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Citizen Health
Heal South Africa - A project dedicated to uniting & empowering the people of South Africa, with the goal of peace, happiness and health for all. Heal South Africa - A project dedicated to uniting & empowering the people of South Africa, with the goal of peace, happiness and health for all.

    Print Version 

Keith McFarlane of HealSA & Light in SA, is writing a series of articles for the
Citizen newspaper's monthly CITI HEALTH section
printed on the last Tuesday of every month.

The articles are in order from first through to most current.
Should you have missed an article in the newspaper
please click on the quick link's indicated below.



CITI HEALTH ARTICLES - Section 4
Food for ThoughtBone of ContentionHeartfelt ThanksHormonally Yours

Boys to MenUp in SmokeThe Simple Life  | Right Relationship  

Detox for More Energy | Health in the Sun | Keeping Abreast With Cancer

Thanks for the Memories | HPV - Get Informed 

PREVIOUS ARTICLES

CITI HEALTH ARTICLES - Section 1

CITI HEALTH ARTICLES - Section 2

CITI HEALTH ARTICLES - Section 3


Food for Thought
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

‘Food glorious food - don’t care what it looks like’. For most people there is a deep sense of comfort that comes from eating, we eat to celebrate and to mourn, we do lunch to ‘seal a deal’, catch up over a small bite and even keep ourselves company with a midnight feast. It seems that everything we do revolves around eating – we work to earn money, to put food on the table, to sleep it off and then start all over again.

You are what you eat
It seems logical to assume that whatever we put into our mouths will have an effect on our health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, in all of our revelry, we seem to have forgotten Hippocrates’ sound advice “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”.

According to the Dietary Goals of the United States; ‘without commitment to good nutrition, people will continue to eat themselves to poor health.’ The study further suggests that ‘six of the ten leading causes of death have been linked to our diet.’ These include heart disease, cancer, obesity, stroke and diabetes.

World Diabetes Day
The world is currently facing a diabetes pandemic. Every 10 seconds a person dies of diabetes related causes, while in the same 10 seconds another two people develop diabetes. Currently 246 million people are affected by the condition worldwide and that figure is expected to reach 380 million by the year 2025.

In South Africa, approximately 1 in 5 people over the age of 35 has type 2 diabetes and more than 50% of them do not even know it. Following the current trend, 1 in 3 children born after 2000 will have diabetes; however it at the turn of the century (when our eating habits were more natural), it was under 1 in 100.

Sugar Sickness
Most of what we eat is broken down into glucose, which is used by the cells of the body to produce energy for health and wellbeing. Diabetes is a metabolic condition where glucose levels become elevated, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells have become insulin resistant. In both cases, the body cannot get the energy it needs from your food. In addition high blood sugar levels increase the risk of heart and kidney disease, strokes as well as nerve and eye conditions.

Risk Factors
The number one risk factor for diabetes Type 2 is obesity. Greater weight means a higher risk of insulin resistance, because fat interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin. Closely following that is a sedentary lifestyle - inactivity and obesity go hand in hand. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels and increases the uptake of glucose by muscle cells, which have more insulin receptors than fat cells.

Perhaps the underlying trigger for both obesity and inactivity is unhealthy eating - diets comprised of processed, refined and artificial foods, high in fats and sugars and almost devoid of fiber. Diabetes is commonly thought of as incurable; however, depending on the type and severity of the condition, most patients are required to follow a strict regime of diet, exercise and a lifetime of medication.

Nutritional Cure
In his book, ‘There Is a Cure for Diabetes’, world-renowned holistic medical doctor Gabriel Cousens offers a breakthrough approach to reverse type-II diabetes through practical changes in nutrition and well-being. Using mainly green juice fasting and live foods, Dr Cousens has shown that it is possible to get people off their medication within 4 days and return fasting blood sugar levels to less than 100 in just 21 days.

Raw for 30 Days
To document his program, Dr Cousens invited six people who had been diagnosed with Diabetes (type 1 and 2) and who were eating the traditional American fast and junk food diet to spend 30 days with him. Each participant had to give up give up meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, packaged food and even cooked food. The entire program was filmed by an independent documentary maker, including before and after case studies and the results were exceptional. By the end of the month, following a live food lifestyle, all of the participants’ blood tests were normal; they had cured their diabetes.

Helpful supplements
• Digestive enzymes should be taken before every cooked meal to optimize digestion and reduce pancreas workload. Take 1 to 3 caps, depending of size of meal.
• Cinnamon stimulates fat cells to respond to insulin, greatly reducing blood sugar levels. Take a quarter to one full teaspoon every day
• Chromium is essential for the action of insulin. Some scientists believe that chromium deficiency may be the underlying cause of insulin resistance, as sugar overloading increases the levels of chromium excreted in the urine. Always consult with your doctor before supplementing with chromium, as it may affect medication. A safer alternative is Brewer’s Yeast, take 3 tablets with each meal.


Bone of Contention
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

It is well known that as we get older, men need to supplement their diets with zinc to maintain prostate health, while women need calcium to protect their bones.

Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thin, fragile and highly prone to fracture. It is one of the most important health issues facing middle-aged women, especially after menopause. While there is currently no cure for osteoporosis, treatment of the symptoms includes calcium supplementation, exercise, nutrition and estrogen replacement.

Calcium
While 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones, it is also necessary for a number of other important functions like regulating blood pressure, secreting hormones, blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve conduction and maintaining cell membrane functioning.

If there is not enough circulating calcium to support these functions, the body will make withdrawals from the bones to compensate this deficiency.

The most common approach to calcium deficiency is supplementation; however studies show that food sources provide better bone mineral density than supplements. Foods high in calcium include spinach and other greens, sesame seeds, sardines and oranges.

Gravity Factor
Our bones are fully developed by the time we reach 30 and from then on, we lose a small percentage of bone density every year. This is accepted as a part of ‘growing old’, however it has been noted that inactivity can also lead to reduced bone density. The extreme of this is experienced by astronauts, who lose 15% of their bone density after just two weeks in space. In this microgravity environment, the cells of the body register the decrease in gravitational pressure and literally downsize. This also happens to people who are bedridden for long periods and even to those living a sedentary lifestyle – it just takes longer!

Rebounding
Weight bearing exercise is essential for maintaining strong healthy bones as the extra weight stimulates the weight bearing bones to remineralise and increase in density. Unfortunately, most women do not regularly pump iron. One of the most powerful ways that NASA identified to recondition their astronauts was rebounding. By increasing the force of gravity, rebounding on a mini trampoline strengthens every cell in the body, without the jarring impact of hard surface exercise.
 

The D Factor
Aside from our sedentary lifestyles, most people do not get adequate daily sun exposure. As well as being essential for good immune functioning, Vitamin D is also important for efficient absorption of dietary calcium, making it vital for the strengthening of bone tissue.

Depending on your skin tone, you may need as little as 15 minutes a day to satisfy your daily vitamin D needs.

Acidity
One of the most important balances the body strives to maintain is that between acid and alkaline. Acidosis or increased blood acidity has now been linked to all degenerative processes in the body, including osteoporosis. As our bodies become more acidic through environmental toxins, poor diets and lack of exercise; alkaline minerals are drawn out of the tissue to compensate and neutralize the acids. One of the most potent alkalizers is calcium.

According to some schools of thought, osteoporosis may not be a sign of calcium deficiency, but rather one of acidosis; in which case simply taking calcium supplements will not do the trick, you must alkalize.

The most natural way to alkalize is through an alkaline diet (particularly green vegetables), moderate exercise and cleaning out your colon, which leaks acidic toxins back into the blood stream. It is also important to eliminate foods that cause acidity like processed, refined and artificial foods, meats and dairy products.

Menopause
This also explains the link between menopause and osteoporosis. In his book “Natural Way to Sexual Health’, Dr Henry G. Bieler suggests that toxic blood finds an outlet through the menstrual function. This is echoed in a number of traditions, which see the menses as a cleansing process. With the onset of menopause, this all important function is lost, leaving the body vulnerable to the ravages of acidity. Dr Bieler further suggests that menopausal hot flushes arise because the body is no longer able to eliminate toxins through the menstrual cycle. By following a purer, natural diet and clearing their colons, many women have found that the menses lighten and in some instances disappear all together. In addition, associated symptoms also disappear leading the way to a more healthy transition at menopause.


Once again, the secret lies in simplicity - breathe, bounce, drink pure water, eat healthfully, get some sunshine and of course rest.


Heartfelt Thanks
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Hearts are traditionally recognised as symbols of love; however with heart disease one of the leading causes of death in the world, one might be left wondering how much we love or even appreciate our own hearts.

Weighing less than a half a kilogram, the average heart beats about 100 000 times a day, pumping over 7500 liters of blood through the 95 000km of blood vessels in the body. It takes about 20 seconds for blood to circulate through the entire vascular system and in a 70 year lifetime, the heart will beat over 2.5 billion times and pump more than a million barrels of blood.

As one of the hardest working organs in the body, the heart’s vital role of circulating life-giving oxygen to every part of the body, is often thanklessly taken for granted. Worse yet, most of us increase its daily workload through our lifestyle and dietary choices.

Fortunately, taking care of our hearts may not be as difficult as we imagine.

Heart Lung connection
At the turn of the 20th Century health pioneer Prof Arnold Ehret offered the radical opinion that the blood stream drives the heart and not the heart the blood. He believed that the lungs create the pressure that maintains circulation, while the heart acts as a valve, regulating the flow. He noted that increased breathing would increase the pressure and therefore the speed of the heartbeat as would increased muscular tension, whether through exercise or stress.

Most people have erratic breathing habits and live stress filled, sedentary lives, which creates an imbalanced pressure and puts a strain on the heart and the vascular system.

Healthy Heart Step 1
• Take time out throughout your day to stop what you are doing and take a few deep relaxing breaths. Extend your out breath by half again to reduce accumulated pressure (in for 4, out for 6).
• While breathing, relax your body from head to toes and breathe out all your stress and tension.
• Take regular aerobic exercise like rebounding or brisk walking to maintain good blood flow.

Poisons
Prof Ehret also noted that when a stimulating or sedating poison was introduced into the bloodstream, it would also affect the heart rate; this includes coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, salt, nicotine and drugs.

Healthy Heart Step 2

• Reduce or eliminate your intake of ‘poisonous’ substances and increase your intake of pure water.

Acidic Waste
Erratic breathing habits and inactivity inevitably lead to poor eating habits, which always result in an accumulation of toxins. Prof Ehret discovered that health and vitality are directly affected by the amount of acid waste or mucous in the system. More recently Dr Robert O Young has confirmed these findings; in his book ‘The pH Miracle’, he suggests that an imbalanced pH can lead to higher LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and increased fat tissue, both of which are linked to heart disease and strokes.

Healthy Heart Step 3
• Cut out acid forming processed, refined and artificial foods and reduce your intake of animal products and cooked starches.
• Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables (especially alkalizing greens).

In addition to a healthful diet, add the following happy heart foods to your diet:

• Blueberries for antioxidants, which protect the arteries from free radical damage
• Oatmeal for fiber, which reduces LDL levels
• Salmon for Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which lower blood pressure, reduce blood clots and protect the arteries from plaque build up
• Garlic and ginger to stimulate circulation and promote healthy blood flow.

The Heart Warming Spice
Cayenne pepper deserves a special mention for its heart health benefits. Apart from stimulating blood flow, balancing blood pressure and strengthening the heart; cayenne also helps blood vessels to regain their youthful elasticity, cleans the arteries and has been known to stop a heart attack and a stroke in just 30 seconds.

Healthy Heart Step 4
• Take ¼ teaspoon (building to a full teaspoon) of cayenne pepper in warm water every day. Add a squeeze of lemon to boost the detoxifying value.

Last Laugh
If life is becoming too serious, lighten up for the sake of your heart. Research has shown that laughter can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow for up to 45 minutes after a laugh attack.


Hormonally Yours
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Dear women,
As much as we would like to believe that gender equality has finally arrived; when it comes to health, you still seem to be juggling a few more balls than men. Don’t get me wrong; as men, we certainly have our own unique challenges to face, but I have yet to hear a man say ‘My hormones are raging!’

We live in an age when women’s hormones are out of balance. It may be that this has been going on for as long as there has been gender inequality; however more and more evidence is emerging that hormonal imbalance can be linked to our current way of life, producing symptoms as diverse as anxiety, fatigue, mood swings, unwanted hair growth and water retention to acne, depression, low libido, infertility and cancer.

Chemical Soup
The human body is literally a chemical soup, with billions of chemical reactions taking place every moment. Hormones are the intrepid chemical messengers produced by the endocrine glands that orchestrate the organized chaos; responding to our ever changing state of mind and body. Their job is to make sure we live in harmony and balance.

Estrogen and progesterone are two important female hormones that are produced in a woman’s body between puberty and menopause. Ideally they are produced and released in even quantities; however estrogen production can sometimes increase, causing an imbalance to occur.

Most of the problems unique to women are related to this increase in estrogen.

Causes of Imbalance
Some argue that chemicals and pollution are responsible for many cases of hormonal imbalance in women; however current medical opinion favours disease, genetics and lifestyle as the culprits. Other possibilities include medication, oral contraceptives, antibiotics and pain relievers. One thing seems logical, adding unnatural chemicals to the soup, will surely spoil the broth.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common conditions linked to hormonal imbalance, is more commonly found in families with a history of the disorder. While the causes of the disease are not really understood, it is believed that chronic stress, nutrient deficiencies and excess consumption of animal foods may contribute to the disease. It is worth bearing in mind that most non-organic animal products available today are seasoned with antibiotics and hormones.

Exercise and weight reduction have shown to be highly beneficial in the treatment of PCOS. In addition, a diet high in fiber and low in simple carbohydrates and animal products will help to regulate blood sugar and circulating insulin levels as well as reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, which are associated with PCOS.

The Fat Issue
Many breast tumours are fueled by estrogen, with research showing the higher the level, the greater the risk. Studies have revealed that the amount of estradiol produced by a woman’s body corresponds to the amount of fat in her diet. High fat diets increase production, while low fat diets decrease it. It has also been found that fat influenced high estrogen levels may hasten the onset of puberty, which also increases the risk of breast cancer.

In 1840, the average age of puberty in western countries was 17, while today young girls reach puberty by 11 or 12 and in some cases even younger. In his China Diet Study, Dr Colin Campbell discovered that the lower the fat content and the stricter the vegetarian lifestyle, the lower the estrogen levels and the later the onset of puberty. He also found a virtual absence of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and very low rates of western adult cancers.

Fiber
In addition to the high fat content of the western diet, it is also notably low in fiber. This is primarily due to the high inclusion of animal products, processed, refined and artificial foods. Low fiber diets always lead to constipation, a problem more commonly experienced by women. The link between toxic waste build up in the colon and estrogen dominance is now becoming more evident.

Bacteria
Ideally we have a healthy 80-20 balance of good to bad bacteria in the intestines. Dr Denis Burkitt noted that the type and number of bacteria in the colon was influenced by the type of food eaten. This in turn influences the stool volume. The more fat eaten, the more bile salts produced in the intestinal tract and the greater the number of unfriendly bacteria, which convert the salts into carcinogenic substances. By increasing fiber intake, the concentration of salts is diluted and they are removed much quicker, reducing their impact. In addition good bacteria have a neutralizing effect on estrogen and bile salts. Without them, estrogen is reabsorbed into the system, throwing the balance. This estrogen leakage is now a main factor linked to breast cancer.

Healthy Hormones
The first step to restore hormonal balance, is to optimize your body weight by eliminating fatty, processed foods, simple sugars, hydrogenated and transfats and reducing animal products. Increase your water and fiber intake, as well as essential fatty acids (omega 3’s) and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. It is also important to rebalance your intestinal flora with a good quality probiotic.

While men may never fully understand the mystery of women, perhaps we with a better understanding, we can be a little more compassionate, when ‘you get a little crazy!’

Hormonally Yours

Keith


Boys to Men
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

 

If there’s one thing about men that makes a woman see red, it’s the inherent stubbornness displayed when it comes to asking for directions. We would rather ‘drive in’ head first, boldly going where no man has been before, than admit we don’t know where we’re going; or worse yet, lost. Women on the other hand take comfort in preparedness, ensuring that every eventuality is covered; from wet wipes and snacks to the odd change of clothing and if you need help, just ask.

In ‘defense of the caveman’, every young boy is traditionally encouraged from an early age, to take the initiative and develop the leadership skills that will one day earn him the proud place of patriarch in his family, his place of work and maybe even his community. Now while this idea might seem dated, and women are more than capable leaders; when it comes nurturing, women tend to have the genetic upper hand. From a young age, women are prepared to be prepared.

Healthy Start
This is all too evident, in matters of personal health. Every mother knows that she will have to guide her daughter through the intricacies of personal hygiene and the ‘dangers of boys’; while fathers on the other hand, focus their son’s attention more on the finer details of ‘braaivleis, sunny skies, rugby and Chevrolet’.

Anything below the belt is left strictly for the developing imagination and in the spirit of all great pioneers - ‘keep trying until you get it right’. Most men cringe at the thought of having a heart to heart with another man about their more personal issues; preferring to discuss the intricacies of a camshaft and bearings rather than their own penis and testicles. The dangers of this approach however, are now becoming all too evident.

Testicular Cancer
While relatively rare, testicular cancer is seen as a young man’s disease, commonly affecting young men between the age of 15 and 45. With the incidence rising, it is alarming to find that only 28% of men regularly check their testicles for abnormalities.

It is important to recognize that many of the health risks that men face can be prevented and treated if diagnosed early enough. One thing is for sure; men need to become more aware of their bodies (aside from their muscles) and more willing to ask for help when necessary.

While the causes of testicular cancer are largely unknown, risk factors include having an undescended testicle, abnormal development of the testicles, genetics and most interestingly race and ethnicity, with the risk for Caucasian men more than five times that of African and twice that of Asian men.

With early detection, treatment success is greater than 98%. You should make an appointment with your doctor if you:

• find any lumps in your testicles
• experience burning or pain when you urinate
• have difficulty or delay in urinating
• find blood in your urine or semen
• notice a discharge from the penis
• experience pain during or after sex

Prostate Mystery
Most men do not even know that they have a prostate until they reach their 50’s, when the incidence of enlargement and risk of cancer greatly increases. It is estimated that 80% of men will have an enlarged prostate by the age of 80, while prostate cancer is now one of the leading cancers affecting men.

Most men usually go for their first ‘check up’ at the age of 40. For the uninformed, this can be a somewhat harrowing experience, often creating a greater empathy for women. A PSA blood test can also determine risk potential.

The most common symptom of a prostate problem is the need for frequent urination; however, this doesn’t automatically indicate cancer. Other signs can include pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, impotence and hip or lower back pain.

Risk factors include:
• Age - more than 70% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over 65
• Race - prostate cancer affects 60% more African men than Caucasian men, with Asian men showing the lowest rates, unless they have adopted a westernized diet
• Diet – this may be one of the most important factors, connecting both age and race to colorectal health. Studies have implicated high meat consumption and poor fiber intake as potential health time bombs, especially with regards to cancer.

Be Prepared

It is evident that men need to be more prepared, if we are to beat the current odds facing us. Regular self examination as well as informed lifestyle and dietary choices can make a world of difference. It all begins with understanding. When it comes to health, there is no substitute for a good education - the earlier the better.


Up in Smoke
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Having never tried the habit, it might seem a little biased on my part to comment on smoking. However, in saying that, I still think the whole thing’s a little absurd and what makes it all the more so, is smokers always seem to be trying to quit. My question is: ‘why start in the first place?’

Whether you’re a smoker or not, I highly recommend listening to comedian Bob Newhart’s sketch, in which Sir Walter Raleigh ’phones home’ to explain the uses of tobacco to the ‘civilized world’. By the time he describes ‘shredding the leaf, rolling it in paper, setting fire to it and then inhaling the smoke’; the listener (amidst greater laughter) replies ‘you’re going to have a tough time getting people to stick burning leaves into their mouth!’

With an estimated 1.3 billion smokers around the world, it would seem that we didn’t get the joke.

Health Risks
Smoking is now recognized as the leading cause of preventable death, with an estimated 1 in 5 deaths linked to the habit.

According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, if you smoke, you have 10 times the risk of getting lung cancer than a non-smoker. You also greatly increase your chances of developing other forms of cancer, including adult acute and chronic leukemia and cancers of the throat, mouth, larynx, esophagus, kidney, stomach, bladder, pancreas and cervix. Besides cancer, smoking is also associated with a host of other diseases, particularly heart disease and emphysema.

Tobacco smoke contains at least 43 carcinogenic or cancer-causing substances, which can damage the DNA of living cells, causing them to divide out of control. In addition, smoking not only harms the smoker’s health but the health of those around them. Research has found that exposure to second-hand smoke (passive smoking) can be just as detrimental as smoking itself. In fact, children raised in a household with a smoker suffer many more health problems, especially respiratory illnesses, than children raised in nonsmoking households.

Addiction
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. When smoke is inhaled, the nicotine is carried into the lungs where it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, then carried to the heart, brain, liver and spleen. Several studies have found nicotine to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

Because nicotine produces pleasurable feelings, smokers find themselves wanting more and over time, as the nervous system adapts to nicotine, tolerance to the drug develops. This usually leads to an increase nicotine intake in order to attain the ‘feel-good’ effects. Those who choose to break the habit, face both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as nervousness, headaches, irritability and difficulty sleeping.

New Threat
Since the 1960’s smoking has been progressively outlawed, with media advertising all but eradicated, health warnings on the pack and smoking in public places banned. You’d think we got the joke!

Not so, according to a new report entitled ‘Big Tobacco’s Guinea Pigs’, which reveals how the tobacco industry is responding to declining smoking rates and ever increasing restrictions by designing and marketing new and novel products to recruit new youth users, create and sustain addiction to nicotine and discourage current users from quitting.

Current trends include:
• Candy, fruit and alcohol flavoured products, which mask the harshness of the cigarette and make them easier to inhale and more appealing to children and first time smokers.
• Novel smokeless products, to help smokers sustain their addiction in the growing number of places where they cannot smoke.
• New products aimed at specifically at women and girls.
• A growing list of products marketed with misleading health claims that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

Time to Quit
What makes a sensible person want to fill their lungs with smoke? Most smokers begin their habit in their early or mid teens, due to peer pressure, a desire to fit in or as an act of rebellion. However, once the addiction sets in, it becomes harder and harder to quit. In fact most smokers continue their habit simply because they are unable to stop.

Smoking is no joke. If you are serious about breaking your habit, there are many successful programs available to assist you; however it all begins with a decision. In the words of screen legend Yul Brynner, who died of lung cancer, ‘Don’t smoke, whatever you do, just don’t smoke’.

 
THE SIMPLE LIFE
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

 

The Dream Life
What it is that you most want in life; more money, a fancy car, a new home, the job of your dreams or maybe even to meet that special someone to share your life with. Rarely when asked, do people respond - better health!

All too often, health is taken for granted. When we are young, there are far too many other things to think about; while as we get older, fading health is accepted as simply an inevitable part of life.

Confusion
One of the main problems we all have with health, is it is just too complicated. Every week there is a new diet to follow - usually one that contradicts last weeks miracle program; exercise is in, but is it 3 hours a week or just 30 minutes; and when it comes to supplements, do they really help or is it just expensive urine?

It’s no wonder that the vast majority simply put their heads down and carry on with life, hoping that the wheels don’t fall off too seriously.

Keeping it simple
Understanding the body can take years of study; however, meeting your basic needs can be relatively simple – you need fresh air, good hydration, quality nutrition, balanced exercise and rest and a little bit of sunshine every day. Each of these is generally affordable and available; however like health they are often taken for granted or worse yet ignored due to lack of understanding.

Oxygen
How would you rate your breathing habits? If like most you have shallow erratic breathing, then this is your first step to better health. Right now, take a deep relaxing breath. Apart from relaxing your body and mind and stimulating your circulation, by filling your lungs, you have just boosted your oxygen intake by as much as 15 times. Oxygen is the most important nutrient needed by your body. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without oxygen. Medical science has now confirmed that oxygen deficiency is the underlying cause of all illness and degeneration. Make it a habit to take at least 3 deep breaths every hour of the day.

Hydration
Next to oxygen, water is your next most important need. Making up about 70% of your body, water not only ensures optimum circulation for nutrient delivery and waste removal, it also keeps your hydro-electric cells pumping life giving energy. The most important times to drink your water are: 2 glasses first thing in the morning (to replace fluid lost through breathing and urination), a glass 15 minutes before major meals (to assist in the digestive process) and another glass mid morning and mid afternoon (to replenish lost fluid and keep your energy high).
 

Quality Nutrition
When it comes to food choices, there are as many eating plans as there are people. For optimum health, first cut out all processed, refined and artificial foods as well as foods with added sugar and salt. These should be replaced with whole foods like fresh fruit, vegetables seeds and nuts, as well as quality grains, fish and meats. Work towards a ratio of 70% fruits and vegetables (raw if possible) and 30% more concentrated cooked foods. This will ensure that you are getting the necessary building blocks to restore and maintain good health. Due to soil deficiencies, it is a good idea to take a food state multi vitamin and mineral supplement as well as an omega oil supplement (either flax or fish oil).

Exercise, rest and sunshine
Most people have a very sedentary lifestyle. Rushing to the gym to pound your body for an hour 3 times a week could be more detrimental for you than good. Exercise should be enjoyable and functional, stimulating both lymphatic and blood circulation as well as offering enough resistant to the cells to ensure they stay healthy and strong. 10 to 20 minutes a day of brisk walking, swimming and playing with children are all great circulation boosters, while body-weight exercises like pushups, dips, lunges and squats, performed 3 times a week will offer more than enough resistance training.

On the other side of the coin it is just as important to get enough rest. Apart from a good night’s sleep, take time out of your busy day to simply relax into the moment. This will often be enough to revamp flagging energy and get you through the day with some to spare. Winding down is especially important before bed, as it allows your mind to calm and encourages your body to fall asleep.

Get at least 10 minutes a day of ‘safe’ sunshine (before 10am and after 3pm) every day, to fill your essential vitamin D quota.

Healthy lifestyle
Life can be a full time job; however, keeping healthy can be as simple as making sure your basic needs are met. It is only when we knowingly or unknowingly take our health for granted, that we realize how precious it is. Perhaps the most important ingredient to a healthy lifestyle is gratitude. Life truly is a gift, one we should value above all else.

 
RIGHT RELATIONSHIP
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Mention any part of the body below the waistline and you’ll be sure to elicit an awkward response - from a nervous smile and a light blush to a cold look that declares ‘we don’t talk about things like that’. We tend to shield our discomfort by making fun of our reproductive system with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink and a say no more. However reproductive health is a very serious issue.

Childbirth
Throughout history, childbirth has been the leading killer of women and even today, with our tremendous advances in medical understanding and technology; a women dies and 30 others are seriously injured or disabled during labour every minute of every day. The most common causes are uncontrolled bleeding and infection and the most vulnerable are also the most poor. In sub-Saharan Africa, the life time risk of maternal death is 1 in 16 compared to 1 in 2 800 in developed countries.

Apart from the need for family planning and skilled obstetric birth attendance, one of the major contributors is nutrient deficiency. Often the result of inadequate dietary intake and poor bioavailability; this inevitably leads to compromised immune functioning, affecting both mother and child.

Disease
Aside from AIDS, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is escalating, with worldwide figures for Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis now well over 300 million. While curable, they can weaken the system, paving the way for more serious conditions to occur. In addition, as many as 1 in 4 may be living with an incurable form of STD like genital warts and herpes. Aside from the physical discomfort, this can have devastating emotional side effects, which can greatly influence the quality of intimate relations.

The most effective form of prevention is of course abstinence. However, monogamy and using a condom can greatly reduce the risk and lay the foundation for more responsible sexual practices and lifestyle choices.

In addition, according to statistics, cancer of the reproductive system now ranks amongst the highest, with breast and prostate cancer being the most prevalent. While there are many cofactors involved in the development of cancer, it is clear that regular self examination is vital for early detection and treatment. In addition, lifestyle and quality nutrition are now recognized as key factors for reducing the risk of contracting the disease.

Sexual Dysfunction
It is estimated that about 40% of women and 30% of men suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction. This includes infertility, lack of desire, arousal problems, inability to climax or ejaculate, climaxing or ejaculating too rapidly, physical pain during intercourse, not finding sex pleasurable and anxiety about sexual performance. While not in itself life threatening, this can seriously impair personal and relationship wellbeing, adding to the emotional discomfort that may have triggered the problem. Stress is a major factor; however other underlying contributors include diabetes and obesity (two major health concerns directly related to poor nutrition and inactivity) as well as past abuse, unhappy relationships, smoking, drug abuse and alcoholism.

Right Relations
When it comes to reproductive health, the single most important factor must be how we relate to ourselves. The current lack of respect for our bodies and life itself is well reflected in our society; as evidenced by the ever increasing rise in abuse, pornography and violence, not only in the news, but also popular media. Could all of this have anything to do with our early education?

From the moment we discover our most intimate parts, we are all too often warned ‘not to touch’ and even reprimanded for being ‘naughty’. Rather than enforcing this outdated Victorian attitude, which not only shrouds the body in dark mystery, but also creates a deeper sense of mistrust; isn’t it time we began teaching a deeper appreciation and value for our incredible bodies. Let’s face it children are often taught to take more care of their toys than themselves. In our mind dominated world, the body is often seen as a functional necessity.

However when we remind ourselves of how miraculous it is that a single cell can become a multi-trillioned, conscious living being; then it would make sense to begin our education with a healthy attitude of respect. After all a healthy mind creates a healthy body.

Taking Responsibility
Reproductive health is much more than maternal mortality, family planning, disease or sexual problems; it is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. In short, it is an indication of how we look after ourselves. Good breathing habits, hydration and optimum nutrition coupled with appropriate exercise and rest and the ability to communicate openly are a small price to pay for health and vitality. Ultimately, it is about caring and self- responsibility is the key.

Good health is a birthright and the basis for having right relationships both with ourselves and others and this in turn will inevitably lead to a more peaceful, productive future for all.

 

DETOX FOR MORE ENERGY

- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

One of the quickest ways to boost your energy and sense of wellbeing is to undertake a ‘detox’ program. With the year newly underway, it is also a good time to balance the indulgences of the festive period and give your digestive system a well earned rest.

While traditionally seen as an alternative health practice, used to complement the treatment of ill-health conditions; detoxification is actually a very natural process and one that is constantly taking place in your body. In fact your body is designed to constantly gather up and remove toxins from in and around the cells, so that they can continually produce vital energy and keep you living life to the full.

Toxicosis
It is normal for your cells to contain some toxins; however it is only when they accumulate to a point where they interfere with normal cell function that problems can arise.

There are two major types of toxins that can accumulate in the body:
• environmental toxins like chemicals and pollutants that we are exposed to through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat and
• metabolic toxins, which are produced naturally by the cells and by microorganisms that assist in breaking down indigested food.

The first sign that toxins are building up is energy loss; however, if a group of cells is affected, specific health challenges can develop. If the condition continues, it is possible for the DNA of the cells to be damaged.

Toxic Connection
While most chronic health conditions are the result of a number of co-factors; allowing your body to accumulate toxins can eventually contribute to a wide variety of health problems including inflammation, skin conditions, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, major organ dysfunction, autoimmune disease and even heart disease and cancer.

Natural Elimination
Most of the toxins released by the cells, or ingested from the environment are broken down in the liver and then eliminated from the body. Every time you urinate, defecate, exhale, cough or sneeze, your body is eliminating toxins from your system.

As your exposure to toxins increases, so too does the process of elimination. This can result in bad breath, nausea, diarrhea, skin eruptions and headaches and can be misinterpreted as a cold or an allergic reaction.

In order to preserve your health, your body will attempt to store some of the toxins in your fat tissues. This is one of the reasons some people find it so hard to lose weight.

Keep it Simple
The first step is to cut out or at least reduce anything that may contribute to your existing toxic condition. This would include:
• all processed, refined and artificial foods as well as
• coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar and sweeteners, salt and animal products.

Now give your body the support it needs by:
• breathing plenty of fresh air
• resting physically and emotionally
• staying hydrated with purified water and herbal teas
• eating fresh, colourful fruits and vegetables
• gently increasing lymph circulation through rebounding

For most, an ideal time would be over a weekend; however this can be extended to 10 days. Be aware that you may experience ‘detox’ symptoms like light headedness, tiredness, nausea and headaches. Always cleanse safely and when necessary under the guidance of a trained professional.

Maintenance
Be aware that chronic health conditions take time to develop and will take time to heal. The secret lies in regular maintenance cleansing. In addition, any positive benefits that you may gain will only last as long as your dietary and lifestyle choices support your health. To get the most from life, you need to be supporting your body’s self cleansing mechanism every day.

 

HEALTH IN THE SUN
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Something magical happens when the sun shines. It’s as though we get a new lease on life - everything is bathed in a golden glow of health and vitality. When I lived in the UK, I used to think they shipped a whole new nation of people in, each and every summer - the difference was that noticeable. Like bears, we seem to come out of hibernation, filled with a renewed sense of purpose and vision. People genuinely seem happier, freer and more sociable. Living in the Southern Hemisphere, we have the added festivities of the year end and Christmas time.

Ancient Cultures
The health benefits of the sun have long been recognized. Ancient cultures worshipped the sun god Ra, as the bringer of life; while the Indian Vedic scripts teach that all living beings get their energy from the sun. Today, science agrees that life on Earth could not exist without the sun.

Sun Food
Light energy is one the 50 essential nutrients that we need to build and maintain our health; along with oxygen, water, vitamins and minerals, it is a veritable feast for the body, mind and soul. Apart from providing light and warmth, sun energy is absorbed by chlorophyll in green plants and used to convert carbon dioxide and water into the nutrients that perpetuate the food chain. While the effects of light depravation are not as instant as a lack of oxygen, in the long run, they can be just as detrimental.

SAD
One of the most recognized conditions relating to sun depravation is SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Occurring more in Northern Hemisphere countries, SAD is characterized by depression associated with a lack of light. A milder form, known SSAD or Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder, can affect an even greater number of people.

Few people realize that our current indoor lifestyles may well be creating the same depressing effect. Many people rarely experience sun on their bodies, spending most of their days and nights in artificial sub-lighting. One of the more successful remedies for SSAD is simply getting more outdoor activity time, particularly on sunny days, to increase solar exposure.

Heliotherapy
Throughout history, sunlight has been used as a healing protocol. In the early twentieth century, heliotherapy was used to treat many disorders, including tuberculosis, rickets in children and even war wounds; in fact, hospitals were designed to allow access to more sunlight. Even today, sunlight remains an important hospital design consideration, with a recent study showing that spinal-surgery patients need much less pain medication when assigned to bright, sunny rooms. Studies also show that MS sufferers benefit greatly from basking in the sun. Studies show that the incidence of MS is up to five times greater in the northern hemisphere than near the Tropics.

Vitamin D Factor
Unfortunately, our reliance on medication and the flood of marketable vitamin D enriched products, means that one of Nature’s most potent healing aids has faded into the background. This has been greatly accelerated by the fear of skin cancer. Few people now venture outdoors without first lathering themselves with the highest available protection factor sunscreen. Evidence suggests however, that this practice may promote a vitamin-D deficiency that could well have life-long implications

Sun exposure is essential for the natural production of Vitamin D. It is now well established that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with lower levels of cancers of the breast, colon, kidney and reproductive organs. It has been noted that people with Spinal Cord Injuries and MS often have decreased levels of Vitamin D. Evidence suggests that Vitamin D may also play a preventative role in diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, cardio vascular disease and infections.

Safe in the Sun
While the sun has tremendous healing value, it can also be very dangerous. As with anything, moderation is the key. The best times to get sun exposure are before 10.00am and after 3.00pm. It is important to be aware of your skin typing, as this will determine your safe sun exposure time. Fair skinned people may only need as little as 5 minutes a day, while dark skinned people may need as much as 4 hours to make the same quantity of vitamin D. Supplementing with essential fatty acids (Omega 3) will enhance the benefits of the sun and increase your natural sun resistance.

If you are spending longer periods in the sun or during peak sun time (between 11am and 2 pm) always make sure that you are well protected, with hats, clothing and appropriate sun screen lotion.

For more information and other sun related information, please visit www.healsa.co.za.

 

KEEPING ABREAST WITH CANCER
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

The first time I heard about young women voluntarily having their breasts removed, to prevent genetically inherited breast cancer, I was shocked. However, prophylactic mastectomy, or breast cancer prevention surgery is a very real option for women who are considered high risk due to family history; even though they may never get cancer.

Breast cancer
Aside from skin and lung cancer, breast cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers, affecting an estimated 1 in 8 women. More than 80% of cases occur in women over the age of 50 and while the exact cause is not yet fully understood, it is believed to be hormonally related.

Fortunately, early detection can make a significant difference in fighting the disease and for this reason, regular self examination is recommended.

Breast health
Every woman should become aware of her breasts, to determine what is normal for her body and to be able to recognize any changes. Breast size and shape vary considerably from woman to woman, as do nipple size and shape. In addition, many womens’ breasts change before their menstrual period, making them feel tender and lumpy. It is recommended that a monthly self-examination should be practiced by all women over the age of 18, the week following her menstrual period.

To examine your breasts, use a gentle circular motion and move the flat side of your hand over each breast to check for any lump, hard knot or thickening. Do not squeeze or prod your breasts. It is also important that you feel around your collarbone and armpit for any swellings or lumps.

What should you keep an eye out for?
• A new lump or hard knot found in your breast or armpit
• Dimpling, puckering or indention in your breast or nipple
• Change in the size, shape or symmetry of your breast
• Swelling or thickening of the breast
• Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
• Nipple discharge, especially any that is bloody, clear and sticky, dark or occurs without squeezing your nipple
• Changes in your nipple such as tenderness, pain, turning or drawing inward, or pointing in a new direction
• Any suspicious changes in your breasts

If you should find any changes from what is normal for you, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Remember that 9 out of 10 lumps are not caused by cancer and will prove to be benign.

Preventative Measures
Bras - In their book ‘Dressed to Kill – the Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras’, researchers Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer reported that wearing a bra can increase the risk breast cancer, by compressing the breast tissue and reducing circulation. Oxygen deficiency causes cells to mutate and become cancerous. They found that women wearing a bra 24 hours a day, had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer; women wearing their bras more than 12 hours a day, but not to bed, had a 1 out of 7 risk and women wearing bras less than 12 hours a day, had a 1 in 152 risk of developing breast cancer. Women who rarely or never wore bras had a 1 out of 168 risk.

It is a good idea for every woman to gently massage around her breasts and underarms, to stimulate circulation once she has removed her bra.

Dairy - There is a growing body of evidence to support the contention that hormones found in dairy products increase the risk of hormonally sensitive cancers. Indeed, some studies suggest that dairy food may be the most potent factor in the development of breast cancer.

Further studies show that breast cancer incidence can be associated with higher consumption of cheese, meat, and alcohol, while vegetable consumption (particularly green leafy vegetables) and drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day offers significant protection.

Interestingly Eastern communities traditionally have a very low incidence of breast cancer, until they adopt a more westernized lifestyle. In China, the slang name for breast cancer translates as ‘Rich Woman’s Disease’.


THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Most of us have faced that awkward moment of silence, when we frantically scan our memory banks looking for a name to match the face of the smiling stranger standing in front of us. Stress is usually to blame for these momentary lapses and the best advice is to simply stop trying, relax and your memory will return.
Unfortunately, for millions of people, memory loss can signify something much more serious.

Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia found mostly in people over the age of 60. It is a progressive degenerative brain disorder, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. First identified by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, Alzheimer’s Disease now affects up to 10% of people between the age of 60 and 75 and as many as 50% over the age of 85. Statistics suggest that even though people are living longer, healthier lives, the number affected by the disease may triple by the year 2050.

The disease is characterized by widespread loss of brain cells, caused by toxic ‘plaque’ deposits scattered throughout the brain and nerve fiber ‘tangles’, which interfere with vital cognitive processes and eventually choke off the living cells. As brain cells degenerate and die, the brain noticeably shrinks causing not only memory loss but also disorientation, inability to perform routine tasks, personality changes, disturbed sleep patterns, loss of speech and bowel function and eventual death.

Preventable
Mainstream medical opinion has not yet fully determined the actual causes of Alzheimer’s disease and as a result, the condition currently has no cure or effective treatment. However, numerous studies have shown that risk factors can be greatly reduced by taking appropriate precautionary measures. Professor David Smith, Deputy Head, Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford goes as far to suggest that ‘Alzheimer's is a preventable disease, not an inevitable part of ageing.' Some of the possible related causes currently under investigation include:

Aluminum
Some, but not all, studies suggest that an accumulation of aluminum in the brain may be linked to Alzheimer's disease. One hypothesis suggests that aluminum induces production of free radicals, which generate an inflammatory response that may affect the progression of the disease.

In his book ‘What Really Causes Alzheimer’s Disease’, Professor Harold D. Foster links mineral depleted soils – specifically calcium and magnesium, which increases susceptibility to aluminum toxicity, increased use of aluminum in everyday products like packaging, canning and anti perspirants; as well as acidic drinking waters, which increases the levels of dissolved aluminum with the rapid increase of the disease. His book is freely available at www.hdfoster.com.

Homocysteine
High levels of Homocysteine have been identified as a risk factor for the development of cognitive disorders. Homocysteine is a toxic substance produced everyday by the body during metabolic chemical reactions. This substance is usually converted into important body chemicals that are used to maintain health. These include SAMe a powerful brain chemical and Glutathione, a very powerful antioxidant. Specific nutrient deficiencies, including Folic Acid, Zinc and vitamins B2, B6 and B12 can result in a build up of Homocysteine in the body. High levels of Homocysteine have also been linked to cardiovascular disease, poor blood circulation to the brain and silent strokes, which are also associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

Idea Density
The old saying use it or lose it certainly seems relevant when it comes to brain functioning. According to the Nun study, there is a statistically significant correlation between using your brain at a young age and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study found that people who have had mentally stimulating jobs tend to have a lower incidence of the disease.

Preventative Prescription
Old age should be about having wisdom, peace and happiness. You should be able to enjoy good friends and family with many fond memories. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start the fight for the health of your brain. There are ways in which Alzheimer’s can be prevented, or have it’s progress slowed or halted in the early stages. The key to beating the disease lies in taking early preventive measures.

• Reduce potential aluminum toxicity, by avoiding aluminum linked products.
• Increase your intake of antioxidant rich foods to minimize free radical damage.
• Regularly consume cold water fish to increase essential fatty acids, which play an important role in brain health.
• Ensure that you are getting enough magnesium and calcium to reduce aluminum absorption.
• Increase your intake of foods rich in vitamins B2, B6, B12, Zinc and folic acid to ensure that Homocysteine levels are kept low.

All of these nutrients are abundant in a diet rich in fruits, (especially berries) vegetables (especially leafy greens), whole grains, seeds and nuts. It is also important to drink plenty of water and keep your mind and body active throughout your life.


HPV - GET INFORMED
- Article by Keith McFarlane for CITI HEALTH

Commenting on health issues can be a very precarious occupation. There are always at least two sides to every argument and only time can tell how the big picture plays out. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of cancer, which can be a highly emotionally charged event with potentially devastating consequences. It is important, when dealing with any health condition, that we hear all sides of the debate, so that we are able to make well informed decisions.

Cervical Cancer and HPV
In South Africa, an estimated 6 700 women develop cervical cancer every year; this means a lifetime risk for 1 in 26 women. It is currently believed that certain strains of the HPV or Human Papillomavirus are responsible for this cancer.

Genital HPV infections are very common and are sexually transmitted. Of the more than 100 types of HPV, more than 30 types can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Although HPVs are usually transmitted sexually, doctors cannot say for certain when infection occurs. Most HPV infections occur without any symptoms and go away without any treatment over the course of a few years. However, HPV infection can persist for many years, with or without causing cell abnormalities. Of the 100 strains, only 10 to 30 can cause cancerous lesions on the cervix (the outer end of the uterus), making them the primary culprit of cervical cancer. The rest lead to skin infections that cause genital warts or common warts on the hands and feet. Certain strains

Vaccine
Recently, a new vaccine called Gardasil, which contains 4 types of HPV, hit the market, offering women protection against the cancer linked strains of HPV. While the initial possibility of eradicating the cancer causing virus offers tremendous hope, the vaccine has also heralded a clash between health advocates promoting the vaccine and social conservatives who say immunizing teen-agers could encourage sexual activity.

In addition, there are also those who question the actual threat of the virus, believing that immunization, can in fact lead to a higher risk of developing the cancer.

Following studies, the vaccine appears to be virtually 100 percent effective against a few of the most common cancer-causing HPV strains; however, if infection has already occurred, then it is not effective.

Mandatory for school girls
Promoters of the vaccine would like to see it become part of the standard roster of shots that young girls receive just before puberty. While this may prevent viral infection, it may lead to further health complications as well as promoting promiscuity.
In addition, school-age boys are now being advised to get vaccinated with the cervical cancer vaccine, based on the notion that boys could get throat cancer if they have oral sex with an HPV-infected girl.

Revealing Results
As of August 2007, a review of the National Vaccine Information Center revealed the following, quite alarming, statistic about this: 2,207 adverse reactions to Gardasil have been reported. Among them:

• 5 girls died
• 31 were considered life-threatening
• 1,385 required a visit to the emergency room
• 451 of the girls have not recovered as of July 2007
• 51 of the girls were disabled
 

It should be mentioned however, that the number of women vaccinated was not given.

What is Cancer?
When emotions are involved, most of us forget our basic understanding. It is well known that cancer is an oxygen deficiency condition, primarily due to poor immune functioning. It would therefore make sense that our first line of attack would be to look at our lifestyles and take steps to strengthen our immune systems. Otherwise we will always be chasing a bug or one of its mutant strains.

Natural options
If you eat right, exercise and keep stress under control, your immune system should be healthy enough to clear up HPV. Secondly, while the vaccine does show effectiveness, it is not fool-proof. You can still get non-vaccine types of HPV even if you get vaccinated. It is wise not to put all of your ‘eggs’ in one basket.

Finally, remember that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, which means that the risk can be greatly reduced by modifying your lifestyle habits.


 

 
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