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Best Diet for Managing Type 2 Diabetes

by Health News

More than 24 million Americans suffer from Type 2 diabetes - which means they cannot store glucose in their cells and their blood sugar levels can either jump to dangerously high levels or dip dangerously low.

Lifestyle changes like weight loss and cutting calorie intake have been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of diabetes complications - but which diet plans work best?

Diabetes specialists at Western Sussex Hospitals recently reviewed the results of 20 studies to compare the effects of seven popular diets on adults with type 2 diabetes. According to their findings published in the AmericBest Diet for Managing Type 2 Diabetesan Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Mediterranean, low-carb, high-protein and low glycemic index diets all successfully lowered blood sugar.

Diets lean on meat and rich in healthy fats like olive oil were most effective at promoting weight loss and lowering blood sugar among people with diabetes. Diets low in carbohydrates, high in protein or low in simple sugars were also beneficial.

People on a Mediterranean eating plan for at least six months lost 4 pounds on average - no other diet had a significant impact on weight. A Mediterranean-style diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes, whole grains, fish, and uses olive oil and herbs in place of butter and salt. Saturated fats from red meat and dairy products are usually less than eight percent of the total calories consumed.

Other studies have linked Mediterranean diets with reduced risks of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and death from heart attack.

The review found no evidence that vegetarian, vegan or high-fiber diets aided in weight loss. However, they might still be able to improve blood sugar management.

Low-carb, low-glycemic and Mediterranean diets all increased markers of heart health - HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol rose by 4-10 percent, while triglycerides fell by up to 9 percent.

However, while weight loss is important, so is nutrient quality. Portion control and regular consumption of nutritious food are the most important elements of a diet plan for type 2 diabetes. It's important to take a balanced approach by including fruits and vegetables, eating moderate portions and talking to a doctor or dietitian before embarking on a diet plan to effectively manage type 2 diabetes.

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Why the Food Pyramid Isn’t Enough

by Health News

More and more research is showing that the USDA food pyramid and recommended daily allowances of various vitamins and minerals is woefully inadequate.  Considering this fact, and compounded by the fact that the majority of Americans are not even coming close to the recommended daily allowances, it’s no wonder Americans—both young and old—are becoming increasingly overweight and unwell.

 Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables for weight control and good health.

But what if you are one of the few that eat organically grown fruits and vegetables, watch your sugar and salt intake, avoid trans-fats and hydrogenated oils, and choose free-range meats and poultry? You are doing pretty well, right?  Wrong.

In an ideal world, this type of diet would meet all of your nutritional needs. Unfortunately, the harsh light of reality tells us that this is not so. Even whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and grains, are often grown in nutrient-depleted soils, and don't have enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Related:  How Supplements Help to Correct Nutrient Deficiencies

You could increase your produce intake even more…or you could augment your already healthy diet with a supplement product that gives you a plethora of fruits and vegetables in supplement or powder form.  We should all probably do both! 

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Metastatic Breast Cancer: Unlocking the Mysteries

by Health News

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (behind skin cancer). Metastatic breast cancer, or stage 4 cancer, is diagnosed when the cancer has spread from the original site it was detected, to the brain, liver, bones or lungs.  Breast cancer that remains localized to the breast is less of a threat than when it metastasizes, or spreads to other areas of the body.  Recent discoveries have unlocked some of the mysteries surrounding metastatic breast cancer that could lead to breakthroughs in treatment and increase survival rates for those with a stage IV diagnosis.

Unlocking the Metastatic Breast Cancer Mystery

Breast Cancer Facts and Figures

Though breast cancer rates declined in the early 2000’s, it is still one of the most deadly forms of cancer afflicting women (men, too, though rarely) and more than 40,000 women die from it each year.

Breast cancer is more prevalent among African-American women and they are more likely to die from it than Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian or Native American women.  Any woman with a first degree relative who was diagnosed with the disease has double the risk of developing it and 5-10% of breast cancers are linked to mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene.  Interestingly though, 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Part of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Mystery Solved

A new study led by a group of international researchers revealed that breast cancer cells multiply and spread via the cancer’s stem cells, which exist in two states.  Each state plays an important role in metastasis, or spreading to other parts of the body.

According to the researchers’ findings the stem cells in the EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) state on the outer layer of the tumor appear to be dormant but can penetrate the bloodstream and travel to the brain, lungs, bones or liver. Once in the new body part these cancer stem cells transition into the MET (mesenchymal-epithelial transition) state and begin to replicate the tumor in the breast, which in turn also metastasize in another part of the body.

Despite the complexity of this process, and that even one glitch in it completely disrupts the stem cells function and halts the spread of the tumor, these stem cells perform like clockwork, resulting in thousands of deaths per year.

Related:  Video Blog: Angelina Jolie: Breast Cancer BRCA Gene Test

A Promising First Step Toward A Cure

This research is a promising first step toward understanding how stage I becomes the most deadly, stage IV breast cancer.  The next step is to design tests that can track a tumor’s journey from the breast to other parts of the body and how to disrupt the stem cells and halt the spread of the disease. As of now, current tests don’t screen for EMT cells.

The need to unravel more of the mysteries of metastatic breast cancer is urgent to help reduce the number of deaths each year. The efforts to establish a national data base with tumor and blood samples, medical records of those with stage 4 cancers, and a record of those with a family history of the disease could greatly advance the current research and yield results sooner for those battling metastatic breast cancer.

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The Power of Plants

by Health News

Plants are under constant siege from animals, insects, humans, and the environment.  In addition, being literally rooted to the ground, it can be difficult to protect themselves. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided for them.

Learn about secondary metabolites that help plants— and people— flourish nutritionally and help defend against viruses and germs.

They grow physical defenses like thorns or thick bark or spines. Or they can create chemical shields…defenses that allow them to fight fungus, battle viruses or bacteria, produce off-putting aromas or taste, or even forming poisonous pathogens to deter insects and animals alike from consuming them. These defenses are made possible, thanks to secondary metabolites.

Secondary metabolites are Darwin’s little secret. In addition to the defenses listed above, other secondary metabolites allow the plant to flourish in low sunlight or little water, to sustain high heats and lots of water, attract more insects to them to promote pollination, or promote quick healing of injuries sustained to the plant.

As it turns out, these secondary metabolites don’t just serve plants. Research has shown us that they can improve heart health (resveratrol), reduce inflammation (saponins, a class of plant steroids), ease pain (codeine and morphine from the opium poppy), treat cancer (glucosinolates), fight infection (erythromycin), and alleviate headaches (salicin from white willow bark). And this just the tip of the iceberg!

Related:  Why Plant-Based Powder Supplements are the Best

Contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe, you cannot simply remove these nutrients and use them in isolation and expect them to perform to their full capacity. The real key to the power of these secondary metabolites is the way they interact with the other metabolites and micronutrients in the plant to provide the best health benefits possible.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Eat the foods that contain these powerhouses. These include primarily fruits and vegetables such as cherries, tomatoes, grapes, pineapple, apple, beets, and more.

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The Big Debate: Is Fluoride Good or Bad For Teeth?

by Health News

In 1940 the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan began adding fluoride to the city’s drinking water.  At the time there was research that suggested that those who drank water regularly with fluoride had fewer cavities and tooth decay.  Many other cities across America followed suit and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lauded the practice of fluoridation as one of the best public health initiatives of the 20th Century.  Now there is conflicting evidence that the risks associated with long-tern fluoride exposure is detrimental to the body, especially to young children with developing brains, bones and teeth. So, is fluoride good or bad for your teeth? Does long-term consumption of water treated with fluoride have dangerous fluoride side effects?

The dangers of fluoride—what’s the truth?

How Fluoride Helps Teeth

Sugar and bacteria in the mouth form acids that erode the enamel off teeth.  Fluoride helps to re-mineralize teeth and prevent cavities from forming and slowing down or preventing tooth decay.  The effect is topical, though, and there is no evidence that ingesting fluoride is beneficial. In fact parents of newborns are urged not to use fluoridated tap water to make infant formula because of potential damage to developing brains. Parents are also cautioned to only use very tiny amounts of toothpaste on toddlers’ toothbrushes to keep them from swallowing very much fluoride.

The Argument for Fluoridation

The American Dental Association and the International Dental Federation told the world that adding fluoride to drinking water would drastically reduce cavities in tooth decay amongst the world’s people.  After the World Health Organization Endorsed the practice in 1969 many countries joined the U.S. in adding fluoride to drinking water supplies. 

Many world renowned organizations and individuals have supported the practice of fluoridation and continue to do so today, despite most European countries discontinuing the practice due to evidence that the health risks of fluoride outweighed the minor benefits of reduced tooth decay.  The American Dental Association strongly advocates for the use of fluoride in drinking water and in 2000 the former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher called community water fluoridation “to be the most cost effective, practical and safe means of reducing and controlling dental decay in a community.”

Despite evidence that excessive exposure to fluoride was causing tooth discoloration called fluorosis, the CDC and the ADA continue to endorse the practice saying fluoride is good for teeth and any cosmetic damage to them is minor and does not out weight the health benefits of drinking fluoridated water.  Most European countries have discontinued the practice citing insufficient evidence that fluoridation significantly reduces tooth decay in the population.

Related:  Six Simple Tips for Preventing Cavities Naturally

The Arguments Against Fluoridation

Opponents to the practice of adding fluoride to drinking water have pointed out that it is is actually bad for teeth over time and that the side effects of fluoride on the body are very harmful.

Fluorosis is a condition where exposure to excess fluoride causes light to very dark stains to form on the teeth, sometime accompanied by pockmarks or pits on the surface of the enamel.  Some doctors have pointed out that if fluoride is visibly damaging teeth, it is surely doing damage out of sight inside the body.

The medical authority site WebMD lists consumption of excessive fluoride side effects as:

  • Weakened bones and ligaments
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Nervous system problems
  • Dangerous to pregnant and breastfeeding women

These side effects are listed as a result of high doses of fluoride consumption over a long period of time; and also say the compound is effective at preventing tooth decay.  Some opponents also believe that fluoride reduces intelligence or IQ in children.

Finally, as many opponents of fluoridation have pointed out, there is no benefit from ingesting fluoride since it only works topically on teeth to prevent tooth decay.  The Fluoride Action Network claims the corrosive compound FSM, commonly added to drinking water, leaches lead out of old water pipes and raises levels of it in the blood, which is definitely not good for teeth or the body in general.  This is supported by the Center for Disease Control and water management boards across the country.

To Brush or Not To Brush

Do you need to worry about fluoride side effects? Not if you are an adult and don’t swallow it after you brush your teeth.  If you are a parent, especially to a young child, you should have some concerns about fluoride side effects because children are more likely to put large amounts of toothpaste on their brushes, especially if it is in a fun colored tube and tastes like bubble gum or candy, as many brands marketed to children are. They might be inclined to swallow it rather than spit it out, so parents need to supervise teeth cleaning regularly. 
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Ten Interesting Sugar Facts You May Not Know About

by Health News

With numbers of overweight and obese individuals on the rise in the U.S., the topic of sugar shows up often in the press.  Not surprisingly, the news isn't good.  According to the American Dietetic and Diabetic Association, increased sugar consumption raises risks for the development of degenerative disease.  Sugar can trigger mood swings, cause irritability and changes in personality, and exacerbate asthma, arthritis, and heart disease.  

A number of interesting sugar facts gives people a new understanding of its danger to the body.

Here are ten more interesting sugar facts you may not know.

  1. Sugar is addictive…literally. When people consume sugar, an opiate-like substance is released that triggers the reward system in the brain.
  2. In the last ten years, sugar consumption in the U.S. increased by 23 percent.
  3. On average, each person in the U.S. consumes a whopping 61 pounds of refined sugar every year.  Twenty-five of the 61 pounds of sugar comes from candy.
  4. While it contains plenty of calories, refined sugar offers no nutritional value whatsoever.
  5. Although it may be hard to fathom eating 16 sugar cubes at one time, that is a little less than the amount of sugar hiding in one 20-ounce bottle of cola.
  6. Most people know that sugary soft drinks contribute to weight gain, but so do beverages containing artificial sweeteners.  A study from Purdue University showed that rats given liquids containing artificial sweeteners consumed more total calories than rats given liquids sweetened with sugar. 
  7. Low-fat often does not mean low sugar.  Many companies that produce low-fat products (like milk, cheese, and more) increase sugar levels for extra flavor.
  8. Through a process called glycation, excess sugar in the blood binds to collagen in the skin and makes it less elastic.  This can contribute to the formation of wrinkles
  9. Sugar makes the digestive system overly acidic.  This depletes the body of essential minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  10. People with high-sugar diets who suddenly stop consuming it can experience withdrawal symptoms like depression, fatigue, and body aches.

Related:  Foods that Lower Blood Sugar:  Peanut Butter

Tips for Reducing Daily Sugar Consumption

After reading this list of interesting sugar facts, people gain a new understanding of how sugar harms the health.  A few easy tips can help individuals reduce their daily sugar intake and take better control of their health and body weight.

  • Read grocery labels, and cut down on hidden sources of sugar like fructose, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin, and dextrose.
  • Get sugar naturally through whole fruits, but avoid fruit juice, which contains concentrated amounts of natural sugar.
  • Use pure, organic stevia to sweeten coffee and tea.
  • Substitute sugary sodas or diet sodas with coconut water or ice water with a spritz of lemon.
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Eat Healthier by Discovering Hidden Names for Sugar

by Health News

Since the 1980s, sugar intake in the United States has risen by roughly 28 percent, and the average American now consumes about 64 lbs. of sugar per year.  While many people use very little of the granulated kind, they don't realize that sugar goes by many other names and appears in many different forms.  People trying to limit their consumption of sugar can benefit from learning more about hidden names for sugar and carefully reading grocery labels. 

With so many hidden names for sugar, it is hard to know how much is being consumed.

The Problem with Labeling

The Food and Drug Administration has defined "added sugars" as those that don't occur naturally in foods, but consumers are given the task of deciphering hidden names for sugar.  Even after they learn all the names, it is impossible for consumers to tell how much of the hidden sugar is in any given product because the FDA does not require an "Added Sugars" line on nutrition labels.  Instead, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight and not by calories.  Because certain products contain more than one hidden form of sugar, the amounts of sugar that people eat on a daily basis can really add up.

Hidden Sugars

When examining grocery labels for sugar, look for these ingredients:  Agave syrup, barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane juice, caramel, carob syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dextran, dextrin, ethyl maltol, fruit juice concentrate, dehydrated fruit juice, fruit juice crystals, golden syrup, invert sugar, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maple syrup, molasses, refiner's sugar, sorghum, turbinado, and yellow sugar.

Related:  Blurry Vision with Diabetes:  Diabetic Retinopathy Information

In addition, many hidden names for sugar contain the suffix, "-ose."  These ingredients include:

  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose

Better Sugar Alternatives

Processed sugar offers empty calories with no nutritional benefits.  People looking for better alternatives to sugar can try any of these products:

Stevia:  Native to South America, stevia is an herb that is 300 times sweeter than table sugar.  It has no calories and diabetics can use it because it has no glycemic impact on blood sugar. 

Coconut Palm Sugar:  This sugar is manufactured by heating sap from the coconut palm, evaporating the water content, and reducing it to granules.  While it is more nutritious than sugar and features a low glycemic impact, it offers the same number of calories as sugar.

Raw Honey:  While people get minimal nutritional benefits from processed honey, raw honey offers antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients.  Whole food stores are the best sources for authentic, raw honey.

Blackstrap Molasses:  Blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of iron and calcium.  Because it is sweeter than sugar, people need less of it.  It makes a good alternative to sugar in baked products.

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An Apple a Day

by Health News

Who among us hasn’t heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Seems like good advice. After all, whole foods are good for you. Fruit is good for you.  But it seems there’s more to that old saying than we’ve previously considered. 

Research is showing that eating an apple a day may very well keep the doctor away.  Read on to find out how and why!

Apples themselves are rich in vitamin C and certain B vitamins, as well as quercetin, which have been positively linked to reducing allergies, improving heart health, and even providing stress reduction by lowering cortisol levels. French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones.

The list of apple-related health benefits is long, and continues to grow! 

Here are just a few: 

  • Bone Protection (phloridzin)
  • Asthma Help
  • Alzheimer’s Prevention  (quercetin)
  • Lower Cholesterol  (pectin LDL (“bad”) cholesterol)
  • Lung Cancer Prevention (due to high levels of quercetin and naringin)
  • Breast, Colon and Liver Cancer Prevention
  • Diabetes Management (pectin supplies galacturonic acid which lowers the body’s need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes)
  • Weight Loss

Related:  Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Recently, researchers have shown that among the apple eaters, 39 percent were able to “keep the doctor away,” meaning they had fewer doctor visits than non-apple eaters. Plus, apple eaters took noticeably fewer prescription medications than non-apple eaters.

The net takeaway?  Get your apple a day, every day!

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Are You Western or Prudent?

by Health News

Americans seem to fall pretty neatly into two categories of eating: Western or prudent. The Western diet is what we’ve come to know (sadly) as the Standard American Diet. It consists of lots of red meat, fatty foods, saturated fat, processed foods, salt, and sugar. It is conspicuously short on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Compare the difference between a prudent or more modest style of diet with the Standard American Diet, and the health differences between the two.

Conversely, the prudent diet focuses on fish and poultry, whole grains, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, tomatoes, beans, and fruit. It tends to eschew dairy, eggs, fast food, and most sugar.

Of the two, the prudent diet is clearly the better one. However, it is also the less common. In fact, even in the 1950s, meat and potatoes ruled the day. Yet people were significantly slimmer than now. Why?

Related:  Fight Obesity with Portion Control

Portions and convenience are likely the reason. Look at a typical burger offering in 1950s. The only choice was equivalent to a “single” at a typical fast food restaurant and often included one slice of cheese. Today, that’s the kid-size, while adults are clamoring for doubles and triples with lots of cheese, bacon, and more.

And that’s just one example. Let’s not even discuss soda sizes, high fructose corn syrup, and genetically modified foods.

Convenience is also a factor. Back “in the day” you didn’t have vending machines in schools and in every office. Coffee shops with baked goods didn’t grace every street corner. There wasn’t a new fast food restaurant popping up every other day.

And we weren’t as stressed and overwhelmed as we are now, with most of us relying on a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch, and often even dinner.

Clearly the Western diet needs to go the way of the old time Western movie. Strive instead for a prudent diet most days of the week. Prepare snacks and easy meals ahead of time, like boiled eggs, oatmeal, and lettuce for salads. And take advantage of the convenience of powdered supplements that you can simply add to water then go about your day to help you fill in the gaps.

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Top 10 Benefits of Fructose

by Health News

Fructose has a bad reputation. It’s blamed for a host of health problems ranging from obesity to diabetes and cancer.  So is fructose a dangerous poison as some doctors have claimed?  Apparently, fructose has a sweet side after all.  Let’s take a look at the benefits of fructose.

What is fructose?  Let’s examine the benefits.

Fructose: What Is It Really?

Fructose is sugar.  It is a very simple sugar that occurs naturally in foods and what gives fruits a sweet taste, hence the name.  Fructose is quite a bit sweeter than your average white table sugar (a combination of fructose and sucrose) but fructose contributes far fewer calories.

Crystalline fructose is what you get from processed corn or sugar cane. It is mistakenly confused with high-fructose corn syrup, which has earned its bad reputation.  Fructose is 100% pure, when not mixed with any other sweetener; whereas high-fructose corn syrup is comprised of equal parts fructose and glucose. Glucose is another one of those bad kids on the block that spikes blood sugar levels—but it’s not fructose.

Top 10 Benefits of Fructose

1.  Fructose is sweeter than sugar so you need far less of it to achieve the same sweetness, which means you are ingesting fewer calories, but still enjoying your food just as much.

2. Fructose is low on the glycemic Index, meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar levels leading to a whole host of health problems, namely diabetes.

3. Fructose is a great sweetener for cooking. You can use less of it to replace sugar and your food will still have the same sweetness and texture but with fewer calories.

4. Crystalline fructose makes glazes and dairy products creamier and more palate-pleasing than sugar.

5. Fructose prevents honey from crystalizing keeping it flowing from the container.

Related:  What Are The Best Sugar Substitutes?

6. Sprinkling fruit with crystalline fructose and letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight before you freeze it prevents ice crystals from forming in the fruit.

7. Since fructose has a much lower place on the GI, it won’t spike a rise in blood sugar levels like glucose or sucrose (white table sugar) without additional calories, making it a great sweetener for diabetics and anyone watching their weight.

8. Fructose has been shown in research studies to help significantly improve blood sugar control, almost to the equivalent of an oral anti-diabetic drug, again, making it an excellent choice for anyone with diabetes or at an increased risk for developing it.

9. Fructose can help with maintaining a health weight. Since it tastes sweeter than sugar but with less calories, swapping fructose for sugar in baked goods can help anyone trying to lose a few pounds or keep them off enjoy great tasting food with a pleasant texture and taste without driving up the number on the scale.

10.  When fructose is combined with other sweeteners like sucrose, saccharin or aspartame their perceived sweetness is greater than any of those sweeteners alone—and becomes a health danger like its counterparts.

Of course, excessive consumption of any sweetener, fructose included, can cause weight gain and other health issues, but when it comes to sweetening your food and watching your weight, there are certainly benefits of fructose, and it deserves your serious consideration. 

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How to Reduce Sugar Intake in a Healthy Way

by Health News

Imagine eating your own body weight in sugar!  Even those with a sweet tooth or a secret sugar addiction may cringe at that thought, but the truth is that most Americans consume at least 128 pounds of sugar every year and need to reduce sugar intake for their health’s sake.

Take the sugar addiction test and learn more about hidden sugars

Take the Sugar Addiction Test

  • If you reach for just one cookie, is the bag empty before you realize it?
  • Are you lacking energy and tired all the time?
  • When you feel hungry do you snack on doughnuts, chips, candy and ice cream?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you are definitely hooked on sugar and salty snacks that are engineered by food scientists to be addictive.  You need to reduce your sugar intake now!

How about carbohydrates?

  • Can you say no to desserts but pig-out on bread and pasta?
  • When you want to lose weight, is it easier to eat nothing than ration yourself to smaller portions?
  • Do you find it impossible to eat just a taste of pasta, bread, muffins or rice?

These are all the signs of addiction to white flour, which actually turns into sugar during digestion, creating the same problems as sugar.  As above, you need to reduce your carbohydrate intake before it takes a toll on your health.

Related:  What are the Best Sugar Substitutes?

How Sugar Addiction is Harmful to Health

Here’s the truth about how harmful sugar can be to your health, and why the World Health Organization is recommending that people reduce sugar intake by 70%.  Studies show a link between a diet high in sugar and raised levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Sugar is also responsible for tooth decay, obesity and inflammation in the body, which is the root cause of many health issues including arthritis.

Scientists have found that even thin people who consume more than 10% of their daily calories from sugar are three times more likely to die of heart disease than others. Sugar affects the brain, which controls signals such as when to stop eating. Sugar highs feed the brain with dopamine, producing an artificial sense of euphoria similar to gambling or cocaine use. In a similar way, tests on rats showed that sugar is addictive and we actually crave more and more sugar to satisfy the need.

Reduce Sugar Intake Benefits

You may never actually buy sugar and stir it into drinks, but modern-day foods are laden with hidden sugars delivering an average 22 teaspoons (150 grams) of sugar per day. In order to reduce sugar intake, you need to identify your sugar sources. Check the label on cereals, salad dressings, fruit juice and even yogurt and switch to unsweetened alternatives such as stevia, or natural whole foods.

Doctors recommend we should reduce sugar intake to around 42 grams per day, or 5% of your daily calories, in order to free yourself from your sugar addiction. You’ll find the benefits of reduced sugar intake will provide more energy, lower triglyceride levels and a healthier heart.

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Sensitivity to Fluoride: Stories, Symptoms and Allergy Facts

by Health News

Are you suffering from fluoride sensitivity? Do you know the symptoms of fluoride sensitivity? Do you even know if your public water supply is fluoridated? Let’s answer these important questions about fluoride and perhaps solve your undiagnosed health problems caused by fluoride sensitivity.

Fluoride can help prevent tooth cavities but may cause fluoride sensitivity symptoms

What are Fluoride Sensitivity Symptoms?

Not everyone has a fluoride allergy but those who are born with hypersensitivity or develop fluoride sensitivity may suffer from a range of minor or more debilitating fluoride sensitivity symptoms. These include:

  • Stiff painful joints
  • Asthma – especially after showering in chlorinated water
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Feeling cold all the time, or particularly after a shower or bath in chlorinated water
  • Dental fluorosis with brown or white spots on the teeth
  • Brain fog and fatigue – especially after showering or bathing
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal problems including pain, nausea and IBS
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease

Of course, having these symptoms does not indicate someone has a fluoride allergy, but having a blood and/or urine test may confirm the possibility. Alternatively, drink, cook and bathe with filtered or non-fluoridated water and switch to a non-fluoridated toothpaste.  Keep a diary to observe whether your symptoms improve when you avoid fluoride sources, and whether they return if you are exposed to fluoride again.

True Stories about Fluoride Sensitivity

Dr. DeLoss E. Winkler, a highly respected chemist with Shell Development Company, began working in Palo Alto. He developed regular flu-like episodes of sickness that led him to spend about one week a month in bed recovering. He experienced chronic fatigue and muscle weakness that severely weakened him. His wife had studied fluoride and suggested that he try avoiding the fluoridated water at work by carrying distilled water from home to work each day. His symptoms disappeared.

In order to further prove his fluoride sensitivity, Dr. Winkler took part in a double-blind trial, sometimes being given fluoridated water and sometimes given distilled water. His body reacted to the fluoride by developing the fluoride sensitivity symptoms accurately every time.

Related:  Give your Body what it Craves: Water

A similar story is recounted by a woman who moved to the city and developed agonizing stomach pain which her doctor was unable to diagnose. She experimented by switching to fluoride-free toothpaste and reverse-osmosis filtered water, eliminating tea (which retains fluoride), California wine (the wines’ skins retain fluoride-based pesticides) and beer made with fluoridated water. Her symptoms disappeared, returning only if she forgot to carry her own water and had to drink fluoridated water.

Fluoride sensitivity affects about 1% of the population. If you suspect you have fluoride sensitivity symptoms, it’s very easy to eliminate fluoridated water for a week and see if the symptoms disappear. In the long-term, installing a home water filter system to eliminate fluoride from your tap water could be the only way to enjoy a full and healthy life.
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What Is the Difference Between Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose?

by Health News

With a trend toward better health and fitness in the United States, many Americans have concerns about sugar consumption.  Sugar is the universal name for short-chain, soluble carbohydrates with a sweet flavor. While most think of sugar as the stuff used to sweeten coffee or cereal, there are actually three key types of sugarsucrose, glucose, and fructose.  Learning about the different kinds of sugar and the way they affect the body can help people make healthier dietary choices.

Three key types of sugar include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides, sugars that cannot be broken down into simpler sugars. Glucose is the type of sugar the body uses for fuel and is the kind measured when doctors determine blood sugar levels.  It is found naturally in honey, in fruits like grapes, apples, and oranges, and it is an ingredient in corn syrup. 

Fructose is also an ingredient in honey as well as molasses, agave nectar, and high-fructose corn syrup.  Types of fruit that contain fructose include apples, pears, and pomegranates. Glucose and fructose combine to make a disaccharide called sucrose, which is abundant in sugar cane, sugar beets, and other plants.  When sucrose is extracted from plants and refined, it makes table sugar.  

Although all of these carbohydrates provide roughly the same amount of energy per gram, the body processes fructose and glucose differently.  Fructose metabolizes in the liver, triggering the release of insulin and the production of ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.   

When glucose is processed, it circulates through the body and triggers the production of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite.  The body either uses glucose immediately for energy or stores it in the muscles or in the liver as glycogen for later use.

Related:  Are Artificial Sweeteners Dangerous to Your Health?

Fructose vs. Glucose

In a study from the University of California at Davis, researchers compared the effects of glucose and fructose consumption on 32 overweight or obese individuals.  Subjects drank a beverage sweetened with glucose or fructose that supplied 25 percent of their daily calories for 12 weeks.  Researchers found that both groups gained weight, however, the people who drank the beverage sweetened with fructose experienced a number of additional effects.  These included:  

  • Increased visceral fat (the hard-to-lose type of abdominal fat that surrounds inner organs)
  • Reduced sensitivity to insulin (one of the first signs of diabetes)
  • Increased production of fat in the liver
  • Higher LDL (unhealthy) cholesterol
  • Elevated triglyceride levels

Results showed that the people who drank the beverage sweetened with glucose experienced none of these effects. 

Most experts agree that whole fruit provides the best source of natural sugar, and it contains healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Refined sugars deliver added, empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value.  To help ensure optimal nutrition and a healthy body weight, people should limit their intake of processed sugars, either in crystalline form or as an ingredient in foods, syrups, and beverages. 

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Powerful Pomegranates

by Health News

Pomegranates have gathered quite the fan base over the last 10-15 years, but this quirky little fruit has been used medicinally in the Middle East, Iran, India, Egypt, and Greece for thousands of years.

Learn why you should include the delicious and lovely pomegranates in your daily health regimen.  They help repair free radical damage, and may play a role in preventing and treating heart disease.

High in antioxidants (especially polyphenols) and ellagic acid, pomegranates have been found to help repair free radical damage. Specifically, research indicates that pomegranates may play a role in preventing and treating heart disease.

Research shows that pomegranate juice consumption decreases the accumulation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the arteries of healthy, nonsmoking men by 20 percent. In mice, pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce oxidation of LDL by 90 percent, and even shrink plaque-ridden lesions in the mice by 44 percent.

Related:  How to Cleanse Your Arteries With One Simple Fruit

Similar studies found that healthy subjects who drank 2–3 ounces of pomegranate juice a day for two weeks reduced the cholesterol oxidation process by as much as 40 percent. This is critical, as this process often creates plaque build up that narrows arteries and results in heart disease.

So don’t skip the pom. Break one open, sip on some juice, or use a powdered extract formula to get your pom on every day.
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Overweight AND Malnourished?

by Health News

The latest survey (2015) from the CDC shows that more than 68 percent of Americans are overweight…and under-nourished as it turns out. Experts from the Americans Institute of Cancer Research and the American Dietetic Association agree that excessive calories are a large part of the problem.

Empty and excessive calories linked to obesity and malnourishment in the U.S.

Back in 1990, the average calorie consumption for Americans was around 1,850 a day. Today, our caloric intake is more than 2,150 per day. That’s more than 300 extra calories a day. And those calories can add up, putting more than 30 pounds on a person in a year, theoretically.

Related:  Carbohydrate Digestion Strongly Linked to Obesity

And, as you can imagine, those extra calories aren’t coming from fruits and vegetables. While the USDA recommends two to five servings of fruits and veggies per day, most of us only get a totally of three servings, with 42 percent of Americans not even get two servings daily.

We are clearly in the midst of an alarming period of time where we as a country are significantly overweight, yet woefully malnourished.
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Good and Bad Sugars

by Health News

Most people are aware that sugar is bad for their health, causing tooth decay, inflammation and obesity. Although all sugars may taste the same to our taste buds, it’s important to differentiate between good sugar versus bad sugar.

It’s important to know the difference between good sugar versus bad sugar

Natural sugars such as fructose and lactose (found in fruit and dairy products) are good sugars, providing nutritional value as well as satisfying our sweet tooth. Sucrose, on the other hand, is often used as an added sugar. It provides “empty” calories and zero nutrition and is considered a bad sugar as we are healthier without it.

Free Sugars are Bad Sugars

The World Health Organization classifies sucrose as “free sugars” as they are free floating and are not bound with other nutrients. These bad sugars are instantly absorbed into the bloodstream causing a sugar spike. They are the most common source of added sugar in soft drinks, salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, candies and sweet pastries.   

Even honey, agave nectar and maple syrup fall into the category of free or bad sugars. Although they are natural sweeteners, they do not contain fiber, protein or vitamins and consequently add unnecessary calories to your diet and should be restricted.

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The Difference Between Good Sugar versus Bad Sugar

Simple sugars break down quickly into glucose. As they enter the bloodstream they stimulate the pancreas to release insulin. As the sugar is dissipated around the cells, the insulin remains, creating a craving for more sugar, and this is the danger of bad sugars. They create sugar “highs” followed by “lows” which quickly become cravings for more sugar.

Complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are also broken down in the digestive process to create glucose. They take longer to digest than simple sugars and consequently have a low glycemic index. They enter the bloodstream gradually and do not create the rush of insulin and the subsequent sugar spikes and cravings for more sweetness. These complex carbohydrates also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which have high nutritional value, so they are considered to be good sugars.

Reducing Bad Sugar Intake

When you fancy a snack, treat yourself to tasty high protein foods such as nuts and seeds. When chocolate cravings strike, have a few squares of good quality dark chocolate with high cacao content (around 70%) and less sugar. For sweetening drinks and for cooking, replace bad sugar with natural stevia which is calorie-free, does not cause tooth decay and actually isn’t a sugar at all!

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Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health & Help Avoid Brain Cancer

by Health News

According to Dr. Thomas A. Sellars, up to 70% of cancers can be avoided by a change of lifestyle. Diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco are the most obvious, but there are other ways to help prevent brain tumors and reduce the risk of brain cancer. How many of these practices do you currently do?

Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of brain cancer

1.     Drink caffeine every day

A British study on coffee drinkers found that those who drank more than five cups of caffeinated coffee had a 40% lower risk of developing brain tumors than those who drank less caffeine, or tea. Caffeine also reduces the risk of mouth and throat cancers.

2.     Use Hands-free Cell Phone Devices

While no definitive connection between brain cancer and cell phone electromagnetic radiation has yet been identified, but several studies suggest there is a link. Use a hands-free device to put some distance between your brain and the radio frequency emitting from the cell phone as a sensible precaution for brain cancer prevention; or use the speaker whenever possible. 

3.     Filter tap water

According to the report from the President’s Anti-Cancer Panel, drinking filtered tap water is safer than bottled water. A simple water filter can reduce exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals, and it’s easy to do.

Related:  Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

4.     Wear a Hat

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that people with melanomas on the scalp, head or neck were twice as likely to develop cancer in other areas of the body.

5.     Don’t Top Your Tank

Pumping that last drop of gas into the gas tank after the nozzle clicks off can foil the vapor recovery system on the fuel pump, releasing toxic cancer-causing benzene into the air you are breathing. 

6.     Reduce Radiation to the Head

Every time your dentist x-rays your teeth, you are exposed to cancer-causing radiation. Keep x-rays of the head to a minimum to prevent brain cancer.

7.     Wash Fruit and Vegetables

While five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables are intended to improve health, produce should always be thoroughly washed before consuming. Spray pesticides contain at least 40 known carcinogens which increase brain tumor risk factors.

8.     Marinate Grill Meats

Cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when meat is charred or burned, exactly what happens when grilling meat. The advice from Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walk, Professor of Carcinogenesis at University of Texas is to marinate meat with rosemary and thyme. These antioxidant-rich herbs can reduce HCAs by up to 87%.

9.     Reduce Metastatic Brain Cancer Risk

Tumors formed in other organs can spread to the brain causing metastatic brain cancer. It’s wise to take precautions against all types of cancer by eating antioxidant-rich dark green vegetables, selenium-rich Brazil nuts and exercising daily. By reducing the general risk of cancer, you can help prevent brain tumors and reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Did you score full marks for brain cancer prevention? If not, you need to make these lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of a brain tumor.

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F.A.S.T. - The Sudden Signs of Stroke

by Health News

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.  A family history of stroke and lifestyle choices increases your risk. Knowing the F.A.S.T. stroke symptoms can help you avoid being severely disabled by a stroke since getting immediate medical attention is the key to a faster more complete recovery.

What Is F.A.S.T. Stroke Symptoms?

Symptoms can vary from person to person who experiences a stroke.  In general, however, these three symptoms, and what to do if you or someone you know has them, can save a life.

Fast stroke is an easy way to remember the signs to watch for.

F for Face drooping

When someone has a stroke it is common for one side of their face to droop.  When oxygen rich blood is cut off to the brain this can cause nerve and muscle damage. The muscles become weak and sag. If you see or experience this, call 911 immediately.

A for Arm weakness

A weakening of arm muscles on one side of the body is called hemiparesis.  The side of the brain and location of a stroke will determine where your body suddenly becomes weak.  If your right arm is numb and weakened the left side of your brain is most likely where the stroke has occurred.

S for Speech difficulties

Someone having a stroke may suddenly be unable to understand speech or have difficulty speaking.  Slurred or garbled speech is a big stroke warning sign.  Sometimes the person having a stroke may lose the ability to speak at all.

Related:  Does Higher Protein Intake Lower Stroke Risk?

T for Time to call 911

A stroke is a medical emergency, and that’s why the fast stroke protocol is so important.  Getting treatment immediately is crucial for a better recovery.  If you experience F, A, or S do not try to drive yourself to the hospital. You could lose your ability to see clearly, steer the car and even pass out. Call 911 and wait for help.

If you see anyone with F, A or S symptoms get them immediate medical attention. It’s best to call for an ambulance and let professionals care for your loved one rather than you trying to drive them to the hospital yourself. Their sirens will clear traffic and get the victim critical timely care to aid in recovery

 

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Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA Stroke: Facts Causes Symptoms Tests

by Health News

It sounds like an alien invasion but a Transient Ischemic Attack is something far more serious.  A TIA Stroke is also known as a mini-stroke due to a clot obstructing blood flow to the brain temporarily.  This is a serious warning sign of a bigger more lethal stroke so knowing the facts about a TIA stroke, like the causes, symptoms and tests for it could save your life.

What is TIA stroke?

Facts about TIA Stroke

A TIA stroke can happen when a blood clot in another part of the body breaks free and travels to the brain, temporarily blocking blood flow.  Low blood flow through a narrow part of a major artery like the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain can also cause a so-called mini-stroke or TIA.  Smaller blood vessels to the brain that become constricted or clogged with plaque (a fatty substance) floating around in your blood stream can also cause one, too.

Important facts to remember are:

  • Approximately 40% of people who have a TIA will have an actual stroke
  • Almost half of all strokes occur within a few days of a TIA
  • TIA symptoms are the same as a major stroke but less severe and temporary

Causes

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the main cause of a TIA.  Other things that cause this kind of stroke are:

  • High cholesterol (which leads to plaque in the blood stream)
  • Narrow blood vessels that supply blood to the brain
  • Diabetes
  • Blood Clots

Symptoms

A TIA stroke has the same symptoms as a regular stroke but they are a lot less severe and usually don’t last very long, maybe for only a few minutes. That’s why they are often times dismissed by people, which is unfortunate because a bigger more destructive stroke is sure to follow.  Knowing the symptoms of a TIA stroke is critical to preventing that.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in one arm or leg that comes and goes
  • Feeling dizzy for no reason
  • Suddenly feeling fatigued
  • Tingling throughout the body
  • Confusion and/or temporary memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking or garbled speech
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Vision problems
  • A sudden increase in blood pressure
  • An abrupt personality change
  • Passing out

Someone experiencing a TIA stroke may only experience a few of these symptoms and only very briefly.  No matter if you only have one symptom and it goes away quickly seek medical attention.

Related:  Oranges:  Can They Prevent a Stroke?

Tests

If you think you are having or had a TIA get to your doctor immediately for these tests:

  • A mental assessment
  • Eye range of motion
  • Listening to blood flow through the neck to detect narrow blood vessels
  • Heart rhythm examination
  • Examining legs and arms for tone, strength and sensation

If you doctor diagnosis you with a TIA you will probably undergo:

  • An EKG (electrocardiogram) to see if your heart beat is irregular
  • CT Scan (computerized tomography) to check for bleeding in the brain
  • CT Angiogram to evaluate your cerebral, carotid and vertebral arteries
  • Blood tests that check your for anemia and/or a lack of platelets
  • An echocardiogram to determine if the heart is the source of clots or debris in the blood

Any small sign of stroke even if it only lasts for a few minutes is reason for concern.  A TIA stroke or TIA mini-stroke is a wake-up call that your health, and possibly your life, is in danger so seek medical attention and ward off an actual stroke.

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Signs of Stroke in Women: What You Need to Know

by Health News

Women owe it to themselves and their families to know the signs of stroke in women and then act on that information. There are few health goals as important as avoiding strokes. Strokes are debilitating and their health impacts can last for years or even a lifetime. Let’s look at some of the most common signs of stroke in women. Please note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and are therefore not in any specific order of commonality or importance.

Signs of Stroke in Women: What You Need to Know

#1:  Problems with Speech and/or Confusion

Problems with speech or confusion are both common warning signs of a potential stroke. If you or a loved one suddenly experiences problems with speech or confusion please realize that these are serious symptoms, which must be addressed by a medical professional immediately.

#2:  Sudden Loss of Strength or Coordination

If you suddenly and without explanation lose strength or coordination, then there is a real need for concern. Losing strength due to a specific injury such as falling and spraining an ankle is a much different situation from an unexplained loss of strength or coordination. So please take these kinds of symptoms very seriously.

#3:  Problems with Vision

Blurred vision or dimness of vision is another one of the major sings of stroke in women. Blurred vision or dimness of vision can have many explanations and do not in and of themselves indicate you are having a stroke; however, like all the signs of stroke these are serious symptoms regardless of their root cause and must be addressed by a medical professional.

#4:  Dizziness, Fainting or Loss of Consciousness

Like so many of the other symptoms of stroke listed in this article, the root causes of dizziness, fainting or a loss of consciousness are potentially varied. That stated, fainting or the loss of consciousness has to be treated with the utmost seriousness. If you are a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, then immediate evaluation by a medical professional is a must.

RelatedDoes Higher Protein Intake Lower Stroke Risk?

#5:  Numbness or Tingling

Numbness in any part of the body or problems moving body parts is another sign of stroke. Numbness can occur anywhere including the face or extremities.

There are many factors that can increase a woman’s risk of strokes. Many of these factors are quite unexpected and range from taking birth control pills to migraine headaches. Being aware of these risks and the symptoms of a stroke can help you avoid the extreme dangers of a stroke.

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10 Best Brain Games to Improve Your Memory

by Health News

You just can’t build your brain as you get older, right? The more scientists study the brain the more impressed they become. The brain is capable of growth and development throughout life. One of the best ways to improve overall brain health and improve memory is to challenge yourself through brain games. In this article we will examine 10 of the best ways to enhance your memory.

Chess is one of the top brain games.

#1:  Chess

Chess has endured for centuries and for good reason. Not only is chess one of the more complicated of brain games, but it also forces players to think ahead and remember a variety of possible moves; this also helps to make chess one of the top memory improvement games.

#2:  Action Based Video Games

Video games such as “shooters” and other action based video games might not seem like most people’s first pick for improving memory, but these kinds of games require players to remember where enemies are and respond quickly. The end result is a serious memory and reaction time workout.

#3:  Puzzle Based Video Games

Puzzle based video games such as the famous Tetris will definitely increase your reaction time and help boost your memory. For example, having to remember and instantly recall the shape of previous placed pieces is sure to help you give your memory a workout. There are literally endless puzzle based video games and the trick is to find the ones that are demanding and enjoyable.

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#4:Scrabble

Scrabble certainly has a lot of fans and as it turns out Scrabble is uniquely good at helping players exercise their memories and their vocabulary. Scrabble is fun and helps build one’s memory by exercising word recall.

#5:  Go

The ancient strategy game of Go really gives one’s mind a real work out. It is a strategy game that is very different than chess and requires players to work to acquire as much of the board as possible.

#6:  Sudoku

If you’ve never tried Sudoku, then you are in for a real treat. Sudoku gives your brain a workout but does so in a way that most people find quite new. Filling in the Sudoku boxes might seem simple at first but there is no doubt that Sudoku represents a true brain challenge.

#7:  Card Games

Remember the card matching games of childhood? Think that they are just for childhood? Think again, if you are looking for ways to proven memory improvement games then you’ll have a tough time topping what memory matching card games can offer.

#8:  Board Games

Board games are another way to boost your memory. In fact some of history’s most popular board games such as Battleship require players to remember the location of player’s fleets. Like chess, Battleship is another way to develop your logical and strategic side.

#9: Games Specifically Designed for Brain Building

There are several companies who have created games specifically designed to build one’s brain. One of the most popular is Lumosity, but there are others. There is some controversy as to how well these games work but many feel that these kinds of games can enhance memory.

#10:  The Games You’ll Play

The most important brain game is, of course, the ones you’ll play. If you are not enjoying a brain game, then simply keep trying new ones until you find the right fit!

These 10 brain game options offer something different for everyone. No matter what kind of games you like, this list should have something for you.