Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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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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25+ Vegan Sources of Calcium

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati    September 24, 2013

We have all been taught that calcium is an essential nutrient for maintaining bone health (although it has many other uses, including balancing body pH.) There are also a number of other factors that influence bone health, such as an individual’s level of physical activity.

What I want to talk about today though is the myth that animal milks (especially cheeses) are the optimal source of calcium.

As explained by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM):

“Although many people think of calcium in the diet as good protection for their bones, this is not at all the whole story. In fact, in a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. Similarly, a 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sydney, Australia, showed that higher dairy product consumption was associated with increased fracture risk. Those with the highest dairy product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.”

Calcium is an essential nutrient in our diet. But as you can see, not all calcium is equal. Did you know that although animal milks have calcium in them, they also leach calcium from the bones? (This helps explain the outcomes of the studies mentioned above). In fact, all animal proteins leach calcium from our bones!

“Animal protein tends to leach calcium from the bones, leading to its excretion in the urine. Animal proteins are high in sulfur-containing amino acids, especially cystine and methionine. Sulfur is converted to sulfate, which tends to acidify the blood. During the process of neutralizing this acid, bone dissolves into the bloodstream and filters through the kidneys into the urine. Meats and eggs contain two to five times more of these sulfur-containing amino acids than are found in plant foods” – PCRM

Other factors that influence calcium loss and bone health are:

–       Genetics
–       Possibly caffeine
–       Salt
–       Tobacco use
–       Physical inactivity
–       Lack of sun exposure

Another important note to make is about the amount of calcium we actually need on a daily basis:
“The World Health Organization recommends 400-500 milligrams of calcium per day for adults. American standards are higher, at 800 milligrams per day or even more, partly because the meat, salt, tobacco, and physical inactivity of American life leads to rapid calcium loss.” ~ PCRM

So the question remains: How do we get calcium in our diet without leaching calcium from our bones at the same time?
Plants!

There are plenty of calcium-rich plants to get this essential nutrient from. On the next page, I’ve provided a list of plant-based foods to start you off. This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a good mix of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains that are packed with calcium, demonstrating that it’s easy to reach a daily calcium intake anywhere from 400mg to 1000mg (depending on your calcium needs) solely using plant sources.


Whole Food Sources:
Plant (Serving Size, mg of Calcium)

–       Collard greens, cooked (1 cup, 357)
–       Figs, dried (10 medium, 269)*
–       Soybeans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt (1 cup, 261)
–       Turnip greens, cooked (1 cup, 249)
–       Tempeh (1 cup, 184)
–       Kale, cooked (1 cup, 179)
–       Bok choy, cooked (1 cup, 158)
–       Mustard greens, cooked (1 cup, 152)
–       Okra, cooked (1 cup, 135)
–       Navy beans, cooked (1 cup, 126)
–       Almonds, whole (1/4 cup, 94)
–       Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt (1 cup, 80)
–       Oranges, All commercial varieties (1 cup sections, 72)
–       Broccoli, cooked (1 cup, 62)
–       Papayas, raw (1 cup mashed, 46)

Fortified or Packaged:
(Food, Serving Size, mg of Calcium)

–   Tofu, raw, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate. (1/2 cup, 861)
–   Blackstrap molasses (2 Tbsp, 400)
–   Oatmeal, instant (2 packets, 326)
–   Tofu, soft-regular processed with nigari (4 oz, 130-400)
–   Tofu, soft-regular processed with calcium sulfate* (4 oz, 200-420)
–   Soy or rice milk, commercial, calcium-fortified, plain     (8 oz, 200-300)
–   Other plant milks, calcium-fortified (8 oz, 300-500)
–   Calcium-fortified orange juice (8 oz 350)
–   Commercial soy yogurt, plain (6 oz, 300)
–   Tahini (2 Tbsp, 128)
–   Almond butter (2 Tbsp, 111)

Sources:
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24, 2011 and manufacturers’ information.
*J.A.T. Pennington, Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1994.)
Vegan SocietyHuffington PostNIH – Calcium Quick FactsT Colin Campbell T Colin Campbell

source: care2.com


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Why Calcium In Milk And Most Calcium Supplements Are A Huge Detriment To Your Health

by MARCO TORRES     August 21, 2013

Most people are unaware that pasteurized milk actually causes osteoporosis because there is a process the body must commit to due to milk’s calcium content being unabsorbed. The majority of calcium supplements on the market also contain inferior forms of the mineral which are also not absorbable and actually decrease the digestibility of other nutrients. 

The belief that calcium is what builds strong bones is absolutely ingrained in our society, but has no basis in reality-calcium is but ONE of the many minerals your body needs for building strong bones. Conventional calcium supplements have demonstrated little benefit, and they may increase your risk for a cardiovascular event. 

If you take too much Calcium (and to a slightly lesser degree, Magnesium) at once, it will cause your body pH to rise, which might try to change your blood pH, but your blood pH WILL NOT change because even a small change will kill you instantly! The body is quick to dump calcium & other minerals to check the rise in alkalinity, but where does the calcium go? 

A 2004 study showed that people with excess calcium in their coronary artery and who take statins have a 17-fold higher risk of heart attacks than do those with lower arterial calcium levels; researchers concluded that the two most definitive indicators of heart attack were LDL levels and calcium build-up.

A 2007 study showed that calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in postmenopausal women (Am J Clin Nutr 2007).

A 2008 study found calcium supplements are associated with a greater number of heart attacks in postmenopausal women (BMJ 2008) 

A 2010 meta-analysis showed calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with increased risk for heart attack (BMJ 2010) 

A recent randomised controlled study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, analysed the effect of calcium on joint symptoms in postmenopausal women – finding that intake of a supplement had no significant effect on the severity of joint symptoms.

Dr. Eldon Dahl has explained the importance in the following PreventDisease.com interview of sourcing supplements with formulations that contain ingredients that complement each other. 

Most supplements on the supplement market today contain calcium carbonate which is an inferior form of calcium and manufacturers attach a simple chelating agent like citric acid to make it more absorbable, however the end product is inferior to other calcium supplements such as calcium orotate, which is the only known form of calcium which can effectively penetrate the membranes of cells. 

Calcium and all minerals actually, are inorganic. Consequently, they are not easily absorbed. It’s required they be bound to some other substance (preferably organic) in order to be utilized at all. The inorganic salt, carbonate, neutralizes a required stomach acid. Among many key physiological requirements and ratios, stomach acid is desperately needed for absorption of ALL minerals.

With the support of medical research, the market has been flooded with calcium supplements, many which fail to take into consideration calcium metabolism. You have all heard the old saying, “You are what you eat.” In light of today’s food supplies, it may be more apropos to say “You are what you absorb.” A mineral that is not absorbed cannot get into the bones; it just floats in the blood stream and then forms deposits in the joints. The amount absorbed is more important than the quantity consumed.

The type of minerals in the formula determines the absorption levels: Opti-Cal/Mag with Vitamin K2 is a co-enzyme complex, heat-stabled molecules that must be associated with another enzyme for them to perform their function in the body. It is necessary in the utilization of vitamins and minerals for proper delivery to the cell nucleus. One study found that Opti-Cal/Mag complex is 8.79 times more absorbed into the blood than calcium carbonate and 2.97 times more than calcium gluconate. 

Another interesting study found that calcium from bone meal/powder is absorbed 1.13 times more than calcium carbonate, the variety found in most supplements. Clinical reports consistently confirm that dietary/food calcium in its more absorbable form benefits in the management of lowering blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Other health concerns from calcium deficiencies can contribute to muscle cramps, insomnia, mood/behavioral/nerve problems, hypertension, growth problems, kidney stones, and colon cancer. More recent research indicates that calcium also plays a role in preventing cancer by detoxifying potentially cancer-causing compounds in the bowel.


Dairy – One of The WORST Foods for Calcium Absorption 

Another fact most people are unaware of is the myth promoted by the dairy industry that consuming pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases calcium levels. This is totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process ACTUALLY CAUSES OSTEOPOROSIS. Milk definitively does not do a body good if it’s pasteurized.

Dairy contains too little magnesium needed at the proper ratio to absorb the calcium. Most would agree that a minimum amount of Mag in the Cal. to Mag Ratio is 2 to 1 and preferably 1 to 1. So milk, at a Cal/Mag ratio of 10 to 1, has a problem. You may put 1200 mg of dairy calcium in your mouth, but you will be lucky to actually absorb a third of it into your system

Consider, why is it that the elderly bent over double with osteoporosis even after they ate plenty of dairy and took the doctor recommended calcium supplements most of their adult life? Could it be that pharmaceutical conglomerates know that dairy (and most doctor recommended calcium supplements) are not a good source of calcium, but they tell you they are because they don’t really want the “calcium” to stave off osteoporosis…they would much rather sell you Fosamax instead.

6 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE CALCIUM ABSORPTION

1. Eat calcium rich foods
Eat foods high in calcium. The best food sources are non-pasteurized raw dairy sources such as raw milk/yogurt, as well as bony fish, such as sardines. Leafy green veg such as kale, broccoli and spinach are also rich in calcium. Dried herbs and dried fruits such as figs and currants are also good choices. Seeds such as sesame, chia and flax are also rich sources of calcium. Also, enjoy foods that contain sulfur such as garlic and onions.

2. Food selections/combinations are critical
Try not to eat whole grains and calcium-rich foods at the same time. Whole grains contain a substance that binds with calcium and prevents proper absorption. Some foods that contain compounds such as oxalic or phytic acids, such as sweet potatoes, beans, rhubarb, celery and beets, can also decrease the amount of calcium that’s absorbed when eaten at the same time as calcium-rich foods.

3. Avoid the causes of mineral excretion
Pass on phosphate-containing foods such as soft drinks. Phosphorus causes the body to excrete calcium. Limit or avoid high-protein animal foods. A diet high in protein causes calcium to be excreted from your body. Decrease caffeine consumption. People who smoke have significantly lower bone density, while drinking alcohol can also prevent your bones from absorbing the maximum nutrients from your food.

4. Get more Sunlight and Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Although some is found in oily fish, our main source comes from the effect of sunlight on your skin. It’s estimated that half of us have a deficiency because we don’t get outside enough or because we always use sunblock. It is especially important to maximize sun exposure between May and September to keep vitamin D levels topped up. Just 10 minutes of sunlight a day on bare arms and your face can cut your risk of bone fractures by a third. A half hour exposing your torso is equivalent to roughly 10,000 units of Vitamin D.

5. The right exercise
Another vital way to boost your bones is weight-bearing exercise –basically anything that has you upright and using your body weight. Good choices include squatting, rope skipping, aerobics, plyometrics, dancing or brisk walking. “Research shows that if you don’t exercise you end up weeing out all the calcium you take in instead of storing it in your bones,” warns Professor Dawn Skelton, an aging and health specialist at Glasgow Caledonian University. “Ideally we should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. “Put simply, the more hours we spend on our feet, the fewer bone breakages we should have in later life.”

6. Avoid Medications and Medical Therapies
Acid-blocking medications used for heartburn and other gastrointestinal conditions can block the absorption of calcium through the stomach walls. Stomach acids break down food during the digestive process, allowing the nutrients to become absorbed into your body. Medications designed to stop acid production or decrease the amount of acids present in your stomach can have a negative effect on calcium. 

Sources:
drbenkim.com  
life-choice.net  
health.gov  

Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.


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The 5 Most Prominent Minerals In The Body and Their Use

by Fiora Stevens on August 5, 2013

Health conscious people often talk about getting enough vitamins and minerals, but do you know which minerals your body requires in the greatest amounts? And do you know what they do, and how they keep your body working in tip top shape? Let’s take a look at the five most prominent minerals in the human body, and how they lend themselves to health and proper function.

1. Calcium
If you see calcium and think “strong bones,” you’re certainly on the right track – but that’s not all calcium does! In addition to helping build and maintain the strength and structure of bones and teeth, calcium also plays a significant role in blood clotting, sending signals in the nervous system, regulating blood pressure, hormone secretion, and enzyme function.

Calcium also works with countless other vitamins and minerals to ensure that they can do their jobs to the fullest effect. Plus, calcium helps the body to excrete any lead that it takes in, aiding in the avoidance of lead poisoning.

2. Sodium
Often, not taking in too much sodium is the focus of many healthy eating plans. But although too much sodium can be harmful, this mineral is very much a necessity for the human body. One of the most important uses of sodium is to ensure that the body’s fluid balance stays in check, and that each individual cell has just the right amount of fluid inside it to function properly. Sodium is also a key factor in sending signals from one nerve to another, as well as helping muscles to contract and release.

3. Chloride
Chloride is absolutely crucial to the human body, yet, it’s not a mineral we hear much about. Acting in concert with sodium, chloride is a key factor in preserving fluid balance throughout the body and helping fluids to move in and out of cells and tissues. Chloride is also incredibly important in ensuring that the body’s pH level stays within a safe range. Finally, chloride ions work to send electrical impulses down nerve pathways.

 


4. Potassium
Like sodium and chloride, potassium is an electrolyte that regulates the body’s fluid levels, as well as the transportation of those fluids. And like sodium and chloride, potassium plays a major role in nerve signal transmission due to its electrical charge.
The contraction, flexing, and releasing of muscles is also reliant on potassium working in tandem with sodium. In addition, potassium can help prevent kidney stones, and levels of potassium that are too low have been tied to high blood pressure.

5. Phosphorus
This all-important mineral is found in every single cell. Phosphorus is a key component of the underlying structure of DNA, and also helps form the cell membranes that control what can and cannot enter an individual cell. Like calcium, phosphorus lends its strength to teeth and bones. Phosphorus also helps individual cells to convert food into energy, and is also a major player in the systems that maintain a balanced pH within the body.

Sources:
http://web.mit.edu/athletics/sportsmedicine/wcrminerals.html
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/minerals-and-their-functions-and-sources
http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/glossary=chlorideion
http://www.mayoclinic.org/mcitems/mc5100-mc5199/mc5129-0709-sp-rpt.pdf


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The Dangers Of Dairy

BY DR. AMY MYERS      APRIL 10, 2013 
All those “Got Milk?” ads from the last decade or so would have us believe that dairy is a cornerstone of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients, fortifying our bones, and knocking out osteoporosis left and right. But… is this true? Is consuming dairy necessary or even healthy for most people?

The truth is, dairy can lead to countless health issues and, for many, can cause more harm than good, here’s why. 
It’s highly inflammatory. 
Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods in our modern diet, second only to gluten. It causes inflammation in a large percentage of the population, resulting in digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as other symptoms including acne, and a stronger presentation of autistic behaviors. 
What is it about dairy that causes an inflammatory response? Is everyone with a dairy sensitivity lactose intolerant? There are two components of dairy that tend to cause issues for people: (1) the sugar and (2) the proteins. 
People who are lactose intolerant don’t produce the lactase enzyme, which is required to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk, causing digestive issues whenever they consume dairy products. People who do produce the lactase enzyme but still react poorly to milk are responding to the two proteins found in milk, casein and whey. Casein is a protein with a very similar molecular structure to gluten and 50% of people who are gluten intolerant are casein intolerant as well.
It’s acid-forming. 
Our bodies like to maintain a neutral pH balance: not too much acidity, not too much alkalinity. Milk, like most animal products, is an acid forming food, meaning whenever you consume dairy, your body must compensate for the increased acidity in order to restore a neutral pH balance.
It does this by pulling from the alkaline “reserves” it keeps on hand in the form of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that are stored in your bones. Pulling from these reserves weakens your bones, leaving them more susceptible to fractures and breaks, meaning milk might not be such a great preventative tool against osteoporosis as we’re told. In fact, research has shown that countries with the highest rate of dairy consumption also have the highest rate of osteoporosis.


It’s often full of hormones and antibiotics
Many times when people drink milk they’re consuming far more than just milk. American dairy farmers have long been injecting cows with a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH to increase milk production. This forced increase in milk production often leads to an udder infection in cows called mastitis, which is then treated with courses of antibiotics, which can make their way into your dairy products.
All of these concerns about the health benefits and safety of dairy can lead to even more questions. Is all dairy bad, are alternative sources of dairy any better? Where will I get my calcium if not from dairy? Let’s take a look at these: 
What about goat’s milk and sheep’s milk?
Some people who choose to eliminate cow’s milk from their diet still enjoy goat’s or sheep’s milk, as they find it much easier to tolerate. Although these have a similar lactose content to cow’s milk (meaning if you are lactose intolerant, they will not be any easier to digest) they do have a different type of casein protein, which makes them easier for casein-sensitive people to handle.
Casein exists in two variants, A1 beta-casein and A2 beta-casein, which are differentiated only by a single amino acid in their protein chains. A2 is considered the original beta-casein because A1 only appeared a few thousand years ago after a mutation occurred in European cow herds, and people react poorly to the A1 beta-casein. Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk lack the A1 beta-casein, which is what makes them more tolerable, but because the A1 and A2 proteins are so similar, these milks can still cause problems for some.
What about organic or raw milk?
If you aren’t casein sensitive, and still want to consume cow’s milk, a healthier and less-chemical laden route to go can be organic or raw milk. These kinds of milk typically come from cows that have not been injected with rGBH and have not been treated with antibiotics, which eliminates the concern that these chemicals will find their way into your milk.
Raw milk, although contentiously debated, does have many health benefits that pasteurized milk lacks. The pasteurizing process, which is intended to kill harmful bacteria, kills many of the helpful enzymes that occur naturally in milk as well. In fact, one of the enzymes present in raw milk that is missing in pasteurized milk is the lactase enzyme, meaning people who are lactose intolerant are actually able to drink raw milk because it contains the enzyme needed to break down lactose their body is unable to produce.
What should you do if you think you’re sensitive to dairy? 
Ultimately the decision of whether or not to consume dairy rests with you. Try eliminating 100% of dairy from your diet for 30 days and pay attention to how your body reacts. Then try reintroducing dairy in its different forms and sources and notice how you respond.
If you do decide to eliminate dairy, fear not, there are plenty of other natural sources of calcium you can incorporate into your diet!
10 Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium
  1. Almonds
  2. Kale
  3. Oranges
  4. Collard Greens
  5. Broccoli
  6. Figs
  7. Spinach
  8. Enriched rice, almond, hemp and coconut milks
  9. Sesame seeds
  10. Tofu


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Prostate cancer linked to high intake of protein and calcium from dairy

Monday, April 29, 2013   by: PF Louis

  
(NaturalNews) The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPICN) is a multicenter meta-epidemiological (broad statistical survey) study designed to assess cancer risks by investigating past and current relationships between diet, lifestyle, environmental factors and cancer among a large population of different EU nations.

EPICN had a pool of 500,000 men and women recruited from 28 centers in 10 European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK) for several studies involving different cancers and groups with different lifestyles and diets.

A UK sub-study isolated 142,251 men from this vast pool, excluding Norway and France. Both of those nations had only women in the study. The men were recruited between 1989 and 2004 with a median age of 52, mostly white Europeans from the eight nations that had men in the EPICN cohort (group of similar types).

During recruitment, this male group taken from the EPICN required consentual access to medical records, no history or diagnosis of cancer proven by medical records, and were able to complete questionnaires on their diet, lifestyle and medical history.

Men in the top one percent and bottom one percent of the institutionally recommended caloric intake were excluded from this study in order to remove wide variances from their statistical analysis.

The UK study

The UK study, “Animal foods, protein, calcium and prostate cancer risk: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition” study was completed in March 2007 and its paper was published in the British Journal of Cancer in April 2008.

Animal foods for those in the study included total meat and meat products with their subcategories, fish and shellfish with their subcategories, and dairy products, including milk, yoghurt, cheese, and eggs. Food amounts were measured in grams.

It had already been hypothesized that a high intake of animal protein enhanced growth hormone activity to increase the risk of prostate cancer. Some non-clinical studies showed a strong correlation with milk to higher incidents of prostate cancer with the hypothesis that high calcium intake from dairy products inhibits the synthesis of vitamin D.

After an average of 8.7 years of follow-up, 2,727 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer among the 142,520 participants. The UK did not find a direct association with milk alone to prostate cancer, as other studies seemed to have suggested.

But they determined that protein from milk products, cheese, yoghurt, and others was a strong factor among those whose daily consumption exceeded the recommended daily amount by 35 grams (1.2 ounces) daily.

Calcium from dairy products was associated with prostate cancer risk as well, but not calcium from other foods. In the researchers’ opinion, their results support the hypothesis that a high intake of protein or calcium from dairy products may increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Opinion Despite statistical machinations to offset extraneous factors and with just under a 2 percent prostate cancer outcome among 142,500 men over several years of monitoring, one wonders how this can be so conclusive.

One may question if dairy products, especially dairy products from raw milk, increase the risk of prostate cancer. Raw milk dairy product intake was not considered in this study.

One thing is for certain, this study kept several researchers busily employed for a few years.

Sources for this study includes:


source: NaturalNews


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Are You Getting Enough Calcium?

Diana Herrington    May 29, 2013

We all grew up hearing that calcium and milk products were essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Now, one in two women over the age of fifty will break a bone because of osteoporosis! It’s only reasonable to wonder: Am I getting enough calcium?

Discover the benefits of calcium, the symptoms of calcium deficiency, how to get calcium into your body from typical and vegetarian sources and how to keep it in.

Benefits and Facts of Calcium

  • It is the most abundant mineral in the body.
  • 99 percent of your calcium is in your bones. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Your body uses your bones as a calcium storehouse, withdrawing it through your bloodstream when it’s needed for other parts of the body.
  • Other parts of the body that use calcium include nerves, brain, muscles and heart.
  • Calcium is necessary for specific hormone functions.
  • Calcium is a co-enzyme necessary for clotting.
  • Many plants have more calcium per gram than any animal product – including milk.
  • Even fruits like the common orange and kiwi, along with their many health benefits, contain calcium.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency

  • Muscle cramping–-especially at night.
  • Dry skin and brittle nails.
  • Increased PMS symptoms.
  • Bone fracture or breakage. This is a severe symptom, but unfortunately, for many people, it is the first way they find out that they have weak or thin bones.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?

Government recommendations are 1,000 mg per day for women 19-50, 1,300 for boys and girls 9-18 and 1,200 for older men and women.
Growing children certainly do have higher needs for calcium, but before you go rushing out to buy calcium supplements or a jug of milk, consider these facts:

  • In China, where for thousands of years they didn’t even have a word for osteoporosis, the average peasant farmer lives a very healthy life with just 250 mgs/day of calcium.
  • Northern countries that have the highest levels of calcium consumption from dairy products have the highest levels of osteoporosis.
  • One Harvard study tracking 78,000 nurses found that nurses who drank 2 or more glasses of milk per day had 46% higher chance of hip fracture than those who drank one glass or less.
  • Standard calcium supplements (from elemental sources like limestone) have been linked with higher rates of heart attacks.
  • Many studies have shown that taking calcium supplements has no effect on fracture occurrence.
  • Individuals whose protein is mostly animal based have twenty times or more hip fractures as individuals who consume a more plant based protein.

So How Do I Get Healthy Bones?

1. Consume a plant based diet of calcium-rich food.

Plant based diets have vitamin K and other nutrients necessary for calcium absorption.
Leafy vegetables that contain vitamin K, like kale, spinach, broccoli and cabbage also contain calcium!

This is a list the Top Dairy-Free Calcium-Rich Foods.

2.  Consume a diet that is balanced for Acid/alkaline.

The reason northern populations who eat more meat have poor bone health is because animal protein is much more acidic than plant proteins. Generally, their whole their diet is too acidic.

An acidic body will rob the alkaline mineral calcium from the bones in order to balance the acid in the blood and tissues.

The body is therefore slowly leaching away its own calcium and weakening the bones even though there might be plenty of calcium in the diet.

3. You Don’t Have to Eat Dairy Products

Cheeses, although they have the highest levels of calcium foods (see list) are also some of the most acid forming foods.

Our food sensitivity testing over 20 years with over 20,000 tests indicates that most individuals experienced decreased energy levels when consuming milk products. This decrease in vitality shows is eventually linked to a number of health concerns, including bone health.

Many health experts question the quality of our homogenized and commercially produced milk. We are now wondering whether adults should even be drinking milk at all.

4. Go For Walks or Runs in The Big Outdoors

Vitamin D from sunshine is essential for calcium absorption.

Regular weight-training exercise gives signals to the bones that they need to be stronger. The body is smart and responds!

Exercise has been shown to decrease every degenerative disease, as long as it is not too strenuous.

5. Don’t Smoke.

Smoking along with destroying almost every aspect of your body also happens to be in the top 10 risk factors for osteoporosis.

6.  Avoid Junk Food–Especially Sodas

Almost all junk foods are acidic–particularly soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid.
Teenage girls who consume the most soda have five times the fractures of those who consume the least.

Junk foods contain excessive amounts of sodium which has been shown to reduce calcium levels in the body.

7. Eat more vegetables and fewer grains.

38 percent of the average North American’s acidic load comes from grains, and most of that comes from wheat. Until you master the skills of choosing grains and proteins that are more alkaline-–a simple solution is to reduce wheat and increase vegetables.

In our testing we almost never find wheat is healthy for an individual.

Many individuals find that by reducing gluten grains from their diet, their overall health improves. When the whole body is functioning more smoothly,  it is better able to manage bone health.

8. Skip the Calcium Supplements

If a supplement is not whole food-based, and very carefully processed, it will not be digested by the body and may even cause imbalance.

Calcium supplements have been linked to increased risk for heart attacks and little reduction in fractures.

source: care2.com


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Blackstrap Molasses Health Benefits

By Sarabeth Asaff

Blackstrap molasses is the byproduct of the sugar refining process. It is produced from the third boiling of the sugar, and is therefore thicker and more nutrient rich than molasses made from the first or second boiling. Blackstrap molasses has a bittersweet taste, reminiscent of gingerbread, and contains many health benefits as well.

Four Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is one of the few sweeteners that are actually good for you. Unlike refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, blackstrap contains several important nutrients.

Minerals to Boost Energy
In addition to being a simple carbohydrate, which can be quickly converted to energy, blackstrap molasses also contains high levels of iron, manganese and copper, all of which can translate into an energy boost for those with low iron levels. Menstruating and lactating women in particular are at danger of having lower levels of iron, which can lead to fatigue. Blackstrap molasses is one way to help correct an iron deficiency.

Calcium for Strong Bones
If you have trouble taking in enough servings of dairy to help provide you with enough calcium, blackstrap molasses can be a helpful addition to your diet. Just two teaspoons of blackstrap will give you nearly 12 percent of your daily need for calcium, as well as some magnesium, which is needed to help absorb the calcium properly.

Improved Sleep
Blackstrap molasses contains several nutrients that are linked to better sleep, such as calcium, magnesium and B-6. It also has a high glucose count, which has been tied to higher tryptophan levels; the natural chemical that makes you feel tired. A high glucose, rather than sucrose, count may also help to boost serotonin levels in the brain, leading to better sleep.


Gray Hair Reversal
While there is no scientific research to back this up, many people take one to two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses everyday as a cure for gray hair. The theory is that the high copper levels in the molasses help to stimulate melanin production and re-pigment the hair. Success has been reported in as little as two to three weeks after beginning the regimen.

Supplementing With Blackstrap Molasses

The amount of blackstrap molasses you will need to take each day will be directly impacted by the results you want to get. Take the molasses in the following quantities to get the desired results:

  • As an iron supplement: Take one tablespoon daily
  • As a calcium supplement: Take two teaspoons daily
  • To help improve sleep: Take one to two tablespoons nightly
  • To help reverse gray hair: Take one to two tablespoons daily

Cautions to Consider

While blackstrap molasses does contain more minerals than ordinary table sugar, it is still a high-calorie simple sugar, which can produce a blood sugar spike. Like all sugars, it should be used in moderation, in conjunction with a healthy diet.

When purchasing blackstrap molasses, be sure to look for products that are made of 100 percent molasses, with no added corn syrup or fillers. Whenever possible, look for blackstrap molasses that is unsulfured, rather than molasses made with sulfur. Sulfur is used to ripen green sugarcanes, and the excess can be found in molasses made from green sugarcanes. Look for unsulfured molasses whenever possible to avoid potential health concerns from ingesting sulfur.

Add Blackstrap Molasses to a Healthy Diet

Using blackstrap molasses in place of ordinary sugar can be a natural way to help increase your intake of vitamins and minerals on an everyday basis. If you suspect that you suffer from anemia or another health condition, make sure you speak to your doctor before beginning a regiment of blackstrap molasses. Add blackstrap molasses to your normal healthy diet to see what benefits it may bring to you.


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10 Foods High in Calcium

By Dr. Edward F. Group III DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
Guest Writer for Wake Up World     20th February 2013

We all know that we need adequate amounts of calcium in our diet for strong bones and teeth. And while most people associate calcium with the consumption of cow’s milk, although recent research reveals a different story. Although homogenized and pasteurized milk does have high amounts of this important mineral it is not well absorbed or utilized in the body, milk products also often contain high levels of toxins, such as bovine growth hormones and antibiotics. The good news is that there are many other great foods high in calcium that are easy to incorporate into your daily diet. I must note however that raw organic goat or cow milk is a good source of calcium.

1. Sesame Seeds
These white little seed-wonders are very high in calcium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. Raw sesame seeds possess almost 1000 mg of calcium per 100g serving. Tahini butter, a popular sesame seed-based nut butter has 426mg per 100g serving.

2. Chia Seeds
Many people are unaware that chia seeds are very high in calcium (as well as the beneficial Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids needed for health). A 3.5 ounce serving can provide about 631mg of calcium.

3. Dark Leafy Greens
From greens to spinach to kale, getting our calcium from dark green leafy vegetables is a an excellent health choice. Spinach ranks very high in calcium, with 56mg of calcium per cup. A 100g serving of collards packs a 145 mg calcium punch. One cup of steamed bok choy has around 158 mg of the mineral. Kale ranks in with 139mg of calcium and the spicy mustard green has 103mg of calcium per 100g serving.


4. Quinoa
A light and healthy whole grain, one cup of cooked quinoa offers approximately 60-100 mg of calcium, not to mention a high amount of potassium, zinc and protein.

5. Blackstrap Molasses
This is an excellent sweetener for teas and baked goods. High in multiple vitamins and minerals, one tablespoon of this thick dark molasses will give you 172 mg of your daily calcium needs. Try it in your morning cup of organic tea or coffee.

6. Oranges
One cup of freshly-squeezed organic orange juice offers approximately 72 mg of calcium. Not to mention plenty of vitamin c, which will significantly improve the amount of calcium your body absorbs. Besides vitamin c and calcium, oranges are also a great source for potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene.

7. Beans
Many common beans are high in calcium. Winged beans possess 442mg of calcium per 100g serving. Many white beans are very high in calcium. Most white beans have approximately 175mg of calcium per serving. Navy beans are also a great source of calcium, with 127 mg per cup. These beans make an excellent soup base, when our bones most need the support of calcium.

8. Broccoli
One cup of these green florets offers approximately 74 mg of calcium, along with 120mg of Vitamin C which will help your body absorb the calcium. Broccoli also contains a high amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate and dietary fiber.

9. Dried Fruits & Nuts
Many dried fruits are high in calcium. In fact, eating five dried figs per day gives you 135 mg of calcium. Almonds are also extremely high in calcium. Raw, or ground into nut butter, almonds hold 266mg of calcium per 100g.

10. Dried Herbs
Who would have thought that adding dried herbs to your dishes would increase your calcium intake? Dried savory spice holds a whopping 2132mg of calcium per 100g serving. Other dried herbs that are calcium rich include dill, basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley and rosemary.


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10 great calcium-rich foods

Boost your bone health with these tasty foods
By Cary Galloway

According to the Osteoporosis Society of Canada, there are 1.4 million Canadians who suffer from osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease that leaves bones fragile and susceptible to fractures. You may know that calcium is a big factor in prevention, but how much do you really need and which foods deliver sufficient calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong?

Women between the ages of 19-50 need 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and women over 50 should be striving for 1,500 mg, according to The Osteoporosis Society of Canada. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually fairly easy to reach your recommended daily intake if you choose the right foods. We’ve all been told that milk is the best source of calcium and, according to Health Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, adults should consume 2-4 servings of dairy per day, but if you’re intolerant to dairy products or simply want to get calcium from other sources, read on:

10 great calcium sources

1. Sardines
My dad’s favourite snack has always been a sardine sandwich and, as a kid, I would turn my nose up and think he was crazy. But Dad was on the right track because 3-1/2 oz. of sardines provide the body with 370 mg of calcium. That’s more than one cup of milk. Sardines should be eaten with their soft bones because the bones hold up to 50 per cent of the calcium of the fish.

2. Yogurt
Not only does yogurt provide you with beneficial bacterial cultures, which keep your immune system strong and your digestive tract healthy, it also provides a whopping 300 mg of calcium per 3/4 cup serving.

3. Salmon
Salmon has been praised for its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s also a powerhouse when it comes to calcium. 3 oz. of salmon (with bones) delivers 180 mg of calcium and is a delicious alternative to chicken or meat for those nice summer barbeques.

4. Blackstrap molasses
There’s something comforting about some warm gingerbread with a nice cup of tea. It’s also comforting to know that the molasses that’s gone into the recipe contains 170 mg of calcium per serving. 


5. Amaranth
Amaranth is one of the newest grains to hit health-food shelves, even though it’s been around for a while. You will see it in various cereals and crackers, but it’s even more delicious and nutritious when it’s made fresh at home. A 1/2 cup provides the body with 150 mg of calcium, and it’s a great alternative to pasta or rice when used as a side dish.

6. Tofu
Tofu is a great alternative to chicken or beef in stir-fries, and is delicious when marinated in your favourite flavours. 3-1/2 oz. of tofu contains 125 mg of calcium and it’s also packed with isoflavones, which bring an abundance of health benefits your way.

7. Beans
Beans are good any time of year, whether in soup, a refreshing salad, comforting chili or on their own and they’re a great way to add fibre, protein and calcium to your diet. Whether you choose white beans, navy beans, chickpeas or another favourite, you’ll obtain anywhere from 60-100 mg of calcium per 1/2 cup serving.

8. Almonds
Whether eaten alone, thrown in a salad or used as a crust on chicken or fish, almonds are one of the tastiest ways to reach your recommended daily intake of calcium. A handful (1/4 cup) of almonds contains 95 mg of calcium and are also a great source of fibre, protein and monounsaturated fats.

9. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds bring so much flavour to any dish, especially when they’re roasted. They add a nice finish to any plate and are a fast and easy way to get some extra calcium. One tablespoon contains 90 mg of calcium, so next time you’re about to indulge in your favourite dinner, sprinkle a tablespoon or two on top.

10. Turnip greens
Here’s another great reason to add greens to your plate. Boiled turnip greens contain 95 mg of calcium per 1/2 cup serving, and okra, bok choy and broccoli follow with 35 to 50 mg per serving. Steam, roast or simply toss them into your next stir-fry and your bones will thank you.

It’s also important to remember that regular consumption of red meat; salt, caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats and carbonated soft drinks reduce or inhibit calcium absorption. Everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb, but if you follow this list, you’re on the right path to getting your daily dose of calcium.

Cary Galloway is a registered nutritional consulting practitioner (RNCP) and a certified nutritional practitioner. She has been working in the health field since 2001 when she obtained a degree in kinesiology and health promotion from Acadia University. Cary uses her knowledge in health, wellness and nutrition to provide guidance to individuals who want to improve their health.