Recent Studies Address Pros And Cons Of Drinking Coffee

Drinking coffee is “more likely to benefit health than to harm it” for a range of health outcomes, say researchers in The BMJ medical journal recently. They bring together evidence from over 200 studies and find that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of death and getting heart disease compared with drinking no coffee.

Coffee drinking is also associated with lower risk of some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia. However, they say drinking coffee in pregnancy may be associated with harms, and may be linked to a very small increased risk of fracture in women.

Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide and could have positive health benefits. But existing evidence is of lower quality from observational research so randomized controlled trials are needed to strengthen the evidence of benefits. The included studies used mainly observational data, providing lower quality evidence, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but their findings back up other recent reviews and studies of coffee intake.

To better understand the effects of coffee consumption on health, a team led by Dr. Robin Poole, Specialist Registrar in Public Health at the University of Southampton, with collaborators from the University of Edinburgh, carried out an umbrella review of 201 studies that had aggregated data from observational research and 17 studies that had aggregated data from clinical trials across all countries and all settings.

The Benefits

Drinking coffee was consistently associated with a lower risk of death from all causes and from heart disease, with the largest reduction in relative risk of death at three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers. Increasing consumption to above three cups a day was not associated with harm, but the beneficial effect was less pronounced.

Coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes, gallstones and gout. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Finally, there seemed to be beneficial associations between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. There was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee but it had similar benefits for a number of outcomes.

Safe, Moderate Coffee Consumption

Many of the included studies may have adjusted for factors that may be associated with both the health outcome and with coffee drinking, such as smoking. This was not comprehensive and varied from study to study. The authors can therefore not rule out the effect of such factors on the apparent harmful or beneficial associations.

The authors conclude that coffee drinking “seems safe within usual patterns of consumption, except during pregnancy and in women at increased risk of fracture.” And they call for robust randomized controlled trials “to understand whether the key observed associations are causal.”

In a linked editorial, Eliseo Guallar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says, although we can be reassured that coffee intake is generally safe, doctors should not recommend drinking coffee to prevent disease and people should not start drinking coffee for health reasons.

As this study shows, some people may be at higher risk of adverse effects, and there is “substantial uncertainty” about the effects of higher levels of intake. Finally, coffee is often consumed with products rich in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, “and these may independently contribute to adverse health outcomes,” Guallar adds. “However, even with these caveats, moderate coffee consumption seems remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population.”

Higher Coffee Consumption Associated With Lower Risk Of Early Death

A similar study recently stated that higher coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of death, according to research presented recently at the ESC Congress. The observational study in nearly 20,000 participants suggests that coffee can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.

“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world,” says Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. “Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee might be inversely associated with all-cause mortality but this has not been investigated in a Mediterranean country.”

Mediterranean Diet Study

The purpose of the study was to examine the association between coffee consumption and the risk of mortality in a middle-aged Mediterranean cohort. The study was conducted within the framework of the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project, a long-term prospective cohort study in more than 22,500 Spanish university graduates which started in 1999. This analysis included 19,896 participants of the SUN Project, whose average age at enrollment was 37.7 years old. Patients were followed-up for an average of 10 years.

During the 10-year period, 337 participants died. The researchers found that participants who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who never or almost never consumed coffee. There was a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality for each two additional cups of coffee per day.

The researchers examined whether sex, age or adherence to the Mediterranean diet had any influence on the association between baseline coffee consumption and mortality. They observed a significant interaction between coffee consumption and age. In those who were at least 45 years old, drinking two additional cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of mortality during follow-up. The association was not significant among younger participants.

“In the SUN project we found an inverse association between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, particularly in people aged 45 years and above,” Navarro said. “This may be due to a stronger protective association among older participants. Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people.”

Ground Coffee Improves Nose, Throat Surgery

Imagine plopping six cups of coffee grounds on the heads of patients just before they are wheeled into the operating room to have nose or throat surgery? In essence, that is what a team of Vanderbilt University engineers  proposed in an effort to improve the reliability of the sophisticated “GPS” system that surgeons use for these operations. They have designed a “granular jamming cap” filled with coffee grounds that does a better job of tracking patient head movements than current methods.

The coffee grounds are not loose but form a thin layer inside a stretchy silicone headpiece, which looks something like a black latex swim cap decorated with reflective dots. After the cap is placed on the patient’s head, it is attached to a vacuum pump that sucks the air out of the cap, jamming the tiny grounds together to form a rigid layer that conforms closely to the shape of the patient’s head. This is the same effect that turns vacuum-packed coffee into solid bricks.

The Registration Process

Before surgery, a special scanner is used to map the location of the dots relative to key features on the patient’s head: a process called registration. Then, during surgery an overhead camera observes the position of the dots allowing the navigation system to accurately track the position of the patient’s head when the surgeon repositions it. The computer uses this information to combine a CT scan, which provides a detailed 3-D view of the bone and soft tissue hidden inside the patient’s head, with the position of the instruments the surgeon is using and displays them together in real time on a monitor in the operating room.

“These are very delicate operations and a sophisticated image guidance system has been developed to help the surgeons, but they don’t trust the system because sometimes it is spot-on and other times it is off the mark,” says Robert Webster, associate professor of mechanical engineering and otolaryngology, who is developing a surgical robot designed specifically for endonasal surgery. “When we heard about this, we began wondering what was causing these errors and we decided to investigate.”

Fiducial Markers

When Webster and his research team looked into the matter, they were surprised by what they found. They discovered it wasn’t the hardware or the software in the guidance system that was causing the problem. It was the way the reflective markers were attached to the patient’s head that was at fault. Typically, these “fiducial markers” are attached by an elastic headband and double-backed tape and are subject to jarring and slipping. Their tests found that skin movement and accidental bumps by operating room staff both produced large tracking errors.

“The basic assumption is that, after registration, the spatial relationships between the patient’s head and the fiducial markers remains constant,” says Patrick Wellborn, the graduate student making the presentation. “Unfortunately, that is not the case. For one thing, studies have shown that the skin on a person’s forehead can move as much as a half an inch relative to the skull. And accidentally bumping or dragging cables over the headband can also produce significant targeting errors.”

Previous research has found that when everything goes well, the guidance system produces targeting errors of about two millimeters but, in about one operation out of seven, the target error is much larger, forcing the surgeon to redo the registration process.

The Coffee Ground Method

So the team began thinking up alternative, non-invasive methods to attach these critical markers. Webster recalled some experiments that were done using coffee grounds to help robots grip irregularly shaped objects. Bladders filled with coffee grounds were built into the robot’s gripper. When it grabbed an object, the bladders conformed to its shape. Then a vacuum was pulled and the coffee grounds became rigid and locked the object into place. The researchers decided to see if this technique could be applied to the problem.

In the last three years, they have gone through a number of designs. They began with headbands that had coffee-ground-filled bags over the temples. Their tests showed that these models could reduce the targeting error by about 50 percent. But the engineers still weren’t satisfied.

Then, Wellborn, who was taking over the project, had a brainstorming session with fellow graduate student Richard Hendrick. Among the materials that his predecessor had left behind was a latex bald cap. “That sparked the idea of caps in general,” Wellborn recalled. “We wanted something elastic that was form fitting, which led to the idea of a swim cap.”

New Design And Advantage

In addition to fitting extremely tightly to the head, the new design had another advantage. The headband system has only three fiducial markers attached on the ends of three thin rods to form a triangle. The new design allowed them to attach several dozen markers directly to the surface of the cap, which the researchers believe will also contribute to improving the guidance system’s accuracy.

They designed three tests to determine how well this “granular jamming cap” performed relative to the current headband in reducing targeting error. They “bumped” both of them from a number of different directions with a tennis ball filled with plastic particles swinging on the end of a string. They found that the cap reduced targeting errors by 83 percent.

They simulated the case where a cable or other piece of equipment is accidentally pushed against the two by applying forces ranging from four to six pounds in different directions. They determined that the cap outperformed the headband by 76 percent when the forces were applied to the headband and by 92 percent when they were applied to the markers.

They tested the effects of head repositioning by having an experienced surgeon reposition test subjects’ heads six to seven times. In this case, the cap proved to have 66 percent lower error rates than the headband.

“It’s a very clever way – that doesn’t involve drilling holes in patients’ skulls – to greatly improve the accuracy of the guidance system when we are operating in the middle of a person’s skull: a zone where the accuracy of the current system is inadequate,” added Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology Paul Russell, who is collaborating with the engineers on the project.

Does Roasting Affect Coffee’s Properties?

In June 2017, researchers compared the caffeine and chlorogenic acid components of coffee beans at different roasting levels and tested the protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the different coffee extracts in human cell models. The results, linking degrees of roasting to reduced antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, were published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The article is entitled Cellular Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Coffee Extracts with Different Roasting Levels. 

The researchers measured the levels of caffeine and chlorogenic acid and evaluated the effects of Coffea Arabica green coffee extracts roasted at levels corresponding to light, medium, city, and French roast. Whereas the caffeine levels did not differ greatly between the various roasting levels, the levels of chlorogenic acid did vary and correlated with the differences shown in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

“When people think of coffee, they often associate the beverage with caffeine. However, coffee beans have many other chemicals that could help fight chronic inflammatory diseases,” says Journal of Medicinal Food Editor-in-Chief Sampath Parthasarathy, MBA, PhD., Florida Hospital Chair in Cardiovascular Sciences and Interim Associate Dean, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida. “Coffee drinkers are passionate about different roasts – light, medium and dark. This study suggests that some of the potentially beneficial compounds could be affected by the roasting process. This article would certainly change my coffee roast preference!”

Substance In Coffee Delays Onset Of Diabetes

In recent years, researchers have identified substances in coffee that could help quash the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But few of these have been tested in animals. Recently, a study in ACS’ Journal of Natural Products reports that one of these previously untested compounds appears to improve cell function and insulin sensitivity in laboratory mice. The finding could spur the development of new drugs to treat or even prevent the disease.

Some studies suggest that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Initially, scientists suspected that caffeine was responsible for this effect. But later findings discounted this possibility, suggesting that other substances in coffee may have a more important role.

Cafestol

In a previous laboratory study, Fredrik Brustad Mellbye, Søren Gregersen and colleagues found that a compound in coffee called cafestol increased insulin secretion in pancreatic cells when they were exposed to glucose. Cafestol also increased glucose uptake in muscle cells just as effectively as a commonly prescribed antidiabetic drug. In this new study, the researchers wanted to see if cafestol would help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in mice.

The researchers divided mice that are prone to develop type 2 diabetes into three groups. Two of the groups were fed differing doses of cafestol. After 10 weeks, both sets of cafestol-fed mice had lower blood glucose levels and improved insulin secretory capacity compared to a control group, which was not given the compound.

Cafestol also didn’t result in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, a possible side effect of some antidiabetic medications. The researchers conclude that daily consumption of cafestol can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in these mice, and that it is a good candidate for drug development to treat or prevent the disease in humans.

Extra Coffee Calories

More than 160 million people in the U.S. drink coffee or tea on a regular basis, and many of them use sugar, cream, flavored syrups or other calorie-laden additives in their drinks of choice. A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea.

The research looked at 12 years of data – ending in 2012 – from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including information from a nationally representative sample of 13,185 adults who reported drinking coffee and 6,215 adults who reported drinking tea in the 24 hours prior to being surveyed.

The data suggests that more than 51 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee and nearly 26 percent drink tea on any given day, said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who conducted the study. Roughly two-thirds of the coffee drinkers and one-third of the tea drinkers put sugar, cream, flavorings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks, he found.

“Many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with sugar, cream, half-and-half or honey,” An said. “These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value. Milk products add a bit of calcium to the diet, but the amount – 22 milligrams per day on average – is negligible.” The daily recommended calcium intake is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams, depending on one’s age and pregnancy status.

Those who drink their coffee black consume about 69 fewer total calories per day, on average, than those who add sweeteners, cream or other substances to their coffee. More than 60 percent of those calories come from sugar, with fat accounting for most of the rest of the extra calories consumed.

Tea drinkers tend to add fewer calorie-dense substances to their tea if they add anything at all, the analysis found. “Compared with adding nothing to one’s tea, drinking tea with caloric add-ins increased daily caloric intake by more than 43 calories, on average, with nearly 85 percent of those added calories coming from sugar,” An said. “Our findings indicate that a lot of coffee and tea drinkers regularly use caloric add-ins to improve the flavor of their beverages, but possibly without fully realizing or taking into consideration its caloric and nutritional implications.”

The daily intakes may seem small, but the extra calories every day can add up to extra pounds.

Dietary Potassium May Prevent Artery Hardening

Bring on the bananas. A recent study has found that the benefits of potassium are much more far reaching than we had previously thought. Foods that are rich in potassium may help to protect from vascular calcification, which is otherwise known as hardening of the arteries.

Performed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, it was shown that a reduced amount of potassium caused an unwanted amount of aortic stiffness when it was tested on a mouse model – in reference to the mice that received a potassium-rich diet. This type of stiffness seen in humans often leads to the onset of heart disease and potential death. As one of the leading causes of death in this country, this is something that we should be aware of.

Preventing Atherosclerosis

The knowledge of how arteries are unable to regulate the type of calcification that is the result of poor diet, stress and a sedentary lifestyle is directly combated by something like the increased amount of potassium in one’s diet. Including foods rich in potassium, such as avocados and spinach, can help to prevent complications that could lead to atherosclerosis. This was explored with mice that received various levels and concentrations of potassium and the way their vascular smooth muscle cells responded as a result.

One group of mice was given a low-potassium diet which was shown to increase vascular calcification when paired with a high-fat diet. Subsequent groups were given a medium and moderate amount of potassium and another a higher amount. Those that did have some type of potassium in their diets showed decreased stiffness. The varying levels also spoke to the levels of potassium that were seen in the three different groups of mice.

“The findings have important translational potential since they demonstrate the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation on prevention of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis-prone mice, and the adverse effect of low-potassium intake,” says the professor of nephrology Paul Sanders, M.D.

What was found in the cultures taken of cells was that there was a markedly enhanced calcification in the rats that had low or limited exposure to potassium and quite the opposite with rats that had ample amounts. It was shown that low potassium tended to increase intracellular calcium within the vascular smooth muscle cells. Blocking autophagy was shown to block calcification.

Internal Health

There are many vitamins and minerals, if taken in proper dosages and consistently, that can help to improve the internal health of the body. Coupled with mindfulness of dietary choices as well as active lifestyles they can really help thwart the onset of many physical diseases that compromise health and quality of life. Potassium is a necessary electrolyte that helps essentially with issues like blood pressure and kidney disease. The ability for it to improve the hardening calcification that takes place within cells and membranes is the principle reason why it is so effective in this way.

It’s presence also does a tremendous job of helping the onset of anxiety and stress because of its positive effects on the nervous system. Incorporate as much potassium as you can into your diet for a healthy heart and betting functioning arteries.

How Food Is Farmed Leads To Better Taste, Texture And Nutritional Benefits

All foods are not created equal – even if they aren’t processed and come from the ground. The way that food is farmed means more than some people may realize. The agricultural aspects of whole, organic food can be the difference between getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients the food can provide in its best, undeterred state.  This was something that researchers wanted to explore more of – specifically with kidney beans.

Kidney Beans

One of the most popular types of beans, they are a complex carbohydrate and also an excellent source of iron, protein and folate. Kidney beans are a good basis for the study as it commands the highest market price by weight. So this means that the improved farming methods of the kidney beans would not only benefit the farmer but the consumer as well.

Certain rooting strategies are not as conducive to overall growth and flourishing as others. This is because some rooting strategies are more prone to fungal pathogens which can potentially ruin the kidney bean itself. This can also ruin the crop which is a huge financial loss for the farmer. When the root has a higher level of resistance to these type of bacterial strains that rot, it allows for the seeds and the growth of the kidney beans to remain healthy and fruitful. This leads to a bountiful harvest which leads to more overall profit for the farmers. Higher yields are also imperative for food security.

Rosie And Talon Breeds

Rosie and Talon, a dark red kidney bean and a light red kidney bean, were tested in over 20 fields across Minnesota and North Dakota. Both farmers and researchers alike spoke about the importance of developing new hearty varieties of kidney beans. Sometimes a part of the issue is being able to effectively match consumer expectations. Sometimes the mixing of the breeds, or plant breeding, can be a very risky endeavor. But figuring out what the best mixture of bean or plant is could be a very beneficial and fruitful endeavor.

While this is true of the newer potential options, it is still very imperative to protect the existing varieties. Because of their relative ease to cook as well as their nutrient dense value, the bean is great. This is why it’s such a staple in many developing and poorer countries because it’s easily accessible and affordable. Figuring out a way to not only preserve how the beans are made but also figure out a way to potentially make other variations that would be better or stronger is a worthy effort.

Typically, the beans that are dry come in smaller crops. This means that more crops can potentially be fashioned in a way that allows the crops to yield more and more beans over time. If they are rooted properly and come all the way to fruition soundly, then the amount of beans that the farmers can harvest and that people can buy, for fair and sound prices, can increase. This benefits both the farmer and the consumer, as beans are a healthy, densely rich food and have tremendous nutritional value within them.

Protecting our crops, sustaining their roots and taking care of farmers should be an invaluable mission that ought to be protected and cultivated.

The Almond: A Bad Cholesterol Killer

While the allure of a snack isn’t lost on many, reaching for chips or popcorn isn’t a very healthy option for a number of reasons. Many health professionals have touted the benefits of almonds and other nuts as a great substitute for the more problematic crunchy food options. A recent study has shown exactly how almonds help to boost positive cholesterol, otherwise known as HDL, and simultaneously lowers bad cholesterol. Regular consumption of almonds was shown to functionally improve their cholesterol levels.

A notable and accomplished professor from Penn State, Penny Kris-Etherton, explained that much of the research revolving around almonds shows amazing things in conjunction with cholesterol. It helps to lower the low density lipoprotein, otherwise known as LDL, which is the bad type of cholesterol. High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Implementing certain eating habits that can naturally curb that risk is always a good idea. The type of clogging of the arteries that happens as a result of an unhealthy diet can be potentially disastrous if not taken seriously and corrected.

In the study, a sample of 48 men and women who had elevated LDL cholesterol levels participated in two six-week programs where one ate a handful of almonds per day while the other had a banana muffin instead. After that amount of time had elapsed, it was shown that the positive HDL cholesterol levels had increased by 19 percent. What’s more is that the other group, who were offered the muffin, showed no real improvement in their cholesterol levels. This isn’t surprising considering many foods high in refined sugar and carbs don’t provide any type of health benefit. Instead, they can raise blood sugar, and excessive consumption of these foods often leads to a major health concern that is diabetes.

Healthy Decisions

Kris-Etherton explains that the data gathered from this study was meaningful because any increase in the HDL subpopulation is good news for cardiovascular health. In fact, the particles’ primary function is to decrease the overall risk of heart disease. As one of the leading causes of death in this country, it is imperative that we start to take our health seriously as a society. This is obviously easier said than done when we have such a ubiquitous access to such unhealthy foods. It’s also difficult when we realize that life is so stressful and many people find such comfort in foods that are unhealthy because of the additives and processing that they go through. Keeping this in mind is crucial to being able to make important and lasting diet changes.

Almonds are an amazing substitute, not only because of their heart healthy benefits but also because they have good fats, are high in fiber and vitamin E. Fats are not the enemy here as we’ve been told. Good fats, such as those that come from avocado, almonds, and fish, are essential. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system on track and prevents unnecessary clogging and stomach disturbances. Vitamin E is great for a many number of things but one of the most commonly stated benefits is that it is wonderful at helping skin. There are so many benefits associated with incorporating this tasty nut into your regular diet.

Top Reasons Why Wheat Germ Oil Is A Must Have

Those who have been introduced to or are well versed in the world of healthy, organic eating are familiar with wheat germ. It is similar to wheat grass, which is a green shot filled with antioxidants. It has cleansing and restorative properties that help the gut, digestive system and internal regulation of certain organs. Wheat germ oil, which is derived from the wheat grain kernels, actually has a number of positive effects that may be overlooked and under-appreciated by some.

Wheat germ oil is full of necessary and essential vitamins and nutrients. Magnesium, potassium, vitamin B complex and folic acid are some of the components within the oil itself. Along with the antioxidant properties, it is suggested for use on the skin in order to halt the signs of aging. Wheat germ has the same effect on the inside by helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The oil form can be used as part of a regimented skin care routine by providing the necessary amount of moisture that the skin so desperately needs. It will also help to protect the skin from environmental-free radicals that can sometimes cause the effects of aging.

Wheat germ oil is also known to boost energy. This is primarily due to the octacosanol that is within its compositional makeup. With this type of saturated, primary alcohol, the ability to generate energy naturally is increased. This has been used as a form of naturally boosting energy in athletes for years. The wheat germ oil provides the energy and the oxygen for them to perform at their optimum level. There are several places in which you can purchase food grade wheat germ oil that can be used specifically for this purpose.

This oil can also be used to help regulate your mood. Some people may find that they are irritable, tired or overstressed, while many may just write this off as typical and something that is just a part of life. It can actually be lessened and improved with the right nutritional supplementation and diet. If you find that you’re constantly on edge and can’t function the way that you need to, this oil can help. It helps to provide ease and calm to your system via the omega 3 fatty acids and the vitamin B complex.

Another great component of this oil is its ability to help correct and treat skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and dry, cracked skin. This oil can do your skin a tremendous amount of good. This is because when applied topically, much in a similar way as when it’s used on the face, it can soothe and repair your skin. The high amount of vitamin E is naturally restorative and healing for the skin.

You can purchase wheat germ oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

Large Doses Of Vitamin C May Reduce Cold Duration

The importance of vitamin C on the common cold and immune system is well documented. In fact, there are products that are chock full of vitamin C that are supposed to bolster the immune system and even prevent the onset of sickness. A new study is trying to distinctly pinpoint the connection between the amount of vitamin C ingested and its effects on common cold symptoms and their duration.

Vitamin C has an immense and formative effect on various types of infections. The common cold has been one of the most universally studied infections and the majority of the controlled trials only tested a modest dosage of the vitamin per day. What if the optimal dose is much more and what if, taken consistently, it can substantially shorten the amount of time you experience cold symptoms?

Upping The Dose

Dr. Hemila, who resides in Finland, wanted to dig deeper into this possibility. She upped the daily dose of vitamin C to at least 15 grams per day and saw a definite effect on duration of symptoms and the overall ability to still function in some capacity while fighting off the cold. Certain strains of the cold can feel more like the flu and can have the sufferer in bed for most of their highly symptomatic days.

The doctor noted: “Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8 grams per day of vitamin C is beneficial for them. Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective.”

It’s also good to note that during cold and flu season, having a higher level of vitamin C in your system will actually ward off the ability for the infection to fester and have a place to grow when your levels are already a bit higher than normal. Vitamin C has countless benefits but shortening the lifespan of a cold is impressive. The immune system is a highly complex thing and is fundamentally strengthened in the presence of vitamin C.

Speeding The Healing Process

Vitamin C can also actively help speed up the wound healing process as well as strengthen and maintain the body’s bones and teeth. The wound healing process is similar to the internal healing process from an infection. The body tissues are emboldened and strengthened to heal wherever it is lacking cell composition in a compromised state because of a cold infection or because of a cut or bruise.

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, but you would actively have to consume quite a high number of oranges a day to achieve the amount of vitamin C talked about here. It’s best to consume a supplement, either in pill or powdered form. Powdered form may be best as it often tastes very pleasant and you can better control the amounts you are taking with powder.

You’ll likely also notice a positive change in your skin and your bodily fluids when you up the amount of vitamin C you take consistently. So stock up on the vitamin C, have plenty in your medicine cabinet, and make sure to not just take it when you’re feeling sick. Being preemptive with your supplements is a much better option.

Why Quality Of Diet Means More In Adulthood

There has been a recent steady incline in the number of people that struggle with obesity and weight-related issues like diabetes and heart disease. This shift can be intrinsically linked to certain lifestyle practices and diet choices. A recent study which questioned the importance of diet quality found that a substantial and healthy diet should be measured by four different variables. It was found that maintaining a diet high in quality helps to prevent certain weight issues and troublesome illnesses such as fatty liver disease.

This study took a group of individuals over a wide spectrum and had them go through various body scans, complete various tests and pinpoint their level of health. It found that those with long-term access to healthier foods are at less of a risk of developing cardio metabolic conditions that can be very debilitating and potentially dangerous. The researchers explained that it is quality of diet, not quantity, that matters most. It was found that healthcare providers should continually advocate their patients incorporate a quality healthy diet that they follow for the long haul, for the majority of their lives.

Fat Distribution

The study also found that the distribution of fat that occurs in certain places on the body is indicative of specific  diseases and precursors for more health trouble in the future. Gone are the days when we would take into consideration the Body Mass Index, BMI, on a person as some specific indicator of health when it actually isn’t. One of the most critical features of developing a metabolic issue or chronic consequence is fat distribution. Fat that accumulates in the midsection and around the liver can contribute to the diseases mentioned above. These diseases are some of the leading causes of death in our society.

This also speaks to the prevalence and popularity of organic foods in recent years. While the product itself matters tremendously, how it was farmed and raised matters a lot too. There are so many different additives and chemicals that are used in our food supply system that we are not often cognizant of. This can be incredibly damaging to the body. It’s the difference between knowing that certain types of fish are great for you and provide a tremendous source of healthy fats, but then realizing that there is a staunch difference between fish that is farm raised and fish that is wild.

High-Quality Foods

Quality over quantity is usually a saying that is geared toward other issues but the prevalence of health changes on a national level cannot be ignored. While we live in the land of excess, we have so much access to foods that are simply no good for us. Fried, battered, sugared-up dishes can be found on almost every street corner. Snacking becomes an easy way to manage and stuff down feelings yet what many people don’t understand is that they are bargaining with their health when they partake in these practices so readily. Start to take your health seriously and understand what you need to do to change the course of what might happen next.

As our bodies and metabolism shifts, we need to be mindful of how to also shift our diets to reflect that change. Protect your heart, blood, organs and mind by eating a balanced and nutrient-rich diet of high quality.

Cinnamon’s Effect On High Fat Consumption

In a recent study, a group of researchers had an interest in understanding how cinnamon affects the way that fat can lead to certain cardiovascular damage. They used an animal study, dealing with rats, to understand if the fat-storing process would be slower in the face of cinnamon. There were interesting results that can easily be tied to the positive qualities that cinnamon possesses. It is naturally anti-inflammatory as well as provides antioxidant properties to aid the body’s fat storage processes.

During the course of the study, the rats were given cinnamon supplements for three months on a daily basis. They were also fed a high-fat diet throughout the course of the study. The key findings were that the rats weighed less overall than when they started; they also had less belly fat and better levels of sugar in their blood.

These two things directly impact insulin levels, which greatly improved within the rats. The rats that were fed the fat also had fewer molecules involved in the process where the fat gets stored directly on the body. Instead, there were more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant molecules that were present which helps to protect the body from an uptick of stress.

Incredible Benefits

This makes sense, especially as it relates to sugar and insulin levels, because many diabetics speak to the positive effects that cinnamon consumption has on them. Cinnamon has specific elements that help certain aspects of the body that affect metabolic syndrome, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation and body weight. Many weight loss and management programs speak to the benefits associated with cinnamon to this end. It is a powerful spice that does have incredible benefits to the body in a myriad of ways.

Fat composition is something we also need to understand more thoroughly as it relates to the body, bad cholesterol, good cholesterol and healthy fats. When people see and think of the word fat, they think in a very singular manner. But all fat is not bad, in fact, fat actually doesn’t typically make you fat. This is evidenced by several studies, as well as the one referenced above, that showed the rats weighing less overall at the end of the study. This isn’t just cinnamon’s doing.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fat is what the body can easily fed on and burn – things like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and hard cheeses. Bad fats are trans fats like processed fats that come from the sugar and fat combination – items like packaged cakes, cookies, French fries, and greasy food. This is the distinction so many don’t properly understand.

Options such as cinnamon and apple cider vinegar, even turmeric and baking soda, are all positive entities that help the regulation of the insulin which helps to combat the sugar. Sugar is a highly addictive substance and many say it’s just as habit forming and enticing as certain drugs. Yet, it is absolutely ubiquitous in our food supply. The rate of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease is climbing.

Fat alone does not lead to this issue and epidemic – a harmful and high sugar rate of consumption does. A diet that includes healthy fats is a good one. It’s the sneaky sugars that need to be better controlled and monitored. Cinnamon can help the effects that sugar has overall on your body.

Approaches To Using Nutmeg Oil

Consistently known as a common spice that is frequently used to cook with, or even to season hot refreshments, nutmeg has numerous different uses that many may not actually be mindful of – particularly in its oil or butter form. The nutmeg tree itself is often found to be exceptionally tall in its natural habitat, in some cases coming up to 70 feet in length. The seed is where the benefits and flavors of nutmeg are directly derived from. Despite the fact it’s typically used in a ground up consistency, nutmeg oil and butter are both turning out to be progressively well known because of the numerous medical advantages. Here are some impressive benefits associated with the oil itself.

Bad Breath Cure

Many individuals who experience the ill effects of awful breath, or halitosis, do so on account of poor oral cleanliness, medical problems or, on the other hand, a microorganism that has flourished in the back of the mouth or throat. Because of the antibacterial properties of nutmeg, a drop or two in some warm water is a decent approach to intensify your oral care. Rinse with this liquid mixture twice every day to keep awful breath under control.

Heartburn Relief

Sometimes you may struggle with digestive issues on account of what you ingest. This is pretty common. Sometimes the family barbecue or a night out on the town has you eating a bit more than you should be. This prompts many stomach-related problems and issues – one of the most common being indigestion. Abdominal distress, cramping, bloating and the runs are standard side effects that many suffer from. A touch of nutmeg oil can offer some relief. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and rub it into your stomach. Additonally, you can add a few drops to your bathwater after a day of too much eating.

Skincare

Because of its disinfectant and antibacterial properties, skin flourishes off of this sort of oil. It can even be used to help diminish the outward indications of aging. Are you experiencing untimely wrinkles, hanging, or dull skin? Take a stab at including this oil into your regimen and watch how your skin is changed. Interestingly enough, it is common for skincare items to fuse nutmeg into their products. You can basically include two or three drops of the oil to your face wash and enjoy the effects the nutmeg oil has to offer.

Sedative

Getting enough rest is so indispensable to our physical facilities and how we handle ourselves consistently. When you experience difficulty dozing off from lack of sleep, it can totally divert from your capacity to perform at the level you should. Sleep deprivation caused by the inability to fall and stay asleep can feel miserable. Prescription medication can be expensive and also incredibly risky. Only a couple drops of nutmeg oil can unwind the body and prompt soothing, profound rest. A couple of drops blended with coconut oil, rubbed on your chest, neck and shoulders, will help relieve you and calm your nerves. Nutmeg oil enhances your natural rest receptors and can be used daily. Attempt this strategy around 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.

You can purchase nutmeg oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

The Avocado: A Way To Thwart Metabolic Syndrome

There are many different health risk factors that are a growing concern to countless individuals. Things like high blood sugar, blood pressure, increased body mass index, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. A new review is investigating how one particular superfood can potentially help a variety of these metabolic issues. Avocado is regarded as one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can consume. As such, it is believed that its tremendous components can potentially protect the body from some of these health concerns.

Avocados have a high lipid profile which helps to increase your good cholesterol levels, lower your bad cholesterol levels and alter your triglycerides. What’s incredible about the avocado is that the peel, seed, leaves and flesh all have differing affects on metabolic syndrome. The amount of fatty acids, minerals, carotenoids and vitamins are exceptional across the board. “The lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, anti diabetic, anti-obesity, anti thrombotic, antiatheroscherotic and cardioprotective effects of avocado have been demonstrated in several studies,” an author for the Phytotherapy Research review stated.

Lipid-Lowering Properties

What’s so impressive about avocados that many other healthy foods can’t claim is how beneficial they are to so many different aspects of health. With their lipid lowering properties, the heart can thrive and arteries won’t be unnecessarily clogged by the gunk and grit that comes with so many other savory types of fats that actually do more harm than good. The hypertension that comes with a bad diet is also subverted in the face of avocado. The reason avocado is such a rariety is that it’s a healthy fat and a vegetable. So it does more than many other foods can do.

The fat content in the food is great for diabetics because the struggle with carbs and sugar are constantly ongoing for them. Not only can a diet in fats help overcome that issue by balancing out their blood sugar and allowing healthy fats to fuel their bodies, but also the fact that avocado helps to better regulate the levels of insulin that diabetics so desperately need. There has been much said about fat in our food industry and much of the low-fat craze was actually very harmful to the general public. Sugar is often more dangerous than fat even comes close to being.

Extraordinary Benefits

Sugar actually contributes more to obesity, weight gain and the sudden increase in diabetes than anything else. Yet fat is blamed for people getting fat. It’s simply what we believe and what we understand about how food works. Avocados are nutrient rich, flavorful fruits that go well with many different foods. Not only are they tasty but the benefits they are shown to provide simply can’t be found in any other single food item. Pretty extraordinary.

The amount of vitamins and minerals in avocados are exceptional as it’s a great source of potassium and calcium, both things that are essential to the body. Not only do these things help the nervous system and how strong bones are, but they both effect mood and your brain as well. Avocados are also high in electrolytes which are essential for the overall functioning of your immune system. This helps you ward off things like colds, flus and viruses.

All in all, avocados are pretty close to pure nutritional gold.

Sugar And Inflammation: What You’re Eating Can Harm You

It has become abundantly clear to so many that what we put in our bodies can negatively or positively impact them. The cause and effect symmetry that is pertinent to our diets and our health has been obfuscated by inaccurate information for years. While trans fats, processed foods and fast food is historically unhealthy, the food industry sold a bag of goods when they purported that fat is bad and makes people fat. This is incorrect as fat alone does not do that. The real enemy is sugar. What happens when we consume too much sugar is that our inflammation receptors are activated.

While our body is trying to properly absorb the nutrients of the meal, it’s also trying to thwart off bacteria. That natural process is made more difficult when massive amounts of sugar are in the way. This means that the body is then faced with the challenge of distributing ingested glucose and ridding the system of the bacteria simultaneously. This conflict is what often promotes inflammation. Doctors from the University Hospital Basel have conducted a study on how this conflict is directly related to inflammation and how, in individuals who struggle with their weight, can lead to diabetes.

Weight And Diabetes

Diabetes has many unsavory health implications that shouldn’t be ignored of shirked. The presence of adult-onset diabetes is almost exclusively the result of weight issues and this can lead to widespread inflammation that becomes chronic after awhile. This then becomes an issue as it causes insulin-producing beta cells to stop functioning properly and eventually die off. For those who are a healthy weight, the inflammation isn’t all bad. Mostly because it happens on a short-term basis, as that type of sugar uptake lasts a much shorter amount of time and can even help in activating the immune system.

The research found that the number of immune cells that exist around the intestines naturally increase when a person is eating. They are also referred to as “scavenger cells”. The glucose in the blood then has to be managed by the insulin that the pancreas provides. The substances that the cells contain – called IL-1beta – help to regulate blood sugar along with the insulin naturally produced. For those who have diabetes, this process isn’t simple and it’s effectively thwarted because insulin production is very low. This is what can cause inflammation and then lead to other more serious health concerns if not properly addressed and treated.

Metabolism And The Immune System

The metabolism and the immune system itself and the way that it functions or struggles is directly impacted by this occurrence. The nutrients and bacteria that are ingested with meals can often come against the glucose level and insulin sometimes can’t manage it the way it should. Inflammation is then the result. Many people aren’t aware of the extreme correlation between sugar and inflammation. Sugar is one of the greatest threats to health in this country but so many continue to focus on fat or meat or diary. Although everyone isn’t the same and some people do react poorly to these other options, sugar is the only one that is habit forming.

This is why it’s so essential to be mindful about what you eat and what’s in the things you consume. Sugar is such a palette gratifier that it’s literally in everything – things like tomato soup, bread and fruit. If you have issues with noticeable inflammation, cut sugar out of your diet.

Heath Benefits Of Rice Bran Oil

It can sometimes be increasingly difficult to keep track of which oils and fats actually work well in your body and which don’t. Contrary to what we’ve been told throughout the years, fats are essential to our health and a necessary part of our diet. The tricky part comes when we don’t eat the right kinds of fats and we run the risk of damaging our health. Here are some important ways in which rice bran oil can benefit internal health.

Neutral Tasting

One of the most important aspects of a healthy type of oil that needs to be explored is how it tastes. While coconut oil has seen a boom in recent years as a go-to oil for many different uses, some don’t enjoy the taste of coconut oil as it is very strong and the coconut flavor is unmistakable. The great thing about rice bran oil is that it’s fairly neutral in taste so it can be effectively used when cooking a myriad of items. The rice grain itself isn’t very potent so its flavor won’t clash with the foods you are cooking and it’s quite versatile in its ability.

Full Of Healthy Fats

This is one of the oils that is actually good for you because of its healthy fat index. It has almost equal proportions of monounsaturated fats, saturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats. This is important to note as its levels work well in the body to promote healthy fuel and energy levels. It also has no trans fats present in its fat composition which ensures you are ingesting the good fats as opposed to the harmful ones.

Lower Cholesterol

There is good cholesterol and there is bad cholesterol – some people aren’t aware of the intrinsic differences between the two. One will help your heart and aid your organs while the other can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke or type 2 diabetes. Because rice bran oil is so heart friendly, it can actually help to control your cholesterol with the right amount of a powerful antioxidant called oryzanol. This oil is even recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association as being a great oil to improve serum levels of cholesterol.

A High Smoke Point

There are some oils that are unfortunately used incorrectly. Their general makeup lends to either a high, medium or low smoke point. A smoke point essentially examines whether or not the oil remains unchanged or oxidizes when it is exposed to a certain level of heat. Rice bran oil has a high smoke point which means that it can safely be used to deep fry and stir fry many of your favorite dishes without changing the healthy factors within the oil itself. This is something many people get wrong with olive oil. Although it’s incredibly healthy, it should not be used on the stove and is best incorporated into dressings and on lukewarm pastas. Exposing it to too much heat changes it too significantly.

You can purchase rice bran oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

Easy Holiday Eating Tips To Prevent Overdoing It

The holidays are upon us – and while that means time off work, enjoying family and friends, as well as cozy weather and gift giving – it also means super scrumptious foods. All of the best, most delicious dishes make their rounds during the holiday season – as do all the decadent and savory, sweet treats. While enjoying yourself should be a priority this holiday season, it’s really easy to overdo it when it comes to food.

The holidays can be really tricky for anyone who wants to watch the foods they eat and the amount of calories they consume. But doing so is totally feasible. The first thing you have to do is have a plan. Here are some super-simple ways to regulate the consumption of sugar and unhealthy foods this holiday season.

Whole Wheat Flour

Use whole wheat flour wherever you can. If you are making a bunch of desserts, whether cakes, pies, crusts, or cookies, opt for the whole wheat flour instead of the regular. In many cases, there will only be a slight difference in taste and some people won’t notice it at all. You can also ease into the transition by using ½ regular flour and ½ whole wheat. Try making a smaller batch of your favorite desserts that require flour to test it out first. It may take some getting used to but many people who are interested in staying health conscious during the holiday season will thank you.

Fruits And Vegetables

Use fruit and vegetables in some of your treats. This may sound completely counterintuitive or even unappetizing but mashed bananas and applesauce are excellent substitutes for butter or cream. Veggies that are higher in sugar content, such as carrots or beets, can naturally add a hint of sugar without the overwhelming sweetness that permeates traditional desserts. Look for ways to substitute the unhealthiest ingredients without completely sacrificing texture and flavor.

Mini Portions

Opt for the mini versions of everything. If you are making your own desserts, try to stick to the mini-cheesecakes or mini-cupcakes. This allows you to have a bit more control over the portions you are ingesting. Don’t think that just because something is small, you can have more of it. The idea is to cut back. One of anything will do. One to two bites of a rich, sweet treat is plenty. Don’t let the sugar become something that drives you to consume more and more of the dessert. Be as mindful as you can that you’re allowing yourself a bit, but that you aren’t going to go overboard.

Berries

Have some berries with your dessert, or skip the sweet treat all together and have berries instead. A serving of berries with a bit of whipped heavy cream is the perfect treat without being laced with tons and tons of unnecessary sugar. Berries are also very filling which means you’ll get your taste of dessert but won’t feel the need to gorge yourself on sweets just because they’re there. Listen to your body and your hunger cues. Realize what are just cravings and what is actually caused by legitimate hunger.

Always eat something before going to a party, even if they’ll be serving dinner. It’s not a good idea to go to a holiday party on an empty stomach. That pretty much sets you up for disaster as when you physically hungry, you’re more inclined to eat whatever is in front of you. You’re also apt to overeat.

Be mindful of these tips to stay on track this holiday season!

How Apple Seed Oil Benefits The Skin

When it comes to your skin and the oils that are best for it, you actually have quite a few choices. While there are a ton of oils that can be used for a myriad of reasons on your face, there are some that may give you more deliberate and definitive results. If you are searching for a natural, light oil that will help your skin remain radiant, soft, and tackle blemishes, then apple seed oil is one you’ll want to try. Even if you are the type of person that suffers from sensitive skin, this oil won’t cause your skin to react negatively. There are several different ways that apple seed oil is incredibly beneficial to the skin. Here are a few.

Improves Collagen

One of the most important aspects of anti-aging skincare is improved collagen activation. Collagen is a protein that is incredibly crucial to the health and appearance of your skin. When the collagen within the skin is synthesized properly it strengthens and protects the skin while keeping it looking youthful and supple. This type of collagen production and management tends to slow with age, however, apple seed oil naturally activates this process, which will improve elasticity and the softness of the skin. This is a wonderful anti-aging oil to incorporate into your skincare regimen.

Protects Skin

There are so many environmental hazards that can threaten your skin. Two of the most common are sun and air pollution. The UV rays that the sun gives off are very strong and can be harmful to the skin. While a good sunscreen will usually do the trick to protect your skin from harm, some of those store-bought sunscreens actually contain additives and ingredients that are bad for you and the environment. As a natural sun protectant, apple seed oil is the perfect antidote. It has natural filtration properties which automatically protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Free radicals in the air are also a big concern. This oil naturally neutralizes free radicals that can cause harm to the skin.

Stretch Marks

Not only is this oil great for the face and neck but can also be used all over your body. It has specific elements and nutrients that make it great for scar fading and removal – more specifically to fade stretch marks. Because of its ability to improve elasticity, this amazing oil is a great way to combat stretch marks. It is safe to use during pregnancy and has been used at length to prevent the appearance of unsightly stretch marks – all while improving the state of the skin in softness and hydration levels.

Acne

This oil is great if you have acne-prone skin. Essentially, the high amount of antioxidants within the oil helps to both soothe and treat any type of blemishes you may be suffering from. It does this while cleansing your skin which prevents any new blemish or spots from developing.

You can purchase apple seed oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

New Study Shows Benefits Of Walnuts To Gut Health

One of the most misunderstood aspects of health is that of the gut and digestive system. Digestive issues are downright ubiquitous; they can be caused by many different things and they can also lead to additional health troubles and concerns. In a new study conducted at Louisiana State University, it was found that walnuts can actually positively contribute to the health of the gut by increasing good bacteria.

Walnuts have been dubbed a superfood because of their compositional makeup. They are full of necessary, beneficial components such as alpha-linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. The nut also contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Its elements of fiber may be what contribute to its powerful abilities within the digestive system. This study took on finding out exactly why walnuts are essential to the gut.

The Findings

They conducted the study using a rodent model and introduced walnuts to one group while the other was not. The gut bacteria of the rodents was then measured after a specific amount of time and the numbers of the test group that did ingest walnuts was vastly healthier. In fact, the walnut-exposed test group showed a noticeably improved amount of gut bacteria in the descending colon.

The amount of healthy bacteria was increased in the walnut test group. A very important distinction to make in the findings is not only the amount of good bacteria that was easily observed but that the functional capacity of the bacteria was superior. An important bacteria called Lactobacillus was also located in the results.

“We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacilus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic,” explained the lead researcher.

The Questions

There is so much unknown about gut health and the reactions the gut has to many different foods and environmental factors. There are largely still a lot of questions associated with the digestive system and how it operates. These types of studies provide quantifiable information as a physiological mechanism to improve health. This is why science and research are so vital – especially in a world that moves at the speed of light. Understanding that eating a few walnuts a day can potentially change your gut health issues would be life shifting for so many.

Many autoimmune conditions have been thought to be linked to gut health in some way. Painful conditions that have a whole slew of symptoms could be better treated just by taking better care of the gut. Typically, the issues aren’t as serious and expansive as those examples. Even so, if the extent of your digestive issues is gas, bloating and occasional nausea, finding a quick fix that will help to regulate your digestive system is a Godsend. No one wants to struggle to go to the bathroom or deal with feeling too full after a holiday party.

Incorporating things like walnuts and other gut-positive foods could be the true antidote for these issues that seem to elude the medical community. With this type of concrete information followed by results, we can better heal ourselves with natural foods and not rely on other, less effective methods.