EPI LIFE COACH articles

Natural Remedies to Dissolve Kidney Stones

Here are some natural treatments that may help prevent or soothe the discomfort of kidney stones and facilitate the healing process.
Natural Remedies to Dissolve Kidney Stones
YEAR 2017
DATE Friday, June 02
TOPIC Functional Food
AUTHOR Alternative Medicine Functional Foods

Anyone who has ever passed kidney stones can relate in excruciating detail just how painful that process can be. People suffering from this event often end up in the emergency room desperately seeking any medical relief available. If the kidney stones do not pass and the pain does not subside, a CT scan may be needed to determine the size and number of stones present. A relatively new procedure called a lithotripsy uses a tiny laser to break up the stones in a non-invasive medical procedure, but it is not recommended unless the stones are larger than 8 mm in size.

As with many other health problems, prevention is a better course of action than treatment after the disease has developed. The major cause of kidney stones is an unhealthy diet and inadequate hydration. The standard American diet that is high in sugar, sodium and animal products result in a buildup of toxins. Proper hydration could help eliminate some of these toxins that contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Fortunately, the size and number of kidney stones can be reduced considerably through a variety of natural treatments. Switching to a healthier diet and increasing fluid intake is the first step, but it is important that specific foods and nutrients be included to not only prevent, but also dissolve or pulverize the stones.

1 Magnesium – Many Americans are deficient in this beneficial nutrient. Calcium supplementation is promoted by the health industry to support strong bones and combat osteoporosis, but calcium should be balanced by proper magnesium supplementation which is needed for every bodily function. Studies have shown that magnesium can reduce kidney stones about 92 percent.

2 Dandelion Root – It is possible to pull a dandelion root out of the ground (easier when the ground is soaked), clean it and make tea. Most people would prefer to simply buy some dried organic dandelion root that is available at health stores as a tea, extract or capsule. This root works to cleanse the kidneys as well as the whole body.

3 Pomegranate juice – While pomegranates are delicious, the juice is sour and has astringent qualities that support healthy kidneys. The juice can be used to make a healthy smoothie to help break down kidney stones. Organic juice is always best whatever the variety.

4 Basil – Basil is a popular ingredient in many recipes, and the herb is another plant that is beneficial in preventing and reducing kidney stones. Basil can be made into a tea that is a great kidney toner, and a teaspoon of basil juice with raw honey is an effective treatment to help clear up kidney stones.

5  Roller Coaster – While riding a roller coaster is an exciting experience, the jolts and vibrations of a roller coaster ride can also cause a kidney stone to pass. This does not always happen, but studies show stones can be jostled into position to help them pass. Anyone in pain from kidney stones may be willing to try anything; even a scary roller coaster ride.

Modern medical technology is wonderful and beneficial in many ways, but the medical community does not necessarily think in terms of natural treatments. Many health issues including kidney stones can be avoided or treated effectively by eating a healthy diet and supplementing with nutrients that are lacking in the standard American diet. Many prescription drugs are derived from plants found in nature, and many other plants can be used in their natural state. It is always important to check with a health provider before choosing to begin using any alternate treatment for a health problem. 

EPI LIFE COACH articles

Improve Brain Function with Blueberry Concentrate

Results of a recent study from the University of Exeter show that concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older adults.
esults of a recent study from the University of Exeter show that concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older adults.
YEAR 2017
DATE Wednesday, May 4
TOPIC Functional Foods
AUTHOR Brain and Mental Performance Alzheimer’s Disease Functional Foods

Some degree of cognitive decline is normal during the aging process. It generally manifests as forgetfulness, loss of focus, and decreased ability to solve complex problems. When mild, symptoms can easily go unnoticed. However, these symptoms may be warning signs of more serious conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or depression.

Clinical Study

Researchers selected 26 healthy adults between the ages of 65 and 77. For control purposes, none of the selected applicants regularly consumed more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Before the trial began, participants were given cognitive tests while being monitored via MRI. Resting brain blood flow was also measured. These tests were repeated periodically throughout and at the end of the study.

During the 12-week trial, half of the participants were given the equivalent of 230g of blueberries in concentrated juice form. The other half were provided a placebo. All participants were instructed to make no further changes to their regular diets.


Study Results

When the data was analyzed, the group that received concentrated blueberry juice showed significant increases in cognitive function, brain blood flow, and other markers of brain activity. Some aspects of working memory showed improvement.

Previous research has already proven a link between a diet high in fruits and vegetables and retention of cognitive function in later life and lower risk of dementia. Scientists believe that flavonoids, compounds that are abundant in these types of foods, are the key to understanding how plant-based diets affect memory and brain health.

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Chocolate May Deter Heartbeat Irregularity

New study finds that people who regularly eat chocolate have a reduced risk of atrial fibrillation.
New study finds that people who regularly eat chocolate have a reduced risk of atrial fibrillation.
YEAR  2017
DATE  Thursday, May 25
TOPIC  Functional Foods
AUTHOR  Cardio-Vascular Functional Foods

Indulging in a small amount of chocolate each week may lower the risk for a serious and fairly common irregular heart rhythm. This finding stems from a new study conducted in Denmark. The study’s findings were recently published in the journal Heart.

The Results

Those who consumed chocolate between one and three times per month were around 10% less likely to endure atrial fibrillation compared to those who consumed chocolate less than once per month. It is becoming increasingly clear that the moderate intake of chocolate is a component of a healthy diet. However, the study cannot determine that chocolate was completely responsible for preventing atrial fibrillation.

Why Chocolate Improves Human Heart Health

Consuming cocoa and foods containing cocoa might boost heart health due to the considerable number of flavanols. These are compounds that scientists believe have anti-oxidant, blood vessel-relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties. Prior studies have determined the consumption of chocolate is linked to improved measures of heart health and a reduced risk for specific conditions such as heart failure and heart attacks. Dark chocolate is especially helpful as it is chock-full of flavanols.

A Word on Atrial Fibrillation

Minimal research has been performed to determine if chocolate is tied to a decreased risk of atrial fibrillation, which takes place when the heart’s upper chamber beats irregularly. Just under three million individuals in the United States have atrial fibrillation. Its presence heightens the risk of blood clots and subsequent heart failure, strokes, and other complications.

New Analysis

The above-referenced study involved data collected from more than 55,500 individuals in Denmark. These individuals were between 50 and 64 years of age when the study began. They provided information about their food consumption between 1993 and 1997. The research team then tied the diet data to Denmark’s national health registries to determine which individuals were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Around 3,346 atrial fibrillation cases occurred across an average of 13.5 years.
Those who ate a single serving (one ounce) of chocolate each week were 17% less likely to endure atrial fibrillation by the study’s end compared to those who consumed chocolate less than once per month. Those who consumed between two and six ounces each week were 20% less likely to endure atrial fibrillation. Those who consumed more than one ounce of chocolate per day were 16% less likely to have atrial fibrillation.
It is interesting to note that the largest risk reduction for women was linked to consuming a single serving of chocolate per week. The biggest reduction for men occurred when consuming two to six servings each week.

Caveats

The consumption of chocolate alone is not enough to improve heart health. Chocolate consumption must be combined with physical activity and a healthy diet. It is also important to avoid smoking. It is likely that a double-blind, completely randomized and controlled trial will occur in the future to determine the true efficacy of chocolate consumption to ward off atrial fibrillation. This trial would likely make use of quantified amounts of cocoa.
It is also important to note that the research team could not account for unmeasured variables such as sleep apnea or kidney disease that might affect the risk for atrial fibrillation. Furthermore, the research team did not have data on the type of chocolate the study participants consumed. Nor did the research team have information about a number of flavanols in the chocolate consumed by study participants. It is also quite likely that dietary intake was altered across the 14 years in which data collection occurred.