Category Archives: Well being

Natural Ways to Balance Hormones

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood and much more. Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries. Hormones are produced in a complex process, but depend on beneficial fats and cholesterol, so lack of these important dietary factors can cause hormone problems simply because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems.
Hormonal imbalances are caused by a combination of factors such as diet, medical history, genetics, stress levels and exposure to toxins from the environment. Research shows that your gut health plays a significant role in hormone regulation. If you have leaky gut syndrome or a lack of beneficial probiotic bacteria lining your intestinal wall, you are more susceptible to hormonal problems, including diabetes and obesity. That’s because inflammation usually stems from your gut and then impacts nearly every aspect of your health. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances include: infertility and irregular periods, weight gain or weight loss (that’s unexplained and not due to intentional changes in your diet), depression and anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, low libido, changes in appetite, digestive issues, hair loss and hair thinning.

Conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances usually include synthetic hormone replacement therapies, birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medications and more. Unfortunately, for the majority of people suffering from hormonal disorders, relying on these types of synthetic treatments often does three things. It makes people dependent on taking prescription drugs for the rest of their lives in order to keep symptoms under control. It simply masks the patient’s symptoms but doesn’t solve them, which means that the patient can continue to develop abnormalities in other areas of the body while the disorder progresses. It causes a higher risk for serious side effects such as stroke, osteoporosis, anxiety, reproductive problems, cancer and more.

Hormones — such as oestrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin — are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread, major health problems.

Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is the key to keeping your hormones in check. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.

Four sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats are coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon. Coconut oil has many uses. For example, coconut oil (or cream/milk) has natural anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and fat-burning properties. Avocado’s benefits include improving heart health, lowering inflammation, controlling your appetite and contributing to your daily intake of fibre and nutrients such as potassium.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. To avoid antibiotics and other chemicals stay clear of farmed salmon as much as possible and also steer clear of oils that are high in omega-6 fats (safflower, sunflower, vegetable, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut), and load up on rich sources of natural omega-3s instead (wild fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and grass-fed animal products). There is a type of omega-6 fat that you want to get in your diet called GLA. GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) can be taken in supplement form by using evening primrose oil or borage oil, and it’s also found in hemp seeds.

Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases, including those caused by excess stress. In addition to boosting immune function and combating stress, research shows that various adapotogens such as medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola, Holy basil and thyme (both the common garden variety and broad leaf thyme which is also known as wild marjoram or Mexican marjoram) can: lower cholesterol naturally, reduce anxiety and depression, reduce brain cell degeneration, stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels and support adrenal gland functions. Thyme oil improves progesterone production, which helps to treat or relieve health issues like infertility, menopause, depression, fibroids, hair loss and insomnia. To help balance your hormones naturally, add 2 drops of thyme oil to a warm water bath or rub 2-3 drops with equal parts coconut oil into your abdomen. Holy basil, which is also known as tulsi, helps to regulate cortisol levels, thereby working as a natural remedy for anxiety and emotional stress. Studies show that holy basil can also protect your organs and tissues against chemical stress from pollutants and heavy metals, which are other factors that can lead to hormone imbalance.

Maca is a hormone boosting tuber originally from Peru. Women who use it often see improvements in fertility, reduction in PMS and better skin/hair. It can help men with sperm production, testosterone levels and muscle composition. Maca is a good source of minerals and essential fatty acids, which is one of the ways it supports hormone balance, however, its use should be discontinued during pregnancy.

Ashwagandha, in particular, can be extremely effective at balancing hormones. It benefits thyroid function because it promotes the scavenging of free radicals that cause cellular damage. Ashwagandha can be used to support a sluggish or overactive thyroid, and it can also help to overcome adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals can become overtaxed when you experience too much emotional, physical or mental stress, leading to the disruption of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and progesterone.

Chaste Tree Berry nourishes the pituitary gland. It lowers prolactin and raises progesterone. For some women, this alone will improve symptoms.

Red Raspberry Leaf is a well know fertility herb that is also helpful in reducing PMS and cramping. It has a high nutrient profile and is especially high in calcium and is a uterine tonic. It is available in capsule form but makes an excellent hot or cold tea.

Magnesium is vital for hundreds of functions within the human body and many of us are deficient in this mineral. There are several different ways to get magnesium into your system. Topical application, by applying magnesium oil to the skin is often the most effective option for those with a damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency. Epsom salt baths or a refreshing drink of organic cocoa with a teaspoonful of black strap molasses are other ways to get magnesium into your body.

Vitamin D, a pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. It is best obtained from the sun if possible, or from a D3 supplement or Cod Liver Oil (a good source of Omega-3 and Vitamin D). Make sure not to get too much, and optimally, get Serum Vitamin D levels checked to monitor levels.

Gelatin and collagen powders support hormone production and digestive health in various ways. Gelatin powder can actually “gel” while collagen protein does not but is easily added to soups, smoothies, coffee, tea or any other food.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that the emotions of fear cause disease in your reproductive organs, kidneys and adrenals, affecting cortisol levels. This can lead to serious conditions like PCOS and infertility. The emotions of frustration, impatience and un-forgiveness cause disease in your liver, which can lead to an oestrogen imbalance and emotions of worry and anxiety can cause issues with your insulin levels, which can then affect several hormones.

A major component of balancing your hormones naturally is addressing any emotional imbalances that you are dealing with. You can do this by reducing stress levels, engaging in personal reflection and taking time for yourself. Practicing meditation or healing prayer can be extremely beneficial, and so can deep breathing exercises, spending time outdoors and exercising every day. Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like acupuncture and massage can also help to improve hormonal balance, combat stress and improve blood flow.

Your emotions and hormones are connected, so by working to balance one, you are impacting the other. If you are ever feeling stressed, angry, agitated or even fearful, understand that this is affecting your hormone balance and can lead to even bigger health issues. Keep working on your emotional balance by making it part of your daily routine.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, internal emotions have a direct impact on a person’s health and addressing emotional imbalances, external factors and lifestyle choices can help to prevent health conditions associated with hormonal imbalances.

To balance your hormones naturally, it’s important that you eliminate toxins in your body by avoiding conventional body care products that are made with potentially-harmful chemicals including DEA, parabens, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate. A better alternative is to use natural products made with ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil.

Clary sage helps to balance oestrogen levels because it contains natural phyto- oestrogens. It can be used to regulate your menstrual cycle, relieve PMS symptoms, treat infertility and PCOS, and even reduce the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer. It also serves as a natural remedy for emotional imbalances, like depression and anxiety. Diffuse 3-5 drops of clary sage to help balance hormone levels and relieve stress. To ease cramps and pain, massage 5 drops of clary sage with 5 drops of coconut oil into your stomach and any other area of concern.

Problems with your gut health have been found to cause autoimmune reactions, including thyroid disorders. Use fennel essential oil to relax your body, improve your digestion and gut health, boost your metabolism and reduce inflammation. You can rub 2 drops of fennel into your stomach or add 1-2 drops to a class of warm water or tea to take it internally.

Lavender: Lavender oil promotes emotional balance, as it can help to treat anxiety, depression, moodiness and stress. It can also be used to promote restful sleep, which will help to balance your hormone levels as well. Diffuse 5 drops of lavender oil at home, add 5 drops to a warm water bath or apply 3 drops topically to your temples, back or neck or wrists.

Sandalwood: Sandalwood essential oil can be used to increase your libido, reduce stress, promote relaxation, boost mental clarity and even help you to relax. The powerful fragrance triggers peaceful feelings and results in the overall reduction of stress that can lead to hormone imbalances. Inhale sandalwood directly from the bottle, diffuse it at home or apply 2-3 drops to your wrists and bottoms of the feet.

Get a lot of natural light during the day, and spend at least 30 minutes outside each day if possible. The wide-spectrum of natural light helps boost serotonin levels which balance melatonin levels at night. In fact, sun gazing within the first hour of sun rise is extremely beneficial for balancing hormones, decalcifying the pineal gland and improving eyesight. Remember, if the pineal gland is not decalcified it will not vibrate at the higher frequencies necessary for optimum production of four major hormones: melatonin, serotonin, DMT and melanin.

Avoid artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down. Install F.lux (it is free) on all computers and devices to reduce blue light and help you sleep better (it is also easier on the eyes). Drink enough water during the day and stop drinking about 2 hours before bed so you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom. Take a soothing salt bath about an hour before bed with some relaxing music or a great book. Pray, meditate or find a way to reduce stress.
It’s sometimes necessary to supplement in order to fill nutritional voids that can be leading to a hormone imbalance. Evening primrose oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, such as LA and GLA, that support overall hormonal function. Supplementing with evening primrose oil can help to relieve premenstrual and PCOS symptoms. It also helps to create a healthy environment for conception.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low. This is why people who live in dark areas often suffer from seasonal depression and other health problems unless they supplement with vitamin D. Sunshine is really the best way to optimize vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight. Most people should supplement with around 2,000–5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 if they live in dark areas, during the winter, and on days when they’re not in the sun.

Bone broth soothes the digestive system and supplies the body with nutrients that can be easily absorbed. Consuming bone broth or protein powder made from bone broth is especially beneficial to your health because it contains healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, which have the powder to boost your overall health.

Probiotics: Probiotics can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones. When undigested food particles, like gluten for example, leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation that impacts the entire body — especially glands like the thyroid that is very susceptible to heightened inflammation. Most people with leaky gut have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can actually improve your production and regulation of key hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin.

The side effects of some medication can disrupt your hormone balance, leading to fatigue, appetite changes, altered sleeping patterns, low libido, sadness and even depression. Some medications that can mess with your hormone balance include corticosteroids, stimulants, statins, dopamine agonists, rexinoids and glucocorticoids. Beware of your medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects and research natural alternatives whenever possible.

Birth control is another dangerous medication that alters hormone levels. “The pill” is a type of hormone therapy that raises oestrogen levels to such dangerous levels that it can cause many complications. There are many other (safer) ways to prevent pregnancy.

Unless you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, you are doing your body no favours. A lack of sleep or disturbing your natural circadian rhythm can be one of the worst habits contributing to a hormone imbalance. A lack of sleep, long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are three of the biggest contributors to high cortisol levels. A report published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism stated that “Stress can lead to changes in the serum level of many hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin.”

Sleep helps balance stress hormones, builds energy and allows the body to recover properly. Excessive stress and poor sleep are linked with higher levels of morning cortisol, decreased immunity, trouble with work performance, and a higher susceptibility to anxiety, weight gain and depression. To maximize hormone function, ideally try to get to bed by 10 p.m. and stick with a regular sleep-wake-cycle as much as possible.

In some cases, synthetic hormonal treatments (such as insulin or thyroid medication) will be necessary to treat a hormonal imbalance. However, the majority of people can feel a lot better by making the lifestyle changes described above. For people with diagnosed hormonal disorders — including type 1 or type 2 diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, Graves’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome, for example, it is always important to speak with your doctor before discontinuing medication use. The natural treatments above can still help you overcome your illness and greatly reduce symptoms, but these recommendations should not take the place of medical supervision. Because hormone imbalances vary so widely in terms of severity of symptoms, always keep track of how you’re feeling, do your research and evaluate how you respond to different treatments.

Natural treatments include eating an anti-inflammatory diet, consuming enough omega-3s, getting good sleep, exercising and controlling stress.

Disclaimer: The information given here is not to be considered as medical advice. You should always contact your medical practitioner regarding matters that affect your health.

Shungite the Miracle Stone

Shungite, a rock deposit found in Russia is the only known natural source of fullerenes on Earth (with the exception of a few meteorites). The rock has been studied extensively by Russian scientists, but only within the last few years has information regarding it has reached the Western world. According to Russian and Ukrainian research, fullerene-rich shungite has the ability to neutralize numerous forms of negative energy. It weakens electromagnetic emissions, essentially providing protection from electromagnetic fields and has also been successfully used for many years in Russia to assist patients with depression, trauma, and other emotional and psychological disturbances.

Fullerenes were brought to the attention of the world when research on them gained the scientists a Nobel Prize. This is because the fullerenes in shungite will cleanse water and then infuse it with a potent healing vibration. Place a handful of shungite stones next to your electronics—like your computer, microwave, mobile phone and television. Also among the list of contaminants it will remove are: bacteria (and other microbes), nitrates, heavy metals, pesticides, volatile organics, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, and fluoride (however, as with other forms of carbon filtration it is not recommended for the removal of fluoride because it becomes burdened so rapidly). Shungite’s benefits and healing powers are said to come from its rare, non-crystalline carbon mineral foundation. It is an amazing stone, said to be around 2 billion years old and one that is beneficial to a healthy life. It is one of the only known natural materials that contain fullerenes, which are powerful anti-oxidants. It has also been credited with healing those who have developed sensitivity to man-made electrical devices. In particular, it is known to help skin complaints, and water infused with it may be used to cleanse problem areas.

Shungite helps in making a connection to the earth, and can be carved into a variety of shapes. This includes spheres or pieces of stone that have been carved into pyramid shapes, as well as pendulums. Any type of shape can be utilized for this purpose. Research indicates there is a decrease in histamine in the bloodstream of those who drink shungite water and a corresponding decrease in allergies. Shungite water also improves the elasticity of the skin and heals many other related skin problems. One of the reasons shungite has the ability to neutralize contaminants is because the fullerenes within its composition can hold a tremendous amount of hydrogen. It is a stone that makes a strong earth star chakra connection, and its ancient heritage means that it brings the ancient earth mystical energy into play. It is both a stone for the base or root chakra and the earth star and it is a strong stone for grounding you to the earth in a similar way to most black stones. Shungite is an extraordinary stone to keep within your aura, and a piece of stone may be used if jewellery is not available.

The energy embodied within this ancient stone is said to absorb and eliminate anything that is a health hazard to human life, and it has active metaphysical properties with strong healing powers. Since this stone was discovered in Russia in the 1700’s, they have been recording amazing results from it and use shungite chips of various sizes to purify water.

Wearing a pendant at the level of the heart chakra brings the stone into contact with a very receptive point and increases its beneficial effect. A necklace of shungite pearls, because of its size, will exercise a powerful effect on the whole energetic body. This is a stone that makes a strong earth star chakra connection, and its ancient heritage means that it brings the ancient earth mystical energy into play. It is both a stone for the base or root chakra and the earth star and it is a strong stone for grounding you to the earth.

Bracelets are also very effective because the wrist is traversed by many meridian lines. They are especially useful for those people who are in contact with a computer mouse or a telephone all day. Bracelets can ward off numbness in the arm.
Earrings, although they are small in size, are useful in protecting the ear from the impact of waves coming from cell phones or cordless phones.

You can also find cloth belts filled with shungite pebbles that can be worn around the waist or on painful or depleted areas. During convalescence they are very effective in restoring lost vitality to the whole body as well as during periods of sustained effort. Although such belts are very effective and invigorating, they are temporary measures and should not be used every day. If you begin wearing a belt, try it first for a few hours and then increase its use by stages. Listen to your body as it knows its own needs and will be able to tell you when you don’t need to wear the belt any more.

Rinse shungite stones thoroughly but without soap, under running water. Put the shungite stones in a glass or enamel container and pour cold water in the following proportions: 100 g of shungite per 1 litre of water. Scientists have stated that in 30 minutes the water will be cleared and will develop antibacterial properties but the best results will come after the water has been left standing with shungite for2 to 3 hours. The water will finally acquire all the medicinal properties in 8 – 10 hours. For therapeutic and preventive purposes it is recommended to drink no more than 250 ml of shungite water per day. It is also recommened that you rinse shungite stones once a month under running water and put them in the sun to recharge. Do not cleanse shungite under running tap water that contains chlorine or other contaminants. Apparently shungite can be used indefinitely.

Shungite stones can be divided into three types depending on the content of carbon in them. Types 2 and 3 are usually called regular shungite and contain from 50 to 90 per cent to 30 to 50 per cent carbon, respectively. All the shaped products on the market like pyramids, spheres, bracelets, etc. are made of regular shungite since it accounts for the majority of shungite found in Karelia and can be easily shaped and polished.

Type I shungite is called noble or elite shungite and contains from 90 to 98 per cent organic carbon. Elite shungite nuggets have shiny silvery surfaces and have a high energetic potential due to the high percentage of carbon. The deposits of elite shungite are extremely scarce and account for less than one per cent of all shungite found. It is usually dug up carefully by individuals while types II and III are more commercially mined. Elite shungite stones appear to be a perfect natural healer and energy stabilizer and are often sold in their original form since they are very fragile. You can have an elite shungite nugget near your working space or a bed while sleeping in order to provide comprehensive protection against geopathic influence or you can have a small elite shungite nugget in your pocket or a small jewellery item to protect yourself from electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) radiation that effect your everyday life. Shungite can be polished and non-polished but still provide the same end results.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Water Water Everywhere

Water, water every where, not a drop to drink. So said the mariner in the poem ,“Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”. Water is one of the most important substances on earth. All plants and animals must have it to survive. Apart from drinking it people have many other uses for water. It makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without it, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic maths, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue.

Overall,the human body contains from 55% to 78% water, depending on body size. To function properly, the body requires between one and seven litres of water per day and to avoid dehydration the precise amount depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors. Most of this is ingested through foods or beverages other than drinking straight water. It is not clear how much water intake is needed by healthy people, though most specialists agree that approximately 2 litres (6 to 7 glasses) of water daily is the minimum to maintain proper hydration. Medical literature favours a lower consumption, typically 1 litre of water for an average male, excluding extra requirements due to fluid loss from exercise or warm weather. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to re-hydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

On top of the vegetables list are cucumber and lettuce, consisting of 96% water. Zucchini, radish and celery are comprised of 95% water. 94% of tomato’s weight is water, and green cabbage is 93. Vegetables that contain 92% water include cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, peppers and spinach. Broccoli is 91% water by weight. Additional healthy hydrating foods include carrots with 87% water and green peas and white potatoes with 79% water. Watermelon and strawberries contain about 92% water per volume. Other fruits with high water content include grapefruit with 91%, cantaloupe with 90% and peaches with 88% water. Fruits containing 87% water by weight include pineapple, cranberries, orange and raspberries. Apricots hold 86% water, while blueberries and plums contain 85% water. The water content for apples and pears is 84%. Cherries and grapes contain an average of 81% water. And, a banana’s composition includes 74% water. After passing through the stomach, water enters the small intestine, where it is largely absorbed in the first sections, the duodenum and jejunum. The rest passes into the colon. It crosses the intestinal mucous membrane into the bloodstream, then into the interstitial tissues that make up the framework of every organ, to arrive in the cells.

For those who have healthy kidneys, it is rather difficult to drink too much water, but (especially in warm humid weather and while exercising) it is dangerous to drink too little. People can drink far more water than necessary while exercising, putting them at risk of water intoxication (hyper-hydration), which can be fatal. The popular claim that “a person should consume eight glasses of water per day” seems to have no real basis in science. Studies have shown that drinking extra water at mealtime was conducive to weight loss. Adequate fluid intake is helpful in preventing constipation and gives the brain a boost
Water provides the brain with much needed oxygen to allow it to perform at optimum levels. Water helps you lose weight
by increasing your metabolic rate, thus helping your body burn fat. Dehydration is a huge cause of fatigue and drinking water can keep you alert and active during the day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need additional fluids to stay hydrated and should drink up to 3 litres (12 cups) a day, since an especially large amount of fluid is lost during nursing. Also noted is that normally, about 20% of water intake comes from food, while the rest comes from drinking water and beverages .

Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys and liver use it to help flush out waste, as do your intestines. Water can also keep you from getting constipated by softening your stools and helping move the food you’ve eaten through your intestinal tract. However, it should be noted that there is no evidence to prove that increasing your fluid intake will cure constipation. Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fibre. With the help of water, this  dissolves easily and benefits your bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.

Water is also essential for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy. Without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but because there are increased oxygen levels you will also have more energy. Water helps remove toxins from the body, in particular from the digestive tract. It suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits. Water also regulates the body’s cooling system. That is why we sweat when the temperature is high as this is the body’s way of cooling down. Dehydration can occur at any time of the year, not only during the summer months when it is hot. The dryness that occurs during winter can dehydrate the body even quicker than when it is hot and there is also a tendency to eat more when you are dehydrated. Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration. This condition, where the body’s cell are never quite hydrated enough, leaves them in a weakened state, vulnerable to attack from disease. It weakens the body’s overall immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases.

Soft Drinks never quench your thirst, certainly not your body’s need for water.Soft drinks steal water from the body. They work very much like a diuretic which takes away more water than it provides.Just to process the high levels of sugar in soft drinks steals a considerable amount of water from the body and the elevated levels of phosphates in soft drinks also leach vital minerals from your body. A severe lack of minerals can lead to heart disease, osteoporosis and many other health issues. Most vitamins cannot perform their function in the body without the presence of minerals. The high amount of sugar in soft drinks will also cause your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a “sugar crash”. Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can lead to diabetes and other imbalance related diseases. This is particularly disruptive to growing children which can lead to life-long health problems. Drinking water will ward off symptoms of dehydration which are headaches, dizziness, tiredness, dry lips or eyes, dark coloured urine and infrequent urination.Soft Drinks are also EXTREMELY acidic, so much so that they can eat through the lining of an aluminium can and leach aluminium from the can if it sits on the shelf too long. Alzheimer patients who have been autopsied ALL have high levels of aluminium in their brains, some of which could have come from the aluminium in the cans.

As we get older, the amount of water in our body decreases, increasing the risk of dehydration, and the consequences thereof. Dehydration has been associated with increased mortality rates among older adults in hospitals and can precipitate emergency treatments and increase the risk of repeated stays in hospital. Evidence suggests high dehydration rates of elderly patients within hospitals and other health care institutions and dehydration has also been associated with various morbidities, such as impaired cognition or acute confusion, falling or constipation.The elderly are more susceptible to dehydration because the amount of body water decreases by approximately 15% between the ages of 20 and 80. With this decrease, the body becomes more susceptible to dehydration from the loss of a small amount of body water. Moreover, the elderly often experience diminished thirst sensation which leads to reduced fluid consumption. Also as a consequence of ageing, the kidneys have a reduced ability to concentrate urine and retain water during water deprivation. In addition, ageing kidneys are less able to conserve or excrete sodium.
Insufficient fluid intake can also be the result of limitations such as reduced swallowing capacity, decreased mobility, or comprehension and communication disorders,especially as we get older. Disease-related factors, such as incontinence can increase water losses. Dehydration may also be caused by warm temperature, inadequate staffing in institutions, or use of laxatives or diuretics. If you have an elderly relative, whether that person is being cared for by you or other family members or hospitalized try to ensure that they are properly hydrated as this could improve their quality of life in their senior years.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Healthy Alternatives to Wheat

Wheat  today is not the same as many decades ago and today’s wheat was probably the first GMO food. Although it is regarded as a staple food along with rice there are many health issues where the culprit appears to be wheat based. Intolerance to wheat products seems to be on the increase and many people are seeking alternatives. Gluten, which is derived from wheat, barley and oats appears to be affecting more and more people world wide and even when wheat products are advertised as gluten free there are concerns, as in many cases the gluten is replaced with sugar to give back some taste to the wheat flour. There are many healthier alternatives to wheat as this article shows and although some are not readily available in many shops they can be found without too much difficulty.

Amaranth

Amaranth is a good source of both carbohydrates and fibre. A 1-cup serving of the cooked grain contains 46 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fibre. The fibre in the amaranth can also help with weight control as it increases satiety and helps control hunger. Eating more than 14 grams of fibre a day can help you decrease your daily calorie intake by 10 per cent, according to an article in the journal “Nutrition Review.” For better health, women should aim for 25 grams of fibre a day, while men should get 38 grams. For those over 50, the daily need for fibre is 21 grams for women, and 30 grams for men. One cup of cooked amaranth contains 9 grams of protein. Unlike other grains, amaranth is a complete source of protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids — just as meats and poultry do. Protein in foods like amaranth is necessary to help your body build and maintain the proteins found in your cells, muscles and organs

As a whole grain, the amaranth retains its germ, which is a source of healthy unsaturated fats, including the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A 1-cup serving of cooked amaranth contains 4 grams of total fat. Replacing your saturated fat foods, such as red meat and butter, with foods rich in unsaturated fats like those found in amaranth might help lower cholesterol levels.
Amaranth is a good source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals that you need for good health, including B vitamins, calcium, iron and zinc. The B vitamins help your body turn the food you eat into energy, as well as make blood cells. As a good source of calcium, amaranth helps keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong. The iron in the grain assists with the transportation of oxygen throughout your body, and the zinc helps your body heal cuts.

Breadfruit Flour

According to a study from the University of British Columbia, breadfruit contains “a full spectrum of the essential amino acids and are especially rich in phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine and valine. Another nutrient group important to disease prevention are antioxidants. Found in a wide variety of foods, antioxidants prevent and reverse oxidative stress, the damage caused by free radicals to body functions. Free radicals, in addition to being a natural by- product of food consumption can be introduced into the body through over exposure to sunlight, chemicals found in the environment and various other sources, but a diet full of high powered antioxidants can slow and even reverse the damage caused by free radicals.

One research study in the spring of 2016 focused specifically on the antioxidant activity of breadfruit as it relates to the toxicity of cadmium, a common environmental toxin and endocrine disruptor. This particular study investigated the effect of cadmium on alterations in sperm count and activity and found that the tested methanol extract of breadfruit caused significant improvement in sperm count, motility (movement) and hormone levels. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant found in breadfruit. Individuals who eat diets rich in fruits and vegetables containing a lot of vitamin C have a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as an extended life span compared to those who do not have a high dietary intake of vitamin C

Due in part to its antioxidant content, in addition to other factors, breadfruit is also great for your heart. It’s been found to contain phytochemicals (chemicals from plants) that protect the heart against atherosclerosis, a heart disease characterized by slowly building pockets of white blood cells in artery walls causing them to thicken. Eventually, atherosclerosis can lead to a blockage of the blood supply to the heart resulting in a heart attack. In 2006, breadfruit was termed as a good prospect to use in medicinal protection against this very common disease. Another way it’s beneficial to your heart is by its ability to combat high cholesterol. Breadfruit is also incredibly high in fibre, offering nearly half the daily recommended intake in just one serving. A high fibre diet is associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure, (hypertension) and other diseases associated with the heart..
Breadfruit also contains a fairly large quantity of thiamine, aka vitamin B1. Thiamine helps maintain muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract, where the majority of the immune system is located. It also assists in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, helping your body fully digest food and absorb the highest amount of nutrients possible. Together, these features make thiamine a valuable nutrient in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Because breadfruit has some incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it has been researched as a potential cancer fighting food. A Taiwan study found it to have significant potential in the fight against skin cancer and an extract from this fruit, applied directly to the skin, decreased the number, size and malignancy of skin tumours. Another cancer that may be fought by the powerful nutrients in breadfruit is pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer operates differently from many other types of cancer because it is not as susceptible to “nutrient starvation” as other cancers often are. This means that the cancer drugs that are commonly prescribed to starve cancer cells of nutrients are even less effective than usual against cancer of the pancreas.
Therefore, when studying possible treatments for pancreatic cancer, scientists must focus on things that can kill these cancer cells and prevent them from pulling nutrients from nearby vessels and cells. In 2014, a pilot study investigating the impact of an extract from the leaves of the breadfruit tree found that the chemical compound had 100 per cent “preferential cytoxicity” against human pancreatic cancer cells known as PANC-1 under nutrient-deprived conditions. This means that the extract successfully killed 100 per cent of the pancreatic cancer cells when subjected to a nutrient-deprived environment, which normally would have little to no effect on these cells.

Another study in Asia published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine studied the effect of an extract from the breadfruit plant on liver cancer cells. The findings were also fascinating, as researchers discovered that the extract did not cause traditional apoptosis (programmed cell death) that’s often seen in anticancer nutrients and pharmaceuticals. Instead, when exposed to the breadfruit extract, the liver cancer cells underwent autophagic death. This alternative method of cell death occurs naturally in the body as it processes proteins and breaks down damaged cells and is a more effective method of stopping cancer in certain cases.
For the purposes of cooking or stewing, mature but unripe fruits are preferred. As breadfruit continues to ripen after picked, you can choose when to eat it at its ripest, which is when it gives to thumb pressure. This fruit should never be refrigerated because it can undergo chilling injury at temperatures below 12 Fahrenheit.

Many fans of breadfruit know that it can be used in a huge variety of ways. You can eat it ripe, which may give a taste similar to custard apples. It may also be stewed, fried, baked, broiled or powdered. Generally, you should peel the outer skin, then split the fruit into quarter slices before discarding the central core, after which you can cut it into the appropriate size for whatever dish you plant to prepare. When baked, the taste is more closely related to freshly baked bread (which is how it earned its name).
Breadfruit has incredible potential in many areas, including the creation of a much better-tasting gluten free flour than many other food products.

Cassava Flour

Similar to those mentioned above cassava flour is gluten free. People with celiac disease can readily consume starch or flour from cassava because of this. So they can still enjoy bread or cake made from cassava flour or other savoury dishes which may need flour to thicken the gravy.

The fibre in cassava flour slows down the process of absorption of sugar into the bloodstream thus reducing the spike that would occur from the ingestion of simple carbohydrates. Good news for those suffering from diabetes. Cassava contains some antioxidants which play very important roles in reducing the risk of cancer. These include vitamin C, beta carotene and saponins. These antioxidants are known to help protect your cells from damage by free radicals and repair broken DNA. A study by scientists from Tianjin University found that saponins, which are derived from by plants, may help prevent cancer. Potassium plays a very important role in the reduction of blood pressure and the regulation of heart rate and cassava is very high in this mineral.

Chickpea Flour

Anyone who has gone on a diet knows that hunger pangs can weaken even the strongest willpower. The challenge is to lower your caloric intake without starving yourself. Enter chickpeas. 1 cup contains just 269 calories, but half your daily value of fibre and 30% of your protein, both of which monitor the insulin that causes your body to store fat. So eat a cup of chickpeas for lunch and you will feel full until dinner. That’s why one study found that participants who snacked on chickpeas reported greater levels of satisfaction and ate less snack food in-between meals.

Just 2 cups of chickpeas contain your entire daily value of dietary fibre. Better yet, they are full of both soluble and insoluble fibre, the latter of which helps lower LDL cholesterol. One study even found that chickpeas lowered cholesterol levels even more than other foods with comparable levels of fibre. Fibre helps keep your digestive system working. It is the part of plants that do not dissolve. That’s why doctors suggest 40% of your diet come from fibre-rich foods, which definitely includes chickpeas. Unfortunately, more and more people struggle with type 2 diabetes. If you are one of the millions of people across the world who need to regulate blood sugar, incorporate legumes like chickpeas into your diet. Doctors recommend starchy legumes and vegetables for their phytochemicals and fibre. Chickpeas digest slowly without spiking blood sugar and lower haemoglobin A1C levels. The protein in chickpeas also helps with nervous system health. Protein amino acids affect neurotransmitters in the brain and help them function properly.

Chickpeas are an important source of selenium, a mineral that supports liver enzyme function and detoxifies cancer-causing compounds from the body. Selenium is also very important for good prostate health. Chickpeas are also a source of folate, which helps in formation of cancer preventing cells in the body.

Coconut Flour
Coconut flour’s biggest attraction is its gluten-free status, meaning it contains none of the gluten protein molecules found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is highly allergenic and can even be deadly for people with Celiac disease (a condition where gluten damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients in food). However, growing evidence – particularly that compiled by Dr. William Davis in his 2011 book, Wheat Belly – suggests that gluten is unhealthy for everyone, and is a leading cause of lethargy, bloating, brain fog and more. Fortunately, gluten-free diets are becoming much easier to adopt thanks to the growing availability of gluten-free flours like coconut flour and others mentioned in this article.

A study published in the December 2006 suggests that adding coconut flour to your diets can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart disease, lower your cholesterol levels and guard you from cancer and diabetes. The researchers, based in the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in the Philippines, claim that these benefits stem from coconut flour’s unusually high levels of dietary fibre, almost, double that of wheat bran.

Since it is derived from the flesh of the coconut, coconut flour retains a large number of the fats for which coconuts are so beloved by health enthusiasts. A 100 gram serving of coconut flour contains 8.7 grams of fat, of which 8 grams are saturated. Most of these fats are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) – essential protective fats with noted anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. MCTs have also been shown to boost the metabolism, making coconut flour suitable for weight loss diets. Because it is high in fibre yet relatively low in digestible carbohydrates compared to processed flours, coconut flour has a gentle impact on blood sugar levels. This makes it an excellent flour for diabetics, pre-diabetics and anyone else who wants to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Though it is free from gluten proteins, coconut flour contains an impressive number of other proteins. In fact, 100 grams of coconut flour contain 19.3 grams of protein or 38 per cent of our RDI (recommended daily intake) far more protein per serving than other leading flours such as wheat, cornmeal or rye. Consequently, coconut flour is a valuable cooking ingredient for vegan or vegetarian. One downside of coconut flour is that on its own it does not bind and needs the addition of some other flour such as millet, cassava, barley, teff or eggs. Coconut flour also absorbs copious amounts of oil or water.

Fonio
Fonio is one of the preeminent African super foods and holds an honoured place in West African, and particularly Sahel, culture. Nutritionally, it rivals the Ethiopian grain teff. There are two types, white and black but both are actually a type of millet. White fonio is grown in the Sahel area that borders the Sahara Desert, and it does well in dry and grassy savannah as well as in richer climates. Black fonio is found in Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo and is less common and more nutritious. Although fonio is found all over West Africa, it is especially prized in the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea and Senegal and the Akposso region of Togo and Central Nigeria.

The fonio plant is fast-growing and can mature from seed to harvest in only 6-8 weeks. It doesn’t need a lot or water or rich soil, which makes it a good crop for soil-depleted and dry land areas that border the Sahel. After they are mature, fonio’s tiny grains must be dried and removed from their husk before they are ready to cook. Before machines did this, the fonio was de-husked with a mortar and pestle, where the grains were pounded. Fonio could also be slowly toasted in a large pan until it popped out of its husk, and then pounded to separate the grain from its covering. Fonio is becoming increasingly popular as a gluten free, nutritious grain that can be used in cooking and baking. It has been an important crop in some parts of Africa because it is highly nutritious, it grows very quickly and it can be grown on land where other cereal crops won’t grow. Even though fonio is highly nutritious and is now gaining a reputation as a superfood, up until recently, it had been very difficult to mass produce because, the grain is so small it was too difficult to remove the husk. Now, however, modern technology has found a way, and the grain that is known as “The Hungry Rice” is now far more readily available. Fonio has more nutritional value than most other grains and is rich in calcium, magnesium and zinc. Here are ten.

The essential amino acids that fonio contains, especially cystine and methionine, help to detoxify the liver and the body. They help the liver to function properly and remove unwanted toxins from the bloodstream. Early studies have suggested that eating fonio could help prevent liver disease and colon cancer. Fonio is often recommended in Africa as a food for pregnant women. It has a high concentration of iron, so it helps to stop anaemia developing, and it also contains folic acid and other amino acids that are beneficial for women during pregnancy.

Fonio has a beloved place on West African plates. It is so full of protein that it even has amino acids that other grains don’t, making it a much more complete protein source. Fonio is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese, and has more of these nutrients, serving-per-serving, than other grains It is also very high in fibre, which makes it a good carbohydrate as it releases its sugar slowly into the blood stream, making for consistent, high energy over a longer period of time.

Green Banana Flour

Because the young bananas are picked before they ripen, their sugar content never fully develops, so they’re lower in natural sugars than when they are ripe. Also, unlike other starchy ingredients such as pasta and white bread – which are rapidly digested, get absorbed as glucose into the bloodstream, and spike up insulin levels – the resistant starch in green bananas slows the release of food through the gut. This slows the insulin response and prevents that sugar spike and consequent sugar crash. Resistant starch is not just any fibre, but prebiotic fibre. Prebiotics support the good bacteria present in the gut, bowel, and colon and are far more powerful and beneficial for our bellies than probiotics as they act as a fertilizer for existing good flora, helping them to grow and work more effectively. This can help with everything from poor digestion to IBS, and it can even help you get a flatter stomach.

Lower in calories than most wheat flours and alternatives like oat and almond flour, it’s an excellent choice for those watching their waistlines. Because of its fibre content, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for that packet of biscuits an hour after lunch. It is also great for those suffering with diabetes for this very reason. High in essential minerals and vitamins including zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese, green-banana flour is also abundant in potassium – so much so that just two tablespoons contain the same amount as seven whole bananas! It also helps lower cholesterol, boosts heart health, and aids nerve and muscle activity. So if you’re gluten-intolerant, hooray! Green-banana flour is also grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free, making it perfect for vegans.

Millet

Millet is quite similar to wheat when it comes to the structure of its protein. The one glaring exception is that millet is a non -gluten grain. Wheat contains copious amount of this hard to digest plant protein. When plain millet flour is used for baking bread the resulting loaf is light, white, and quite similar in texture to wheat bread. As a result, people who wish to avoid gluten tend to immediately gravitate to millet bread as the most logical and palatable substitute.

While millet may not contain gluten, it does contain goitrogens. Goitrogens are substances in food that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of this very important gland which resides in the throat. Low iodine intake can also lead to goitre.
Hypothyroidism, is a serious and sometimes debilitating condition that accompanies a weak, under active or enlarged thyroid such as what occurs with goiter. Depression, difficulty losing weight, loss of hair, cold hands/feet, and fatigue are common hypothyroid symptoms. While the goitrogens in foods that contain them are usually reduced by cooking (such as cruciferous vegetables), cooking actually increases the goitrogenic effect of millet! Therefore, when folks begin eating large amounts of millet bread with a wholesale switch over from wheat, the goitrogenic effects of this simple dietary change can be profound. So go easy on the millet.

Despite this side effect millet has many health benefits. It is one of the few grains that alkalize the body. It also hydrates the colon, decreases triglycerides, is low on the glycaemic index and contains magnesium, is a pre-biotic (food for good gut bacteria) and contains serotonin which contributes to your “feel good” mood.

Sorghum/guinea corn

Because it’s gluten-free, sorghum grains offer a safe alternative to wheat if you follow a gluten-free diet. One nutritional highlight of guinea corn is its mineral content. A 1/4 cup serving contains 13 milligrams of calcium, 2.1 milligrams of iron, 138 milligrams of phosphorus and 168 milligrams of potassium. Calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals needed for bone health and strength. Adequate intakes of iron support the transportation of oxygen in your body, and help promote cell growth and development.

Potassium helps maintain fluid balance, and high intakes improve blood pressure. Guinea corn contains about the same and sometimes more protein than many other grains. However, the protein is not as readily absorbed because each protein in the grain is surrounded by a tough protein wall that requires more time to digest. About 46 per cent of the protein in the guinea corn is absorbed. Sorghum/guinea corn is full of fibre, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese. It lowers cholesterol, is good for diabetics and according to the University of Missouri it can inhibit the growth of cancerous tumours. It is also said to prevent blood platelets from clumping together by containing a compound called policosanol.

Teff

Teff, which is grown in Ethiopia and used to make injera, the sourdough flatbread, is a small grain with a long list of health benefits. Teff is a gluten-free grain so it can be a great alternative for those living with celiac disease or crohn’s disease, having gluten intolerance or choosing a gluten-free lifestyle.

Along with being gluten-free, high in iron and super tasty, teff has also recently been recognized as a new super-food and in some cases is referred to as the new quinoa. Teff is also known to help with weight reduction and assists with PMS. It is also ideal for vegetarians looking for sources of non-dairy protein. But one thing to bear in mind is that this super grain is not cheap. Teff is high in protein with a great combination of eight essential amino acids needed for the body’s growth and repair. It has high amounts of calcium, manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, thiamin, and vitamin C, which is not normally found in grains. The iron from teff is easily absorbed and is also recommended for people with low blood iron levels.

If you are diabetic, you might want to consider adding teff to your diet to control blood sugar levels. Teff contains approximately 20 to 40 per cent resistant starches and has a relatively low glycemic index that can help diabetics better regulate their sugar levels. The fibre content in this tiny little grain can help you regulate your bowel movements and keep you feeling fuller longer. Naturally, this grain is very low in saturated fat.

Because it is low in sodiumTeff is also great for those seeking to lower their blood pressure and maintain a heart healthy diet. Unprocessed teff is a better alternative compared with pre-processed, cooked teff which often comes with preservatives or additives that are high in sodium. If you’re worried, always double check nutritional labels. Part of eating a nutritionally adequate diet is being able to incorporate superfoods like teff into all of your meals. Teff is a versatile grain and can be eaten whole, steamed, boiled or baked. Nowadays, teff is found in a variety of products like pancakes, breads, cereals, snack bars and many other foods. Traditionally, it is used to make Ethiopian injera (sourdough bread). Looking very much like poppy seeds, teff has a nutty, grainy taste and texture that can add dimension to your recipes and cooking. Most Ethiopian platters are served on injera bread.

Quinoa Flour

Quinoa, pronounced “keen wah” is one of the world’s most popular health foods. It is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various antioxidants. The Incas referred to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred.
These days, you can find quinoa and products made with it all over the world, especially in health food stores and restaurants that emphasize natural food. It is non-GMO, gluten free and is usually grown organically. Technically, quinoa is not a grain but is generally regarded as such. It is high in fibre. One study that looked at 4 varieties of quinoa found a range of between 10 and 16 grams of fibre, per every 100 grams. This equals 17-27 grams per cup, which is very high, more than twice as high as most grains. Boiled quinoa contains much less fibre gram for gram, because it absorbs so much water. Most of the fibre is insoluble fibre, which brings different health benefits to the body from soluble fibre.

The health effects of real foods go way beyond the vitamins and minerals we’re all familiar with. There are thousands of trace nutrients in there, some of which are extremely healthy. This includes interesting molecules called flavonoids, which are plant antioxidants that have been shown to have all sorts of beneficial effects on health. Two flavonoids that have been particularly well studied are quercetin and kaempferol, and they happen to be found in large amounts in quinoa. In fact, the quercetin content of quinoa is even higher than typical high-quercetin foods like cranberries.These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies. There are numerous studies showing that soluble fibre can help reduce blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, increase fullness and help with weight loss. Quinoa is much higher in fibre than most grains, with one source finding 17-27 grams of fibre per cup. Studies have shown that by using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free ingredients like refined tapioca, potato, corn and rice flour, it can dramatically increase the nutrient and antioxidant value of the diet.

Protein is made out of amino acids. Some of them are termed “essential” because we cannot produce them and need to get them from the diet. If a food contains all the essential amino acids, it is seen as a “complete” protein.The problem is that many plant foods are deficient in certain essential amino acids, such as lysine.However, quinoa is an exception to this, because it contains all the essential amino acids. For this reason, it is an excellent source of protein. It has both more and better protein than most grains. With 8 grams of quality protein per cup, quinoa is an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans.

The glycaemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. It is known that eating foods that are high on the glycaemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity Such foods have also been linked to many of the chronic, Western diseases that are so common today, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Quinoa has a glycaemic index of 53, which is considered low. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low carbohydrate diet. There are many nutrients in the modern diet that people tend to be lacking in. This is particularly true of some minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, zinc and (for women) iron. Interestingly, quinoa is very high in all 4 minerals. It is particularly high in magnesium with one cup having about 30% of the RDA. The problem is that it also contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind these minerals and reduce their absorption. However, by soaking and/or sprouting the quinoa before cooking it, you can reduce the phytic acid content and make these minerals more bioavailable. Quinoa is also pretty high in oxalates, which reduce the absorption of calcium and can cause problems for certain individuals with recurring kidney stones.

A human study found that using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free breads and pastas significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels. A study on rats found that adding quinoa to a diet high in fructose almost completely inhibited the negative effects of fructose. Quinoa also happens to be very high in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals and help fight aging and many diseases. Allowing the seeds to sprout seems to increase the antioxidant content even further In order to lose weight we need to take in fewer calories than we burn. It is known that certain properties of foods can facilitate this process, either by boosting metabolism (increasing calories out) or reducing appetite (lowering calories in). Quinoa has several such properties. The last one is not a health benefit, but still incredibly important. It is also tasty and goes well with many foods. Depending on the type of quinoa, it can be important to rinse it with water in order to get rid of saponins, which are found on the outer layer and can have a bitter flavour. It should now have absorbed most of the water and gotten a fluffy look. If done right, it should have a mild, nutty flavour and a satisfying crunch.

Now that you know what a wide alternative choice there is to wheat flour, you can try some of them to find out which ones best suit your needs by way of taste and health benefits. You may have to shop around a bit or even go on line to get some of them but your health is worth it, isn’t it?

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Meditation is the Key

Meditation is a practice to refine our experience and open a new dimension to our lives. It is a means to tap into a deep source of positive energy and joy. Meditation is relaxation. It is not about concentration, it is actually about de-concentration. It’s not about focussing one’s thoughts on one thing, but instead on becoming thoughtless. A comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation.

More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practiced relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. The reason meditation is so effective at balancing the mind is that during your moments of meditation, you focus entirely on achieving calm, serenity and peace. When your emotions are calm and all of your issues are put aside for a while, you get your perspective back. After you have meditated, the ability of everyday problems to cause you stress or affect your happiness is greatly reduced. The same applies to yoga, prayer and the chanting of mantras.
Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Stress is linked to the release of the stress-hormones adrenalin and cortisol, which create inflammation, which in turn raises the heart rate and blood pressure, weakens immunity, lowers fertility and results in a host of degenerative diseases, some of which can be life threatening. By contrast, the state of relaxation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and growth hormone, which repair cells and tissue, lower heart rate, boost immunity and enable the body to thrive.

Meditation doesn’t have a religion and can be practiced by anyone regardless of the faith they follow. It assists with transition from being just a physical body to a merging with the infinite and recognizing yourself as an inseparable part of the whole cosmos. In a meditative state, you are in a space of vastness, calmness and joy and this calmness and joy is what you emit into the environment, bringing harmony to the planet. Meditation can bring about a true personal transformation. As you learn more about yourself, you will naturally start discovering more about those around you, the earth, the universe and your reason for being. A 2012 study found that in those who meditated regularly the “corpus callosum”, cable of nerves connecting the brain’s hemispheres, was remarkably stronger, thicker, and more well connected. This bridge-like structure is extremely helpful in getting the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate with each other like never before.

To experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary. It takes only a few minutes every day. Once it becomes part of your daily routine, it becomes the best part of your day. It is like a seed. When you cultivate a seed with love the more it blossoms. Meditation is the cure for loneliness. While the very best cure for feeling isolated is a strong in-person social network and a loving family, this isn’t possible for everybody. Meditation activates the so called “social connectivity” parts of our brain, unlocking many of the same mental, emotional, and physical benefits that come along. Everybody knows that you have to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep if you want to be a happy and healthy person. But very few of us know the importance of human connectedness to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Mankind is by nature gregarious and needs others for emotional release and connectivity. Occasionally, however, you have to go “with-in yourself” through meditation to connect to the Higher Consciousness.

Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day. The relaxation response can be brought about by sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes twice a day, and mentally repeating a simple word or sound such as ”Om”. A 2012 study found that in those who meditated regularly the “corpus callosum”, cable of nerves connecting the brain’s hemispheres, was remarkably stronger, thicker, and more well connected. This bridge-like structure is extremely helpful in getting the two hemispheres of your brain to communicate with each other like never before. Harmonizing both of your brain’s hemispheres gives you an array of new abilities: increased focus, deeper thought, more creativity, optimized mental health, better memory, and clearer thinking, just to name a few. Meditation also helps with the de-calcification of the pineal gland. It is also said to change the physical structure of the brain in a process known as neuroplasticity.

Among many other brain areas, neuroscientists have shown that meditation, through the power of neuroplasticity, builds up a big and strong sleep centered “Pons.” The “Pons” is a “message station” between several areas of the brain, without which the brain would not be able to function because messages could not be transmitted between one area and another. In fact, whole books have been written by those who meditate about their lucid dream abilities, which of course are impossible without ample time in deep-stage REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, orchestrated by the Pons.

If you want an all- natural, super effective solution to sleeping like a baby every night, then meditation is one of the answers. A 2008 study published in the Neuroimage Journal found that after only 8 weeks of meditation, the left and right hippocampi of participants had significantly grown in neural thickness, density, and overall size. The hippocampus not only assists with the storage of long term memories but is also responsible for the memory of the location of objects or people. We would not even be able to remember where our house is without the work of the hippocampus. This incredible finding means that adding meditation to your daily routine can in essence, put your brain on a level too advanced for depression. It improves concentration, it encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases self-awareness, can dramatically upgrade your consciousness, allowing you to become a more compassionate person in the process. Along with greater connectedness, happiness, and fulfillment, adopting a “service to others” meditative mind-set helps you find deep meaning and true purpose. It increases happiness, increases acceptance of yourself and others, it slows aging and benefits cardiovascular and immune health.

If you are you ready to be a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world it is time to change your brain. Harnessing meditation’s neuroplastic potential is the key.

“Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self”. — Russell Simmons

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Put An End to Sugar Cravings

Sugar in all its forms including fruit, milk, cakes, cookies, ice cream, sweets, and sports drinks, can be damaging when you eat a lot all at once. With the exception of whole, raw fruit, sweet foods tend to offer very little in the way of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein. They are densely packed with calories but not much else. Sugar suppresses your immune system for about two to four hours after consumption. It is also one of the causes of chronic inflammation which is the root cause of most chronic health conditions.

In the long-term, sugary foods reduce your nutrient status because you use up your stores of vitamins and minerals to process these empty calorie foods. When you are low in vitamins and minerals your health suffers and you become more susceptible to colds and flu, have slower metabolism, poor hormonal balance and are fatigued. This addiction leads to a sick cycle of adrenal exhaustion, autoimmune conditions, digestive and mood imbalances, obesity, and diabetes. Sugar is also in almost all conventional and even many natural bread, canned vegetables, yogurt, pasta sauce, hummus, sauces, salad dressings, and unfortunately even baby food and baby formula. Educating yourself on all the different forms that sugar comes in on the ingredient list is a great start to build your road map of avoiding certain products. Remember there are many other names for sugar viz. sucrose, lactose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, maltose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol and barley malt.

If you’re ready to win the battle here are some tips to end sugar cravings:

Avoid Processed Foods.

Did you know that sugar and processed foods are as addictive as heroin or cocaine? Eating sugar artificially stimulates a region of your brain called the nucleus accumbens to produce dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter. Soon after eating sugar or processed foods dopamine levels drop, and you start to feel a bit “down.” You crave this “feel-good” feeling again and eat more sugary or processed food again and again, so sugar leads to addiction. . This addiction leads to a sick cycle of adrenal exhaustion, autoimmune conditions, digestive and mood imbalances, obesity, and diabetes.

Eat Fermented Foods

Fermented foods and drinks are one of the most important ways to reduce or even eliminate cravings for sugar and are particularly effective in this regard. The positive effects can be felt in as little as five. Remember, a fermented vegan protein can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. You can also drink ready-made probiotic liquids for a quick cravings fix. Simply sip 2 oz. of your favourite probiotic liquid, any time a craving hits and you will be amazed at how the sour taste of fermented foods and drinks relieves the desire for sugar and processed foods. Here is another big benefit of fermented foods and liquids: If you do happen to eat something sweet, like a piece of fruit or a sweet potato, the probiotics in fermented foods and drinks will eat up the sugar, reducing the damage that sugar would do in your body.

Boost your serotonin. …
Serotonin, the hormone that affects your mood can be increased through diet, exercise, and the right sleep schedule. When you have plenty of serotonin, you are less likely to have cravings for sweets. Serotonin regulates your mood, curbs cravings and suppresses your appetite. You can boost your serotonin levels steadily with complex carbohydrate foods such as brown rice, sweet potato, plantain, nuts and fruits. These provide a more reliable energy supply and support better brain function. Serotonin also makes you feel less anxious, more emotionally stable and tranquil and even more focused and energetic.

Drink plenty of water. …

You may sometimes think that your body is asking for sugar, when in fact it’s dehydrated and really craving water. This is especially true as we get older and lose our taste for water, which manifests as hunger. Your body is mainly water and your organs need it to function properly. Lack of adequate water in your body leads to thicker blood and as a consequence, high blood pressure. We also suggest a warm cup of green tea with a little apple cider vinegar and a touch of lemon with your meals. This way, your sweet taste is satisfied.

Stabilize Your Blood Sugar

Keep your blood sugar stable by eating several small, healthy meals throughout your day instead of three large portions to avoid dips in blood sugar. Ideally you should eat your protein meals between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. as protein takes longer to digest than any other food. Your evening meal should be more digestible; that means less protein. If you do this, your body will produce more serotonin, you will feel happier, and you will sleep much better at night. Avoid foods labelled “fat free” or “low fat:” These foods usually contain more sugar than their full fat counterparts, because they have to make up for losing the flavour from fat by adding more sugar. Green drinks are loaded with nutrition, help boost your energy and reduce cravings for sugar and processed foods as well as helping hydrate the body. Drunk throughout the day these will also help stabilize your blood sugar.

Use Coconut oil

When you reduce or remove sugar from your diet, try using coconut oil and a little cinnamon to add flavour to your food, plus coconut oil is an extremely healthy fat which does marvelous things for your health. If you have a hard time leaving sugar out of your morning coffee, try blending coconut oil with your coffee for a rich-tasting energy boost.
Sweet potatoes are sweet and starchy and are a great snack when you’re craving a sugary treat. Ty are a complex carbohydrate and are best eaten later in the day. Try roasting a sweet potato and top it with coconut oil and a little cinnamon with a slice of avocado. This is one of the healthiest, low sugar snacks you will ever eat and you will get the benefits from three of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Drink Herbal tea

Keep some strongly flavoured teas like ginger or peppermint, or a naturally sweet one like licorice, at your work for a sugar-free pick-me-up during the day. Be careful with licorice if you suffer from high blood pressure. If your sugar cravings are brought on by stress or poor sleep, choose a tea blend that will help you relax and wind down before bed. Real cocoa with coconut milk and a little cinnamon is ideal. You may even add a teaspoon of black strap molasses for a slightly sweeter taste without aggravating your sugar cravings.

While any fruit can be considered nature’s candy, bananas are great. Use them to naturally sweeten smoothies or make banana ice cream. They are a great addition to the diet, helping you feel satisfied longer. They are also full of potassium which boosts your energy and help reduce blood pressure. Alternatively you can have some avocado for a delicious afternoon snack to help you power through the last bit of your workday. Dates are also highly recommended instead of most dried fruits because they are intensely sweet and rich, plus ground dates can be used in place of sugar in baked goods. Goodbye sweet tooth.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

The Many Uses for Garlic

Garlic is closely related to onion, chive, leek, and shallot and has been used by humans for thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt it was used for both culinary purposes and its health and therapeutic benefits. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about five thousand years ago. It is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). Garlic is also used today by some people for the prevention of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, and colon cancer. Some of these uses are supported by science.

Chew a raw clove of garlic and you might exhale noxious, eye-watering stink all day, but you’ll also repel mosquitoes (and vampires), increase your immunity, heal cold sores and expel parasites. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, killing bacteria, fungus, viruses and mould, so it’s an important ally for natural health. Check out these unusual and sometimes strange alternative uses for garlic.

Acne

Slice open a clove of raw, fresh garlic and apply it to breakouts as a home remedy for acne. Your skin won’t smell terribly good, but the antibacterial properties of garlic will help lessen the appearance of acne, even those deep acne cysts that can otherwise be difficult to treat.

Cold sore treatment

These unsightly lesions always seem to pop up at the most inopportune times, like the morning before a big date. Raw garlic may work just as well as commercial medical treatments, though the acidity may cause discomfort at first. Cut a garlic clove in half and place it directly on the cold sore for 10 minutes, several times a day. Garlic supplements in capsule form may also speed up the healing process.

Mosquito repellent

Garlic can work wonders in warding off pesky mosquitoes without the use of potentially toxic chemicals. Try this garlic mosquito spray: let a few minced cloves of garlic infuse an ounce of mineral oil for 24 hours, strain, and mix the garlic-scented oil with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Strain again if necessary and pour into a spray bottle.

Weight Loss Aid

Even though its potent flavour may make you want to eat a lot of it, garlic actually has weight loss properties, according to some research. Compounds found in garlic send your brain signals of satiety, which will actually help you to feel full faster. It also boosts metabolic function helping you to burn more calories as well.

Athlete’s foot

Garlic is a potent natural anti-fungal, making it ideal for treating fungal infections like irritating and itchy athlete’s foot. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic to warm water in a foot bath and soak the affected foot for 30 minutes.

Ear infections

A common folk remedy for centuries, garlic can indeed kill the bacteria that cause ear infections. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should shove a clove of garlic into your ear and hope for the best. Crush a clove of garlic with a press and place it in a teaspoon of hot olive oil for five minutes. Strain, allow it to cool and drip a few drops at a time into your ear canal. You can also purchase garlic oil made for this purpose at natural health food stores.

Splinter removal

Splinters are painful to remove and sometimes they slice too far into the skin to pull out. Instead of waiting for it to come out on its own, try this odd trick: place a thin slice of garlic over the splinter and hold on with a bandage. The garlic should help the splinter work its way out of the skin within hours.

Skin cleanser

It’s not exactly common, but some women swear by using garlic as a facial cleanser to dry out acne and tighten and exfoliate the skin. It will definitely burn, so take care if you have any open wounds. Make a paste of finely minced garlic, olive oil, facial cleanser and sugar; massage into skin in circular motions, then rinse.

Gas prevention

High in sulphur, garlic can be the culprit for uncomfortable stomach-distending gas for some people, but for others, it can reportedly ease it. The trick may be consuming it on a regular basis in order to maintain intestinal health. Garlic kills harmful intestinal bacteria and promotes the growth of beneficial flora, making digestion much smoother.

Yeast infections

At the first sign of a yeast infection, many women around the world turn to a rather unusual natural remedy: raw, peeled garlic cloves (not cut), typically tied in a strip of cheesecloth and inserted with a tampon applicator. Garlic’s anti-fungal properties go to work on the yeast, supposedly keeping the infection at bay.

Psoriasis relief

The persistent tightness and itching of psoriasis could be eased or even prevented by garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties. Active compounds in garlic interact with arachidonic acid, an omega fatty acid in the skin linked to psoriasis. Garlic oil may be rubbed directly on affected areas once or twice per day.

Cough syrup

Ease inflammation in the throat and clear up excess mucus by using garlic as cough syrup. Try steeping raw, minced garlic in hot water, straining it after five minutes and drinking the liquid as tea; you can add ginger and honey to make it more palatable.

Mole removal

This method is almost certainly not recommended by dermatologists, and mole removal is best left to medical professionals, especially since skin doctors can tell upon excision whether the mole shows signs of malignancy. However, many people choose to go it alone, and garlic oil applied several times per day and covered with a bandage is an often repeated DIY route.

Cold banisher

Can garlic cure and prevent colds naturally? It’s been in use for this purpose for centuries, and there’s a good reason for that. Researchers believe that allicin, the main biologically active component of garlic, could block enzymes that may impede bacterial and viral infections. Eat three to four cloves of garlic per day, preferably raw and crushed, adding them to soups, stews, pasta sauces and salad dressings.

Hair loss help

Whether you’ve over-dyed your hair to the point of constant shedding or you’re just going bald, garlic may be worth a shot before you resort to more drastic measures. Some people believe that massaging the scalp with garlic oil stimulates hair growth.

Parasite killer

Many alternative health practitioners advise using raw garlic to expel intestinal parasites. Recommended as part of a cleansing diet that also includes raw honey, lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, carrots and beets, garlic consumed in quantities of about three cloves per day may help clear nasty organisms out of the digestive tract.

If you are concerned about the pungent smell of garlic on your breath there are easy ways to remedy this. You can chew a sprig of parsley, although this may work while you are indoors, as I cannot envision anyone walking around with parsley on their person. The other two alternatives are more practicable and involve the two powerful spices clove and cinnamon. These you can carry quite inconspicuously in a pocket and chew on them after a meal or even throughout the day just to freshen up your breath.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Black is Beautiful Powerful and Healthy

Green vegetables have long been hailed as the go-to food for good health but dark fruits, vegetables, and grains are nutritional powerhouses too. Their colour comes from anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that may help lower the risks of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. For various reasons they have not been promoted as much as green vegetables. What makes foods black is anthocyanin, an antioxidant flavanoid pigment, which has been linked to reducing cancer cell proliferation and improving visual acuity. In fact, black foods not only have more antioxidants than light-coloured foods but these antioxidants are also more powerful and as a consequence offer greater health benefits because of their high pigment content, In eastern healing philosophies, black foods have long been used to encourage wellness. Chinese medicine believes that black foods correspond with the water element and nourish the kidneys — helping the body to stay energetic and warm, and the mind harmonious. Black beans, rice and sesame are the traditional foods eaten during cold winter months. ……..here is a list of some black foods and their recognized health benefits.

Black chicken

The Silkie (sometimes spelled Silky) is a breed of chicken named for its fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk, and satin. The breed has several other unusual qualities, such as black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot, whereas most chickens only have four. They also come in a variety of colours, such as white, blue and light brown . Reports suggest that whilst their appearance may be unusual, the taste is second to none and will be a sublime addition to any home-cooked recipes. Apparently the  flesh  has a similar taste to that of game birds rather than that of regular chicken. Imagine some black chicken with black beans and black rice washed down with black grape juice.

Black Rice
Brown rice is good for you, but black rice is even better. That’s because the bran hull contains significantly higher amounts of vitamin E, which bolsters the immune system and protects cells from free radical damage. In fact, black rice contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries, according to a study from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Centre. . An extract from the rice has been shown to effectively reduce breast cancer cells. It is rich in vitamins B and E, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc as well. Black rice was so valued and rare in days past that emperors even declared it ‘forbidden’ to the common people.

Black cumin seed

This powerful seed, which goes by many other names such as Roman coriander, onion seed, black sesame, black caraway and simply black cumin kills MRSA, treats the body when chemical poisoning occurs, stimulates regeneration of dying beta cells within the diabetic’s pancreas, treats type 2 diabetes, improves liver function, epilepsy, high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and helps decrease body fat.

Black grapes

Research has shown that black grapes can contain up to 600mg anthocyanins, which is 100mg more than berries according to a study cited in the American Journal of Nutrition. Black grape’s greatness lies in their skins -the stronger the colour, the higher the concentration of flavonoids and therefore, the more antioxidants they contain. They have been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease and help protect against DNA damage that ages skin.

Black radish

Consumption of black radish is very effective in curing all sorts of skin disorders. In fact, black radish has an ability to treat skin itchiness, allergies, skin ulceration and body odour without any side effects . Regular consumption of black radish gives better result in clearing spots and acne within a few days. Black radish is also a perfect medicine for improving the functioning of the kidneys.

Black Beans

The dark skins of these beans are packed with bio-flavonoids — potent plant-based nutrients that may protect against cancer. Black beans contain cancer fighting antioxidants and anthocyanin along with butyric acid. Remember that anthocyanins destroy cancer cells and block the creation of blood vessels that feed tumours. High in fibre, black beans also help reduce colon cancer risk by as much as 75 per cent.

Black Lentils

Black lentils are loaded with iron: One cup has about 8 milligrams, getting you almost halfway to the daily requirement of 18 milligrams for women. Lentils also boast high levels of soluble fibre, which may not only lower your cholesterol, but could also improve immune function. Lentils are a protein super-food and also help with weight loss.
:
Blackberries

Polyphenols found in dark berries may help reduce cognitive decline in older people by cleaning up cells that impair brain function. Blackberries are also high in fibre . As one of the most antioxidant-rich foods, blackberries are a sweet addition to any diet and can be added to a hot bowl of porridge when eating to control diabetes. Overflowing in nutrients like vitamins C and K, folic acid, manganese, polyphenols, minerals and fibre, blackberries are an outstanding super-food. By reducing brain cell inflammation, these compounds enhance communication between the neurons, thereby improving memory and information processing.

Black Tea

Green and white teas get all the health hype, but black tea has its perks, too. It contains theaflavins — antioxidants that a study from Rutgers University in New Jersey suggests may improve recovery from muscle soreness after intense exercise. Drinking black tea may also lower your risk of having a stroke. It also prevents constipation, improves the complexion and slows down the aging process, normalizes blood pressure, improves memory, averts anaemia, maintains lustrous hair and fortifies the liver. Black tea is best drunk with  lemon juice.

Chia

Once used by the ancient Aztec’s for stamina in battle, chia seeds are a terrific superfood for modern day warriors. Full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, chia keeps energy levels up, inflammation and disease down. Omega-3 fats also foster a sharp mind.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Fermented Foods Are Powerful Medicine

Cultured or fermented foods have a very long history in virtually all native diets, and have always been highly prized for their health benefits.

Fermentation has been defined as “a biochemical change which is brought about by the anaerobic (absence of oxygen) or partially anaerobic oxidation of carbohydrates by either micro-organisms or enzymes.” This is distinct from putrefaction which is proteins being broken down.

The bacteria that live in our gut are essential. They help with digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Plus, they play a role in the function of our immune system. However there are ‘bad’ bacteria that also reside in the gut and the challenge is achieving the right balance between the two. When the balance is shifted in favour of the bad bacteria, symptoms may arise such as bloating, constipation or diarrhoea. This is termed ‘dysbiosis’ – the state in which the gut flora are out of balance. Modern diets, high in refined sugars and busy, stressful lifestyles can contribute to dysbiosis by feeding the bad bacteria, enabling them to flourish. Eliminating refined, high sugar foods and including probiotic-rich fermented foods is thought to bring the gut back into balance and support the immune system.

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. There are four important health benefits of traditional fermented foods that clearly explain why they are so crucial to maintaining a healthy gut:

Traditional fermented foods help balance the production of stomach acid and also  have the unique ability to ease digestive discomfort related to having either too much or too little stomach acid. When the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach is low, fermented foods help increase the acidity of gastric juices. On the other hand, when the stomach produces too much acid, fermented foods help protect the stomach and intestinal lining. As we age, our production of the digestive enzymes and juices required for proper digestion begins to decrease. Eating traditional fermented foods like sauerkraut, buttermilk, and pickled vegetables can help make up for this loss. The key is to eat a small portion once or twice daily with meals.

Traditional fermented foods help the body produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. Within the context of digestion, it helps increase the movement of the bowel, and can help reduce constipation It also helps improve the release of digestive juices and enzymes from the stomach, the pancreas, and the gallbladder. So by helping your body produce acetylcholine, fermented foods act as potent digestive aids.

Traditional fermented foods are beneficial for people with diabetes. In addition to improving pancreatic function, which is of great benefit to diabetics, the carbohydrates in lactic acid–fermented foods have been broken down or “pre-digested.” As a result, they do not place an extra burden on the pancreas, unlike ordinary carbohydrates.
Traditional fermented foods produce numerous unknown compounds that destroy and inhibit the growth of pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria. Many pathogenic forms of bacteria are sensitive to acidic environments. This is true of both cholera and typhoid. In the early 1950s, during an epidemic of typhoid fever in Europe, reports emerged showing that fresh sauerkraut was an effective agent for killing the bacteria. More recently, German scientists were working with a strain of lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough bread, and discovered that it seemed to be more effective than other strains at killing microbes. In early lab results, it quickly eliminated the super-bugs currently resistant to most antibiotics.

The concept of using naturally occurring “bugs” to eliminate harmful bacteria is an idea that seems to be gaining speed, although it is still baffling why many conventional doctors have yet to fully grasp or accept this concept. Obviously, the pharmaceutical companies stand to make a lot more money by selling antibiotics and other medications than by recommending a daily dose of fermented cabbage.

Fermented foods are some of the best chelators available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are highly potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals from the body, especially the liver. Adding a small amount of fermented food to each meal will give you one of the biggest health benefits you will ever achieve because they can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement. As long as you vary the fermented and cultured foods you eat, you’ll get a much wider variety of beneficial bacteria than you could ever get from a supplement.

Your gut bacteria play key roles in:

Behaviour. A study published in Neurogastroenterology & Motility found that mice lacking in gut bacteria behave differently from normal mice, engaging in what would be referred to as “high-risk behavior.” This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in their brains. In fact,your gut serves as your second brain. It produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to have a positive influence on your mood, than your brain does.

Gene expression. A probiotic-rich beverage has been shown to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes to help them express in a positive, disease-fighting way. This makes your gut health a very powerful variable of epigenetics a cutting-edge field of medicine showing that your lifestyle plays a significant role in your genetic expression.

Diabetes. According to a study from Denmark, bacterial population in the gut of diabetics differs from non-diabetics. According to the authors, the results of their study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is linked to compositional changes in intestinal microbiota. A healthy diet – low in sugar and grains; high in whole raw foods and fermented foods – allows your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish.

Autism. Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life is critical in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system. Hence, babies with abnormal gut flora have compromised immune systems and are particularly at risk for developing ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism, especially if they are vaccinated before restoring balance to their gut flora. It has also been said that any dysfunction of the brain is usually connected to what’s going on in the digestive system, so improving the quality of the gut bacteria could benefit those suffering from the issues mentioned above.

Obesity. Probiotics may help fight obesity. Restoring your gut flora is therefore a crucial consideration if you’re struggling to lose weight. Fermented foods also reduce the uptake of sugars and starches. You will also be surprised how many symptoms of illness originate from your digestive system. Once you make this system healthy and working properly again those symptoms will start to disappear. This is especially true in relation to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, kidney problems, type i diabetes, crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, urinary conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, osteoarthritis, chronic skin conditions and inflammatory bowel disease.

Your gut is home to both good and bad bacteria, which outnumber the cells in your body by at least 10 to one. The challenge is optimizing the bacterial population in your gut: striving for an ideal good to bad bacteria ratio. This can help them live in a beneficial, symbiotic relationship to help nourish you and fight disease.

Here is a summary for making your own fermented vegetables:

Shred and cut your chosen vegetables. Juice some celery. This is used as the brine, as it contains natural sodium and keeps the vegetables anaerobic. This eliminates the need for sea salt, which prevents growth of pathogenic bacteria. Pack the veggies and celery juice into a 32-ounce wide-mouthed canning jar. A kraut pounder tool can be helpful to pack the jar and eliminate any air pockets. Top with a cabbage leaf, tucking it down the sides. Make sure the veggies are completely covered with celery juice and that the juice is all the way to the top of the jar to eliminate trapped air. Seal the jar store in a warm, slightly moist place for 24 to 96 hours, depending on the food being cultured. Ideal temperature range is 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit; 85 degrees max. Remember, heat kills the microbes! When done, store in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process.

Incidentally, there are two different kinds of pickles. When you preserve cucumbers in vinegar, you get pickles. But when you soak cucumbers in a salt-water brine, you get probiotic pickles. One pickle can contain up to 20 percent of your daily Vitamin K value—a vitamin essential to bone and heart health.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Health Benefits of Sugar Cane Juice

Sugarcane juice is considered an alkaline forming food because of the high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese in it. Diseases like cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment and that’s why studies show that it is effective in fighting cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer. It’s rich in iron, magnesium, calcium and other electrolytes so it’s great for dehydration. It helps cure the common cold and other infections and also fights fever as it boosts the body’s protein levels. Besides these, there are a few more great health benefits of sugarcane juice that you should know about.indexsugar-cane-with-arrows

Sugarcane juice has no fats. It is, in fact, a 100% natural drink and has only about 30 grams of natural sugar. Hence, you do not have to add extra sugar for sweetness. Sugar cane is a grass plant of the genus saccharum and has 36 varieties. A mature sugarcane plant can grow up to 30 feet tall and a single sugarcane plant can take 9-24 months to become mature, depending on the climate, variety of sugar cane and the type of soil. Sugar extracted from sugarcane juice contains only 15 calories and an 8-ounce serving of sugarcane juice without any additives has a total of 180 calories, which is quite low. Sugarcane juice is made up of sucrose, fructose, and many other glucose varieties, hence, it is sweet to taste. Raw sugarcane juice contains a total of 13 grams of dietary fibre per serving, which is essential in carrying out a lot of body functions.

Why Sugarcane Juice Is  so Healthy

Sugarcane juice can help in rejuvenating your skin within no time. Sugarcane juice is a good source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, which helps to increase cell turn over . Also, acne results from blocked skin pores that sugarcane juice helps to remove by exfoliating your skin and thinning down the accumulation of dead cells.indexsugar-cane-juice

Protect Your Skin from Aging

If you are worried about wrinkles that are making you look much older than your age you can delay the signs of aging with the help of sugarcane juice. The presence of antioxidants, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds makes sugarcane juice a good option to achieve glowing, soft, and moisturized skin. Sugarcane juice can help in rejuvenating your skin within no time. Sugarcane juice is a good source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, which helps to increase cell turn over. Acne results from blocked skin pores that sugarcane juice helps to remove by exfoliating your skin and thinning down the accumulation of dead cells.

Instant Energy Booster

If you are experiencing dehydration, sugarcane juice is one the best sources of instant energy. It is capable of lifting up your spirits and mood within no time leaving you all refreshed and charged. Imagine the benefits of adding it to coconut water. Sugarcane contains simple sugars (sucrose) that are easily absorbed by your body. These sugars are utilized to replenish the lost sugar levels in the body.

Ensures Safe Pregnancyimagescutting-cane

Sugarcane juice has been found to be a great addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. It facilitates quicker conceptions and safer pregnancy. This amazing juice contains trace amounts of folic acid or vitamin B9 that is known to protect from neural birth defects like spina bifida. Research has also discovered that sugarcane juice minimizes ovulating problems in women, thereby increasing chances of conception.

Prevents Bad Breath and Tooth Decay

Bad breath is a major cause for social embarrassment. If you have a history of tooth decay leading to bad breath, you should consider sugarcane juice as a home remedy. Sugarcane contains a host of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, which help build your teeth enamel. The consistent flow of nutrients prevents decay and strengthens your teeth. Also, bad breath is another symptom of nutrient deficiency that sugarcane juice helps counter. Hand a piece of sugarcane or a glass of tasty sugarcane juice to every growing child, and you can gladly forget teeth-related and bone-related problems. Sugarcane is an extremely rich source of calcium that helps build your skeletal strength, including bones and teeth. This makes it one of the best ingredients that contribute to a child’s growth.

Cures Febrile Disorder

Sugarcane juice is known to be extremely beneficial for curing instances of febrile disorders that are extremely common in growing kids. Febrile disorders are notorious for causing fevers with high temperatures. They cause protein loss, thus making it a risk for the body. Sugarcane juice is known to replenish this loss of protein.

Aids Liver Functioningimagessugar-cane-knobs

Sugarcane juice is regarded as one of the best treatments for liver-related sicknesses like jaundice. All you need is a glass of sugarcane juice and a dash of lime. Drink this twice a day. Jaundice occurs due to poor functioning of the liver as well as clogged bile ducts. Sugarcane juice maintains the glucose levels in your body and ensures speedy recovery. Also, being alkaline in nature, sugarcane juice helps maintain electrolyte balance in your body, and thus stops your liver from going into overdrive.

Acts as a Digestive Tonic

If you have been suffering from digestive distress, you should consider including sugarcane juice in your diet for a healthier and stress-free life. Potassium, present in sugarcane juice, helps balance the pH levels of your stomach and facilitates the secretion of digestive juices.

Combats Cancer

This might come as a surprise to you, but sugarcane juice can also be a comprehensive deterrent to fatal diseases like cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer. Recent research has discovered that the presence of flavonoids in sugarcane inhibits the multiplication of cancerous cells in the mammary glands, thus reducing risks of breast cancer.

Helps Control Diabetes

Is sugarcane juice good for diabetics? If you think sugarcane juice is a bad choice just because you are suffering from diabetes, then you are wrong. Sugarcane can, in fact, be consumed by people with diabetes, but in moderation. Sugarcane contains sucrose that has a low glycaemic index. This helps to keep your blood sugar levels in control.

Treats Sore Throat

If you feel a sudden itching or irritation in your throat, drink a glass of sugarcane juice with a dash of lime and black salt to soothe it. Vitamin C is found abundantly in sugarcane juice and is the main reason that makes it a good remedy for a sore throat. Sugarcane juice is also a rich source of antioxidants that ward off any viral or bacterial infections.index-young-cane-field

Heals Wounds

Other than boosting your immunity, sugarcane juice also helps in speeding the recovery of wounds. Sugarcane juice contains sucrose that is naturally capable of healing any kind of wound in a small span of time. You can also dab some sugarcane juice over the wound for better results.

Strengthens Body Organs

Regular consumption of sugarcane juice assists in strengthening the main organs of your body so that they can work in synergy with your other organs. Since sugarcane juice is full of essential sugars which help strengthen the sensory organs, reproductive organs, and the brain.

Prevents DNA Damage

Sugarcane juice can protect you from radiation-induced DNA damage that can affect your brain and all the cells in your body. It is full of antioxidants that prevent the oxidative degradation of cellular fats and lipids and control DNA damage. This is very important in these days of increased radiation.

Aids Weight Loss

Even though it is sweet, sugarcane juice can help you shed a few extra pounds. Sugarcane juice is known to reduce the bad cholesterol in our body, which is one the main reason for weight gain. It is also high in soluble fibre which helps manage weight and provide food for the good bacteria which make up a large part of our immune system.

Eliminates Toxins from Your Body

Having sugarcane juice on a regular basis helps in cleansing the body of harmful toxins and other foreign elements and boosts your metabolism. This detoxification process gradually leads to weight loss and improved liver function.

Beneficial In Treating UTI

Sugarcane juice helps maintain kidney health and prevents problems associated with Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). Drink a glass of sugarcane juice mixed with lemon and coconut water twice a day as an effective cure for UTI. Sugarcane juice is known to increase the protein levels in the body. This prevents many kidney-related diseases like stones, UTI, STDs, and prostatitis. It also relieves the burning sensation that accompanies these disorders.sugar-cane-20834122

Good for Nail Health

Do you have discoloured and brittle nails that need to be camouflaged with a variety of nail arts and paints? Try having sugarcane juice to combat this problem. The lack of nutrients makes our nails lifeless and brittle. Since sugarcane juice is full of nutrients, it nourishes your nails and makes them healthy.

Increases Muscle Power

Having sugarcane juice twice a day is known to increase your muscle power by providing much-needed glucose to the body. You may not know this, but sugarcane juice is actually helpful in treating fever. Drinking sugarcane juice can prevent protein loss, which may lead to weakness and pain.

Treats Acidity

Since sugarcane juice is alkaline in nature, it can soothe acidity and burning in your stomach and intestines. It also helps maintain the acid-base balance in our body.

Boosts Our Immunity

Sugarcane juice is full of essential antioxidants that help in strengthening our immune system. These antioxidants strengthen the immune system enabling it to fight against a number of diseases, including those of the liver and digestive system. These antioxidants also neutralize the bilirubin levels in the body.

One of the best parts of sugarcane juice is that it can be blended with any other juice to form a very tasty cocktail.
You can mix sugarcane juice with..pomegranate juice, watermelon juice, coconut water or musk melon juice

Storage

When you are purchasing large stalks of sugar cane, it is best to cut them into smaller pieces so that you can refrigerate them. Make sure you rinse the stalks thoroughly and wait till they are completely dry before keeping them in the refrigerator. Also, wrap each cut end of the stalks with a plastic wrap and securely fix it with an elastic band. This will prevent moisture loss from the stalks and keep them juicy fresh. If proper care is taken, they will be good to go for two weeks.

Consume freshly made sugarcane juice within half an hour as it can spoil fairly quickly. Also, avoid having un-refrigerated juice if it isn’t freshly made. Storing for more than a few hours in the fridge is also not advised.sugarcane-1

Un-sulphured Blackstrap Molasses Health Benefits

No article on sugar cane would be complete without mentioning molasses, a by-product of sugar cane refining. Molasses is considered a super-food due to the many health benefits it brings with it.

Super-foods are considered super because they are more nutrient dense than most other foods. One super-food, un-sulphured blackstrap molasses, is among numerous super-foods receiving little recognition when it should be in everyone’s home. Read on to learn about blackstrap molasses benefits and what this super-food actually is.

Ironically, molasses is the by-product or “waste” from processing sugar cane into un-healthy table sugar. Refined table sugar creates blood sugar and insulin instability while providing no nutrients. It actually robs nutrients, especially minerals, out of the body if consumed enough.

Once sugar canes are harvested, machines are used to press the juice out of the cane. Sugar cane roots go very deep into the soil allowing them to bypass nutritionally depleted topsoil, which has become the norm with mono-culture and chemically induced agriculture.

The juice is boiled then put through centrifugal machinery to convert it into sugar crystals. Sun ripened sugar cane is processed without using sulphur, which makes it ideal for human consumption as opposed to the sugarcane which is harvested early and sulphur is used in its refining. A third boiling is necessary to extract table sugar from sugar cane juice. This produces a thick dark substance known as blackstrap molasses, which is the most nutrient dense of all.
.
Blackstrap molasses has a low glycaemic index. This means the glucose and carbohydrates are metabolized slowly, demanding less insulin production and stabilizing blood sugar. This results in less lipids or fats being stored in the liver while reducing your risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Because of its high iron content, many use blackstrap molasses to holistically overcome anaemia. Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells. In addition to iron, blackstrap molasses contains folate, a natural source for folic acid, along with some other B vitamins, which all combine to form the synergistic mix that promotes red blood cell production.

imagesblackstrapmolasses-2Then there is magnesium in abundance, along with calcium. Magnesium is important for balancing calcium for bone production and energy and is necessary for the smooth function of our nervous system. It is also essential for over 300 metabolic processes and the synthesis of almost all the other minerals and vitamins. Magnesium is also helpful for maintaining heart health. Insufficient magnesium levels can result in muscle spasms, including the heart muscle, which of course relates to arrhythmia or even heart attacks.
Potassium is another mineral abundant in blackstrap molasses. A deficiency in potassium results in weak muscles and is considered a factor in causing arthritis. Potassium also helps maintain a calmly functioning nervous system, boosts heart health, maintains energy levels and reduces blood pressure.

Manganese, a trace mineral, is very high in un-sulphured blackstrap molasses. Manganese ions function with a number of enzymes, and are essential to combating free radicals. Like magnesium, manganese also supports cellular absorption of nutrients, and is beneficial to the nervous system. Other minerals that are abundant are copper and zinc. Zinc has been tagged as the male mineral because it helps support a healthy prostate. Working with zinc, copper helps eliminate oxidation damage.

All the minerals and nutrients of un-sulphured blackstrap molasses are in their natural, balanced form to create a bio-accessible, nutritional synergy unavailable from supplements that are not really food..

Taste Concernsindexmolasses

Un-sulphured blackstrap molasses can be incorporated with many food items as a sweetener despite its distinctive flavour. It works in teas or hot cereals, on pancakes and waffles or dessert items, or used as a glaze for cooking. Some people take right to it. Others, especially those who have taste buds conditioned for years by sugar and artificial sweeteners, find it lacking as a sweetener.

Just like any transition from unhealthy processed “tasty” foods to healthier real foods, taste can be acquired even to a point of wondering why the junk food was consumed with so much relish in the first place! Un-sulphured blackstrap molasses is easily managed as a tonic. Mixing a tablespoon or two of blackstrap molasses with a glass of warm water works well as a mineral tonic. Use this mix three times a day. Restoring or maintaining health through natural whole foods requires a sustained intake over time, but it’s still less expensive than medications or even synthetically derived supplements. And the results are real and permanent without side effects.

Click on the banner on this page. Buy your coconut oil, molasses and other healthy wholefoods and have them delivered to your door within two days.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.