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The truth about natural sweeteners

Type 2 diabetes is a health condition that can cause blood sugar levels to rise. When the body is unable to produce any insulin the hormone responsible for the breakdown of sugar, or the cells of the body are unable to use that insulin to break down glucose due to various reasons, it leads to a spike in blood sugar levels. If not managed well, high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can cause serious health complications, so much so that it can even damage vital organs such as the kidneys and heart.

People who develop type 2 diabetes have to be extra careful of what they eat and when they eat. They are recommended to steer clear of sweets, sugar, and any food products that may contain a lot of added sugar. They are also advised to consume small, frequent meals in order to keep their blood sugar levels stable.

A lot of people, irrespective of whether they have developed type 2 diabetes or not, are now turning to natural sweeteners in a bid to eat and be healthier. Some popular natural sweeteners include honey and jaggery and they are both commonly used as alternatives to processed sugar. They are believed to be healthier in the sense that they are not as processed as sugar and, therefore, may contain fewer chemicals, preservatives or undergo processing, and that is true to a great extent. When compared with processed white or brown sugar, jaggery or honey are considered better and healthier options.

Does that mean diabetics can eat jaggery without worrying?

Diabetics are recommended to avoid anything sweet as much as they can in order to manage their blood sugar levels. This is because the food we eat is generally rich in carbs and some form of sugar, which is enough to keep the blood sugar levels stable and prevent them from dropping too low. While the popular notion is that jaggery is healthier than sugar, for diabetics, they may in fact be the same. Therefore, diabetics should consume jaggery in moderation.

While jaggery is a natural sweetener and overall healthier than sugar, it is still pretty high in sugar content. Therefore, it can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels for diabetics. Jaggery has a high glycemic index of 84.4, which makes it unfit for consumption by diabetics.

Stevia

Extract Stevia is made up of dried roots and leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana , which is native to Paraguay and Brazil. It is commonly known as sweet leaf of Paraguay, honey leaf, candy leaf, etc. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener sold in powder or liquid form and is 300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is suited for diabetics and people suffering from obesity because Stevia is not metabolized but simply excreted from the body. Thus, it has no impact on the blood sugar—meaning, no spikes and crashes.

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Bottom line

Consuming natural sweeteners instead of sugar or other artificial sweeteners may be healthier, but it does not mean that one can consume them as much as they like, and expect to stay healthy. Remember that moderation is the key, whether you have diabetes or not. Consumption of natural sweeteners in excess, even when you do not have diabetes, can lead to unintended weight gain, and increase the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases.

Source: Internet & Others

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Beauty of Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a popular condiment that is often used in salad dressings, marinades and many other foods. Its flavor is distinct and is often described as tart and complex. Some studies suggest that balsamic vinegar has several health benefits that range from improving a person’s complexion to lowering cholesterol and aiding weight loss. Let’s take a look at the potential health benefits of balsamic vinegar:

1. Improves skin health

Balsamic vinegar contains antimicrobial compounds, acetic acids and antioxidants – components that may help improve a person’s complexion over time. If using this method opt for clear vinegar to help clear up acne as balsamic can cause stains and should not be applied directly to the skin.

2. Reduces blood sugar

Studies suggest that this popular salad dressing ingredient offers a number of health benefits, including in helping to regulate blood sugar. In one review which examined the scientific effects of vinegar found that balsamic vinegar has an anti-glycemic impact when consumed. This means that a person’s blood sugar will spike less drastically after a meal. According to the paper, it indicated that vinegar could help create a blood sugar plateau for a period of up to 5 hours following a meal.

3. Promotes healthy digestion

One of the active compounds found in balsamic vinegar is acetic acid. This acid contains strains of probiotics that aid digestion. The probiotics found in acetic acid help promote good gut health and digestion while supporting overall immune function.

4. It lowers cholesterol

It has been found that balsamic vinegar may help lower cholesterol. The antioxidants in balsamic vinegar help block toxic cells in the body that raise cholesterol levels. In one study which involved rabbits with high cholesterol, it is possible that consuming balsamic vinegar can help lower or maintain already low cholesterol levels.

5. It helps you lose weight

The probiotics contained in balsamic vinegar can help you feel full for longer. Studies show that people may consume fewer calories throughout the day when they add vinegar to their morning meal.

6. It treats wounds

For many years, balsamic vinegar has been used to treat wounds. It has been suggested that balsamic vinegar has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. However, it is important to note that these claims have not been well studied.

7. It reduces hypertension

In one study which involved rats, it was determined that balsamic vinegar may help lower blood pressure. This research suggested that regularly adding balsamic vinegar to foods may help reduce high blood pressure over time. It may be true if a person replaces fatty foods, such as butter and oil, with vinegar, which lowers the total amount of fats they consume.

8. It relieves congestion

While this is not popularly known, some people use balsamic vinegar to help treat congestion. To do this, add a few drops of vinegar to steaming water and breathe in the vapor.

9. It reduces acid reflux

Balsamic vinegar can be used to help reduce acid reflux or heartburn. While this remedy may not work for everyone, you may want to give it a try. Do so in small amounts and wait several hours to see whether it improves your symptoms, or worsens them.

10. It promotes blood circulation

Balsamic vinegar is derived from grapes. Studies have shown that grapes help prevent cardiac disease by preventing platelets from building up in blood vessels. It also contains polyphenols which aid in blood circulation. However, the evidence is inconclusive so far.

Risks of taking balsamic vinegar

While the risks are few, it has been discovered that taking too much balsamic vinegar may cause an upset stomach. Generally speaking, however, it is safe for people to consume unless you suffer from an allergy. Other possible risks include:

1. Inflammation of the throat

2. Damage to the food pipe from drinking too much.

Limit your intake to about two tablespoons or less, as drinking too much can cause an upset stomach and other issues. Furthermore, be careful of what brands you buy. Genuine balsamic may be expensive but it does not contain added sugars.

Source: Internet & Others

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Common Nutrient Deficiencies!

Nutrient deficiencies is quite common. Magnesium, iodine, and vitamin B12 are just a few examples of nutrients that a good portion of people are missing in their diet, and the lack of these nutrients can be the cause of anything starting from fatigue and muscle weakness to a weakened immune system, impaired brain functioning and even dangerous long-term health effects.

These 5 nutrients are the ones that most people don’t get enough of:

1. Magnesium

People living in Western countries who typically eat a lot of processed foods and not enough leafy greens are often found to be deficient in magnesium, an essential mineral. In the US alone, about half of the population may not be getting enough magnesium from their diet.

Those who have an underlying health condition are especially likely to have lower than normal magnesium levels in their blood. Magnesium is very important and it directly influences our bone health and energy levels, but low levels of magnesium have also been linked to degenerative diseases, such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium is responsible for approximately 800 enzymatic functions in the human body, and is one of the most important minerals for good overall health in children as well as adults. Here are some reasons why you should include magnesium in your child’s diet:

  • It helps children to get better sleep.
  • It provides energy.
  • It aids blood sugar and insulin management in the body.
  • It helps in DNA formation.
  • It is beneficial for the hormonal health of kids.
  • It helps in maintaining blood pressure, and ensures good heart health.
  • It aids digestion, helps in the absorption of various vital nutrients by the body, and regulates bowel movements.
  • It is effective in building stronger bones and teeth.
  • It is good for healthy muscles and nerves.
  • It is beneficial in transporting calcium and potassium to the membranes of the body.
  • It is helpful in protein synthesis.
  • It aids the respiration process.

The recommended daily amount of magnesium for kids is as follows:

  • Babies to the age of 6 months may require 30 mg.
  • Babies from 7 to 12 months of age may require 75 mg.
  • Toddlers from 1 to 3 years of age may require 80 mg.
  • Kids from 4 to 8 years of age may require 130 mg.
  • Children from 9 to 13 years of age may require 240 mg.
  • Boys from 14-18 years of age may require 410 mg, and girls from 14-18 years may require 360 mg.

People suffering from certain conditions may require higher levels. To get enough magnesium, you may choose to take supplements and to include more magnesium-rich foods in your diet.

Foods rich in magnesium include:

  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts)
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale)
  • Fruit (bananas, figs, berries)
  • Vegetables (avocados, peas, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils)

2. Iron

Iron helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and helps muscles store and use oxygen. If your child’s diet lacks iron, he or she might develop a condition called iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency in children is a common problem. It can occur at many levels, from a mild deficiency all the way to iron deficiency anemia — a condition in which blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. Untreated iron deficiency can affect a child’s growth and development.

On average, iron deficiencies are more common among children and women of childbearing age, but it is among the most widespread deficiency in the world, affecting an estimated 25% of the people. This is alarming, as iron plays a key role in producing hemoglobin, a protein in our red blood cells that helps carry oxygen to the different cells in the body.

In turn, an iron deficiency may lead to a decreased number of red blood cells in the body, a condition also known as anemia, which causes symptoms like tiredness, a weak immune system and an inability to concentrate.

When possible, iron supplements should be avoided, unless otherwise recommended by your doctor, as excess iron intake, too, can be extremely dangerous and cause liver cirrhosis.

How much iron do children need?

Babies are born with iron stored in their bodies, but a steady amount of additional iron is needed to fuel a child’s rapid growth and development. Here’s a guide to iron needs at different ages:

Age groupRecommended amount of iron a day
7 – 12 months11 mg
1 – 3 years7 mg
4 – 8 years10 mg
9 – 13 years8 mg
14 – 18 years, girls15 mg
14 – 18 years, boys11 mg

Iron exists in food sources in two different forms: heme iron and nonheme iron. The former can be derived from animal foods only and is more easily metabolized by the human body. Nonheme iron, on the other hand, is more widespread and exists both in plant and animal products, but it is more difficult for the human body to absorb. This explains why vegetarians and vegans, too, are more likely to suffer from iron deficiencies than those who consume animal products.

Some foods rich in nonheme iron:

  • Legumes (beans, chickpeas, and lentils)
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale)
  • Tomatoes
  • Seeds (pumpkin and sesame)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Iron-fortified foods, such as oatmeal and other grains.

3. Vitamin B12

Nowadays, it’s very rare for people to suffer from vitamin C deficiency, as this vitamin is so abundant but lately we witness mass vitamin B12 deficiency, with an estimated 80-90% of vegans and vegetarians suffering from this condition.

Another group often having lower-than-normal vitamin B12 levels are older adults, as the ability to absorb the vitamin decreases with age. But don’t let these trends affect you, as maintaining an adequate B12 intake will benefit your health since the vitamin is essential for every cell in the body.

Unlike many other vitamins, such as vitamin D, for example, the body cannot produce vitamin B12 on its own, so we rely on our diet completely to supply us with cobalamin (another name of vitamin B12).

Deficiency in B12 manifests itself in megaloblastic anemia, a condition where the bone marrow produces large, immature red blood cells that are much worse at carrying oxygen. This condition manifests itself in many symptoms, such as muscle weakness, shortness of breath, fatigue and other symptoms. Luckily, taking vitamin B12 in supplement form isn’t dangerous, as the vitamin is water-soluble, so any excess is easily excreted through urine.

Infants up to 6 months old need 0.4 microgram per day, and those between 7 and 12 months old need 0.5 microgram per day of vitamin B-12. The RDA for children between the ages of 1 and 3 is 0.9 micrograms per day, and for children from 4 to 8 the requirement is 1.2 micrograms per day. Children aged 9 to 13 need 1.8 micrograms per day and everyone aged 14 and older needs 2.4 micrograms per day.

Foods rich in vitamin B12 are typically meat, diary (milk, yogurt, cheese) and eggs. Kids who are vegan may need to take vitamin B-12 supplements to meet their daily needs.

4. Calcium

Another essential mineral that we often don’t get enough of is calcium, with over half of the US population alone reportedly suffering from a calcium deficiency. This is especially true about kids and adults past the age of 50.

Calcium is essential for transmitting electrical signals through the nerves. The body stores excess calcium in the bones, and when we eat less than the required amount of calcium, this storage is extracted. The tragic result is conditions where a person has soft and more fragile bones, the most common ones being rickets and osteoporosis. Young kids and babies need calcium and vitamin D to prevent a disease called rickets. Rickets softens the bones and causes bow legs, stunted growth, and sometimes sore or weak muscles.

Good food sources of calcium include:

  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Green vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Fortified drinks and foods
  • Beans and lentils.

Dairy foods like these are among the best natural sources of calcium:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • hard cheeses, like cheddar

The percentage of fat in milk and other dairy foods doesn’t affect their calcium content — nonfat, 1%, 2%, or whole milk all have about the same amount of calcium.

5. Iodine

The last, but not least nutrient that people are often deficient in is iodine. Unlike many other deficiencies we discussed above, iodine deficiency has a more regional pattern. The amount of iodine one consumes will depend on how rich in iodine the soil in a specific region is, as well as how accessible seafood is in your specific region.

Nearly a third of the world population is deficient in iodine. Iodine is essential for one’s hormonal health, as it participates in the production of thyroid hormones, which control anything from your weight, metabolism and brain development. The main symptom of iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland, increased sweating, and weight gain.

Amount of iodine needed in a kid’s diet:

  • Children aged 1-11 years – 90-120 mcg/day
  • Infants – Adequate intake is 110-130 mcg/day

Researchers from a study from November 2013 published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology determined that infants assimilate additional iodine quite efficiently when they are breastfed by mothers taking iodine supplements. It’s possible to achieve that by either taking a supplement or consuming foods rich in iodine:

  • Sea vegetables, including nori, kombu, wakame, and arame, which have the highest concentrations of iodine of any food available.
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Eggs.

Also, in some countries where iodine deficiency is widespread, regulations require fortifying table salt with iodine.

Source: Internet & Others

Photo by Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Castor Oil

The very thought of this oil makes me queasy. And while you may not enjoy its taste, it’s pretty nutritious. This medicinal concoction is filled with Vitamin E, making it a suitable remedy for a number of other things (which don’t require you to take it orally). It is also packed with proteins, minerals and has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

Many believe that Cleopatra used the pale yellow liquid to brighten the whites of her eyes. Castor oil is simple to use and isn’t harsh on your skin, making it an excellent remedy for many different ailments.

Castor oil
Castor oil

As this list will come to show, there are a number of seemingly abnormal uses for this medicine – some of which will surely surprise you!

Topical Uses for Castor Oil

  • Arthritis treatment
  • Strengthen and grow hair
  • Acne treatment
  • Skin moisturizer
  • Deep cleanser
  • Eliminate fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Support lymphatic system
  • Increase circulation
  • Heal wounds and abrasions
  • Relieve menstrual cramps

Oral Uses for Castor Oil

  • Relieve constipation
  • Clean out intestines before surgery
  • Induction of labor

Use it to treat acne

The common skin condition, acne, is a result of impurities accumulating in your pores, causing the skin to become irritated and inflamed. Many of the acne remedies on the market today contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which tend to dry out the skin. Castor oil, similar to using neem oil, is a natural resource that draws out dirt, dead skin cells, excess oils, and bacteria without drying out your skin.

Use it to relieve arthritis pain

To get some relief from pain caused by arthritis, massage castor oil onto those achy joints. For added benefits, create a paste by mixing some castor oil with turmeric or cayenne pepper. Be sure to keep it away from your eyes, particularly if using cayenne pepper.

Use it to promote hair growth

Whether you want thicker hair, or would like to cover up a balding area on your scalp, massage some castor oil into the area for about 6 minutes every day to promote natural hair growth. It can also be used on the eyebrows. For a thicker brow line, just massage a few drops for a couple of minutes every day.

Use it to promote healthy bowels

Ingesting castor oil is a great way to alleviate constipation. On this note, however, caution is advised – the oil does work extremely well as a laxative. Simply mix a teaspoon into orange or cranberry juice each morning to keep your bowels working regularly.

Use it to kill ringworms

A relatively common skin condition, ringworm is caused by a fungus and grows into a ring-shaped, red rash. Studies show that nearly 20 percent of the population has suffered from ringworm at least once in their life. The undecylenic acid found in the castor oil acts as an antifungal agent that kills the infection.

Use it to remove warts and skin tags

To remove unsightly warts and skin tags, opt for castor oil. Just apply the oil to the wart or skin tag every day for a few weeks – you should begin to see the mark disappear. Unfortunately, castor oil will not work on moles, so be sure you know what you are trying to remove before using it.

Use it to relieve calluses and corns

When applied directly to the affected area, castor oil will help get rid of calluses. Simply massage a bit of the oil into the corns to help alleviate the pain and the swelling that they cause. Though it may take a couple of applications, you will see them disappear over time.

Use it to promote healthy skin

One of its lesser-known uses, castor oil works wonderfully at eliminating and preventing wrinkles. It is also ideal for pregnant women – rubbing castor oil onto the skin can help improve elasticity and prevent stretch marks caused by pregnancy. For a youthful glow, just apply it directly to your skin. Castor oil’s miraculous ability to hydrate the skin makes it a perfect remedy for treating cracked heels. It is rich in vitamins, and essential nutrients help to hydrate dry, cracked skin. Simply rub castor oil on your feet, put on a pair of socks, and leave on overnight.

Use it to treat sunburn

With the same cooling sensation as aloe, castor oil is great for alleviating painful sunburns. The ricinoleic acid will protect any blisters that pop up from becoming infected and reduce the inflammation associated with sunburns.

Use it to relieve pain from scratches

To relieve pain from scratches and other abrasions, opt for castor oil. Simply add a few drops to your scratches, allowing the healing properties of the oils to heal them. Castor oil is also a great option for treating ringworm and other fungal ailments.

Use it to relieve sore muscles

Castor oil makes for a wonderful massage oil that can be used to alleviate sore muscles. Just apply it to the affected area and massage. It may also be used as an oil for general massages – due to its Vitamin E content, it is great for your skin.

Use it to treat hemorrhoids

Castor oil is great at shrinking hemorrhoids and alleviating the pain and itching that they cause. Simply soak a cotton ball in the oil and apply it to your hemorrhoids. You may leave the cotton ball for about 15 minutes or so. It is important to note, however, that this only works for hemorrhoids that are outside the body.

Use it to treat insomnia

If you’ve been suffering from sleepless nights of late, castor oil is an effective remedy. Just rub a bit on your eyelids before getting into bed (make sure that you don’t actually get any in your eyes). The castor oil will help bring about a peaceful night’s sleep and will have you feeling refreshed in the morning.

Use it to treat toenail fungus

The undecylenic acid found in castor oil is an active ingredient that is great for relieving fungus in the body. To treat toenail fungus, soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salt for five minutes. Follow the soak by liberally applying castor oil to the affected toenail.

Use it to soothe tired eyes

In removing tiredness from around the eyes, castor oil works much like petroleum jelly. Before you go to bed at night, rub a little around your eyes and just a tad on your eyelashes, allowing the oil to soak in overnight, leaving you looking and feeling a little more refreshed in the morning. Again, just be careful not to get it in your eyes.

Source: Internet & Others

Photo by Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Natural Remedy to Alleviate Dry and Flaky Skin!

There is a direct connection between the foods we eat and how our skin feels, a connection you can make use of to address the skin issues you are experiencing. In the cold winter months, the most common skin concern is certainly skin dryness and flaking.To alleviate stubbornly dry skin, moisturizing the skin is often not enough because you need to treat this concern from the inside out by increasing your consumption of the right kinds of foods.

close up view of human dry skin
Dry and flaky skin

The list below have been proven to increase skin health and improve skin dryness:

1. Do not avoid oils

If you have dry skin, avoiding oils is probably the last thing you want to do. This is because the very definition of dry skin is skin deficient in lipids and consuming more oils would help your body replenish those lipids. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should start overindulging in dairy and fatty meat, as those are rich in saturated fats that are bad for the heart.

So, instead, take the plant-based route and use extra virgin cooking oils in your food. Since every cooking oil has its own unique cocktail of antioxidants and fats, it’s nice to mix things up and use a variety of oils. Some of the best oils for dry skin are:

• Olive oil – this oil has a skin-calming, anti-inflammatory effect and consists primarily of monounsaturated fat, which has been shown in studies to also increase skin elasticity and firmness.

• Flaxseed oil – may reduce sun damage and has demonstrated in studies to improve skin hydration and make skin smoother when consumed regularly.

• Pumpkin seed oil – pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of vitamin A and zinc, both of which are known to boost skin health, make it more youthful, and improve the skin’s barrier function.

If you don’t have any of these oils at home or simply don’t enjoy them in foods, don’t go out of your way and purchase them – any good quality cooking oil will help dry skin because it’s rich in lipids.

2. Red grapes

Though red grapes may not be accessible where you live year-round, it’s an excellent fruit to consider if it is available, especially since many people experience skin dryness all year, and not only in the winter. The reason why red grapes are so beneficial for dry skin is due to an ingredient called resveratrol that’s present in the skin of red grapes.

Apart from the ability of this compound to reduce the effects of skin aging, in-vitro studies also suggest that resveratrol also slows down the production of free radicals that damage the skin and make it more prone to conditions like dryness, acne, and even sun damage.

3. Salmon and other kinds of cold-water fish

Plants are not the only source of healthy fats to consider if you have dry skin. In fact, eating more fish does wonders for your skin’s health, as it contains an entire cocktail of ingredients that improve skin health. As you probably know, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel hold plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that are super healthy for our brain and the entire body. This includes your skin, especially when it’s dry or inflamed.

In addition, fish is a source of protein, zinc, and vitamin E, all of which reduce inflammation, help renew and produce new skin cells, and boost overall skin health. “Certain fish like halibut and yellowfin tuna also contain selenium, which preserves elastin in the skin, helping your skin stay supple, smooth, and tight,” Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian also pointed out.

4. Nuts and seeds

If you’re not a fan of fish, a great alternative source of healthy fats is nuts and seeds. As we’ve already mentioned, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds are extremely beneficial for those who have dry skin. Many seeds and nuts, particularly almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are rich in both omega-3 fats and vitamin E, just like fish.

Consuming any kind of nuts and seeds will improve the lipid barrier of the skin, help protect your skin from sun damage, reduce skin inflammation, so they’re essentially a natural remedy for dry skin.

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is probably the easiest and one of the healthiest side dishes imaginable – just trim of the woodsy ends and sautee them with a touch of olive oil and maybe some garlic for 10-15 minutes, et voila, it’s ready to serve. This peculiar looking vegetable is super rich in vitamins, notably vitamin E, which guards your skin against the elements, improves skin texture, and may even prevent wrinkles.

6. Tangerines and other citrus fruit

Apart from being a festive treat, tangerines will also hydrate the skin and provide it with the much-needed vitamin C. While many are aware of the role vitamin C plays in immune health, few know of the importance of this vitamin for skin health. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C prevents environmental damage to the skin, but the main function it plays in the skin is boosting collagen production.

Collagen is a jelly-like building block of skin, the lack of which causes wrinkles, loss of firmness, and dryness. Unfortunately, our skin tends to slow down the production of collagen with age, but vitamin C has been shown experimentally to speed up this process. In addition, not consuming enough vitamin C can lead to dry and scaly skin on its own, so make sure to consume plenty of foods that contain it to keep your skin hydrated, plump, and healthy.

7. Tomato

Another excellent source of vitamin C that’s actually savory and not sweet is the tomato. But that’s not the only skin-beneficial ingredient tomatoes have, as they also contain carotenoids, which are essentially different versions of vitamin A. More specifically, tomatoes are rich in beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene.

These ingredients don’t just give tomatoes their bright color, they also prevent your skin from being damaged by the environment, prevent wrinkles, and promote collagen production.

8. Sweet Potatoes

An alternative side dish to consider if you have dry skin is sweet potatoes. As every orange fruit and veggie, sweet potatoes are quite rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, the skin-repairing and plumping benefits of which we’ve already touched upon. Drizzle some pumpkin seed oil on top of baked sweet potato to add some healthy fats, and you’re golden!

9. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are famous for, well, being mainly water. But that’s by no means a disadvantage, especially if your skin is craving water so much. And while putting cucumber slices over the eyes was once a popular skin treatment, dermatologists and estheticians today say that you’re likely better off if you eat that cucumber instead of putting it on your skin, preferably with the peel, too. Apart from just hydrating your skin, cucumber peels hold silica, which also nourishes and calms the skin.

10. Avocados

Most people are aware of the fact that avocados are super rich in healthy fats, which is true, but that’s not the only reason you should start eating more avocado toast and guacamole when your skin is dry. In fact, avocados are also packed with compounds called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin according to scientific articles. These compounds help repair the skin, protect it from environmental damage, and fight inflammation in the skin. So, definitely add some avocado goodness into your diet.

Source: Internet & Others

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Have you heard of Sea Buckthorn?

Sea buckthorn fruit are orange berries and among the most nutrient- and vitamin-rich fruits on the planet. Being an integral part of traditional medicine all across the globe, Sea buckthorn comes in many forms, such as oils, supplements, jams and juices. It is used over centuries as food, traditional medicine, and skin treatment in Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine, and northern Europe.

Sea Buckthorn
Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

What Is a Sea Buckthorn?

Confusingly enough, the plant has no actual connection to the sea, it is a deciduous shrub that grows naturally in high altitudes all across Northern Europe, China, and Russia.

For centuries, the berries of the sea buckthorn plant have been harvested and used in medicine, skincare, and food. Some of the oldest records of using the berries in medicine come from Tibet and Ancient China, but even the Greeks knew of the golden sea buckthorn.

Sea buckthorn berries are edible and nutritious, though astringent, sour, and oily [12] unless ‘bletted‘ (frosted to reduce the astringency) and/or mixed as a drink with sweeter substances such as apple or grape juice. They are rarely consumed fresh. Most often, the berries are pressed to yield sea buckthorn juice, which is then filtered and divided into a fatty layer that’s used in cosmetics and supplements, and a vitamin-rich layer that’s incorporated in foods.

Frozen berries and sea buckthorn puree used in foods are also available, as are teas, syrups, liquors, juices, pies and jams containing the berries. But by far the most popular product made of sea buckthorn is sea buckthorn oil. These foods are valued for their high content of vitamin C and carotenoids, whereas the oil is the only plant-based oil to contain all four healthy omega fats (omega-3, omega-6, omega-7, and omega-9).

Apart from that, sea buckthorn products are packed full of antioxidants, folate and vitamin E. Needless to say, the puree or frozen berries contain all the above-mentioned beneficial nutrients. All these compounds make sea buckthorn a very potent plant that has a wide range of uses and proven health benefits, which we list below:

1. Boosts Your Immune System and Protects from Cancer

All the parts of the plant are extremely high in antioxidants, particularly in vitamin C, which is what allows the plant to survive in such harsh climatic conditions. For centuries, the berries were used to make vitamin and antioxidant-rich foods that can boost your immune system.

Most notably, sea buckthorn is traditionally featured in preserved foods, such as syrups, jams, and juices, that were used to keep up the immunity during the harsh winter months. Research supports sea buckthorn’s capability to help you withstand illness, with test-tube studies stating that it can prevent the growth of certain bacteria and viruses.

Apart from that, the antioxidants the fruits contain are suggested to protect the body from cancer, as they are particularly rich in quercetin and other flavonoids that are known to have these effects.

2. Skin Benefits

Sea buckthorn oil is among the best anti-aging oils to use directly on the skin, as the omega fats, vitamins and antioxidants the oil contains have proven to protect the skin from sun damage, deeply moisturize the skin and promote skin elasticity.

Apart from that, sea buckthorn oil is effective at relieving redness, inflammation and skin irritation, even in patients suffering from dermatitis, razor burn, frostbite and burns, so keeping a bottle of this oil in your medicine cabinet just in case is a pretty wise idea. Keep in mind, however, that the oil is bright orange in color and you’ll need to dilute it with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or marula oil if you want to use it on your face to prevent tinting.

3. Supports Heart Health

Sea buckthorn oil is also available in capsules, which are manufactured as a supplement. These sea buckthorn oil capsules may be useful to those of you suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, and high LDL cholesterol levels.

In one longitudinal study, hypertensive patients were given 0.75 ml of sea buckthorn oil daily for a month, which not only reduced their blood pressure but also lowered the level of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood. A different study also found that 5 grams of sea buckthorn oil supplementation for the duration of a month can decrease blood clot formation.

4. Promotes Liver Health

The healthy oils, vitamin E and carotenoids sea buckthorn contains seem to have a beneficial effect on the liver as well. Namely, supplementation with sea buckthorn extract can protect the liver from damage and improve its metabolic activity.

In one study, patients suffering from cirrhosis were given sea buckthorn extract for 6 months, which significantly improved their liver function. Apart from that, the cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering effect of sea buckthorn oil discussed above can help your liver metabolize nutrients better as well.

5. Reduces Symptoms of Menopause

Sea buckthorn oil supplementation has also been found to improve symptoms of menopause in a study with postmenopausal women who took 3 grams of the oil supplement daily for three months. The study concludes that the oil supplement is effective at relieving certain symptoms of menopause.

6. Digestive Issues

Sea buckthorn oil and foods that contain sea buckthorn is their ability to boost digestion and reduce inflammation in the digestive system. For centuries, the crushed berries were used in Chinese medicine as a remedy for poor digestion and stomachaches.

Studies in animal models found a lower recurrence in stomach ulcers as well. Sea buckthorn is suggested to improve the mucous lining of the stomach, which makes it more resilient to developing ulcers. The healthy fats and antioxidants may also boost metabolism, improving your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.

7. May Prevent Diabetes

The last scientifically-proven health benefit of sea buckthorn is its ability to help prevent diabetes. There is research suggesting that supplements made of crushed, dried sea buckthorn berry powder may help reduce sugar level spikes.

Namely, a study looking at healthy individuals found that the participants experienced fewer sugar spikes after meals containing sugar when they consumed the sea buckthorn extract, which, as the authors suggest, can have a positive long-term effect and help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Knowing how increasingly common both conditions are, it’s definitely worth, at the very least, giving sea buckthorn a try.

Precautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if sea buckthorn is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Sea buckthorn is POSSIBLY SAFE when used orally for up to 6 weeks in children 1-7 years of age.

Bleeding disorder: Sea buckthorn might slow blood clotting when taken as a medicine. There is some concern that it might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Low blood pressure: Sea buckthorn might lower blood pressure when taken as a medicine. In theory, taking sea buckthorn might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Sea buckthorn might slow blood clotting when taken as a medicine. There is some concern that it might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using sea buckthorn at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

Source: Internet, Webmd.com & Others

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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The dangers of Salt

Most kids are getting too much salt. Although it’s commonplace to add salt (or sodium) to meals for seasoning purposes, many of us consume exorbitant amounts of it each day without even realizing it. The recommended amount of sodium intake per day for adults is 2-1.5 grams, equivalent to 6-5 grams of salt, which amounts to only one teaspoon per day, and the recommended amount for children up to the age of 9 is up to 1.2 g of sodium per day. It’s already known that there is a direct connection between high blood pressure, heart attacks and brain aneurysms, and the amount of salt intake per day, which makes the subject even more pressing. Therefore, we must become familiar with the various foods which contain high amounts of sodium.

Excessive salt intake can be dangerous for kids
Excessive salt intake can be dangerous

How much sodium are children and youth in the U.S. eating?

On average, kids ages 2 to 19 eat more than 3,100 mg sodium per day, about double the amount the American Heart Association recommends. The older children get, the more calories and sodium they tend to eat.

In the 2 to 19-year-old age group of boys and girls, boys 12 to 19 eat the most sodium — an average of 4,220 mg/day. Girls in the same age group eat about 2,950 mg/day.  

Where do kids get their sodium?

Children 6 to 18 get about:

  • 14 percent at breakfast
  • 31 percent at lunch 
  • 39 percent at dinner 
  • 16 percent at snack time 

Grocery store and restaurant foods make up 81 percent of the sodium they eat, which means it’s in their food from the get-go and they can’t take it out.

According to national data about Americans’ eating habits, these foods are the leading contributors to the sodium kids eat:
  • Pizza
  • Bread and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Savory snacks (such as chips and pretzels)
  • Sandwiches (including burgers)
  • Cheese
  • Chicken patties, nuggets and tenders
  • Pasta mixed dishes (like spaghetti with sauce)
  • Mexican mixed dishes (like burritos and tacos)
  • Soup

Brands and restaurants make versions of the same foods with different sodium levels, and some options are even purposefully made with less sodium. You can make smarter choices about the foods you eat by comparing labels to pick the product with the lowest amount of sodium you can find.

How can too much sodium hurt my child’s health?

Eating too much sodium is associated with higher blood pressure in children and teens, and the effect is even greater if they’re overweight or obese. Kids with high-sodium diets are almost 40 percent more likely to have elevated blood pressure than kids with lower-sodium diets. 

There is a link between high blood pressure in childhood and high blood pressure in adulthood. High blood pressure in childhood is linked to early development of heart disease and risk for premature death. Kids with high-sodium diets are almost 40 percent more likely to have elevated blood pressure than kids with lower-sodium diets.  

Luckily, lowering blood pressure during childhood can help lower the risk for high blood pressure as an adult. And it can be as simple as helping them eat less sodium, which can help lower blood pressure in children and teens.

How can I help reduce the sodium my kids get?

Making sure your kids get less sodium today can help prevent heart disease tomorrow, especially for kids who are overweight and obese. 

1. Bread

One slice of bread usually contains 150 mg of sodium, and a pita or a decently sized baguette can easily contain twice that amount: If you usually eat grilled cheese for breakfast, a small sandwich at lunch, and a slice of bread with soup in the evening, along with other salty foods, you’re most probably going over the recommended daily intake of sodium. Try to cook dishes with whole grains such as quinoa, season them with herbs and avoid adding salt, which will help you reduce salt intake in general and bread in particular.

2. Sausages

The best way to fill a sandwich is with cold cuts such as salami or turkey, however, these tend to contain high amounts of sodium. In three ounces of turkey lunch meats contain 780 mg sodium, while in just one gram of salami (about 3 slices), there is 450 mg sodium. This is why you should avoid eating processed sausages as much as possible. Doing so will help you significantly cut back on your salt intake.

3. Muffins and other baked goods

It’s very tempting to go into a bakery and buy muffins or any other baked good, and enjoy its delicious taste, all without considering the amount of sodium they may contain. The tempting treats contain many calories, saturated fat, sugar, and some 570 mg of sodium, if not more. This is close to half the recommended daily amount, so opt for baking your own pastries.

4. Cereals

A great way to start the day is with a bowl of cereal, which is especially popular among young children and teens. Many kinds of cereal contain less than 200 mg of sodium per serving, but there are also quite a few that contain 300 mg per serving. You can easily avoid salt in the morning by making healthier whole grain meals, such as oatmeal, which has great taste and uncompromising quality.

5. Sauces

We often season our food with different sauces, whether it’s salad, hamburgers or sushi, while we don’t always pay attention to the high salt they contain. Sauces and condiments are actually at the top of the list of high-sodium food items. One tablespoon of barbecue sauce contains 175 mg of sodium, while the same amount of teriyaki sauce contains 690 mg sodium. Therefore, it is important that you choose low sodium options of the same sauces.

6. Instant meals

Many people that don’t have time slaving over a stove to make soup or stews from scratch often take a shortcut by pouring some hot water into a cup-o-noodles. However, by doing so, you are compromising the quality of the food. These high-speed meals contain high amounts of sodium, which is linked to heart disease and high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s important to critically examine the ingredients of those foods and soups. It should be noted that in a regular serving of chicken flavor cup-o-noodles, there is 1070 mg of sodium.

7. Pizza

We all love pizza – whether we eat it for lunch, dinner, or breakfast the next day, it’s simply delicious. However, it’s important to know that pizza contains various sources of salt, including tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and of course, cheese. It’s no wonder that pizza is a bomb of sodium waiting to explode and threaten our health if we do not know how to consume the right amount. In fact, only one slice of pizza contains 650 mg of sodium, before you add olives or any other added salt, not to mention that most of us eat more than one slice, which means that without even trying you can easily reach half of the recommended daily intake of sodium. Therefore, the next time you order one, be sure to eat as little sodium as possible that day.

8. Canned beans

While making soup, rice or a stew, a good way to enrich the dish with protein and fiber is by adding canned beans, because of the convenience it offers. The problem is that the same can of beans contains a large dose of sodium, but this can be fixed. All you have to do is rinse off the beans, reducing the amount of sodium on them, or you can buy a can of sodium-free or salt-free beans. However, it is always better to purchase dry, salt-free beans and cook them on your own.

9. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese, whether fat-free or regular, is a great source of protein, but when it comes to sodium, it’s something to be wary of. One cup of this cheese contains 920 mg of sodium, which is almost half of the recommended daily intake, so you should look for cottage cheese with no sodium or salt at all, and enrich its flavor by adding fresh or dry herbs.

Source: AHA & Others

Photo: by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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The power of Turmeric

Turmeric is a flowering plant, Curcuma longa of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae, the roots of which are used in cooking. Turmeric is a common spice that contains a chemical called curcumin, which might reduce swelling. But did you know that turmeric is actually roughly as potent as many kinds of medication?

Turmeric powder for better health, Super spice
Turmeric – a super spice

Lipitor/Atorvastatin (cholesterol medication)

A 2008 study revealed that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from turmeric had very similar effects to atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) when it came to treating endothelial dysfunction, a driver for atherosclerosis. It was also associated with reductions in oxidative stress and inflammation in type 2 diabetic patients.

It is also found effective against the buildup of fat in the liver in people who drink little or no alcohol (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD). Taking turmeric extract by mouth reduces markers of liver injury in people who have this condition. It also seems to help prevent the build-up of more fat in the liver.

Aspirin (blood thinner)

Research shows that curcumin has even more anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects than aspirin. This goes to show that it could be useful to patients prone to vascular thrombosis, who often require anti-arthritis therapy.

Corticosteroids (steroid medications)

Numerous studies have found that turmeric can be just as effective as many kinds of steroids. One found that the curcumin found within turmeric compared favorably to steroids used to treat the inflammatory eye disease known as anterior uveitis. Other studies also found that chemicals found within turmeric are just as effective as steroidal drugs that tackle lung ischemia-reperfusion injuries and those that protect injuries caused by lung transplants.

Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants)

A 2011 study that can be found in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica showed us that curcumin also compares favorably to both Imipramine as well as Prozac/Fluoxetine when it comes to tackling the root causes of depression.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Curcumin has also been found to be an effective alternative to a whole host of anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen, aspirin, phenylbutazone, naproxen, sulindac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, indomethacin, diclofenac, and tamoxifen, particularly when it comes to exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.

Oxaliplatin (a chemotherapy drug)

A 2007 study concluded that curcumin also compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agent in colorectal cell lines, which is certainly good news for any patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Metformin (diabetes drug)

Curcumin has also been touted as being highly valuable in the treatment of diabetes. One study found that it suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells, while simultaneously activating AMPK (which increases glucose uptake). What’s more, the researchers actually discovered that curcumin is between 500 and 100,000 times more powerful than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).

Allergy medicines

Taking turmeric by mouth seems to reduce hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion.

A note of caution:

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with TURMERIC

Turmeric might slow blood clotting. Taking turmeric along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Source: Internet & Other sources

Photo: by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Eat this, instead of that!

diverse little girls eating carrot while celebrating easter
A few minor changes to your dietary intake can make a tremendous impact on your health and well-being, and that is certainly some food for thought!

1) Eat Healthy Snacks instead of Junk Food – It seems as if junk food is everywhere we look. The supermarket shelves are stocked full of candies, potato chips, cakes, donuts and assorted baked goods. The grease, oil, refined sugar and saturated fats found in these foods are the major contributors of many unnecessary health problems.

You can still enjoy a quick snack and get the essential nutrition by replacing junk food with healthier alternatives. Fresh fruits, such as apples and oranges, make for excellent substitutes to candy bars. A handful of almonds replaces a bag of potato chips, baked potatoes replace French fries and skim or low fat milk replaces whole milk. You can also choose low fat frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruit over ice cream. Snacking can still be fun after all.

2) Dried Herbs and Spices Instead of Salty Foods – A High daily intake of sodium can result in certain heart problems over time. Rather than adding salt to your meals, consider the healthier alternative of cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, clove, garlic, ginger, sage, parsley and basil. Not only will you be adding delicious flavors to your favorite dishes, you’ll also be limiting any risk of heart diseases in the future. Go ahead and spice things up!

3) Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Ones – Refined grains are consumed daily with nearly every meal. They are commonly found in white rice, white flour, white sugar and white breads. Cereals also contain large amounts of refined grains and tons of sugar.

The healthier solution here would be to replace the refined grains with whole grains. Substitute brown rice for white rice, whole grain bread over traditional white bread, and healthier bran cereals over the sugary variety of cereals. Oatmeal is an ideal replacement for refined cereal. Try cooking with quinoa and barley as well.

4) Eat More Cold-Water Fish and Less Red Meat – We all love our steaks and beef, but they also contain a high amount of saturated fats. Consuming a regular diet of red meat on a daily basis may increase the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and strokes.

Cold-water fish, such as tuna, swordfish, whitefish, mackrel, salmon, anchovies, and trout all contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are the essential fats the body needs. Omega-3 helps combat depression, boosts memory production and greatly reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Fish can also be frozen for long periods of time, so it never goes to waste.

5) Add Avocados to Your Diet Instead of Mayonnaise or Jam – Mayonnaise is most commonly used while preparing sandwiches and in dips. Mayonnaise gives that dry turkey sandwich a bit of extra taste. Mayonnaise is also loaded with plenty of trans and saturated fats, which are very unhealthy for you.

Avocados are the healthy alternatives to mayonnaise. They contain over 25 essential nutrients which are all vital health components. These specific nutrients protect against cancer, prevent heart diseases and prevent bone diseases from occurring. Avocados are also the main ingredients used for making guacamole, which perfectly complements whole wheat tortilla chips.

6) Eliminate Butter with Extra Virgin Olive Oil – You can’t hear a frying pan sizzle without the sweet sound of butter being applied to it. Some of the most popular dishes are cooked exclusively with butter. Butter is delicious but extremely unhealthy. Butter significantly increases high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter to give your meals a solid dose of essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Olive oil can be substituted for butter when baking or cooking.

7) Go Organic! – What exactly does organic mean? Simply put organic means natural. Organic farming relies on the usage of natural fertilizers and pesticides, which do not contain harmful toxins.

Non-organic foods are generally exposed to harmful pesticides and other dangerous chemicals. So, the next time you’re outside fruit and vegetable shopping, consider visiting your local farmer’s market instead.

8) Drink Water Instead of Sugary Beverages – Soda contains high amounts of refined sugar with absolutely no nutritional values whatsoever. Sugar found in sodas and other sweetened drinks leads to fatigue, causes dental problems, triggers depression and can eventually lead to diabetes.

Avoid sugary beverages and drink water as often as possible. Water flushes out all the toxins in the body and helps to promote regular digestion. Filtered water is even better because it removes all chemicals found from the tap. Make sure you carry a bottle of water wherever you go.

9) Make the Switch from Regular Breakfast Cereals to Oats – Walk down any cereal aisle in the supermarket and you’ll be bombarded with a tremendous selection of unhealthy cereals that are loaded with refined sugars.

Cooked oats make for the best substitute for a healthy morning breakfast. You can add a pinch of cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped nuts or fresh fruit to give it a little extra flavoring. A healthy bowl of oatmeal can drastically reduce heart diseases, stabilize blood sugar, and lower cholesterol.

10) Drink Green Tea Instead of Coffee – Most people prefer to start their day with a cup of coffee. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee can be very difficult to resist. Coffee also carries a list of health problems that include; acid reflux, intestinal problems, heartburn, anxiety, nausea and can induce unwanted stress.

Green tea is the healthier hot beverage alternative from coffee and provides a quick caffeine boost as well. Green tea is a staple in Asian culture and served with nearly every meal. Green tea also contains powerful antioxidants which fight off diseases and lower the risk of cancer.

11) Replace Granola with Nuts – While granola may seem like an innocent yogurt topper, it’s almost always loaded with added sugar. To get the crunch you crave without the extra calories and sugar, top your yogurt with some nuts instead.

12) Swap Bagels for English Muffins – One bagel is equivalent to roughly four slices of nutrient-void white bread. Not only is this morning staple super caloric, but it’s also missing nutrients like fiber and protein to keep you energized through the morning.

13) Swap Bowl for Burrito – Depending on the size of the tortilla, a flour-based wrap could tack up to 470 calories and 98 grams of carbs on to your order. To get the flavor you crave—without overdoing it—opt for a bowl instead or choose a corn tortilla. Load it up with tons of veggies, go light on the rice, and choose salsa over sour cream to ensure a healthy meal.

Source: Internet & Other sources

Photo: by Eren Li on Pexels.com

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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Food to improve our immune system

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

Our immune system’s ability to fight disease depends on the food that we consume. The immune system and white blood cells work together to deal with various infections, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and even treat cancer cells. The normal range of white blood cells in the body is 4,300 -10,800 cells per microliter of blood.

Below you will find the recommended nutrients and foods that can be used to improve the production of white blood cells:

Vitamin C

It is very important to include different vitamins in your daily diet, but vitamin C is the most important for increasing the production of white blood cells. Foods that include citrus, chili, broccoli and green and red peppers are rich in vitamin C, making them essential to your diet. Also, it should be noted that broccoli not only helps to increase white blood cells, it also contains many antioxidants thanks to its high vitamins A and E content.

Zinc

The consumption of zinc accelerates immune system function, which is linked to increased production of white blood cells. Studies have shown that zinc deficiency may increase the risk of infection, and other studies have found evidence that zinc intake of 75 mg or more per day may reduce the duration of a cold and also the severity of the symptoms associated with it. Natural food sources include beans, sunflower seeds, chicken, nuts, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, wheat grass, and spinach.

Folic acid

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that is needed to create and maintain new cells, and the consumption of this nutrient is especially important during periods of rapid cell division, such as during pregnancy or during the development and growth of infants. Vegetables such as spinach, turnips, peas, legumes and other fruits and vegetables are rich in folic acid, so it is recommended to add them to your regular weekly menu.

Selenium

The recommended daily amount of selenium for an adult is 55 micrograms, and a lack of this mineral may increase the chances of developing angina, myocardial infarction, and coronary heart disease. In addition, selenium can increase the production of white blood cells and can be found in beef, tuna, salmon, chicken, beans, and Brazil nuts.

Beta-carotene

This substance helps protect the thymus gland, which creates immune system cells. Foods that contain beta-carotene increase the production of white blood cells, and they have the ability to fight infections if you make sure to consume them daily. Daily consumption of this nutrient should range from 2 -7 mg per day and it can be found in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, oranges, loquat, pumpkin, mangos and dark leafy green vegetables.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory substance that relieves both types of arthritis; Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the main active ingredient is curcumin, which has proven its ability to reduce inflammation and fever, thanks to its positive effect on the proper functioning of white blood cells.

Kale

Just one cup of kale will give you all the vitamin A you need a day, which can help your body fight cancer cells. Also, kale increases the production of white blood cells and helps antibodies respond to invasive infections and even neutralize them.

Garlic

Garlic contains elements that stimulate the immune system. Furthermore, it has an impressive ability to fight infections, thanks to the large concentration of allicin, created by crushing fresh garlic cloves.

Prebiotic and Probiotic

A high-fiber plant-rich diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes appear to support the growth and maintenance of beneficial microbes. Certain helpful microbes break down fibers into short chain fatty acids, which have been shown to stimulate immune cell activity. These fibers are sometimes called prebiotics because they feed microbes. Therefore, a diet containing probiotic and prebiotic foods may be beneficial. Probiotic foods contain live helpful bacteria, and prebiotic foods contain fiber and oligosaccharides that feed and maintain healthy colonies of those bacteria.

  • Probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt with live active cultures, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha tea, kimchi, and miso.
  • Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, bananas, and seaweed. However, a more general rule is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains for dietary prebiotics.

Green tea

Cell studies have shown that tea catechins such as those found in green tea can prevent flu and some cold viruses from replicating and can increase immune activity. Human trials are still limited.

Takeaway

  1. Eat a balanced diet with whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of water.
  2. Perform moderate exercise
  3. Sleep 7-9 hours every night
  4. Manage stress
  5. Wash your hands

Source: Internet & Other sources

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.

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Metallic Taste in Your Mouth!

If your mouth constantly tastes like old pennies, you’re not alone. There are actually several different conditions that may cause this to arise, some of which are far less serious than others. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common causes for a metallic taste in your mouth.

1. Over-the-counter vitamins or medicines

Multivitamins that contain heavy metals (such as zinc, copper or chromium) or certain types of cold remedies (like zinc lozenges) can cause a metallic taste to develop in your mouth. Calcium or iron supplements can cause this too, as can prenatal vitamins. The taste will often go away as your body breaks down the vitamins or medicine. If it doesn’t, check your dosage to ensure you are not taking too much. Also if you lack vitamin B-12, your nerves might not function properly, and you might develop tinnitus or a metallic taste.

2. Infections

Certain kinds of infections, such as colds, sinusitis, and upper respiratory infections can alter your sense of taste. Such sensory changes are typically temporary and will usually go away as soon as you get better.

3. Poor oral hygiene

If you don’t brush your teeth and floss regularly, then you may end up with teeth and gum problems like gingivitis, periodontitis and certain kinds of tooth infections. These usually get better with a prescription from your dentist, with any metallic tastes leaving along with them.

4. Prescription drugs

These medicines include the gout medicine allopurinol, antibiotics such as tetracycline, lithium, used in the treatment of certain psychiatric conditions, and particular cardiac drugs. Certain drugs which cause your mouth to go dry may also be the cause, since they may be absorbed close to your taste buds.

5. Dementia

Persons with dementia often experience taste abnormalities. This is because there is a connection between the taste buds and the brain. As a result, taste abnormalities often arise when the part of the brain related to taste is not functioning properly.

6. Chemical exposure

If you find that you have been exposed to lead or mercury, such as through accidental inhalation, then you may find that you have a metallic taste in your mouth, which should be seen to by a professional.

7. Cancer treatment

A metallic taste in your mouth may also arise if you are being treated for cancer via radiation therapy or chemotherapy. This is a normal side effect and should not be anything to worry about.

8. Pregnancy

During some of the earliest stages of pregnancy, some expectant mothers find that their sense of taste has been altered drastically. One of those changes may be a metallic taste in the mouth. Consult your doctor if it is causing you any distress.

9. Hay Fever or allergic rhinitis

Hay fever can leave a metallic taste in your mouth due to inflamed nasal passages that disrupt your ability to taste.

10. Covid-19

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a strand of coronavirus discovered in late 2019. COVID-19 can cause a wide range of flu-like symptoms 2 to 14 days after exposure.

11. Pine nut syndrome

Pine nut syndrome is a rare reaction to pine nuts that begins 12 to 48 hours after eating them. It causes a bitter metallic taste in your mouth that can last up to a month.

Treating the underlying cause

  • Allergies are usually treated by making lifestyle changes to reduce contact with dust, mold, and other allergens. Non-drowsy antihistamines are available over the counter to help you manage your symptoms.
  • If you have a viral infection, such as a sinus infection or COVID-19, it’s important to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest to allow your body to recuperate. Nasal decongestants may help you improve your breathing. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories may help with body aches and pains.
  • If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, a fever over 103 degrees, or pressure in your chest, you should seek medical attention.
  • If your medication is causing your symptoms, a doctor may recommend changing your dose or the medication.

Source: Internet & Other sources

The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.


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SAD: HOW OUR DIET HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST 20 YEARS

THE GOOD

Fat consumption is down

THE BAD
The world is also eating way more meat, cheese, milk, and sugar than we were just two decades ago — and less rice, cereal, and wheat.

Most of that protein is coming from animal sources. Wealthy countries — where people already eat too much protein — account for most of the increase.

THE UGLY

People are eating way less grain.

People are drinking way more alcohol and eating way more sugar.


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WHY I AM WARY OF SUPPLEMENTS?

1. Because they are virtually unregulated

2. The regulation lacks teeth

3. People are too eager to rush for a silver bullet than take the slow but sure road to better health.

· According to a new Harvard study today, as many as 11 supplements on the market contain the potentially dangerous ingredient. They were all available at popular retail stores and online, and are advertised as "all-natural."

· A similar study, carried out by the FDA in 2013, found BMPEA in 9 of 21 tested supplements, but no regulatory action was taken. No public warning was issued.

· Just this week, Human breast milk sold were found to be tainted with cow’s milk.

· In 2013, Researchers identified 27 supplements available for purchase online that were among 274 recalled during 2009-2012. Among sports enhancement or bodybuilding supplements, 85% of those purchased by the researchers remained adulterated with dangerous compounds, including anabolic steroids

· Any more recently, in Feb 2015, GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens were accused of selling adulterated ‘herbals’. The investigators tested 24 products claiming to be seven different types of herb — Echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian root. All but five of the products contained DNA that was either unrecognizable or from a plant other than what the product claimed to be.

Still not Convinced?

Here are more from Medscape

So, What should a consumer do?

From FDA: consumers should heed these potential warning signs of tainted products marketed as dietary supplements.

  • Products claiming to be alternatives to FDA-approved drugs or to have effects similar to prescription drugs.
  • Products claiming to be a legal alternative to anabolic steroids.
  • Products that are marketed primarily in a foreign language or those that are marketed through mass e-mails.
  • Products that provide warnings about testing positive in performance enhancement drug tests.

Generally, if you are using or considering using any product marketed as a dietary supplement, FDA suggests that you

  • check with your health care professional or a registered dietician on any nutrients you may need in addition to your regular diet
  • ask yourself: Does it sound too good to be true?
  • Be cautious if the claims for the product seem exaggerated or unrealistic
  • Watch out for extreme claims—for example, "quick and effective," "cure-all;" "can treat or cure diseases; or "totally safe"
  • Be skeptical about anecdotal information from personal “testimonials” about incredible benefits or results obtained from using a product
  • ask your health care professional for help distinguishing between reliable and questionable information


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BREAKING NEWS: DEATH FROM BLUEBELL

Texas grocery chain H-E-B is pulling Blue Bell Ice Cream from shelves as a precaution after a recall of some of the ice cream maker’s products that were connected to three deaths in Kansas.

Blue Bell on Friday suspended operations at its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, plant that officials previously had connected to contaminated ice cream. The company recalled products there and at a Texas plant that’s been linked to a food borne illness connected to three deaths.

Clear out your freezer of Blue Bells for a while.


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BET YOU DID NOT KNOW THESE ABOUT FRUITS AND VEGGIES?

We love fruits in our home. But here are some cool facts about fruits and veggies that you should know:

a) Some fruits and veggies don’t go well with medication. (for example: Never mix grapefruits with cholesterol medications)

b) In many fruits and veggies, such as carrots, apples, and cucumbers, a high percentage of the nutrition is actually stored in the skin. This means that when you peel it off, you’re actually peeling away nutritious benefits. Make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables well before eating them and you’ll get used to eating them with the peel in no time.

c) All fruits and all vegetables are low in calories, this is why you hear nutrition professionals and doctors tell you to eat them for snacks. But be careful. Eat fruits with the fiber. Don’t make it into a fuit juice, which just extracts the sugar and eliminates the good fiber from the diet. A single fruit is about 125 grams on average; where ¼ of it is only water.

d) Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than there is in an average steak, and with no saturated and trans fats or cholesterol, you can get all the protein you need with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. So if you are trying to grow and strengthen your muscles, broccoli is the food for you.

e) The skin of the fruit can be better than the fruit itself. Orange peels have over four times the amount of fiber then the actual fruit, and contain more antioxidants than the "flesh" inside. Grate up the skin, add cheese and make into an orange zest. You can use is to season all sorts of foods, add to baked goods or mix with your yogurt or cereals. Also, Oranges contain antioxidants that help fight the free radicals that damage and age our skin.

f) Peppers are good. While most people use them as a spice and not as a whole food, peppers (spicy ones in particular) can work wonders to promote the clotting of blood over wounds.

g) There are no negative calorie foods. While there are foods that have very few calories, you still only burn about 10% to 20% of their calorie intake. There is a metric called TEF (Thermal Effect of Food) that measures how many calories are used to digest food. Let’s take, for example, a stalk of celery that’s about 10 calories. While eating and digesting it you will burn about 2 calories, which means you still had an intake of 8 calories.

h) Eating an apple is a more reliable method of staying awake than consuming a cup of coffee. The natural sugar in an apple is more potent than the caffeine in coffee. If you’re finding yourself a little low on energy during the afternoon then consider eating an apple in the morning. Thanks to its high carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral content, an apple can give you a steady supply of nutrition to help you stay energized all day.

i) Bananas is actually a herb. It has a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief. Because bananas are easy to digest and are very nutritious they are the first fruit offered to babies.

j) Lemons can kill bacteria-as they have high content of acid which makes them suitable for cleaning. Lime oil is useful to cool fevers. It can also stimulate and refresh a tired mind and helps with depression

k) An apple is a very refreshing tonic for oily skin. It makes an excellent remedy for fine wrinkles, cracked skin, itching and inflammation

l) Eating fresh figs during pregnancy helps from prolonged labor and weakness after childbirth. A half-cup of figs has as much calcium as a half-cup of milk.

m) They have tons of fiber. It can help keep your bowel movements regular, help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and help you feel fuller for longer.

Enjoy.

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Food and PH level

“pH” stands for power of hydrogen. It is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 considered to be neutral. A pH level lower than 7 is considered acidic and pH levels greater than 7 are basic (or alkaline). The ideal pH in humans is slightly alkaline (7.30 to 7.45).
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Eat Balanced food

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