Deadly Staph Infection Cured by Pesky Tree

Lots of people know the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria as the “scary staph” that is resistant to most forms of medications—and the bad news is that this dangerous bacteria infection is on the rise. According to the Center of Disease Control, thirty years ago only 2 percent of all staph infections in the US were MRSA, but by 2003 that number climbed to a whopping 64 percent. By 2005, 94,000 people developed life-threatening MRSA with nearly 19,000 dying from it.

However, a simple tree could be the key to fighting MRSA and stopping its threat in its tracks. Researchers have discovered a staph-fighting chemical compound in the needles of Red Cedar trees. Initial tests have shown promise that this chemical compound can thwart the deadly MRSA bacterium.

What makes this more intriguing is that the Red Cedar tree has often been considered a “trash tree” and has been thought of as a nuisance because of the way it invades fertile farmlands. Also, the Red Cedar is available in large numbers year around so there is plenty of supply—an estimated 500 million grow in Missouri alone.

“I wanted to find a use for a tree species that is considered a nuisance,” said Chung-Ho Lin, research assistant professor in the MU Center for Agroforestry at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “This discovery could help people fight the bacteria as well as give farmers another cash crop.”

The top five foods to boost brainpower

Nothing is more frustrating than feeling foggy at the morning office meeting, coming up short in conversation with your boss, forgetting where you parked your car in the parking lot. There are so many reasons that you might experience a deterioration in brain function- lack of sleep, poor diet, stress. But instead of guzzling more coffee and turning to the sugar laden processed foods in the vending machines to get a leg up, try eating more of these top brain-boosting foods and reap the neurological rewards.

Blueberries: Nutritionists have been toting the brain-boosting benefits of blueberries for years. Full of antioxidants, blueberries protect your brain while increasing blood flow, thus improving mental sharpness.

Eggs: Eggs are high in Choline which has been shown to improve memory and brain development, plus they are a great source of lean protein.

Legumes: Feeling foggy? Eating a bowl of beans might be better for improving your alertness than that jolt of caffeine. Legumes have a nearly perfect balance of sugar to fiber ratio, giving your body the constant, time released source of energy that you need to get you through the day.

Spinach: Eating fresh spinach is a great source of iron, the nutrient that is important for consistent healthy blood flow, which will help you concentrate and think clearly.

Fish: Fish, like Salmon and Tuna are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and DHA, the protein that enables your brain to transmit signals to the rest of your body. Eating a serving of lean fish every day can do wonders for your overall health, and can keep your mental acuity strong into your golden years.

Catch us on Colorado's Best talking about healthy snack ideas!

Now that the kids are getting out of school, that means coming up with more healthy snack ideas. No worries, there are tons of natural products that make putting together a delicious and nutritious snack a breeze. Check out some of our favorites and watch our upcoming segment on Colorado’s Best TV! It’s on Channel 2 in Denver!

Snikiddy Snacks
All lines of Snikiddy Snacks are vegetarian and gluten and wheat free. No artificial colors or preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or cholesterol. Plus, the best part is that they are absolutely delicious. We especially like Eat Your Vegetables™ which are the newest snack line from Snikiddy. They contain a full serving of veggies in each ounce serving (13 chips). www.snikiddy.com

Fiona’s  Granola
Fiona’s Granola is lovingly baked in small batches using all natural ingredients such as organic grains and agave nectar. Because it is high in protein and fiber, naturally sweetened, low in fat and sugar, and contains no cholesterol, it’s a great choice for breakfast or anytime you desire a healthy energy boost! The NEW Gluten-Free Granolas are vegan, soy free, salt free, sweetened only with pure, organic agave nectar, low glycemic and made without fillers, preservatives, additives, or flavorings. www.fionasgranola.com

Noosa Yoghurt
This healthy, yummy yoghurt comes from an Aussie tradition brought to Colorado by two passionate brothers. The yoghurt features all natural ingredients and rBgh free milk (cows not treated with growth hormones) directly from  Morning Fresh Dairy, which has been family owned since 1894. www.noosayoghurt.com

Justin’s Nut Butters
This Colorado company only uses the highest quality natural and organic ingredients that are sustainably harvested and found as locally as possible to make their delicious array of nutbutters, peanut butter cups and bars. Products include classic peanut and almond butter and innovative varieties such as Chocolate Hazelnut and Maple Almond. www.justinsnutbutter.com

Oogave Soda
Finally a healthy soda option! Oogave is an organic soda sweetened only with agave nectar.  Using agave instead of cane sugar or corn syrup keeps Oogave lower calorie (100 calories per 12 oz of Oogave in comparison to 130-150 for other natural sodas) and also low glycemic (say goodbye to those sugar highs).  The soda is also caffeine free, gluten free and contains no preservatives.  Refreshing options include Watermelon Cream, Agave Cola, Strawberry Rhubarb and Ginger Ale. www.oogave.com

The vital vitamin most american’s aren't getting enough of

By: Dayna Copeland Schaef

If you are eating a well balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, lean meat and dairy, you may still be missing some of the essential nutrients that your body requires to function at an optimal level. It is for this reason that the supplement market is a hugely successful industry and with so many elements potentially missing from our diets, prioritizing your nutrition is supremely important and it could make a significant difference in your overall health and happiness.

Current literature totes the importance of consuming adequate levels of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12.

B12’s primary function is to assist in the production of red blood cells, which are the vehicles that deliver oxygen throughout the body. Without B12, anemia and a number of other potentially serious conditions are compulsory.

A person who lacks vitamin B12 might experience some or all of the following symptoms: pale skin, rapid heartbeat, migraines/headaches, weakness, insomnia, weight loss and bruising, among some others.

If left untreated, as the deficiency progresses and worsens, memory loss and disorientation can be very real symptoms, sometimes causing irreversible damage, even leading to dementia, in some cases.

Lack of B12 can even cause DNA damage, which scientists suspect is the cause of many forms of cancer.

Great natural sources of B12 include seafood and meats, dairy products like milk and eggs, and fortified cereals and breads. For those who practice exclusion diets such as vegetarians or vegans, sources of natural B12, such as these, are significantly limited, and a supplement is advised in order to meet the suggested dose.

Vitamin B12 can be taken as a component of a multi-vitamin or a B-complex supplement, that includes all of the other B vitamins, as well, or B12 can be taken as a solitary supplement.

Research shows high fat diet causes brain damage

By: Dayna Copeland Schaef

By now, most of us know that eating a high fat diet can cause damage to our bodies by adding extra pounds, clogging our arteries and straining our heart, among other things. But a new study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that individuals who partake in a high fat diet can also be doing extensive damage to their brains. The research supports the claim that those who eat a high fat diet are causing inflammation to their hypothalamus, which is the portion of the brain that controls your body’s metabolism.

So, now that there is even more evidence that shows the importance of a well balanced diet, what can you do to help boost your brains health? Read our tips on what foods and supplements will fortify your noggin.

Fish and Fish Oil Supplements

Eating lots of fish like salmon, sardines and tuna, as well as taking a daily fish oil supplement can increase your brain health by leaps and bounds. Fish oil supplements contain DHA’s and the healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids) that are necessary for proper neurological function. They are also natural anti-inflammatory agents.

Berries

A delicious source of antioxidants, berries protect your brain from harmful toxins in the products that you use on a daily basis, including any harmful ingredients in the foods that you might consume. The ‘anthocyanins’ found in berries actually help to support adequate glucose absorption in the brain, further promoting a healthy metabolism.

 Beans

Quite possibly the perfect balance of protein, glucose and fiber, beans digest slowly, with a delayed release of nutrients that feed your brain and stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels all day long, further promoting a strong hypothalamus.

Folic Acid Supplements

Studies have shown a direct link between brain damage and a lack of folic acid in the blood. The suggested dose is anywhere from 400 to 1,000 mcg and is usually found in most multi-vitamins. Foods high in folic acid include: beans (yet another reason to eat your beans,) leafy greens and citrus fruit.

The year is new, and while your resolutions to be healthy are still fresh on your to-do list, resolve to make these brain boosting changes in your diet and reap the neurological benefits for the rest of your life.

Looking for natural product reviewers

The Natural Products Network is currently seeking people who are interested in trying natural products and then sharing their reviews. Participants will receive natural products each month to check out and share their thoughts about them. No hidden cost or pyramid scheme! Just looking for good folks who love natural products.

To learn more, please get in touch!

 

Concerned about cell phone radiation? These natural products can help!


There is an ongoing debate about cell phone radiation and how it affects us. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) reclassified cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” which sparked increased interest. Although the ramifications are not clear, there are studies that indicate that cell phone radiation might be dangerous.

Perhaps the most damming case against cell phones comes from an international study cited by the WHO that showed that adult participants who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had doubled the rate of brain glioma, or brain tumors. Furthermore, a study released by researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that radiation emitted after a 50 minute phone call artificially increases brain cell activity.

Thankfully, there are products on the market that can help combat electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that is emitted from cell phones.

Gia Wellness Cellguard – This small device has been designed to neutralize the effects of EMR. They also make this cool pendant that helps to protect your body from exposure.

Matrix – The Matrix helps to combat the negative effects of electromagnetic radiation by emitting pulses of energy that interfere with radiation. It can be used on any electronic that produces radiation including cell phones, baby monitors, computers and video games.

Pong – This convenient protection shield  fits on your iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Pong is the ONLY solution proven by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certified laboratories to protect users from cell phone radiation while not compromising phone performance.

 

Study finds coffee fights depression

By: Dayna Copeland Schaef

Good news about your morning brew! Recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a study was conducted that supported the claim that coffee consumption was directly related to a reduction in depression in women, and even some men. It seems the more coffee you drink, the less likely it is that you’ll be susceptible to bouts of blue.

How you take your coffee says a lot about who you are – two sugars, cream, black, iced. For most Americans, imbibing in a cup of coffee is the first thing they do in the morning. Some turn it into a ritual with foamed milk, freshly roasted beans, a french press and fancy syrups, sipping it as they wake up slowly to the morning news. Others, and likely the majority, shovel a couple scoops of breakfast blend into the coffee pot and push “on,” hovering desperately until just enough for a full mug has dripped into the pot – a little dairy free creamer, not even a spoon to stir, and off to finish blow drying their hair and finding that other shoe.

Coffee is one of the most universally enjoyed beverages on the planet, and not surprisingly, one of the most lucrative industries. In the mid 1980’s, as the corporate coffee shop was on the rise, a few organizations began to call the alarm on the unethical business that was forming around the bean; large corporations underpaying coffee farmers for their products, pushing for mass production. An organization called Equal Exchange, along with a number of other organizations around the world, began working towards a concept called “Fair Trade,” starting with a project that supported Nicaraguan coffee farmers. Today, products that have a label boasting “Fair Trade” connote that the product was acquired ethically, with small-time farmer’s and consumer’s benefits in mind, supporting sustainable farming methods and community prosperity. Often times, these products are also organic.

So why drink organic, fair trade coffee? Well, like any other organic product, it was grown free of pesticides or chemicals, but it is also packed full of antioxidants. Unlike the more mass produced coffee brands, it is significantly more dense in vitamins and minerals. And for those who drink coffee strictly for the boost, it is worthwhile to know that the caffeine content in this organic coffee is more pure and natural, easier for your body to metabolize quickly and efficiently.

Intelligentsia Coffee is one of these companies that offers organic, direct trade coffee from a variety of “single origins” (not blended) such as Kenya, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Like other organic, sustainable farm projects, Intelligentsia even believes in working within the confines of seasonality as a way of providing the most pure product to the consumer.

 

What a 11,500-old child can teach us about natural living

A view of the beautiful Tanana River.

An amazing archaeological dig near the Tanana River in Central Alaska has revealed the cremated skeleton of a 3-year-old – the oldest human remains ever found in North America. This find is significant in many ways, but one of the most interesting is what it can teach us about living in ancient times.  Particularly it demonstrates that despite the passage of time some of the aspects of child’s family life are similar to natural living trends today.

For instance, the find suggests that the child was most likely still breast feeding when he or she died. This is not surprising as weaning didn’t occur until around 3 years of age in prehistoric times. What’s interesting about this is that in recent years there has been a trend promoting nursing for a longer length of time. Does this mean that we are getting back to our prehistoric roots?

By looking at the fire pit near the home, researchers found that the family dined on the small animals that were available near them such as salmon, rabbits, ground squirrels, birds and salmon. This is not unlike the locavore movement that defines how many strive to eat today. It interesting to think of how foreign the locavore approach to eating was to many just a few years ago, when this is how everyone ate 11,500 years ago.

Researchers are planning to extract DNA from the child to see if they can find a genetic link and identify the gender of the child. It has not been decided what will be done to the bones of the child after the tests are completed.

The find is a “very significant discovery and contribution to North American archaeology,” said E. James Dixon, an anthropologist at the University of New Mexico who was not involved in the dig. The find fits a pattern, Dixon said, in that 25 percent of remains found that are older than 10,000 years are children.

One in Seven Starting Puberty at AGE SEVEN!

Recently, a report hit online stating that as many as 15% of American girls are going through puberty as early as seven years of age. Now, parents are scrambling to figure out what they can do to prevent this growing trend. Studies have found a number of risks associated with early puberty including an increase risk of pregnancy, lower IQ, aggression, drug and alcohol abuse and even suicide! Although researchers don’t have a clear picture of the exact cause, there is solid evidence that points in a few directions.

Obesity
Various studies here and abroad have shown a connection between obesity and early development. One of the most cited studies was conducted by Joyce Lee of the University of Michigan who followed 354 girls from age 3 to age 12. In the study, Lee discovered a strong association between high body weight and the early onset of puberty. It seems that high levels of peripheral fat cause excess estrogen production, which in turn could lead to early puberty. However, researchers caution that more information is needed to confirm this theory.

Hormones in Food
Hormones in our food supply may also be to blame. Starting in 1995, the USDA has allowed meat suppliers to use implanted hormonal agents such as female hormones oestradiol and progesterone, the synthetic progesterone norgestomet, the male hormone testosterone and the synthetic anabolic steroids trenbolene and Zeranol. And the FDA does NOT require that meat providers list the hormones used in their operations—or share the potential negative side effects. You may be surprised to learn that there are FDA studies that confirm the harmful effects of cattle raising hormones, yet they are still legal. The best that consumers can do is to purchase meats that are hormone free. Don’t count on your local fast food joint, or even your favorite high-priced restaurant to invest in high-quality, hormone-free meat.

Soy is another problem because it contains plant-based chemicals that mimic oestrogen. A 1997 Lancet study showed the daily exposure in infants who consumed soy formulas was 6 to 11 times higher than in adults. The blood concentrations of these hormones in the children were 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than normal oestrogen levels.

Plastics and Chemicals
Despite how much easier plastics have made our lives they can contain problematic chemicals called Phthalates. Research has indicated that Phthalates are a hormone distributor that can impact young children and even those in the womb! Thankfully, there is a crop of Phthalate free products popping up to choose from!

Welcome to the Redesigned Natural Products Network

Hi everyone!

Thanks for visiting the new Natural Products Network Web site. Here we will give you updates on the latest and greatest natural products and give you opportunities to win free stuff! So poke around and make sure to check back as we will be updating the site frequently!

Summer Getaway: Plan a Paddling Adventure

Imagine propelling yourself downstream, maneuvering around rocks, and exploring undiscovered nooks and crannies in the waterway, while utilizing the strength in your back and upper body.  Paddling allows you to do all this, which is one reason it’s one of the fastest growing sport today.

Starting Out

Kent Ford, who has 20 years of teaching experience, finds that another reason paddling is so popular is that it’s conducive to beginners.  “My top tip for beginners would be to get two or three days of instruction,” he says.  You can find quality instruction by calling local paddling associations in your neighborhood.  Don’t think that your best friend can teach you—chances are they don’t know important safety techniques.

“In whitewater, there are a lot of hazards that many not be obvious unless pointed out, so you will want to have that instruction given to you methodically,” Kent stresses.  Also, make sure that you wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.

Sport-Specific Training

Basic paddling moves rely on core and upper body strength. To learn to perform an Eskimo roll you have to use your pecs, triceps, biceps, shoulders and lats to push yourself upright in your kayak without exiting it.  When it comes to paddling strokes, you’ll also utilize your upper body, twist into your spine and use your back as your powerhouse.  By incorporating the following programs into your existing routine three days a week, you will develop the strength you need.

Build Upper Body Strength

With free weights do three sets of 10-15 reps of standing tricep extensions on each side, where you concentrate on making sure that your body is at a 45 degree angle, and that you are really squeezing your muscles at the extension point without hyper-extending.

Follow this by doing three sets of 10-16 reps alternating standing bicep curls with shoulder raises.  Before you begin, slightly engage your abs and straighten your back.  First, work slowly up into the curls, making sure that your elbows remain by your sides at the top of the exercise and that your really squeezing into your biceps. Then, do your shoulder raises and work into the shoulders by bringing your arms up straight in front of you, but don’t lock your elbows out or go above shoulder level during the lift.

After this, do three sets of 10-15 reps of bench presses for your pecs and pull-ups for your lats.  During both of these exercises concentrate on straight wrists and remember a short choppy motion won’t build paddling strength, so it’s better to reduce your weight instead of compromising your range of motion.

Get more from your core

These two poses will work your core so that you can maneuver in the whitewater with ease. First, get on the floor face down with your mouth touching it, your legs together and toes pointed.  Then bend your arms so that your hands are chest level, palms down.  Now, without pushing with your hands, or moving your hips or legs, slowly move your head up while looking towards the ceiling.  You should really feel your back and spine working, not your neck.  Concentrate on lifting up high, extending your spine, engaging your abs and breathing throughout the exercise.

Assume the same position but put your arms out like wings on a plane.  Now, this time bring your arms and legs off the floor and look up while pulling in your abs and lengthening your body.  Your belly should be the only thing still touching the floor.  Focus on lifting at high as you can while flexing your thighs to give you even more power in the lift and don’t hold your breath.  Feel your entire back, glutes and thighs during the exercise.  Perform each exercise twice, holding it for 30 seconds to a minute and one more time, digging deep into it and holding until failure.

You will notice that your added strength will aid your paddling experience.  Not only will you be able to paddle with more power you will also be able to balance and brace yourself better so that you can direct your craft where you want to go—and the possibilities are endless.

Win a NATE Organics Hat

Did you know that more than 1/3 of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used in the production of a single pound of conventionally grown cotton fabric? NATE does and that’s why they are doing something about it.

NATE, an acronym for Natural Authentic Textile Experience, was formed in 2004 as the natural evolution of founder Adam Katz’s commitment to high quality conscious clothing.  Katz recognized the potential of organic fabrics and sought out partners with whom he could source fabrics, design, and construct a line of clothing and hats committed to social awareness and sustainability.

Head over to our Facebook page to enter to win a wonderful hat from NATE like the one pictured in this post. To enter, all you have to do is leave us a comment that you want to win a hat. It’s that easy! To learn more about NATE Organics, please head to their site and check it out!