Eat Your Broccoli

Our parents used to scold us when we were children. Eating our vegetables was supposedly important to our growth. Whether we liked it or not, we were lead to believe that things like broccoli were good for us. As it turns out, the leafy green vegetable is not only great for your body, but it promotes a healthy gut.

Researchers from Penn State have discovered that those who choose to incorporate a healthy diet of broccoli into their everyday meals are better able to tolerate digestive issues such as a leaky guy and colitis. The testing was used on mice; those who were not given a steady diet of broccoli were not able to endure common problems in the system. In fact, Gary Perdew, a Professor in Agricultural Studies at Penn State, noted that other vegetables, such as Brussel’s sprouts and cauliflower have comparable health properties. Yum!

Perdew also adds that, “there are a lot of reasons that we should be exploring gastrointestinal health. If you have problems, like a leaky gut, that may lead to other conditions, like arthritis and heart disease.” It is no secret that including a rich diet of vegetables into our meals is far from a bad idea. Keeping our internal organs, such as our gut, healthy may extend our lifespan. Perdew and his team also note that a heavy diet of vegetables allows your gut to build healthy barrier functions that deter things like a leaky gut or colitis. A healthy intestinal function means that all nutrients would be able to properly pass into our system and not get blocked or clogged, which can cause severe internal concerns.

Get Your ICZs

By now, it should be common knowledge that vegetables, especially ones like broccoli, that are eaten on a regular basis, are not only good to keep weight off and fight illnesses, but also are healthy for our entire body. Perdew and his team identified broccoli as especially important due to its health benefits on our gut and intestinal systems. Although, we do not think about our internal organs very often, protecting them can prevent a majority of harmful diseases and cancers, such as colon cancer.

Vegetables that are cruciferous include a compound called indolocarbazole or ICZ. When consumed, ICZ attach to the lining of our immune system to maintain a healthy balance in our gut, which means fewer cases of common diseases in the bowel and colon. Another vegetable identified as great for your intestines is cabbage.

But, how much broccoli should we eat each day to ensure that our intestinal system is protected? Researchers have concluded that this number varies from person to person. However, for most humans, the amount comparable to Perdew’s experiment should eat around 3.5 cups of broccoli each day. This number may sound like a lot, but it’s not large considering we should be eating vegetables anyway. Adding other healthy vegetables into your diet adds to the protection as well. So, if you are not a fan of broccoli, feel free to consume that same amount of Brussel’s sprouts or cabbage each day to meet the level needed to activate the ICZ that may be needed to correct digestive problems.

While patients are often told that too many cruciferous vegetables may be a cause for more concern than good because of fiber content, Perdew and his team are confident in their findings which suggest otherwise.

Antioxidant Foods Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk

As is known from many research studies and commonly held practices, antioxidants have amazing benefits that are great for the immune system and potentially even helpful in the prevention of cancer. Antioxidants have been lauded as a great way to thwart the onset of certain cardiovascular conditions because of their heart-healthy properties.

It appears that these more commonly known aspects of antioxidants’ benefits also include another harmful condition. The risk of developing type-2 diabetes seems to be rising as our society has an even greater access and consumption of foods that compromise blood sugar levels. This compromise causes the pancreas to be unable to properly excrete insulin which allows the body to properly process sugar. Unprocessed sugar can be devastating to the system.

Diabetes Risk

Research that was done in Europe found this correlation and noted that it was known that certain flavonoids, lycophenes, and vitamins were associated with mitigating risk of diabetes. This particular study took on specific isolated nutrients in a quest to find how these entities helped better influence a standard diet. Over 60,000 women were given comprehensive tests and asked questions regarding over 200 different food items.

The information that was garnered showed the total dietary antioxidant capacity. The risk of diabetes was shown to diminish when the antioxidant consumption was increased. Typical antioxidant items include blueberries, prunes, hazelnuts, walnuts, tea, dark chocolate, and strawberries.

According to study author Francesca Romana Mancini, “This link persists after taking into account all the other principal diabetes risk factors: smoking, education level, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, family history of diabetes and, above all, BMI, the most important factor.”

Restore Your Health

There is clearly something at play that acknowledges the way that specific foods, in isolation and heavy consumption, have an obvious relationship with this disease. The inclusion of these antioxidant foods has been shown to help lessen the risk factors in getting this terrible disease. It also helps that these foods are all generally very low in sugar and carbohydrates.

A diet that is heavy and high in carbs is not going to be properly processed within a body that is diabetic or even one that is pre-diabetic. The reason why so many people are diagnosed with adult onset diabetes is because our national diets are so poorly composed and contain high amounts of sugar and carbs. While there are still people that react fine to high complex carbs, carbs do end up turning into sugar, and when that happens, the body must work extra hard to be able to do what it is supposed to in order to decipher all of that sugar. Without the insulin from the pancreas, all other organs will be compromised and weaken.

The incorporation of exercise and a sound diet, which includes many antioxidant-rich foods, is a great way to not only prevent the occurrence of diabetes but also treat it as if you have been diagnosed. It is of paramount importance to take your health incredibly seriously as we only get one body. Refusing to do right by it and instead filling it with junk is no way to treat your health and life. Become consistently active, stay away from sugar and refined carbs, and start to do the work necessary to take back and restore your health.

The Egg Has Stunning Nutritional Value For Children

When the Brown School located in Washington, D.C. was researching child hunger in conjunction with the most nutritionally-dense foods that are available worldwide, they found the ever-present egg as the best answer. One of the reasons that eggs came out on top is because they significantly impact the growth of a young child – by almost 47 percent. These are astounding numbers that can potentially invoke some planning regarding how to get more chickens, and subsequently the eggs, to places in the world that need them.

Another reason why eggs are such a good choice for children in developing countries that don’t have a lot of access to food and supplies is because eggs are high on the satiety index, which means that they keep stomachs full for longer periods of time than some of their alternatives such as rich or beans. Eggs are also incredibly affordable and can be found virtually on any part of the globe.

“Eggs are also a good source of nutrients for growth and development in young children,” says Lora Iannotti, lead author on the study and an associate professor at Brown. “Eggs have the potential to contribute to reduced-growth stunting around the world. We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be.”

While egg allergies are becoming more common in America, in other parts of the world this isn’t the case. Iannotti is careful to point out that during this study many caregivers were monitoring children closely and prepared for the sight of any type of allergic reaction, but in this case none occurred.

Unique Superfood

For years, the egg was talked about very unfairly and many thought they were bad for you. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Eggs are often referred to as complete in nutritional circles.  An egg is one of the best foods you can put in your body. The egg is a unique superfood that is packed full of high levels of protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals. It is also full of rich antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are integral to eye growth and the protection against conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

There were many people that would only eat the egg white for quite a bit of time but the yolk is actually the most nutritious part. Also, good fats are necessary for the overall betterment of health. Eggs also do not have carbohydrates, which means they will not negatively impact resting blood glucose levels.

Eggs really are the perfect food. They can also be cooked in a myriad of different ways and are easily added to other foods. Eggs can be incorporated into many different cultural cuisines and it always makes for an excellent meal.

Where there are eggs, chickens aren’t too far away. They bring even more protein to the conversation, which is essential for the overall betterment and healthy growth of children. Finding sustainable ways to feed those in need should be a top priority. Doing so in a way that can also be healthy is necessary to the fabric of our society.

The Benefits Of Eating Fruits And Vegetables

University of Otago researchers have discovered that raw fruit and vegetables may be better for your mental health than cooked, canned and processed fruit and vegetables. Dr. Tamlin Conner, Psychology Senior Lecturer and lead author, says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables – such as five or more a day. However, the study, recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the ways in which produce is prepared and consumed.

The top 10 raw foods related to better mental health are carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens such as spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit. “Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruits and vegetables in their ‘unmodified’ state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” Conner says. This could be because the cooking and processing of fruit and vegetables has the potential to diminish nutrient levels. “This likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning,” she said.

For the study, more than 400 young adults from New Zealand and the United States aged 18 to 25 were surveyed. This age group was chosen as young adults typically have the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption of all age groups and are at high risk for mental health disorders. The group’s typical consumption of raw versus cooked and processed fruits and vegetables were assessed, alongside their negative and positive mental health, and lifestyle and demographic variables that could affect the association between fruit and vegetable intake and mental health – such as exercise, sleep, unhealthy diet, chronic health conditions, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender.

“Controlling for the covariates, raw fruit and vegetable consumption predicted lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, and improved levels of psychological wellbeing including positive mood, life satisfaction and flourishing,” Conner added. “These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables. This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe, and adjuvant approach to improving mental health.”

Fruits And Vegetables May Prevent Premature Deaths

A fruit and vegetable intake above five-a-day shows major benefits in reducing the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. This is the finding of research, led by scientists from Imperial College London, which analyzed 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake. The team found that although even the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced disease risk, the greatest benefit came from eating 800 grams a day – roughly equivalent to 10 portions – one portion of fruit or vegetables if defined as 80grams.

The study, which was a meta-analysis of all available research in populations worldwide, included up to two million people, and assessed up to 43,000 cases of heart disease, 47,000 cases of stroke, 81,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, 112,000 cancer cases and 94,000 deaths.

In the research, which is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimate approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800 grams, of fruit and vegetables a day. The team also analyzed which types of fruit and vegetables provided the greatest protection against disease. “We wanted to investigate how much fruit and vegetables you need to eat to gain the maximum protection against disease, and premature death,” explained Dr. Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “Our results suggest that although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even better.”

The Benefits Of Higher Intakes

The results revealed that even a daily intake of 200 grams was associated with a 16 percent reduced risk of heart disease, an 18 percent reduced risk of stroke, and a 13 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This amount, which is equivalent to two-and-a-half portions, was also associated with four percent reduced risk in cancer risk, and 15 percent reduction in the risk of premature death.

Further benefits were observed with higher intakes. Eating up to 800 grams of fruit and vegetables a day – or 10 portions – was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, a 13 percent reduced risk of total cancer, and a 31 percent reduction in dying prematurely. This risk was calculated in comparison to not eating any fruit and vegetables. The current United Kingdom guidelines are to eat at least five portions or 400 grams per day. However, fewer than one in three UK adults are thought to meet this target.

The team were not able to investigate intakes greater than 800 grams a day, as this was the high end of the range across studies. An 80 gram portion of fruit and vegetables equals approximately one small banana, apple, pear or large mandarin. Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower count as a portion.

Specific Fruits, Vegetables And Diseases

The researchers also examined the types of fruit and vegetables that may reduce the risk of specific diseases. They found the following fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death: apples and pears, citrus fruits, salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They also found the following may reduce cancer risk: green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans, yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots, and cruciferous vegetables.

Similar associations were observed for raw and cooked vegetables in relation to early death, however, additional studies are needed on specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods. The team say the number of studies was more limited for these analyses, and the possibility that other specific fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk cannot be excluded.

Several potential mechanisms could explain why fruit and vegetables have such profound health benefits. “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” Aune said. “This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk. Compounds called glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, activate enzymes that may help prevent cancer. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables may also have a beneficial effect on the naturally-occurring bacteria in our gut.”

The vast array of beneficial compounds cannot be easily replicated in a pill. “Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial is health,” Aune continued. “This is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidant or vitamin supplements, which have not been shown to reduce disease risk.”

In the analysis, the team took into account other factors, such as a person’s weight, smoking, physical activity levels, and overall diet, but still found that fruit and vegetables were beneficial. “We need further research into the effects of specific types of fruits and vegetables and preparation methods of fruit and vegetables,” Aune continued. “We also need more research on the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake with causes of death other than cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, it is clear from this work that a high intake of fruits and vegetables hold tremendous health benefits, and we should try to increase their intake in our diet.”

Fruits And Vegetables Lower Blood Pressure

Eating potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach, beans, bananas and even coffee could be key to lowering blood pressure, according to Alicia McDonough, Ph.D., professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “Decreasing sodium intake is a well-established way to lower blood pressure,” McDonough says, “but evidence suggests that increasing dietary potassium may have an equally important effect on hypertension.”

McDonough explored the link between blood pressure and dietary sodium, potassium and the sodium-potassium ratio in a review article published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism. The review looked at population, interventional and molecular mechanism studies that investigated the effects of dietary sodium and potassium on hypertension. She found several population studies demonstrating that higher dietary potassium – estimated from urinary excretion or dietary recall – was associated with lower blood pressure, regardless of sodium intake. Interventional studies with potassium supplementation also suggested that potassium provides a direct benefit.

McDonough reviewed recent studies in rodent models to illustrate the mechanisms for potassium benefit. These studies indicated that the body does a balancing act that uses sodium to maintain close control of potassium levels in the blood, which is critical to normal heart, nerve and muscle function. “When dietary potassium is high, kidneys excrete more salt and water, which increases potassium excretion,” McDonough says. “Eating a high potassium diet is like taking a diuretic.” Increasing dietary potassium will take a conscious effort, however. Our early ancestors ate primitive diets that were high in fruits, roots, vegetables, beans and grains – all higher in potassium – and very low in sodium. As a result, humans evolved to crave sodium but not potassium. Modern diets, however, have changed drastically since then: processed food companies add salt to satisfy our cravings, and processed foods are usually low in potassium.

Dietary Potassium Benefits

“If you eat a typical Western diet, your sodium intake is high and your potassium intake is low,” McDonough says. “This significantly increases your chances of developing high blood pressure. When dietary potassium is low, the balancing act uses sodium retention to hold onto the limited potassium, which is like eating a higher sodium diet.”

How much dietary potassium should we consume? A 2004 Institute of Medicine report recommends that adults consume at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure, blunt the effects of dietary sodium and reduce the risks of kidney stones and bone loss. Eating three-fourths of a cup of black beans, for example, will help you achieve almost 50 percent of your daily potassium goal. McDonough recommends developing public policies to increase intake of dietary potassium from plant-based sources. She also advocates adding potassium content to nutrition labels to help raise consumers’ awareness of economical sources of potassium.

Fresh Fruit For Lower Risk Of Diabetes

In a research article published in PLOS Medicine, Huaidong Du of the University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom and colleagues report that greater consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower incidence of diabetes, as well as reduced occurrence of complications in people with diabetes, in a Chinese population.

Although the health benefits of diets including fresh fruit and vegetables are well established, the sugar content of fruit has led to uncertainty about associated risks of diabetes and of vascular complications of the disease. Du and colleagues studied nearly 500,000 people participating in the China Kadoorie Biobank over about seven years of follow-up, documenting new cases of diabetes and recording the occurrence of vascular disease and death in people with pre-existing diabetes.

The researchers found that people who reported elevated consumption of fresh fruit had a lower associated risk of developing diabetes in comparison with other participants, which corresponds to an estimated 0.2% reduction in the absolute risk of diabetes over five years. In people with diabetes, higher consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a lower risk of mortality, corresponding to an absolute decrease in risk of 1.9% at five years, and with lower risks of microvascular and macrovascular complications.

Impressive Advancements In Nutrition

The great thing about advancements in technology is that many scientific studies can find groundbreaking information that would have been harder to reach otherwise. When it comes to the information that has been largely provided regarding nutrition, there are several discoveries that have given increased insight into what choices could be best.

Dark Chocolate Impacts Aging

While sugar has gotten more and more of a bad reputation as the years wear on, the presence of dark chocolate is one that actually provides so many benefits without the inordinate amount of sugar. Dark chocolate is known to thwart inflammation and can reverse the effects of oxidative stress on the system.

A recent study found that there is a specific flavanol within dark chocolate called epicatechin that can help the obvious processes of aging by damaging the oxidative stress that our bodies endure. The study was conducted on mice, and after having a certain amount of exposure to the flavanol, their memory improved as did their levels of anxiety. So having a bit of a treat at the end of the day isn’t a bad thing. It really depends on what you choose. Dark chocolate is a superb choice.

Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar

The problem of diabetes in this society has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. Our current diets, which put more focus on carbs and processed foods, become the impetus for the increased presence of diabetes. In order to combat this epidemic that is slowly getting out of control, it’s imperative to understand what items can potentially help control large blood sugar spikes. In a study that was conducted by Ohio Northern University it was found that the compounds within cinnamon actually have an enzyme that helps increase the signals that activate insulin.

So the presence of cinnamon is great for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes and can be a great tool to use in the management of the condition. While there is other types of medication specifically geared toward diabetes, it doesn’t hurt having natural aids at your disposal as well.

Food Prices And Increased Risk Of Obesity

One catalyst to health is what type of food people can afford and have access to. Poorly made, nutritionally vacant food is made exceedingly more accessible than food that has nutritious value and can properly fuel the body. In recent research from Los Angeles, California, global data was studied and it was found that there is a strong relationship between the existence and prevalence of obesity in women and the steady inflation of food prices that is seen on a widespread basis. In locations where people are on the lower spectrum of social-economic standing, they are susceptible to what are called food deserts. This means that these spaces only sell junk food at incredibly low prices.

The closest grocery store where fresh ingredients and healthy options are available is often nowhere nearby. This makes the ability to make healthy and better choices virtually impossible, which means they are forced to go the route of eating food that isn’t good for them, has high caloric mass, and contributes to weight gain. This is a recipe for disaster as this also makes them more prone to specific diseases.

Key Benefits Of Milk Thistle Oil

The plant that is responsible for the production of milk thistle oil is pointy and purple. Its scientific name is Silybum marianum, and it is found in certain parts of California. The ways in which this plant, and its oil, can be of benefit to you may be surprising. There are several ways in which this oil can be helpful externally and internally. Milk thistle has so many important components that should not be overlooked. Here are a few of the key benefits associated with milk thistle oil.

Liver Detoxification

One of the key aspects of milk thistle is its ability to be a helpful liver aid and an amazing detoxifier. The liver and its function is central to our overall health and safety. When the liver gets bogged down by stress, alcohol or bad foods, its functioning can be impeded. Milk thistle helps to properly remove the toxins and is even credited with protecting the liver from heavy metals in water supplies as well as air pollution. All of these aspects that we don’t generally think about can hinder our organs and health if we are not mindful. Applying some milk thistle oil to your right side can help to provide your liver with needed assistance.

Prevents Gallstones

In almost the same manner in which it helps the liver, the gallbladder is also protected and defended in the presence of milk thistle. While the liver is the most important digestive organ, the gallbladder works alongside it to ensure that the production of bile and enzymes happen in just the correct way so that the gastrointestinal system runs exactly how it should.

Thistle is also known to help break down the presence of gallstones or kidney stones, which are small, crystallized salt composites that can sometimes develop in those organs and cause a lot of pain. The same external application of the milk thistle oil on the gallbladder is suggested.

Increases Skin Health

We sometimes forget about our skin and the need to keep it healthy. With the constant focus on diet and exercise in an effort to improve our internal health, we can shirk our responsibilities where the skin is concerned. There is a component called silmarin that is present in milk thistle oil that helps to inhibit the UV light-induced oxidative stress that causes skin to potentially become weak and more susceptible to skin cancer. Applying a couple of drops of milk thistle oil to your skin will help to mitigate the strong UV light exposure it often gets.

Reduces Signs Of Aging

The presence of antioxidants within milk thistle oil helps to protect the skin from free radical damage. This removes pollutants from the skin and helps to eliminate and lessen signs of aging. No one wants to look old before their time and without properly caring for the skin, age can sometimes show on the face. Wrinkles, laugh lines, sagging skin and age spots are no match for the potent kick of milk thistle oil.

You can purchase milk thistle oil online at amazon.com.

 

The Potential Anti-Aging Properties Of Mushrooms

There are many different types of fruits and vegetables that have stunning antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help in a plethora of different areas – one of which is bolstering health and increasing anti-aging properties. Mushrooms actually contain a very high amount of two specific antioxidants that can help with the fight against aging. These two antioxidant properties are called ergothioneine and glutathione, which exist in copious amounts in many types of mushrooms.

This is terrific news as the body uses the food that we ingest to properly produce energy. When the body is being replenished by antioxidants it is put in a better position to fight off the free radical formations that will occur in the body.

Free Radical Theory Of Aging

“What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are the highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them,” says Robert Beelman, a professor of food science at Penn State. “There’s a theory – the free radical theory of aging – that’s been around for a long time. It states that when we oxidize our food to produce energy there’s a number of free radicals that are produced that are side products of that action. Many of these are quite toxic. The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”

The amounts of each one of these antioxidants present in mushrooms – ergothioneine and glutathione – vary largely by strain and type. There are many different species that exist which have these two antioxidants. The porcini species – a part of the wild variety – has the highest amount. Though the more common types had less of the antioxidants than the porcini, they still had way more than many other food items. White button mushrooms, for example, will still provide a great deal of these antioxidants to the body when readily consumed.

Cooking Mushrooms

A great thing to note as well is that cooking mushrooms is completely fine and won’t alter the molecular structure of the antioxidants. There is no significant compound shift after they come into contact with heat. Ergothioneine is incredibly heat stable, which means that for those who have a hard time eating raw mushrooms, there is a more palatable cooked option that doesn’t eliminate or negate the health properties that it provides the body.

The researchers even noted that this can be found on a global scale because in countries like Italy and France, there is less of an occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases. It may be a coincidence that these countries have way more ergothioneine in their diets or that there is an obvious correlation.

There is a much higher occurrence of specific diseases in this country, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, than in the countries previously mentioned who also happen to consume high amounts of these antioxidants in their diets. It’s definitely something to look into.

The fact that we have so many natural elements at our disposal that we can use to improve our health should ultimately be enough to push the need for more studies such as these to really uncover the power of natural food.

Conflicting Research Regarding 100% Fruit Juice And Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is affecting a substantial amount of individuals in our society. The inability for the pancreas to excrete the necessary amounts of insulin to combat the sugar you consume can be disastrous to your body. Foods that are higher in carbohydrates and sugar content notoriously affect resting blood sugar levels.

However, new research that was posted in the Journal of Nutritional Science found no correlation between fasting blood glucose, insulin resistance or fasting blood insulin levels, and 100 percent juice. The study showed that the consumption of 100 percent fruit juice is not associated with an increase in the risk of developing diabetes.

While this sounds good, it seems a bit suspect as many juices that claim to be 100 percent juice are also incredibly high in sugar and carbs, which clearly aggravate blood sugar levels. Now, there are some juices that are lower in sugar and are considered pure and natural 100 percent juice that may only have imperceptible effects on blood sugar – certain juices such as 100 percent cranberry, blueberry or pomegranate. But to assert that any 100 percent juice option would yield the same results is frankly incorrect.

This is precisely why nutritionists and doctors recommend a diet low in sugar and carbs for those who are suffering from diabetes or are pre-diabetic. According to the American Diabetes Association, roughly 90 percent of 29 million people who suffer from this disease have the type 2 form. This is the kind that can be developed through poor eating habits, lack of exercise as well as genetic disposition.

Do Your Own Research

Managing diabetes is typically done by managing weight, eating a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle. However, there is a difference between what actually constitutes a healthy diet as many individuals who suffer from this condition do well on a diet rich in protein and healthy fats and low in sugar and carbs. The traditional American diet has lamented that fat is what makes individuals fat and sick.

However, more evidence is being uncovered that it’s actually the carb and sugar count of foods that can potentially endanger our health. Why is it that this misinformation regarding low-fat foods, that are then just pumped with unnecessary carbs to make up for taste, are pushed as the best type of diet, yet that diet has only contributed to the influx of the condition to begin with?

It’s worthwhile to do your own research around what types of foods make your body and mind feel and react the best. Some people are notoriously sensitive to dairy, some individuals have lost quite a bit of weight cutting out meat products from their diets, while some have completely rectified their blood sugar and cholesterol levels by opting for a diet rich in animal protein, healthy fats and minimal carbs. Everything doesn’t work for everybody but there are certain patterns that can be seen in patients who are sensitive to sugar and carbs that should not be overlooked.

Do necessary tests on your blood sugar if you are going to partake in consistent consumption of 100 percent fruit juice. There may be some options that don’t impact your blood sugar too severely but not all 100 percent fruit juice will leave your blood sugar levels in healthy spaces. It’s important to know what works specifically for you and understand the juice you should be drinking.

Gluten Allergy Caused By What’s In Wheat, Not The Wheat Itself

Food allergies and food sensitivities are not the same thing. One can cause a very obvious and harmful reaction when exposed to a certain food, while the other causes less obvious internal issues that may actually compromise your digestive system and lead to other health issues not so easily connected.

The scientists at John Hopkins University started studying the genome makeup of common species of wheat that is used to make bread in this country and found some particularly fascinating information. Not only will the study of this genome help to better compile wheat that doesn’t have harmful levels of gluten in it, but it will also further the quest to make more sustainable, drought-resistant types of wheat that will help to end hunger in many parts of the world.

The Genome Factor

Scientists say that bread has an incredibly complex makeup – one of the most intricate and tedious compilations of genomes that exist in science. Over 16 billion DNA pairs and numerous chromosomes actually make up the strains of wheat that are then made into specific types of bread. That is vast and confusing in the grand scheme of grains, plants and their signifiers. This is so convoluted to some, that previously published versions of the genome derived from the wheat used in bread had huge gaps in its sequence given how intricate and in-depth the sequence is.

Due to the repetitive nature of the genome, it can be incredibly difficult to sequence it with any type of consistency and accuracy. What one of the scientists compared it to was putting together a very tiny jigsaw puzzle of a landscape scene when the majority of the puzzle is a gigantic blue sky. All the little blue pieces look almost identical in their similarity. In cases like these, it’s common to make a mistake. This is why the scientists at John Hopkins fashioned a sequencing type of technology that makes it a bit easier to group and study than it would be otherwise.

An assembly of the repetitive areas is also necessary in this way. In order to make these technologies, they used real-time, single molecule sequencing. When this information is thoroughly compiled and accurately assessed we’ll be able to better ascertain what makes wheat work and what some may react poorly to.

Improving Future Grains

When this is better understood, you can also start to compile information for super strains of wheat so that they can be grown in parts of the world that don’t have adequate access to food. When we adequately and completely understand the scientific framework of something, we can then deconstruct and reconstruct in several ways so that we can then use this information to better communities all over the world.

Imagine if there was wheat that didn’t cause those who consumed it to have poor internal reactions. Imagine if there was a strain of wheat that could be specifically modified to grow faster, in larger bundles, and be less susceptible to changes in the environment. When we truly understand the intricacies of the wheat genome and how to properly study it to improve future grains, entire regions and communities could potentially be better served.

A More Complete Way To Wash Pesticides From Fruits And Veggies

Even amongst the most suitable and healthy options there are for food, there are potential dangers that come with consuming fruits and vegetables consistently. Harmful pesticides can really damage your internal system and cause health issues down the line if they are readily ingested unbeknownst to you.

Despite your common produce-washing practices, you may not be fully cleaning all of the pesticides off of your produce. A simple and brief run under water isn’t sufficient. Researchers have recently found that washing fruits and vegetables with a common household item – baking soda – can substantially reduce residues that cling to the surface of the food.

The presence of pesticides amongst our produce that grows from trees, or on the ground, is ever present. The purpose from an economic standpoint for using pesticides is that it helps to increase the yield of a crop, thus getting the farmers more money per square inch. But these pesticides can be harmful and have shown to have negative health effects on human beings. In order to easily remove the residue from the outside of the produce a bit of baking soda and water will do the trick. Obviously, this suggestion is only relevant for items eaten with the skin on them, such as apples, potatoes, zucchini and celery.

Testing The Apples

In order to test the effectiveness of baking soda, the researchers used two common pesticides – phosmet and fungicide thiabendazole – and sprayed them on organic Gala apples. They then separated the apples into groups of three and tested each of the groups differently. The first group was washed with tap water, the second group a mixture of baking soda and water, and the last group was treated with a commercial bleach solution that is commonly used amongst farmers.

The groups of apples were soaked in their prospective solutions for at least 10 minutes. The baking soda and water mixture was shown to be the overall winner – leaps and bounds over the plain water method or the bleach method. It seems almost unbelievable that baking soda would actually be more effective in eradicating remnants of pesticides than a solution with bleach in it, however, that’s what the study found. Another great point: small amounts of baking soda are incredibly beneficial and safe for internal use, while bleach is not.

The Perfect Anecdote

It’s important for individuals to know that just eating processed or fast food isn’t the only risk. When we purchase fresh fruits and vegetables we may be improving our diets, but we can also be running the risk of ingesting harmful pesticides and chemicals that are virtually invisible and tasteless. This can have an unsavory and long-term negative effect on our health. While many health risks can be a result of eating those foods too readily, on the other end of the spectrum, the healthy options comprised of fruits and vegetables can also be potentially dangerous because of the poisonous chemicals that are readily sprayed onto them.

Baking soda is the perfect anecdote for the hard-to-get-rid-of residue that is harmful pesticides. We deserve the cleanest, most optimal fruits and vegetables in a farm-to-table scenario as we can get as a society. Going that extra step to ensure they’re properly cleaned is essential.

Green Tea Isn’t The Only Effective Tea For Weight Loss

So much has been said regarding the abilities of green tea to help individuals who are interested in losing weight and increasing their health. Aside from the common suggestions that include limiting caloric intake and being more active, there are several factors that may cause losing weight to actually be much more complicated than that. For those people who have health issues or overall compromised metabolisms, they can use a little help from natural entities to get their internal system aligned for optimum weight loss.

A group of researchers at UCLA found that there are components of black tea that can also be instrumental in the ways of helping to lose weight because of the way that the polyphenols are able to positively alter the bacteria of the gut. The way that this happens is that the components within black tea are able to shift and embolden the energy metabolism within the liver and therefore change the gut metabolites.

Black Tea Benefits

The study found that the ration of bacteria in the intestines is altered in the presence of both green and black tea – while this happens differently from green to black tea. The green tea’s polyphenols were absorbed and altered by the liver, while the black tea’s polyphenols are a bit too large to be properly absorbed by the small intestine. However, the gut bacterium and the manner in which the fatty acid chain is built alters the necessary metabolites which helps to promote weight loss. The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotic substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person’s well being.

“It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue,” says Susanne Henning, the lead author on the study and a professor at UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition. “Our findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism in the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans.”

Green And Black Tea Study

During the study, there were four different groups tested. Two groups did not have any tea extract while one had green tea extract and the other black tea extract. The mice were given this diet for four weeks and then their intestinal makeup was tested.

There were several different things that researchers were on the lookout for. One being any type of liver issues that may have been present in the diets with high fat content and how that may have been lacking in the presence of the teas as well. Results showed that only the mice that had the black tea as part of their diet where able to increase a specific gut bacteria called pseudobutyrivibrio, which is different than how the green tea positively affects the internal system.

For those who love black tea, this may be an even bigger incentive to keep the tea drinking habit going. Along with the common suggestions that have helped many to drop some pounds, helping your metabolism to react accordingly will undoubtedly be a key step in helping you along your weight loss journey. Black tea is also a great alternative to coffee as its caffeine quotient is a bit gentler on the body. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters and overall feelings of unease.

The Key To More Nutritious Crops

mixed selection of fruit and vegetables

Researchers are trying to figure out how the hundred tons of crops that are yielded on a daily basis can actually produce more nutritious produce. Whether it is from a specific soil or process, there is much interest to be had in how photosynthesis positively affects the type of crops that are produced for biofuels. A plant’s circulatory system is integral in the type of nutritional components that are infused into the food. When more nutrients are available, it improves the taste of the produce and the ability for it to positively impact human consumption.

Washington State University researchers started studying the correlation between the plant nutrients that were comprised via photosynthesis. The researchers found a unique and critical structure where the nutrients are offloaded, giving science a new focal point in efforts to improve plant efficiency and productivity.

“If you can increase the sink strength by five percent, and you get five percent  more product, you’d be looking at a multibillion-dollar market,” says professor of biological sciences at the WSU School of Biological Sciences, Michael Knoblauch. “What we eat is mostly fruits, roots and seeds, cereals and so on. And all this stuff is not at the place of photosynthesis. It’s at the place of unloading. So everything generated by photosynthesis is basically translocated to these so-called sinks. The unloading mechanism is a very important step because it determines how much a specific sink gets. So if we are able to modify the so-called sink strength, we can basically modify what fruit or root gets more.”

Batch Unloading

This can potentially have amazing effects in the ways of nutrition – an ongoing discovery for so many on the quest to improving their health and figuring out what types of vitamins and minerals they should be consuming on a regular basis. A recent analysis of a mustard plant showed how the growing roots and solutes could be transported and transmuted into neighboring cells.

While some molecules unload via a type of combined diffusion, others make their way through convection. Sugar must travel from a high concentration to low, via a process called plasmodesmata, which involves two pores connecting with cells close by. These pores provide the ability to have a specific flow resistance, which means they can release a necessary amount of discrete pulses which is referred to as “batch unloading.”

In order for these processes to make sense to researchers and scientists there must be an overarching understanding of the plant’s circulatory system, which more insights are beginning to make clearer as time goes on. It is a very intricate and elegant system. The more that is pulled the more that is then received. Knoblauch says: “If we are able to increase the sink strength of a specific sink of interest, then we can draw to this sink more nutrients of interest. If we want to make a tomato fruit a stronger sink by modifying phloem unloading – plant tissue that conducts metabolic products downwards from leaves – we draw more of the nutrients to the fruit and make more fruit product.”

The more this is readily researched, the more we can understand what’s required to shift how the produce that we consume grows to be even healthier and as nutritionally sound as possible. We can only benefit from this wealth of information.

Study: Diabetes Screenings And The Progress Made

Diabetes is a chronic condition that, if left untreated, can cause serious health complications and lead to greater risk of potentially fatal issues such as heart disease or stroke. Diabetes affects the way that the internal body processes sugar. Statistics gather that there are over 30 million adults that currently have diabetes and about 23 percent of cases that are actually undiagnosed. That is a staggering number considering the severity of the condition itself.

The number of sufferers who have been diagnosed has doubled in the last 25 years, which isn’t the type of health-improving news our society wants to hear. Despite the fact that the prevalence of diabetes is continuing to rise, there is good news in relation to proper screenings and diagnosis of the disease.

A recent study shows that the amount of cases of diabetes that are missed or diagnosed improperly has gone down from 16 percent to 10. This means that understanding the functions and symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes is becoming much more obvious to a wider range of medical practitioners. For those who haven’t had any routine health screenings in quite some time, or live in communities that have a preponderance of in-access when it comes to basic, fundamental health care options, the amount of cases that remain undiagnosed is staggering.

Diagnosis And Treatment

The study was conducted by researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and they concluded that their findings are indicative of greater opportunities for treatment. “Understanding the proportion of diabetes causes that are actually undiagnosed, and who those patient groups are, is really critical to allocation of public health resources,” says Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D. and the lead professor on the study. “Our results suggest that targeted screening in these populations and increasing health coverage could help make sure that persons who have diabetes receive a diagnosis and get the appropriate treatment that they need.”

The study used two sets of data from periods 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2014, which included over 7,000 and 17,000 participants, respectively. The information was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The researchers studied the diabetic threshold for further clarification on false positives regarding the undiagnosed population.

In order to inform the general public of the health concerns that diabetes can bring to sufferers’ lives, we must start to look at why certain foods are available in specific areas where those with a lower income and minority landscape are so affected. The influx of food that we are surrounded by as a culture is the top contributing factor to the onslaught of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Food is available to us in copious amounts and, because of how addictive many of these foods are made, people tend to have a fixation with and preoccupation with them. We’re not properly educated on food as we should be and for this reason many people continue to use food as a bandage or salve and have incredibly poor dietary habits as a result.

The fact that the occurrence of diabetes has grown to such numbers, and the main issue that brings about diabetes is an inability to process sugar, is no coincidence. Processed junk food is packed full of carbohydrates and sugar. Defeating the obesity and diabetes epidemic isn’t possible without educating larger society and giving everyone access to healthy options.

 

The World’s Food Waste And Hunger Problem

In a recent study, it was found that over a fifth of the world’s food production isn’t being used how it ought to be. In fact, nearly 20 percent of the food that is made available for consumption is either completely lost through waste or over-eating. The entire world’s population actually ingests nearly 10 percent more food than it actually needs while around nine percent is completely thrown away, discarded and never used. These are painful and embarrassing numbers when many places in the world see tens of thousands of people starve on a daily basis.

Slowly there are efforts being implemented that are attempting to reduce the billions of tons that are currently lost by increasing and strengthening food security. Part of this is to ensure that all individuals have access to an affordable, safe diet that is also nutritionally sound. Excess food waste can also pose a real threat toward the environment.

Lost To Over-Consumption

Researchers and scientists at the University of Edinburgh examined and studied the 10 stages of a global food system and some of their findings were downright eye-opening. What was incredibly jarring was the information that was gathered regarding the over-consumption that society is largely guilty of when it comes to food. Almost half of the harvested crops are lost to over-consumption. This is no wonder when obesity is becoming an epidemic in so many different parts of the world.

Many people in our society have access to food at an alarming rate. Simply the amount of fast food restaurants in any given city is emblematic of that. There’s also the case that economically, it is more difficult to eat well and not overeat when in a lower economic bracket. Cheap, supersized servings of tasty food that is horrendous for the body is sometimes all specific households can afford.

Waste, as well as inefficient food processes, is also a cause for concern when it comes to the amount of food that isn’t being allocated the way that it should be. There is also the fact that certain increased demand for foods like dairy or meat may decrease the manner in which these items can be efficiently attained – when meeting the demand will potentially compromise other facets of environmental safety such as the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, and decreasing water supplies. The researchers surmised that encouraging consumers to eat less meat and dairy would help this particular issue.

Getting Smart

Another issue is restaurants and well-off households that throw away copious amounts of perfectly good food on a weekly basis. Many eateries are mandated to throw away leftover food each day after closing because they are legally unable to sell it the next day. Households allow food to go to complete waste and rot, instead of proactively freezing the food in order to sustain it. This is food that could benefit homeless shelters and the needy all over the country and world.

We need to really get smart about how we consume food and how much we consume. We also need to do better distributing and allocating nutritiously-sound food to those who don’t readily have proper access to it.

Lower Heart Disease Risks With Nut Consumption

Nuts and seeds can sometimes be an acquired taste. Some people don’t understand exactly what types of nuts should be included in a healthy diet as all nuts aren’t created equal. Some nuts have more of a particular component or element within them than others. A recent study found that those who regularly include nuts in their diets – specifically walnuts, tree nuts and peanuts – were at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or coronary heart disease as opposed to those who don’t typically include any nuts in their diets.

A major reason these types of nuts are so beneficial is due to their healthy fat content. For a long time it was thought that fat was the enemy, but after a lot of research and additional studies, it has become clear that there are many types of positive and healthy fats that should be incorporated into a balanced diet. These particular nuts are so helpful because they have a specific type of fatty acid within them that helps to coat and aid the heart – and helps mitigate the risk of heart disease.

The Consumption Correlation

The study found that there was an inverse correlation between nut consumption and the presence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Participants who consumed walnuts on a regular basis had an almost 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Similar numbers can be seen of both tree nuts and peanuts. “Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations,” says lead author of the study Marta Guasch-Ferre.

Another researcher, Emilio Ros, added commentary regarding the necessary presence of nuts and the need for even more research: “Ideally, further investigations should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented into the usual diet on hard cardio-metabolic events. In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, may be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging.”

Heart-Health Benefits

Largely where we go wrong with our diets, and subsequently our health, is that too many processed items are consumed. The combination of fat and carbs are typically what makes many foods so addicting and satisfying to so many people. The great thing about nuts is that, within necessary parameters, they can provide the type of fat that is tasty and filling, but also provide you with necessary heart-health benefits. Heart disease is absolutely insidious and we should do everything that can be done to study this condition and learn which nutritional choices we should be making.

While nuts are an acquired taste for some, they can be great on salads or as part of fun trail mix. Do be mindful that many nut allergies have developed in recent years and, unfortunately, some people just can’t have nuts as their bodies react poorly to them. Anyone can be allergic to anything, yet the increase in nut allergies seems to be growing at a rapid rate.