By Dr. Mercola
We are excited to be celebrating our 21st anniversary at Mercola.com. We’ve come a long way since 1997 when I made it my mission to share new developments in natural health with you. For over two decades my team and I have been steadfast in our approach to providing the most current, cutting-edge information so you can make sound health decisions.
Thanks to you, our efforts have resulted in developing the leading source of health news and information as millions of unique visitors come to our website each month to learn how to take control of their health. My motivation has always been to help you become as healthy as you possibly can be, sharing knowledge and simple tools and providing you with up-to-date information, research and resources.
We publish content on our blog as a way to offer insight on topics that may not fit into our regularly scheduled newsletter. They are added to our home page, but you may want to bookmark the blog section and visit it daily. We also have an SMS service so you can receive exclusive sales, breaking news, advocacy and awareness information directly to your cellphone.
Also, be sure to visit our 21st Anniversary page to learn more about how you can participate in our anniversary giveaway.
Following you’ll find summaries of the articles that captivated you most in 2018 — those which were most popular and most shared. If you missed any of these popular articles, you’re in for a real treat. Be sure to stay tuned to the newsletter for more empowering health data and up-to-the-minute information as we move into our 22nd year.
9. The Surprising Benefits of Inclined Bed Therapy: Although sleeping on a horizontal surface is a well-established norm, raising the head of your bed 6 inches has demonstrated significant health improvements, including blood circulation, metabolism, respiratory, neurological and immune functioning. Inclined bed therapy has been shown to ease symptoms associated with migraines, sleep apnea, varicose veins, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Inclining your bed is different from sleeping on multiple pillows. While multiple pillows will raise your head, your torso and legs remain horizontal. This increases your risk for muscle stiffness and neck soreness. The alignment of your whole body is important, as lying straight but on an incline helps the blood to circulate more freely throughout your body and avoid stress on your hip joint.
Sleeping on an incline also helps to open your airway and alleviate snoring, increasing oxygen to your brain. And, considering the importance of blood circulation for healing and regeneration, it isn’t surprising that sleeping on an incline may provide you with more restorative sleep.
8. Why Farmed Salmon Are a Toxic ‘Junk Food’: Animal-based omega-3 fats are essential to your overall health, potentially lowering your risk of a fatal heart attack by 10 percent. A typical Western diet is rich in omega-6 fat, which must be balanced with omega-3 for optimal health. There are marine-based and plant-based sources for omega-3 fat, each of which serves specific functions in your body.
The marine animal-based omega-3s contains critical structural elements that reduce inflammatory activity and encourage communication within cells. While salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fat, you might be shocked to discover farmed salmon has more in common with junk food than with health food.
Aquaculture is promoted as a sustainable solution to overfishing, but realistically fish farms create more problems for the environment and the consumer than they solve. Fish are maintained in crowded conditions, plagued with disease and swim in pesticide-treated water.
Farmed salmon have nearly double the amount of total fat and over five times more omega-6 fat than wild-caught salmon. Although fish may be one of the healthiest foods, it’s essential to be mindful of your choices, taking care to steer clear of farmed fish and eating only authentic wild-caught Alaskan salmon or smaller fish with short life cycles, such as anchovies and sardines.
7. Benefits of Coffee and Tea: Coffee and tea have been the center of social interaction for decades. After water, they are the most commonly consumed beverages and top sources of antioxidant polyphenols and caffeine. Coffee is a complex beverage, the nutritional value of which changes based on the type of roast and how the coffee is made.
Researchers have discovered coffee drinkers have a 7 percent lower risk of heart failure and an 8 percent lower risk of stroke for every additional cup of coffee consumed each week compared to non-coffee drinkers.
You likely have used the caffeinated variety to help improve attention and alertness on days when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. However, this may be a double-edged sword as excess consumption can cause adverse effects, and sufficient, restorative sleep is critical to your overall health.
The benefits of drinking green tea include lowering blood pressure, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Data have also linked other types of tea with a lower risk of weight gain, improved fat metabolism and liver function, and the prevention of metabolic syndrome. While healthy and tasty, it’s important you choose your tea wisely and ditch dairy products and sweeteners.
6. Go With Your Gut: Over the past decade, research has revealed more about the vital role your gut microbiome plays in your overall physical and emotional health. Nearly 70 percent of your immune function resides in your gastrointestinal tract, so taking care of your gut microbiome is a worthwhile pursuit.
Although advertisers would like you to believe eating over-the-counter yogurt will help repopulate your gut microbiome, most yogurts are chockful of added sugars that instead feed harmful bacteria. Maintaining a balanced microbiome can keep harmful microbes in check, helping you manage your weight and protect against chronic disease.
Fermented foods, which you can make at home (including yogurt), are packed with beneficial bacteria and additional nutrients, including vitamin K2 and many of the B vitamins. The process is simple, incredibly cost-effective, and provides you with high-quality probiotics at a fraction of the cost of supplements. Combining probiotics to seed your gut and prebiotics to feed your friendly gut bacteria may help resolve food intolerances and allergies, and may even boost your mood.
5. Baking Soda — An Inexpensive Treatment Aid for Autoimmune Diseases Like Arthritis: Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has commonly been used to treat sunburn, soothe your feet and as a natural skin exfoliator and deodorant. It’s also been a staple for baking and cleaning purposes for more than 150 years, but this inexpensive powder has a number of other medicinal uses and benefits as well.
As many of the foods in today’s Western diet tend to lower the pH of your blood and increase your risk for chronic disease, baking soda may actually counteract the effect by raising your pH. Baking soda may even be an effective adjunct treatment for autoimmune conditions as it inhibits the inflammatory process.
Already used in the treatment of chronic kidney disease, studies show it boosts anti-inflammatory immune cells and decreases inflammatory cells. Considering the devastating side effects inherent with drugs commonly used to treat inflammatory diseases, it is intriguing that something as simple and inexpensive as baking soda water may help alleviate inflammation.
4. Best Vegetables for Your Heart: Your mother always said you need to eat your vegetables, and it turns out she knew best. The higher the number of vegetables in your diet, the lower your risk of heart disease. Different types of vegetables protect your heart through different mechanisms, including boosting nitric oxide to relax your arteries and reduce your blood pressure, and phytonutrients to promote easy blood flow. Magnesium and quercetin also provide important heart benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli also have a heart healthy influence thanks to their sulforaphane content (which also has well-known anticancer benefits). Pairing these with a myrosinase-containing food, such as daikon radishes, arugula or mustard seed, may help convert glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, and increase those benefits.
3. Move More: Sitting may be responsible for up to 9 percent of premature deaths, according to the World Health Organization. It is often called the “sitting disease,” as those who sit for longer periods of time have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Moving more may improve your cardiovascular and metabolic function. Ideally you will sit for a maximum of three hours a day.
If you’re like most people, you’ll need a way to avoid your chair and still accomplish your work. This isn’t nearly as impossible as you might imagine with the use of a few alternative office devices. Adhering to this simple guideline may slow the aging process, improve your cardiovascular system and help you maintain your weight. I’ll demonstrate a simple 4-minute exercise to help you control your blood pressure, improve your immune function and keep your moving.
2. Fasting Regenerates Your Pancreas: At a time when the incidence of cancer and diabetes is rampant, a simple, safe and effective process may help prevent and treat these conditions. Animal research demonstrates a fasting-mimicking diet may trigger pancreatic regeneration and reverse the symptoms of diabetes. It may also help reduce cancer, improve cognition, strengthen your immune system and lower risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In 2015, 30.3 million Americans suffered from Type 2 diabetes and nearly 1.25 children and adults had Type 1 diabetes. The percentage of Americans over 65 with diabetes remains at 25 percent, and diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death.
A fasting-mimicking diet involves restricting your daily calories to about 800 to 1,100 per day for five days each month, which improves compliance over water fasting while still providing similar benefits. I am also embracing multiday water fasting as one of the best metabolic interventions available to help promote autophagy and to switch your cells into a protected antiaging mode.
1. The Cholesterol Myth Has Been Busted — Yet Again: Although the myth that cholesterol triggers heart disease and stroke has been debunked several times, the U.S. government continued to warn against eating cholesterol rich foods until a decade of research failed to demonstrate the correlation. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans finally conceded that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”
Unfortunately, this likely only caused further confusion as the basic premise is wrong. Dietary fat is associated with heart disease, but it is processed vegetable oils loaded with trans fat and oxidized omega-6 fats that are the problem — not saturated fats.
A rigorous study including over 9,400 participants found vegetable oils did lower total cholesterol levels, but lower levels actually increased the risk of dying.
Autopsies in the experimental and control groups demonstrated similar levels of arterial plaque, but the group eating saturated fat had significantly less heart attacks at death. Since statins can seriously harm your health and are not the answer to reducing your risk of heart attack, it is important to accurately assess your risk of heart disease and implement healthy lifestyle changes.