Originally published September 29 2008
Four Fantastic Foods for Extraordinary Health
by E.L. West
(NaturalNews) In these times, it can be very difficult to know what is good to eat and what is not good. As knowledge continues to expand concerning health and nutrition, more and more is being discovered about the effects of certain foods on the human body. This article will deal with four natural foods and how healthy these foods really are.
1. Raw Milk
This super food provides many of, if not all of the nutrients the body needs everyday. It not only contains a great preponderance of vitamins and minerals, it also contains active enzymes and beneficial bacteria that make digestion and nutrient assimilation a smooth process. As another added bonus, raw milk contains twenty of the twenty-two amino acids our bodies need daily, making getting all of the proteins needed daily an easy task. Raw milk does not create the problems that conventional, pasteurized-homogenized milk creates, such problems as heart-disease and diabetes. To the contrary, raw milk provides nutrition that is near-unbeatable, actually reducing the risk of developing the afore mentioned health issues.
There are those who would argue that drinking raw milk is unhealthy and unsafe; however, they fail to take into account the fact that many populations have thrived on raw milk for centuries. Furthermore, raw milk from healthy, pasture-feed raised livestock provides the most benefit, promoting the cultivation of healthy bacteria. Unfortunately, those who oppose raw milk fight tooth and nail to keep people from consuming this "liquid gold", imposing legal barriers for those who want nothing more than to drink the kind of milk they want to drink.
There is a force that counteracts the naysayers and those who courageously fight to forward health freedom. And indeed, they are making waves. Demand for raw, healthy milk has increased, and more dairies are opening across the country. The website (www.realmilk.com) , has done great work in spreading the news about raw milk, and it offers a list of where raw milk can be found in the United States and across the globe. Though many steps need to be taken to allow for raw milk to become more available, much progress is being made to make raw milk more accessible than ever.
2. Raw Honey
Like raw milk, raw honey offers active enzymes, vitamins and trace amounts of minerals such as silica, copper, magnesium, iron, etc. As one of the premier medicines of the Ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago, raw honey proves to have many functions. For instance, raw honey is great for sinus problems and rheumatic and arthritis problems. Furthermore, raw honey has a calming element about it, making it ideal for sleep disturbances. It is good for colds, acne, infectious diseases, poor circulation and a whole host of other problems.
Unlike raw milk, raw honey is a lot more accessible and can be purchased at co-ops and health food stores, and even some supermarkets across the country.
3. Coconut Oil
This oil is a saturated fat that is a very multifaceted food that has many functions. Unlike other fats, coconut oil is high in medium-chain fatty acids that help with weight-loss. This occurs because medium chain fatty acids are not easily stored and converted into triglycerides like long chain fatty acids. Furthermore, the medium-chain fatty acids serve to disrupt lipid membranes of the pathogenic organisms, making coconut oil an ideal antimicrobial. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is one of the medium chain lipids that possesses the antimicrobial effect that was mentioned previously, along with being an important component in breast-milk. As a topical application, it is useful for restoring luster and youth to the skin and hair, making it an ideal conditioner. This tropical oil is also very stable, making it suitable for cooking and baking.
Though those in the nutrition community continue to demonize and disapprove of coconut oil because there is the misconception that saturated-fat is evil, there is evidence that this traditional foodstuff has many benefits that far outweigh the so-called risks that are based on the shaky foundation of the anti-fat campaign. Coconut oil has been used among people in Singapore, Philippines, and India; with these and other countries having used coconut oil successfully for hundreds of years. It can be found at most, if not all health-food stores and supermarkets.
4. Shea Butter
So far, this article has dealt mainly with foods that provide a great deal of health benefits, and this next item will be no different. However, shea butter is not really consumed orally; rather, it is applied to the skin -- this is where most of its health benefits can be observed. The previously mentioned natural foods all contribute to excellent skin care, providing the necessary nutrition to support healthy skin; however, some people need topical solutions to help resolve their skin problems. And for those who need more, there is an all-natural, healthy substitute for the carcinogen-filled commercial creams and lotions: shea butter.
This product should be familiar because shea butter is used as the base in many cosmetics and beauty products. This is because this 'women's gold', as it is sometimes referred to, has a nutritive effect on skin and hair that is unprecedented. Shea butter, or karite butter, has an amazing ability to moisturize hair and skin, leaving it more youthful and healthy. It is packed with vitamins A and E, antioxidants that reduce free-radical damage to the skin. This beauty product, which is native to Africa, protects the skin and hair from wind damage and environmental damage, and can help reverse wrinkles, clear up acne, improve softness and texture, reduce irritation after shaving, and moisture retention. In fact, moisture retention is so good that even after showering and bathing, softness and skin moisture is still intact. It even helps repair damaged hair and split ends, adding shine, luster, moisture and manageability to all hair types.
Another favorable aspect of shea butter is its outstanding scar removal ability. It is known for improving tone and complexion of the skin, also improving the appearance of stretch marks. In fact, some women use shea butter during pregnancy to combat the formation of stretch marks.
Shea butter is sold in different forms. There is ultra-refined, refined and raw shea butter. Ultra-refined has lost most of its nutritive qualities, while refined still has some of its curative properties, but not as much as the raw form of shea butter. The previous two forms of shea butter are the preferred forms for cosmetic companies, but they are not necessarily the healthiest for the skin. The best and most beneficial form to use shea butter is in its unrefined, raw form. The reason being is that the vitamins A and E and other healthful phytonutrients are lost to the refining process, leaving the shea butter with less of its natural curative components.
It is semi-difficult to get raw shea butter in stores, but it is readily available online. A great place to get raw shea butter is (www.sheabutterhut.com) . They provide raw shea butter in varying sizes and amounts at a pretty good price. Another added benefit is (www.sheabutterhut.com) has a commitment to being fair to the African women who work hard to harvest and produce the shea butter, paying them what they deserve.
To make sure you have/are getting raw shea butter, here are a few tell-tale characteristics of unrefined shea butter. First, unrefined shea butter should have a white to yellowish coloring. Second, the shea butter should be next to odorless (if it does have an odor, it should be nutty and not really heavy) and it should be completely odorless when it is on the skin. Lastly, it should be hard and then melt on your hand. If the shea butter has a consistency of creams and lotions you buy in the store, then it has been refined.
There is one precaution, though rare, those with nut or latex allergies should not use shea butter. If you get some, test some on your skin to see if there are any adverse reactions.
In summary, the above are some of the more amazing health foods that can help us in everyday life. It is time that preventative medicine is emphasized so that we can have control over our health and bodies, and with these natural foods, that can be achieved.
About the authorEmily West is a freelance writer that focuses on topics of natural health and sustainable food production systems. She also maintains a blog, The Wordsmith, at www.journeyoutofrabbithole.wordpress.com
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