Stop Eating These Toxic Foods Right Now. –

Stop Eating These Toxic Foods Right Now. -

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There are the foods that nutrionists eat every day. Then there are the foods a nutrionist always keeps in the fridge. And then, there are the foods a nutritionist wishes you would never, ever eat again. Before you head to the grocery store for your next food shopping trip, here are the seven worst offenders.

1. Cauliflower Rice

It may be healthy, but nutritionist Rebecca Scritchfield, author of Body Kindness, just can’t get behind this cruciferous craze. “I’ve tried a few of the frozen bags of cauliflower rice and it really didn’t taste that good. Rice is delicious and it has a purpose (even white rice, though brown has a smidge more fiber, vitamins, and minerals),” she says. “Now, I’m all about enjoying cauliflower the ways that taste the best and making room on my plate for rice.” Hallelujah! But if cauliflower isn’t typically for you and the rice is your gateway to slipping more veggies into your diet, by all means, go ahead.

2. Shelf-Stable Salad Dressing

“So you’re eating more salad. Good for you! But that dressing you bought that’s been sitting on a grocery store shelf for months isn’t doing you any favors,” offers nutritionist Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition. “It’s usually made with low-quality oils and loaded with preservatives you don’t need.” Pro-tip:If you don’t have time to make your own dressing, grab refrigerated salad dressings at the store; they may be a touch pricier, but typically have fewer preservatives.

3. Tomato Sauce

These jars are more of a healthy eating foe than friend. In addition to high sodium levels and additives, “[they] frequently have a lot of sugar in them,” notes Hillary Goldrich, a Nashville-based nutritionist. “It’s just as easy to open a can of crushed tomatoes into a pan with olive oil and garlic. Add some basil (dried or fresh) and simmer for the time it takes to cook your pasta.”

4. Bulletproof Coffee

It may get a lot of buzz, but nutritionists would smartly advise you to step away from this health halo gimmick, made from coffee, coconut oil, and butter or ghee. “The strongest case for drinking the calorie-laden stuff is if and only if you enjoy the taste,” says nutritionist Maggie Moon, author of The MIND Diet. Even so, it’s best to nix this concoction from your diet and a find a less caloric swap in its place, like heated almond milk with cinnamon and a touch of vanilla extract.

5. Granola

You swear your fit hiking guide cousin lives on the stuff. But….many store-bought varieties are actually filled with salt and sugar. “Granola is often considered a healthy cereal or addition to yogurt in a parfait,” shares Goldrich. “Typically they are high in calories for a small serving-size and have less fiber and more sugar than many other options.” To keep calories and sugar in check, make your own, or carefully scan labels for added sugars beyond those naturally occurring in fruits.

6. Spray Butter

“Deep in my dieting days butter was not allowed, but the chemically-tasting spray butter was OK,” recalls Scritchfield. “This mistake ended up making me regret eating broccoli because it didn’t taste as good as when I use real butter and little salt and pepper.” Better yet, swap in nutritious olive oil when sautéeing or drizzled over your veggies. We hear Costco’s massive jug of extra virgin olive oil retails for about 28 cents a serving.

7. Beef from Factory Farms

“The average American diet is higher in meat than we need for optimum functioning—contributing to food-related health diseases. We should be reducing our meat intake, and the first place to start is by removing the lower quality of factory farmed beef,” notes Rebecca Lewis, nutritionist for HelloFresh. “Factory-farmed cattle typically are fed a grain-based diet and are given growth hormones to make them grow faster.” Instead, opt for sustainable sources of beef that feed mainly on grass, which will give you more essential omega-3 fatty acids.



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The BEST Foods For Fighting Inflammation –

The BEST Foods For Fighting Inflammation -

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The following story is excerpted from TIME’s special edition, 100 Most Healing Foods, which is available in stores, at the Meredith Shop and at Amazon.

Inflammation is our body’s healthy response to fighting disease. But when it gets out of hand, inflammation can become chronic and lead to a whole host of health problems, from autoimmune diseases to cancer. Foods high in sugar and saturated fat are thought to contribute to inflammation, which is why some people who have inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders try out low-sugar diets. On the flip side, there are also foods to pile onto your plate that may actually tamp down inflammation. Read on for the latest science on anti-inflammatory options, plus how to enjoy these picks.

Bell peppers

How to eat them: Chop up bell peppers and serve them with hummus or drizzled with a little red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Why they’re good for you: Bell peppers—especially the bright-red ones—are high in antioxidants and low in starch. Similar to spicy peppers, sweet bell peppers contain the chemical compound capsaicin, which is known to help reduce inflammation and potentially even pain.

Pears

How to eat them: Slice up pears and add them to a salad with walnuts and a soft cheese.

Why they’re good for you: If you’re concerned about inflammation (say, if you have arthritis or diabetes), eating high-fiber foods like pears is a natural way to fight the problem. Fiber-rich diets contribute to a healthy microbiome and promote satiety—helpful when trying to lose weight.

Mackerel

How to eat it: This fish is a Mediterranean staple. Roast a fillet of mackerel (or the whole fish if you’re adventurous) with a generous helping of herbs, olive oil and lemon.

Why it’s good for you: The high fat in mackerel helps fight diseases characterized by high inflammation, like heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Mackerel is also a source of vitamins B12 and D, the latter of which can be hard to find naturally in foods. Vitamin D is important for maintaining strong bones and immune-system function, as well as helping the body absorb calcium.

Spinach

How to eat it: Make a spinach salad with a high-fat food like avocado in order to take full advantage of the veggie’s nutrients.

Why it’s good for you: Spinach deserves its reputation as a power food. It is a good source of vitamin E, which may help protect the body from inflammation-causing molecules called cytokines. The dark color lets you know that it is nutrient- dense, like other leafy greens.

Black tea

How to drink it: Black tea tastes great on its own as well as with a bit of milk and honey, or you can add some lemon and pomegranate juice for a refreshing beverage.

Why it’s good for you: Green tea usually gets all the attention, but black tea (which comes from the same plant) also has benefits. Drinking black tea may help keep arteries open, and it contains antioxidants that are known to protect cells from damage. One study linked black tea to a substantially lower risk of ovarian cancer.

Buckwheat

How to eat it: Buckwheat is used to make soba noodles, which you can get in grocery stores and use in soups. You can also buy the grain on its own and eat it in place of rice.

Why it’s good for you: Eating grains may reduce blood levels of a marker for inflammation called C-reactive protein. Buckwheat is also gluten-free, making it a safe option for people with celiac disease (double-check labels, though).

Pomegranate seeds

How to eat them: Many grocery stores sell prepackaged pomegranate seeds, but if you want to start with the full fruit, cut it in half and spoon the seeds into a bowl to munch on or add to salads.

Why they’re good for you: Pomegranate seeds are a good source of antioxidants that can lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, experts think that a compound in them called punicalagin targets inflammation in the brain, which could help slow the progression of brain-related decline.



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What YOU Want To Know About Mucus

What YOU Want To Know About Mucus

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Your body makes mucus all the time–and not just in your nose. Throughout the body, mucous membranes make roughly a quart of the stuff each day. Chances are you rarely think twice about all that goo until you catch a cold. That’s when nasal mucus secretions really ramp up, making your nose run like a faucet or causing thick congestion.

Annoying? You know it! But mucus is simply doing its job: defending, protecting, and cleansing your nasal passageways and keeping those delicate tissues moist, says Thomas Welch, MD, chief medical officer of Mercy Health in Toledo, Ohio. Here’s what you should know about all that snot.

What is mucus anyway?

Mucus is a slippery liquid containing water, proteins, and salt. Sugar-containing proteins (or glycoproteins) called mucins give mucus its gelatinous consistency. Discarded infection-fighting white blood cells plus other debris picked up in the nasal passageways often catch a ride in the mucus too.

Boogers are just dried up mucus (and other particles, like dirt, dust, and pollen). Post-nasal drip is mucus that runs down the back of the throat.

Where does mucus come from?

Your body is a mucus-making machine. Special cells and glands found in the thin lining (called the mucosa or mucous membrane) of body cavities and passageways leading out of the body regularly produce the slippery stuff.

You probably already know that mucus-secreting tissue can be found in the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. But it’s also in our eyes, ears, GI tract, and reproductive and urinary organs.

Why do we make mucus?

Think of mucus in the respiratory system as “a film that protects the important parts of the inner nose and lungs,” says allergist and internist Tania Elliott, MD, chief medical officer at EHE, a New York City-based healthcare company specializing in preventive medicine. It keeps nasal passages (and lungs) well moisturized. “We don’t want those things dried out!” she says.

When a cold virus enters your nose, mucus production goes into overdrive, Dr. Welch explains. “It’s a reaction of the body against viruses, bacteria, or even particles of dust,” he says. It prevents those irritants from burrowing deeper into the lungs. Then, the tiny hairs in the respiratory tract called cilia help to sweep up the infected mucus like little brooms, says Dr. Elliott, so we can cough or blow it out.

Why does mucus get thicker when we’re sick?

Sometimes mucus gets thicker when we’re fighting off an infection. But it can also be thin and runny. It all depends on the type of virus or irritant activating the body’s mucus-producing tissues, explains Chandra Ivey, MD, a private-practice laryngologist and assistant clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Smokers, for example, tend to have more mucus and thicker mucus, she says. In the case of a cold, a thicker wall of mucus can serve as a barrier preventing other viruses, bacteria, or irritating particles from entering the nasal membranes, she says.

Mucus can also get thicker if you’re taking certain medications that dehydrate your body, she adds. That’s another good reason to get extra liquids when you’re sick.

Why does mucus make it hard to breathe?

Stuffy nose? It’s usually the swollen mucosa–the mucus-generating tissue that lines your nose–that’s blocking your nasal passageways, not the mucus itself, Dr. Ivey says.

Other times, mucus can get thick like sludge, blocking the sinus cavities and preventing proper drainage, adds Dr. Elliott. “This leads to increased pain and pressure.”

What does a change in color mean?

Mucus is generally clear. If you have a cold, it can turn white or even yellow (especially if you’re dehydrated). A greenish hue may signal the presence of a greater number of infection-fighting white blood cells. But doctors say color alone isn’t a great indicator of a bacterial infection.

“It can turn yellow or green even with a virus,” notes Dr. Welch, who cautions against rushing to your doctor and begging for antibiotics. The vast majority of colds are viral, not bacterial. Antibiotics don’t fight viruses, and their misuse can lead to the development of new strains of bacteria that resist these medicines, he says.

A cold generally runs its course in a week, more or less. If you spike a fever, develop a cough, or have other signs that your condition is worsening, that’s when it’s time to call your doctor.

Do antihistamines or decongestants actually help?

These medicines are available over the counter in the form of pills, liquids, and nasal sprays. And while they may help ease cold symptoms, using them too often can make them less effective over time.

Antihistamines block inflammation, so there’s less tissue swelling and, in theory, less mucus production, Dr. Ivey says. Decongestants improve your breathing by constricting blood vessels in the area.

How does drinking extra fluids help?

Mom was right: You should feed your cold with plenty of liquids. Staying well hydrated can help thin out mucus so that it’s easier to expel.

But a lot of cough and cold medicines can be very drying, Dr. Elliott says. What’s more, when you’re sick and don’t feel like eating, your water intake naturally decreases. If you have a fever, you’re also losing fluid by sweating. Replenishing fluids is key, she says, to feeling better.

What else can I do to get rid of excess mucus?

Honey is a good mucus thinner, Dr. Ivey says. If you’re coughing up phlegm, try stirring some honey into a mug of tea. “It wraps around the little particles in the mucus and helps your body clear it,” she says.

Using a nasal irrigation device, like a neti pot, can help move mucus out of your nasal passages. “It washes it through,” Dr. Welch says.

As for medications, look for expectorants containing the active ingredient guaifenesin, which can bust up thick mucus, he says.

Dr. Elliott recommends adding eucalyptus to hot water and breathing in the humidified air or eating spicy foods. Both can naturally break up a stuffy nose.



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Do I Need It? –

Do I Need It? -

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Ketopaleogluten-free. There’s always an “it” diet that pops up every year, sporting an extensive list of can and can’t-eat foods that makes grocery shopping a minefield.

In his book, The Plant Paradox, Steven Gundry, M.D., a cardiologist and heart surgeon based in Southern California, claims that any food with the plant protein lectin is your worst enemy when it comes to weight loss.

But here’s the thing about lectins: They’re found in foods you’ve always thought good for you—like whole grains, squash, tomatoes, beans, nuts, and a lot of animal proteins. And that’s just the short list.

Gundry claims that humans weren’t intended to eat foods containing lectins and that eliminating those foods can decrease inflammation, boost weight loss, and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle. But is this really legit? We talked to Gundry and a few experts to find out.

So, what are lectins?

Lectins are proteins naturally found in many foods, especially grains and beans. They like to bind to carbohydrates, which can help cells interact and communicate with each other.

In plants, lectins play defense.They’re how plants protect themselves against being eaten. By making insects and animals feel sick to their stomach, lectins discourage them from eating lectin-filled plants again.

In humans, Gundry says that eating lectins provokes an inflammatory response—which can lead to weight gain and other serious health conditions, such as leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What is the lectin-free diet?

“The lectin-free diet takes out high lectin foods like grains, quinoa, legumes, and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant,” says registered dietitian Amy Goodson.

Also on the do-not-eat list: dairy, out-of-season fruit, and conventionally-raised meat and poultry. Womp, womp.

Instead, the diet suggests you load your plate with low-lectin foods like leafy greens, veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, millet, pasture-raised meats, and wild-caught fish.

Can it actually help you lose weight?

Gundry says that he’s personally lost 70 pounds on a lectin-free diet, and that he’s put many of his patients on this plan as well. “The amazing thing is when people change nothing except removing major lectins, they start losing weight and they still are eating lots of calories, but we’re not storing it as fat anymore,” Gundry says.

He also cites a 2006 study that indicates that a lectin-free diet can have a positive effect on people with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions indicated by increased blood pressure, high blood-sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels).

However, other experts are skeptical about how effective it is. “Anytime a diet starts to take out a massive amount of food groups, it’s a little more faddish by nature,” says Goodson. “The benefits of eating whole grains and vegetables, which provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, significantly outweigh the risk that a small amount of lectin will cause GI issues.”

Plus, most foods with lectins can be super beneficial for weight loss, says Samantha Cassetty, R.D. For example, one 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked whole grains with weight loss. And another study published in the same journal found that people who consumed pulses over a six-week period (a.k.a. beans, lentils, chickpeas) lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t consume any pulses.

However, Leah Kaufman, R.D., has seen weight-loss success in patients with IBS through eliminating certain lectin-containing foods via a low FODMAP diet, which cuts out foods like beans and starchy vegetables.

Goodson does admit that lectins can be troublesome in high quantities, or when you eat lectin-rich foods raw. “But I don’t know who eats chickpeas or quinoa raw,” she says. In fact, simply soaking beans and grains overnight and cooking them reduces the amount of lectins that can cause GI distress. Peeling and de-seeding nightshades can help too.

Plus, there are many different types of lectins. Some are anti-microbial and may have anti-cancer potential (woot!), while other lectins aren’t so good for you. But research is a little iffy on both sides. “The majority of research [on lectins] have been animal and in vitro studies, not studies in humans,” says Goodson. So take the findings with a grain of salt.

Should you ditch lectin?

While going lectin-free may help some people, it likely won’t solve everyone’s stomach issues. “It’s not one of those things that should be applied globally,” says Goodson. “If you’re having serious issues, talk to your doctor or see a registered dietitian.”

Plus, only 10 percent of Americans get the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, says Goodson, so we should eat more, not less produce. “If you look at the benefits of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for heart health and lowering disease risk, I’m going to argue that a little bit of fruit and vegetables are going to help people versus harm them,” says Goodson.

LIMIT THE INTAKE OF THE LECTIN-RICH FOODS

1. Beans & Legumes – Beans carry more lectins than any other food. Do your best to limit beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes or cook them in a pressure cooker. Also, some legumes hide as nuts – so it’s best to cut out peanuts and cashews as well.

2. Grains – For the most part, grains are a relatively new food to us. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t search for grains. Plus, most grains are lectin bombs, as well as gluten-free grain substitutes. It’s best to limit grain intake. If you must, eat white flour over wheat.

3. Squash – An easy rule to remember is that any vegetable with seeds is actually considered a fruit. Such is the case with squash, pumpkins, and zucchini. The seeds and peels of these foods are full of lectins. If you MUST eat squash, make sure to toss the peels and seeds aside.

4. Nightshades – Nightshades are vegetables that include eggplant, any kind of pepper, potatoes, and tomatoes. The peels and the seeds of these plants contain loads of lectins, too. Make sure to peel and deseed them or pressure cook or ferment them. All these techniques reduce the amount of lectins.

5. In-Season Fruit – Again, it’s nature’s candy, so you’ll want to limit the quantity you eat, but when it’s in season, fruit is okay to add to your diet.



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Exotic Superfood Swap! –

Exotic Superfood Swap! -

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It’s probably impossible to count all the times you’ve run across an article or study featuring this or that “superfood” found only on some exotic island or in the wilds of China. Information about many superfoods is everywhere, and while they’re interesting and their nutritional profiles may be impressive, aren’t there any superfoods near where you live? How odd is it that everything that seems to be the best at aiding weight loss, preventing cancer and boosting brain power comes from halfway around the world?

Every state in America has a list of native foods offering impressive vitamins, minerals and other elements essential for health, so wherever you live, there are local foods you may not have thought of to augment your health. Below are five local-for-exotic superfood swaps that not only may surprise you, but will get your culinary juices flowing.

Super Swap: Lemon Balm for Cacao

Not many would think these two could be interchanged, and maybe the flavors aren’t so similar, but the effects they provide seem to be. If you’re a chocolate lover, you know one of the reasons people crave it: It’s soothing and even somewhat stress relieving. Comparatively, lemon balm — emphasis on “balm” — does what it’s said to do, lifting your spirits but without the stimulation from caffeine.

Native to the eastern Mediterranean and West Asia, Melissa officinalis, like so many other herbs, has been used for centuries as a therapeutic remedy due to its antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic and antidepressant compounds. Its modus operandi, according to Natural Living Ideas,1 includes stress relief, relief of pain from indigestion and improving your appetite.

Another use for lemon balm is to promote sleep. You can chop the leaves and steep them in boiling water to make a tea or rub a few leaves on your skin to allow the natural oils to seep into your bloodstream, which helps you relax. In fact, a University of Maryland study found that 81 percent of the participants who used lemon balm with valerian root got a better night’s sleep than those on a placebo.2

And a Northumbria University study reported that experiments with lemon balm returned memory-strengthening and improved problem-solving abilities when they took capsules filled with the dried herb. The subjects also performed “significantly” better when taking standardized computer tests on memory in comparison with those given a placebo.3

One of the great things about lemon balm, a perennial herb and member of the mint family, is how easy it is to grow, particularly in the spring. It can be sown from seed, or you can buy a small plant from a farmers market or nursery, and you’ll be amazed how quickly it grows and spreads.

Acai Berries Can Be Swapped for Blueberries

Acai berries (pronounced ah-sah-EE), a sort of cross between a grape and a blueberry, look very much like the latter and, oddly, taste a little like a berry dipped in chocolate. They’ve been used in traditional medicine to treat infections from parasites, ulcers, hemorrhaging, ulcers and diarrhea. Acai berries come from the Amazon region. Besides the berries themselves, the juice and pulp are commonly added to teas, fruit drinks, fruit bars and other products geared toward health and vitality.

Nutritionally, these little berries contain high levels of antioxidants, flavonoids and anthocyanins. But as beneficial as acai berries are, their nutritional profile is very comparable to that of blueberries, grown on both U.S. coasts and all over the heartland. The two types of blueberries are differentiated as highbush and lowbush, the latter being the wild variety and higher in anthocyanins. According to the Blueberry Council:

“The first commercial crop of little blue dynamos traveled from farm to table 100 years ago … Native to North America, blueberries have been around for more than 13,000 years — so they have deep roots in our country’s history. Today, we’re still reaping the health benefits of blueberries, and are discovering they have more to offer than our ancestors could have ever imagined.”4

Blueberries have truly remarkable benefits for cardiovascular health, as well as for your brain, insulin response and even cancer prevention. Packed with vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and helps collagen to form, they’re also loaded with fiber for greater regularity, impacting your heart health, and manganese, a mineral noted for energy conversion and proper bone development.

Chickweed: The New Wheatgrass

As green as any grass you’ve ever seen, wheatgrass has been a main event in health food circles for decades. People will line up to pay big bucks for a small shot of the stuff, which tastes pretty much like you’d imagine, similar to the aroma of new-mown hay; as one company describes it, “unfamiliar, but not unpleasant.”5

Several of this commodity’s features include fighting aging by revitalizing skin cells, cleansing the blood and fighting tumors. Clinical studies show that it contains 90 minerals, 20 essential amino acids, 13 vitamins and 80 enzymes.

But it’s the 70 percent ratio of chlorophyll, structurally similar to red blood cells (hemoglobin), that makes it a superfood. World Lifestyle notes that once it’s absorbed, it converts to hemoglobin, mimicking red blood cells and carrying oxygen to vital areas of your body, and may even kill off cancer cells because “cancer cells can’t survive and thrive in oxygen-rich environments.”6

But get this: Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a wild, edible plant (beautiful, too, by the way) growing prolifically in every area of the world other than those that are coldest, like Antarctica. Besides decreasing insect damage to other plants, it’s chockfull of many vitamins, minerals and, like wheatgrass, chlorophyll. Chickweed stems and flowers can be used raw in salads and sandwiches, tossed into soups and stews or added to cooked dishes (but at the end as the stems and leaves are delicate).

Frontier foragers learned that when they gathered chickweed, almost exclusively in the spring, it was useful as both food and medicine. As a food, Foraged Foodie7 observes, the raw form is covered with a fine layer of fibers, which are minimized when they’re gently chopped and sautéed or wilted. Natural medicine expert Dr. Josh Axe notes:

“Chickweed is taken by mouth to treat stomach problems, intestinal complaints such as constipation, disorders of the blood, arthritis, lung diseases including asthma, kidney disorders, inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract, rabies, and scurvy or vitamin C deficiency. It is also used to relieve extreme exhaustion. Chickweed is applied on the skin relieve various skin conditions such as skin wounds, ulcers, burns, arthritis pain and symptoms of eczema.”8

Rose Hips Can Take the Place of Goji Berries

Goji berries are renowned for having a lot of vitamin C. Originally from Asia, they were used by the ancients to replenish body fluids, improve skin and soothe jangled nerves. The bush-like plant belongs to the nightshade family of plants with tomatoes and peppers and is reputed to be beneficial for insomnia, tuberculosis and to increase testosterone.

On the other hand, rose hips, the fruits or seed pods of the wild roses you see growing everywhere throughout the U.S in late summer or fall, contain so much vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, they’re actually known to be the most abundant source in the world, which explains why they’re so sought after by many markets.

It was only in the last several decades that anyone thought to consider if there might be actual nutrition in rose hips. Once used in animal food, today they’re an ingredient in jams, jellies and pie, as well as soups, bread and wine. Bon Appetit adds:

“The hips, like the petals, are high in flavonoids, those small but mighty antioxidant friends. Like nettle, rose hips are anti-inflammatory. The pectin in rose hips also make it a heart healthy medicine … “9 

Mother Nature Network10 adds vitamins A and E to rose hips’ benefits, so they can be made into tea or even eaten to help treat colds and sore throat. Because they also contain free radical-fighting antioxidants, the anti-inflammatory properties can even treat rheumatoid arthritis.11

The odd pods also contain pectin, which is good for your heart. Organic Facts12 reveals more advantages of consuming rose hips in some form, including an ability to optimize cholesterol, boost your immune system, prevent chronic disease such as cancer, regulate your blood sugar and eliminate toxins.

Nettles Compared to ‘Superfood’ Spirulina

Although spirulina technically does grow in ‘the States,’ it’s only one: Hawaii, as well as other exotic areas of the world, so it’s understandable that many think of it as not exactly around the corner. But first of all, what is it? If you’ve heard of blue-green algae, you’re halfway there. Spirulina’s deep blue-green color reveals its active ingredient — chlorophyll — clearly. Health.com13 explains it as one of the oldest life forms on Earth and possibly consumed in Aztec and African diets centuries ago.

Today it’s touted for its ability to strengthen the immune system, reduce fatigue and combat allergies. Nettles are another plant with chlorophyll that even rivals the amount found in spirulina, but they’re often found in ditch banks, forests and riverbanks. It’s sometimes called “stinging nettle” because it does just that; if you touch it without wearing gloves, the tiny hairs on every surface sting like a bee due to the presence of formic acid, leaving small red welts. But internally, Bon Appetit asserts, it acts like a tonic:

“Taken over time, nettle will strengthen your circulatory, immune, and endocrine systems to promote peak function. The stronger these systems, the better position our bodies are in to deal with whatever might come our way.”14

Cooked or dried, though, this pesky stinging problem goes away completely; good thing, too, because this free foraging food is highly nutritious, containing fiber, lecithin, chlorophyll, sodium, iron, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium and vitamins A and C, according to Mother Earth News. It’s been used in birth rooms and battlefields to stop bleeding, both internally and externally, and is considered to purify blood, as well. As a tea:

“It has been found to help cure mucus congestion, skin irritations, water retention and diarrhea … stimulate the digestive glands of the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas and gall bladder. Applied externally, nettle tea … relieves rheumatism in both people and animals, makes a first-class gargle for mouth and throat infections, helps to clear up acne and eczema and promotes the healing of burns.”15

The top two or three pairs of leaves are the most tender. Again, use gloves then tongs to transfer the saw-toothed leaves from your gathering bag to the sink for rinsing, and to the pan for sautéing, say, with onions and garlic in oil, sea salt and Parmesan cheese.

What About Common, Local, Easy-to-Grow Superfoods?

Among all the vegetables grown in the U.S. (although elsewhere, as well) broccoli is arguably one of the most nutritious. You don’t have to look far for the reason: sulforaphane, an organic sulfur found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Not only does it support normal cell function and division, it helps your body detoxify and reduces inflammation and damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Broccoli sprouts — the nutrient-dense superfood starter from broccoli seeds — are linked to the prevention of many serious diseases, from heart disease to diabetes. They, too, can help detoxify even such environmental pollutants as benzene and protect against cancer. Besides sulforaphane, this is also due to powerful compounds such as the glucosinolate glucoraphanin, which helps improve blood pressure and kidney function, and isothiocyanate, known to normalize DNA methylation.

Arugula is another powerhouse veggie, often known as “rocket” due to its spicy flavor. As a green, it’s very versatile. As another brassicaceae along with cabbage and broccoli, it has many of the same nutrients and healing compounds, including fiber, vitamins A, C (to boost the immune system) and K (for bone strength), folate, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

One study shows arugula to be a powerful aid against gastrointestinal ulcers, psoriasis and skin, lung and mouth cancers. Many more vitamins and minerals help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. The amazing thing is this fancy-looking green is very easy to grow and, like many others, can be mixed with other greens with supportive nutritive value.

Then there’s avocado, or Persea Americana, used by the Mayans as an aphrodisiac. Loaded with fiber, one avocado contains 36 percent of the dietary reference intake (DRI) in vitamin K, 30 percent of the folate and 20 each of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. Plus, avocados have more than twice the potassium of a banana. The avocado’s nutritional benefits rival any exotic food on the planet, as it has multiple beauty uses as a mask and facial scrub, natural sunscreen and moisturizer.

It’s also one of the only fruits (this one’s a drupe) offering plentiful and beneficial monounsaturated fats and helps optimize cholesterol levels. You can only skim the surface to imagine what all those other compounds do to boost health and fight disease. So, you don’t have to eat foods grown 3,000 miles away. You can often find them growing, or at least being sold, within an hour of you. Look around and see what’s available.



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Top 8 organic MISTAKES most people make because they have not done the research –

Top 8 organic MISTAKES most people make because they have not done the research -

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There are no absolutes when it comes to a healthy lifestyle and clean eating. Many foods that were perfectly wholesome just months ago may be tainted and contaminated now if the farmer, company or corporation that makes them changed even just a few key ingredients, or worse yet, sold out to “Big Food.” Nothing is 100 percent reliable either. People jump on diet bandwagons and think some new fad is the “be all, end all” of diets and if they can just stick to it they’ve “got it made.” Wrong.

There are holes in every game, and exceptions to every rule. There are major problems with labels like “all natural” and “gluten free,” but we’ll save those topics for another article. If you thought going 80 percent or 90 percent or even 100 percent organic was “all good,” then you’ve got a bit more homework to do, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Let’s talk about organic mistakes millions of people are making and exactly why, so we can all stay on track with eating clean daily.

#1. Buying from organic companies that sold out to Big Food’s evil corporations

If you’re one of those smart shoppers who buys mainly organic, you better take a second look at “who” you’re buying, instead of just “what” you’re buying. Over the past few years, several smaller organic companies sold out to huge corporations so they could retire and enjoy the good life. Problem is that “good ole” company is now a bastard child of Big Food, and you can bet all the products that were once clean are now polluted with toxic foods, even though they’re still organic. Yes, it’s true. Big Food loves to push unfermented soy and rapeseed (canola) on us, and even when they’re organic they’re still bad for the body over the long term. Watch out for those high estrogen levels and that coagulating blood! Nothing good comes from it.

Here are some examples in case you aren’t up to date on the “who owns who” of the organic world of tainted food. Purdue Farms owns Hans. Coca Cola owns Suja juice, Green Mountain Coffee and Honest Tea. Not so “honest” anymore, huh? Campbell Soup Company owns Wolfgang Puck, Plum Organics and Bolthouse Farms. Nestle owns Sweet Leaf Tea and Tribe Mediterranean Foods. Pepsi owns Naked Juice and Stacy’s Pita Chips.

Wait, there are more. Hain Celestial owns Spectrum Organics, Garden of Eatin and Ella’s Kitchen, just to name a few. Kellogg owns Bare Naked, Kashi and Morningstar Farms. Did you know J.M. Smucker owns Santa Cruz Organic? You should also know that General Mills owns Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, LaraBar and Annie’s Homegrown – the latter of which might not be so “homegrown” anymore.

#2. Buying organic foods that contain canola

Organic or not, canola oil is synthetic oil bred from its parent rapeseed. Big Food needed a cheap substitute for imported coconut oil and palm oil and bam! A creative Canadian scientist took the most toxic of all food-oil plants and reduced the toxicity to meet FDA “standards” (nothing to write home about). Canola oil is still toxic even when it contains zero pesticides, and that’s why it doesn’t matter if it carries the “certified organic” seal of approval from the USDA.

Studies of rats consuming canola revealed degeneration of the heart, kidneys, thyroid gland and adrenals. As soon as the scientists withdrew canola from the rats’ feed, the health damage rescinded. Don’t forget, humans are animals too, with 96 percent the same DNA as the rest of the animals on planet Earth, so don’t think this alarming canola research doesn’t apply to us. Canola oil is high in glycosides, which means it inhibits enzyme function and destroys the protective coating surrounding your nerves, and once that sheath is gone, you’re done for. Nerve damage sets in.

Canola oil, over the long term, can cause emphysema, constipation and respiratory distress. Don’t be fooled by the happy little term “expeller pressed.” It doesn’t matter because canola still carries the mutated rapeseed genes. Big Food still has to bleach it and deodorize it to remove the stink. Almost all organic mayonnaise products and organic salad dressings are loaded with canola or soy or both! Watch out.

#3. Buying organic foods that contain unfermented soy

Just since the year 2000, U.S. food manufacturers have introduced over 3,000 soy-based foods, many of which are labeled “certified organic,” but does that even matter? Any soy that is unfermented, whether organic or not, is linked to immune-system malfunctions, thyroid dysfunction and cognitive decline. In fact, no soy was fit to eat until the discovery of fermentation techniques during the Chou Dynasty. Anyone eating unfermented soy would suffer from eating anti-nutrient toxins that block the enzymes humans need for protein digestion, and that’s at just two tablespoons a day.

Hundreds of health studies reveal infant abnormalities, kidney stones and food allergies thanks to soy consumption. If you read or hear about the benefits of soy, they’re talking about fermented soy only. Most organic mayonnaise products and organic salad dressings are loaded with canola or soy or both! Watch out.

#4. Buying anything “certified organic” that was grown in China

With three times the population of America, China suffers major environmental pollution problems, including waste management, industrial and agricultural contamination, pharmaceutical contamination, plus inadequate water treatment. At least 70 percent of China’s water is so polluted it’s deemed unsafe for human contact. Some of the rivers there have such high metal content that they literally run red from rust. That means even if food is grown organically without pesticide use, it’s still contaminated across the board.

#5. Assuming that “USDA certified organic” means no heavy metal toxins

The USDA does not inspect certified organic food for heavy metal toxins at all. That would include lead, aluminum, mercury, nickel, copper, tungsten and arsenic. Can you believe it? You can have your levels tested by a Naturopathic Physician. Your best bet is to avoid all organic food that’s imported from China – the most polluted industrial nation in the world.

#6. Putting organic food in the microwave oven

The “nuker” not only destroys nutritive qualities of food within seconds, but produces wave energy radiation that interacts with food molecules, changing their polarity from positive to negative at millions of times per second. This severe agitation and friction bombards the food and forcefully deforms it. The scientific name for this is “structural isomerism.”

#7. Cooking organic meat on an outdoor grill

Even if meat is organic, when you grill it at high temperature and fat drips onto the heat source, potent carcinogens are created called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s). There is also a chemical reaction between the amino acids and creatine in the meat that forms dangerous heterocyclic amines (HCA’s). Lastly, you’re increasing the amount of advanced glycolytic enzymes (AGE’s) already present in the meat, causing inflammation and oxidative damage to tissues in your body.

#8. Boiling organic vegetables in water you got from the tap

You can’t boil out cancer-causing, IQ-lowering sodium fluoride from tap water. You need a high quality water filtration system like Big Berkey to do that. Don’t pollute your clean food with toxic tap water. Enough said.

Sources for this article include:

Cornucopia.org

NaturalNews.com

Koshland-Science-Museum.org

NaturalNews.com

FDA.news

News.BBC



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3 Weight Loss Success Strategies to Lose the Last 15 Pounds –

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Weight-loss success is much more likely if you follow some important behavioral strategies in addition to the choices you make for every meal. Based on my many years of experience working with hospital patients and the clients in my private practice, We’ve identified 3 Success Strategies that go a long way toward helping people stick to a weight-loss plan.

These strategies are simple—no need to reorganize your life to fit them in. Just start working them into your daily routines, and before you know it, you’ll be much better positioned for weight loss success.

When you are at rest, your body wants to conserve energy, so your metabolism slows down. Just as you shut off the lights when you sleep, your body turns down many of the processes involved in metabolism. When you wake up, you want to turn everything up and start burning calories and fat as soon as possible. That’s why I recommend eating breakfast within one hour of waking up.

By eating a nutritious, energy-revving breakfast (try these 20 flat-belly breakfasts), you are jump-starting your metabolism. When you add healthy food to your tank, so to speak, you prime your engines and get them ready to go, go, go for the day, so you can do everything that you have to do as well as those things you want to do, while feeling energetic.

Despite what you may have heard or read, it still stands that if you skip breakfast, you’re telling your body to stay in conservation mode. You’re setting yourself up to feel tired, lethargic, and irritable. When no fuel comes into your tank, your body starts thinking about holding on to calories and fat rather than burning them because it doesn’t know when more food will come. This is absolutely not the way you want to start your day. Even if you don’t feel like having breakfast, push yourself to have something—an apple, an orange, some yogurt, maybe a glass of vegetable juice. Something is better than nothing.

healthy lunch

Many people follow this kind of daily eating plan: They either skip breakfast or have a small bite in the morning. They go light on lunch. Then their hunger roars like a starved lion in the middle of the afternoon, at which point they start eating sweet/salty junk food. Then at dinner, thinking they didn’t really eat much during the day, they help themselves to giant portions of their evening meal, followed by dessert and bowls of ice cream and chips while sitting around watching TV for a few hours before bed.

This is not the way to eat.

It’s much better for your body to eat early and often. That means having a healthy, lean, green breakfast; a morning snack to keep your metabolism humming; a healthy lunch; an afternoon snack; and a dinner that’s smaller than you’re probably used to, with a small snack in the evening. Ideally you should eat the bulk of your calories at breakfast and lunch.

Researchers have found that people who consume most of their calories before 3 p.m. are more likely to be successful at weight loss than those who pile on the calories later in the day. And get this: It takes 24 hours for your blood sugar to stabilize after a late-night meal. Eating earlier gives your body plenty of time to burn up calories and stabilize your blood sugar before you get into bed.

sleeping

We Americans are an exhausted bunch of people. Although sleep researchers recommend 7 to 8 hours per night, studies show that 30 percent of us get fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night. Being chronically tired truly interferes with your health. Lack of sleep is associated with higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer. In fact, studies show that getting fewer than 5 hours of sleep per night is associated with a higher body-mass index. The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your risk of obesity. Insomnia causes hormonal changes and cravings for carbohydrates. And when you deprive yourself of adequate sleep, fatigue lowers your ability to resist trigger foods. Instead of eating, try taking a power nap for a bigger, more effective payoff.

Nighttime sleep even has an effect on daytime hunger, influencing the production of the hormones that regulate appetite. When we’re over-tired, we tend to eat more than we do when we are well rested. Overall, people who sleep less appear to weigh more. Be sure to get your 7 to 8 hours a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, see your doctor; you may have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. If you have trouble getting the sleep you need, try these fabulous sleep boosters.

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This dirt cheap ancient spice fights cancer and improves blood circulation –

This dirt cheap ancient spice fights cancer and improves blood circulation -

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Cayenne pepper, whose color can range from yellow to reddish-brown, has been used by households all over the world to add flavor and a little bit of heat to dishes for a while now – around a thousand years now. But did you know that eating cayenne on a regular basis can help your body fight cancer-causing elements and make it so that there is a steady and healthy flow of blood in your body?

Cayenne is one of the hottest members of the pepper family, racking up a good 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) in the Scoville scale, along with Tabasco. The hottest in the pepper family is the Carolina reaper with 1,400,000 to 2,200,000 SHU, which is closely followed by the Trinidad scorpion with 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 SHU. The mildest of them is the bell pepper, which has no Scoville heat units.

There are two kinds of cayenne: the American cayenne whose hotness range in the 30,000 to 50,000 area, and the African birdseye cayenne, which is more potent than the first one. It can be mixed in meals and desserts or used in capsule form and creams. Aside from that, it provides healthy benefits to people. Some of them are as follows:

  • Ingesting cayenne pepper can increase the capability of your white blood cells to protect your body from the attack of cancer cells. It increases your body’s immunity against infections, as cayenne, along with other capsicums and hot peppers, neutralize up to 75 percent of bacteria that it encounters, protecting the body against food poisoning.
  • Cayenne pepper also aids in digestion, for it contains the compound capsaicin, which is responsible for making the cayenne pepper hot.
  • Cayenne pepper can also be used as a muscle and joint relaxant. Apply it topically on aching muscles and joints for best results. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, topical applications that are made of cayenne or other peppers have .025 percent to .075 percent capsaicin and can be applied to the affected area for four times a day. It may take three to seven days before you notice any noticeable difference.
  • Cayenne can be used to relieve pain incurred from arthritis, chronic migraines and headaches, diabetes, lower back pain, nerve damage, skin ailments such as psoriasis and shingles, and fibromyalgia, which is a disease that can be described as whole muscoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness. This is because cayenne tells your brain to release endorphins, which are your body’s natural Ibuprofen or Paracetamol.

Also, here is the shocking truth: Capsaicin is able to kill bad bacteria in the digestive system and lessen the occurrences of inflammation in the body. This, despite its bad rep that peppers can cause ulcers. Cayenne has also been traditionally used in Asian as well as Ayurveda as an agent to improve blood circulation.

Capsaicin can positively impact the tissue lining the mucus membranes in the sinus cavity by clearing the mucus from nasal passageways, thereby making breathing easier when you’re infected with the common cold or a respiratory infection.

Cayenne to substitute the antibiotic injected on pigs, chickens?

Cayenne can also be used as an alternative to antibiotics. In fact, a new study showed that cayenne, along with other spices such as cinnamon and turmeric, gave livestock effects that are similar with antibiotics, which were administered to entire herds and flocks to stimulate their growth and help them strengthen their immune systems. Farmers still continued administering these prophylactics even under the threat of these bugs developing resistance.

The study found that like humans, chickens and pigs eat more of the food they are served with when the items were flavored with spices; for instance, their food intake is greater when their food is laced with dried ginger, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. However, since the spices also have antimicrobial properties, the livestock are not only encouraged to ingest more, ensuring their growth, they are also protected from the likelihood of disease.

The spices were also shown to protect intestinal health in chickens and piglets, increase gut bacteria, and activate enzymes that regulate digestion.



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What Really Works For Arthritis

What Really Works For Arthritis

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More than 50 million Americans live with the pain and discomfort of Arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe, asked 1,292 people who have Arthritis to share what treatments work best for them, and the results are fairly evenly split between medical and lifestyle-driven interventions.

People who participated in the survey reported that corticosteroids, heat, rest, and massage helped them feel better. They also said that the drug Low-Dose Naltrexone and having joint replacement surgery eased their discomfort. Treatment ideas that didn’t seem to help as much included glucosamine and aspirin.

Most Effective Rated Treatments for Patients with Arthritis

  • Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Steroid injections
  • Joint replacement
  • Enbrel
  • Heat
  • Massage
  • Braces/splints
  • Rest
  • Pecans

These are all treatments suggested and reported by patients, so some redundancy in the terms used is to be expected. In addition, the term “treatment” in this study refers to anything patients describe using to help them feel better, whether it is an officially prescribed medical treatment or not. Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Arthritis, in which 1,292 people shared information about their symptoms and what treatments worked best for them.

CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. CureTogether present its findings just as they are – patient-reported data – to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Arthritis. Thank you!



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Bike Seats and Butt Pads –

Bike Seats and Butt Pads -

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Okay, bikers I know that it may not be very classy to talk about this but let’s face it; one of the main concerns when cycling is taking care of our bums.

Here are some serious seat facts;

You Really Need a Pair of Bike Shorts

The padding in a pair of bike shorts will range from thick to thin. The thickest pads act as shock a absorbent with layers of thick foams or gel inserts. The chamois padding that is inside a pair of bicycle shorts also will reduce abrasion and cushions the butt. If you are just starting to ride, or the longer your ride, the more density you need in a chamois pad. The elite pads are dense and designed for long distance riders. The pads are also distinguishing between gender in the higher end cycle shorts. The pads that have a line or compression through the center of the chamois are engineered for the male anatomy. The women’s chamois have more of a pillow. There are also unisex pads that both men and women enjoy. A more seasoned bicycle rider may want a thin pad in their bike shorts so that it prevents abrasion and yet feels invisible. Using a thin chamois pad is also popular in triathlon shorts where the short is worn for swim, bike, run.

Chamois Pads

Apparently, there is quite a bit to be said about the pad that goes between your buns and the “saddle”. Not only is this a shock absorbency issue but also a moisture barrier. The chamois must be worn without underwear in order to be worn properly.

Extra padding is not extra comfortable.  As you pedal, your sitbones sink into your saddle, settling on the sturdiest surface available so as to provide the most power to your pedal stroke. The more foam you add, the harder they’re going to press to find that power—ultimately leading to soreness.

The Seat

There are so many different shapes, sizes, styles, materials……what is the best bet for my booty?

Endurance racers should look more to the comfort end of the spectrum. If you’re strictly a recreational racer, then you want to look for the most comfortable saddle your budget will allow. Most saddles lie somewhere in between, providing a good level of comfort at a reasonable weight.

Speaking plainly; the seat is going to be a trial and error test for the most part. Yes, bikers before you have some good ideas about distance versus mountain versus men’s seats versus women’s seats, etc. There are several varieties of seats that are designed to release tension from certain pressure points that become exceedingly painful on a long bumpy ride.

Know what your tender areas are, keep in mind what kind of cycling you are into and find your fit. The seat matters.

 

 



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