By Dr. Mercola
More than half the U.S. population is struggling with chronic illness,1 and 1 in 5 deaths is obesity related.2 We have overwhelming rates of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, and future projections only look worse. One of the saddest aspects, though, is that advice given by governmental entities and conventional medicine has utterly failed when it comes to disease prevention. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Aspects of health are multiple and varied, especially in recent years since a greater emphasis has been placed on fitness, disease prevention and optimal health.
That’s where we come in. When it comes to finding accurate and up-to-the-moment information you need to improve or maintain your health — such as the importance of balancing your sodium and potassium ratios, how to manage crucial mitochondrial function or the vital differences between omega-3s and omega-6s — Mercola.com has it covered.
For example, magnesium is among the most common nutrient deficiencies, and sets the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems. But you can keep your magnesium levels in a therapeutic range by eating a varied diet and including dark leafy vegetables, seaweed and some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, which can be great sources of magnesium.
This is precisely the type of information you can find using Mercola.com to access what you need, now. If you know your body requires more of a certain vitamin or mineral, or if you’re interested in consuming foods containing antioxidants, you can peruse the food options, find the ones that meet your nutritional needs and plan your meals accordingly.
Multiple branches of information at Mercola.com allow you to read more about what you’re interested in; just click on the sites below each section. Whether it’s information about supplementation, beneficial compounds you put in and on your body or the differences between essential oils (not to mention cooking oils), you’ll find it here. The categories listed and covered below are:
Herbs & Spices
Vitamins & Supplements
Tea: What It Is and What It Can Do for You
Tea is the most popular drink worldwide, right after good old H2O, which is no surprise since tea has been on the radar, so to speak, for millennia. Known for its ability to rejuvenate, tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and includes varieties that depend on the method used for drying the leaves. In a major contrast, herbal teas are infusions of other herbs and spices added for their flavors and health benefits.
More than a pick-me-up, tea can improve your immune system, reduce your blood pressure and soothe your digestive system, and studies suggest it may lower your risk for several cancers.3 Rooibos tea, for instance, is loaded with antioxidants, protecting your cells from harmful free radicals. And, studies show it improves your heart health. Moringa tea has earned superfood status due to its extensive nutrients and medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammation and blood sugar regulation.
Matcha tea is growing in popularity because a catechin in it known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is another free radical fighter, and an amino acid known as L-theanine increases serotonin and dopamine production in your brain, improving memory, boosting energy and potentially detoxifying heavy metals and chemicals from your body. Oolong tea, rich in antioxidant polyphenols, including EGCG, is one of the healthiest teas you can choose.
But not all teas are created equal. Case in point: If you’re one of millions suffering from constipation, perhaps you’re familiar with senna tea. Often labeled as a natural remedy for weight loss and/or constipation (as well as ridding your body of certain parasites), it may exert a more laxative effect than you expected. It contains neither calories nor nutritional benefits to speak of, so be aware of marketing ploys, and check this site for more information on the benefits — and possible pitfalls — of what you eat and drink.
Food Facts: A Directory of Foods That Comprise a Healthy Diet
How amazing is it that you can plant a seed, watch it grow and harvest vegetables, herbs and fruits that are loaded with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients? Beets, onions, cantaloupe, peaches, lemons and fennel are all examples of nutritious foods you can potentially have at your fingertips in the most literal sense.
You can also read about more obscure or not commonly grown plant-based foods. They can help you discover their truly amazing health benefits you might be missing. Examples might be figs, cardamom, almonds and quince, the latter, as an example, noted for blood pressure maintenance, weight management and boosting your immune system.
Reading our Food Facts pages gives you detailed information on the protein, fiber, carbs and sugar foods contain according to serving sizes, which helps you determine what to eat to optimize your health. You’ll also find the science behind the facts through clinical studies, which reveal what the compounds in your favorite foods can do for you, as well as growing tips for your garden, where to shop to find what you need and delicious, healthy recipes to round out your meals.
However, please note that choosing organic foods means less exposure to pesticides, more antioxidants, improved early childhood development and lower risk of disease. Researchers report that the polyphenol levels in organic fruits and vegetables are higher than those doused with chemical pesticides.4
“Eating organic” represents long-term benefits for adults and children alike, as the cadmium and other heavy metal content is lower than in conventionally grown crops, which makes it far safer for infants, children and pregnant women. Additionally, calcium, iron, protein and/or zinc deficiencies may worsen cadmium uptake and toxicity. On the upside, the flavor of organic produce is deeper and more tasty. What’s not to like?
Herbs and Spices: The Difference Between Them and Health Advantages
“Herbs” and “spices” often seem to be thrown into the same interchangeable category, but these are two separate areas of the plant kingdom. Several have names that reflect their exotic origins, such as ashwagandha, sriracha and wasabi. The word “herb” usually refers to the green parts, such as leaves, of non-woody plants that impart a wide array of surprisingly powerful compounds relating to health improvement.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs and one of the healthiest. There are more than 60 varieties with “flavors” as varied as lemon, anise and cinnamon. Antibacterial properties and DNA-protecting flavonoids hint at the power behind these fragrant leaves, which contain volatile oils with the power to kill harmful bacteria that even sometimes antibiotic medications can’t, including listeria, staphylococcus and E. coli.5
Spices, on the other hand, can come from the leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark and/or flowers, and they’re used in smaller amounts than herbs due to their higher potency and stronger flavor. Nevertheless, seasoning your food with liberal amounts of herbs and spices greatly multiplies the medicinal value. Numerous studies indicate their amazing potential for healing and combating various illnesses.
Cloves, a popular seasoning with a distinctively warm and sweetly pungent fragrance and flavor, are just one example of a spice with healing power. They come from the dried flower buds of a large evergreen tree grown in warm climates and have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that may help your body fight off infections and inflammation.
The herbs and spices list introduces obscure offerings such as achiote, boswellia, chasteberry, damiana and epazote. Click on them to get a fascinating picture of what they can do to improve your diet and, as a result, your health. Plus, you’ll have some valuable health information to pass along when the topic turns to optimizing your DNA, increasing beneficial gut bacteria or suppressing asthma symptoms.
Vitamins and Supplements: Best Ways to Get Them and What They Can Do
If you’re not already aware of it, the best way to get the most nutrition is through eating actual food, such as vegetables, nuts and seeds containing the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs, not just for survival, but for vibrant, vigorous health. However, as I’ve stressed a number of times but will again because it’s so important: Organic foods should be your primary source of nutrients whenever possible.
In the packaged-food mentality of this fast-paced world, the foods you eat don’t contain the nutrients they once did. Besides the depletion of the soil we used to rely on when growing food, there’s the rampant use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides now lacing our foods, and faulty agricultural practices that either minimize or destroy what’s left.
For that reason, people take supplements to supply their bodies with what they cannot get through the foods they eat. That also goes for other means of acquiring them. An example is vitamin D, which is obtained not through food, but via either sun exposure or supplementation. Your risk of colds, flu and a number of more serious health problems may increase due to a D3 deficiency, as may your risk of cognitive decline and mental impairment.6
Deficiencies in other nutrients are also rising to catastrophic levels in the U.S. Magnesium is one, obtained through oily fish such as sardines and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, avocados, Swiss chard and nuts, especially cashews and Brazil nuts. Other common nutrient deficiencies are animal-based omega-3s, also obtained from oily fish; vitamin K2, available from dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw butter and kefir, as well as natto and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
While supplements can be an ideal complement to the organic fruits, vegetables and other nutritious offerings you eat, they must be of high-quality. That said, you may be interested to know that many vitamins and herbal supplements are significantly safer than prescribed pharmaceuticals. The side effects alone listed on drug advertisements should give you pause, but staggering statistics reveal they kill more than 100,000 people every year. In addition, in July 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said:
” … [O]ur great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history. One American now dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Every day, as a result of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted, friendships broken and promising lives cut short.”7
On my Vitamins and Supplements pages, you may find vital data about foods that can help alleviate symptoms or conditions you’ve struggled with for years. Bromelain is a good example. Found in pineapples, it improves your immunity.8 Choline, which supports nervous system function, can be acquired from grass fed beef or turkey livers, organic, pastured eggs and Brussels sprouts.
Herbal Oils: Where They Come From, Uses and Benefits
You may have heard of eucalyptus oil, palm oil and frankincense oil, but what about the rejuvenating effects of rose absolute oil, tulsi oil from the “queen of herbs” and helichrysum oil, known for its skin moisturizing and wound-healing capabilities? On the page dedicated to herbal oils, you’ll find these and many more descriptions of oils to help you maintain a healthy body weight and even promote weight loss.
From A to Z, more than 100 oils are listed. You’ll learn about vetiver oil, aka khus oil, known for its ability to impart a stabilizing, calming effect. With a smoky, earthy aroma, it’s been used to promote sleep for centuries. Nearly all of the plant is utilized, but it’s primarily the roots that contain the most potency, plus have antiseptic, antispasmodic, libido-enhancing and immune system-stimulating effects on your nervous system.
You may have been using vanilla in your baking for years, but were you aware the essence comes from the minuscule seeds of long brown pods, or that the oil is associated with wound-healing, nausea relief and inflammation suppression? Check out the uses for peppermint oil (memory enhancement and anxiety relief), burdock oil (for shiny hair and joint pain) and yarrow oil (linked to relieving digestive problems and skin conditions).
Oregano is very familiar as an ingredient in pizza or spaghetti sauce, but the fragrance and taste of oregano oil are derived from multiple compounds, including thymol, pinene and limonene, all linked to relief from urinary, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract disorders, as well as warding off insects.
Diseases: How to Treat Them; How to Help Combat Them
This category covers numerous conditions, from eczema to fibromyalgia; hypoglycemia to sleep apnea; sciatica to pneumonia. While there are instances when even health conscious individuals find themselves struggling with illness, there’s a lot of information out there that is incorrect and potentially harmful when people try wading through what’s true and what isn’t in the realm of health.
That’s why I created a directory of some of the most common illnesses, so that you could explore symptoms, causes and risk factors of illnesses that might be plaguing you, and most importantly, natural treatment and pain relief options. How you can protect yourself from these diseases is also a factor, and it’s fair to say that a large portion of what you read here may contradict what mainstream medical practitioners may assert.
Some diseases bear the names of the researchers who first detected them. Bell’s palsy can be confused with stroke because both can cause facial paralysis, but the causes are different. Grave’s disease affects your thyroid and people with autoimmune diseases are more prone to it. Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.
Numerous factors can influence your health, but there are even more ways you can keep your body on the healthiest track possible. Click on any of the 80 diseases listed for more targeted information, or simply browse several through for more information in regard to symptoms and treatment.
Bottom Line: Accessing Trusted Information on Natural Health
While they may not be discussed, navigating the Mercola.com site will help you find any number of other articles that touch on physical, mental or emotional health, recipes, fitness, medical statistics, current topics in the world of health and medicine, governmental regulations and aspects of modern life that may (and probably will) impact your health in time.
The categories covered help illustrate the plethora of aspects to consider when you want to improve or maintain a body that’s in good working order, free of disease and full of vital energy. To this end, arming yourself with information is one of the most proactive things you can do. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” It really does make all the difference in your health and well-being.