Berries enhance brain signaling

(NaturalNews) Berry fruits including blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are not only refreshing and tasty, but they also provide a wide variety of phytonutrients that cross the blood-brain barrier to enhance neural communications and prevent oxidation and inflammation. This has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes that alter behavior and cause normal thought processes to run askew.

Researchers reporting the result of a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have identified neurological benefits associated with the consumption of berry fruits, including their now well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Eating the fruits in their natural state or using dietary supplements is shown to have dramatic direct effects on the brain in a meta-analysis of animal and human studies on the topic.

Fresh berries support brain health by neutralizing free radicals and lowering inflammation
As we live longer, the toll of excessive oxidative assaults on the brain can result in loss of memory and cognitive decline as inflammation limits the electrical and chemical response within nerve synapses and cellular structures. A review of past studies demonstrated that consumption of berry fruits or standardized supplements can aid brain health in several ways.

Lead study authors, Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale and Marshall G. Miller from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that berries enhance neuroplasticity, neurotransmission, and calcium buffering, all of which lead to attenuation of age and pathology-related deficits in behavior. Berry fruits contain high levels of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals. Suppression of free radicals was identified as a primary action of consuming the natural fruits.

Additionally, the researchers noted that berry fruits change the way neurons in the brain communicate. These changes in signaling can prevent inflammation in the brain that contributes to neuronal damage and helps to improve both motor control and cognition. The study confirmed the potent multi-modal effect of berry consumption, but indicated that further studies would be required to determine if benefits are a result of individual compounds shared between berry fruits or whether the unique combinations of chemicals in each berry fruit simply have similar effects.

There is little doubt about the importance of including a wide array of berries in all shapes, sizes and colors to your regular diet. Nutritionists recommend eating at least one-half cup of the raw fruit each day to help prevent cognitive decline, loss of memory and Alzheimer’s dementia.

Sources for this article include:
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf2036033
http://www.dementiatoday.com/?p=21715
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145825.htm

About the author:
John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’, a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of ‘Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan’.

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The Truth About Alkalizing Your Blood

Is it true that the foods and beverages you consume cause your blood to become more alkaline or acidic?

Contrary to popular hype, the answer is: not to any significant degree.

The pH of your blood is tightly regulated by a complex system of buffers that are continuously at work to maintain a range of 7.35 to 7.45, which is slightly more alkaline than pure water.

If the pH of your blood falls below 7.35, the result is a condition called acidosis, a state that leads to central nervous system depression. Severe acidosis – where blood pH falls below 7.00 – can lead to a coma and even death.

If the pH of your blood rises above 7.45, the result is alkalosis. Severe alkalosis can also lead to death, but through a different mechanism; alkalosis causes all of the nerves in your body to become hypersensitive and over-excitable, often resulting in muscle spasms, nervousness, and convulsions; it’s usually the convulsions that cause death in severe cases.

The bottom line is that if you’re breathing and going about your daily activities, your body is doing an adequate job of keeping your blood pH somewhere between 7.35 to 7.45, and the foods that you are eating are not causing any wild deviations of your blood pH.

So what’s up with all the hype about the need to alkalize your body? And what’s to be made of the claim that being too acidic can cause osteoporosis, kidney stones, and a number of other undesirable health challenges?

As usual, the answers to such questions about human health can be found in understanding basic principles of human physiology. So let’s take a look at the fundamentals of pH and how your body regulates the acid-alkaline balance of its fluids on a moment-to-moment basis.

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a liquid is. With respect to your health, the liquids involved are your body fluids, which can be categorized into two main groups:

  1. Intracellular fluid, which is the fluid found in all of your cells. Intracellular fluid is often called cytosol, and makes up about two-thirds of the total amount of fluid in your body.
  2. Extracellular fluid, which is the fluid found outside of your cells. Extracellular fluids are further classified as one of two types:
    • Plasma, which is fluid that makes up your blood.
    • Interstitial fluid, which occupies all of the spaces that surround your tissues. Interstitial fluid includes the fluids found in your eyes, lymphatic system, joints, nervous system, and between the protective membranes that surround your cardiovascular, respiratory, and abdominal cavities.

Your blood (plasma) needs to maintain a pH of 7.35 to 7.45 for your cells to function properly. Why your cells require your blood to maintain a pH in this range to stay healthy is beyond the scope of this article, but the most important reason is that all of the proteins that work in your body have to maintain a specific geometric shape to function, and the three-dimensional shapes of the proteins in your body are affected by the tiniest changes in the pH of your body fluids.

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A liquid that has a pH of 7 is considered to be neutral (pure water is generally considered to have a neutral pH). Fluids that have a pH below 7 – like lemon juice and coffee – are considered to be acidic. And fluids that have a pH above 7 – like human blood and milk of magnesia – are considered to be alkaline.

It’s important to note that on the pH scale, each number represents a tenfold difference from adjacent numbers; in other words, a liquid that has a pH of 6 is ten times more acidic than a liquid that has a pH of 7, and a liquid with a pH of 5 is one hundred times more acidic than pure water. Most carbonated soft drinks (pop) have a pH of about 3, making them about ten thousand times more acidic than pure water. Please remember this the next time you think about drinking a can of pop.

When you ingest foods and liquids, the end products of digestion and assimilation of nutrients often results in an acid or alkaline-forming effect – the end products are sometimes called acid ash or alkaline ash.

Also, as your cells produce energy on a continual basis, a number of different acids are formed and released into your body fluids. These acids – generated by your everyday metabolic activities – are unavoidable; as long as your body has to generate energy to survive, it will produce a continuous supply of acids.

So there are two main forces at work on a daily basis that can disrupt the pH of your body fluids – these forces are the acid or alkaline-forming effects of foods and liquids that you ingest, and the acids that you generate through regular metabolic activities. Fortunately, your body has three major mechanisms at work at all times to prevent these forces from shifting the pH of your blood outside of the 7.35 to 7.45 range.

These mechanisms are:

  1. Buffer Systems
    • Carbonic Acid-Bicarbonate Buffer System
    • Protein Buffer System
    • Phosphate Buffer System
  2. Exhalation of Carbon Dioxide
  3. Elimination of Hydrogen Ions via Kidneys

It’s not in the scope of this post to discuss the mechanisms listed above in detail. For this article, I only want to point out that these systems are in place to prevent dietary, metabolic, and other factors from pushing the pH of your blood outside of the 7.35 to 7.45 range.

When people encourage you to “alkalize your blood,” most of them mean that you should eat plenty of foods that have an alkaline-forming effect on your system. The reason for making this suggestion is that the vast majority of highly processed foods – like white flour products and white sugar – have an acid-forming effect on your system, and if you spend years eating a poor diet that is mainly acid-forming, you will overwork some of the buffering systems mentioned above to a point where you could create undesirable changes in your health.

For example, your phosphate buffer system uses different phosphate ions in your body to neutralize strong acids and bases. About 85% of the phosphate ions that are used in your phosphate buffer system comes from calcium phosphate salts, which are structural components of your bones and teeth. If your body fluids are regularly exposed to large quantities of acid-forming foods and liquids, your body will draw upon its calcium phosphate reserves to supply your phosphate buffer system to neutralize the acid-forming effects of your diet. Over time, this may lead to structural weakness in your bones and teeth.

Drawing on your calcium phosphate reserves at a high rate can also increase the amount of calcium that is eliminated via your genito-urinary system, which is why a predominantly acid-forming diet can increase your risk of developing calcium-rich kidney stones.

This is just one example of how your buffering systems can be overtaxed to a point where you experience negative health consequences. Since your buffering systems have to work all the time anyway to neutralize the acids that are formed from everyday metabolic activities, it’s in your best interest to follow a diet that doesn’t create unnecessary work for your buffering systems.

Acid and Alkaline-Forming Effects of Common Foods

Generally speaking, most vegetables and fruits have an alkaline-forming effect on your body fluids.

Most grains, animal foods, and highly processed foods have an acid-forming effect on your body fluids.

Your health is best served by a good mix of nutrient-dense, alkaline and acid-forming foods; ideally, you want to eat more alkaline-forming foods than acid-forming foods to have the net acid and alkaline-forming effects of your diet match the slightly alkaline pH of your blood.

The following lists indicate which common foods have an alkaline-forming effect on your body fluids, and which ones result in acid ash formation when they are digested and assimilated into your system.

Foods that have a Moderate to Strong Alkaline-Forming Effect

Watermelon
Lemons
Cantaloupe
Celery
Limes
Mango
Honeydew
Papaya
Parsley
Seaweed
Sweet, seedless grapes
Watercress
Asparagus
Kiwi
Pears
Pineapple
Raisins
Vegetable juices
Apples
Apricots
Alfalfa sprouts
Avocados
Bananas
Garlic
Ginger
Peaches
Nectarines
Grapefruit
Oranges
Most herbs
Peas
Lettuce
Broccoli
Cauliflower

Foods that have a Moderate to Strong Acid-Forming Effect

Alcohol
Soft drinks (pop)
Tobacco
Coffee
White sugar
Refined Salt
Artificial sweeteners
Antibiotics (and most drugs)
White flour products (including pasta)
Seafood
White vinegar
Barley
Most boxed cereals
Cheese
Most beans
Flesh meats
Most types of bread

Please note that these lists of acid and alkaline-forming foods are not comprehensive, nor are they meant to be.

If you’re eating mainly grains, flour products, animal foods, and washing these foods down with coffee, soda, and milk, you will almost certainly improve your health by replacing some of your food and beverage choices with fresh vegetables and fruits.

The primary purpose of this article is to offer information that explains why I believe that you don’t need to take one or more nutritional supplements or “alkalized water” for the sole purpose of alkalizing your body. Your body is already designed to keep the pH of your body fluids in a tight, slightly alkaline range.

The ideal scenario is to make fresh vegetables and fruits the centerpieces of your diet, and to eat small amounts of any other nutrient-dense foods that your appetite calls for and that experience shows your body can tolerate.

I hope these thoughts bring some clarity to this often misunderstood health topic.

By Dr. Ben Kim

Natural Health Care

How Health Coaches Can Partner with Doctors

How Health Coaches Can Partner with Doctors

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Chef Skai Juice is a Health and Wellness Coach helping people to maintain and create their healthy and abundant life! Contact her today to get a free wellness consultation.

 

Many health issues can be controlled – and even eliminated – through changes in diet and lifestyle. Yet most people rely on over-the-counter medications or prescriptions doled out by busy, overworked doctors.

Why is this? Doctors don’t have time to explain how to make diet and lifestyle changes. And most people don’t realize how much control they can have over their own health by using simple preventative measures – as easy as drinking more water, sleeping well, or evaluating their caffeine intake.

Health Coaches can help. A recent article on Care2 points out that Health Coaches can be excellent partners to health care professionals who don’t have the time to spend with their patients.

Health Coaches provide the guidance, accountability, and support for people who want to improve their health and happiness. And they have the knowledge to help you figure out which foods will work for your unique body, lifestyle, and habits.

Want to healthfully satisfy a sweet tooth? Not sure if the healthy versions of fast food are really healthy? Wondering what the best diet is for healthy eating? A Health Coach can steer you in the right direction.

Even if you don’t have serious health issues, Health Coaches can offer guidance that help you uncover the cause of mild, nagging conditions that affect your quality of life. Before you know it, you’ll feel better than you ever thought possible.

SOURCE:  http://blog.integrativenutrition.com

by Christy Goldfeder