Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Organic Produce Contains More Antioxidants

Scientists look at a lot of data — including the famous Stanford analysis — and find an excellent reason to enjoy organic produce.

Kimi Harris   July 16, 2014

A Stanford study released in 2012 made headlines when it was announced that there wasn’t necessarily a nutritional advantage to eating organic produce over conventional produce. Many people felt that the uproar that followed in response to the study – with people saying that organic food was a “scam” or useless – was misguided. You can read my thoughts about other good reasons to choose organic here, and Starre’s similar opinions here from that time.

Now, a new study shows that organic produce just may have an across-the-board better nutritional value after all. This new analysis looked at more than just the Stanford study. The researchers found that while it was true that certain vitamins and minerals were the same in conventional and organic produce (such as vitamin C and E) that there was a significant difference in antioxidant levels.

Organic produce has between 20 and 40 percent more antioxidants than conventional produce. A co-author of the study, Charles Benbrook, notes that this is significant because one of the reasons we are encouraged to eat produce is for this antioxidant benefit. While research is still ongoing, antioxidants have been under scrutiny for a long time because of their anti-cancer and anti-aging effects.

But why is there any difference in antioxidant levels? Conventional produce is more likely to be highly fertilized, which can lead to faster-growing plants, which means bigger produce and more diluted antioxidants. Plants that are not protected by pesticides have to work harder at producing deterrents to insects, which translates into more antioxidants.

However, it should be noted that there is a wide range of practices in conventional and organic farming. Some organic farmers use a lot of organic fertilizer and organic pesticides too. Regardless, this study is intriguing and encouraging. While there are other reasons to choose organic other than simple vitamin and antioxidant levels, I’m thrilled when I get more bang for my buck with each bite I take, so I’ll gladly take that 20 to 40 percent more antioxidant increase any day.

source: www.mnn.com


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The Mother Of All Antioxidants

April 13, 2014 by Joe Martino

We have all heard of antioxidants, but have we heard of the mother of all antioxidants? One that is the secret to prevent cancer, heart disease, aging, neurological issues and more? This single antioxidant has been studied in great depth yet most of us know nothing about it and  many doctors have no idea how to address the epidemic of its deficiency in humans.

We are of course talking about Glutathione (pronounced “gloota-thigh-own.”) This is a powerful detoxifier and immune booster and is crucial to a healthy life. Although the body does make some of its own Glutathione, poor food quality, pollution, toxic environments, stress, infections and radiation are all depleting out bodies glutathione.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a simple molecule produced naturally in the body at all times. It’s a combination of three building blocks of protein or amino acids — cysteine, glycine and glutamine.

The best part of glutathione is that is contains sulfur chemical groups that work to trap all the bad things like free radicals and toxins such as mercury and heavy metals in our body then flush them out. This is especially important in our current world of heavy metal bombardment.

Where Can You Get Glutathione?

The body makes it, but it’s often not enough in our strenuous environment. Here are some food sources that either contain glutathione or its precursors to help the body produce more.

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Avocados
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Turmeric (Curcumin)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Red peppers

Notice they are all healthy foods we often don’t get enough of? This is another big issue with our diets. We consume a lot of junk, meat, dairy and processed foods, items that clinically have been proven to be the number one causes of heart disease and illness yet we consume  them in huge quantities. The key is to limit these and eat a lot of fresh, lively foods that provide nutrients and don’t ask the body to perform a mega job to digest.

You can also increase your exercise as glutathione production increases when you exercise. Breathing and sweating are also great ways to get rid of toxins in the body.

cinnamon

Glutathione Protects Against Chronic Illness

What makes glutathione so important and powerful is that it recycles antioxidants. When your body is dealing with free radicals, it is essentially passing them from one molecule to another. They might go from vitamin C to vitamin E to lipoic acid and then to glutathione where they are cooled off. Antioxidants are recycled at this point and the body can now regenerate another glutathione molecule to go back at it again.

Glutathione is crucial for helping your immune system fight chronic illness as it acts as the carrier of toxins out of your body. Like a fly trap, toxins stick to glutathione and they are carried to the bile into the stools and out of the body. Glutathione is also powerful enough that it has been shown to help in the treatment of AIDS greatly. The body is going to get in touch with oxidants and toxins, the more we can deal with those the better our body will be at staying strong, this is why glutathione is so important.

9 Final Tips

Dr. Mark Hyman has given 9 tips to increase your Glutathione levels. Check them out!

1. Consume sulfur-rich foods. The main ones in the diet are garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc.).

2. Try bioactive whey protein. This is great source of cysteine and the amino acid building blocks for glutathione synthesis. As you know, I am not a big fan of dairy, but this is an exception — with a few warnings. The whey protein MUST be bioactive and made from non-denatured proteins (“denaturing” refers to the breakdown of the normal protein structure). Choose non-pasteurized and non-industrially produced milk that contains no pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. Immunocal is a prescription bioactive non-denatured whey protein that is even listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference.

3. Exercise boosts your glutathione levels and thereby helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification and enhance your body’s own antioxidant defenses. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day of vigorous aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or play various sports. Strength training for 20 minutes 3 times a week is also helpful.

One would think it would be easy just to take glutathione as a pill, but the body digests protein — so you wouldn’t get the benefits if you did it this way. However, the production and recycling of glutathione in the body requires many different nutrients and you CAN take these. Here are the main supplements that need to be taken consistently to boost glutathione. Besides taking a multivitamin and fish oil, supporting my glutathione levels with these supplements is the most important thing I do every day for my personal health.

4. N-acetyl-cysteine. This has been used for years to help treat asthma and lung disease and to treat people with life-threatening liver failure from Tylenol overdose. In fact, I first learned about it in medical school while working in the emergency room. It is even given to prevent kidney damage from dyes used during x-ray studies.

5. Alpha lipoic acid. This is a close second to glutathione in importance in our cells and is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health and detoxification. The body usually makes it, but given all the stresses we are under, we often become depleted.

6. Methylation nutrients (folate and vitamins B6 and B12). These are perhaps the most critical to keep the body producing glutathione. Methylation and the production and recycling of glutathione are the two most important biochemical functions in your body. Take folate (especially in the active form of 5 methyltetrahydrofolate), B6 (in active form of P5P) and B12 (in the active form of methylcobalamin).

7. Selenium. This important mineral helps the body recycle and produce more glutathione.

8. A family of antioxidants including vitamins C and E (in the form of mixed tocopherols), work together to recycle glutathione.

9. Milk thistle (silymarin) has long been used in liver disease and helps boost glutathione levels.

Sources:
http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/12/what-is-glutathione-and-how-do-i-get-more-of-it/
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/10/can-you-use-food-to-increase-glutathione-instead-of-supplements.aspx
http://glutathionepro.com/what-is-l-glutathione/
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-717-GLUTATHIONE.aspx?activeIngredientId=717&activeIngredientName=GLUTATHIONE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hufj2AIPxQ


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Hats Off to Maple Syrup For Its Many Health Benefits

by Heather Dale    SEPTEMBER 2, 2011

When you need a sweetener, what do you turn to? Honey, agave nectar, or maybe just plane ole sugar? I’m far from being this “freaky” eater, but my sweetener of choice is organic, Grade A maple syrup. Aside from smothering pancakes and waffles in this delicious brown syrup, maple syrup is a very versatile sweetener. I like adding it to yogurt, oatmeal, or apple sauce, but you can also use it in dressings for salads, in fish or chicken dishes, or in a granola parfait, or roast some almonds in maple syrup and spicy cinnamon for a light, healthy snack. These maple syrup recipe ideas are sure to inspire you.

Pure maple syrup tastes great, and it offers a myriad of health benefits. Here are just a few:

It’s an antioxidant powerhouse. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that maple syrup is filled with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may help prevent several chronic and inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. It also comes packed with phenolics — the beneficial antioxidant compounds in maple syrup — that may help diabetics keep their blood sugar levels balanced since phenolics inhibit the enzymes that are involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar.


Here are more reasons why it’s good for us.

It settles digestion issues. Try swapping out sugar in baked-good recipes for maple syrup, and you may find that the usual gas and bloating you normally experience after consuming processed sweeteners is no longer an issue. If you do replace sugar with maple syrup, just be sure to reduce the amount of liquid the recipe calls for by about a half-cup.

It helps with muscle recovery. Real maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese, which helps repair muscle and cell damage; it also keeps bones strong and blood sugar levels normal.

It is filled with important nutrients. Maple syrup contains essential nutrients like zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium. Zinc not only supports reproductive health, but it also helps to keep your white blood cells up, which assist in the protection against colds and viruses.

As sweet as all of this sounds, keep in mind that at the end of the day, maple syrup is still just liquid sugar. Too much sugar intake can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, unhealthy blood levels of fat and cholesterol, and high blood pressure, so regardless of its health benefits, be sure to use maple syrup in moderation.


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10 Benefits and Uses For Miso

a Care2 favorite by Delia Quigley

I often introduce miso in my cooking classes or recommend its use for healing diets. As it is not a common American food staple, I often find that people are reluctant to pay for a tub of miso that will sit in the back of their refrigerator for most of eternity. Coming to embrace the benefits of serving miso soup on a daily basis can take time for some, unless it is a necessary part of a diet meant for healing purposes. Otherwise, what to do with the soybean paste with Japanese credentials?

Miso is a paste made from soybeans, sea salt, and koji (a mold starter), and often mixed with rice, barley or other grains. The mixture is allowed to ferment for 3 months to 3 years, which produces an enzyme-rich food. The binding agent zybicolin in miso is effective in detoxifying and eliminating elements that are taken into the body through industrial pollution, radioactivity and artificial chemicals in the soil and food system.

Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back approximately 2,500 years. Today, most of the Japanese population begins their day with a warm bowl of miso soup believed to stimulate the digestion and energize the body. When purchasing miso, avoid the pasteurized version and spend your money on the live enzyme-rich product, which is also loaded with beneficial microorganisms.

The 10 scientifically researched benefits of eating miso

1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.

3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.

5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).

6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.

7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.

10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.


Miso has a wonderful sweet/salty flavor that can be used in a wide variety of recipes. The color of miso can vary from light yellow, good to use in a sweet miso soup during warm weather, to a deep dark brown with earthy tones and hearty flavor, which can be cooked with cubed root vegetables, wakame sea vegetable and dark leafy greens during the colder months. When cooking with miso use just enough to enhance flavor and avoid overpowering the dish with a strong salty taste.

10 Ways to Use Miso in Recipes

1. Use light colored miso as a dairy substitute in place of milk, butter, and salt in creamed soups.

2. Puree with tofu and lemon juice in place of sour cream.

3. Blend light miso with vinegar, olive oil and herbs for salad dressing.

4. Use unpasteurized miso in marinades to help tenderize animal protein and breakdown vegetable fiber.

5. Use the dark rice or barley miso, thinned with cooking water as a sauce for water sauteed root vegetables or winter squash.

6. Use dark miso in a vegetable-bean casserole to supply plenty of high quality protein.

7. Make cheese for pizza and wraps with yellow miso and firm tofu.

8. Make a spread using white miso, peanut butter and apple juice to thin.

9. Make a pate with tofu, garlic, white miso, tahini, lemon juice and dulse flakes.

10. Add miso to dipping sauce for spring rolls, norimake rolls or raw vegetables.

Be careful not to get carried away and use miso in everything. Your body will respond to the excess salty taste with cravings for sweets, liquids and fruit. It is suggested that the amount of miso used should not exceed 2 teaspoons per person per day.

source: www.care2.com

 


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Chia Seeds – The Miracle Food

Posted By admin On Sunday, September 29, 2013  

Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is a blooming plant that belongs to the family Lamiaceae ( mint ).

It is believed to have originated in southern Mexico and Central America, where the seed played an important role in the diet of the Mayans and Aztecs .

Chia Seeds Nutrition Facts

Nowadays, the popularity of chia seeds grows due to its high nutritional value. Chia seed is a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber.

Chia contains 5 times more calcium than milk, three times more iron than spinach, 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries  and 2 times more potassium than bananas.

In addition to that, chia seed is the richest source of essential fatty acids such as omega -3 and omega – 6.

By adding just two tablespoons of chia seeds into your daily diet you will provide about 7 grams of the recommended daily dose of fiber, 4 grams of proteins, 5 grams of omega -3 fatty acids, 18 % of the recommended daily dose of calcium, 35 % phosphorus, 24 % of magnesium, and 50 % of manganese.


Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

As partof the healthy diet regime, Chia seeds can help encouraging the immune and reproductive system, preventing cardiovascular disease by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and high blood pressure.

A study done at the hospital St.Mihail in Toronto showed that participants who regularly ate chia seeds have a significant reduction of the blood pressure. Chia seeds can help patients with diabetes to utilize insulin more efficiently.

Eating Chia before meals reduces appetite, gives a feeling of satiety, increases the level of energy, which is the main reason why the seed is so popular for people who try to lose weight.

Incorporating chia seeds into your diet (on a regular basis), helps not only your physical health but your mental health as well. Studies show that chia seeds help patients with bipolar disorder and also in reducing depression and other negative feelings.

Chia seeds doesn’t have taste, but if you combine it with other food products you will get not only delicious, but also a visual delight.

It can be consumed raw or sprinkled on smoothie or juice, cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables.

Here is one healthy and natural energy Chia drink that you must try!

Chia Fresca

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 fresh lemon (squeezed) or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
  • healthy sweetener to taste

Mix well the lemonade and the stevia, add chia seeds and stir nicely. Then allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Chia seeds will absorb the water and become jelly-like.
Relax and enjoy ! 


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10+ Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati    October 9, 2013
  
October, November and December are all prime pumpkin months in the U.S. and soon enough, people will be carving up pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, homemade pies and pumpkin bakes! But before you prepare your pumpkin as a decoration, dessert or dinner, remember to save your seeds. If you simply scoop out and compost your pumpkin/squash seeds you could be throwing out a heap of great nutrients and their inherent plant-based health benefits.

Vitamins, minerals and other important phytonutrients in pumpkin seeds*:

–   Manganese
–   Tryptophan
–   Magnesium
–   Phosphorus
–   Copper
–   Zinc
–   Iron

* Pumpkin seeds are either an excellent or very good source of all of these nutrients and vitamins. There are many other nutrients, minerals and vitamins present in pumpkin seeds that are not listed here.

 

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:

Tryptophan: Helps fight depression (converted into serotonin and niacin).

Glutamate (needed to create GABA): Anti-stress neurochemical, helps relieve anxiety and other related conditions.

Zinc: Boosts immune function and fights osteoporosis.

Phytosterols: Reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and raise HDL (the good kind). May also be effective in the prevention of cancer.


Rich in Antioxidants: Pumpkin seeds have a diverse range of antioxidants in them. These include, but are not limited to:

-Vitamins: Pumpkin seeds contain E in a variety of forms: Alpha-tocomonoenol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol and gamma-tocomonoenol. Having so many forms of Vitamin E in one food is beneficial because some of the forms of Vitamin E are more bioavailable than others.

– Minerals: Pumpkin seeds also contain mineral antioxidants like zinc and manganese.

– Phenolic antioxidants: Pumpkin seeds include phenolic antioxidants like the following acids: hydroxybenzoic, ferulic, protocatechuic, caffeic, coumaric, sinapic, vanillic, and syringic acid.

– Other antioxidant phytonutrients: Pumpkin seeds contain beneficial lignans including: lignans pinoresinol, lariciresinol and medioresinol.

Antimicrobial Properties: According to whfoods.com, “Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil have long been valued for their anti-microbial benefits, including their anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Research points to the role of unique proteins in pumpkin seeds as the source of many antimicrobial benefits. The lignans in pumpkin seeds (including pinoresinol, medioresinol, and lariciresinol) have also been shown to have antimicrobial—and especially anti-viral— properties.”

Diabetes Support: Preliminary studies have suggested that ground pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil may improve insulin regulation and help protect the kidneys of those with diabetes.

Cancer Prevention: Because of pumpkin seeds’ rich antioxidant profile (and thus their potential to reduce oxidative stress) they may help decrease our risk of cancer. Preliminary studies have focused specifically on the lignans in pumpkin seeds, and their potential to reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Pumpkin seed extracts and oils are used in the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) (A non-cancer enlargement of the prostate gland). U.S. Studies have shown a beneficial link between nutrients in pumpkin seeds (pumpkin seed oil extract), and treating BPH. These nutrients include phytosterols, lignans, and zinc, among others.

Protein: Along with all the beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants in pumpkin seeds, they are also a rich source of protein! One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 9.35 grams of protein.

How to use pumpkin seeds:

–   With any nut or seed a little goes a long way (remember it contains the building blocks to create a whole new plant!)
–   Enjoy the whole kernels on their own, raw or lightly roasted. (This way you get the complete package of nutrients.)
–   Sprinkle some seeds on top of your cereal or granola in the morning.
–   Enjoy them with your evening salad.
–   Throw shelled seeds into a smoothie (as long as you have a good blender.)
–   Take a small handful of pumpkin seeds mixed with some dried fruit along for a hike.
–   Sprinkle on top of your homemade bread (or mix it into the dough) before baking.

There are many ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds, so experiment and enjoy!

Sources:   whfoods   Huffington Post   Wikipedia


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5 Natural Ways To Reduce Inflammation In Your Body

By Margaret Wertheim   May 3, 2013

Inflammation is associated with some of the worst health problems out there including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. While acute inflammation is a helpful process for the body when you have an injury such as cutting your finger or spraining your ankle, chronic inflammation is detrimental. Here are some easy ways to adjust your diet to decrease inflammation and improve your overall health:

1. Make sure to get your omega-3 fatty acids.

EPA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, fish oil, and algae-based supplements along with DHA, has anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed and walnuts provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which does not have anti-inflammatory properties until it’s converted by your body to EPA and only a very small amount of ALA gets converted. To truly reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it’s best to consume EPA directly by eating fish, taking fish oil, or an algae-based EPA and DHA supplement.

2. Avoid omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats.

Omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in the body through the production of inflammatory compounds. Most people eat way too many omega-6 fats, which you will find in corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils. Another type of pro-inflammatory fats are trans fats, found in any products with “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list. They are usually found in baked goods, shortening, and margarines.


3. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates contribute to elevated blood sugar and insulin levels, which may cause and exacerbate inflammation. In addition, sugar and refined carbs also contribute to weight gain and can make it more difficult to lose weight. Excess body fat is another major contributor to inflammation.

4. Eat antioxidant-rich foods.

Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can damage the cells of your body and create and contribute to chronic inflammation. Antioxidants are able to neutralize these free radicals to reduce inflammation. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E as well as the colorful pigments of fruits and vegetables.

5. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with several inflammatory and autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis, though it’s specific role has not yet be elucidated. The two main sources of vitamin D are the sun and food. Many people, especially those who live further away from the equator, don’t get much sun exposure especially during the winter. When you aren’t making enough vitamin D in your skin from sun exposure, make sure to include food food sources of vitamin D like fish and egg yolks and foods that are fortified with vitamin D like almond or coconut milk.