Healthy Food

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Your liver is a tenacious, hard working organ. It’s responsible for vital functions that are essential to a healthy life, like making bile, filtering toxins from the body, building protein, and producing all of the biochemicals needed for digestion. And it doesn’t even take a day off! Your liver is quite the trooper.

But as tough as the organ is, it’s not immune to damage and disease. Liver damage occurs fairly gradually over the years. Some of the most common causes of damage are:

  • Excess drinking
  • Malnutrition
  • Hepatitis
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Overuse of medication
  • Iron and copper disorders
  • Liver cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

I don’t recommend trying to self diagnose problems, which is why you should always consult a physician. if you suspect you have a problem with your liver, don’t hesitate. Here are some of the signs to look for:

  1. General abdominal pain where the liver is located; upper right of the belly under the ribs.
  2. Fatigue and confusion.
  3. Blood in the stool, diarrhea or constipation.
  4. Unusually itchy skin.
  5. Jaundice, or a yellowing of the eyes.
  6. Dark yellow urine.
  7. Nausea and vomiting
  8. Loss of appetite and weight loss
  9. Swollen abdomen or legs
  10. Bleeding and bruising more easily than normal
  11. Sex hormone imbalances

Seek medical attention if you feel fatigued or weak and have lost weight suddenly or if you have jaundice, a persistent fever, abdominal pain and vomiting. Don’t mess around with liver disease.

Meanwhile, what can we do to make sure our livers stay healthy? A lot, as it turns out.

  1. Cut back on your drinking to start with. Limit your alcohol intake.
  2. Limit your caffeine intake as well
  3. Quit smoking if you do smoke.
  4. Drink plenty of water to help flush toxins from the body.
  5. Drink herbal teas and fruit smoothies. Green tea is especially helpful.
  6. Eat berries.
  7. Avoid fatty, processed and junk foods.
  8. Maintain a healthy body weight.
  9. Eat more garlic.
  10. Don’t abuse over the counter or prescription medication! Follow the instructions for dosing.

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Hold on, there’s fake honey at the store? Yeah, there sure is.

Honey is one of my favorite foods. It’s a superfood full of numerous vitamins and minerals and a safer way to sweeten foods and drinks than sugar. But did you know that most of the honey you see in the grocery store is treated with a process called “Ultra-Filtration?” Why is that?

Food Safety News conducted an investigation into the honey you see on the shelves of your grocery store and found that about 76% of honey there was ultra-filtered. Ultra-filtration is a process that filters out irregularities like wax, but it also filters out pollen. Generic brands were the most likely to be ultra-filtered. So what’s the big deal? Why does it matter?

Ultra-filtration is a problem because the ‘impurities’ that it’s filtering are actually some of the most beneficial parts of the honey. This filtration does not provide any benefits to you whatsoever and makes no improvement to the quality of the honey. So why do they do it?

FSN found that the likely reason for this ultra-filtration is to prevent people from tracing the honey to is geographical location via the pollen. That way you can’t figure out if your honey was made from bees collecting pollen next to, say, a coal plant in China.

So FSN sent samples of honey to Texas A&M University’s premier melissopalynologist (pollen scientist), professor Vaughn Bryant. He found that about 75% of the honey had little or no pollen in it at all. Additionally:

  • 100% of honey used in McDonald’s and KFC had all pollen removed.
  • 100% of Winnie the Pooh honey sold in Walmart had all of its pollen removed.
  • 100% of honey sold in drug stores like CVS and Walgreen’s had the pollen filtered out.
  • 77% of big box stores like Sam’s Club, Costco and Target had no traces of pollen either.

According to Organic Health:

There are approximately 16 minerals, 18 amino acids, 21 vitamins, and a ton of phytonutrients and antioxidants in one ounce of raw honey. Raw honey has many antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial substances, and it is highly nutritious.It contains significant amounts of vitamin C, B6,B5,B3,B2, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphate, calcium and sodium chlorine.

The solution? Look for raw, organic, locally made honey at your grocery store or at the local farmer’s market. It may cost more, but it’s worth it in the end.

Image credit: Siona Karen, Flickr

It’s not a closely guarded secret. We all know how bad junk food is for us, but sometimes it’s fun to have that delicious, sugary treat. This infographic does a lot to remind us of why it’s important to keep foods like Cinnabons down to a minimum. It’s pretty telling, isn’t it? And even if you don’t eat any of these junk foods, it’s a good idea to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s only vigorous walking.

So how much does it take to burn off a single M&M? Or a donut? Or a bag of popcorn with butter?

Special thanks to Skinny Mom for putting together this informative infographic. 
infogra

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Typically when I’m done making breakfast, I chuck my old egg shells into the compost bin. But it turns out, egg shells are really good for you ! They’re high in calcium, which helps important functions in the body like creating bone mass and preventing osteoporosis. Calcium also normalizes the function of the nerves and muscles in your body, your heartbeat, and helps encourage sleep. Who knew?

For as important as calcium is to our bodies, we do a lot to deplete ourselves of this vital nutrient. Drinking coffee, alcohol, or carbonated beverages can drain calcium. Pregnant women and women in menopause, and older men who suffer digestive disorders are the most prone to calcium deficiencies.

Eggshells aren’t just good for calcium, but they also contain iron, copper, manganese, zinc, fluorine, phosphorous, molybdenum, and chromium.

It turns out, there are other uses for it too. For your thyroid gland, you can wash and crush 8 egg shells, pour in two lemons worth of juice and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 days. After 2 days have passed, filter the liquid and mix with a liter of brandy and 2 1/4 pounds of honey. Allow to stand for a week before consuming. Take 1 teaspoon two to four times daily.

Image credit: Phu Thinh Co, Flickr

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These days, they’re an over the counter drug for every little ailment. Constipated? Take a pill. Stressed out? Take a pill. What would happen if we suddenly didn’t have these things? What would we do? It’s important to know some natural ways to take care of yourself, and these are some things bananas can help us cure.

Constipation

Bananas contain a nutrient called pectin, which speeds up and assists digestion, as well as promotes the removal of toxins from the body. Overall, bananas stimulate the intestines. These impacts reduce flatulence and work as a natural laxative. I have a banana in a smoothie every morning, and I’m smooth as can be.

Stress

One thing stress does to us is speed up our metabolism, which can leave us feeling worse. When stressed out, potassium levels drop in the body, which means you can suffer hypertension and an abnormal heart beat. Bananas do contain potassium, and in conjunction with them, consider adding foods like spinach and cantaloupe. All three foods contain impressive amounts of potassium.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is a very serious condition and if you have it, or think you have it, you should seriously consider visiting a physician. One of the reasons we have high blood pressure is because in a standard American diet, the intake of sodium is high while potassium is low. Consuming more potassium and less sodium is key to good cardiovascular health. Again, look to foods like spinach and cantaloupe to help get the potassium you need.

PMS

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which has a positive effect on glucose levels. This reduces pain in the abdomen and chest, reduces mood changes and water retention. Sounds like the perfect fix for PMS symptoms.

Depression

Typtophan is a protein found in the banana that stimulates the secretion of the hormone serotonin. Eating a banana might just make you feel better. But again, depression is a serious condition. Consult a physician if you’re feeling depressed.

Image credit: Fernando Stankuns, Flickr

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Did you know that the nutritional properties of those bananas hanging in your kitchen change as they grow riper. As they ripen, they become sweeter. Why? Because there are enzymes in the banana that begin to break down starches, which aren’t generally sweet, into sugar. This also makes the banana easier to digest for your gut.

Additionally, Japanese researchers recently discovered something fascinating about bananas; as a banana ripens, it produces more antioxidants than its fresher brethren contain. When the banana has dark spots on the peel, it produces what’s called TNF, or Tumor Necrosis Factor, a substance that combats cancer and abnormal cells. The darker the spots, the more powerful the banana at killing cancer cells. A ripe banana is eight times more effective in boosting the body’s immune system than a fresh banana is.

So the best time to eat a banana? When it’s fully ripe. But it’s worth noting, if you suffer type 2 diabetes, you may want to eat a ripe banana with nut butter. The fats in the nut butter will slow down sugar absorption in your blood stream so it doesn’t hit you all at once, making it easier for your body to break down.

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This video highlights just how gross some processed foods can be. AgileHProducts, a YouTube user with many different time lapse videos, decided to see if a twinkie would rot in the same way as a tomato.

The results probably won’t shock you.

After 25 days, the tomato is withered and rotten, while the twinkie is still looking rather fresh. “Fresh.”

The longevity of the twinkie can probably be attributed to the lack of dairy products in it. In addition, professor Roger Bennati of George Stevens Academy decided to put a twinkie in a glass box back in 1976. And there it is, still today, still as much of a twinkie as it’s ever been. What a gross food. (scroll down for picture!)

oldesttwinkie

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This is absolutely amazing. I hear a lot of people making the claim that they can’t grow a garden because they have a small yard. Hooey I say! And so says the Dervaes family, who have successfully grown 6,000 pounds of food on 1/10th of an acre of land.

This suburban family grows 400 different species of plants, producing 4,300 pounds of vegetable food, 900 chicken and 1,000 duck eggs, and 25 pounds of honey. On top of that, they get seasonal fruit from their fruit trees, grown on site at their Los Angeles home.

The Dervaes family has an edge on some of us by living in a climate where you can garden year round, but don’t take that is discouragement.

You can grow food whevever you are with whatever you have. Unless you’re in Antarctica. Good luck gardening there.

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When it comes to vegetables, broccoli is one of the healthiest. But the plant’s nutrients aren’t stored only in their tops, but the stems and leaves are actually more nutrient dense than the flowers. It’s abundant in antioxidants, vitamin A, C, E, calcium, and magnesium.

30 grams of broccoli leaves contain 90% of the vitamin A your body needs in a day. Vitamin A is crucial for eyesight and proper immune function. The same amount of leaves contains 43% of your daily dose of vitamin C. Next time you cook a broccoli flower, chop some leaves up and throw it in too.

The stalks are incredibly good for you too. They have a fairly sweet taste and contain a ton of fiber – more than the flower itself. Chop the stalks smaller and cook a bit longer than the tops and you’ll have perfectly cooked, tender broccoli.

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The cure for cancer is an elusive goal for researchers around the world. One of the greatest struggles with killing cancer isn’t exactly the killing part, but it’s not killing the rest of you. Alternative medications like turmeric and hemp oil can be effective for some people, but it’s been difficult to apply those cures to all types of cancer. More on that:

“In learning the molecular biology of cancer pathways, and in learning that what the evidence actually shows the effect of natural product extracts on various relevant molecular targets in various cancers, we see that there’s actually quite a large amount of evidence that supports using various molecules, natural products, and pharmaceuticals that are already approved and that have been around for a long time to affect anti-cancer activity along that pathway at that target. That’s called molecularly targeted anti-cancer treatment, and it’s widely practiced in oncology today.What’s not widely practiced is the use of the natural products for the molecularly targeted anti-cancer activity. I provide that for my patients because the evidence base suggests and supports the use of these treatment recommendations.”

Check out the video below. It’s pretty incredible.

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