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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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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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What You Should Know About Excess Sugar and Yeast Infections

by IVL Products

Three out of four women will get at least one yeast infection in their lifetime. The burning and itching “down there” is unpleasant but not necessarily harmful.  What many women may not realize is the link between too much sugar in their diet and yeast infections.

The connection between excess sugar and yeast infections.

Yeast Infection Causes

Yeast actually grows naturally all over our bodies.  The most common type of yeast found on our bodies and in the vagina is known as Candida albicans, or Candida for short.  This fungus thrives in warm moist places like a woman’s vagina and can be caused by a variety of things like:

  • Low estrogen
  • Wearing synthetic fabric pantyliners
  • Vaginal eczema
  • Spermicidal condoms
  • Synthetic chemicals in feminine hygiene sprays
  • Poor diet

Related:  Fibromyalgia: Ten Possible Underlying Causes

Diet and Yeast Infections

Yeast loves sugar as much as you do. Too much sugar in your diet can give yeast a boost causing it to spread and increase, especially if your immune system is depressed from a lack of sleep or stress.  If you are prone to yeast infections, or feel one coming on, try avoiding the following:

  • Foods with simple sugars
  • Starchy foods like white flour products or rice
  • Foods fermented with yeast like alcohol

Alcohol is very sugary.  A few drinks, some highly refined foods like pretzels or candy at the bar makes for a perfect combination to feed yeast and help it spread.

Probiotics Can Help

Probiotics are living microorganisms very similar to the “good” bacteria in your gut essential for digesting your food. This so-called “good” bacterium is prevalent in your digestive tract and in other places on the body. If you take antibiotics for a bacterial infection, you can inadvertently destroy the good bacteria along with the harmful stuff, paving the way for yeast to overrun your already-battered immune system; and they begin to multiply.

Eating foods that contain probiotics can help keep yeast levels in check.  Yogurt with live and active bacterial cultures, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, or a daily probiotic supplement can help keep yeast infections at bay.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Candida thrives in an acidic environment. Acidic foods to avoid if you are prone to yeast infections are:

  • Nuts (cashews, peanuts and walnuts)
  • Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
  • Acidic fruits like blueberries, cranberries and plums
  • Corn oil
  • Sugar and sweeteners including molasses, maple syrup, honey and especially aspartame
  • Salt
  • Condiments like mayonnaise, soy sauce or vinegar

Once Is Enough

If you have ever endured the painful symptoms of a yeast infection you’ll agree once is enough.  Making a few simple dietary changes can help stave off yeast infections.  Try to consume less sugar and alcohol and eat more probiotic-rich foods—you’ll get a host of other health benefits to boot.

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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.

Related:  Gymnema Sylvestre: The Sugar Destroyer

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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The Best Seeds for Health: Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everyone knows having a salad on a regular basis is good for you. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables for the average adult is three to five servings, after all.  If you are going to eat your greens why not add a little something extra to them now and then to boost their flavor and your health? Seeds make a great addition to many dishes especially salads. Read on to learn about the best seeds for your health.

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into these tiny seeds that are native to South America.  The ancient Aztecs and Mayans relied on them as an important food source providing hydration and sustained energy.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength.  Despite being small chia seeds are mighty with:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine) and B2
  • The ability to hold twice their weight in liquid

Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, from developing Type 2 Diabetes, promote bone strength and even aid in your weight loss efforts.

2. Hemp Seeds

While hemp seeds are from the same species of the much more famous and notorious cannabis family (aka marijuana) but they only contain trace amounts of THC, the compound that has a drug-like effect.  They have been a part of Chinese diets and medicine for the past 3,000 years, so their health benefits have stood the test of time.

Hemp seeds are a great source of two very important nutrients, the fatty acids omega-6 and omega 3. They are also a very good source of protein, vitamin E and minerals like phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.  Another nutrient from hemp seeds, amino acid arginine, has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. These bland looking little seeds have also shown in other studies to decrease inflammation in the body, help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

This year at Halloween when you and the kids carve your Jack-O-Lanterns don’t toss the seeds you scrape out of the pumpkin!  They are one of the best seeds for health and wellness.

Indigenous to the Americas (North, South and Central) ancient cultures called the flat green seeds pepitas. In Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and much of India and Asia pumpkin seeds is a dietary staple.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended by the World Health Organization and for good reason.  They are a plentiful source of diverse antioxidants like vitamin E, phenolic acids and lignans, compounds linked to helping women reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, a mineral essential for healthy red blood cells.

Once you remove the seeds from your pumpkin clean them off and let them dry overnight, then roast them for about 20 minutes at a very low temperature like 160 to 190 degrees for the most flavor.

Related:  Here’s a Quick Way to Get Soy-Free Protein

4. Flax Seeds

If you are looking for one of the best seeds for health, here’s the flax you need to know. 

Ancient Babylonians in the 8th century cultivated flaxseed for King Charlemagne who believed strongly in their health benefits.  Modern day research has shown consumption of flaxseeds is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to health authority WebMD.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called ALA, which are abundant in flaxseeds, have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.  Like pumpkin seeds they contain lignans that have been linked to decreasing the risk of breast cancer and are potent against reducing inflammation in the body.  Eating flaxseeds regularly may also help you keep your cholesterol levels in check and blood sugar levels steady to ward off diabetes.

5. Sunflower Seeds

A sunflower is a tall herbaceous annual plant native to Middle America but has since spread across the globe as a commercial crop in countries like Russian, China, Argentina and the United States. 

Sunflower seeds are delicious and crunchy little powerhouses of healthy goodness. Packed with essential fatty acids, high quality amino acids, natural antioxidants like vitamin E and folic acid, just a handful a day will help keep the doctor away.  They help lower your LDL levels of cholesterol, and provide essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and copper to keep your bones and red blood cell production strong.

Next time you whip up a salad be sure to sprinkle one of the fantastic five best seeds for health on top and enjoy!

 

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Are Fish Oil Supplements Good For The Skin?

by IVL Products

What you eat may be more important to the look and feel of your skin than what you put on it.  Research shows that what you put into your body in the form of nutrients has a big impact on how your skin looks and feels.  One critical nutrient found in foods like, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil but most abundantly in certain fish is omega-3 fatty acids.  More and more research is piling up to support the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin.

Exploring the benefits of omega-3s from fish oil for skin

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Promote Healthy Skin

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential acids because the body needs them to maintain the health of the cell membrane, yet cannot produce it naturally.  Our bodies rely on getting essential acids solely from our diet.  Cell membranes not only act as a barrier to keep harmful substances out of the cell, but also to transport nutrients in and waste products out of it.  The membrane is also what enhances the cells ability to retain water so that you have moist, soft supple skin cells that are more resistant to wrinkles.

Another way omega-3 fatty acids, found most abundantly in fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, and tuna (so called “oily” fish) are beneficial is to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.  Insulin spikes from eating sugary, highly processed starchy foods, sun exposure and environmental toxins like cigarette smoke induce inflammation in the skin making it dry, flaky and red.

Related:  Supplementing Children’s' Diets with Fish Oil

Additionally, according to a study published back in 2003 in “Carcinogenesis,” omega-3 fatty acids such as those in fish oil contain properties that protect the skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays from the sun.  EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a compound in omega-3s, was shown to be especially beneficial in reducing sunburn and ultra-violet radiation induced skin breaks.

Best Way to Get the Most Out Of Fish Oil

One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing is to eat foods rich in the omega-3 compounds EPA, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linoleic acid).  A few of the foods that contain the largest amounts of these substances are:

  • Fish –the cold-water or oily kind
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oils
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli
  • Canola oil

Unfortunately it is difficult to get the amount of omega-3s needed for optimum health through food alone.  Taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to get the most beneficial amounts of omega-3s into your diet.  

When shopping for a fish oil supplement be sure to read the label carefully and choose one with at least 30% EPA and DHA in it.  Also, look for the kind labeled “non-fishy” aftertaste.

The benefits of omega-3 fish oils for skin are numerous, plus they benefit many other parts of the body reducing your risk of cardiac disease, joint inflammation and can even aid in weigh loss.  Adding a fish oil supplement to your diet is a good idea if you would like to keep your skin looking and feeling younger and healthier. 

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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Six Benefits of Bubble Baths

by Cindy Gray

For those who enjoy bubbly baths, you are about to learn about the mental and physical health benefits bubble baths provide. If you’re not one to indulge in a relaxing bubble bath, perhaps this will persuade you to change your mind and jump in the tub!

Who’d have thought there were so many bubble bath benefits!

1.     Bubble Bath Benefits for Relaxation

A warm soak in a comfortable bath provides the perfect environment for relaxing. As the scents and steam rise, they create a calming atmosphere, encouraging you to de-stress and forget about work, family and other worries, at least temporarily. Banish your cell phone and read a book or just lie back and enjoy your time free from interruption.

2.     Aromatherapy in the Bath Tub

Add a relaxing scent to your bubbly bath with a couple of drops of essential oil such as lavender, bergamot, vanilla or cedarwood will encourage natural relaxation. Avoid synthetic fragrances as they can affect the endocrine system and increase the risk of breast cancer.

3.     Deep Muscle Relaxation

The hot water encourages deep muscle relaxation to ease cramps, prevent tension headaches and improve muscle elasticity. Follow your bubble bath benefits with a gentle stretch of the musculoskeletal system to improve posture and reduce back problems.

Related:  Safe Anxiety Treatments: Rose and Lavender are Scents That Soothe

4.     Bubble Bath Benefits Include Detoxing

Make your bubble bath hot enough to produce a sweat to remove toxins from the body naturally. The increased circulation stimulates the lymphatic system which sweats out toxins and increases lymph drainage.

5.     Hot Baths Boost Immunity

The heat of the steam stimulates the immune system and improves health. An improved immune system will help your body fight bacteria and viruses which should mean less coughs and colds naturally.

6.     Bubble Baths for Healthy Skin

Bubble bath benefits include glowing, healthy skin. A warm soak increases blood circulation, providing nourishment to damaged tissue. In addition, using a loofah or natural sponge to slough away dead skin cells will leave you with soft, glowing skin. Use a pumice stone and give your feet a good exfoliating scrub too. Moisturize your skin after your bubbly bath with coconut oil or olive oil and you will quickly eradicate any patches of dry or itchy skin.

By using natural organic products, your bubble bath benefits will avoid any reactions caused by chemicals and artificial fragrances. With so many health benefits available from a simple bubbly bath, make sure you book a session in your “home spa” at least once a week! 

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Secret Names for MSG

by Health News

Why would anyone eat MSG flavor enhancers that are shown to cause obesity, fatty liver disease, fibromyalgia, liver toxicity, brain damage, and countless other serious health issues? The answer is that food producers can use up to 40 secret names for MSG, deliberately misleading consumers into eating this dangerous additive.

Almost all processed foods contain secret names for MSG additives

The Dangers of MSG

Monosodium glutamate, shortened to MSG, is a chemical created by adding an additional monosodium molecule to glutamic acid, an amino acid found naturally in many foods. It sounds harmless enough, but it can create a harmful toxic build-up if the body is unable to break it down.

In the 1960s, many people with sensitivity to MSG reported numbness, brain fog, chest pains and tingling in their limbs after eating Chinese food, which is typically laden with MSG. More worryingly, in the 1970s, researchers working on brain cells in the lab found that MSG actually killed the cells.

If you still remain skeptical of the dangers of MSG, the findings of John Erb, a research assistant at the University of Waterloo, may convince you. He began writing a book "The Slow Poisoning of America" after finding that rats used in diabetes studies were injected with MSG to make them obese. The pancreas in these MSG-treated rodents tripled the amount of insulin they produced, creating an addiction to food and causing obesity.

So, now you're convinced of the dangers of this addictive additive, why are we all still consuming it; because food manufacturers use many secret names for MSG to disguise its presence in their food.

Related:  Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) One Dose Causes Headache in Healthy Subjects

Why so many secret names for MSG?

The FDA only requires pure MSG to be listed on food labels. However, processing of the food may produce MSG, yet the product can still be labeled "No MSG" as it was not directly added to the food.

There are many commonly used secret names for MSG. These include terms such as:

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Textured Vegetable Protein
  • Yeast Extract
  • Glutamic Acid (E 620)2
  • Glutamate (E 620)
  • Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
  • Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
  • Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
  • Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
  • Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Yeast Food
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Gelatin
  • Textured Protein
  • Soy Protein
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Vetsin
  • Ajinomoto

To be doubly sure you are not consuming MSG, avoid anything with “hydrolyzed” or "…protein" in the name as these are all euphemisms or secret names for MSG.

If you feel there's nothing left that's safe to eat, consider switching to a whole food diet. Getting back to basics with unprocessed foods such as vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and organic dairy and grass-fed meats is the only way to avoid the hidden dangers of MSG, whatever secret names they choose to give it.

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Ten Tips to Have Healthy Teeth for Life

by Cindy Gray

10 tips to have healthy teeth for lifeHealthy teeth are more than just cosmetic. Strong healthy teeth allow you to chew well for good nutrition and they mean no toothache, pain or gum disease which research shows is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Here are 10 ways to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth.

1. Start Early

As soon as that first tooth appears at around six months of age, responsible parents should be encouraging good dental care. Clean baby teeth with a soft brush and supervise brushing when children start to brush for themselves, around the age of 2.

2. Dental Sealants

Protect your child's molars with a dental sealant.  Talk to your dental professional about the importance of this procedure for healthy teeth.

3. Protect with Fluoride

Check whether your water is fluoridated. If not, make sure you always buy toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride to support strong healthy teeth.  However, there is significant controversy over the safety of fluoride usage.  Do your own research and make dental health decisions based on what you learn.

4. Twice a Day Routine

Teeth should be cleaned at least twice a day – and that means using a toothbrush AND floss to clean between the teeth.  Don’t forget to clean your tongue with a tongue scraper, to remove bacteria and prevent bad breath.  Rinsing with warm water and sea salt is also a natural and healthy habit to include.

5. New Toothbrush

Find a toothbrush that suits your teeth and grip. Electric toothbrushes are thorough and easy to use. Remember that toothbrushes need to be replaced as soon as the bristles start to show wear; usually every six months.

6. Eat Healthily

According to Anthony M. Iacopino DMD, PhD., omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and lower the risk of gum disease, an important part of maintaining healthy teeth. Eating whole foods, grains, nuts, fruit and vegetables also support healthy teeth along with calcium from dairy products.

Related:  Could Your Dentist Be Your Most Trusted Health Source?

7. Avoid sugar

When sugars are dissolved in the mouth, they produce acid which erodes tooth enamel and allows tooth decay. Sugary carbonated drinks and candies are the worst culprits, so avoid or brush after consuming.

8. Protect teeth

Wear a mouth guard or full-face helmet to protect healthy teeth when you play contact sports or go skateboarding or roller blading. It will avoid disfigurement if you sustain a blow to your teeth.

9. Regular Dental Checkups

Regular visits to the dentist every six months allows any problems to be identified and corrected, long before they cause serious damage or decay which may mean fillings, crowns or even extractions.

10. Avoid Misuse

Heathy teeth are designed for chewing food, not for removing bottle caps, opening packaging or biting hard objects. Teeth can easily get chipped or broken and don't re-grow, so use your teeth for the purpose for which they were designed.  You won't get a third set!

Anyone can have strong healthy teeth for life if they follow the above tips. Don't let laziness and poor dental habits rob you of that healthy smile. 

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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What’s Causing Your Memory Loss?

by IVL Products

A forgotten appointment, misplaced keys, or struggling to find the correct word during a conversation…some people might chock these incidents up to simple absentmindedness.  For those in middle age or older however, episodes of forgetfulness can be scary, conjuring worries of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  Fortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, memory loss is often treatable once a cause has been established.  Becoming better informed can help people determine whether their forgetfulness is cause for concern. 

A number of factors can contribute to memory loss.

Memory loss can strike at any time in life and is influenced by many factors.  Here are some of the key causes:

Sleep Apnea

Memory loss accompanied by headache and recurrent daytime fatigue may be related to sleep apnea.  This condition causes breathing to stop for brief but frequent periods in the course of a night.  Research shows that untreated sleep apnea can impair spatial navigational memory, which is the type utilized to locate objects like keys.

Related:  Five Natural Supplements for Brain Health

Medications

Some medications can impact memory and may need adjustment.  These include:

  • Medications for anxiety
  • Medications for diabetes
  • Medications for pain
  • Medications for reducing cholesterol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Because vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve function, a deficiency can result in confusion, memory loss, and other dementia-like symptoms.  Good food sources of vitamin B12 include dairy products, poultry, beef, and fish.  To ensure proper daily amounts, people can also obtain vitamin B12 through dietary supplements.

Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

High levels of anxiety or stress can affect attention, focus, and memory, particularly when paired with sleep problems.  Techniques like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, or tai chi can help manage stress and improve sleep.  

If left untreated, chronic anxiety can lead to depression, which can also impact memory.  According to the National Institute on Aging, people can try certain types of medication and/or counseling to ease symptoms of depression.

Silent Stroke

Sometimes people have a stroke without being aware of it.  While a silent stroke doesn't exhibit any of the normal symptoms, it does cause changes in brain function, which can affect cognition and memory.  Vascular cognitive impairment from silent stroke can range from mild to severe.

Tips for Preventing Memory Loss

According to a study from the School of Medicine at UCLA, healthy lifestyle strategies can have a beneficial effect on memory and cognition.  Take advantage of these tips to help prevent memory loss.

  • Don't use tobacco products.
  • Eat a nutritious diet, and drink plenty of water.
  • Get regular physical exercise.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise the brain with word, number, or jigsaw puzzles.
  • Boost brain power by reading books, learning a new language, or taking up a musical instrument.

Conclusion

People with concerns about forgetfulness should consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.  Sharing symptoms and submitting to any required testing can help doctors determine what's causing your memory loss.  A few beneficial lifestyle strategies help to promote a healthy brain and a strong memory.

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Essential Fatty Acids: Benefits and Sources

by Cindy Gray

With an enthusiasm for better health on the rise in America, many people are making quality nutrition a top priority.  Essential fatty acids (EFAs) play a key role.  They are called "essential" because they are not made naturally by the body, but must be obtained through food or supplements.  Learning more about these important nutrients can help to ensure a nutritious diet and a healthy body.

The only way to obtain essential fatty acids is through foods or supplements.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Essential omega 3 fatty acids include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  The body converts ALA to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two more essential fatty acids; however, the process isn't very efficient.  Therefore, EPA and DHA are considered "conditionally essential."

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids include green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, flaxseeds, citrus fruits, melons, and cherries which contain ALA.  Omega 3 sources of EPA and DHA include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and other marine life, such as algae and krill.  Flax oil (ALA) and fish oil (EPA and DHA) supplements also make good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Linoleic acid (LA) is an essential fatty acid present in many leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains.  Oils like sunflower, safflower, corn, peanut, and canola oil also offer linoleic acid.  LA breaks down to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) within the body or arachidonic acid (AA), two other essential fatty acids.  Natural sources of GLA include oils like black currant, borage, evening primrose, and hemp oils.  You can also obtain AA through consumption of eggs, fish and meat.

Related:  Three Surprising Seafood Sources of EFA’s

Health Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids help promote a variety of functions in the human body including:

  • Cell development
  • Absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Nourishment of skin, hair, and nails
  • Proper nerve function
  • Hormone production

EFAs and Disease

EFA deficiency has been linked to a number of diseases and disorders including:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Hypertension
  • Certain mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder
  • Learning disorders
  • PMS
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Studies show the consumption of EFAs can help improve these conditions.  For instance, it has been found that diets high in ALA, EPA and DHA can help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, and providing anticoagulant properties.  Research shows that supplementation with GLA can relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and subjects with eczema are able to reduce their use of antibiotics and steroids for treatment of the disease.

People can consume large amounts of essential fatty acids with few side effects.  Occasionally some experience stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea, but these effects typically diminish over time.  Individuals on anticoagulant or blood thinning medications should check with their doctor before taking fish oil supplements as they can thin the blood.

While scientists continue to study how EFAs affect the health, it is clear they offer many benefits.  Whether consumed through a meal or taken as a supplement, EFAs are safe and well tolerated by the body. 

 

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How to Stop Worrying

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As Mark Twain wisely said, “I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Learning how to stop worrying is a good life lesson that can result in better health and an improved quality of life. Although worry can be an inherited trait, it is also a behavior pattern which you can learn to control. 

Learn how to stop worrying and enhance your quality of life

Perhaps the following statistics will show you how futile it is to get stressed and worried about life’s ups and downs. Which of these applies to you?

Worrying about things that might never happen

Studies show that 40% of the things we worry about never actually happen. If you find yourself losing sleep over what might happen, discipline yourself to switch off by considering this comforting thought.

Worrying about things we cannot control

A further 30% of the things we worry about have already happened and there is nothing we can do to change them. This is a prime example of learning to “let go”, forgive yourself and others, and move on.

How to stop worrying about vague fears

Of the remaining 30% of things people worry about, 10% are petty and unimportant. Why worry about what to wear or what to have for dinner? Fill your mind with more productive things, such as planning a treat for someone you love, or anticipating an upcoming trip.

Related:  Anxiety and Worrying Linked to Greater Alzheimer’s Risk in Women

Stop worrying about what people think

12% of our worries are needless, such as imagining what people are thinking about us. The truth is, other people are usually far more caught up in their own worries to think about you.!

That covers 92% of things that you should learn how to stop worrying about, as worry cannot change or influence them. The remaining 8% of worries are likely to happen, but worrying still doesn’t help as we cannot change the outcome. Why worry about your future health, the death of someone close, or a natural disaster? If and when it happens, the actual event is often less stressful than the worry itself.

Remember the song, Don’t Worry, Be Happy?   Worry and stress are some of the biggest enemies to our mental and physical health, so here are a few tips on how to stop worrying.

  • Keep busy, occupy your mind with other things and keep worry at bay
  • Get support. Sharing a worry with a friend can help keep the worry in perspective
  • Make a decision and stick to it
  • Think about what could be the worst possible outcome and accept it. After that, whatever happens is likely to be a pleasant surprise

Reclaim those lost hours of stress, distraction or lying awake at night by learning how to stop worrying. The world will continue turning just the same, but your life will be infinitely more peaceful, stress-free and happy.

 

 

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How to Live with a Gluten Free Diet and Still Love what You Eat

by IVL Products

Gluten intolerance, also known as Celiac Disease, affects around one in every hundred Americans. You may suffer from it yourself, or know someone who does. Understanding the problem and learning to live with a gluten free diet can be challenging. Perhaps our diet tips and information will make it a little easier!

A gluten free diet may be the chance to start a new healthier lifestyle.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

A person is deemed gluten intolerant when their immune system reacts negatively to gluten, the protein found in barley, wheat and rye. When a gluten intolerant person digests gluten, the body produces antibodies to attack the gluten. It may cause damage to the intestines and can prevent the body from properly digesting other essential nutrients.

The internal inflammation triggered by eating foods containing gluten may cause severe bloating, nausea, gas and stomach cramps in anyone who is gluten intolerant. Some people have no internal symptoms but the resulting poor absorption of nutrients leads to tiredness, hair loss and malnutrition. The only treatment for gluten intolerance is to adopt a totally gluten free diet.

What You Can Eat on a Gluten Free Diet

Anyone forced to adopt a gluten free diet will quickly find that there are many foods that contain gluten. Bread, pasta, pizza bases, thickened sauces and soups, cookies, cakes, ice cream, canned and cured meats, condiments, breadcrumbs and spice blends…the list is depressingly long.

Related:  Gluten Brain:  Wheat Cuts off Blood Flow to Frontal Cortex

It’s easier to focus on what food groups you CAN eat on a gluten free diet. You can freely enjoy as much as you like of the following healthy gluten free foods:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Non-processed meats, chicken and fish
  • Eggs
  • Natural dairy products, milk and unprocessed cheeses
  • Grains and cereals such as corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and millet

How to Live a Gluten Free Lifestyle

As gluten intolerance affects around 3 million Americans, the food industry has developed a whole range of gluten-free foods to add to the above list of gluten-free staples. You’ll find gluten free bagels, muffins, pancakes, bread, doughnuts and desserts in most supermarkets and health-food stores.  

Treat yourself to a cookbook of gluten-free recipes and search for websites with more information on adopting a gluten free lifestyle. Pinterest is a good way to source gluten free meal ideas or try these tasty gluten free recipes as part of your new gluten free diet.

Read the Label

It’s important to understand that if you are gluten intolerant you can’t just reduce gluten intake, you must completely eliminate gluten to avoid serious damage to your health. Unfortunately, gluten is found in makeup, beer and in many ready meals. However, when dining out, most chain restaurants offer gluten free options.

If a product does not specifically say it is gluten free, you need to check the label for hidden gluten in words such as:

  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Triticale
  • Matzo
  • Licorice (made from wheat flour)
  • Semolina
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Malt products
  • Maltodextrin

Although a gluten free diet may have been forced upon you by circumstance, embrace the opportunity it brings and establish a new healthier lifestyle for yourself and your whole family.

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5 Tricks to Battle Insomnia and Finally Get Some Rest

by Health News

Can’t sleep? Having trouble dropping off or staying asleep? Waking up feeling unrefreshed or waking up early and unable to drop back off? According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in three people suffer from insomnia, so, if you’re suffering from one or more of these problems, you are not alone. 

Yoga can be helpful in combatting insomnia

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is not a medical condition; it is usually a symptom of another problem. Common causes of insomnia include:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Pain
  • Medication
  • Physical discomfort
  • Environmental noise, light or unsuitable room temperature
  • Traveling across time zones
  • Working shifts
  • Digestive problems such as indigestion or acid reflux

Insomnia, as sufferers know all too well, can seriously affect your quality of life. Lack of sleep may jeopardize your safety or affect your levels of concentration. It can also be a contributing factor to more serious health issues such as heart disease or depression.

According to poll data, 48% of Americans report occasional insomnia while 22% experience it almost every night. Studies show that women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men, and older people suffer from it more than the younger generation. In 1997, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation calculated that lost productivity alone from insomnia topped $18 billion!

Treating Insomnia

It’s important to treat insomnia before it becomes a set pattern. Instead of opting for medication, try some natural ways to aid sleep such as:

Exercise

Exercise can be a good aid to sleep and should be done about six hours before bedtime. As well as tiring your body, exercise clears the mind and triggers a release of mood-enhancing hormones and chemicals including estrogen, dopamine and endorphins to make you feel happy and relaxed.

Yoga

Yoga can help break the cycle of stress and sleep deprivation. Practicing yoga calms the mind, relieves physical tension and helps induce sleep naturally. Some of the best poses to help you sleep better include the Easy Forward Bend position, Child’s Pose (Balasana), Legs Up the Wall or the Seated Spinal Twist.

Related:  Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Change of Diet

Eating more fruit and vegetables and consuming less sugar can be helpful to counter insomnia. Drinking less caffeine and more water can also help your body relax and sleep better.

Bedtime Routine

Establish a bedtime routine, perhaps a warm shower or bath before putting on your PJs, or sipping a milky drink and reading before turning out the light. If necessary, write down the things that are worrying you and rid them from your mind before sleep.

Breathing Exercises

There are many relaxation techniques available to listen to on CD. Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing exercises are designed to help you fall asleep and can be a useful aid to relaxation as well as countering insomnia.

It’s worth trying all these tricks to battle insomnia and find whatever helps give you a good night’s sleep, better health and an improved quality of life.

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6 Super Easy Ways to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast

by Cindy Gray

Indigestion affects most people at one time or another. It can range from mild discomfort below the ribs to severe pain that prevents you from sleeping. Understanding the cause of indigestion can be the first step in remedying this common health issue.

Indigestion is a common health issue

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion is generally caused by what you eat. Spicy foods can be hard to digest, especially late in the evening. Fatty foods laden with oil and cholesterol may also be hard for the body to digest. Overeating and excess alcohol are further common causes of indigestion. These can all cause acid reflux or GERD, when the stomach contents and pancreatic juices flow back up the esophagus causing pain, irritation, inflammation or a burning sensation.

If none of these causes apply, there is a chance that your indigestion is caused by a medical condition such as a stomach ulcer, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome or pancreatitis, so you should consult your doctor without delay.

Related:  Five Supplements that Help Heal Tissue Damage Caused by Acid Reflux

Treat Indigestion Naturally with:

  1. Fruit and Vegetables

Returning to a more wholesome diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole wheat products can quickly remedy any ongoing problems of heartburn. In particular, bananas are high in potassium which alkalizes acid. They also prompt the stomach to produce more mucus which protects the stomach lining and esophagus. Apples also create an alkaline environment, reducing indigestion and acid reflux symptoms fast.

  1. Water

Sipping warm water can calm the stomach and aid digestion, particularly if the cause is overindulgence. However, you should not drink too much water or it may make you feel bloated.

  1. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is a known digestive aid and is easily taken as peppermint tea to soothe indigestion. Immerse the peppermint tea bag in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and cool before slowly sipping this healthy remedy.

  1. Fennel Seeds

Fennel is particularly good for treating stomach upsets caused by spicy foods. Fennel neutralizes the acid and reduces nausea quickly and safely. Simply added ground roasted fennel seeds to a glass of water and drink twice a day until the indigestion has gone.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is another excellent treatment for indigestion, especially if it is caused by overeating. Ginger accelerates the digestive process by helping the digestive process juices break down the food, moving it into the intestine faster. Simply grate a little ginger root into a glass of warm water. Add a few drops of lemon juice and honey to taste, then drink it down.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a versatile home remedy for all types of ailments including indigestion. Add one tablespoon to a cup of water sweetened with a little honey. Drink 3-4 times a day to relieve persistent indigestion naturally.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so try to work out what caused your indigestion, and take steps to avoid it in the future. 

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Vitamin E is a group of eight essential fat-soluble molecules that support a strong immune system. These antioxidants are used by cells in the body to carry out essential functions. Like many essential nutrients, a vitamin E deficiency can quickly lead to serious health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body cannot produce vitamin E and must be consumed in your daily diet. Any deficiency means the body is unable to absorb healthy fats which can lead to nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, anemia and other serious issues.

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

See if you have any of the following five symptoms, which could mean you may need to increase your vitamin E intake.

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

Age spots are, as their name suggests, a natural part of aging. However, these dark freckle-like spots can be reduced by taking a 400 IU vitamin E supplement daily, and rubbing vitamin E oil on the spots before bed. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant known to aid tissue repair and slow the aging process, including the development of age spots.

Cataracts

Vitamin E deficiency can be responsible for poor vision, cataracts and retinal degeneration. If you have blurred vision or have difficulty seeing at night, a supplement will ensure that you are getting enough daily vitamin E to support and preserve your all-important eye health.

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health: Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

Lack of Sex Drive

Vitamin E is responsible for maintaining reproductive health and any deficiency can lead to miscarriages, infertility, impotence and other fertility problems. This vitamin also boosts circulatory flow to the genitalia and is important in the production of sex hormones, giving your libido a positive boost.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or celiac problems can lead to a vitamin E deficiency as insufficient amounts are absorbed during the digestive process. If you suffer from any gastrointestinal problem, it is particularly important that you take a vitamin E supplement to boost intake. 

Dry or Thinning Hair

Vitamin E ensures good circulation which is essential for a healthy head of hair. Vitamin E deficiency may cause dry brittle hair or significant hair loss. Boost your intake by eating more beans (garbanzo beans make delicious hummus), nuts, seeds and olives in order to feed the scalp, nourish the hair follicles and boost blood circulation.

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms of vitamin E deficiency, you will benefit from a diet rich in vitamin E. It helps slow the aging process, reduces cardiovascular disease and maintains youthful-looking skin. That’s three good reasons to eat a healthy diet including eggs, broccoli, breakfast cereals, vegetable oils, fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, take a daily supplement that provides 100% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin E.

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Are You Suffering from Vitamin C Deficiency?

by IVL Products

Vitamins and minerals play a significant role when it comes to obtaining adequate nutrition and staying healthy.  Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, contributes to cell growth and repair, circulation, and iron absorption.  It is also important for the production of collagen, a protein found in blood vessels, skin, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.  In most parts of the world, serious vitamin C deficiency (or scurvy) is relatively uncommon because vitamin C is found naturally in many foods and is added to other food as well.  However, smoking, excessive alcohol use, a compromised diet, or certain medical conditions can result in lowered levels of vitamin C in the body.

Foods like citrus fruits, papaya, bell peppers, and broccoli help prevent vitamin C deficiency.

According to medical center experts at the University of Maryland, vitamin C deficiency has been linked to various medical problems like atherosclerosis, certain cancers, gallbladder disease, and high blood pressure.  Animal studies also indicate that low levels of vitamin C can lead to biochemical changes in the body which affect behavior. 

A study from Vanderbilt University found that mice deprived of vitamin C showed depressive-like behavior, reduced movement and strength, and greater preference for sugar.  Behaviors returned to normal with restoration of vitamin C, with the exception of depressive-like symptoms.  

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

People with scurvy often develop anemia and swollen, bleeding gums.  Additional signs and symptoms that may indicate a vitamin C deficiency include brittle hair, easily bruised skin, and nosebleeds.

Related:  Vitamin E Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin C

Because it is water soluble, vitamin C is not stored by the body.  This means people need to get it through food or supplements.  Some excellent food sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, mangoes, papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.  Vitamin C supplements come in tablets, capsules, effervescent powders, and liquids.  People who depend on supplements for vitamin C should strive for 250-500 mg, twice a day. 

Vitamin C deficiency can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms.  Fortunately, they can be prevented with the consumption of certain foods or supplements.  People who are concerned about a vitamin C deficiency should first consult with a health care professional to rule out other possibilities. 

30-Day Vibrant Living Challenge

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5 Signs and Symptoms You May Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

Vitamin B12 is one of the B-complex vitamins that are essential for good health.  The body uses it to manufacture red blood cells, nerve cells, and DNA, and vitamin B12 is important to metabolism and cardiovascular health.  Like many other vitamins, B12 is not manufactured by the body, which means people must get it from food or supplements.  Consuming inadequate amounts of this important vitamin, or problems with its absorption, can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency, a condition that is somewhat common, especially among older people.  Read on to learn about five signs and symptoms of deficiency

Clams are just one of the many food sources that help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.

1.  Weakness

One of the first signs of vitamin B12 deficiency is body weakness, a natural consequence of reduced levels of red blood cells.  Because weakness is a symptom of a variety of physical conditions, people should consult with a medical professional to rule out possibilities.

2.  Gastrointestinal Disorders

Certain gastrointestinal disorders like colitis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut syndrome can affect absorption of vitamin B-12.  Supplements and B-12 shots can help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency in people with these conditions.

Related:  Five Simple Tips for Healthy Vision

3.  Vision Loss  

Low levels of vitamin B12 can have a negative effect on the optic nerve, but supplements can help.  A study from Japan examining 28 patients with glaucoma showed improvements with a daily dose of 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 over five years.  The participants receiving B12 experienced reduced peripheral vision loss, more stable visual acuity, and better control over eye fluid pressure than participants that did not receive vitamin B12.

4.  Shortness of Breath

Failure to absorb vitamin B12 can result in a reduction of red blood cells that can lead to a condition called pernicious anemia.  Symptoms of this condition include shortness of breath and fatigue.

5.  Memory Loss

Vitamin B12 deficiency can impact brain function, causing symptoms like disorientation, difficulty thinking, and memory loss.  Research shows supplements can help. 

A study from Australian National University found that older adults who received supplements containing vitamin B12 and folic acid over two years experienced better results on tests for short-term and long-term memory than participants who did not receive the supplements. Researchers speculated that results might be due to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to poor cognitive function.

Sources of Vitamin B12

Natural food sources of B12 all come from animal products and good options include clams, beef, turkey, oysters, chicken, trout, and salmon.  People who are vegan, vegetarian, or those with absorption issues can benefit from foods fortified with synthetic B12 or B12 supplements. 

People need vitamin B12 to stay healthy, but according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 23 percent of adults above the age of 49 have some level of deficiency.  People who are concerned about vitamin B12 deficiency should visit a medical professional for a blood test and treatment options.

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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Three Foods to Avoid for Heart Health

by Cindy Gray

Recent data from the American Heart Association reveals that one person dies every 39 seconds from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in the United States.  In addition to other healthy lifestyle strategies, diet can play a big role when it comes to heart health.  Knowing what to eat and what not to eat can help ensure the healthiest heart possible.  According to experts at Harvard University, foods to avoid for heart health include processed meats, refined grains and other processed carbohydrates, and sugary beverages. 

Because they contain nitrates, salts, and other preservatives, processed meats are one of the foods to avoid for hearth health.

1.  Processed Meats

Products like bacon, hot dogs, salami, sausage, and many sandwich meats are processed with nitrates, salts, and other preservatives.  A recent review study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that daily consumption of 50 grams of processed meats raised risks for heart attack by 42%.  Because eating unprocessed red meat showed no higher risk for heart attack, researchers attributed the higher risks for consumption of processed meats to nitrates, sodium, and preservatives rather than saturated fat and cholesterol.

2.  Refined Grains and Other Processed Carbohydrates

Many studies link the consumption of whole grains like stone ground bread and steel-cut oats to lower risks for heart disease and stroke.  Refining removes fiber, minerals, and fatty acids from grain, thereby taking away much of the nutrition.  Bread, pasta, and baked goods made from white flour are examples of refined products, as are white rice, and pearl barley.  Processing adds ingredients that harm the health like dyes, sugar, sodium, and trans fats.  Examples of processed carbohydrates include packaged baked goods, snack products, and sugary breakfast cereals.  

Related:  Antioxidants and Heart Health

3.  Sugary Beverages

According to the American Heart Association, people who get 17 to 21 percent of their daily calories from sugar raise risks for dying from cardiovascular disease by 38%, as compared to people who get 8% or less of their daily calories from sugar.

One easy way to cut back on sugar is to eliminate sugary beverages from the diet.  These include sodas, sports drinks, and even fruit juices.  While sugar-free sodas seem like a viable option, they contain chemicals that may be harmful to the health.  The best beverage choices include water, naturally-flavored water, or tea and coffee sweetened with all-natural stevia.

Diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy heart and overall health.  Knowing what foods to avoid for heart health helps ensure this life-giving organ pumps strong.   To ensure the healthiest heart possible, keep processed meats, refined grains, and sugary drinks out of the shopping cart, the refrigerator, and your body!