Posts tagged vitamin E

3 Secret Weapons Against Stress, Inflammation, and Insomnia by Shelli Stein

3 Secret Weapons Against Stress, Inflammation, and Insomnia by Shelli Stein

You probably already know that inflammation, stress, and lack of sleep aren’t good for you. You may not know, however, that these things have a huge impact on your cells.

More specifically, they all affect the length of your telomeres—which can actually affect the length of your life.

What are Telomeres?

In 2000, a young doctor asked molecular biologist Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn a rather simple question: Does length matter?

Dr. Blackburn’s research, which focused on the role that DNA tips—called telomeres—play in the ability to replicate, eventually earned her a Nobel Prize.

But no one had connected this process to stressful and important life events.

Today, though, the science is clear: Shorter telomeres are associated with dead and dying cells. Short telomeres also suggest a person is susceptible to age-related diseases and even early mortality.

So let’s take a look at what we can do to keep our telomeres LONG so we live a long and healthy life!

What Shortens Telomeres?

Taking care of our telomeres means first understanding what outside factors affect them. These factors are simpler than you might think.

But we should also understand a bit more about what they do.
Telomeres protect the useful, programmed parts of our DNA—which, in turn, affect when our cells divide, or make new cells.

Every time a cell divides, it must make a full copy of its DNA. To do this, the DNA unwinds into smaller, easier-to-copy units called chromosomes. However, when each chromosome is copied, the process cuts off some of the end pieces.

Think of telomeres as those plastic tips on shoelaces that prevent the laces from unraveling. With each cycle, a little bit of telomere DNA gets lost, but the important coding DNA is protected.

Cell division is a natural cause of telomere shortening that we can’t control. We can, however, manage some everyday stressors that shorten our telomeres faster than usual.

Which outside factors affect telomeres the most? Keeping clear of the top three stressors listed below will not only improve your telomere length, but also your overall health.

Top Three Stressors
Inflammation
Stress
Lack of sleep

1. Inflammation is triggered by your body’s defense system fighting off anything it believes is hurting you. This includes germs, chemicals, and radiation.
In a study funded by the National Institute of Health in 2010, chronic inflammation had a significant correlation with shortened telomere length. It was the first large-scale study to show evidence that telomere length can relate to increased amounts of inflammation.

In past articles, I have recommended fighting unwanted inflammation with a healthy diet. I think that’s the easiest and most direct approach to keep systemic inflammation in check.

2. That stress can wreak havoc on your body should come as no surprise. But did you know that psychological stress also boosts inflammation and can speed up the cell-division process?
In a large German study, people with post-traumatic stress disorder had telomeres that were much shorter than those without the disorder. Some studies have also been done on childhood trauma and indicate this sort of stress also shortens your telomeres. This backs up my belief that it is never too soon to start taking care of your stress levels.

3. Sleep is an often-overlooked factor in our overall health. Sleep can help alleviate stress by reducing the production of stress hormones. Sleep also relaxes your blood vessels, which helps your heart, and reduces inflammation.
Several scientists have studied telomere length in people who sleep for different lengths of time. In one recent study done by the University College of London and Cardiff Metropolitan University, telomeres appeared to be shorter in people getting less than five hours of sleep per night compared with those sleeping seven or more hours per night.

These studies do not show us, though, whether less sleep led to shorter telomeres or if shorter telomeres led to insomnia. What we do know is that poor-quality sleep can produce chemicals that lead to inflammation, which is one of the main culprits in shortening telomeres.

While there are many other stressors that shorten telomeres (more than we have room to discuss here), we also have three simple ways to protect and even lengthen your telomeres.

Top Three Protectors
Antioxidants
Exercise
Vitamin D

1. Antioxidants are a class of chemicals known for fighting cancer and other ailments. Antioxidants also help blood vessels expand and regulate the flow of blood. Vitamin C is one type of antioxidant. Other antioxidants include vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help preserve your telomeres and improve your health in other ways as well. A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Cancer discovered that women with low antioxidant intake had shorter telomeres and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet is simple. Some antioxidant-rich foods include chocolate (the darker, the better), blueberries, red wine, tomatoes, and broccoli. I’m sure you have some of your own favorite antioxidant-rich foods, as well.

2. The top recommendation on my annual list of ways to improve your health is movement. (See here.) Regular exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins, improves brain function, and improves cardiovascular health. And it turns out, exercise also lengthens telomeres!
Last year, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco tested the relationship between exercise (along with other lifestyle changes) and telomere length. Participants who walked at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day for six days each week lengthened their telomeres about 10%. Participants also improved their diet, reduced stress, and increased social support.
Please notice that participants did not need overly strenuous exercise to improve their health. Even yoga and gardening can count toward your daily movement requirements.

3. The next telomere enhancer on my list might surprise you, or maybe not. The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, is associated with telomere length. Vitamin D inhibits cell proliferation (how fast your cells grow and divide).

A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a positive association between high vitamin D concentrations and longer telomeres. Although the study shows a correlation and not a direct cause and effect, we know vitamin D reduces cell division in white blood cells (the cells used in most telomere studies), so it may have a direct role in preserving telomeres.

The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun. Do what I do and go for a walk every day to get natural sunlight. People who live in areas that don’t get much sun in the winter can become deficient in vitamin D. In those cases, dietary supplements may be necessary.

How Long Are My Telomeres?

Measuring telomeres is a complicated process. Companies like SpectraCell and Life Length will charge a few thousand dollars for the test and require about five milliliters of blood. That’s about one teaspoon.

Tests like these are still relatively new, so their precision and usefulness in diagnostics are still being evaluated. If you are interested in getting your telomeres checked, talk to your doctor or go online to read more.

Here’s the bottom line, though: Research on the importance of telomere length keeps increasing. The good news is we now have scientific evidence showing how we can preserve and lengthen our telomeres. Reduce your stress, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods like leafy green vegetables and berries.

Follow the suggestions I’ve outlined here, and you’ll find yourself on your way to improving the quality of your life by increasing the length of your telomeres.

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4 Ways to Use Papaya For Beauty – by Herbal Papaya

4 Ways to Use Papaya for Beauty by Herbal Papaya
http://www.herbalpapaya.com

Papaya, the new age of natural beauty! The fruit’s benefits don’t just stop at good health.

Papaya is one of the most versatile fruits out there, as I’m sure you already know if you’ve been reading our blog for awhile.

Did you know that papaya is also used around the world as a beauty product? It could be hard to resist the fresh smell of these papaya beauty products, and if you take the time to try them out, you may be surprised at how much they can improve your beauty routine and overall life goals for glowing skin.

Papaya Leaf Tea Bags

This beauty trick can actually work with any teabag, but why not use our Herbal Papaya Leaf Tea? According to Real Simple, tea bags can help soothe bug bites, stings, and even sunburns. After you drink your tea, make sure the tea bag is cooled and let it sit for five minutes either on the bug bite or sting, and watch as the tea naturally helps ease the itchiness and irritated skin patch.

If you’re trying to soothe a sunburn, brew a pot of tea and pour it into a bath of mildly warm water. Once you jump in, you’ll start to feel relief from the sun damage of the day.

Papaya Soap

If you use papaya soap, you could be rewarded with a variety of positive skin results. We loved reading through this article on Livestrong’s website about all of the fantastic benefits that papaya soap can give to your skin.

Most notably, exfoliation. Because papaya contains the enzyme papain, it is able to facilitate protein breakdowns with water. This is perfect for removing dead skin cells and getting rid of dry and flaky skin. Papaya soap therefore can also help with acne, since acne is simply an abundance of dead skin cells that are clogging up pores instead of shedding.

Papaya Facemask

Similar to the effects of body soap, a papaya face mask can help you thoroughly exfoliate the skin cells on your face. Papayas are rich in vitamins E and C, as well as that powerhouse enzyme papain, which all help to get rid of dead skin cells and reveal brightened skin underneath. Because of these attributes, papaya easily becomes a natural exfoliator and great fruit with which to create a DIY face mask.

All for staying frugal, we loved this post by Minimalist Beauty – go to their website, on how to make a papaya face mask at home using all natural ingredients to help keep your skin smooth and soft.

Papaya Shampoo

You’re probably thinking by this point that papaya can very well become your one-stop beauty product and you may just be right – you can also use papaya for hair health! Papaya shampoo have been known to help with hair loss, reduce dandruff (those pesky dead skin cells again!), and soften hair while restoring its natural shine and adding volume.

If you want to try out your own papaya hair treatment at home and witness the benefits yourself, check out the DIY papaya honey hair mask by Daily Curlz – look on their website.

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What is the Scoop on Papaya Seeds? by Herbal Papaya

What’s the Scoop on Papaya Seeds? by Herbal Papaya
http://www.herbalpapaya.com

The many health benefits to be found in papaya seeds.

Papaya seeds are often overlooked when eating the juicy fruit they’re encased in, but their unique health benefits are not something that should be ignored.

In general, papaya has antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamins A, C and E, and flavonoids, which are all good for supporting immunity. Papayas are also known for how strong they are in fiber.

Papaya leaves, specifically, are popular due to their blood support capabilities and how well they promote a clean bloodstream and maintain blood platelet functions.

So, where does that leave papaya seeds? What is the scoop on those little black seeds in the middle of the papaya fruit that people think are inedible?

Well, it’s time to start eating your seeds people and here’s why.

The Benefits of Papaya Seed

Digestion

The most well-known benefit to papaya seeds is how they help in digestion. Papayas contain the enzyme papain, which supports a healthy digestive tract and aids in removing toxins. Papaya seeds especially are rich in papain, which can be seen in how they’re sometimes used to help fight against parasites and intestinal worms.

Similar to how papain breaks down undigested protein waste, it can also break down parasites and their eggs. A healthy level of enzymes like papain tend to make your intestinal tract less hospitable to worms and parasites.

In addition to papain, papaya seeds contain carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid that is also good at disposing of parasitic worms.

Liver Cleansing

In traditional Chinese medicine, a teaspoon of papaya seeds may aid in removing harmful toxins from the liver. Papaya seeds have been used for centuries in improving vital functions of the liver and for good reason.

Because of the cleansing benefits of papaya, it is sometimes used in people with excessive alcohol consumption.

Besides reducing the negative effects of alcohol, papaya seeds can also prevent or support cases of food poisoning. Papaya seeds are thought to have a potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive system, which helps kill bacterial infections such as E coli, Salmonella and Staph.

How to Eat Them

Papaya seeds have a taste that’s reminiscent of black pepper and wasabi. Because of their flavor profile, papaya seeds are often used as a pepper substitute.

You can eat them whole and straight from the papaya but they will have a somewhat bitter taste. Other people enjoy grinding them down with a pestle and mortar to powder form and sprinkling them on their food.

If you want to eat papaya seeds whole but they’re too bitter for your tastebuds, try them with a teaspoon of honey to sweeten them in a natural way.

Things to Know

There are many benefits that come from eating papaya seeds, but as with anything, they are best to use in moderation. Many people can eat a teaspoon of papaya seeds a day, but if you double or triple that intake, you could actually increase digestive problems.

It is recommended that you start out with small portions, and work up to the suggested daily amount to allow your stomach to become accustomed to the bitter flavors and papain enzyme.

When eating papaya seeds, make sure to chew them and don’t just swallow them whole. The reason for this is because of how tough the outside shell of the seed is, it’s unlikely to be broken down during digestion.

Because of their fertility effects, it’s recommended to avoid papaya seeds if you’re trying to get pregnant and during your pregnancy.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are various health benefits from papaya seeds and many different ways to eat them. So, next time you finish a papaya instead of avoiding the seeds, try a few and see what you think. They’re just another factor to why papayas are such an important fruit for our bodies and why they’re often called Fruit of the Angels.

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