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The Alkaline Diet for Optimal Health

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to good health, it's all about equilibrium.  Too much acid in the body throws the pH balance out of whack and boosts vulnerability to viruses and disease.  When people eat acid-forming foods, the body releases alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorous into the bloodstream to restore pH balance.  If not available through food sources, these minerals are pulled from organs, teeth and bones, a process which compromises the health.  An alkaline diet can help. 

Fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and cucumbers make great options for an alkaline diet.

The pH balance in our blood should be slightly alkaline for good health, which can be achieved by eating more high-alkaline foods and fewer foods that produce acid.  Good alkaline diet foods include vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli and celery. For high-alkaline fruits, people often turn to red or yellow apples, avocados, grapefruit, lemons, limes, pomegranate and rhubarb. Additional alkaline-forming foods include almonds and almond milk, buckwheat, quinoa, chia seeds, herbs and herbal tea. Acid-producing foods include meats, fish, dairy products, beans, processed foods and many types of grains.

Alkaline Diet Benefits for the Health

A diet full of alkaline-rich foods offers a number of benefits to the health.

Bone Health

Maintaining a healthy pH balance can benefit bone health.  A study from the University of California showed that chronic acidosis contributes to bone loss.  Research also shows that hip fractures among middle-aged females are often linked to diets low in vegetables and high in animal products.

Related:  The Bone-Blood Connection

Muscle Mass

As people age, they lose muscle, which raises risks for falls and fractures.  Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that diets with more potassium-rich foods (like fruits and vegetables) and less acid might help prevent the loss of muscle mass in aging individuals.

Cancer

Adding high-alkaline foods to the diet can help people with cancer.  Research published in the journal Cancer shows that an alkaline diet makes some chemotherapy medicines more effective.

Adopting an alkaline diet doesn't mean eating only alkaline-rich foods.  Foods high in alkaline should make up about 60 to 80 percent of the diet, with acid-forming foods making up the remaining 20 to 40 percent.  Because pesticides are acid-forming, shoppers should purchase organic produce when possible. 

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When Shopping for Ultra-Healthy Fruits, Think "RED"

by Institute for Vibrant Living

While some people think nutritious eating means cutting back on taste, nothing could be further from the truth.  A daily diet can be both healthy and delicious with the addition of red fruit.  A few red fruits in particular offer so many nutritious benefits they have been labelled as "superfood" among health and fitness aficionados.

When shopping for the healthiest fruit, try raspberries, cherries, cranberries or strawberries.

Cranberries

Cranberries offer much more than a relish for Thanksgiving turkey.  Research shows these small, tart berries help support a healthy urinary tract by ridding it of harmful bacteria like E. coli and H pylori.  Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C, anthocyanins, catechins, ellagic acid and quercetin, compounds that may help protect the body from inflammation, premature aging and certain types of cancer.  To avoid unnecessary sugar, look for dried or canned cranberries sweetened with apple juice or purchase an all-natural cranberry juice blend for a refreshing beverage.

Related:  Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

Raspberries

Raspberries make a good snack or after-dinner dessert for people with diabetes because they don't cause spikes in blood glucose levels like sweeter types of fruit.  These juicy berries are high in vitamins A, C, and E as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that promote good eye health.

Strawberries

Rich in folate, strawberries make a great fruit for pregnant women.  Consumption of folate helps reduce chances for neural tube birth defects in newborn babies.  In addition to providing high amounts of vitamins C and K, iodine, magnesium and potassium, strawberries contain manganese, a mineral important for regulating blood sugar, metabolism and thyroid function.

Tart Cherries

While all cherries are nutritious, tart cherries offer superfood benefits.  They contain a rich supply of anthocyanins that can help reduce pain and inflammation in the body.  In fact, studies shows that tart cherries have proven to be more effective than aspirin at relieving these symptoms.  Tart cherries also contain melatonin, a compound that helps improve sleep.  According to research, drinking concentrated Montmorency tart cherry juice can increase the duration and quality of sleep.

People don't have to sacrifice taste to follow a healthy diet.  Delicious and refreshing red fruits offer a burst of flavor and powerful nutrition.  Add cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and tart cherries to your shopping cart for significant health benefits.

 

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The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to a wholesome diet, certain foods offer more health benefits than others. Dubbed "superfoods" by marketers and health enthusiasts, many contain compounds that reduce risks for certain types of disease, prevent inflammation, improve digestion, increase energy, or all of the above.  People looking for superfoods combining sweet flavor with powerful nutrition should add three fruits that start with the letter "P" to the grocery cart.

The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

1. Pineapple

Sweet, juicy pineapple is a fruit containing many health benefits.  It is a rich source of the enzyme bromelain, a multi-tasking compound that acts as a digestive aid by helping to break down proteins.  Bromelain's blood and mucus thinning properties encourage a healthier circulatory system and help relieve asthma symptoms.  Research shows that bromelain also helps with indigestion, and reduces inflammation, so it is often recommended to arthritis sufferers and to people who have just had surgery.  Pineapple also contains rich sources of fiber, vitamins B1 and C, beta-carotene and the minerals copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

RelatedEase Chronic Constipation with Two Tropical Fruits

2. Papaya

Named the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus, papaya offers a number of powerful health benefits.  It contains an enzyme called papain which also helps in the digestion of protein and helps prevent or reduce inflammation.  Papaya is also a rich source of nutrients with antioxidant properties like vitamins A and C, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid.

The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

The leaves of the papaya plant have shown remarkable effects against cancerous tumors in the laboratory including those of the breast, cervix, liver, lung and pancreas. Dr. Nam Dang from the University of Florida and his research team treated 10 different types of cancer cell cultures with varying strengths of papaya leaf extract, and within 24 hours, tumor growth slowed in all cultures.

3. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C as well as calcium and phosphorus. They also contain unique polyphenols and fatty acids that offer amazing health benefits. 

Many people label certain fruits "superfoods" due to an abundance of beneficial nutrients.

Research from the University of California found that consumption of pomegranate juice might help prevent metastasis (or spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body).  Pomegranate juice also appears to block the development of aromatase, an estrogen-producing enzyme that encourages the spread of breast cancer.

People looking for superfoods can't go wrong when they turn to the letter "P."  Pineapple, pomegranates and papaya offer an abundance of powerful nutrients and disease fighting properties.  They are delicious when eaten individually, included in a smoothie, or mixed together in a tropical fruit salad. 

 

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Green Superfoods You Should Be Eating

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Want to make your daily diet as nutritious as possible?  Try incorporating a few green superfoods into breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Asparagus, barley grass, kale and spirulina help keep bodies in tip-top health due to an abundance of vitamins, minerals and other disease-fighting ingredients. 

Green superfoods like asparagus are packed full of healthy nutrients.

1. Asparagus

People looking for tasty green superfoods should start at the beginning of the alphabet with asparagus.  It contains important nutrients like beta-carotene, folate, iron, manganese, selenium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.  Asparagus is also a rich source of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps flush toxins and free radicals from the body.  High in fiber but low in calories, asparagus makes a great food for weight loss.

2. Barley grass

The soft green shoots of the barley plant offer a host of health benefits.  With more calcium than dairy milk, more iron than spinach, and more vitamin C than orange juice, barley grass rates high on the list for healthful green superfoods.  Nutrients in barley grass include beta-carotene, chlorophyll, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E and K.  Barley grass helps neutralize heavy metals in the bloodstream, stimulates friendly bacteria in the gut, and helps maintain pH balance in the body.

3. Kale

With only 36 calories per cup and high in fiber, kale makes sense for weight loss.  In addition to containing carotenoids, flavonoids, calcium, copper, manganese, and vitamins A, C and K, kale contains isothiocyanates, chemicals that help prevent cancer by removing potential carcinogens from the body and triggering the production of tumor-suppressing proteins.

Related:  Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

4. Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is cultivated worldwide and used as both a dietary supplement and a food.  Valuable nutrients in spirulina include amino acids, beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, zinc, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).

Research shows that spirulina can help curb cravings and maintain blood sugar levels, making it a good food for people with diabetes.  Test tube and animal studies indicate spirulina may have allergy-fighting and immune-boosting properties as well as antiviral compounds that help fight herpes, influenza and HIV.  Further studies are needed to determine if these results transfer to humans.

People looking for a little extra nutrition can never go wrong with green superfoods.  Adding asparagus, barley grass, kale and spirulina to the grocery cart ensures a bevy of beneficial nutrients.  Asparagus and kale taste delicious sautéed with a little olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper, and barley grass and spirulina add a powerful nutritional punch to fruity or green smoothies.

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Kale: The King of Green Superfoods

by Institute for Vibrant Living

A trend toward health and fitness is on the upswing across the United States, which may explain the rising popularity of kale. A member of the family of cruciferous vegetables, kale offers a number of powerful benefits to the health. One cup of kale contains just 36 calories, zero fat, three grams of protein, and five grams of fiber, making it a go-to veggie for people hoping to lose a few pounds. Kale is chock full of nutrients including folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. In other words, it is a green superfood worth adding to your grocery cart.

Kale is a green superfood loaded with powerful nutrients.

Eyes, Skin, Hair and Bones

In addition to containing the many nutrients mentioned above, kale is a rich source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body converts to vitamin A as needed. Vitamin A is important to the health of body tissues, eyes, and reproductive organs, and it plays a part in the manufacture of sebum, the oil that keeps skin and hair soft and healthy. The vitamin C found in kale helps build and sustain collagen, the protein responsible for the structure of hair, skin, and bones. The calcium in kale helps maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Heart Health

Because of its rich source of potassium, kale may help promote heart health. One study found that subjects who consumed 4069 mg of potassium daily were 49 percent less likely to die from ischemic heart disease than subjects who consume potassium in an amount of 1000 mg or less per day.

Related:  Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been shown to contribute to an array of diseases. Providing the body with 10 percent of the recommended daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids, kale helps reduce inflammation in the body.

Types of Kale

Kale comes in a variety of colors and textures. Popular types of the green superfood include curly kale, lacinato (or dinosaur) kale and red Russian kale. As the name suggests, curly kale features curly edges and it ranges from light green to purple in color. Dinosaur kale has longer spear-like leaves and a dark blue-green color, and red Russian kale features large flat leaves with a shape similar to arugula and a reddish color.

Kale Preparation

Kale tastes delicious prepared hot or cold.  Sautee this green superfood with mushrooms, onions and garlic for a delicious side dish or try it raw in a green salad.  Removing the stems from kale helps eliminate bitter flavor when cooking or serving raw.

Kale Precautions

For most people, kale makes a beneficial addition to a dietary plan.  However, the vitamin K in kale can interfere with anticoagulant medicines, so people taking them should consult with their doctor before consuming kale.  Beta-blockers can raise potassium levels in the blood so people taking these may want to limit their consumption of kale due to the potassium it contains. 

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Plant-Based Is the Way to Go

by IVL Products

More and more research is showing that eating a primarily plant-based diet is crucial for good health. This is particularly apt for preserving brain health, reducing your cancer risk and preventing diabetes and heart disease.

The power of a plant-based diet proves to provide nutrients for both great health and disease prevention.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, researchers found, “Whole grains and nuts and legumes were positively associated with higher cognitive functions and may be core neuroprotective foods common to various healthy plant-centered diets around the globe.”

A November 2002 study found that a vegetarian diet confers some protection against developing cancer. Specifically, the researchers found that a vegetarian diet decreased the risk of developing a gastrointestinal cancer by 24 percent. Further analysis showed that a vegan diet was associated with a 16 percent decrease in overall risk of cancer in men and women combined, and a 34 percent decrease in the risk of female-specific cancers. The researchers also found that lacto-ovo vegetarians had a 25 percent decreased risk of developing a gastrointestinal tract cancer.

Related:  Wheatgrass:  Why They Call it a Superfood

Finally, a study published in October 2013 indicates that a low-fat, plant-based diet impacts cardiovascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. The investigators concluded, “When people move toward a low-fat, plant-based diet, HDL levels decrease while other indicators of cardiovascular risk improve.”

So in the interest of good health, try to consume more plants-based foods more frequently.  Aim for five to six servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits per day, as well as good fiber sources like flaxseed.

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Enough Fruits & Veggies: What We May Know, But Don’t Do

by IVL Products
Fruits & Veggies, How Much is Enough?

There is no question that eating fruits and vegetables is at the heart of an optimum diet. However, most (if not nearly all) of us aren’t getting anywhere near the optimum quantity of fruits and vegetables.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than one-third of Americans eat two or more fruits per day; and a mere 27 percent eat vegetables three or more times a day. That is grossly insufficient to meet our vitamin and mineral needs.

Given this, it is not only practical but critical that people use a fruit and/or vegetable supplement to fill in the nutritional gaps left by a poor diet, high stress, malabsorption issues, and other deficiency-related concerns.

Related:  Are Green Leafy Vegetables Good for Your Bones

In today’s day and age, augmenting with a supplement that fills in these gaps is not an option—it’s a necessity. By choosing a product with care and aiming for optimal levels of key nutrients, you can begin to create a habit that will support you for the rest of your life!

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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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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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Five Ways to Burn More Fat

by Health News

There are no magic ways to burn fat, although scientists are working hard to find some! In the meantime we are left with the cold hard fact – the only way to burn fat deposits is through metabolism. However, there are some ways to burn fat faster or more effectively by increasing the metabolic rate. Here are a few tips that can trick your body into burning more fat at a faster rate.

There are many different ways to burn fat besides exercise

1. Carb Cycling

Carb cycling is one of the top ways to burn fat. It involves having three low-carb days followed by two high-carb days, which provides the body with just the right amount of carbs for burning and then allows it to replenish its glycogen. On your highest day you should eat 1-1.5g carbs per pound of bodyweight, so a person weighing 200 pounds should eat:

  • Day 1   150 grams
  • Day 2   100 grams
  • Day 3   50 grams
  • Day 4   125 grams
  • Day 5   200 grams

Repeat throughout the diet to enhance the fat burning process.

2. Cardio Intervals

Intense interval training is a more effective way of burning fat than a steady jog as the body remains in the fat-burning zone, with the heart rate between 50-65%, for the intense exercise period and for up to four hours after. Interval cardio session also train the body to store more carbs as glycogen in the muscles and liver rather than as fat, providing easily accessible energy. The muscle stores raise your basal metabolic rate so that you burn more energy, even when you are not in intensive training.

Related:  A Probiotic Supplement that Prevents Fat Absorption

3. Fish Oil and Exercise

Studies focusing on omega-3 fish oil show that it can assist with weight loss. This is one of the easiest ways to burn fat simply and healthily. Results of tests published in the American Journal of Nutrition show that exercise and fish oil can each contribute to weight loss. However, when combined, the fish oil appears to increase fat metabolism and weight loss when exercise is performed. It also appears that the DHA in fish oil stops the body from converting pre-fat cells into fat.

4. Eat More Protein

Although eating protein does not burn fat, it does take more calories to digest protein than either carbohydrates or fats. Protein takes longer to digest in the stomach, making you feel full for longer, which also helps you eat less.

5. Eat More Dairy Foods

A study into dairy-rich vs. low-dairy diets showed that obese adults who ate a high-dairy diet lost more weight (and burned more fat) than those who ate the same number of calories from a low-dairy diet. Researcher Michael Zemel, PhD says, "Calcium is a critical factor in controlling what your body does with calories, and dairy is an even more critical factor. Without changing how many calories we take away, we can alter how much weight and fat you lose." These results were also confirmed by a dairy-rich diet trial by Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

So, if you are looking for ways to burn fat more effectively, try these scientifically-proven tricks.

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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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Omega 3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by Cindy Gray

We are conditioned to think that all fat is bad, especially if we are trying to lose weight. Low-fat diets have been promoted for decades as the only way to shed body fat, but now it seems that is not entirely true. A recent study by the University of South Australian found that there are definite benefits of omega 3 fish oil for weight loss when taken in conjunction with regular exercise.

Studies show the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss

Study on the Weight Loss Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil

The Australian study focused on 75 participants who were diagnosed as overweight (>25 BMI) or obese (>30 BMI) with other risk factors for metabolic syndrome. These increased risk factors included high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, hypertension and/or heightened insulin levels.

The group was divided into four different categories and each group was given either:

  • Tuna fish oil supplements (omega-3) with no exercise
  • Tuna fish oil supplements (omega-3) with exercise
  • Sunflower oil supplements (no omega-3) with no exercise
  • Sunflower oil supplements (no omega-3) with exercise

The supplements were 6 x 100 mg capsules of omega-3 fish oil or sunflower oil. The participants who included exercise in their program also completed three 45-minute runs each week at 75% of their maximum heart rate. No dietary changes were made to any of the participants’ routine.

After three weeks, members of three of the groups remained the same weight.  However, the group taking tuna fish oil supplements combined with exercise showed an average weight loss of 4.5 pounds, and a marked decrease in percentage body fat. This clearly showed the benefits of omega 3 fish oil for weight loss when combined with regular exercise.

The study concluded that if the fish oil supplements and exercise regimen were adopted by someone who was also on a calorie-controlled diet, the weight loss could be even more substantial.

Related:  Natural Weight Loss Supplement Resveratrol

How Does Omega-3 Fish Oil Benefit Weight Loss?

Omega-3 is known to improve blood flow to the muscles during exercise. It also helps trigger enzymes involved in burning or oxidizing fat when the metabolic rate increases during exercise. The combination of omega-3 and exercise prompts the body to carry fat to where the muscles can burn it as energy, thereby lowering body fat stores.

The study participants also underwent DEXA body scans which distinguish between fat, muscle and bone. Although three groups of participants remained unchanged, the group taking omega-3 with exercise showed a significant reduction of belly fat.

Those who took omega-3 fish oil without exercise still benefitted, as their blood pressure decreased during the study and there was a beneficial effect on their heart rate and triglyceride levels.

These encouraging results showing the benefits of omega 3 fish oil weight loss will now be followed up with other studies by Professor Howe, Director of the Australian Technology Network for Metabolic Fitness. In the meantime, dieters have nothing to lose but fat if they add 600 mg omega-3 fish oil and regular exercise to their weight loss plan. 

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What Can Cause Short Term Memory Loss?

by Health News

It is easy to take memory for granted…until it fails.  While some people can't remember where they put their car keys, others have trouble recalling a name minutes after it has been given.  Fortunately, short-term memory loss is common and usually not serious.  Learning more about the causes and remedies of this type of memory loss can help prevent it from occurring in the future. 

Short-term memory loss can be scary, but it is often a normal byproduct of aging.

Causes of Short-term Memory Loss

When oxygen to the brain is reduced, it can cause short-term memory loss.  A number of medical conditions and other influences can also impair short-term memory include epilepsy, seizures, after-effects of heart bypass surgery, alcohol and drug use, concussion, depression, and dementia.  Some victims of violent crimes or accidents, or people who have witnessed them, can also suffer from problems with short-term memory.

Short-term Memory vs. Long-term Memory

Recent experiences and sensory information like sights, sounds, and tastes are stored in short-term memory, which is also called working or active memory.  According to data from the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University, the brain can store up to nine pieces of information in short-term memory for as little as 30 seconds or as long as several days. 

Located at the front of the brain, the central executive area of the pre-frontal cortex appears to play a key role in the workings of short-term memory.  Long-term memory has a much greater capacity and stores significant or learned information like meaningful experiences or studied facts.  This data goes to the hippocampus area of the brain before being sent to and permanently stored in areas in the cerebral cortex responsible for language and perception.  

Related:  How to Improve Your Memory: Top 8 Tips to Boost Brainpower

Diagnosing Short-Term Memory Loss

When making a diagnosis regarding memory, a doctor generally takes a medical history and may ask a few memory-related questions.  They may also order blood tests to check for conditions like thyroid disease or vitamin B-12 deficiency and ask patients to participate in cognitive testing.  Additional tests may include an MRI, CT scan, EEG, or cerebral angiography to determine levels of blood flow to the brain.  Doctors who suspect psychological trauma as a cause for memory loss may consult with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

Developing Better Short-term Memory

Often, short-term memory loss is a normal byproduct of aging.  A few tips and tricks can help aging individuals develop better short-term memory or maintain the memory they currently have.  One good way to test and develop short-term memory is to have a friend or relative place 10-15 objects on a table.  Then, take 30 seconds to memorize the objects before they are removed, and list the items on paper from memory.  The use of mnemonics (attaching memorable words, phrases, or images) also makes a great way to remember facts, objects, or names.

Conclusion

Forgetting why you walked into a room can be scary, but people shouldn't panic when short-term memory fails, especially after middle age.  Scheduling an appointment with a health care provider can help dispel fears.  People looking to improve memory can take advantage of a few tips and tricks and engage in brain-boosting activities like Soduko, crossword puzzles, and reading.

 

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Five Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads and Your Health

by Health News

Seeds have a lot to offer. In this article, we are going to look at the five best seeds for health. Anyone looking to boost their overall health and nutrition levels will find that seeds are one of the top options. While it is true that nuts and seeds are high in calories, it is also true that nuts and seeds provide you with a lot of nutritional bang for your buck. 

Pumpkin seeds are among the best seeds for health

Seeds are not just loaded with protein, but also with healthy fiber and plenty of vitamins, minerals, heart and brain health boosting omega fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, as well as antioxidants. They possess disease fighting properties. In short, seeds are packed!

Finding the Best Seeds for Health: Pick Chia

The best seeds for health provide you with nutrition, long lasting energy and, of course, plenty of protein. Chia seeds have become popular and for good reason. Chia seeds are packed with nutrition like all the other seeds on our list, but unlike many other seeds, chia seeds are often well tolerated by those who have nut and seed allergies. In a rather amazing trick, high-protein chia seeds expand considerably when soaked in water or after being consumed, which help them make you feel full. If you are looking to lose weight or control your appetite, then you should certainly consider chia seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Hemp

Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse. Hemp is high in omega-3 fatty acids and an array of minerals such as magnesium and iron. Combine these facts with hemp’s high protein and fiber levels and you have one of the world’s greatest seeds.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Pumpkin

When you are looking to boost mineral levels, it is tough to top pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds, like the other super seeds on our list, are high in heart and brain health boosting omegas and mineral dense. In fact, pumpkin seeds have high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. If you want to boost your immune system, then pumpkin seeds are a savvy pick as zinc has been shown in studies to help boost immunity! Having trouble sleeping? If so then you definitely want to check out pumpkin seeds, as pumpkin seeds have plenty of the amino acid tryptophan. Your body can convert tryptophan into melatonin, which is a hormone linked with great sleep.

Related:  Sleep Deprivation: Is It Dangerous to Your Health?

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Flax

Flax makes our super seed list, thanks in part to its very high omega 3 levels. All the seeds on our list have omega 3, but flax is an omega 3 super star! Since omega 3 can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, you’ll find this seed particularly helpful when recovering from an injury. It is a good idea to consume flax seeds in moderation due to their high phytoestrogen levels; this is particularly true for men.

Finding the Best Seeds for Health Pick Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds taste great, and like our other seed picks, they are nutrient, omega and protein dense. Perhaps the single greatest reason to select sunflower seeds is that they are high in many B vitamins as well as vitamin E and zinc, which of course helps boost the immune system. Sunflower seeds are a winner.

Together these five seeds can help you boost your health, your immunity and maybe even help you get more sleep. Best of all, these tasty seeds can easily be worked into salads, shakes, smoothies and more!

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

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Three Protein Packed Breakfasts

by Cindy Gray

Starting the day off with a protein rich breakfast has significant benefits. If you want your body and mind to perform their best, then the right nutrition is a must. Proper levels of protein are an essential way to boost your energy level, help your brain function and rebuild. In this article, we’ll look at three protein rich breakfasts that are fast, easy and, of course, packed with plenty of protein.

Example of a protein rich breakfast

Protein Rich Breakfast #1-High Protein Pancakes

High protein pancake mixes and recipes are fast and a great way to start off the day. Protein powder can be added to many recipes and that means an instant protein pump. Oats and eggs are staple ingredients in high protein pancakes as well as egg whites, pea protein powder, almond butter and other options. Adding chia seeds and Greek yogurt are two easy ways to boost the protein in your pancakes to a new level.

Related:  How Breakfast Can Naturally Boost Your Energy

If you are looking for variety, consider sweet potato pancakes, peanut butter or other nut or seed butters, such as walnut butter or pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed butters. In this way, you’ll get tons of protein as well as vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. The idea that a nutrient packed, protein packed breakfast must be a tough one to make is simply not true.

Protein Rich Breakfast #2-Oats, Milk and Berries

Can it really be that simple? Oats, milk and berries for a nutrient and protein packed breakfast? Oats have a lot going for them as they are easy to digest, packed with nutrition and are a source of low calorie protein and fiber. One of the best reasons to opt for oats in the morning is that oats leaves you filling full longer. You digest them slowly, which makes them great for dieters. Also, the addition of milk helps to add yet more protein. Berries, both fresh and frozen, are a way to boost the antioxidant and nutrition levels of your breakfast. A small serving of strawberries, for example, can provide nearly 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Protein Rich Breakfast #3-Omelets

When it comes to protein packed breakfasts it is tough to top what omelets have to offer. Eggs are more than just a source of protein, as they contain vitamins and minerals necessary for brain function, such as the all-important choline. Eggs are a complete protein and are high in many B vitamins including B12, B1, B2 and more. The seemingly simple egg is also a rich source of vitamins A and D as well as a range of minerals including calcium, iron, phosphorus and immune boosting zinc. It is no overstatement to conclude that eggs are nutrient dense. When selecting eggs for your omelet, it is best to opt for eggs that come from free-range hens.

Another key benefit of omelets is that they provide variety. You can easily incorporate other nutritious foods ranging from kale to mushrooms, peppers, garlic and onions into one super-nutrient dense meal.

If you are looking for easy and fast, nutrient and protein packed breakfast options, then these three options have you covered. A protein packed breakfast will help you stay full until lunch time and help you think more clearly during those early morning hours.

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Omega-3 Fish Oil for Weight Loss

by IVL Products

Many people understand how omega-3 fish oil can be great for healthy joints and skin, but there are also many benefits of omega-3 fish oil for weight loss.

Discover the benefits of omega-3 fish oil for weight loss

A study at the University of South Australia on 75 overweight individuals with a high risk of cardiovascular disease divided the participants into four groups.

  • Group one received doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements from tuna and did no exercise
  • Group two received doses of omega-3 fish oil supplements from tuna and ran for 45-minutes three times a week
  • Group three received doses of sunflower oil (without any omega-3) and did no exercise
  • Group four received doses of sunflower oil supplements and ran for 45-minutes three times a week.

After three weeks, tests showed that little had changed in three groups, but the group that took fish oil and exercised showed a decrease in body fat and lost an average 4.5 pounds. This is great news for dieters, showing the definite benefits of omega-3 fish oil for weight loss in conjunction with exercise.

Why Do Omega-3 Fish Oils and Exercise Promote Weight Loss?

It seems paradoxical that eating fatty oils can actual help you burn body fat and shed unwanted pounds, but this is what many other studies have also shown.

This anomaly works because taking omega-3 fish oil supplements increases the body’s metabolism by activating fat-burning enzymes, particularly around the belly.

In another study, researchers gave one group of people eight capsules of fish oil supplements; two at breakfast, three at lunchtime and three in the evening. The second group was given a placebo. Both groups were given exactly the same amount of food and exercise. Those who took the omega-3 fish oils lost an average of two pounds compared to the placebo group which lost on average 0.7 pounds. In addition, the omega-3 group burned 1,775 calories per day compared to 1,710 calories by the placebo group. This clearly shows that taking fish oil supplements in conjunction with exercise can burn calories as part of a calorie-controlled weight-loss diet. 

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Healthy Snacks for the Office

by IVL Products

Working in an office job can be sedentary, often with little chance for exercise.  This can quickly lead to excess weight and obesity. If you are trying to lose weight, going without food is a sure way to fail. Rather than having a stash of candy bars in your office drawer or succumbing to a donut, try having a few healthy office snacks on hand to help with appetite control and prevent boredom eating. Here are a few ideas to tempt you!

Healthy office snacks don’t have to be dry and boring!

Almonds

Almonds are a good choice for nibbling. Low in carbohydrates, they curb the appetite and satisfy hunger for longer. A study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who enjoyed 1.5 ounces of almonds daily as a healthy office snack did not put on weight. The almonds made people less hungry, so they consequently ate less at meal times, compensating for the additional 250 calories consumed in the almonds.

Related:  Satisfying Snacks for the Weight Conscious

Bananas

Fruit is always a good solution if you are looking for healthy office snacks without high calories. A large banana is around 120 calories. It is full of fiber, which helps you feel satiated for longer. 

Instant oatmeal

If you crave something warm and hearty, instant oatmeal is just 110 calories per serving. All you need is hot water.  Choose plain and add your own toppings.  You have plenty of calories left to add a mini box of raisins (42 calories), a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg (zero calories), an ounce of blueberries (16 calories), or a handful of strawberries (4 calories each).

Veggies with Ranch

Carrot and celery sticks are healthy office snacks that are easy to prepare and transport; or buy them ready prepared from the supermarket.  Add a small cup of ranch or blue cheese dressing as a dip. For variety, slice strips of sweet peppers, broccoli and cauliflower florets for a colorful crunchy treat.

Pita chips and salsa

Make homemade salsa for a healthy office snack that’s big enough to share!

Mix together:

  • One large can chopped tomatoes with chilies
  • One chopped onion
  • One can of sweetcorn (rinsed and drained)
  • One can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tablespoons low fat Italian dressing.

Stir and serve with low fat pita chips or tortillas. Yum!

Now there’s no excuse not to enjoy healthy office snacks and still maintain your recommended body weight.  

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Top 3 Causes of Low Energy

by Cindy Gray

If you suffer from tiredness and an ongoing lack of energy, the root cause could be far simpler than you might imagine. Energy comes from our diet and, not surprisingly, the main causes of low energy involve what we eat and drink. 

Lack of energy may have a simple dietary cause

Lack of Energy from Too Much Caffeine

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant, that’s why we take it when we need to concentrate or to stay awake while studying. Stimulants, as their name suggests, stimulate the body to release energy. However, each energy high is followed by an energy low which usually prompts us to pour another strong cup of coffee. This ongoing cycle swings from a short-term energy spurt to a complete lack of energy, making us more and more caffeine dependent.

This cycle builds up to cause Adrenal Fatigue when your adrenals finally tire of responding to the stimulants which trigger the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. After constantly reacting to caffeine, the adrenals are weakened and become less able to respond.

A study showed this clearly when participants were given 300 mg, 600 mg of caffeine or a placebo daily for five days. On the sixth day, the participants were given caffeine and then measured for their cortisol response. Those who had previously been given caffeine saw no cortisol response while those who had taken the placebo saw a large spike in cortisol production. 

The only way to treat the problem and cure your lack of energy is to avoid caffeine altogether.

Too Many Comfort Carbs

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for all the body’s functions. Understanding how carbs work helps us appreciate why eating too much sugar and simple carbohydrates can actually cause fatigue and lack of energy.

When we eat simple carbs such as a sweet snack, the body converts it easily into glucose for instant energy. However, if we eat complex carbs such as brown rice, beans and whole grains, the breakdown into energy is a long, slow process.

In the same way as caffeine can trigger a spike of energy followed by a crash of fatigue, too many simple carbs may actually cause a lack of energy after a sugar spike.  Try switching to snacks containing complex carbs such as cereal bars, nuts and fruit for a steady energy supply throughout the day.

Related:  Four Healthy Carbs You Should Consider Adding to Your Diet

Lack of Energy from Too Little Protein

Although protein is not a primary source of energy, it is responsible for producing enzymes to digest food and activate metabolism. If caffeine and sugar are not the culprits for your lack of energy, try eating more protein. You’ll feel fuller for longer, and your body should be better able to convert food into a steady stream of long-lasting energy.

If you continue to suffer from fatigue, you should consult your doctor and check whether your lack of energy is a medical rather than a dietary problem. 30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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Diseases Caused by Poor Diet and How to Prevent Them

by Cindy Gray

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of Americans who follow federal nutrition recommendations when it comes to their daily diet amounts to a mere 10 percent.  Most Americans consume too much sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats; and too little fruits, vegetables, and fiber.  Over time, eating this way can take a toll on the body.  The number of health conditions and diseases caused by poor diet are many.  Armed with a little knowledge, people can get back on the road to better health and more nutritious eating. 

Diseases caused by poor diet can be prevented by limiting consumption of unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium.

Health Conditions and Diseases Caused by Poor Diet

It's easy to ignore the consequences of eating unhealthy foods because they often taste so good.  Unfortunately, if consumed regularly over time, they can wreak havoc on the body.  The list of health conditions and diseases caused by poor diet includes:

  • Anemia
  • Certain cancers
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Gallstones
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Stroke
  • Tooth decay
  • Type-2 diabetes

Six Tips for Better Nutrition

A few tips help ensure better nutrition and reduce chances for developing diseases caused by poor diet:

1.  Choose a variety of healthy foods from among the available food groups, which include fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy products.  Allow fruits and vegetables to fill half of the plate.

2.  Substitute sugary drinks or fruit juices with stevia-sweetened beverages, herbal tea, or water.

3.  Read labels to determine amounts of saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium in packaged products.  Remember that sugar can be disguised as any type of corn syrup, molasses, honey, agave, or any ingredient ending with –ose or –ase.

4.  Replace chips, candy, and baked products with healthy snack options.  These might include plain Greek yogurt flavored with fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, whole-grain crackers and peanut butter, cut veggies and hummus, or a handful of nuts. 

5.  Find out what your calorie intake should be for your height, weight, age, and gender, and limit daily calories to that amount.

Related:   Video Blog:  What Causes Obesity?

6.  Check out a few DVDs that bring added perspective to the importance of good nutritionFed Up is a documentary that explores the connection between high-sugar diets and poor health as evidenced by true and heart-breaking stories. Super-Size Me follows filmmaker Morgan Spurlock as he eats nothing but McDonald's fast food for 30 days. Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead chronicles a man's attempt to undo damage done to his body through an unhealthy diet.  Hungry for Change investigates the food industry and unearths the secret ways it keeps people fat and unhealthy. 

Even though it tastes good, the consequences of a poor diet can be devastating.  Becoming better informed and making a few simple changes can help to ensure optimal nutrition and better mental and physical health.