agaveWhat is agave nectar

Agave nectar can be a slightly better sweetener than white granulated sugar. There are several reasons that it is either the same or better than white sugar. The glycemic index plays a huge part in most of the advantages that agave has over refined sugars. Agave may, however, be one of very few products that can replace refined sugars for vegans who have completely turned away from the use of any animal product during any stage of creating or processing foods or other products.

Agave and white sugar

Agave has a slightly higher calorie count than white granulated sugar. This is all right, however, because it is much sweeter than white sugar, so not as much will be used. What makes agave better than white sugar, however, is the fact that the glycemic index is lower in agave than white sugar. This is the part of the sugar that can trigger a diabetic episode. Agave does still have calories and carbohydrates, like any other sweetener, but the lower glycemic index makes it raise blood sugar much more slowly than other sweeteners. It is a better alternative than artificial sweeteners because it is a natural product and is not made of chemical compounds.

Weight management

While agave is a sweetener, complete with calories and carbohydrates, the chemical makeup of it is such that it does not trigger the body’s fat storing mechanisms, making it easier to lose body fat. Because it does have calories and carbohydrates, it is not technically diet sweetener, but because it’s glycemic index is approximately half that of refined or granulated sugars, it is possible to use sparingly in place of sugar when dieting. It is also healthier than refined artificial sweeteners that are made partially of refined sugar, and partially of synthetic sugar, which have been shown to increase risks of cancer.

Functionality

Because agave is plant based, like refined sugars, it offers some of the same cooking functionality as sugar. Using agave for browning, moisture retention, softening and food preservation is just as good as using white granulated sugar, and because it is sweeter, the amount of agave used in cooking can be reduced. This can be a useful sugar replacement because the agave fails to trigger the body’s fat storage system. This makes agave a good sugar replacement for cooking functions, where artificial sweeteners tend to fail repeatedly.

Vegan Friendly

Most granulated or refined sugars are filtered using animal-bone based charcoal. While most vegans are not aware of this fact, those who are may be looking for natural alternatives, and agave is the answer. Because it is boiled directly from the plant sap, there is no contact with any animal product or by-product, making it completely vegan. This is the perfect choice for those who choose to live life with no animal product usage.

While agave is about the same as refined sugars, there are a few advantages to switching to agave. Almost every advantage comes back to the fact that most refined sugars have a glycemic index of approximately sixty, agave has a glycemic index of approximately thirty.

Reference

http://www.allaboutagave.com/agave-vs-granular.php

 

 

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seafoodWhat is the thyroid?

You may have heard about the thyroid, but, do you really know what it is and what it does? Well, let me explain it in the simplest way possible. The thyroid is a large butterfly – shaped gland in the neck that secretes hormones that regulate growth and development. Your thyroid is located in your neck, just below the larynx or the voice box and right in front of the trachea or windpipe. The thyroid is interrelated to every system in your body. If you have an under-active thyroid then, you might end up suffering from hypothyroidism – a condition affecting millions of people in America and around the world – while an overactive thyroid leads to hyperthyroidism.

What does the thyroid do exactly?

The thyroid, as mentioned earlier, produces hormones that are responsible for directing some bodily actions. Now, think of the thyroid as a manager of an institution overseeing proper coordination among the various departments under him. The thyroid, in this case, ensures that all cells are operating at their optimum by checking on each of them thyroidand in so doing, increasing or reducing their rate of metabolism.

To be precise, the thyroid produces two very important hormones: Triiodothyronine and Thyroxine. These are commonly known as T3 and T4 respectively and are responsible for the regulation of conditions in all the other cells. If, for instance, a cell is lacking in oxygen, T3 will ensure that it gets it.

Thyroid function and the role of iodine

During their formation, the T3 hormone receives three atoms of iodine while the T4 gets four (Now you know where these weird names come from). Without iodine, the T3 and T4 hormones cannot be formed and, therefore, cannot be produced. If this happens, hypothyroidism sets in and you start feeling depressed, sluggish and generally fatigued. Other symptoms include: a puffy face, pale skin, swollen joints and muscles, weight gain, hoarse voice – the list is endless!

On the flip side, there’s hyperthyroidism; a condition caused by too much iodine. Suffering from this condition could lead to, among other symptoms, sudden weight loss, increased appetite, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, anxiety, irritability and lack of sleep.

Potassium iodide and the thyroid

The thyroid uses iodine by, first, converting it into a free elemental form called iodide which enters the thyroid through a special mechanism. The thyroid is, essentially, wholly made up of iodine and iodide, which are key to its function. In cases of hyperthyroidism, potassium iodide, which is a white iodide compound, can be used as a treatment

If the thyroid gland needs removal – yes, it can be surgically removed – potassium iodide can also used together with anti-thyroid medicines to prepare it for the operation. The potassium iodide shrinks the thyroid gland, thereby, decreasing its physical size and the amount of hormones produced.

In fact, potassium iodide can even be used to protect the thyroid in the event of radiation exposure. In this case, the potassium iodide acts as a cover for the thyroid; protecting it from absorbing harmful radioactive iodine and thus, limiting the damage and risk of thyroid cancer.

 

Sources

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=18119
  2. http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/endocrine/why-thyroid-important1.htm
  3. http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/tech_briefings/potassium_iodide/en/
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_iodide
  5. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-1823-potassium+iodide+Oral.aspx

What is DHEA?

yamDehydroepiandrosterone commonly known as DHEA is a hormone that is produced by the body’s adrenal glands that are located just above the kidneys.

DHEA supplements are also found in the market and most of them are often made from the wild soy or yam. This makes a natural product that you can use without worrying about the side effects.

Research has proved that people can use DHEA supplements whenever they want to improve their sex drives, build their muscles, fight the negative effects of aging, as well as improve some health conditions. However, most of the people who have used it in the past has confirmed that indeed the product has the benefits in their health.

Many medical experts have warned people against using DHEA supplements without consulting a doctor or a chemist first since poor usage may sometimes lead to numerous side effects within the body. This means that you have to know what to do if you want to enjoy its benefits right in your health.

The recent research about the DHEA revealed that the product has amazing health benefits, especially when it comes to improving the female and male sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone respectively. The substance can be converted within the body into a sex hormone, thus enhancing the sexual ability in both male and female.

DHEA production often peaks in the mid-20s and tend to decline in many people at the age gradually declines. This has been the main reason why many older people often use DHEA supplements as a way of improving their sexual ability. In addition, it is important that you estrogen and testosterone production also declines with age and this is why DHEA supplements helps in increasing the level of the  hormones.

What are the benefits of DHEA?

The following are some of the benefits that you need to know:

  1. Building up of the adrenal gland
  2. Strengthening of the immune system, thus helping you resists most of the diseases
  3. Slowing natural changes within the body, which comes with age to make you look younger
  4. Providing more energy thus enabling you to do your daily activities
  5. Improving memory and mood
  6. Building up of the muscle strength that you need for your well being

When should you start taking DHEA?

Many people often ask the question of when they should start taking DHEA. However, the exact answer to the question can be very
difficult to guess since this is a decision based on the physiological characteristics of an individual. You can take them when you want to build your adrenal gland, improve your immune system, need more energy, improve your memory and mood and even get more strength. In addition, you need to make sure that you consult a doctor who will be in a position to give you advice on when you should start taking DHEA according to the medical reports.

In conclusion

Above information about DHEA should assist you make an informed choice whenever you want to take DHEA to improve your health without experiencing any side effects from wrong use.

References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehydroepiandrosterone#Effects_and_uses
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/dhea/background/hrb-20059173
  3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/331.html

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applesCholesterol

People with cholesterol levels higher than the desired levels of 200mg/dl should worry because too much cholesterol in the bloodstream makes one susceptible to coronary heart disease, cancer and a host of other problems.

How is high cholesterol detrimental to health?

Bad cholesterol (LDL) slowly gathers inside the arteries where it is oxidized resulting injury to the walls. To remedy the situation, white blood cells enter artery forming foam cells, which in turn attract calcium, forming an artheroma. The artheroma continues to grow and bulges in a bid to prevent blood flow. This might eventually cause it to rupture, forming blood clots, which is carried to the heart, causing heart attack and to the brain where it causes a stroke.

The process does not happen overnight and might even start at adolescence and so, everyone must see a doctor to learn about his or her cholesterol levels and avert the danger. It is not doomsday if you have higher than normal because you can undertake some measures to lower it and save your life.

Scientists have been hard at work trying to find a safe, accessible way for patients around the world to reduce cholesterol in their bodies. It has emerged that pectin in apples is the secret to low cholesterol. With such knowledge, people now strive to understand how it works.

How to use Apple Pectin for Weight loss:

Apple skin and pulp contain pectin, an essential nutriment that is rich in fiber. Nobody paid much attention to it in the past but recently, it has gained widespread acclaim for its ability to reduce cholesterol levels and most importantly, prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol that is already in the bloodstream.

Besides lowering LDL, pectin fights dangerous bacteria that promote uneven cholesterol levels in the body. It also contains a variety of soluble fibers that maintain balance in intestinal levels, therefore preventing the onset of colon cancer.

This nutrient absorbs water to form a thick mass in the stomach that makes you feel full all day long. As this happens, your body will be able to utilize stored fats, including those that might be hiding the arterial walls. High metabolism ensures all fats are utilized, marginally reducing cholesterol levels.

It is advisable to take pure, raw apples to experience the full value of apple pectin but if this is not possible, you can use apple pectin powder or supplements for the same advantages. Experts argue that it will take two whole
apples to reduce high cholesterol by 10%, making it more practical to use supplements for faster results.

If you take foods rich in fats and are afraid of spiking your cholesterol levels much further, substitute the drinks you take to water down the meal with some apple juice to counter the effects of cholesterol. Pectin brings about more benefits besides cholesterol reduction, including helping people suffering from high blood pressure. If you establish a religious routine of taking apples, or apple pectin supplements, there will certainly be noticeable improvement to your health for richer, more fulfilling life.

References

  1. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/high-cholesterol-dangers
  2. http://www.articlesbase.com/supplements-and-vitamins-articles/benefits-of-apple-pectin-powder-5326853.html
  3. http://cholesterol.about.com/od/cholesterolloweringfoods/a/apples.htm

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stretch marksStretch mark

There are truly a couple of stretch mark creams available nowadays and it could be truly confounding to evaluate which is the best cream to treat your skin while pregnant. Then again, before you pick a cream, it is important to realize which stretch mark cream is best to consider. These stretch marks, scars show up on the skin when the skin is extended past its endurance. The scars typically show up during pregnancy or puberty when huge progressions occur in your body in a brief time. Beneath, I have recorded a couple of things that you can look at to weigh the best stretch mark cream to help you fight this stretch marks.

Natural Creams

Natural creams are extremely compelling in treating stretch marks. One great thing about homegrown stretch mark creams is that they don’t hold any hurtful, savage chemicals that may cause skin disorders. Recall that, you have to be excessively watchful when picking the stretch mark cream as you are presumably going to apply it on yourself while your child is settling inside. Likewise, in the event that you develop stretch stamps on the stomach, it is better to utilize natural creams, as these are exceptionally touchy territories of your body.

Creams Containing Vitamins

With a specific end goal to discover the best stretch mark cream; you can likewise search for a cream holding vitamin, for example, vitamin E and vitamin C. These vitamins help skin tissue to revamp and effectively recover the versatility in your skin. Stretch mark creams focused around vitamins are likewise expected to have less hurtful chemicals and are much protected to utilize.

There are numerous creams, for example, Revitol and Mederma, which are truly successful in treating skin and additionally pregnancy stretch imprints. Keep in mind, in both cases the principle issue is that the skin loses its versatility. Additionally, a great number of stretch creams could be very costly. Anyway I suppose that it’s important to close check stretch marks cream you choose to utilize during pregnancy.

Reference

  1. http://www.trilastin.com/p-30-trilastin-sr-maximum-strength-stretch-mark-cream.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_content=General&utm_campaign=TrilastinUS_CA&gclid=CjwKEAjw9eyeBRCqxc_b-LD8kTESJADsBMxS-4JjVwyTYukoJKNNysxmoW9UXgMjsZ6FIiIc-G2u8BoCVrHw_wcB.
  2. http://top-stretchmarkcreams.com/stretch-mark-removal/

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basilWhat is cortisol

It is true that Basil herbal plant can reduce the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced in the body by the adrenal glands. Its production is purely stimulated by the low energy levels in the body. The main role of this hormone is to mobilize the stored body sugar during the stress times for conversion to energy. This energy is very important to the muscles for proper body functioning. The hormone is also known to provide temporary immunity, memory boost and also help in controlling blood pressure.

Side effect of cortisol

Although this hormone is very beneficial to the body, it can also be very destructive if it is produced in excess quantities. This can be witnessed when one is in a prolonged stress period and fails to find its cure in early stages. This will stimulate the adrenal glands to produce this hormone in very high levels that can put the patient’s health in danger. These may include; decrease in immunity, weight gain in the abdomen, poor memory, depression, elevated cholesterol and many other complication. This is where the use of basil herbal medicine comes to rescue the situation.

What is a basil

Holy basil is a plant that originated from Southern Asia. It is classified as an adaptogenic herb since it helps the body to adapt to stress very well. It contains two very important compounds, eugenol and caryophyllene. These two elements are the one that are used to lower the level of cortisol and also regulate the way the body will react and respond to increase of stress. This is done when the cortisol level is already high at damaging level. The herbal medicine can also be consumed as a preventive measure. By taking it even when you are not stressed, you can actually reduce the amount of stress hormones that your body produces. It can also help to improve mood and mental clarity. This herbal medicine has no adverse side effects and thus it will not harm you in any way.

 

 

 

Sources

  1. www.youngandraw.com/holy-basil-naturally-lowers-cortisol-and-anxiety
  2. www.transformyourhealth.com/webnewsletters/

 

 

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CoQ10

CoQ10 is a highly rated health supplement that is sold commercially in the international markets. However, the human body in the form of an anti-oxidant, the rate, naturally synthesizes CoQ10 and quantity at which it is produce tends to diminish, as you get older. Hence, your body fails to take advantage of the benefits offered by CoQ10 as you age and this calls for an alternative to get the substance into your system. The main role of this substance is to promote heart health, increase the amount of energy produced by your body and slow down the aging process.

How CoQ10 works in the body

Being lipid-soluble, CoQ10 does not have the tendency to dissolve in aqueous environments in a quick manner. Hence, it is difficult for the human body to absorb it if you consume it in its powered crystalline form. This is the main reason why it is consumed along with oil so that its absorption rate can be increased significantly. However, breakthroughs achieved in the commercial production of CoQ10 have helped in the creation of Ubiquinol, which is termed to be the most biologically active form of the substance. Once Ubiquinol gets inside the human body, it is readily absorbed by up to 60% faster than its non-biologically active counterpart is.

Of late, commercial variants of CoQ10 have Bioperine included in them so that the human body at a rate absorbs it, which is equal to that of Ubiquinol. Bioperine is an extract of the black pepper fruit and is completely safe. Some of the top brands that sell this supplement include the likes of Doctor’s Best and Source Naturals. If you are interested in taking this supplement but have a history of drug allergy or are
currently under medication, it would be better to seek a detailed consultation with your doctor and get his or her approval to avoid any unwanted and risky side effects.

References:

  1. http://www.vitacost.com/doctors-best-high-absorption-coq10-with-bioperine-100-mg-120-vegetarian-capsules-6
  2. http://products.mercola.com/coq10-ubiquinol/
  3. http://www.totalhealthmagazine.com/features/ingredient-spotlight/is-ubiquinol-all-its-cracked-up-to-be.html

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MarjoramWhere does Marjoram Essential Oil Originate From?

Marjoram oil comes from the Marjoram Shrub and is an Herb. They are a perennial herb that originated in the middle eastern countries and are grown all over the world today. There are three forms of the Marjoram Shrub, The Sweet Marjoram, the Origanum Majorana, and Knotted Marjoram. It is very closely related to the Oregano Species. This oil is versatile and has many uses today as well in ancient days when used by the Greeks and Romans and was considered a symbol of joy. Many who use Marjoram today also consider it a joy to use as it is beneficial in many things.

Benefits of Marjoram Oil:

1. Promotes better digestive function and optimal bowel function as well as help clear the intestines of old debris.

2. Coughing from colds and flus, cold symptoms and reduces pain associated with flu/colds and bodily aches.

3. Helps in healing bronchitis, aches in joints, sinusitis, nasal problems and acts as an expectorant in the chest.

4. Is antibacterial, antispasmodic, fungicidal and it also cures viral infections.

5. Is strengthening of the immune system, helps the brain stay healthy and functioning optimally, reduces blood pressure and helps keep the heart from malfunctioning. Also improves circulation in the whole body.

6. Encourages fast healing of wounds and keeps them from becoming a more serious infection like Staph or MRCA.

7. Emotionally helps anger, sadness, and anxiety and stress and promotes and overall sense of well being in one’s mind.

8. Acts as a sedative and creates passive feelings, eases trauma in one who has experienced severely negative situations in life.

9. Is a diuretic and helps clear the kidneys. Provides woman a comfort during their cycles by promoting regularity and eases symptoms associated with the cycle, such as cramps, pains and headaches. Will delay the start of early menopause.

10. This wonderful herb can be used as a cooking herb as well. Enjoy it in sauces, soups, or on anything that you would like to try it on for taste.

Sources

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoram
  2. http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-marjoram-essential-oil.html

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PycnogenolWhat is a pycnogenol

Pycnogenol, an extract of a certain type of pine bark, it is acclaimed by many nutritionists and doctors as a prime antioxidant with many health benefits.

Benefits of pycnogenol

Like other antioxidants, pycnogenol helps fight free radicals in the body, thus ensuring cells are healthy and can function properly. In doing this, it also helps slow down premature aging and any potential skin damage from ultraviolet light. In fact, studies have shown that pycnogenol can even help reduce the density of undesirable pigmentation in certain areas of the skin.

Another health benefit from pycnogenol is that it can help lessen the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease by maintaining healthy cells in the body. In the case of reducing heart disease risk, the supplement works by improving blood circulation so that blood cells do not build up in large pools in the body.

Moreover, pycnogenol can help the body control the amount of inflammation in joints and muscles, helping reduce the risk of arthritis later in life. As people age, their joints can become swollen, leading to severe pains. However, the antioxidant helps stop the generation of chemicals that inflame these areas of the body. In addition, supplementing a healthy diet with pycnogenol has been shown to improve brain function, helping to keep minds sharp even as they age.

In conclusion

Clearly, pycnogenol is an incredibly beneficial antioxidant and its properties reach far beyond fighting off free radicals. In part due to its maintenance of healthy cells, entire organs and other parts of the body have less problems with damage, which contributes to a better body overall. While one must take eat a host of fruits and vegetables to get the same health benefit as pycnogenol, simply a small supplement of this antioxidant can help you stay healthy when combined with a balanced diet.

Sources

  1. http://www.muscleandbodymag.com/8-reasons-why-you-need-pycnogenol/
  2. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/aug2012_Pycnogenol_01.htm
  3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/382220-pycnogenol-arthritis/ (continue reading…)
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fishDiet

We all know that a healthy diet is the secret for a good health. However, do you know the right path to better nutrition and health? Other than keep or lose weight, a good diet will help you prevent diseases and possibly extend your life.

Each nutrient, vitamins and minerals have different properties and will act differently in your body, and some of them will help you take control over your heart health.

Benefits of fish oil

That is the case for Omega-3. For a reason that still is not known, fish oil, which is rich in omega-3, is very  good for the heart. The main benefits of the Omega-3 for the heart include the increase of HDL cholesterol (which is the good cholesterol), lower triglycerides while helping to reduce inflammation and high blood pressure. It also makes the blood thinner and less sticky, therefore, unlikely to clot. Hundreds of studies also suggest that Omega-3 provides benefits against a greater range of common diseases such as cancer, asthma and depression. Even though Omega-3 seems to be essential to our body, we are not capable of producing it ourselves.

Where do all these benefits come from?

The main benefits found on oily fish are the benefits related to Omega-3, which is abundant in fish oil. In general Omega-3 acts in your body, reducing overall inflammation and this is the key to many other benefits for your health. It has not been yet identified how the Omega-3 acts in our body and all its benefits.

Fish oil’s can be obtained by taking supplements or from eating fish. Some fish are richer in Omega-3 fatty acids such as sardines, tuna, trout, salmon and mackerel. When obtained by taking supplements it is likely to be combined with vitamins E, A, B1, B2, B3, calcium or Iron.

Fish oil effectiveness as anti-inflammatory supplement

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates the effectiveness on the following scale: effective, likely effective, possibly effective, possibly ineffective, ineffective and insufficient evidence to rate, and is based on the scientific evidences. In this scale the fish oil has been proven as effective for triglycerides reduction and likely effective for heart diseases.

On the range of possible effective, there are several diseases where the consumption of fish oil or Omega-3 can help reduce the use of pain medications such as no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. One of the diseases where the patient can benefit from the consumption of Omega-3 is rheumatoid arthritis. Other conditions, such as menstrual pain, or dysmenorrheal can also be improved by the consumption of fish oil, especially when combined with vitamin B12.

Safety concerns about fish oil

The main concerns about fish oil are related to the amount of consumption, which should not exceed 3 grams per day. This concern is related to the attribute of making the blood thinner. Especially when taken during pregnancy period. Another red flag about fish oil is related to its source. When obtained directly from fish it can be contaminated with mercury or other chemicals. When obtained by supplements contamination is not a concern.

Sources

  1. http://www.joybauer.com/food-articles/omega-3-fatty-acids.aspx
  2. http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/803649/the-anti-inflammatory-diet-eating-foods-to-heal-your-body

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