Lara Evans Bracciante

The Organic Choice

Is Paying a Little More for Organic Foods Worth It?

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2005.
Copyright 2005. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

While shopping in your grocery store’s produce section, you may notice the organically grown apples are pocked and not as big and perfectly round as the conventional produce, but they are more expensive. What’s the difference, and which do you choose? Your decision may significantly impact not only your health but the health of the economy and the planet.

Think Zinc

Nutrition: A Trace Mineral with a Substantial Role

Thanks to its cell-generating, skin-soothing properties, zinc supplementation stabilizes acne, eczema, rosacea, and broken capillaries and promotes wound healing, especially following burns or surgical incisions. In addition, getting the proper amount of this essential trace mineral boosts immunity and strengthens hair and nails.

Yoga Eases MS Fatigue

News Note

Yoga reduces fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition affecting one in 1,000, according to a recent study published in Neurology. Experts have long known that regular exercise eases weariness associated with MS, but this was the first controlled study measuring the effects of yoga, which proved to have the same results.

Antibacterial Soap Not Helpful

News Note

Your antibacterial soap does not provide better protection against infectious disease than conventional products — and it could breed a bug that will make you really sick. That’s what researchers at Columbia University determined when they randomly assigned 238 households to use either antibacterial or regular soap products for a year. During that time, both groups experienced the same number of infectious symptoms. Researchers were not surprised, as most infections are viral rather than bacterial.

Soothing the Season

Natural Remedies to Ease Holiday Stress

As the holiday season approaches, your task list may begin to overwhelm you. There are office parties, social engagements, gift buying, children’s recitals, holiday meals, travel, and financial decisions — all tapping on your shoulder and demanding attention. Where do you begin?

“We have to resist the speediness around us,” says Hyla Cass, M.D., coauthor of several books, including Natural Highs: Feel Good All the Time (Avery, 2002). “All the forces are pushing us to perform, to always be doing and going,” she says. “It can really wreak havoc. Remember to slow down and breathe.”

Scientific Validation for Healing Touch

News Note

In an attempt to bridge the gap between the use of Healing Touch (HT) and the lack of randomized controlled trials, researchers from Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis, Mo.) recently studied the effects of HT on 78 subjects undergoing radiation treatment. Using strict criteria, the HT group received treatment from practitioners with a minimum of Level II certification. The control group received mock sessions from a layperson with no knowledge of HT. All subjects received six sessions (30 minutes each) of either HT or the mock therapy after radiation treatments.

Vitamin D Connected to Lower MS Risk

News Note

Vitamin D consumption has been associated with a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition affecting approximately 400,000 Americans. The study tracked more than 187,000 women for 10 to 20 years and found that subjects who took at least 400 International Units (IU) daily — the amount found in most multivitamins — had about a 40 percent decreased chance of developing MS. Vitamin D also appears to prevent or slow MS-like symptoms in animals.

Heart of a Woman

News Note

Women suffering even mild depression are at greater risk of heart attack, according to researchers at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The four-year study reviewed almost 100,000 women aged 50 to 79. Women with no history of heart disease who experienced sub-clinical depression (based on inquiries about things such as crying spells and feelings of being disliked) had a 50 percent greater risk of dying of a heart attack during the four-year period than women who were not depressed.

Morning Calories Reduce Daily Calories

News Note

Eating breakfast can result in fewer total calories for the day, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at the University of Texas in El Paso analyzed the weekly food diaries of nearly 900 adults. They consistently found that when more calories were eaten in the morning, calorie intake for the entire day was less in those subjects who skipped breakfast. And the more calories consumed in the evening, the larger the daily calorie intake.

Mindfulness Meditation: A Silver Bullet?

News Note

What if there was a single pill you could take to reduce blood pressure, ease anxiety, improve concentration, and make you happier — all with no side effects? Chances are, everyone would be clamoring for it. While not in pill form, mindfulness meditation — the act of sitting quietly for 20 to 30 minutes once or twice a day and emptying your mind — appears to initiate these significant results.