand where there is a high incidence of kidney stones.21

During the experiment the boy’s urine was measured before any intervention as a control period. During two periods of the intervention they received an oxalate supplement and a pumpkin seed or orthophosphate supplement. The participants’ urine chemistry was tested before and after each intervention.

The results of the study showed that while the boys were receiving the pumpkin seed supplement, the urine chemistry had the lowest potential risk for calcium oxalate crystal formation. The researchers found the high levels of phosphorus in the pumpkin seed may be a “potential agent in lowering the risk of bladder-stone disease.”22

Pumpkin Spice Blend Elicits an Emotional Response

The scents associated with pumpkin pie are not strictly from pumpkin but, rather, a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, which are the traditional spices used in the pie. This combination of scents can trigger a strong emotional response in your brain, which causes you to recall experiences associated with the smell.23

The emotional response that doors generate have an impact on your decision to like or dislike something. Your sense of smell and memory are closely linked since scents travel from the limbic system through the amygdala and hippocampus, which are regions of the brain related to emotion and memory.24

The scent of pumpkin spices is popular during the fall months, especially in homemade products and the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Catherine Franssen, Ph.D., director of psychology at Longwood University, is a fan of the flavour and understands why this particular combination of spices elicits an emotional response. She commented to CNN:25

“Since these are popular spice combinations, it’s very likely we would have encountered some or all of them combined in a favourite baked good in a comforting situation, like a family gathering, early in life. It’s not just the pumpkin spice combo but that we’ve already wired a subset of those spices as ‘good’ very early in life.”

Starbucks seemed to stumble onto their popular Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003 when it was first released.26 Each fall the Pumpkin Spice Latte drink makes a return to stores, along with other “pumpkin-flavoured” drinks — which may or may not actually have pumpkin in them — and baked goods. This year it’s the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.27

In a press release, Peter Dukes, product manager who led the development of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, commented, “Nobody knew back then what it would grow to be. It’s taken on a life of its own.”28

However, as enticing as the scent may be, the product is loaded with sugar and packs a whopping 52 grams of carbohydrates into a 16-ounce mug.29 Instead, consider making the healthy and tasty alternative at home demonstrated in the video below.

Neuroscience, Sugar Addiction and Marketing

The emotional response generated by scent is something marketers take advantage of. Pleasant scents affect your mood, which is a way of engaging your hand-to-wallet response.

In experiments comparing odourless placebo sprays against fragrances, researchers found while you will have a response to the placebo when you anticipate the fragrance, the actual scent has a dramatic effect on improving your mood.30

Although your preference is highly personalized, a general assumption is made that most people will find pumpkin spice in the fall and cinnamon during Christmas associated with good memories. As the scent of pumpkin spice triggers a happy memory, it can also trigger a desire to buy a cup. Franssen comments on the neuroscience involved in scent and advertising:31

“When an door or flavour — and 80% of flavour is actually smell — is combined with sucrose or sugar consumption in a hungry person, the person learns at a subconscious, physiological level to associate that flavour with all the wonderful parts of food digestion.

[For that reason] the pumpkin spice latte is actually, scientifically, kind of addictive. Not quite the same neural mechanisms as drugs of abuse, but certainly the more you consume, the more you reinforce the behavior and want to consume more.”

The popular trend of promoting all things pumpkin in the fall even generated a hoax in 2014 when a Facebook meme reported Charmin toilet tissue would soon be released in a new pumpkin spice scent. Not soon after Charmin Company tweeted: “While we love it, we can promise you this. You will not be seeing #PumpkinSpice Charmin anytime soon. #StopTheMadness”32

References
  1. Huffington Post, October 11th, 2016
  2. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013;104(2)
  3. Bustle, September 14, 2020
  4. USDA: Pumpkins October 26, 2020
  5. The Southern Illinoisan November 8, 2020
  6. Nutrition Data, Seeds, Pumpkin and Squash Seed Kernels
  7. World’s Healthiest Foods, Pumpkin Seeds
  8. World’s Healthiest Foods, Pumpkin Seeds
  9. Nutrition Data, Pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
  10. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi, 2011;45(1):64
  11. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2016;5(10)
  12. International Journal of Cardiology, 2017;230:127
  13. Nutrients, 2017;9(8)
  14. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012;96(5)
  15. Mayo Clinic, Kidney Stones
  16. CMAJ, 2006;174(10)
  17. National Kidney Foundation, Calcium Oxalate Stones, Who is at risk
  18. Michigan Medicine, Foods High in Oxalate
  19. National Kidney Foundation, Six Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones
  20. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1987;45(1)
  21. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1967;20(12)
  22. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1987;45(1)
  23. Social Issues Research Centre, The Smell Report
  24. The Harvard Gazette, February 27, 2020
  25. CNN, September 14, 2017 Para 6
  26. AdWeek, Give Me My Pumpkin Spice Latte
  27. Starbucks
  28. Starbucks Newsroom, September 5, 2017
  29. Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice Latte
  30. Social Issues Research Centre, The Smell Report
  31.  CNN, September 14, 2017 Section: Actually Scientifically Kind of Addictive
  32. Twitter

Originally published at mercola.com and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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The Powerful Effect Of Heart-Centered Healing On The Human Body – 7 Simple Actions You Can Take

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The Powerful Effect Of Heart-Centered Healing On The Human Body – 7 Simple Actions You Can Take
Photo Credit: Pexels

Michael Forrester, Guest Writer

Every cause of disease first begins with an imbalance in the body’s energy systems, specifically, the interaction between how the heart communicates with the brain and the body. Fix that and there is no disease, ever. The heart can produce an electrical field 100 times greater than the brain and a magnetic field 5000 times greater. Which one are you using to heal?

Emotions are vibrations which influence consistently our reality. We not only think and work our way through a day, meeting, assignment, but also feel and believe our way through it. The outcome depends on both.

Simply put, the number one cause of health is your energetic and emotional state. How you connect emotionally to your overall wellness and wellbeing is more important than any supplement, food, exercise or health treatment. There is only one cause of disease and that has to do with the energy and frequency imbalances that exist within your body. Rectify that, and disease cannot exist… it would be impossible.

All the emotions are varieties of two: fear and love: Fear/stress is contagious and causes contraction: inhibits creativity, brain activity, inhibits the immune system, selective perception and over extensive periods of time leads to breakdown. Love (positive beliefs and emotions) has high impact and causes expansion: creativity, physical and mental endurance, more productivity in shorter time because we take decisions quicker because we are receptive and highly perceptive. This question of Math, HeartMath, as per the contribution in this field of the HeartMath Institute: when one has accurate information, takes better decisions.

The quality of the field one creates with his heart influences his experience and reality.

The research behind the evolution of HeartMath came from the idea that the body’s emotional response to events do not always occur from “top-down” processing (i.e., the brain sends signals to the heart and other organs, and the body responds accordingly). Rather, it has now proven that often times our emotional state triggers our heart to send out its own signals to the brain and other organs, and the body then responds accordingly. For instance, while two-way communication between the cognitive and emotional systems is hard-wired into the brain, the actual number of neural connections going from the emotional centres to the cognitive centres is greater than the number going the other way. Have you ever: Made a “rash” decision? Done something dangerous on impulse? Taken a risk because you believed in it? This research helps explain the influence emotions have on our ability to think and act.

In fact, researchers at HeartMath have determined that the physiology and nerve centres of the heart are so complex and active, that they constitute a “brain” all on their own, termed a “mini-brain.” We now know that the heart contains cells that produce and release norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters once thought to be produced only by the brain and ganglia outside the heart. Even more remarkable is the discovery that the heart produces oxytocin – the “love hormone – in concentrations that are as high as those in the brain.

7 Simple actions to create positive feelings:
  1. Think about the colleagues who helped you today. Thank them in your heart. Think about your current assignments. Know that they will work out well and work from this space
  2. What is it that you would like to have professionally? A new project? With whom? Think about it in detail, be specific and imagine you are already working on it
  3. Entertain the feeling of celebration that arises in your heart. From this space take the appropriate actions to make it happen
  4. Find ways to help your colleagues, or make them feel that you care. Do one (in)visible act of kindness per day or more if you want to
  5. Before starting your work day give thanks and envision it the way you want it to be
  6. When finishing your work day give thanks and clear it of negative emotions (which come out of fear that we know now is illusion). Do not take them at home or preserve for the next day
  7. Smile

The time of crisis is literally here: there is the fast pace of our world, the assault of too much to do with too little time and resources. Being in the present moment is just a concept for most of us and has little translation to daily life practice. Fear is wide spread and is polluting us on a very cellular level: hypertension, autoimmune diseases, cancer, infertility, chronic back problems, anxiety, and depression; the list could continue forever. The difference is how we interpret crisis because we can be at complete peace in the midst of chaos.

Can we live the life we want? Can we be authentic in our speech? Can we identify and release our underlying limiting beliefs so that we begin a new commitment towards genuine compassion, abundance, love and connection. Your commitment will show in your body and intentions.

Some Further Reading, If You’re Curious…
Article Sources

This article originally appeared on preventdisease.com, reproduced with permission.

Recommended Articles by Michael Forrester
About the Author

Michael Forrester is a spiritual counsellor and is a practising motivational speaker for corporations in Japan, Canada and the United States.

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