Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Spread Your Infection

It is cold and flu season.  In fact, I am getting over a cold right now.  But, I have a different kind of infection to talk about than the ones perpetrated by microbes.  I want you to be aware that you can be infectious in a positive way.

The PBS program Nova presented information about the effect others' moods and attitudes have on us.  Others we know can have dramatic effects on such things as weight loss, how we feel about ourselves, and whether we take on a host of healthy habits.  But, researchers have discovered something even more startling than that almost common sense idea.  They found that even friends of friends or other relationships that are two or three times removed from us can ding us with an affect.  There are strong indications that we reflect more attributes of those in our social networks than any one realizes.   You can see the whole Nova info at this link.

So take that idea of you likely plugging in values, attitudes, health habits, etc. into the social networks with people you are directly and indirectly associated.  Your social interactions, and the identities that you pick up from those interactions are shaping you, and you are shaping others.  Oddly, like bad news we can think of many bad examples where we suspect this is true.  For example, skinheads and neo-nazis collect together in social networks and share particular understandings of how society works and how they change the world, and I'm troubled by that!   But, what is true of the negative is also true of the positive.  We can be encouragers and upbeat and looking for the good in others.  The research implies that either the social networks we are in will respond by becoming more positive, and/or that we'll gravitate into social networks that have those attitudes.  These positive attitudes spin in directions that make us all healthier.

One of my favorite living saints who inform much of my own internal processing and self-help is Thich Nhat Hanh.  Two of his posts the past couple weeks have meant a lot to me as I think about how to implement a positive course correction into my social fabric.  The first one is basically that I am the happiness of this moment.  Until I read this, I had carried the belief that happiness was more like a bird that came into my life (or not) by some willy-nilly luck of the stars or something.  Happiness was some external energy that did it's thing to me.  But daily now, I pause to assess my mood (with the help of the Emojiary ap) and I have to remind myself that I might be the only happiness that someone will receive, AND that someone is fairly often me!  

This fits as corollary with the second post: "A true friend is someone who can offer peace and happiness. If you're a true friend to yourself, you need to be able to offer yourself true peace and true happiness."   When we treat ourselves as friend, as we'd like to be treated, and when we want good healthy things for ourselves first, then we radiate back that positive regard to others.  The ripple effect throughout the social webs we are part of changes the webs!

So what are your New Year's resolutions for 2015, or as I prefer, what Rule of Life do you want to write for yourself to live by in 2015?  Let's all consciously put into that resolve that we will work on adopting and incorporating happiness and peace into who we are and sharing with others all that those attitudes bring us.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Green Power

No, no this isn't about environmentally friendly electricity -- though that isn't a bad subject!  This is about the empowering health effects brought to your body by chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll could be thought of as a plant's form of hemoglobin.  In fact, the chlorophyll molecule is remarkably identical to hemoglobin, except chlorophyll has a magnesium molecule where the iron one is at in hemoglobin.  Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color, in the same way hemoglobin gives blood it's red color.

Chlorophyll is a terrific health-supporting substance.  You can get it by eating a lot of pretty green vegetables, or you can take a chlorophyll supplement, available at health food stores (or by clicking on my virtual dispensary button in the right margin.)  If you're getting good amounts of chlorophyll, here are some of the health benefits you can expect.

  1.  Detoxification.  Chlorophyll binds with toxins and helps them get eliminated from the body.
  2. Anemia.  Chlorophyll has been shown to improve the body's production of hemoglobin.
  3. Digestive Aid.  Chlorophyll helps digestive functions, likely through its magnesium.
  4. Fresh Breath.  Chlorophyll will freshen your breath by improved digestive function.
  5. Energy.  Chlorophyll provides building blocks for cellular energy production.
The highest levels of chlorophyll are in raw green vegetables, but if you can't tolerate raw then lightly steamed is okay.  However, if you cook vegetables until they are mushy and drab olive green you've probably killed most of the chlorophyll.

Some of the info for this was lifted from a good health website about Alkalkine Diets.  Their more detailed Chlorophyll article is at this link.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On the Cancer Front

An interesting tidbit of research news landed on my desktop this morning.  We have known for a while that red wine has a capability to prevent cancer, even though alcohol itself causes cancer.  The study I saw this morning explains this incongruity in more detail.  Researchers looked at the biochemical effects of alcohol metabolism alongside the effect of one of red wine's better known polyphenols called resveratrol.

The finding was that cancer is caused by how the human body digests alcohol.  One of the chemical byproducts of this digestive process creates cellular DNA damage, which over time and exposure will cause cancer.  On the other side of the ledger, red wine specifically, (No, Jack Daniels does not do it!) has resveratrol.  Resveratrol comes along and kills cells with abnormal DNA.(1)  So here is one take away: if one must drink, drink red wine as it has a corrective to the alcohol hit.  

How else do we convert this research finding into something pragmatically useful?  All researchers always end their reports with the typical caveat that "We have to do a lot more research before you use this information."  I don't happen to agree with that.  So here are two pieces of advice from this information.  1.  Do not drink any alcohol to excess.  By excess I mean any more than one or two drinks/beers at a time, and don't drink alcohol every day.  2. Add Resveratrol to your supplement regimen. Resveratrol (without the alcohol) has been available now for a few years from health food stores (or you can click on Newsletter and Blog Mentions at my online dispensary.) 

NatureWords for Health,
Dr. Mark

(1)  University of Colorado Denver. "How red wine prevents cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2014. .