Posts tagged ‘inflammation’

May 30, 2012

Is An Imbalance Of Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fats Cause For Concern?

YES!  If unchecked, the imbalance between the two omega fats can wreak havoc on our health and pave the way for life-destroying illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other inflammatory diseases.

Why is it so important to strike a balance between the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fats in our body? Studies showed that an out-of-balance diet that’s high in omega-6 fatty acids disrupts the balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory agents in the body, promoting chronic inflammation and elevating the risk of chronic health problem such as asthma, allergies, diabetes and arthritis.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids both utilize the same enzymes and transport systems in your body. When there are more omega-6 fats, greater amounts of inflammatory compounds will be created, and less enzymes will be available for omega-3 fats to create chemicals that are anti-inflammatory. What’s even more shocking is that high levels of omega-6 fatty acids can actually replace and reduce omega-3 fats.

In other words, omega-3 and omega-6 fats compete with one another in our body, and the presence of one greatly affects the behavior of the other. Although omega-6 fatty acids are essential for good health, researchers believe that when they cross a certain level,  they start to edge out omega-3 fats and diminish their benefits.

What does this mean to you? If your diet is low in omega-3 fats to begin with, and most of your foods are predominantly prepared with soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn or cottonseed oil, then you’re essentially fueling an inflammatory factory even though you may be eating so-called ‘healthy’ foods!

What are Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fats?

Ask just about anyone what Omega 3’s are and they will tell you “fish oil.” But omega-3 fats aren’t only found in fish, and they don’t consist of just one type of fatty acid. Omega-3 is actually a term referring to a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In this family, you will find a number of members but the most nutritionally notable ones are: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Omega 3 Fatty acids are known to support and protect:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Joint health
  • Improve circulation
  • Fat loss
  • Memory and learning
  • Cognitive decline
  • Optimal brain function
  • Age related eye damage
  • Positive mood /behavior
  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Developing fetuses & infants

Likewise, omega-6 fatty acids also consist of a group of polyunsaturated fats. The ones of concern are: linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA).

The Omega-6 Fat Family

Linoleic acid (LA)–  LA is the parent in the omega-6 family. It is considered an essential fatty acid for the body which must be obtained through one’s diet. However, it’s more likely that you’ve an oversupply rather than a lack of linoleic acid due to the high levels of this fatty acid in vegetable oils.

Arachidonic acid (AA)– Arachidonic acid comes mainly from animal sources such as meat, egg and dairy products. It can also be derived from the linoleic acids in vegetable oils. In the body, this long-chain omega-6 fatty acid is found in abundance in the muscles and brain. It has a close structure to DHA so it will “plug in” to receptors and keep the DHA out.  As arachidonic acid is more readily converted to inflammatory compounds, excess levels of AA has been associated with increased inflammation & reduced anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

More Omega 6= more pro-inflammatory compounds, More Omega 3= more ANTI-inflammatory compounds
The trick is to achieve a balance of the two for optimal inflammatory response.

Ideally, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should fall between 1:1 and 3:1, but currently, the ratio in a typical Western diet is at least 20:1. If you are currently at a 20:1 ratio of omega 6 to 3, please make a serious effort to increase your Omega 3 intake.

The imbalance of these “good” fats has occurred concurrent with technological advances that have made it possible to extract soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower oil inexpensively.  Most food manufacturers’ choice of fat is soybean oil as it is plentiful and inexpensive. It can be found in most prepackaged foods, margarine, baked goods, condiments and fast foods, and composes a substantial percentage of the calories consumed in this country. Herein lies the factor that causes the imbalance.

Scientists, researchers, and health professionals are concerned with this trend. Dr. Michael A. Schmidt, author of Brain-Building Nutrition, explains that the brain is composed of more than 60 percent fat. A balanced consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 fats is critical for proper brain function. These fats aid the nerve cells located in the brain in making connections (synapses) with other nerve cells that send information throughout the body to control important functions. Fatty acids are required in the formation of membranes that cover the nerves. He stresses, “A balance of essential fatty acids is critical. We don’t want to go overboard on any particular fatty acid.”

Through reviewing research of past studies, Schmidt concludes that 50 conditions of the brain show links to inadequate levels of fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3 fats have been associated with depression, aggression, hyperactivity, attention deficit, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and many other health issues. Studies are showing that Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the omega-3 superstar for the brain, may have positive results in treating patients with these conditions.

BUY THE RIGHT FISH OIL!  If the thought of smelly fish or fishy burps makes you squirm, try Nordic Naturals Brand!  “Omega-3” will help you balance your Omega 3 to 6 ratios in no time, WITH NO NASTY AFTER  TASTE!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

April 26, 2012

Benefits of Saffron

Saffron is basically a flowering plant which is widely used as a culinary spice. It is also used in herbal supplements due to its varied health benefits. Right from treating depression, asthma, atherosclerosis and stressful menstrual cycles, saffron’s benefits extend to even treating cancer and helping to lower bad cholesterol levels.

Saffron is in fact, an expensive spice made from the saffron crocus flower. Research indicates that a few compounds in saffron do promote anti-cancer activity. It also helps in stimulating the secretion of stomach acids which supposedly assists in the contraction of muscles, for instance, as in the uterus.

Health benefits and uses of saffron- Reddish golden in color, saffron is used basically as a seasoning agent in cooking and also as a coloring agent. In fact, saffron is one of nature’s highly powerful herbs. From time immemorial, saffron is known to have helped relieve stomach aches and kidney stones. It also improves circulation of blood.

A vital herb with multiple benefits, it is believed that in ancient days, grand moms used to mix a few sprigs of saffron in hot milk as a night cap for their grand children, to induce sound sleep and good health. It’s been scientifically proven that saffron contains carotenoids which play a vital role in inhibiting skin tumors, improving vision and relieving aches and pains of arthritic conditions. It’s been proven after a recent trial that this aromatic golden herb may prove instrumental in preventing loss of vision in the elderly. This is a proven fact in scientific circles that saffron helps to regain vision in the instances of cataract.

Saffron contains a compound by the name “crocin” which is helpful in promoting learning, memory retention and recall capacity to a great extent. Several studies have shown encouraging results that saffron might be great in the treatment and management of age related mental impairment.

Saffron contains certain active constituents which are known to produce positive effects in patients suffering from neuro-degenerative disorders. In case of soreness or inflammation of the mouth and tongue, try massaging gums with saffron. Discomfort is relieved almost immediately.

Medical studies over the years have proven beyond doubt that this golden herb enhances oxygen diffusivity in plasma and other liquids. It also improves pulmonary oxygenation. High levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides can be lowered by including saffron as a dietary intake, or as an herbal supplement.

For those suffering from conditions of acute dryness of skin, application of saffron cream typically on affected areas will help relieve the symptoms. In combination with other herbs, saffron is also reputed to be a good remedy for insomnia, coughing, indigestion and even baldness.
How to find out genuineness of saffron ?

How to find out genuineness of saffron ?

While buying saffron, to ascertain its genuineness, and to find out whether it is fake or adulterated, immerse a tiny piece of it in warm water or milk. If the milk or water colors immediately, then it is adulterated. Genuine saffron takes about ten to fifteen minutes of soaking in warm water or milk before it can turn a deep red color or emanate a wonderful aroma.

As mentioned previously, this highly valued spice helps to protect your eyes from being damaged by harmful UV rays. It is known to slow down considerably the progression of eye diseases like macular degeneration, which can in turn cause blindness.

Saffron has unique compounds like crocin and safranel which belong to a family of carotenoids. This includes beta carotene and this is which gives saffron it’s color. Not only do these compounds play a major role in preserving eye sight, they possess anti cancer properties too. Besides, they help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies reveal encouraging reports regarding macular degeneration patients, who were fed on a diet containing saffron, and they began showing signs of cell recovery and improved vision. Saffron affects the genes, regulating the fatty acid control of the cell membranes, which in turn makes vision cells tougher and resistant.

The compounds of crocin and safranel have anti tumor effects as well. Saffron greatly boosts immunity by aiding in the maturation of white blood cells, as well as accelerating the levels of enzymes that help the body to track down toxins.

For those suffering from acute premenstrual syndrome, saffron is like an answer to fervent prayers. It eases irritability, depression, and mood swings, symptoms typical to this syndrome.

Apart from numerous health benefits, saffron when added to a dish turns it into a truly exotic one, with appetite enhancing aromas wafting out of it. Even as it boosts the appetite, it improves digestion too. It’s a well known fact that this spicy aromatic herb is used in the treatment of kidney, bladder and liver disorders and also assists in improving circulation to the digestive system. While coating the membranes of the stomach and colon, saffron gently aids in soothing symptoms of gastro intestinal acidity and colic. For those afflicted with gastro intestinal disorders, acidity and related problems, saffron is like the boon from high heavens.

Over ninety disorders can be treated using this wonderful golden spice. Saffron is a great blood purifier and displays anti-inflammatory properties too. For those afflicted with severe inflammatory arthritis, intake of saffron provides relief from joint pains.

Saffron is just great for athletes as it eases fatigue and muscle inflammation by aiding tissues to get rid of lactic acid, which gets stored in joints after strenuous exercise regimen. It has mild sedative properties and can be safely used to provide ample rest during influenza and fever, and also to cure insomnia. Saffron helps in stepping up of oxygen content in blood, promoting over all health and well being in a person. This golden spice is a highly plausible remedy for a variety of illnesses, ranging from fatigue, sore gums, to heart disease and cancer. Research studies on saffron continue to reveal yet more eye opening results to benefit the human race.

Saffron does more than just add flavor and color to food. It can proudly boast of a three thousand year history of medicinal uses. This aromatic spice can even speed up the healing of burns and cuts. It is the anti inflammatory properties of saffron that is responsible for speeding up the healing process.

This amazing spice is always full of delightful surprises and can, over the years greatly benefit man kind in an amazingly astounding manner.

Reposted from NaturalHealthCure.com

Be sure to stop into Baum’s to pick up your bottle today!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

March 29, 2012

Mary’s Ion Cleanse

This is Mary getting an Ion Cleanse and telling us how it has changed her life. She is a long time Baum’s Natural Foods customer.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

March 1, 2012

Could an Unattended Fire Be Spreading Throughout Your Body Causing Disease?

We’ve all heard of inflammation, but few of us really know what it is and what causes it. Inflammation is a natural process of the body, a protective mechanism the body uses against trauma. Think of when you take a bad fall, you get bruised and pain arises. The immune system sends out an army of chemical substances to go to the injured area. That is why that area gets red and inflamed for a few days. Inflammation becomes problematic when it starts becoming chronic.

  Just as the plants in your garden need a good mixture of sun and rain to thrive, we all need a measure of inflammation to survive. Acute inflammation is the short-term immune response our bodies mount in cases of trauma, infection, and allergy. Whether you have broken a bone, burned yourself on a hot stove, or been exposed to a foreign microorganism, the body is programmed to carry out a similar response. During this response, it will identify the infectious or dangerous substance, determine which cells are non-threatening and which ones are. Assess the level of the threat, mount a response, and repair any resulting damage. In a perfect world, this response occurs just as it should, releasing pro-inflammatory compounds when needed and then turning them off with anti-inflammatory compounds when the threat has been stamped out.

Chronic inflammation arises when this response is not completely turned off or extinguished. It acts like a slow-burning fire, continuing to stimulate pro-inflammatory immune cells when they may not be needed. What happens when these excess immune cells are circulating in our systems? Chronic inflammation can slowly spread and lead to serious metabolic breakdown, with vast implications for your long-term health. You may have heard that disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and eczema stem from inflammation. But chronic inflammation has now been connected to a host of modern diseases, from obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure, to Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, cancer, and a host of others; all being chronic and degenerative illnesses. Even biological aging, is rooted in chronic inflammation!

Are you inflamed?
Here is a list of symptoms commonly associated with low-grade chronic inflammation:

  • body aches and pains
  • congestion
  • frequent infections
  • diarrhea
  • dry eyes
  • Indigestion
  • shortness of breath
  • skin outbreaks
  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • weight gain/obesity

The good news is that there are so many things you can do to cool your inflammation — even if you’ve already been diagnosed with an inflammatory-related condition or have an elevated CRP.* Doing something about it now is one way to ensure aging with vitality and strength. Simple things like cutting back on dairy, red meat and soda, getting more sleep, regular exercise (without overdoing it), and supplementing with natural anti-inflammatories can  make a difference.

Natural anti-inflammatories:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids from fish or flax
  • Quercetin– great for allergies
  • Bromelain or other protein digesting enzymes
  • Resveratrol– anti-aging, protects against lung damage
  • Curcumin (Turmeric)- great for pain and swelling
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid– diabetic neuropathy, blood vessel protection.

Come in to Baum’s and check out our whole section of supplements that target inflammation of all kinds!  Why set yourself up for disease when you can get a handle on it now?!

*C-reactive protein: develops in a wide range of acute and chronic inflammatory conditions like bacterial, viral, or fungal infections; rheumatic and other inflammatory diseases; malignancy; and tissue injury or necrosis.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.