Acts Of Kindness = Win-win-win Health Benefits!

 

Wow, we all know we feel good when we do something nice for someone else, but I didn’t know the health benefits were so tangible, no only for the giver, but also for the receiver AND any by-standers. Plus, who knew the effect could be more profound health-wise than exercising 4 times a week?!

 

Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love.
Which linger and continue to uplift others long after your sharing. 

~ Rumi

The Act of Kindness and it’s Positive Health Benefits

 Did you know…that whether you are the giver, the receiver or the observer of an act of kindness — you reap tremendous benefits to your health?

Yes, this is a phenomenon that has been discovered not too long ago. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the act of kindness has a positive effect on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a naturally occurring neuro-chemical that has a calming, mood regulating, and anti-anxiety effect … and it’s regarded as a “feel good” substance because it serves as a pathway for pleasure in the brain.

The mechanism of action in most anti-depressant drugs is that they stimulate the production of serotonin chemically, which helps alleviate depression.

One of the most fascinating research findings to come out in recent years is that whenever a simple act of kindness is extended by a human being towards another, it results in a significant improvement in the functioning of the immune system and increased production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness as well as in the person extending the kindness.

What’s even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness also experience a similar strengthening of the immune system and increased production of serotonin! Kindness is a win-win-win scenario which produces beneficial effects in the giver, the recipient and the observer.

People naturally feel good when they give, help or serve others because they experience something called “helper’s high,” which authors Allan Luks and Peggy Payne (The Healing Power of Doing Good) describe as a feeling of exhilaration and burst of energy similar to the endorphin-based euphoria experienced after intense exercise … followed by a period of calmness and serenity.

The benefits of kindness are not limited to immune system strengthening and serotonin production. Research has shown that those who routinely engage in acts of kindness, such as volunteers, experience alleviation of stress, chronic pain, and even insomnia.

An article in Psychology Today titled “What We Get When We Give” (by Christine Carter, PhD., 2/18/10) states: “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying — and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”

A study conducted at Harvard University, called this phenomenon the “Mother Teresa Effect.” Researchers showed a film to 132 Harvard students about Mother Teresa’s work among the poor people of Calcutta. They then measured the level of Immunoglobin A present in their saliva. [Note: Immunoglobin A is an antibody that plays a critical role in immunity.]

The test revealed markedly increased levels of Immunoglobin A in all the test subjects — this, after simply witnessing somebody else involved in charity work.

Considering the abundance of proof that acts of kindness increase one’s sense of self-worth … enhance feelings of joyfulness … boost one’s sense of physical and emotional well-being … increase sense of happiness, optimism and self-worth … decrease feelings of depression … and diminish the effect of diseases and disorders … one of the best things we can do is find opportunities to extend kindness, and teach children to do the same.

Here are a few suggestions to extend the act of kindness to other:

  • Smile at strangers … especially those who are having a bad day
  • Volunteer your time to do charity work or help wherever there’s need
  • Watch movies that display kindness
  • Write a note to let someone know they are loved
  • Give compliments often
  • Give up your place in line to another person
  • Donate blood
  • Write a thank-you note, especially to someone who’s not expecting thanks

In his book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks states that volunteering, entertaining, regular club attendance, or faith group attendance is “the equivalent of getting a college degree or more than doubling your income.”

Source: http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/act-of-kindness/

(Image: Timeline Photos)

PERSONAL NOTE: Speaking of giving, Raw Food World is not only offering their biggest discount (17.5%!!!) of the year between now and the end of June, but also giving away free Vitamin D-3 patches and a chance to win an all expenses paid retreat getaway! You can find out more on my What’s New page.

Related Self-help Health posts:

Gratitude And The DNA Connection

Get Healthier With Gratitude

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Mycobacterium vaccae: Bacteria That’s GOOD For Your Brain!!

 

Reading this article will give you yet one more reason for spending plenty of time outdoors, whether walking through the woods, working in the garden, or making mud pies with the neighborhood kids. 🙂

 

Get Outdoors and Try to Get “Infected”
With These Brain-Healthy Bacteria

We know that eating a variety of organic fruits and vegetables promotes good health…

We also know spending time in nature, whether it’s walking through green spaces or spending time in the garden, can increase feelings of well-being and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.

Now researchers have discovered another reason why spending time outside makes us feel so much better: Soil contains a beneficial strain of bacteria that can improve cognition and lower some risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Read on to learn more about this friendly microbe and how it can keep your brain strong…

The helpful bacterium is known as Mycobacterium vaccae (or M. vaccae). It’s abundant in soil. When we’re outdoors we breathe it in the open air…

As you may know, science is homing in on the connection between our microbiome – the beneficial microbes in our gut — and brain function. Some researchers even go so far as to call the gut the second brain. (For more information on gut and brain health, see Issue #205.)

A 2013 study published in the journal Behavioral Processes provided more evidence for this theory when researchers Dorothy Matthews and Susan Jenks fed a group of mice live M. vaccae bacteria and then had them run a maze. A control group ran the maze without the benefit of the microbe.

The results were stunning. Mice that ate the bacteria before and during the trials “completed the maze twice as fast as controls and with reduced anxiety-related behaviors.”

M. vaccae acts like an “old friend”

The “old friends” or “hygiene” hypothesis of stress-related diseases states that, because we spend less time in nature and overuse antibacterial soaps and other germ-killing aids, our bodies no longer reap the benefits of microbes like M. vaccae, which have helped humans survive and thrive for thousands of years.

The hypothesis gets its name from the strategy of ‘reintroducing’ humans to their old friends [beneficial bacteria] to promote optimal health and wellness.

Without them our bodies fall prey to the negative effects of stress and chronic inflammation, and this adversely affects our bodies’ own ability to prevent diseases.

Chronic inflammation also contributes to depression, which is not only a danger in its own right, but is also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (see Issue #117).

In a 2016 study published in the journal Trends in Immunology, researchers “immunized” mice with M. vaccae and found that their exposure to the microbe (or infection, if you will) prevented stress-induced colitis and reduced fear, anxiety, symptoms of inflammation and poor stress management.

The Connection Between M. Vaccae,
Serotonin and Alzheimer’s Disease

The reason for the animals’ decreased anxiety in the above studies is that ingestion of M. vaccae stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain. Higher levels of this neurotransmitter elevate mood and decrease anxiety.

Serotonin is the “feel good” neurotransmitter that’s also essential to synaptic functioning. Your neurons need serotonin to communicate with each other. This molecule also plays a crucial role in memory and learning.

Serotonin production naturally slows as we age. Research suggests that this decrease could be linked to depression, decreased cognition, memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Studies of autopsied brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease have shown serious serotonin deficiencies. Being low on serotonin doesn’t necessarily cause cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, but it is an indicator that overall brain health and functioning has been compromised.

Big Pharma has been trying to create drugs that boost serotonin, but so far they haven’t been effective. So your best bet to prevent low levels of serotonin is to actively stimulate its production with M. vaccae – and by other means.

How to Increase Your Intake of M. vaccae

Spending time in green places, city parks and uninhabited woods alike, increases your exposure to M. vaccae. Get outside and breathe the fresh air as often as you can.

Eating fruits and vegetables directly from the tree, shrub or vine also helps you to ingest beneficial quantities of this microbe. As long as they’re grown without pesticides and herbicides, you’ll be pretty safe to eat them without washing. (I’d be wary of vegetables grown in or near the ground, especially in manure-rich soil. Those I’d wash.)

Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that gardening or otherwise closely interacting with the earth gives you even more M. vaccae.

Long-time gardeners swear that spending time among their plants is therapeutic. Now we have a new reason to think so.

Spend some time playing in the dirt with your kids or grandkids. Try planting a small flower garden that you all can tend together. Grow one or two vegetable plants and eat the produce right off the plant. Or visit a local farm and sample their wares.

As long as you’re outside, eating organic fruits and veggies and getting dirty once in a while, you’ll be doing your brain a favor.

 Source: Brain Health Breakthroughs Newsletter by Lee Euler

Related Self-help Health posts:

Walking: Just Do It (In Nature!)

Natural Ways To Treat Alzheimer’s

Trees: They’re Not Just For Hugging

FYI, there’s a free on-line series starting on the 12th that ties in nicely with the idea of spending more time digging in the dirt. It’s the 3rd Annual Home Grown Summit. which will feature 38+ presenters sharing their best “secrets” about growing food, living sustainably, creating community, and more….

Picture

You can go to my “What’s New” page to find out more about the summit, plus see the list of e-books and reports the Grow Network offers for free.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

If You Eat Ice Cream, Be Sure To Read This!

 

Okay, so I knew a lot of what they put in commercial ice cream these days wasn’t good for us, but it’s even worse than I thought, especially with “main stream” brands. And it turns out even many “healthy” varieties are usually anything but. When I’m not making my own version of ice cream using frozen banana chunks and full fat coconut milk (with some vanilla powder, a dash of cinnamon, and maybe some walnuts, Action Whey, cacao or fruit thrown in), I usually rely on Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. Heavenly, healthy, and as satisfying as “the real thing,” AND it happens to be on Food Babe’s recommended list. Yea!

If you want to have your ice cream and be healthy, too, then you’ll want to read this in-depth exposé from Vani to make sure you’re making the right choices……

 

Is There Really A Healthy Ice Cream Brand?

I love ice cream! When I want a treat, ice cream is one of my favorites! But take a walk through the typical ice cream aisle and you’ll find a minefield of risky (and sometimes dangerous) additives mixed with factory farmed milk. I’m a firm believer that everyone should still enjoy treats from time to time, but don’t consider it a treat to poison myself with heart-wrecking trans fats, carcinogenic poisons like glyphosate, and additives linked to gut inflammation. I’ve learned that you can enjoy treats (even ice cream!) that won’t destroy your health and pack on the pounds, but you just need to know what to look for.

There are now some brands that seem healthier like Halo Top and Arctic Zero, and many people have been asking me if they are TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. I’ll get to them in a moment, but first let’s check out what you’ll find in the major ice cream brands.

If you see any of these additives in ice cream, do yourself a favor and put it back on the shelf…

Gut wrecking emulsifiers: Most ice creams are full of emulsifiers that have been shown to disrupt the good bacteria in your gut and can lead to disease and obesity. Companies use these because it’s cheaper than filling their product with 100% whole food ingredients. Of course the main ingredients in ice cream (cream and sugar) are also linked to obesity, but when you eat the real thing you feel more satisfied and are less likely to down an entire pint.

Some of the worst emulsifiers in ice cream…

Artificial Colors: Whenever you see a color like Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 5, or Blue 1, these are derived from petroleum and linked to several health issues including allergies, cancer, and hyperactivity in children.

Mono and Diglycerides (or Partially Hydrogenated Oils): These contain trans fat which is strongly correlated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The CDC has linked trans fat to at least 20,000 heart attacks per year and the Institute of Medicine says there is no safe level to eat. This additive is often found in low-fat ice creams where they are trying to make up for what they took out, but you’ll find it in many others too!

Sugar Alcohols and Zero-Calorie Sweeteners: “No Sugar Added” and “Carb Smart” ice creams are packed sugar alcohols like maltitol syrup and sorbitol. These are associated with destroying gut heath, and a healthy gut is the key to good health and a slim waistline. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium have been shown to contribute to weight gain by encouraging sugar cravings. When you eat something sweet – even when it has no calories – your brain is tricked into wanting more calories because your body is not getting enough energy (i.e. calories) to be satisfied. So you keep craving sweets, eating sweets, and gaining weight. They also come with serious health risks!

Artificial flavors: These synthetic flavors are made from proprietary chemicals to make fake food taste real. This is not a single ingredient – each flavor may contain of up to 100 ingredients, including synthetic chemicals, solvents and preservatives such as BHA, propylene glycol, MSG, parabens, and more.

These ice cream brands look healthier… BUT…

Natural Flavors: The only difference between natural and artificial flavors mentioned above, is that natural flavors are derived from things found in nature (such as beaver glands). Just like artificial flavors, they are created in a lab by a team of scientists and can contain up to 100 hidden ingredients. The bottom line: You have no idea what you are eating – and it might be propylene glycol, BHA, and parabens.

Soybean Oil: This unhealthy oil increases the risk of obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. When it comes to organic Soymilk ice creams, an abundance of soy itself is not healthy in the diet as it can disrupt hormones and lead to disease. Soy also has an abundance of phytic acid that leaches calcium and other vital minerals from your body.

Cottonseed Oil: I was shocked to find cottonseed oil in LaLoo’s Capraccino Almond Fudge Ice Cream. This oil generally comes from GMO cotton crops that require an intense application of agricultural chemicals and have been called the “World’s Dirtiest Crop”. Residues from these pesticides can remain in cottonseed oil and cottonseeds are subjected to intensive chemical refining with toxic hexane, bleach, and deodorizers. I consider it one of the worst ingredients in food.

“Sugar” Instead of “Cane Sugar”: The majority of sugar in this country comes from GMO sugar beets and not from cane. These sugar beets are Roundup-Ready, which means they are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) and don’t die. Whenever an ingredient list just says “sugar” instead of “cane sugar” that indicates it’s from GMO sugar beets. When my team contacted LaLoo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream they said their ingredients are “clean” and that they’re currently working on getting verified by the Non-GMO Project. But, unless you see that label on there, consider it unverified!

Conventional (not organic) Dairy: Some brands like Breyer’s, Tillamook and Häagen-Dazs have some flavors with cleaner ingredient lists with fewer additives, but they don’t use organic cream or milk. I outline all of the reasons to only choose organic dairy products in this post.

Häagen-Dazs has a non-GMO claim on their ice cream, but that doesn’t apply to the cream, milk, or eggs, in that the animals were likely raised on GMO feed. Their non-GMO claim is 3rd party verified by SGS and their standards don’t apply to animal feed – and a rep from Häagen-Dazs confirmed this with us. Ben and Jerry’s is another brand that uses non-GMO ingredients, but admits the cows are still fed GMO grains (but are trying to transition and hopefully will).

Why to avoid dairy from GMO-fed cows:

  • Almost all non-organic dairy cows in this country are fed a diet of GMO grains on a factory farm. I call this “Monsanto Milk” because it is produced with a lot of GMOs which put more money in Monsanto’s pocket (and I don’t want to donate any money to them!).
  • Testing has found other pesticides, antibiotics and drugs (sources: 1, 2) in conventional milk (including ones that are banned), and this is what you could be eating when you eat non-organic ice cream.

Organically raised cows are only permitted to eat organic non-GMO food and organic grass. Ultimately, you want to look for certified organic ice cream to avoid dairy raised with herbicide-laden GMOs, hormones, antibiotics and all the drugs that are prohibited on organic farms.

Let’s discuss HALO TOP Ice Cream…

I’ve gotten a lot of emails about Halo Top because they market themselves as a healthier alternative to regular ice cream that’s low-calorie, high-protein, and low-sugar… and they are REALLY POPULAR right now. This brand has a real “Health Halo” around it (haha), but I’m not buying it. They’ve done such a great job marketing it as healthy ice cream that some people are even treating it like a diet food and the founder says he eats it every morning… which sounds just crazy, but who wouldn’t like to have ice cream for breakfast, LOL. Here’s why that really isn’t a good idea (sorry guys!)…

  1. Halo Top does not use organic cream or milk, which means it is likely made with Monsanto Milk (from cows fed GMOs). Their ice creams also contain non-organic eggs, which likewise, probably comes from chickens fed a diet filled with GMOs and possibly other drugs.

Email from Halo Top (May 2017): “We do use only non-GMO ingredients in Halo Top, and the cows from which we get our dairy ingredients are never treated with growth hormones (like rBST). We’re not yet at a point, though, where we can guarantee the makeup of the grain for the cows’ feed across the supply chain. Working on it though!”

  1. Halo Top uses natural flavors and won’t tell you what’s in them. While this is true for pretty much everyone who uses natural flavors because they are considered proprietary, a member of the Food Babe Army sent me the response they got from Halo Top:

“Hey Vani I felt like this was something that needed to be shared. Halo ice cream that I feel like has been pitching themselves as a healthier ice cream won’t disclose what their “natural flavoring” is. Thought you’d like to know their cop out response: Hi Alyssa! I inquired into the flavorings for you, and it turns out that apparently the flavorings industry is highly competitive, and the flavoring makers we work with keep their exact formula proprietary to themselves for competitive reasons. Even so, we of course require confirmation that the flavors are indeed all-natural, gluten-free, kosher, etc. I know it’s not exactly the answer you were looking for but I hope it helps a little!”

  1. Halo Top uses the sugar alcohol erythritol as its primary sweetener. As more people are recognizing and avoiding artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, food companies are replacing it with erythritol… but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. This additive can wreak havoc on healthy gut bacteria. This can lead to a whole host of diseases and if you’re trying to lose weight or stay slim, keeping your gut healthy is vital! Erythritol is also a powerful insecticide known to cause diarrhea, stomach upset, headache when consumed in “normal amounts”.
  1. Why add fiber to ice cream? This just makes it all too easy to think of Halo Top as some sort of health supplement, when in reality, ice cream shouldn’t be eaten every day (or for breakfast!) and we should be getting our fiber naturally from fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and not from processed fiber additives that were manufactured in a lab. The industry calls these “functional fibers” but they do not function in your body the same as fiber in real food.

Is Arctic Zero Healthier?

Arctic Zero is another “healthy” ice cream that really isn’t. They claim their whey comes from a “GMO-free region” but that doesn’t guarantee how the cows are fed:

Email from Arctic Zero (May 2017):We have no control over what the cows are fed, but please know we get all our whey protein from a GMO-free region. Our whey protein is GMO-free certified before added to our product and our final product is tested for GMO and it is GMO-free. Please know that our whey protein is not produced from genetically modified organisms, and does not consists of, or contain genetically modified organisms. Therefore, our whey protein is certified GMO-free”.

Arctic Zero is not 100% organic, the whey isn’t from organic cows, and it also contains processed “functional fiber” additives and not-so-natural flavors, so I don’t consider this a good choice.

When shopping for ice cream, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it certified organic?
  2. Is it flavored naturally with vanilla bean, lemon, cinnamon, cocoa, etc.? Or, did they take a shortcut with “natural flavors”?
  3. Is it made entirely with whole food ingredients? Or, does it contain additives you don’t have in your kitchen like carrageenan, yellow #5, erythritol, and mono and diglycerides?

If a product doesn’t meet that test, seek out a better brand (there are several!) Here are some of my favorites…

NOTE: Not every flavor by these brands is perfect and you still need to read the ingredient list to make sure you know what you are eating.

  • Three Twins Organic Ice Cream – This is my favorite store-bought organic ice cream and they have a lot of flavors to choose from. A few of them contain natural flavors, but most are flavored naturally with real ingredients like banana, vanilla extract, cinnamon, peppermint extract, etc. – Just check the ingredient list!
  • Alden’s Organic Ice Cream – Know that they do use guar gum, locust bean gum and xantham gum, so not exactly the best choice but they are widely available to most people.
  • Local Organic and Grass Fed Ice Cream – Your local farmers market or natural food stores may carry ice cream made from grass-fed cows on small family farms in your area. Seek these out.
  • Homemade Banana Ice Cream – Just add frozen bite-sized pieces of a very ripe banana to a powerful blender or food processor and puree until it comes to a creamy consistency. This may take a few minutes. It’s that easy and really satisfies an ice cream craving! You can try adding coconut milk, nut butter, cinnamon, cocoa, or vanilla to change it up. Just blend these in after you puree the bananas well.

Source: http://foodbabe.com/2017/05/22/really-healthy-ice-cream-brand/

Tell me what your favorite ice cream brand is in the comment section below, and check out this previous Self-help Health post for 3 variations on coconut milk ice cream from Food Babe.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Meridian Tapping For Depression, Anxiety And More

 

For those of you who are not familiar with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and other forms of meridian tapping, this is a good introduction to an easy to learn type of self-help tool that can be used for any number of issues, including depression and anxiety, which is what this article by Katherine Marko focuses on…….

 

Tapping can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

How To Use Tapping For Depression And Anxiety

 (By Tapping, also known as TFT (thought field therapy) or EFT (emotional freedom technique), is a method that combines ancient Chinese acupressure with modern day psychology. It’s called tapping because you literally tap on points of the body while making certain statements. Advocates of this method further claim that tapping can successfully treat any disorder — even banish depression and anxiety.

What does tapping do? 

Tapping is thought to be extremely powerful and may be used to treat a wide variety of physical and psychological conditions, including pain relief, weight loss, addiction, self-sabotage or financial stress. By tapping end points on meridians — a network of channels that transport energy — energy flow is unblocked and releases the phobia.i

By further focusing on the stressful issue or challenge, you send a calming signal to the amygdala in the brain. This is the part of the brain that sends out the “fight or flight” response. Tapping desensitizes that stress signal. So, in a sense, it alters your brain, energy system and body, and how you react to stress.

How can tapping help with depression and anxiety?

Depression is a common mental disorder that, according to the World Health Organization, affects as many as 350 million people of all ages around the world. It’s characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and poor concentration. It can last a long time or it can be sporadic, substantially impairing your ability to function at work, school or even in your daily life. When it’s at its worst, depression can lead to suicide.

So how can tapping help? For starters, tapping is like acupuncture, except it uses no needles. Both tapping and acupuncture heal through stimulating the body’s meridians and energy flow. So, when we consider the benefits of tapping for depression we can also look at the benefits acupuncture has on depression. According to HealthCMI, research from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It also enhanced the effects Paxil, a commonly prescribed anxiety med.

Tapping can reduce symptoms of depression

Similar studies involving tapping and depression also show promising results. A study published in the journal Integrative Medicine, set out to evaluate the effectiveness of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and EFT in the treatment of depression and anxiety. CBT treats depression with a hands-on approach and a goal to change patterns of thinking or behavior.

The study, which took place in Queensland, Australia recruited 10 local participants. Researchers found that both treatment approaches produced significant reductions in depressive symptoms. The CBT group reported significantly less depression after the treatment, but was not maintained with time. The EFT group reported a significant reduction in symptoms with a delayed effect after three and six-month follow-ups.

So, overall, the study provided evidence to suggest that EFT might be an effective treatment strategy worthy of further investigation. In another study research involving post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans, researchers found that anxiety and depression were both reduced significantly, as was psychological symptoms and pain after EFT.

Here’s how to tap away depression or anxiety

Remember tapping can be used for everything, but for the purpose of this article we’ll focus on depression and anxiety. Here are the tapping guidelines according to The Tapping Solution. Before you begin, identify the problem you want to focus on, and create a statement. EFT Universe suggests that the following phrase works well to clear depression, in particular. “Even though I am depressed, I am a happy person because I deeply and completely accept myself.”

1. Karate chop point

With four fingers on one hand, tap the “karate chop point” on your other hand. The karate chop point is on the outer edge of the hand. Now repeat your statement three times out loud, while continuing to tap the karate chop point five to seven times. Say out loud, “Even though I am depressed, I am a happy person because I deeply and completely accept myself.”

2. Eyebrows

With firm but gentle pressure, as if you were drumming on the side of your desk, tap with two fingers on the inside of the inner edges of the eyebrows (closest to the bridge of the nose) five to seven times. Repeat the statement, “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

3. Sides of the eyes

Then, with both hands tap on the side of both eyes with two fingers, five to seven times while repeating the same statement: “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

4. Cheekbones

Then, with two fingers on each hand, tap on top of the cheekbones, under the eyes. Tap five to seven times while repeating again, “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

5. Above the lips

Then, with one hand, tap under the nose in the crease above the lip with two fingers, five to seven times and repeat, “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

6. Under the mouth

Tap under the mouth, below your lower lip with two fingers, five to seven times and repeat: “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

7. Collar bone

Tap with both hands on either side of the collar bone (under the hard ridge) with four fingers, five to seven times, repeating, “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

8. Beneath the armpit

iNow tap under the armpit (bra level for women) with two fingers, five to seven times and repeat: “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.”

9. Top of the head

Finally, tap on top of the head (center of the crown) with four fingers, five to seven times, repeating: “I am such a happy person. I am so happy.” Take a deep breath and relax.

The tapping order begins at the top, works its way down, and ends by returning to the top of the head to complete the loop. Once you’ve completed the sequence, focus on your depression again. How intense is it on a scale of one to 10? If your depression is higher than “two,” you can do another round of tapping. Keep tapping until your symptoms have subsided.

Depression is treatable

When you’re depressed, for example, it can feel like you’ll never get out from under that dark cloud. But, it’s important to understand that even the most severe depression is treatable. So, if depression is keeping you from living the life you want, then don’t hesitate to seek help.

Learning about your treatment options will help you decide what approach is best for you. No two people are affected in the exact same way by depression. So, treatments may vary from therapy to medication to healthy lifestyle changes. According to HelpGuide.org you shouldn’t rely on medications alone. While medication can relieve the symptoms of depression, it is not usually suitable for long-term use.

Consider natural remedies instead of antidepressants

Research published in the BMJ asked the question: “Does long-term use of psychiatric drugs cause more harm than good?” Researcher Peter C. Gotzsche from Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark believes that taking antidepressants could increase your risk of dying prematurely. Furthermore, he suggests drugs do little for patients over a placebo and that the medicines should be scrapped altogether.

Prescribed meds are generally a Band-Aid solution for an underlying problem. In fact, according to Gotzsche, psychiatric drugs are responsible for the deaths of more than half a million people — aged 65 and older — each year in the Western world. Yet, the debate rages on; many doctors agree that for those who suffer from severe depression drugs could make a critical difference. But there is no “one size fits all” approach to treating depression, which is why meds won’t work for everyone.

Tapping is an alternative therapy treatment that may help you avoid taking potentially dangerous drugs. Even if you are on prescribed meds, you can certainly try tapping as a means for speeding up recovery.

— Katherine Marko

Source: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/how-to-use-tapping-for-depression-anxiety/

Related Self-help Health posts:

Feeling Stressed? Rub Your Ears

Use Acupressure Points To Alleviate Stress

Spirit Gate: Heart 7 For Anxiety, Insomnia And More

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare

Let’s Hear It For Red Onions!!

 

I knew red onions were good for us, partly because they are in the same family as that health-promoting powerhouse garlic, but I didn’t know they had as many health benefits as they do. And I’m so glad to find that out, because awhile back I found a simple recipe for pickled red onions that I just love and eat almost daily. 

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF RED ONION: 4 WAYS RED ONIONS REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK

Today researchers believe that up to 40% of cancers are preventable with a change in dietary habits alone. The compounds and dietary nutrients found in red onion are associated with a decrease risk in developing prostate, colorectal, stomach, and numerous other cancers.

Read on to learn what makes red onions so effective at improving health and how they can help reduce your cancer risks.

What are Red Onions?

Thoughts of their distinctive odor and teary eyes probably comes to mind when you think of slicing into an onion, but how about red onions? Red onions are different than other varieties of onion such as the sweet Vidalia onion and the milder flavor white onion.

Aside from their flavor and color, red onions won’t make you cry and they also contain different compounds that can inhibit cancer growth. They are part of the collective family of flowering plants belonging to the allium family, known for their rich content in sulfur containing amino acids. This vegetable family has been extensively studied for its protection against degenerative diseases like cancer.

Read on for 4 key health benefits of red onions…

Health Benefit #1: Enhances Detoxification Pathways

The total antioxidant profile of red onions is suggested to increase the activity of powerhouses like glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase). These defense systems protect against cancer by inhibiting inflammation, repairing DNA and tissue damage, neutralizing free radicals, eliminating carcinogens from the liver, and supporting a variety of detoxification pathways that remove toxins from the body.

The high sulfur content of red onions alone supports the body’s natural ability to detox. Sulfur stimulates several anti-inflammatory processes which promote healing by enforcing antioxidant defenses. Sulfur is one of the best chelating agents that binds with heavy metals in the blood and flushes these toxins from the body. Sulfur is essential to the health and activity of hormones, enzymes, nerves, and red blood cells.

Any interference with these biological processes can lead to the accumulation of carcinogens and the increased inflammation and tissue damage that consequentially increase cancer risks.

Onions are also rich in quercetin, a powerful bioflavonoid. Quercetin aids in the removal of excessive estrogen levels from the body. This antioxidant also stimulates liver function to detoxify estrogen and other carcinogenic agents. Cancer cells of the uterus, breast, ovaries, and prostate are associated with having receptors for estrogen to bind.

Quercetin also exhibits structural similarities to estrogen making them a possible anti-cancer therapy treatment to target breast cancer cells.

Health Benefit #2: Increases Overall Immunity

Red onions contain health-promoting compounds that improve your overall immune response. Both nutritive and non-nutritive compounds found in red onions act on the body using antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral effects to reduce the burden on the immune system. The flavonoid content that contributes to these chemo-preventive properties is higher in red onions than in their white or yellow family members.

Allicin is an antioxidant compound abundantly concentrated in red onions. Allicin is effective at destroying pathogens that weaken the immune response and support cancer development. It combats fungus, bacteria, and viruses. For these reasons red onions are a useful carminative herb that enhances digestive function and improves imbalances in gut microflora.

Along with improving natural abilities to detox, quercetin also has a major impact on reducing inflammation. Quercetin is such a strong anti-inflammatory agent that supplements of this compound are marketed to improve the inflammatory immune cell response associated with histamine release.

Health Benefit #3: Regulates Sugar Levels

One of the benefits of consuming red onions instead of yellow or white is attributed to their low glycemic index. Red onions have a glycemic index (GI) of 10 on a scale of 0 to 100. This means that red onions are slower to release energy which increases blood glucose levels. Eating foods which don’t raise blood glucose if beneficial in preventing the development of type-2 diabetes.

Impaired glucose metabolism is one known contributor of cancer development. Maintaining stable insulin levels is critical to preventing physiological processes that can contribute to cancer. The low GI of red onions is associated with lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow, inhibiting atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries), and also assists in regulating fat cell formation.

These vascular health benefits significantly reduce cancer risk because they are linked with an improvement in metabolism. This impacts hormone function and the health of reproductive organs.

All of this combined with the anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin allow red onions to help to neutralize free radicals that contribute to DNA damage, abnormal cell activity, and cancer growth.

Health Benefit #4: Suppresses Cancer Cell Growth and Development

The high levels of quercetin in red onion was given the credit in certain studies for protecting against laryngeal and gastric cancer, as well as reproductive-related cancers.

Protects against Mutant p53 Activity

Anthocyanins are a naturally occurring compound that give red onions their red hued purple color. Anthocyanins act as a powerful antioxidant weapon in the fight against a mutant gene called p53 that causes oxidative stress and is associated with tumor growth. Anthocyanins in red onion naturally inhibit the destruction that the abnormal functioning p53 gene can cause on cells and tissue.

red-onion-health-benefits-3

 

INHIBITS TUMOR GROWTH & METASTASIS

The pigmenting compounds in anthocyanins are also partly responsible for the protective effects red onions exert against tumor growth. Anthocyanins suppress a cancer cell’s ability to migrate and form tumors by inhibiting angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels that cancer cell’s use as an energy source to grow. By inhibiting angiogenesis, cancer cells cannot form tumors or spread to new areas of the body.The super nutrient quercetin again reveals its powerful antioxidant potential.

Quercetin is so effective at scavenging free radicals that it possesses the ability to prevent tumor cell growth. These influences have been reported in breast cancer cells to induce apoptosis (“cellular suicide”) and activate a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (p21) that shuts down many of the influences that enables cancer cells to proliferate.

The loss of expression or abnormal activity from p21 is implicated at increasing the risk of invasive cancer growth and is associated with the following cancer types:

  • Colorectal
  • Tonsil
  • Gastric
  • Breast
  • Ovarian
  • Esophageal
  • Oral
  • Lung
  • Pancreatic
  • Laryngeal
  • Bladder
  • Gliomas (tumor formation in the brain and spinal cord)
  • Cervical
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer)

 3 Recommendations to Reap the Most Benefits of Red Onions:

As with many foods, there are tricks to cooking red onions to receive the greatest health benefits. Here are a few tips you can utilize to ensure that you are receiving the highest amount of nutrients from red onions in the kitchen:

  1. The majority of the anthocyanin content is in the red skin of the onion. Avoid over peeling the onion and throwing these cancer-fighting compounds in the compost.
  2. The allicin compound in onions is released only when the onion is chopped or crushed. Like garlic, it is beneficial to activate the allicin compound by slicing into an onion a few minutes before adding it to recipes.
  3. Heat degrades many of the antioxidants in red onions. Eating them uncooked as often as possible optimizes the nutrients you are consuming. Consider cooking red onions at a low heat and avoiding high temperatures to limit nutrient loss.

Getting More Health Benefits From Red Onions

How will you include red onions into your diet to reduce your cancer risks? Here is a list of ways that you can add red onions to your diet every day:

  • Add to chili recipes or use as a topping
  • Finely slice into salads
  • Combine into homemade slaws or pickled vegetables
  • Add red onions to the last 2 hours that your bone broth is simmering
  • Mix red onions with the traditional yellow onions into a French onion soup
  • Prepare cold soups such as gazpacho as a hidden way to serve up raw red onion
  • Lightly sauté or roast and use in mixed veggie sides, atop burgers, or in quinoa dishes
  • Dice into chicken and tuna salads or prepare a homemade salsa
  • Blend raw red onion into a creamy guacamole or give other dips and sauces a new take on flavor by pureeing into hummus, tahini, or a Mediterranean baba ghanoush

Source: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/health-benefits-red-onion/

Here’s a yummy sounding recipe I plan to try that uses a whole red onion. And to see the recipe for pickled onions that I mentioned in my intro, check out Tip #7 in this Self-help Health post.

This Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry is the BEST curry I've ever had! It's loaded with homemade grinded spices and incredibly flavorful!

COCONUT CHICKPEA CURRY (VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE)

Preparation 15 min Cook Time 30 min
Serves 4-5     ADJUST SERVINGS
All this Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry takes is one pot, it’s loaded with homemade ground spices’ and incredibly flavorful!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons oil to sauté
  • 2 mediums onions/1 large red onion, sliced
  • 14 ounces/400g fresh tomatoes, diced (if using canned, drain the tomatoes)
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces/454g can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 13.5 ounces/383g can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 small lime

Check out the link below for a cooking video and more on the recipe. Apparently the squeeze of lime at the end is very important. 🙂 

Source: http://jessicainthekitchen.com/coconut-chickpea-curry-recipe/

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

How Being ICH Can Improve Your Brain, Memory And More

 

Okay, first, you’re probably wondering “What the heck is ICH?” right? Well, it stands for inconsistent handedness and it turns out using your non-dominant hand a certain percentage of time actually comes with some nice benefits. I am left-handed myself, but grew up knitting and batting a softball right-handed, because that was how I was taught. This article by Lee Euler makes me think it would be worth my while to start using my right hand a lot more often. Maybe it’s not too late after all for me to grow my brain?! :-)…..

 

On the One Hand This Trait Will
Give You a Superior Memory,
But on the Other Hand….

Nearly all Americans (87%) are right-handed, while only 13% are left-handed.

Researchers have been studying this difference and conducting studies to see what it may mean for some time, but results have been conflicting.

It now seems that whether a person is right- or left-handed is not important when it comes to memory.

What is important is the degree to which a person is right or left handed. If you use your non-dominant hand at least some of the time, you may find your memory will benefit as a result.

This is what researchers have discovered.

The Edinburgh Handedness inventory

Some people use their dominant hand almost exclusively for everyday tasks while others use their less dominant hand part of the time. 55% of Americans are considered to be strongly right-handed. They almost never use their left hand. From one to three percent are strongly left handed.

A score has been devised according to the degree to which a person uses one hand or the other. It’s called the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory.

Pure left- or right-handedness scores 100. On average, people score 80. A score below 80 is called inconsistent handedness (ICH). It means that at least one in ten activities is performed with the non-dominant hand. A score above 80 is termed consistent handedness (CH).

CH has been found to be more prevalent among right-handers and women. Left-handers are largely ICH.

Now where all this becomes interesting is the effect handedness has on the brain.

Inconsistent Handers have Bigger Brains

The corpus callosum connects both sides of the brain and facilitates communication between them. People who are ICH have a larger corpus callosum and increased activation of the right hemisphere. This in turn leads to a better episodic memory.

This is the kind of memory involved with learning, storing, and retrieving information — the ability to describe the details of a recent vacation, for instance.

A number of studies show people with ICH have better recall of words and paragraphs, events from their own life, early childhood memories, everyday memories, dream recall and memory for faces.

This has also been shown to extend beyond the lab into real life, where ICH people report fewer memory problems, particularly those involving conversations and conducting everyday tasks. This is true whether they are left- or right-handed. The relevant trait is whether they make extensive use of both hands.

Connectivity between both hemispheres of the brain is also concerned with the capacity to update beliefs. This is considered to be a broad example of our ability to be flexible in our thinking.

Studies have shown that ICH people are more likely to be open to persuasion and are better at taking other people’s perspectives. People who are CH (consistent handed) are more resistant to updating beliefs and are less likely to alter their existing viewpoint.

Perhaps also relevant, people who switch back and forth between both hands are less likely to suffer from rumination or other eating disorders, and less likely to suffer from dysmorphia — a distorted view about the way they look.

Form New Neural Pathways with Neurobics

If you are strongly left- or right-handed, there’s a very simple way to improve your episodic memory and increase cognitive flexibility.

And that is to practice neurobics. These are brain exercises that involve unexpected stimuli.

One of the simplest exercises to strengthen connectivity between both hemispheres of the brain is to use your non-dominant hand more often by incorporating it into everyday life.

This might include eating, stirring drinks, writing, texting, drawing, dialing phone numbers, brushing teeth, opening doors and hoovering. Virtually anything that’s safe to do will help. Do this consistently over time and you should notice a difference.

Dr. P. Murali Doraiswarmy, head of biological psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, says of these activities: “It’s like having more cell towers in your brain to send messages along. The more cell towers you have, the fewer missed calls.”

Personal Note: Did you know that alternate nostril breathing and meditating are other ways to strengthen and grow your corpus callosum? Yep, studies have actually shown this to be true. Also, binaural beat technology increases activity across the corpus callosum.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Is Your Clothing Safe For You And The Planet? Probably NOT!!

 

Hmmm, it seems there are toxins lurking everywhere these days….not only in our food, air and water supply, but also in what we wear. Fortunately, here’s a good  infographic from Underground Health Reporter and some articles about fleece and cotton to help us know what to avoid when shopping for clothing (hint: AVOID fleece like the plague!) and laundry detergent…..

 

 

And speaking of clothing causing health problems, I’ve also been reading lately how fleece microfibers are turning out to be a real hazard to our food supply, the environment, and the animals and aquatic life around us. That’s more than unfortunate news, since we are a nation of fleece-wearing fanatics. 😦 Here is just one of the articles I’ve come across…..

New studies indicate that the fibers in our clothes could be poisoning our waterways and food chain on a massive scale. Microfibers – tiny threads shed from fabric – have been found in abundance on shorelines where waste water is released.

Now researchers are trying to pinpoint where these plastic fibers are coming from.

In an alarming study released Monday, researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara found that, on average, synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash. It also found that older jackets shed almost twice as many fibers as new jackets. The study was funded by outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia, a certified B Corp that also offers grants for environmental work.

“These microfibers then travel to your local wastewater treatment plant, where up to 40% of them enter rivers, lakes and oceans,” according to findings published on the researchers’ website.

Synthetic microfibers are particularly dangerous because they have the potential to poison the food chain. The fibers’ size also allows them to be readily consumed by fish and other wildlife. These plastic fibers have the potential to bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins in the bodies of larger animals, higher up the food chain.

Microbeads, recently banned in the US, are a better-known variety of microplastic, but recent studies have found microfibers to be even more pervasive.

In a groundbreaking 2011 paper, Mark Browne, now a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales, Australia, found that microfibers made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world.

While Patagonia and other outdoor companies, like Polartec, use recycled plastic bottles as a way to conserve and reduce waste, this latest research indicates that the plastic might ultimately end up in the oceans anyway – and in a form that’s even more likely to cause problems.

Breaking a plastic bottle into millions of fibrous bits of plastic might prove to be worse than doing nothing at all.

Barrows lobsterboat

Scary science

While the UCSB study is sure to make waves, researchers are consistently finding more and more evidence that microfibers are in many marine environments and in large quantities.

What’s more, the fibers are being found in fresh water as well. “This is not just a coastal or marine problem,” said Abigail Barrows, principal investigator of the Global Microplastics Initiative, part of the research group Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.

Of the almost 2,000 aquatic samples Barrows has processed, about 90% of the debris was microfibers – both in freshwater and the ocean.

Microfibers are also the second most common type of debris in Lake Michigan, according to Sherri Mason’s research.

Finishing up research into tributaries of the Great Lakes, she’s finding that microfibers are the most common type of debris in those smaller bodies of water. “The majority [71%] of what we’re finding in the tributaries are actually fibers,” Mason said by email. “They exceed fragments and pellets.”

Mason is finding that the wildlife is indeed being affected.

A study out of the University of Exeter, in which crabs were given food contaminated with microfibers, found that they altered animals’ behavior. The crabs ate less food overall, suggesting stunted growth over time. The polypropylene was also broken down and transformed into smaller pieces, creating a greater surface area for chemical transmission. (Plastics leach chemicals such as Bisphenol A – BPA – as they degrade.)

Mason said her concern is not necessarily with the plastic fibers themselves, but with their ability to absorb persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and to concentrate them in animals’ tissues.

An increasingly toxic problem

Gregg Treinish, founder and executive director of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, which oversees Barrows’s microfibers work, said studies have led him to stop eating anything from the water.

“I don’t want to have eaten fish for 50 years and then say, ‘Oh, whoops’,” Treinish said.

His organization received $9,000 from Patagonia to research microfibers in 2016.

“It absolutely has the potential to move up the food chain,” said Chelsea Rochman, a postdoctoral fellow in conservation biology at the University of California at Davis and the University of Toronto. She cautioned, however, against a rush to avoid fish: “I think no one’s really asked questions directly about that yet.”

Rochman’s own recent study of seafood from California and Indonesia indicates that plastic fibers contaminate the food we eat.

Testing fish and shellfish from markets in both locations, Rochman determined that “all [human-made] debris recovered from fish in Indonesia was plastic, whereas [human-made] debris recovered from fish in the US was primarily fibers”.

Rochman said she can’t yet explain why fish in the US are filled with microfibers. She speculates that washing machines are less pervasive in Indonesia and synthetic, high performance fabrics, such as fleece, which are known to shed a lot of fibers, are not as common in Indonesia.

Tiny plastic fibers taken from a water sample in Blue Hill Bay in the gulf of Maine.
(Tiny plastic fibers taken from a water sample in Blue Hill Bay in the gulf of Maine. Photograph: Marine Environmental Research Institute)

Industry reacts … slowly

Companies that have built their businesses on the environment have been some of the first to pay attention to the growing microfiber issue. Patagonia proposed the Bren School study in 2015, after polyester, the primary component of outdoor fabrics like fleece, showed up as a major ocean pollutant.

Patagonia is part of a working group, as is Columbia Sportswear and 18 others, studying the issue through the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), a trade group consisting of about 1,300 companies around the world.

“We believe the outdoor industry is likely one of those [industries that contribute to the microfiber issue], but we just don’t know the breadth,” said Beth Jenson, OIA’s director of corporate responsibility.

In an email, Patagonia spokesperson Tessa Byars wrote: “Patagonia is concerned about this issue and we’re taking concerted steps to figure out the impacts that our materials and products – at every step in their lifecycle – may have on the marine environment.”

Miriam Diamond, an earth sciences professor who runs the University of Toronto lab where Rochman now works, said she believes so-called fast fashion could play a larger role than the comparatively smaller outdoor apparel industry. “What I suspect is that some of the cheaper fabrics will more easily shed fibers. It’s probably that the fibers aren’t as long or that they aren’t spun as well,” Diamond said.

Inditex, which owns Zara and Massimo Duti among others, said microfibers fall into the category of issues covered by its Global Water Strategy, which includes ongoing plans to evaluate and improve wastewater management at its mills.

H&M declined to comment on the microfiber issue, as did Topshop , which responded by email “we are not quite ready to make an official statement on this issue”.

Time to take action

Mark Browne, the researcher responsible for first bringing microfibers to public attention, said that the grace period is over.

“We know that these are the most abundant forms of debris – that they are in the environment,” Brown said. He added that government and industry must be asked to explain “what they are going to be doing about it”.

The Amsterdam-based Plastic Soup Foundation, an ocean conservation project co-funded by the European Union, said better quality clothing or fabrics coated with an anti-shed treatment could help.

The foundation’s director, Maria Westerbos, said a nanoball that could be thrown into a washing machine to attract and capture plastic fibers also seems promising.

Another solution may lie with waterless washing machines, one of which is being developed by Colorado-based Tersus Solutions. Tersus, with funding from Patagonia, has developed a completely waterless washing machine in which textiles are washed in pressurized carbon dioxide.

Others suggest a filter on home washing machines. More than 4,500 fibers can be released per gram of clothing per wash, according to preliminary data from the Plastic Soup Foundation.

But the washing machine industry is not yet ready to act. Jill Notini, vice president of communications and marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, said the washing machine could very well be a source of microfiber debris, but that the proposed solutions are impractical.

She added that the industry still has trouble getting people to clean lint from the filters in their dryers.

For Plastic Soup’s Westerbos, the reluctance of the industries that operate in that crucial place between the consumer and the world’s waterways can no longer be tolerated.

“It’s really insulting that they say it’s not their problem,” Westerbos said. “It’s their problem, too. It’s everybody’s problem.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/20/microfibers-plastic-pollution-oceans-patagonia-synthetic-clothes-microbeads

 

 

And if that’s not enough to have you wondering what IS safe to wear, here’s an article from Dr Mercola about, not only the threat of fleece microfibers, but also the problems with polyester, non-organic cotton and more. He mentions some ways to help mitigate certain issues, but, as he puts it, “Perhaps the simplest way to circumvent all of these problems is also the most biologically elegant, and that is to avoid buying synthetic fiber clothing in the first place, and opt for organic cotton, hemp, silk, wool or bamboo fabrics instead.”

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/03/29/microfibers-yoga-pants-athletic-wear.aspx

And here’s more from Dr Mercola on the subject of clothing….fascinating and scary stuff about the cotton industry that will hopefully have you looking for organic cotton more than ever:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/04/04/non-organic-cotton-clothing.aspx

 

And be sure to visit my What’s New page for information about free health events , resources and specials being offered. 

 

Salud and have a great weekend!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

 Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.