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Coconut Oil as an Aid to the Immune System

Maintaining a well-balanced diet and carefully monitoring your daily food and drink intake are central to keeping a well-balanced and healthy immune system.

Your immune system has to fight off scores of bacteria every day and having a low immune system means you are more likely to catch viruses and other illnesses.

Ingesting coconut oil can help your immune system in a surprising number of  ways.

As we’ve already discussed coconut oil has great natural health benefits and works as an effective cure for a number of common illnesses including eczema, indigestion and a variety of skin diseases like age spot. However coconut oil can also aid your immune system in a number of surprising ways.

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Coconut Oil as an Aid to Digestion

Coconut oil has long been held to be a useful supplement to aid in digestion.

This is one of the key reasons it is the primary ingredient in many curry sources – and why curry goes down so well.

Coconut oil has strong anti-microbial benefits which when ingested help you to fight off nasty bacteria and bolster
your immune system.

Many digestive problems are caused by the presence of microbes in the food we eat. We have a natural set of microbes in our stomach acid that aid digestion but these often react negatively with certain enzymes found in other foods. This means that the key way virgin coconut oil can help our digestion is by curing indigestion.

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Coconut Oil and Weight Loss

Many people think that because virgin coconut oil has a high proportion of saturated fat it is bad for you to eat.

This is one of the greatest myths surrounding coconut oil and now turn to dispelling this myth and seeing how you can use coconut oil as a an aid to weight loss.

The chemical make-up of coconut fats 90% of coconut oil is saturated fat. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it, but a closer examination reveals the surprising truth.

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Study Shows Meat Free Diets Reduce Cholesterol And Prevent Heart Disease

When you stop to think of the dismal health conditions in the United States and other parts of the world because of our diet choices, you realise just how much damage we done to ourselves. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women. Preventable heart attacks account for most of these deaths. 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. 1/3 of all U.S. kids are overweight or obese and obesity is being diagnosed more and more at very young ages.

We eat like there’s no tomorrow, and then we pay the price, and not just individually but as a society when health care costs are in the billions due to preventable conditions.

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Plant Diets For Managing And Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is an increasingly common medical condition, in which the body has an impaired ability to control the quantity of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. To remove glucose from the blood the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, in those with diabetes the body either produces insufficient glucose or the insulin that is produced is ineffective at removing the glucose from the bloodstream, in both cases the end result is blood glucose levels which are abnormally high.

There are many risks associated with high blood glucose levels; these include damage to the small blood vessels and nerves throughout the body and a number of associated medical conditions. In a healthy individual blood glucose levels normally range between 4 and 6 mmol/L in a fasted state (such as upon waking).

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Vitamin C 101

Vitamin C, technical name ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin present in certain foods but that can also be obtained through supplementation.

Humans are different from other animals in that they can’t synthesise the vitamin by their own bodies but must get it elsewhere.

The Benefits Of Vitamin C

We need vitamin C in order to make L-carnitine, collagen and some neurotransmitters.

Vitamin C is also involved in the metabolism of protein.

We need vitamin C for the formation of collagen that is part of the connective tissue in the body’s organs and plays a role in wound healing.

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency The Shot In The Arm You May Need For Diet Therapy

What exactly is vitamin B12 and why do we need it? Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that is found in our food and we need it to keep our nerve cells healthy and to keep our red blood cells at optimum efficiency. It is also extremely important for proper digestion; in fact, our stomach acids grab the B12 from food and mix it with IF, which is then easily absorbed by the intestinal tract.

If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, you are likely to feel tired, lightheaded, and weak. You may have a sore tongue or your gums may bleed. You will probably experience digestion problems – either diarrhea or constipation. You may feel tingling in your hands or feet, get out of breath easily, hear a ringing sound in your ears, have chest pain, and develop neurological symptoms such as forgetfulness, a lack of ability to focus, and becoming easily confused.

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Most people do not suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, as it is readily available in a lot of different foods, but mostly meat, so sometimes vegetarians and vegans do not get enough B12 from their diets. If you do have a vitamin B12 deficiency, it is probably most likely due to some disorder of the digestive system. People with chronic diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and the like are likely to have B12 anemia because of their inability to absorb the B12 they ingest.

Vitamin B12 is a known energy booster, and as such many dieticians and physicians are recommending weight loss patients, whether or not they have a vitamin B12 deficiency, include a shot in their diet therapy. The reason for this is most people who diet; tend to complain about losing energy, perhaps because of their limited calorie intake. Since B12 is a big energy provider, many health care professionals and lay people alike swear that dieters should follow a regimen for vitamin B12 deficiency diet therapy. Most weight loss clinics include B12 injections as part of their overall healthy weight loss plans.

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Neurologists, gastroenterologists, and family physicians also see the benefits of vitamin B12 deficiency diet therapy. As people get older, they may eat a lesser variety of foods, and combined with the decrease in cognitive functioning people tend to display in their older years, vitamin B12 diet therapy is often seen as necessary. Even most doctors who treat patients with Alzheimer’s recommend B12 as a general blood cell booster to help with cognitive abilities. Because a vitamin B12 deficiency can often result in an inability to focus and concentrate, students may also benefit from being tested for B12 levels.

Vitamin B12 deficiency diet therapy has also been shown to reduce cravings. If you can eliminate or greatly reduce your desire for those foods that you know are not good for you, you are well on your way to overcoming food and weight loss difficulties. Vitamin B12 is a great energy source and a valuable craving reduction tool.

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Herbs And Spices For Health And To Spice Up Vegetarian Cooking

One reason some people don’t stick with a vegetarian lifestyle is they feel it gets monotonous, no one likes having the same kind of foods repeatedly, and we don’t blame you. The problem is often people don’t know quite how to add variety to their dishes instead they just make what they know.

Read on to learn our best tips for creating new and exciting dishes and for adding pizazz using herbs and spices to the old favorites your love.

Health Benefits Of Herbs

All herbs and spices are vegan as they originate from plants, including flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, and barks.

First, let’s talk a little bit about the quality of herbs and spices. Besides being low-calorie flavor powerhouses, fresh herbs provide distinct health benefits and some even have healing powers.

Many herbs and spices contain antibacterial and antiviral properties. Many are also high in trace minerals and B-vitamins. They contain antioxidants that help prevent disease and improve wellness; here are just a few examples.

Basil

Basil is a very flavorful and diverse herb (typically used in Italian dishes) that can be added to many dishes and recipes. Basil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and is believed to help prevent osteoarthritis. Fresh basil can be used in salads, soups, stews, sauces sprinkled over eggs, and steamed vegetables.

Dill Weed And Seed

Dill has a fresh and unique flavor, and potent antibacterial properties. It is helps to settle upset stomach and queasiness. Fresh, uncooked dill is best for health and flavor. A salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion slices, fresh dill, and an oil and vinegar drizzle is an old Russian favorite and tastes really great.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is used medically to increase circulation, and as a cream for joint pain, such as that related to arthritis conditions. Cayenne also revs metabolism, not a lot, but every little bit helps.

Cayenne adds a nutty, smoky flavor to food and of course heat (spiciness). It can be used to add a kick to boring vegetables, in sauces, soups, tofu stir-fries, and stews.

Mint

Mint is a pungent herb that helps ease nausea and alleviate digestive problems. It is often used in dessert recipes, but also tastes great when used fresh in sauces, salads and in tea.

Turmeric

Turmeric is most commonly used in Indian dishes, and sadly greatly overlooked as a spice in American kitchens. It contains a compound called Curcumin, which is a cancer-fighting agent.

In the U.S., it is widely used as a medicine for those with inflammation and joint problems. Turmeric can be added to vegan curry, soups, stews, sprinkled over vegetables, in sauces and muffins.

Garlic

Fresh garlic is flavorful, diverse, supports heart health, and has anti-cancer properties. Use garlic fresh and raw from the clove no longer than 15 minutes after preparation to prevent the loss of disease-fighting anthocyanins that it contains. Garlic can be used in sauces, over salads, grated over steamed vegetables, and in hundreds of recipes to provide great flavor.

Herbs & Spices: The Cook’s Reference

Herbs And Vegetarian Diets

Fresh herbs are a great addition to many dishes, both raw and cooked. Herbs and spices can add a completely new dimension to an old dish. For instance, you can make a dish Italian, or add an Asian flair with the right combination of spices, let’s look at some of the regionally based spices that will give your dull dish a tasty makeover.

If you’re looking for something reminiscent of your favorite Italian dish, get an Italian flavored seasoning. Oregano is loaded with antioxidants; it has cancer-fighting agents. It is also a natural antiviral and antibiotic.

The oil and leaves of Oregano are used medicinally to treat body aches, fever, and cold symptoms. You can also make your own blend with staples of Italian cooking that include basil, marjoram, garlic, oregano, rosemary and thyme to create a powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and cancer-fighting blend. This blend and Oregano by itself can be used in sauces, stews, over vegetables, in pasta dishes and in salads.

Asian flavors can really change the dynamic of your vegetarian dish. Soy sauce is fundamental in Asian cooking and is used in all sorts of dishes. Rice Vinegar is another staple that can really change how you feel about boring salad vinaigrette; rice vinegar has a mild, sweet tang and is fundamental for many dipping sauces you find in Chinese foods.

Asian style cuisines often use things like coconut milk to add flavor and smooth creamy texture to soups.

Fresh ginger has a potent, sweet flavor, is often used to make soups, in salads and in marinades. It can be a fantastic addition to a vegetarian dish or even eaten on its own when marinated. Ginger is great for cleaning the palate.

Never underestimate the power of a properly coupled dish. Some things just go together. Here are some of those great combinations.

• Asparagus: Lemon, Garlic, and Tarragon;
• Cauliflower: Chives, Coriander, Sage and even Turmeric;
• Mushrooms: Garlic, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Sage, Thyme;
• Zucchini: Basil and Oregano;
• Sweet Potatoes: Allspice Cloves, and Nutmeg;
• Potatoes: Rosemary, thyme parsley.

These are just a few examples of great pairs you can create with just vegetables alone. Even adding these spices to a standard steamed veggie dish can give a lot more depth and interest to the vegetables themselves.

Another thing to keep in mind is proper seasoning; the use of salt and pepper is designed to bring out the flavors in a dish. Vegetarian dishes are no exception.

Make sure to add the right amount of salt (not too much) and pepper to your dish to bring out the bright and brilliant flavors the vegetables have to offer.

A Word About Dried Herbs

Dried herbs are more powerful than fresh so be careful to not overdo, an overpowered dish is worse than a bland one. Add dried herbs slowly and make sure to taste, taste, and taste again.

Spices, on the other hand, like nutmeg, and bark are almost exclusively used in the dried and often ground forms, they are also potent and should be used in moderation or according to recipe directions.

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Can Vegetarian Diets Reduce Risks Of Cancer?

It is a well-known fact that plant foods are the most nutritious for the human body. Nature did its job by providing us with fortifying natural foods that when eaten in their whole and natural states provide us with energy, good health and the ability to prevent chronic disease. Now if we can just stay away from the drive-thru and put down the Twinkies we may all live to be a hundred years old.

Vegetarians follow a plant-based diet that eliminates meat, poultry, fish and sometimes dairy. Vegans follow a stricter plan that only allows for the intake of plant foods and absolutely no animal products or foods that are made from animals, such as butter. Many studies have been done into the connection between these types of diets and cancer prevention.

Is it possible to lessen your risk of cancer through diet alone and do vegetarians do just that?

More and more research has shown in recent decades that eliminating meat products, especially, can reduce your risk of getting many kinds of cancers.

Vegetarian diets tend to be high in fiber, which is an independent factor in preventing cancer, particularly cancers of the digestive tract. Research done in the early 1970’s found that in those parts of the world where fiber intake is the highest, the incidence of colon cancer was the lowest (and vice versa). Areas like the US, where meat intake and therefore fiber intake is the lowest have the greatest number of people affected by colon cancer.

Why Fiber Works

No one can say for sure how fibre can be protective against colon cancer, but doctors have some ideas. Fibre cannot be digested by the GI tract and it helps food move more quickly throughout the small and large intestines, carrying dangerous carcinogens from the diet past the GI tract and out of your body. Water is drawn into the colon by the fibre so that the dilution of carcinogen is greater.

Fiber is also believed to bind to bile acids from the gall bladder. Bile acids are changed into carcinogens by bacteria in the gut and if they are bound by fiber, they can’t become dangerous. Fiber is also fermented in the colon. This makes the GI tract more acidic, rendering bile acids less dangerous. Even breast cancer and stomach cancer are believed to be prevented by fiber, partly because of its effect on reducing carcinogens. In addition, fiber lessens the amount of estrogens circulating in the body. Unopposed estrogen is a known risk factor in getting breast cancer.

The best way to get fiber is to eat a vegetarian diet that contains whole fruits, vegetables, peas, lentils, beans, and whole grains. Try to take in at least 30-40 grams of fiber each day.

Vegetarian Diets and Fat

High-fat consumption has been associated with colon cancer and breast cancer. The best way to lower your dietary intake of fat is to eat a vegetarian diet, which is naturally low in fat. Research has found that those countries with the lowest fat intake have lower rates of both breast and colon cancer. Cutting down on dietary fat can help you survive breast cancer, even after you have been diagnosed with the disease.

While vegetables can yield fats in things like vegetable oils, the fat derived from animals is considered more dangerous. A vegetarian diet eliminates those animal fats, lowering your risk of cancer. Fat in the body from animal fat promotes the increase in hormone content, such as estrogens. As mentioned before, estrogen promotes breast cancer. Fat increases the amount of bile acids secreted by the gall bladder and this can cause colon cancer. To be safe, keep your dietary fat content to less than 15% fat.

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Following a Vegetarian Diet Can Help In Other Ways

• Vegetables contain many cancer-fighting molecules such as beta-carotene, found in yellow and dark green vegetables. Beta-carotene can prevent many types of cancer, including lung cancer, bladder cancer, oral and laryngeal cancer;

• Other chemicals in vegetables include flavones and indoles, which are also found to be cancer-fighting;

• Antioxidants of all types are found in fruits and vegetables and have a significant impact on the formation of cancer;

• Vegetarians have been found to have better immune systems than non-vegetarians do. Natural killer cell activity is important in scavenging for cancerous and precancerous cells. This activity is found to a greater degree in vegetarians;

Overall, the cancer-fighting capacity is better in vegetarians for a number of reasons and it is a good option for people wanting to stay away from cancerous conditions.

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Best Ways To Prevent And Treat High Cholesterol

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that is much like wax in appearance and texture and it is located in all the cells of the human body.

Good cholesterol is needed for the body to function properly and the body makes all the required cholesterol that it needs. It is used for making hormones, substances that help you digest food properly and for Vitamin D.

Cholesterol can also be found in many fatty foods and therefore some people suffer from a high-risk condition known as high cholesterol.

Anatomy Of Cholesterol

  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is the “bad” type that causes heart disease.
  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and is the “good” type.

Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can be quite serious and can lead to cardiovascular disease. One of the problems is that high blood cholesterol does not cause any symptoms by itself, which is why a lot of people are unaware of their condition. In order to detect high cholesterol, a blood test is required that can be ordered by your doctor or nurse practitioner.

High Cholesterol Facts

According to the Centers For Disease Control:

  • Those who have high cholesterol are 2 times more at risk for heart disease, which, is the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • 71 million American adults, which, equates to 33.5% of the population have a high LDL count.
  • Only 1 out of every 3 adults with high cholesterol manage to get it under control.
  • Less than 50% of those with high LDL counts seek treatment or incorporate the necessary lifestyle changes required to lower their levels.

Best Ways to Prevent High Cholesterol

There are a lot of things that each person can do to lower and prevent high cholesterol. This article will review some of these methods, and what diet and lifestyle changes are necessary to prevent high cholesterol to begin with.

If you are an obese or overweight person then losing excess weight is a great way to prevent and lower high blood cholesterol. Losing anywhere from 5-7% of your bodyweight is enough to see a significant change for the better. The best way to lose weight is to focus on foods that are low in calories, such as, fruits and vegetables and also by increasing physical activity.

Another way to prevent high cholesterol is to drink a little bit of red wine when having dinner. Wine helps to increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (the good type) and this in turn helps to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type). When HDL cholesterol travels in the blood stream then it picks up LDL cholesterol and carries it to your liver where it is excreted from the body.

Start eating oatmeal for breakfast. According to the Mayo Clinic, the high amount of soluble fiber in oatmeal reduces the amount of cholesterol the body is able to absorb. It is recommended that one consume 25-35 grams of soluble fiber daily to have a positive effect.

If your goal is to prevent or stop high blood cholesterol (LDL) then saturated fat is not your friend, and so it consumption must be kept to a minimum. Many animal products, such as red meat, cheese, and whole milk are the main sources of saturated fats. It is recommended that saturated fats account for only 7% of your daily calorie intake. Cutting out animal products from your diet will help cut your cholesterol levels.  So, if you eat red meat regularly then you need to replace it with soy protein products. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol then seek the advice of your physician as to your consumption of saturated fat products.

Men who regularly drink green tea have a lower level of blood cholesterol than men who do not, according to the University Of Maryland Medical Center. It has been found that polyphenols in green tea might have the ability to block cholesterol from forming. It is best to enjoy green tea in pure form, without added sugar or artificial flavoring. Brew it at home and enjoy with mint leaves, lemon and lime juice.

Regular exercise is another great way to prevent this high-risk condition. Aerobics, jogging, and walking are all effective workouts to increase the levels of good cholesterol and, therefore, reduce the bad. Thirty minutes a day is enough to have a positive effect. If you are out of shape then you can begin with three 10 minute sessions daily and work your way up to a full 30 minutes.

Conclusion

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends adults get a blood test for cholesterol through their doctor each and every five years. This is the only way to know whether you are affected or not and in this case knowledge is half the battle.

If you are diagnosed, then it is really important that you follow your doctor’s orders and the methods provided above to get it under control. Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of having a heart attack that can lead to premature death and the need for bypass surgery or angioplasty.

The above are some of the best ways to avoid a completely preventable condition and to ensure a healthy and long future. Also, the good news is that it is never too late to make a change and there are many ways to lower cholesterol levels. Certain lifestyle changes are all that is needed to see a positive change and often very quickly.

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