Finally, some good news about the much-maligned PSL.
Happy pumpkin spice season!
The internet is full of people trying to slander the noblest of flavours. But it turns out that pumpkin spice, absent of all the sugar and syrup certain coffee shops may add in, is actually pretty good for you.
What’s in pumpkin spice, anyway?
Pumpkin pie spice, as it’s sometimes called, usually contains four or five ingredients, all of them good for us.
Ginger is kind of a superstar spice. It’s an anti-inflammatory, for one thing, and can also help with digestion and quell nausea, which is why it’s often recommended for people suffering from morning sickness.
It can also reduce soreness and help with joint pain, and may improve brain function and fight infections.
You know how when you’re sick, everyone suggests you put ginger in your tea? This is why.
There isn’t a huge amount of research behind the claims that cloves are good for you, so take this with a grain of salt. (Or cinnamon?) Many people believe cloves can be used to relieve dental pain. They also contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs.
Both nutmeg and mace — the nebulous covering of the nutmeg seed — are used in medicine. Nutmeg can treat nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and is used in some medications for cancer, insomnia, and kidney disease.
Quick word of warning on nutmeg, though: use it sparingly! Ingesting more than two tablespoons’ worth at a time can cause unpleasant symptoms like nausea, dry mouth, and extreme dizziness. In the Middle Ages it was used as an abortifacient, according to the New York Times, who also note that Malcolm X wrote in his autobiography that people used it as a drug substitute when he was in prison.
Cinnamon is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. It may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, and may be helpful with heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases, but as with cloves, there still isn’t enough research to back those claims up.
The confusingly named allspice is the “optional” ingredient in most pumpkin spice mixes. It’s actually the fruit from a flowering tropical evergreen tree plant that’s picked before it gets ripe.
Allspice can help with a variety of conditions, many in the stomach area, including indigestion, abdominal pain, and menstrual cramps.
And it contains eugenol, which kills germs on your teeth and gums, which is why it’s sometimes included in toothpaste.
And what about pumpkin itself?
OK, fine, pumpkin spice lattes don’t actually contain any pumpkin. But pumpkin has been proven to improve the immune system and to slow digestion (which can help with weight loss). It’s also good for your skin and your eyes, and may help with diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.
What are you waiting for, fellow pumpkin spice lovers? This is your time.
Let’s be honest shall we? It’s not just the kids who go a little sugar crazy over the Halloween season, and even days and weeks thereafter – it’s the adults too! It happens to the best of us.
Following a yearly Halloween excursion, your little ones come home with a bucket full of mini candy bars to nosh on, or even worse, you have five cases of leftover treats you didn’t give away. Without even realizing it, you slowly eat more candy, chocolate and other sugary treats just because they are lurking in your cupboards.
How to avoid too much sugar
Unfortunately, most of the Halloween goodies given out as treats or found at parties are loaded with an abundant amount of white sugar. This is no surprise since white sugar is added to a myriad of products as a cheap filler to improve taste.
In fact, it is estimated that the average North American consumes two to three pounds of sugar per week in products such as cereals, cookies, yogurts and even ketchup! As you can imagine, during the days around Halloween, the amount of consumed white refined sugar skyrockets.
The dangers of eating too many sweets
What is the problem with a little white sugar? In addition to contributing to weight gain, white sugar can create a number of health problems in the body that include:
• Suppression of immune system function
• Fluctuation of energy levels
• Making the body more acidic
• Hyperactivity and impulse behavior
• Raised insulin levels
• Can elevate bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and lower good cholesterol (HDL) levels
• Can contribute to diabetes and heart disease
By no means am I suggesting that you be “that house” on Halloween and eliminate all the holiday fun. When I was a child growing up, my dear father was a dentist and gave out toothbrushes for Halloween! Talk about a humiliating experience for a child. However, there is a balance and a degree of moderation that can be exercised to make Halloween a healthier time for both parents and tots.
What you can do
• Get rid of over 50 per cent of the food your child has collected and/or leftover goodies that were not given away. Donate it or throw it out. Having it in the house is too much of a temptation for all ages.
• Replace chocolate bars – featuring trans fatty acids and too much sugar – with small cut up squares of dark chocolate that are heart healthy and rich in antioxidants. Keep small bite sizes in the freezer and grab when you are craving a sweet treat.
• Exercise portion control. Many chocolate bars come in “thin” sizes with half the calories.
• Substitute in foods with healthier, naturally occurring sugars such as fruits and fruit juice. Over the fall and winter months, baked apples with cinnamon and sprinkled chocolate is a perfect treat to satiate any sweet tooth.
Take home point
Remember, it is best to allow yourself to indulge from time to time. Practice the 80-20 rule of eating. In other words, eat healthy 80 per cent of the time and allow yourself to fall off the health wagon and indulge 20 per cent of the time.
By doing so, you will avoid temptation and feelings of deprivation that can lead to future food binges. In addition, become a label reader and replace white sugary products with foods that contain naturally occurring sugars. Watch out for products whose first or second ingredient is glucose, high fructose corn syrup or sugar.
BY: DR. JOEY SHULMAN OCT 30, 2008
Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of the national best seller The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2005). For more information, visit http://www.drjoey.com
Everyday items could be causing everything from mood swings to infertility and even cancer.
Chemicals found in plastic water bottles, lipsticks, tampons, receipts and even tap water are wreaking havoc on people’s hormones, which is linked to a growing number of health problems.
Research published earlier this week reveals more than 90 percent of receipts contain the so-called ‘gender-bending’ chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) and its ‘healthier alternative’ Bisphenol S (BPS), which are associated with autism, ADHD, type 2 diabetes, premature births and early onset of puberty, reports the Daily Mail.
Researchers from the Michigan-based non-profit organisation The Ecology Center analyzed 207 paper receipts from a variety of businesses collected between January and April 2017.
However despite their health concerns, such chemicals are frequently added to day-to-day products to provide scent and extend their shelf life.
In a piece for Healthista, editor Anna Magee speaks to reproductive experts, nutritional therapists and dentists on how to avoid such chemicals and detox your life.
Most of us take the mood swings, grumpiness and weight gain of fluctuating hormones for granted.
Yet toxic chemicals in our everyday lives could be making things worse.
Known as ‘xenoestrogens’, these substances, which are found in plastics, cosmetics, sanitary products, receipts and even tap water can mimic the hormone oestrogen and are linked not only to middle-aged spread but also reproductive problems, learning difficulties and even cancer.
Dr Channa Jayasena, a clinical senior lecturer and consultant in reproductive endocrinology at Imperial College London, said: ‘We know little about such hormone altering chemicals but our increasing exposure to them is a cause for concern.
“The risk of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals is enormous and we’re just at the start of learning what they do.
“My concern is that by the time we work out what they actually do, they might be causing diseases we don’t know about.”
So, what can you do? Start by identifying the sources of fake oestrogens in your life and take simple steps to detox them.
Water bottles and other plastics
Dr Jayasena said: “Chemicals in plastics behave like oestrogen in our systems when they reach our bloodstream.”
Chief offender is BPA found in plastic containers, water bottles and linings for tinned foods and drinks. A 2016 study revealed that two out of three canned foods tested positive for BPA.
A survey by the US Centers for Disease Control found that 93 per cent of the population had measurable amounts of BPA in their systems.
According to the Food Standards Agency, there is European legislation in place which sets a maximum limit on BPA from plastics, however, such risks are being re-evaluated by European authorities due to new scientific information emerging on the dangers of such exposure.
BPA and other xenoestrogens not only effect our waistlines but also our reproductive systems.
Dr Jayasena said: “Men’s sperm counts have decreased dramatically in the last decade and we’re now looking at the part hormone disrupting chemicals in our packaging, food and water play in this.”
Dr Sara Gottfried, a US gynaecologist and author of “The Hormone Cure” and new book, “Younger: The Breakthrough Programme to Reset our Genes and Reverse Ageing”, added: “Many problems are co-related with BPA from weight gain to endometriosis and breast cancer.
“This and other xenoestrogen chemicals build up in the body, accelerating ageing and hindering weight loss.”
While some companies market plastic products as “BPA-free”, substitute chemicals, known as BPS and BPF, may be just as dangerous.
A study in April this year by the Endocrine Society in the US found that exposure to BPS could increase the aggressiveness of breast cancer, while a paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2015 reviewed 32 studies on the subject and found that all three chemicals are hormone disruptors linked to problems such as weight gain and reproductive issues.
• How to detox
Dr Gottfried said: “Heat, microwave use, dishwasher use or leaving a plastic water bottle in the sun can all release such chemicals.
“Avoid microwaving your food with cling film over it or while it’s in plastic containers.
“Use stainless steel water bottles where you can, cook and store food in glass, ceramic or stainless steel, and use glass or microwave-safe ceramics for microwaving.
“If you must use plastic containers, don’t heat them up”.
She also recommends people try and avoid tinned food or rinse their contents carefully before eating.
BPA is found in plastic water bottles, containers, and linings for tinned food and drinks.
Tap water, fruit and vegetables
Dr Jayasena said: “Xenoestrogen chemicals are in our water supply, fruit and vegetables thanks to their use in farming.”
For example, while DDT, a pesticide with proven hormone-disrupting effects, has been banned, glyphosate, a similar xenostrogen chemical linked to breast cancer and obesity, which is found in the common garden weedkiller Round Up, is still commonly available.
Round Up is one of many pesticides used in Britain that is made from chemicals with endocrine-disrupting effects, the residues of which leech into our tap water and rivers, and remains on the skin of fruit and vegetables.
• How to detox
Dr Gottfried recommends people drink filtered water, using carbon to absorb impurities and contaminants. Reverse osmosis filters can remove more chemicals but require fitting to taps at home and can be expensive.
Nutritional therapist Daniel O’Shannessy, who is also director of Bodhimaya Health Centre, says people can remove pesticides from the skin of fruit and vegetables by soaking them in water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before cooking.
They can also check websites such as the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) for their “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen”; lists of the most and least contaminated produce.
More than 90 percent of receipts contain the so-called ‘gender-bending’ chemical BP.
Receipts, sanitary products and napkins
Dr Gottfried said: “The shiny coating on receipts is giving you a dose of BPA every time you touch it and we know the skin absorbs such chemicals almost as well as when we ingest them.”
France is seeking an EU-wide ban on till receipts containing BPA, with most of its receipts being marked “sans BPA”.
Such sources of synthetic oestrogens contribute to your overall toxic load, increasing your risk of oestrogen dominance.
Other paper sources of synthetic oestrogens include sanitary towels and tampons, which contains xenoestrogens called dioxins – and are linked to fertility, immune issues and endometriosis – as well as table napkins, which may be coated in BPA.
• How to detox
Try and go receipt free, and look for organic or dioxin-free sanitary products that have not been bleached or dyed. Also opt for unbleached, uncoated napkins.
BPA is used in plastics, with the resins making composite fillings.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene found that BPA was found in the saliva of all 30 dental patients surveyed, while further research in 2012, published in the journal Paediatrics, found that children fitted with fillings made from a substance containing BPA show more behavioural problems compared to their peers.
• How to detox
Dentist James Goolnik of Bow Lane Dental Group, said: “Composite fillings are the least expensive [around £200 a tooth (NZD $380)] of all fillings after mercury and, as mercury has so many confirmed dangers, many people opt for composite.
“But while many contain synthetic oestrogen chemicals such as BPA, it’s now possible to ask for BPA-free composite fillings”.
“Alternatively, porcelain won’t contain toxic chemicals, is tooth coloured, more durable than composite and is about £500 (NZD $952) a tooth.
“If the filling isn’t visible, the best option is gold as it virtually lasts forever, is kinder to your tooth and also contains no toxic chemicals but at around £800 (NZD $1,523) a filling, it’s pricey.
“I still wouldn’t recommend having plastic fillings removed because of the BPA effect as the removal process not only leads to more tooth tissue being damaged it can aggravate the release of more chemicals into the system.”
That lipstick you cannot live without could be adding to your ostrogen load.
In the 1990s, chemicals known as parabens in body creams, lipsticks, scrubs, shampoos and more were identified as xenoestrogens, while in 2004, British researcher Philippa Darbre found them in breast cancer cells.
Likewise, a family of chemicals known as sulphates also have an oestrogen-like effect on the body and are responsible for create lathers in shampoos, body washes, detergents and soaps.
• How to detox
Dr Gottfried said: “Ignore labels such as chemical-free, ‘natural’ or ‘for sensitive skin’ as these have no regulated meaning.
Instead, opt for organic skincare and make-up, or products that are sulphate- and paraben-free.
Perfumes and scented candles
Dr Gottfried said: “Many commercial perfumes and scented candles contain phthalates, a class of chemicals found in a surprising number of common household products such as shampoos, deodorants, body washes, hair gels and nail polishes.
“There’s little doubt phthalate chemicals are a key contributor to the inability to lose weight caused by oestrogen dominance.
“Research into the effects of phthalate is ongoing but we know they cause birth defects in male foetuses, are associated with poor egg quality and early menopause in women, and may also be linked to breast cancer and type-2 diabetes”.
• How to detox
Look for phthalate-free cosmetics and unscented candles, ideally made from soya wax.
High-grade essential oils in water used with an oil burner are also a great alternative to scented candles.
Three ways to detox excess oestrogen
Simple lifestyle measures can help, according Daniel O’Shaunnessy, a nutritional therapist at the Bodhimaya Health Centre.
• Eat flaxseeds
Constipation can lead to hormonal imbalances by slowing down the passing of hormones from food and water through the gut. Flaxseeds contain fibre that helps ease this.
Try a tablespoon soaked overnight in a glass of water and then added to smoothies, porridge or taken neat.
• Eat broccoli
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, help detoxify fake oestrogen from the liver.
• Take a probiotic
This will help balance the beneficial microflora in your gut, which can help increase motility, meaning you eliminate toxins faster.
By: Anna Magee, Alexandra Thompson Daily Mail 21 Jan, 2018