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Flavor-Boosting Ingredient Carries Risks for Some

July 23, 2015 – Lisa Baxter carefully reads food ingredient labels when she buys groceries. She carries around a list of things she can and can’t eat, and she has to be extra cautious of food ingredients using the word “phosphate.”

Phosphates leave a metallic taste in her mouth, and they make her very itchy.

“I feel like I have fleas,” says Baxter, 52, a social worker from Queens, N.Y. She’s been living with kidney disease for about 20 years. “I itch from the bottom of my feet through the middle of my hands.”

Baxter gets dialysis three times a week, and she knows that phosphates could make her even sicker. People with kidney disease have a hard time breaking down these minerals, which get added to many processed foods to boost their flavor. Eating too much can trigger bone loss and lead to life-threatening problems like heart disease.

“I’ve seen how devastating phosphorus can be,” says Geoffrey Block, MD, associate clinical professor in medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He’s referring to the mineral that phosphates are made from, and he’s been researching its impact on the body for 20 years. “I’ve seen many [kidney disease] patients with amputated limbs.”

Even in healthy people, there is some evidence that eating too much phosphorus might cause problems, although the data isn’t definitive. An FDA researcher and a European health safety commission that studied phosphorus have both called for more research on its potential health effects.

“There is accumulating evidence that both the high intakes and the poor balance of intake with other nutrients may place individuals at risk of kidney disease, bone loss, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic health conditions,” concludes a study written in part by Mona Calvo, an expert at the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The study also says that the evidence “remains weak.” [Her study does not reflect FDA policy, and the agency did not make her available for comment.]

Too Much May Be Tied to Trouble

Phosphorus is found naturally in dairy, meat, and plants. It’s needed to help cells work properly. Phosphates enhance flavor and moistness in deli meats, frozen food, cereals, cheese, and baked goods, as well as in sodas and prepared iced tea mixes.

“No life form can exist without phosphorus,” says Block, who specializes in treating kidney disease.

The problem may be that we’re eating more of it than we need.

For the 26 million people in the U.S. with kidney disease, phosphorus can build up in the body, Block says. That results in hormonal changes that can cause calcium to pull out of bones, build up in blood vessels, and trigger heart disease, increasing the risk of death.

Nearly one third of the U.S. population eats twice as much phosphorus as the U.S. recommended daily allowance of about 700 milligrams, says Alex Chang, MD, a clinical investigator and nephrologist with the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.

“There is a lot of ‘extra’ phosphorus in foods that are processed, and Americans eat lots of processed foods,” Chang says.

He co-wrote a 2013 study that evaluated the phosphorus level of thousands of adults without cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease. He found that eating a high amount of phosphorus is linked to more deaths in a healthy U.S. population.

Neither Chang’s study, nor any of the studies published to date, have shown phosphate additives directly cause health issues.

“We don’t know,” Block says. “That’s why we need to do more research.”

 

phosphates

Raising Concerns

Phosphates were first approved by the USDA to use in bacon and ham in 1971. They were added to poultry and other meats in the 1980s, says Lucina Lampila, a registered dietitian and fellow at the Institute of Food Technologists, a food science advocacy group.

Today, many grocery store items — about 45%, according to one report — use 10 different phosphates in food. Determining how much is in food isn’t easy. If phosphorus is naturally in a food, the amount of phosphates added doesn’t have to be detailed. The FDA classifies added phosphates as a “generally recognized as safe” ingredient. It must be included on the ingredients list, but the exact amount isn’t required.

In an April 2015 study, Chang detailed the amount of phosphorus in some popular drinks and found levels differed from what food companies report. Both Calvo’s and Chang’s studies call for more detailed labeling of the ingredient.

“There is a great need to have accurate information about phosphorus in the marketplace to inform patients, especially [those] with kidney disease,” Chang says.
Lampila, who worked in the food industry for more than a decade, says phosphates are safe. She also says food companies use a minimal amount because “phosphates are self-limiting. If you add too much to a product, you get an off taste.”

The National Kidney Foundation last year encouraged the FDA to require food makers to include the amount of phosphorus on nutrition labels. The FDA said in an email that it doesn’t comment on label changes until after they’re made.

Recently, the Environmental Working Group, a consumer safety organization, joined the Kidney Foundation in raising concerns about phosphates. The group listed phosphates on its “Dirty Dozen” guide of food additives linked to health concerns that it published last year.

“We feel phosphates need more attention,” says Dawn Undurraga, a consulting nutritionist at the Environmental Working Group.

Until there is more direct evidence, some nutritionists are counseling their clients to limit phosphates in their diets, whether they have kidney disease or not. They suggest you stay away from soda and look for the word “phosphate” on ingredient labels. The word can be found by itself, or in combination with other words, such as “sodium tripolyphosphate.”

“I counsel people to buy food with as few ingredients in them as they can,” says Lisa Hugh, a registered dietitian in Waldorf, MD.

By Bara Vaida, Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on June 16, 2015

Article Sources
Calvo, M. Advances in Nutrition, January 2014.
Lisa Baxter, kidney disease patient.
Dawn Undurraga, consulting nutritionist, Environmental Working Group.
Lisa Hugh, registered dietician, Waldorf, MD.
Lucina Lampila, registered dietician, Institute of Food Technologists.
Geoffrey Block, MD, nephrologist, associate clinical professor in medicine,  University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Alex Chang, nephrologist, Geisinger Health System.
European Food Safety Authority, “Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for phosphorus.”
EWG.com, “EWG’s Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives.”
International Food Additives Council, “Questions and Answers About Phosphates.”
National Kidney Foundation.
USDA, “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
FDA, “CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.”
Sullivan, C. “Prevalence of Phosphorus Containing Food Additives in Grocery Stores.”
NIH, “Phosphorus in Diet.”
Chang, A. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2013.
Moser, M. American Journal of Kidney Disease, April 2015.
Phosphate Facts.


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Be Nice! (Because Rudeness Could Be Contagious)

A new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology claims that rudeness, like the common cold, is often contagious.

The study asked a group of students at the University of Florida to engage in multiple negotiation rounds with various partners and report on how rude they perceived each partner’s behavior to be. The students who reported rude partners were more likely to act rudely in their next round.

benice

“Some of the negotiations took place one after another, and some took place up to seven days apart,” study author, Trevor Foulk, tells Gizmodo. “We found that the time between negotiations didn’t seem to matter. The rudeness experienced in the previous negotiation still caused participants to be rude in their next negotiation.”

Folk explains this subconscious reaction by saying that when people experience rudeness, they often begin to notice more rudeness in their environment and are more likely to respond with rudeness. Previous studies suggest that happiness spreads from person to person in a similar way.

Your daily behaviors clearly affect the people around you, so go ahead and flash a few extra smiles today. They may travel further than you think.


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How Changing Your Beliefs Changes The World Around You

I always tend to see a basic fault when I hear people talk about hoping for change in the world. It’s the idea that we see the notion of change as something happening outside of us, driven by some faceless group of elite scientists, inventors and leaders coming up with some revolutionary idea that would set the world on a different course.

The fault with this notion is that it comes from the same mould which gave form to the problem in the first place – separation. We feel that we are separate from all the atrocities happening in different corners of the world; separate from shady global deals done in the interest of the few; separate from the marvelous work done by selfless peacekeepers and volunteers; separate from the bloodied hands of our previous generation and the problems of the next generations.

We think that we are helpless, innocent and powerless in the face of all this and that the change we expect ‘has’ to come from others, individuals, collectives or nations.

The Pain of Separation

When we look at the world outside we constantly see problems. We see real world problems such as overpopulation, energy crisis, water scarcity, the destruction of our environment, health hazards, etc. We also see degenerative and auto destructive patterns of behaviour such as greed, materialism, madness, over-consumerism and the general disenchantment with the world and the Universe. In short, we see modern Man as having lost his soul and disconnected with his spirit and the natural world.

When you think of it, in fact, all of these problems we see are rooted in separation.  Humanity seems to be off course because we have separated ourselves from our ancestral wisdom, our enchantment with the magical Universe, with ourselves, with our being. We have increasingly ingrained in us the false idea of individual freedom at the cost of community welfare. We feel that we have the freedom to be separate from our global community and affairs that affect the millions. So the recurrent theme is separation.

Wearing the Inside Out

On another level, we fail to see that our outer world, with all its blessings and problems is merely a projection of our inner world, both individually and collectively. Wars, atrocities, eco-destruction and restlessness is nothing more than a projection of what is happening internally on a deeper psychic level. The state of the world we are in, is nothing more than the state we are in internally on a collective level. Once again, we feel there is a separation between our internal and outer reality which is basically nothing more than a mere illusion. On a positive note, the positive change we are starting to witness is also a reflection of our nascent change in consciousness, first on a individual then collective scale.

Re-programming Your Reality

I feel that the idea to work with is that before we expect any mass changes to the afflictions we see around us in the world, we should start experimenting with changing the immediate reality around us, equipped with the idea that we can bend our personal reality by shifting how we face the world and interact with it. As the iconic quote from Gandhi goes “Be the change you want to see”.

We start shifting our reality not by gaining anything new but by releasing and letting go of years of conditioning and self-limiting beliefs. Here are some beliefs we ought to start adopting, while letting go of their complete opposite, if we really want to start seeing the change happening around us:

1) You are always part of the equation of life

When we feel disconnected we lose our real power. That power is the feeling of being one with life – of being an integral part of the equation. Again, the human dis-ease is that we feel separate from and powerless over the currents of our life stream.

When we realign ourselves with the belief that we are part of the whole eco-system of life with its subtleties and magic, we create a powerful inner conviction that enables us to trust and have faith in whatever is happening. This is the magical ingredient for staying in tune with our highest potential and unblocking those obstacles that keep us from moving forward and changing our reality.

universe

 

2) You can empower yourself to be the change you want

We are embedded in a system that is programmed to disempower us and condition us into believing that change happens outside of us. Yet, when we listen closer to our heart, we realise that this empowerment or disempowerment is only in our hands. If we allow ourselves to be grind down by the machinery of the system, then that is what we create.

If on the other hand we take charge of our life and destiny and encourage ourselves with the idea that only we have the power to make the change, we are turning the tables on the system. We start becoming free hearts and free thinkers. The shackles no longer bind us because we become masters of our own destiny.

3) You are a co-creator of your own reality

It’s a simple but powerful truth really. You are the co-creator of your own reality. Look at your life, the state you are now in – whether good or bad. You had a big say to create all that, whether you are conscious of it or otherwise. Since we are agents in our own life, we make choices, interact, dream and act, we are undeniably co-creators of our own reality. The more we catch up with the idea and consciously take hold of it, the more we can co-create and change our life positively.

4) Healing is losing the sense of separateness & fear

If you consciously look deep into yourself, you will find a constant yearning for healing, for restoring your being. This is a constant spiritual quest that we look for in different ways, at different times in our life. What this healing really means is remembering who we really are – our real power, our humanity and divinity at the same time. Most of all healing is transcending fear and our sense of separateness.

It is important then to always remember that we can heal ourselves by moving away from fear and the belief that we are disconnected and alone in a hostile universe, to one where we have faith that no matter how our life fluctuates, it’s all fine since we are supported by an infinite source of love and power.

5) Others are allies to your co-creations

The sense of separation continues to be reinforced by the sense of ‘us and them’. We feel that others can be a threat to our own wellbeing and happiness. We see them as possible competitors in a limited pool of resources. We enter into the survival mindset.

This is all very counterproductive at best. The more we let go of the sense of fear and separateness (thus being healed), the more we see others as potential allies and contributors to our own co-creations. This cannot be otherwise if we start from the premise that everything is interconnected and that we are an integral part of the equation of life (see point number one).

People who have become conscious co-creators of their own destiny know the true value and power in this. They understand the importance of helping, sharing, trusting and giving out while getting in. They understand human nature more intimately, knowing that each and every person, no matter how his or her outer behaviour can be off-putting, carry the same potential for healing themselves, others and the world around them.

6) You can always change the channel you tune into

Another fundamental truth that has been echoed in various forms is that everything is ultimately energy and vibration at different levels of frequency:  From very low, soul-wrenching vibrations to elevating, exhilarating frequencies of love and bliss. You have ultimately the power and freedom to choose which channel to tune into. Negative self-talk, self-limiting beliefs, fear, cynical friends, etc, will keep you stuck in a reality that vibrates at low frequency, so to speak.

On the other hand, opening your heart to new experiences and adventures, doing more of the things you like, being grateful, surrounding your self with exciting people and not being afraid to love will help you shift into a frequency bandwidth that will make you attract more of the same goodness and excitement. It will literally make you become the change you want to see in yourself and the world.

It’s basically about tuning in to and attracting the energy vibrations you would like to see more of in your reality. Thus while you are tuning in to higher frequencies and tuning out of the lower ones, you are co-creating a meaningful and positive personal reality which ultimately is projected and manifested onto the world. The result is that you would be creating the change you want to see in this world. On a collective level, this would be the beginning of a new earth.

Thanks for reading!

Gilbert Ross,  Soul Hiker


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The Only Excuse You’ll Ever Need (or Should Ever Use)

… and the research to back it up.
by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.       on Jul 18, 2015       in Fulfillment at Any Age

Everyone makes excuses from time to time, and some of us do it more than others. Even if you feel like you’re an honest, hard-working, trustworthy individual (as most of us do), there will be situations in which you just don’t or can’t follow through on a promise. Whether it’s attending a family event, meeting a job deadline, going out with friends, or spending an evening helping the kids with homework, invariably we find ourselves feeling no choice but to use an “untruth” (i.e., a lie) in order to avoid disappointing others.

I will not offer guidance on how to be a more believable excuse-teller by fibbing more effectively. In fact, you might not appreciate the advice I’m providing at first, but if you choose to follow it, and make it a habit, you’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the advice, simple and unadulterated: Just tell the truth.

Not some version of the truth, or part of the truth, or truth that’s technically true but isn’t the real reason for your behavior. It’s got to be, as they say, “the whole truth.”

If you do it, you’ll never again forget which excuses you made to whom, because the truth will be at the bottom of all your explanations. At an ethical level, telling the truth helps you to believe you’re a good and honest individual while allowing you to behave in ways consistent with that self-image.

Before getting to the reason for this advice, let’s look at three faux excuses that don’t measure up to the truth:

  1. The version of the truth. You were late for a meeting due to lingering too long over your latte. There was a particularly busy rush hour that day, so you offer as your excuse, “Traffic was terrible today.”
  2. Part of the truth. You don’t really want to go to the Jack-and-Jill wedding shower you were invited to, so you give as your excuse the fact that your family is coming into town that day. It is true they’re coming, but the shower will be long over by the time your folks arrive in town.
  3. Technically the truth. Some lawyers are expert at giving reasons that are true but only in the technical sense of the word. It is possible, using this logic, that you only remembered your friend’s birthday 3 days after it was over. Your excuse may be that you think it’s much better to wish someone happy birthday in person. Technically that is true, but it’s not why you missed the big day.

In each of these cases, an honest excuse would have involved some loss of face or admission of fault; you’re not perfect after all. However, you would at least be spared the burden of having to remember all the surrounding details of the excuses you gave.

tell

When communicated in a straightforward manner, being honest about the reason for your stumble allows the other individuals involved to feel empathy with you. If you provide an explanation that makes sense—and is 100% truthful—they should be more inclined to try to understand the situation from your perspective. Everyone is late sometimes, we all forget important occasions, and plenty of us prefer a Sunday afternoon alone than in the company of people opening presents.

Putting your reasoning out there in a relatable manner will be more likely to lead others to forgive you.

What the Research Says

Gettysburg College psychologist Christopher Barlett (2013) was interested in the kinds of excuses people make after they inadvertently hurt someone in an interpersonal situation. Maybe they bump into someone and dismiss it with, “I’m having a bad day,” or, “I just had a fight with my boyfriend.” Such excuses provide “mitigating information…defined as factors that may change an initially hostile attribution after a provocation into one that is less personally threatening” (p. 472). The intention of offering such an excuse is to reduce the likelihood that the victim of the shove becomes angry and aggressive.

But do these excuses actually work? 

To answer this question, Barlett analyzed data from 15 studies based on a search of the literature for terms such as anger, misattribution, aggression, and reappraisal. Each study examined participants who manipulated mitigating information to reduce aggression toward them for some type of affront. In the studies, aggressive behavior was measured in a variety of ways, ranging from evaluations by the experimenter to the amount of time excuse-makers were exposed to a (faked) “shock” or keeping their hands in a bucket of ice water. All studies involved manipulating the information that participants received about the cause of the affront and whether apologies or excuses were more effective in reducing willingness to aggress than others.

Supporting the idea that an honest excuse is the best remedy for an affront, Barlett found that when the provocation wasn’t severe, mitigating information (the excuse) reduced aggression when it was considered honest and did not include an apology. The key to making an excuse work, Barlett concluded, is to make it effective in changing the offended person’s appraisal of the provocation.

An effective excuse is detailed enough to provide that key mitigating information and justifies why you thought or did what you did. An apology may seem lame to the recipient because it doesn’t provide that mitigating information. An honest excuse is the best. When you lie about the reasons for your behavior, it’s much more difficult to come up with an elaborate justification that will convince the other person to feel less angry toward you.

As long as the offending behavior isn’t too harsh (such as if you were to injure the other person), your best option is to share an honest, detailed excuse. Justifying your behavior won’t change what happened, but it can change the way the behavior is perceived. It will preserve your relationships and allow you to maintain harmony with loved ones.

Reference
Barlett, C. P. (2013). Excuses, excuses: A meta‐analytic review of how mitigating information can change aggression and an exploration of moderating variables. Aggressive Behavior, 39(6), 472-481.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne


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New Study Says Eating Apples May Increase Sexual Pleasure In Women

The Huffington Post    By Taryn Hillin    07/08/2014 

It’s been said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but new research suggests it can do a lot more than that.

A new study published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics suggests that eating more apples leads to better sex for women.

Researchers analyzed 731 sexually active Italian women aged 18 to 43 with no history or complaint of sexual disorder. Women taking prescription drugs or suffering from depression were excluded from the study as well.

Participants were separated into two groups: regular apple consumption (one to two apples a day) and no apple consumption (0 to 0.5 apples per day). The women then filled out the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), which is comprised of 19 questions about sexual function, sexual frequency, orgasm, lubrication and overall sexual satisfaction.

Researchers found that “daily apple use is associated with higher FSFI scores in sexually active female patients, thus increasing their lubrication and overall sexual function.”

apple

So why apples?

The researchers hypothesize that apples may improve sexual function because, like red wine and chocolate, they contain polyphenols and antioxidants that can stimulate blood flow to the genitalia and vagina, thus helping with arousal.

Not only that, researchers says apples contain phloridzin, a common phytoestrogen that is structurally similar to estradiol – a female sex hormone – and plays a huge role in vaginal lubrication and female sexuality.

Of course, the study has its limitations. It’s a relatively small sample size and it’s difficult to separate correlation from causation. However, the researchers note the results are “intriguing,” to say the least.

Now excuse us while we go eat some apples.


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7 Things You Should Stop Expecting from Others

WRITTEN by MARC CHERNOFF 

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations
and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
―Bruce Lee

The biggest disappointments in our lives are often the result of misplaced expectations.  This is especially true when it comes to our relationships and interactions with others.

Tempering your expectations of other people will greatly reduce unnecessary frustration and suffering, in both your life and theirs, and help you refocus on the things that truly matter.

Which means it’s time to…

1.  Stop expecting them to agree with you.

You deserve to be happy.  You deserve to live a life you are excited about.  Don’t let the opinions of others make you forget that.  You are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, nor should you feel that others are here to live up to yours.  In fact, the more you approve of your own decisions in life, the less approval you need from everyone else.

You have to dare to be yourself, and follow you own intuition, however frightening or strange that may feel or prove to be.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t get discouraged by their progress or success.  Follow your own path and stay true to your own purpose.  Success is ultimately about spending your life happily in your own way.

2.  Stop expecting them to respect you more than you respect yourself.

True strength is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.  It’s about having faith and trust in who you are, and a willingness to act upon it.  Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself.

Today, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you, and from now on I’m going to act like it.”  It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  When you practice self-love and self-respect, you give yourself the opportunity to be happy.  When you are happy, you become a better friend, a better family member, and a better YOU.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  Stop expecting (and needing) them to like you.

You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another.  Don’t ever forget your worth.  Spend time with those who value you.  No matter how good you are to people, there will always be one negative person who criticizes you.  Smile, ignore them, and carry on.

In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, the toughest battle you’ll ever have to fight is the battle to be yourself.  And as you’re fighting back, not everyone will like you.  Sometimes people will call you names because you’re “different.”  But that’s perfectly OK.  The things that make you different are the things that make YOU, and the right people will love you for it.

sri-chinmoy-peace-begins-expectation-ends

4.  Stop expecting them to fit your idea of who they are.

Loving and respecting others means allowing them to be themselves.  When you stop expecting people to be a certain way, you can begin to appreciate THEM.

Pay close attention, and respect people for who they are and not for who you want them to be.  We don’t know most people half as well as we believe we do; and truly knowing someone is a big part of what makes them wonderful.  Every human being is remarkable and beautiful; it just takes a patient set of eyes to see it.  The more you get to know someone, the more you will be able to look beyond their appearance and see the beauty of who they truly are.  (Read The Mastery of Love.)

5.  Stop expecting them to know what you’re thinking.

People can’t read minds.  They will never know how you feel unless you tell them.  Your boss?  Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet.  That cute guy you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy?  Yeah, you guessed it, he hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given him the time of day either.

In life, you have to communicate with others regularly and effectively.  And often, you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words.  You have to tell people what you’re thinking.  It’s as simple as that.

6.  Stop expecting them to suddenly change.

If there’s a specific behavior someone you care about has that you’re hoping disappears over time, it probably won’t.  If you really need them to change something, be honest and put all the cards on the table so this person knows how you feel and what you need them to do.

For the most part though, you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try.  Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them.  It’s might sound harsh, but it’s not.  When you try to change people, they often remain the same, but when you don’t try to change them – when you support them and allow them the freedom to be as they are – they gradually change in the most beautiful way.  Because what really changes is the way you see them.  (Read A New Earth.)

7.  Stop expecting them to be “OK.”

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle, just like you.  Every smile or sign of strength hides an inner struggle every bit as complex and extraordinary as your own.

Remember that embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark.  We are measured by our ability to overcome adversities and insecurities, not avoid them.  Supporting, sharing and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards.  This happens naturally if we allow it, because we all share very similar dreams, needs and struggles.  Once we accept this, the world then is a place where we can look someone else in the eye and say, “I’m lost and struggling at the moment,” and they can nod and say, “Me too,” and that’s OK.  Because not being “OK” all the time, is perfectly OK.

Afterthoughts

People rarely behave exactly the way you want them to.  Hope for the best, but expect less.  And remember, the magnitude of your happiness will be directly proportional to your thoughts and how you choose to think about things.  Even if a situation or relationship doesn’t work out at all, it’s still worth it if it made you feel something new, and if it taught you something new.


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Foods That Double as Medicine

By Ben Smart, Special to CNN    Thu July 23, 2015

(CNN)A typical visit to the doctor might leave you with a bottle of pills and instructions to take them twice daily.

But a small, growing number of physicians are “prescribing” foods not only for weight management, but also to prevent and treat chronic diseases.

CNN spoke with medical nutrition experts to unearth the specific foods they recommend. And you don’t have to be a chef or nutritionist to take advantage of these healthy choices.

While one food might be recommended as treatment for a specific ailment, it’s important to remember that a single food item doesn’t work in isolation, said Dr. Melina Jampolis, a board-certified physician nutrition specialist.

“True nutrition experts prefer to speak about dietary patterns or groups of foods, as nutrients in foods work in combination to improve certain conditions,” Jampolis said.

However, there are notable exceptions to this rule, said Dr. John La Puma, a practicing physician and professionally trained chef. Here are 10 you may want to stock your kitchen with before reaching in the medicine cabinet.

Buckwheat honey for a cough

Derived from the bee nectar of flowers of the buckwheat grain, buckwheat honey might eventually make its way into every parent’s medicine cabinet.

“Buckwheat honey is better than cough syrup for nocturnal cough in kids,” according to La Puma. This is an especially useful food-as-medicine for children under 6, who are ill-advised to take over-the-counter cough medicines.

“Foods can work like medicine in the body — and they do,” said La Puma.

Pickled foods for diarrhea

Fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, miso, kimchi and poi. These foods contain living bacteria that help maintain the health of the digestive tract, said Dr. Gerard Mullin, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and author of “The Gut Balance Revolution.”

These bacteria-filled foods can be used to prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, infantile diarrhea, eczema and allergies, according to Mullin. “But the hottest use of fermented foods is to burn stubborn fat,” Mullin said.

A study from 2012 that reviewed data from 82 clinical trials found probiotic foods were indeed effective at treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea. However, the data for using probiotics as a treatment for eczema are mixed. Some research found supporting evidence while other studies did not.

Ginger for menstrual cramps

Ginger is a pungent spice originating from Southeast Asia. “As a digestive disease specialist I frequently recommend the spice ginger in the form of tea for nausea and abdominal discomfort,” said Mullin.

Ginger could also be a helpful food-as-medicine for women. “Ginger probably works as well as ibuprofen for menstrual cramps. It works taken as a ginger capsule or chewed,” said La Puma.

One scientific review of seven clinical trials found that 750 to 2000 milligrams of ginger powder taken during the first four days of menstrual cycle was an effective treatment for cramps.

Peppermint

Peppermint for IBS

Think beyond candy canes and chewing gum. Peppermint is also found in supplement, essential oil and tea forms. When used medicinally, peppermint is prescribed to help treat abdominal cramping and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“What I find interesting about peppermint is that when compared to the various medical therapies for IBS, peppermint is the most effective and the least toxic,” Mullin told CNN.

Peppermint oil is effective — and could be the first line of treatment — against irritable bowel syndrome, according to a 2005 scientific review of 16 clinical trials.

Hibiscus tea for high blood pressure

“Hibiscus tea has a greater anti-hypertensive effect than blueberries,” said La Puma. Infused as an herbal tea, hibiscus flowers contain anthocyanins, which could help to lower blood pressure.

The steeples of the flower are dried and made into a tea drink, which has a tart cranberry taste, La Puma said.

Multiple studies back up the blood-pressure-lowering abilities of hibiscus, including one published in the Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences.

Turmeric for arthritis

Native to southwest India, turmeric has a warm, bitter flavor. Used medicinally, Jampolis recommends turmeric to help treat inflammatory conditions.

“Turmeric is used especially for brain-related conditions and to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It can be also be used for arthritis,” said Jampolis.

Add black pepper to turmeric to maximize the disease-fighting benefits. “This helps your body absorb more of the curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric that delivers the positive health effects,” said La Puma.

Indeed, an article published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology explains the various disease-fighting benefits of turmeric.

Chia seeds for high cholesterol

Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are nutrient-dense and often labeled as a “superfood.”

Dr. Jampolis said she recommends them to patients with high LDL cholesterol as a bonus to other healthy food choices. “I can actually say that I’ve seen great results just adding chia seeds to an already healthy diet for lowering cholesterol,” said Jampolis.

Steel-cut oatmeal for high LDL cholesterol

“This is a no-brainer for lowering LDL if you haven’t tried anything else,” said La Puma. “There are lots of studies showing that foods high in soluble fiber lower LDL cholesterol.”

One such study found that eating at least 3 grams of oats daily is associated with lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Try mixing in a spoonful of chia seeds to maximize the cholesterol-lowering impact.

Beans for high blood sugar levels

Beans are useful in lowering blood sugar levels and managing high cholesterol, according to Jampolis. And because they’re loaded with fiber, beans can help induce that “full” feeling to help with weight loss.

“I have certainly seen improvements in blood sugar with encouraging more fiber-rich foods like beans that are also rich in magnesium, but it is harder to isolate that effect alone,” said Jampolis.

Salmon for inflamation

With its pink-orange hue and distinct smell, salmon is one of the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats are an important part of treating any inflammatory or autoimmune condition, according to Dr. Jampolis.

Jampolis also recommends salmon to those dealing with high triglyceride levels, metabolic syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or MS.

“I think most people think food can’t possibly be as potent as drugs, but I see the powerful direct benefits all the time,” said Jampolis.

source: www.cnn.com