Looking for natural alternatives to blood pressure medications and statins?

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Many people often turn to natural foods to keep their health issues in check. It’s not uncommon that the ultimate goal is to wean themselves from medications. In this case, let’s focus on blood pressure medications as well as statins which are typically used to regulate cholesterol levels.

We’re big believers that natural is the way to go, yet we know that it’s easy to get involved in the doctor/medication cycle too. Sadly, most of us are very aware that they do more harm in some cases than they do good. Of course, we always advocate discussing any change in dietary or lifestyle habits with your doctor since only they know the intricacies of your condition and we’re here to provide our opinion.

So, let’s get to it!

Best foods to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure naturally

When it comes to reducing cholesterol levels, plant sterols and stanols are worth exploring. They exist in Brussels sprouts and legumes, and even olives have trace amounts of plant sterols.  Not a fan of those foods? Walnuts and oatmeal are also effective cholesterol-lowering foods. 

For more details about plant sterols, check out this article: http://www.ehow.com/info_8557621_fruits-vegetables-plant-sterols.html

As for lowering blood pressure, foods like swiss chard and crimini mushrooms are very good sources as are bananas and unsalted sunflower seeds (unsalted since high sodium plays a large role in elevated blood pressure levels). Lots of other foods, including blueberries, can also combat hypertension.

For more ideas on what kinds of healthy foods are high blood-pressure busters, check out this article: http://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-04-2011/6-foods-fight-high-blood-pressure.1.html

Browse through the various options as some of them may not be part of your preferred dietary lifestyle or may interact negatively with current medications.

Don’t forget to exercise

As with most any health condition, exercise does wonders to keep the body in top-notch condition, inside and out. Exercise can help with everything from anxiety reduction to diminished depression symptoms and of course, lead to weight loss.

Ah, weight loss. That in itself can be a great way to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Even just a 10 pound loss has been shown to provide health benefits. In fact, check out this story about a man who lost a lot of weight (120 pounds to be exact) by enjoying more raw foods. Now, he no longer relies on blood pressure and cholesterol medications!

So, @jorjonzn and everyone else searching for natural alternatives to blood pressure and cholesterol medications, we hope this sheds more light on some options. They’re readily available choices that can help make a difference.

We wish you all the best of luck and health!

Sources for this article include:

March is National Nutrition Month: easy ideas to boost your health

March is National Nutrition Month, a campaign started by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to increase awareness about healthy dietary and physical habits. It actually started in 1973 as a mere week-long event, but with growing interest in nutrition, it became a month-long observance in 1980. We think it’s a great idea, especially since we’re hearing more stories about the obesity epidemic, fast-food horrors and the hazards of sitting instead of stretching.

We know you’re health-minded in the first place or you wouldn’t be reading the stories here at Raw and Natural Health (thank you). But why not take this month as a time to assess what you’re eating and how you’re exercising and maybe consider trying something new?

We’re not suggesting you abruptly go vegan when all along you’ve enjoyed eggs or that you show the world what you look like in spandex when light stretches at home has always worked for you. It just never hurts to take a closer look at your routine, from the gym to your dinner plate, and change things up a bit.

Easy, no-fuss ways to participate in National Nutrition Month

Here are a few ideas if you want to get in on what National Nutrition Month is all about:

Whip up a new recipe

We’ve got plenty here, from starting your day with a beet and orange juice or making no-bake, vegan granola bars.

They’re super healthy, easy to make and are a fun way to participate in National Nutrition Month right from your own kitchen.

Also, check out our hearty and healthy breakfast, Swiss muesli.

Consider trying a food you’ve never eaten, even if it looks weird

Rutabaga, with its waxy skin and uneven round-ish shape isn’t much of a thing to look at. Lots of people shun foods because of how they look, thinking that something that’s odd looking can’t possibly taste good, let alone be good for us. Not true.

Rutabaga, for example, can be eaten raw or cooked and has good amounts of fiber and phytochemicals that keep our system working right. So go for it!

Reach for something lumpy, bumpy and strange. You might be surprised! For more information about rutabaga, check out this story.

Try a different exercise

There’s nothing wrong with using a treadmill for 45 minutes, then going off to work on those biceps. But why not change things up slightly? If you can, increase that incline a little more.

Or, stay on the treadmill another five minutes. Feeling really adventurous? Sign up for a class you’ve always secretly wanted to try, but for some reason, never attended. Zumba? Yoga? You have nothing to lose.

Think positively

What does thinking good thoughts have to do with overall health? Well, there’s a lot to be said about the mind-body connection and that what the mind thinks, the body often perceives as actually happening to it. Powerful stuff, right?

Just like food and proper nutrition, why not “feed” ourselves with good thoughts during National Nutrition month? So if you’re one to beat yourself up for over-consumption of a certain “bad” food or missing two days in a row of exercise, focus on something good that you did do for your health . . . like that new recipe you tried or that freaky looking veggie you tasted : )

For more about National Nutrition Month, read this: http://www.eatright.org/nnm/

Tell us, is there anything you might do differently in light of it being National Nutrition Month? We’d love to hear from you!

Is animal rennet vegetarian?

With recent news, some vegetarians are feeling a little duped. As discussed in this article, most cheeses aren’t so much vegetarian after all.

Most cheeses have rennet.

Wondering if your rennet-containing cheese is vegetarian? Not so much. If you’re decision to go vegetarian was for animal cruelty reasons, drop cheese from your diet.

What’s rennet you ask?

“It’s an enzyme that helps to separate the milk into solid curds and liquid whey during the cheese-making process and it’s in lots of cheeses, even your beloved ones with labels that come with an rBST or rBGH-free promise.”

But no worries. I dug a little deeper.

What to look for to avoid rennet

Labeling on products can be a tricky, slippery slope and are typically designed to give companies, not consumers, the advantage. Just like many companies use the word “fragrance” as the blanket statement that really means it may be made from a slew of toxic chemicals, some cheese companies may list “enzymes” as part of the ingredients.

Translation: rennet.

It still means the lining of the fourth stomach of a newborn lamb or calf played a role in getting that cheese to market. Other words to keep an eye on are “chymosin,” “rennin” and “rennaise.” Same deal.

To avoid this, obviously, take more care in reading those labels. Many cheddars, jalsbergs and feta’s contain rennet. Certain kinds of brie, colby and swiss have the microbial kind. Do research and never hesitate to ask questions right then and there in the supermarket. Don’t fall for pretty packaging full or rBST-free wording and assume it’s up to your vegetarian standards.

If you prefer, consider cheese alternatives like tofu and soy. I know, GMO right? Well if possible, find cheeses made with plant-based enzymes such as fig leaves, safflower or wild thistle.

Read more here:

http://www.naturalnews.com/044085_rennet_vegetarianism_GMO_foods.html

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anneh632/5766697640/

Does pine pollen increase testosterone?

In a past interview between Matt Monarch and “Health Motivator and Longevity Strategist” Daniel Vitalis, the topic of pine pollen was discussed.

Pine Pollen is being widely used through Asia, namely China and Korea, and has been used there for thousands of years. More specifically, what seems to have Daniel and Matt excited most about this “magical super food” is the effects it has on hormonal balancing. In its wild state, Daniel claims this potent pollen is at the root of many drugs supplied by pharmacies to aid in low testosterone levels.

During the interview, the two liken the effects of pine pollen to the effects of sperm.. saying that pine pollen is to the forested world what sperm is to humans.

And apparently, even the animals will feed on the pollen to help them with their nutrition and androgen, fuelling growth. One of the scientific claims on this product is that inside this powerful food lives superoxide dismutase, which is an extremely strong anti-oxidant, so powerful it is said to increase glutathione levels. This element is key in helping to break down and remove environmental and pollutant-ridden toxins.

Other claimed benefits include restoring hormone levels, stronger libido (as a result of the higher testosterone claims), skin rejuvenation, improved immune system, and many anti-aging properties, to name just a few.

Pine Pollen can be taken without difficulty, easily mixed into drinks, either with a powder, or tincture (an alcoholic extract). According to Daniel, the tinctures are even more potent than the powders, using an organic grape alcohol in combination with pine pollen extract.

In the interview, Daniel and Matt impress that this product is not super expensive and will last a very long time, as the potency is such that it does not require huge amounts to maximize it’s benefits.

There’s no doubt that these two “food dudes” are enthusiastic food debaters, and while they may be slightly biased 😉 both are also enthusiastic consumers of this ancient superfood.

If you don’t have access to a pine tree to harvest your own, you can get a long-lasting canister for less than $30 on Amazon through this affiliate link. Look for the brand by Surthrival.

You can also get your hands on this free report which talks about other ways to boost testosterone naturally, including the consumption of raw pumpkin seeds!

Is carob powder good for you?

Us women love our chocolate don’t we!?

Heck, even men lust over chocolate, but it isn’t quite the same loving reaction as it is for women in most cases it seems.

Drop harmful chocolate, or replace it?

In a quest to cure herself from psoriasis my cousin decided to go on a raw vegan diet. Overnight!

Her logic was to drop all unhealthy foods and eat ONLY the things she knew would benefit her health, just until the skin issues disappeared. Then she would re-introduce foods one at a time testing her bodies reaction to each one on an empty stomach before including them back into her regular diet. That was the plan.

Well, one aspect of this plan that troubled her the most was not being able to go to the store and get her daily fix of Twix and Kit Kat bars. So, like many a struggling dieter does, she hid her chocolate habit with the rest of the world while she continued with her green smoothie, green juice, raw fruit diet.

She learned a great deal about the 100% raw food diet and rapid detox, including that it wasn’t for her! She lasted 3 days, or no days if you count the continued cloak and dagger consumption of chocolate.

Is dairy to blame for ill health?

But she also learned, based on personal research, that clinging to her dairy dessert chocolate fix may have been the very thing that contributed to her skin issue continuing to thrive.

She confessed what she considered a “failed attempt at healing” with a group of us one day at lunch. That’s when a mutual friend told her the following:

Try carob!

Carob is a healthy, dairy free alternative to chocolate!

Carob is a great source of fiber, is high in protein and phytonutrients. It is lower in fat, calories and caffeine than chocolate as well.

So, if your intention is to eliminate dairy and eliminate the ugly side of the chocolate love addiction, carob may be a good choice for you.

See, all is not lost!

How about some video recipes from some chocolate experts before you go?

Are white vegetables bad for you?

There is a common notion that the more colorful a plant food, the more nutritious that it is. And while that may be true, this is not an indication that white or pale veggies should be over looked. At least not according to a recent study published by the American Society for Nutrition.

http://www.naturalnews.com/044000_pale_produce_nutrients_potatoes.html

A friend of mine talks all the time about eating from the rainbow. And just the sight of colorful plants like rainbow chard gets her excited about the potential of the nutrients abundant in the food.

Sadly though, there is the unfortunate side effect that she looks at a parsnip as a dull lifeless carrot, and a white potato as a yam with the nutrients sucked out of it.

These pale vegetables are rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium, and often they are much more affordable than there colorful cousins.

The point I guess is not to dismiss them, and certainly not to look at them as unhealthy, or only containing empty or negative calories.

So, if you enjoy onions, fennel, parsnips, cauliflower, and potatoes and are consuming them regularly, you are doing your body some justice.

While raw may not be as appealing for some, lightly steamed isn’t a bad choice.

Have a peek at this article which talks about the health benefits of specific white vegetables.

Are nightshades really bad for you?

Now I know what you might be thinking. Is he really suggesting we resort to eating nightshades? That has been a common point of dissension since this post has been published. We address that here.

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuorhome/38508591/