Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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7 Food Ingredients That Are Destroying Your Mood

BY LINDSEY SMITH – AUGUST 9, 2013 

Food not only affects your waistline, but it can also affect how you think, act and feel emotionally. Many foods or food additives we consume can wreak major havoc on our nervous system, resulting in moodiness, fatigue, anxiety and even depression. The tiniest hidden traces of these mood-wrecking foods can leave you feeling down. Know what foods to look for to ensure your mood isn’t compromised.

White flour
The fact that white flour is bad for your health isn’t necessarily groundbreaking nutrition information. However, this powdery white substance also sneaks its way into foods like soups and salad dressing by acting as a thickening agent. Because of its empty calories and high blood glucose content, even a small amount can cause mood swings and hunger pains. 

Rule of thumb: If it’s white, don’t take a single bite. Instead, choose 100% whole grains or gluten-free options.

FD & C Red No. 40
This food dye is one of the most commonly used dyes. Its sole purpose is to make food colorful and enhance the flavor, and it’s hidden in everything from frosting and chips to sports drinks and fruit snacks. However, don’t let the bright color or tastes fool you: this additive is linked to hypersensitivity and ADHD among children and adults. 

Rule of thumb: Don’t be misled, stay away from RED. Ensure even your favorite organic snacks are free and clear of this harmful dye.

Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils are processed oils that are used by manufacturers to extend the shelf life of products. Hydrogenated oils are also responsible for creating trans fat in foods. Trans fat is shown to increase cholesterol levels and increase weight since your body has to work extra hard to digest it. It can also cause brain fog and severe moodiness.  

Rule of thumb: The shorter the expiration date, the better for your weight. (And your happiness!) Opt for products that expire within a week or two. And always choose healthy oils like organic coconut oil or organic extra virgin olive oil.


Aspartame
Aspartame is an ingredient used to sweeten “sugar-free” products on the market. While you might think you’re doing yourself a favor by skipping the sugar, you might want to think twice. Aspartame is a chemical that has been shown to cause headaches, digestive issues and even seizures. 

Rule of thumb: If it says sugar free, it most likely means hazardous chemical concoction. Instead, sweeten foods with 100% raw cane sugar, coconut sugar or raw honey.

FD & C Yellow No. 5
Our bodies aren’t meant to process chemicals, and that certainly applies to this one. Yellow no. 5 is a food dye most commonly found in cookies, soft drinks and even gum. If a product contains high quantities of yellow food dye, it can give food or drinks a yellowish glow. This food dye has been linked to asthma, allergic reactions and mood disorders. 

Rule of thumb: If it contains yellow, say hell NO! Always take caution before eating foods or candies that are extremely colorful, as they’re more likely to contain food dyes.

Monosodium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is commonly used in packaged foods to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. Many products like chips, soups and frozen meals contain MSG. Consuming even small amounts of this ingredient can lead to light-headedness, nausea, feelings of anxiety and weakness. 

Rule of thumb: If it contains MSG, it’s no good to me! (or my body!) But be careful; the FDA doesn’t require MSG to be listed as an ingredient. Always choose products that are organic or labeled “MSG Free.”

Sugar
Sugar is hidden in almost every processed and packaged food, including chips, sauces, fruit juices, cereals and energy bars. Sugar is often disguised by one of its many names: dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, lactose and sucrose. Eating foods that are high in sugar can contribute to health issues such as diabetes, thyroid issues, depression and weight gain. 

Rule of thumb: When sugar is a main ingredient, opt for a sweet fruit as a supplement. If you really have a fix for something sweet, opt for a healthier version of your favorite treat.


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The Ancient Chia Seed – How it Can Benefit Your Health

By Charlotte Bradley


You have probably heard how important it is to get enough essentials fatty acids (EFAs) in your diet. Some good food sources containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include fish, shellfish, flax seeds, leafy green vegetables and walnuts. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to obtain enough of these fatty acids on a daily basis. Recently, an ancient seed has regained popularity due to its high nutritional value.

You may know Chia as the sprouts that grow on the porous clay figurines called Chia Pets, however there is much more to it than that! Chia has both nutritional and medicinal benefits. The seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids and are a great addition to a healthy diet.

My introduction to Chia seeds came a few weeks ago when a friend brought me some Chia seed chocolate pudding form the local health food store. It had the texture of tapioca and was quite delicious. The pamphlet touted the many health benefits and curious, I was insired to look further into this interesting seed.

Chia is a member of the mint family. The seeds are either white or black and both types are highly nutritious. Originally grown in Mexico and the Southwest between 1500 and 910 B.C., Chia seeds were an important part of the Aztec and Mayan diet. Aztec warriors used Chia as their main source of fuel during conquests. Medicinally, they also used it to relieve joint pain and stimulate saliva. Although once a major crop in Mexico, it was banned after the Spanish conquest due to its association with Aztec religion where it was used as an offering during religious ceremonies and ritual. Commercial production is increasing and you can now find Chia seeds online as well as in many health food stores.


Chia (Salvia hispanica) – 10 Health Benefits of This Superfood

  • Supports Heart Health
    Chia seeds can help reduce blood pressure. The seeds contain one of the highest known plant sources of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). EFAs cannot be synthesized by our bodies however, it is very important that we get enough to support our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. EFA deficiency is quite common in North America.
     
  • Stabilizes Blood Sugar
    Chia seeds slow down the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and then assimilated into the body. The soluble fiber helps to stabilize blood glucose levels resulting in steady, sustained energy. In one study on diabetic patients, Dr. Vladamir Vuksan of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, found that blood was thinner and less prone to clotting and blood pressure of participants dropped significantly, after three months of taking Chia seeds daily.
  • Energizing
    The word “Chia” comes from the Mayan language and means strength. Chia seeds are a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. It is said that 1 tablespoon of Chia can sustain a person for 24 hours. Athletes have reported that Chia seeds help them perform at optimal levels for much longer periods of time.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties 
    A number of arthritis sufferers have reported reduced pain and inflammation after a few weeks of taking Chia seeds. The high concentration of omega-3 helps to lubricate joints and keep them supple. Additionally, Omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Weight Loss
    The essential fatty acids contained in Chia seeds helps to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. The seeds are sometimes added to food to provide bulk and nutrients while adding very few calories. For these reasons, many people have found Chia quite useful in weight loss and weight maintenance.
  • Detoxification and Elimination
    Similar to psyllium, the swelling action of Chia in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon, and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.
  • High Quality Protein
    Chia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many other grains such as wheat and rice. Chia seeds contain strontium which helps to assimilate protein and produce high energy.
  • Antioxidants
    Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in Chia seeds also keeps the oils from going rancid – contributing to a long shelf life.
  • Provides Fiber and Other Nutrients
    Besides EFAs, Chia seeds also provide fiber, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.
    2 tablespoons of Chia = 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, 5 grams omega-3
     
  • Brain Power
    EFAs are known to make cell membranes more flexible and efficient making nutrients more readily available and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function (including memory and concentration).

  • How to Use Chia
    Chia seeds have a mild, nut-like flavor. The seeds are easily digested and do not have to be ground to be used. In Mexico, the seeds are mixed with water and a little bit of lime or lemon juice to make a drink called “Chia Fresca.”

    Whole Chia seeds can be sprinkled on your cereal, salads, or yogurt. Seeds can also be ground and mixed into smoothies or added to baked goods. The seeds can be sprouted and used in salads or sandwiches. Sometimes Chia seeds are soaked in water (for about 30 minutes) to form a gel. The seeds soak up to nine times their weight in water. The gel is then added to porridges or used to make puddings.


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    Coconut Health Benefits, Life Saving and Antioxidant Properties

    Danica Collins

    Coconuts are one of the wonder foods on earth that amply provides for all human needs and have multiple health benefits… They can even save your life!
    Few people (even fewer doctors) understand how important the coconut is to stabilizing blood sugar; lowering cholesterol; healing; hydration; and even replacing blood plasma in an emergency.
    Referred to as kalpa vriksha (Sanskrit for “the tree that supplies all that is needed to live”) in ancient India, the coconut palm has been recognized as a top immune booster, antifungal, antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial remedy for thousands of years all over the world.
    Yet, it has been only recently that modern researchers have begun to fully discover the massive coconut health benefits this amazing fruit seed offers.
    To give just one example of coconuts’ life-saving properties, they were used extensively in the Pacific during World War II. Since blood plasma supplies were scarce, it was very common for medics to siphon pure coconut water from young coconuts to be used as emergency plasma transfusions for soldiers who were injured. Since coconut water is nearly identical to human blood, it was suitable for people of all blood types.

    Because of its strong antioxidant properties and health benefits, the coconuts can be used to:

      • Lower cholesterol
      • Improve digestion
      • Ward off wrinkles
      • Stabilize glucose levels
      • Fight off viruses
      • Build cells
      • Regulate hormones
      • Increase thyroid production
      • Lose weight
      • Increase metabolism
      • Fight infections
      • Stave off memory loss
      • Kill bacteria
      • And more!
    Considered one of the most treasured foods of all time, coconut products — including coconut flesh, coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut cream — each deliver superb health benefits.
    Coconut oil, for instance, is considered the best and safest oil to use for cooking — even superior to extra virgin olive oil when it comes to giving the body what it needs for optimum health. Unlike other fats and oils that we typically use for cooking and baking, coconut oil does not form polymerized oils or dangerous trans fatty acids in our bodies, which can raise our cholesterol levels; clog our arteries and even make our skin sag and wrinkle. Plus, this ultra-safe oil can give your body important antioxidants that can help build stronger cells and improve your overall health and well being.

    Coconut health benefits found all-in-one

    Here are a few ways that you can take advantage of coconut products to stave off disease and to recapture the look and feeling of youth:
    Coconut Water – The coconut is a natural water filter. It takes almost 9 months for a coconut to filter every quart of water stored within its shell. This makes the resulting coconut water completely pure and sterile, which is one reason why it can be used for blood transfusions.
    Another benefit of coconut water is the fact that it has the highest concentration of electrolytes than anything else found in nature. This makes it an excellent source of hydration.
    Coconut Oil – In addition to being superior for cooking and baking, coconut oil also makes a superb topical oil that can help to naturally rid the skin of dangerous toxins. It also gives the skin the perfect mix of hydration and antioxidants that it needs to stay healthy, smooth and younger-looking longer.
    Another great benefit of coconut oil is in protecting your teeth from the bacteria that can cause cavities and disease. Simply rubbing a little fresh coconut oil on your gums and teeth can keep them stronger and healthier than virtually any other dental treatment.
    Most people don’t realize that coconut oil can actually help you lose weight! Yes, simply changing your cooking oil from the unsaturated fat variety to coconut oil can help you lose those extra pounds.
    Here’s why: Unsaturated fats found in canola, corn and other vegetable oils, as well as margarine suppress the metabolism, which makes it harder to lose weight — and easier to gain it. Over time, this metabolism suppression may result in 20-30 pounds of excess weight that your body cannot get rid of. Coconut oil, on the other hand, helps to increase thyroid function and boost your metabolism — 2 important components to shedding unwanted pounds.
    Coconut Cream – The best skin treatment product one can use to achieve flawless skin may quite possibly be coconut cream. Unlike traditional skin creams which can actually introduce fats and oils to the skin that will break it down over time, making it look older, creams derived from the coconut can actually replenish the skin, giving it a more youthful and healthy glow than most other skin care products on the market.
    When it comes to buying coconut products, coconuts are not all created equal. Wild coconuts are always best, but can be hard to obtain if you don’t live in a tropical country. Whether you are using this wonder food to boost your immune system; increase your metabolism or fight wrinkles, using products from young coconuts will help you reap the most benefit.
    Young coconuts contain the purest unsaturated fat, compared to the fat found in the more mature varieties. This is why they offer the most rejuvenation properties for the body’s tissues. But how can you tell how old a coconut is? Young coconuts are usually green in color and oddly shaped. The brown hairy ones are mature coconuts, and while they offer a lot of healthy benefits, they aren’t nearly as good for you as younger varieties.
    The best place to find young fresh coconuts is, of course, in the markets of the tropics, so be sure to seek them out if you travel to those areas considering all the health benefits from a coconut. Coconut-producing regions export coconuts all over the world so it’s relatively easy to find coconuts at your local health food store or Asian grocer.

    source: undergroundhealthreporter