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Weeds Growing In Poor Urban Areas More Nutritious Than Grocery Store Produce

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Photo Credit: Pexels

Markab AlgediGuest Writer

In August, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley published their findings that wild green “weeds” growing in abundance in the poor, urban areas of San Francisco, California contain more nutrition than grocery store produce, even despite the drought in California.

About nine city blocks worth of wild greens were collected from three separate areas by the researchers, led by Philip Stark. The neighborhoods were described as “disadvantaged neighbourhoods surrounded by busy roads and industrial zones.”

According to Cosmos“The areas, classified as “urban food deserts”, are more than one to one-and-a-half kilometres from the nearest shop that sells fresh produce. Six different species were tested for nutrition content: chickweed (Stellaria media), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), dock (Rumex crispus), mallow (Malva sylvestris), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and oxalis (Oxalis pescaprae). All compared favourably to kale – arguably one of the most nutritious domesticated greens – for several nutrients.”

Photo Credit: Cosmos
Photo Credit: Cosmos

These wild green plants offered more vitamin A, protein, iron, vitamin K, dietary fibre, and generally more energy than the grocery store greens, while the vitamin C content of grocery store Kale did surpass the content of the wild greens. However, the researchers suggested that other greens such as wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) or wild mustard (Hirschfeldia incana) may surpass the vitamin C content of Kale.

The researchers have officially documented 52 distinct species of green leaves in the streets of San Francisco. In abundance, wild greens can be found which include fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), cat’s ear (Hypochaeris radicata) plantain (Plantago lanceolate), wild onions (Allium spp), wild lettuce (Lactuca ludoviciana) and sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus).

“Even during this low-production period, almost every address in all three study areas had several servings of several different species, suggesting that wild edible greens are a reliable source of nutrition all year round,” wrote the team.

Now another thing people should definitely factor in is the possible presence of environmental pollution in these city greens.

They did address that in a satisfying way, as according to one article“After rinsing in water, the plants had no detectable levels of pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or heavy metals – all toxic substances that might have been expected in local environments.”

San Francisco, California in particular is known to be contaminated with radiation and heavy metals in some places, like Bayview or Hunter’s Point, where the US Navy once performed experiments with radiation.

Falsified soil tests were exposed when plans to build on top of still toxic sites in Hunter’s Point, San Francisco made headlines nearly a year ago.

However, those very same neighbourhoods of Bayview and Hunter’s Point have respectable community gardeners, and markets. According to one article specifically about the exchange of home-grown produce in Bayview:

“Farmers from seven community gardens in the Bayview District have joined forces to bring the first “Growers Market” into the neighbourhood, in an effort to address food insecurity and promote healthy eating among its residents.

Unlike most traditional farmers’ markets, all fresh produce and fruit for sale at the Bayview Grower’s market, which was launched at the Florence Fang Community Garden earlier this year, is hyper-locally sourced — grown in the Bayview to feed the neighborhood’s residents.”

Photo Credit: Cosmos

If produce is grown in Hunter’s Point or Bayview where radiation from the former US Navy installation on the peninsula may still be present, people should definitely test for that.

However, the notion of home-grown vegetables and nutritious greens grown in the city is extremely positive. These people deserve the utmost respect and support, in the eyes of any person who believes in community and self-sufficiency.

About the Author

This article (Weeds Growing in Poor Urban Areas More Nutritious than Grocery Store Produce) was created by The Mind Unleashed and is re-posted here with permission. It can be re-shared with attribution but MUST include link to homepage, bio, intact links and this message.  

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Lion’s Mane Mushroom Proven To Reduce Anxiety And Depression

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LION’S MANE MUSHROOM PROVEN TO REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Photo Credit: www.healthyfitterself.com

Lion’s mane mushroom is a medicinal food with many benefits that has been used for centuries and has now been shown to be an effective natural depression and anxiety treatment.

placebo-controlled human clinical study took 30 female patients to investigate the effects of lion’s mane on menopause, depression, sleep quality and anxiety.

Of those who finished the study, 14 took a placebo and 12 took lion’s mane mushroom extract that was baked into cookies. Two grams of lion’s mane mushroom per day were consumed and after four weeks of use, a reduction in depression and anxiety were reported by the lions mane mushroom group.

This study gives rise to the growing belief among scientists that depression and anxiety has less to do with the “serotonin hypothesis” and possibly more to do with the “neurogenic theory of depression and anxiety.”

In essence, higher rates of neurogenesis could prove to equal higher rates of happiness.

Lion’s mane mushroom is often used as a food and supplement to support brain health, memory, focus, clarity and recall. It does so by helping the brain produce a compound called Nerve Growth Factor, or NGF for short. As a protein, Nerve Growth Factor helps to repair damaged neurons and even create new neurons!

For an enhanced learning experience, check out the video version of this information and be sure to subscribe to Crystalline Nutrients YouTube channel:

The implications for possible therapeutic benefits of lion’s mane mushroom extend into other nervous system-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia.

About the Author

Crystalline Nutrients creates 3 minute YouTube videos on the latest nutrition science research. Videos are meant to be short to allow busy health-conscious people and practitioners stay up to date with only a few minutes of their time. Follow Crystalline Nutrients on YouTube and Instagram for new and exciting nutrition science information!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.

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Negative Thinking Can Be An Addiction – Here’s How How You Can Break The Cycle

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Negative Thinking Can Be An Addiction – Here’s How How You Can Break The Cycle
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Have you ever noticed how much time you spend thinking negative thoughts? Either dwelling on events of the past or ruminating about the future, these thoughts seem to infiltrate our minds and feed off themselves and can even become addictive.

Most of us would claim that we do want happiness, yet over and over again we choose suffering; and this isn’t to say that we should merely stop these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Only thinking positive thoughts could be considered spiritual bypassing and won’t bring us to our desired happiness either. We continuously return to our suffering because in our minds we are trying to make the negative experiences come out a different way, even though this is not possible.

In an effort to figure out how to let go of our pain, we end up grasping onto it.

From Psychology Today, author Nancy Colier states,

“Pain is also profoundly intertwined with our sense of identity. We remind ourselves of our pain as a way of keeping alive our personal narrative, our story of me, what’s happened to me, and my life. We’re deeply attached to our stories of suffering; you could say we love our pain. As a result, we’re reluctant to let it go, to stop bringing it back into the present moment, even when it’s no longer useful or active. To do so would be to lose touch with who we believe we fundamentally are, what makes us, us. “

Learn To Feel The Feelings The Painful Thoughts Bring

In the short term, it may be easier to think over and over again about our painful memories, embarrassing moments, wondering “what if?” But eventually we will become these thoughts and believe we are those thoughts. They will just come back again and again and again until we can learn how to truly let them go. The mind will go through great lengths to avoid actually feeling our pain, perhaps in an effort to protect us, which we can potentially have gratitude for. Perhaps we can even choose to say: thank you ego/mind for protecting me, but I’d like to explore these feelings that are inside of me.

So What Can We Do?

One might feel as though they wish they could just stop these negative thoughts altogether, but until they are acknowledged, these thoughts won’t stop. Perhaps in reading this article, you will remember or gain the awareness to notice just how repetitive some of your thoughts are. Next time your mind gets stuck you can say “No, I’m not going there right now,” but be sure to notice any feelings that come up at the same time.

We can practice mindfulness and separate our thoughts from ourselves. Instead of identifying deeply with the thought, we can choose to be the mere observer, the one who is noticing that the thought is happening. So instead of “I’m so stupid, I can’t believe I didn’t jump at that opportunity I was given, typical me, always too afraid to take a leap,” or whatever it may be, we can step back from our thought and say, “I notice that I am having a thought that I am not good enough, now I can observe where this thought is coming from and identify the feelings that are attached to it, feel them fully, and let them pass.”

The Only Way Out Is Through…

If you want to begin breaking these negative thought cycles of the mind, the first thing to realize is that the only way out is through, and if we wish to truly end these thoughts and let go of this pain we are carrying, then we in fact need to face them directly and not just continuously dwell on them.

The only way to do that is to actually feel the feelings and emotions that the painful thoughts are bringing up. Identify how the thoughts are making you feel, even say, “I feel sad about ______ .” Then, you don’t need to think or say anything at all, you can just allow the feeling to be felt, in all its intensity, and maybe you cry, maybe you start laughing uncontrollably, or maybe nothing happens at all. When you give your feelings and emotions the space to be acknowledged and felt — and practice loving kindness and compassion to yourself — these feelings and even those negative thoughts will become quieter and quieter. Because as stated earlier, “the only way out is through.”

This Takes Practice

Please be gentle with yourself, and don’t kick yourself if you can’t grasp this right away, as you could be trying to break through decade’s worth of addiction to these negative thought patterns. Having awareness is the very first step towards dealing with this. So, if you can begin to simply notice these repetitive thought patterns, this is an excellent first step! Over time it will become easier and easier and soon you will be able to separate yourself from your thoughts, become the observer, and allow yourself to feel your feelings, in all of their glorious intensity, and eventually be able to let them go completely.

You got this.

This article (Negative Thinking Can Be An Addiction – Here’s How How You Can Break The Cycle) was originally published at Collective Evolution and is re-posted here under Creative Commons.

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Health

Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?

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Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999.

This is important, and yes it is good this is getting the attention that it deserves. However, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that?

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. Given this, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?

Is It Because It’s Legal?

Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? Most likely. Alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it.

I’m not suggesting that criminalizing alcohol is a solution to this issue or anything, the same way I don’t see how it’s still against the law to use any drugs at all, regardless of how bad they are for you. I believe that we should have the say in how we treat ourselves and what we put into our bodies, not the government or a legal system. But instead of being portrayed as a harmful substance, like opiates, crystel meth, and crack are — alcohol is glamorized by the media; often being portrayed as sophisticated, fun, sexy and generally just the cool thing to do.

Alcohol Is Basically Encouraged In Our Society

There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.

Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic.

There are many ways we tend to justify our use, because the thought of giving it up entirely or admitting that we even have a problem can be extremely overwhelming — especially if our entire livelihoods are cantered on it.

How Much Is Too Much?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a web site called “Rethinking Drinking” to highlight the amount of misconceptions about what is considered “low-risk” and “high-risk” alcohol consumption. It turns out, more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week for women and four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men are considered “high-risk,” and these patterns can be detrimental both in the short and long-term.

Some people might have an attitude of, I don’t drink at all during the week, so I have all of my allotted alcoholic beverages on the weekend — however, for men consuming 5 or more drinks and for women consuming 4 or more drinks in about a 2 hour period is considered binge drinking.

Is It Time To ‘Rethink That Drink’?

Should we have more campaigns aimed to raise awareness about the potential harm caused by alcohol? Because it is legal it seems to have this view of also being safe, because our government officials and lawmakers always have our best interest at heart, right? But if we aren’t educating young people effectively on the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption, then perhaps there should be more of an effort to make the risks known on the packaging and even eliminating ads. In my opinion, it simply does not make sense to be legally allowed to advertise something that is so harmful — especially in such a glamorized way.

I don’t know what it’s like now for teens and if it is still considered “cool” to drink and if there is a ton of peer pressure around the whole thing. My hope is that this view will shift, young people will be made more aware of the risks and more people will find the courage to step away from what is no longer serving them or what’s not in their best interest.

Many health advocates and people that are very cautious with regards to what they are putting into their body are still completely overlooking alcohol as a harmful substance. Now, there is no judgment to anyone who chooses to drink, but I think it’s time to take a good hard look at these things and at least have the awareness behind it. Surely, it can be fun from time to time to relax, to loosen up, to be silly, but when we are relying on it to escape our unhappiness from our current situation, well then maybe it’s time to face these situations head on, rather than escape them and change whatever is encouraging us to reach for that glass of wine, whiskey or beer in the first place.

How Can We Support Others?

The fact of the matter remains, many people who drink can do so sparingly, not in excess and not very often. They have a handle on it and it doesn’t interfere with their lives in a negative way. However, for the ones who have struggled — with drinking too much, too frequently, with black outs, it can be difficult to even know if it’s a problem because of how acceptable it is in our society.

If someone says, no thanks I’m not drinking, don’t ask why, and instead try, right on! And no peer pressure. I’ve had problems with drinking, have quit and relapsed twice, currently I’m sober. Before I stopped drinking this time around I would open up to some people about it, questioning my use and whether or not it was harmful, many people would tell me, ahh don’t be so hard on yourself! We are allowed to enjoy life, or shut down from time to time if we need to. If someone is expressing to you that they are concerned they might have a drinking problem, don’t make them second guess themselves, if they are opening up about it please try to support them. We don’t always know what others are going through — apparently even if they flat out tell us. This may also challenge our own relationship with alcohol, but if you can keep that separate.

Do You Have A Problem?

If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Keeping in mind that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. You may have a problem with alcohol if you can identify with any of the following scenarios:

  1. Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  2. Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
  3. Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
  4. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
  5. Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
  6. Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
  7. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
  8. Being unable to fulfil major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
  9. Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  10. Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
  11. Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.

A great way to get things in check is to commit to a period of time without any alcohol consumption and monitor how you feel, what you accomplish, and if you feel uplifted. You may need to ask your friends to support you during this time and have some sober activities prepared! Board games, cards, movies, sports, hiking — all these things can be great sober fun!

If your problem is more severe than this, or you are needing help in any way, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or you may benefit from your local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a whole slough of support and resources. If that’s not your jam, check out Hello Sunday Morning for assistance in moderating your use.

My hope is that in the near future it will be more common not to drink and doing so will be more like taking a drug, or having an experience that is typically out of the ordinary.

It is never too late to make a change, first step is to get really honest with yourself…

This article (Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?) was originally published at Collective Evolution and is re-posted here under Creative Commons.

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The Health Benefits Of Reading Books Compared To Reading From Screens

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Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

In the age of information we are being bombarded left, right and center with quick facts, fake news, censored information, video images and so much more. This is greatly affecting the span of our attention. To many the idea of picking up a book, when we could just as easily listen to it, or read segments on our phones is completely absurd. However, there are many benefits that come along with reading books that just might make it worth it to you.

Consider just the very act of reading a book in itself, holding it, turning the pages, seeing your progress in the development of the story, it’s almost as if you are a part of it.

Benefits Of Reading Books

Reading requires patience and diligence, which is not something required from a glance and a click on a quick headline. Reading a book is almost a kin to running a marathon for your brain, I mean if you can finish a whole book!

Reading stimulates imagination and creativity.

Research has shown that reading helps with comprehension and emotional intelligence as well as fluid intelligence — meaning the ability to reason and have flexible thinking. This leads to smarter decision-making regarding yourself and others.

As we age, our memory will decline, but regular reading can help keep minds sharper longer according to research published in Neurology. Frequently exercising your mind was also proven in that same study to lower mental decline by 32 percent.

Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as these across a person’s lifetime, from childhood through old age, is important for brain health in old age,” study author Robert. S. Wilson of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago said in a statement. “Based on this, we shouldn’t underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents.”

Reading can help make you more empathetic — researchers from the Netherlands designed two experiments showing that people who were “emotionally transported” by a work of fiction experienced boosts in empathy,

“In two experimental studies, we were able to show that self-reported empathic skills significantly changed over the course of one week for readers of a fictional story by fiction authors Arthur Conan Doyle and José Saramago,” they wrote in their findings. “More specifically, highly transported readers of Doyle became more empathic, while non-transported readers of both Doyle and Saramago became less empathic.”

Even More Reasons Read Books

Aside from these deeper reasons to read books, here are some more basic ones:

Books are a lot easier on the eyes than screens, which will provide a nice break for many of us as we are spending an increasing amount of time staring at screens at work, at home, on our smartphones while watching Netflix — your eyes could use the break.

One survey of 429 university students revealed that nearly half had complained of strained eyes after reading digitally. Electronic books can cause screen fatigue, which may lead to blurred vision, redness, dryness, and irritation. With print books, you don’t have to worry about any of that.

If you are reading an actual book, there is less of a chance that you will be distracted compared to reading on your phone. A book has no notification pings, buzzes or pop-ups, and you can ensure this distraction free time by leaving your phone in another room or putting it on silent or on airplane mode while reading.

Another great thing about books and the wonderful by-product of less screen time is less exposure to electromagnetic frequencies, if you don’t have your phone on you, and perhaps you even have your Wi-Fi turned off while not in use you are giving your body a bit of a break from the constant bombardment of these frequencies.

Reading books before bed can help you sleep better, the main reason being — they do not emit blue light, or any kind of light at all actually, which has been shown to interfere with a good night’s rest. Not only that, but personally I find in general, reading a book tends to make me sleepy, so I enjoy reading a few chapters before putting my head down for the night.

Who doesn’t love the smell of a good book? You know that lovely, kind of musty smell old books give off? Or the fresh, crisp paper smells of a brand new book?

Final Thoughts To Consider?

Will reading books become an outdated thing of the past? Or will we be able to stand by the benefits of books and keep collecting them for generations to come? Only time will tell! To finish off, I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from the late, great, Dr. Seuss,

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

Much Love

This article (The Health Benefits Of Reading Books Compared To Reading From Screens) was originally published at Collective Evolution and is re-posted here under Creative Commons.

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