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Living Life the Natural Way - Understand your Body, Food and Nutrition

Anti-aging Efforts

What dietary factors are important in Anti-Aging?

 

Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major contributors to a reduced life span, dietary strategies associated with protection against these killers apply to anti-aging as well. Here are the key dietary recommendations:

 

  1. Eat a “Rainbow” Assortment of Fruits and Vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best bet for preventing virtually every chronic disease as well as fighting the aging process.
  2. Eat to Support Blood Sugar Control. Concentrated sugars, refined grains, and other sources of simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and excessive glycosylation.
  3. Reduce Intake of Meat and Other Animal Foods. Considerable evidence indicates that a high intake of red or processed meat increases the risk of mortality, i.e., people die sooner.
  4. Eat the Right Type of Fats. The goal is to decrease total fat intake (especially intake of saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and omega-6 fats) while increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids.
  5. Keep Salt Intake Low, Potassium Intake High. Eat less processed foods and salt while increasing the intake of whole foods.
  6. Avoid Food Additives. Food additives include such substances as preservatives, artificial flavorings, and acidifiers.
  7. Drink Sufficient Amounts of Water Each Day. Water is essential for life. Drink at least 48 ounces of water per day. Even mild dehydration impairs body functions.

 

How do I know if the recommendations are working?

 

Get a blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP). This compound is a marker for systemic inflammation. There are many factors that trigger silent inflammation including resistance to the hormone insulin, obesity, emotional stress, environmental toxins, low antioxidant intake, and increased exposure to free radicals (e.g., radiation, smoking, etc.) Measuring CRP provides a general assessment of the aging process. Higher levels are associated with accelerated cellular aging as many of the factors that promote inflammation also promote early aging as well.

 

 

Blood Sugar Control

 What is Blood Sugar Control?

The body strives to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels within a narrow range. Too high or too low blood sugar levels can have serious consequences. One of the key hormones in blood sugar control is insulin. In response to a rise in blood sugar after a meal, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream to help drive the glucose into the cells. 
It is widely accepted that a diet high in refined carbohydrates (sugars) is the most important contributing factor to loss of blood sugar control. Such a diet leads to the cells throughout the body becoming less sensitive to insulin to produce a situation known as insulin resistance. 
Insulin resistance often leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is also a major underlying factor in a wide array of chronic health conditions including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and macular degeneration. Every effort should be made to maintain proper blood sugar control to prevent insulin resistance.

 

What Causes Loss of Blood Sugar Control?
Insulin resistance is closely tied to abdominal obesity. If your waist circumference is larger than your hips, there is an extremely strong likelihood that you suffer from insulin resistance. As fat cells in the abdomen grow in size or number, they secrete a number of biologic products (e.g., resistin) that dampen the effect of insulin, impair glucose utilization in skeletal muscle, and promote glucose (blood sugar) production by the liver. Also important is that as the number and size of fat cells increase, they lead to a reduction in the secretion of compounds that promote insulin action, including a novel protein produced by fat cells known as adiponectin.

 

What Dietary Factors are Important in Blood Sugar Control?
Weight loss, in particular a significant decrease in body-fat percentage, is a prime objective in improving blood sugar control in most individuals. It is also important to avoid refined sugars, white flour products, and other sources of simple sugars which are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar, severely stressing blood sugar control. 
Increasing the intake of dietary fiber, especially the soluble form, is very important. Soluble fiber is capable of slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing rapid rises in blood sugar. These fibers are also associated with increasing the sensitivity of tissues to insulin and improving the uptake of glucose by the muscles, liver, and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar.
Particularly good sources of soluble fiber are legumes, oat bran, nuts, seeds, pears, apples, and most vegetables. Large amounts of plant foods must be consumed to obtain enough dietary fiber, although beans, peas, and legumes are overall the best sources for high fiber intake in relatively easy amounts to ingest.

 

 

Bone Health

What is Bone Health?

The biggest concern regarding bone health is avoidance of osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bone.” Osteoporosis involves both the mineral (inorganic) and nonmineral (organic matrix, composed primarily of protein) components of bone. Bone is dynamic living tissue that is constantly being broken down and rebuilt, even in adults. Bone health is best determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) a technique that measures bone density.

 

What causes Bone Health?

Normal bone metabolism is dependent on an intricate interplay of many nutritional, lifestyle, and hormonal factors. Many dietary factors have been suggested as a cause of osteoporosis including: low-calcium-high-phosphorus intake, high-protein diet, high-acid-ash diet, high salt intake, and trace-mineral deficiencies, to name a few. Poor bone health is most common in postmenopausal Asian and white women. Other risk factors for include: family history of osteoporosis; physical inactivity; short stature, low body mass, and/or small bones; and never having been pregnant.


Although nutritional factors are important, physical exercise, consisting of one hour of moderate activity (e.g., walking, weight lifting, dancing, etc.) three times a week, has been shown to prevent bone loss and actually increase bone mass in postmenopausal women.

 

What dietary factors are important in Bone Health?

A high-protein diet is associated with increased excretion of calcium in the urine and increased risk for osteoporosis, too. Raising daily protein intake from 47 to 142 grams doubles the excretion of calcium in the urine. However, too little protein is also associated with poor bone health.

 

A diet high in salt or acid ash also causes calcium removal from bones and increases calcium loss in the urine. Therefore, it is important to avoid salt and eat an alkaline based diet. Basically, an alkaline diet is one that focuses on vegetables, fruit, nuts, and legumes while avoiding overconsumption of meat and dairy. Soft drinks containing phosphates (phosphoric acid) are definitely important to avoid.

 

Refined sugar intake also increases the loss of calcium from the bone. Regular consumption of refined sugar increases loss of calcium from the blood through the urine. Calcium is then pulled from the bones to maintain blood calcium levels as foods containing refined sugar generally do not contain calcium.

 

Green leafy vegetables including broccoli, kale, collards, and mustard greens, as well as green tea offer significant benefits to bone health. These foods are a rich source of a broad range of vitamins and minerals that are important to maintaining healthy bones, including calcium, vitamin K1, and boron.

 

 

Brain Health

What is Brain Health?

The human brain is the most metabolically active tissue in the body. As such, proper functioning requires not only a constant, steady stream of oxygen, but also nutrition. A considerable amount of scientific research is now documenting the tremendous role diet and nutritional supplementation play in healthy brain functioning.


In particular, research is showing immediate effects of nutritional approaches in improving brain function. Whether it is in children or older adults, the basic principles of improving brain health involves supplying key nutritional building blocks for brain cells and those that offer protection against brain cell damage.

 

What causes Brain Health?

In both children and the elderly, nutritional factors appear to be the key determinants of brain health. Numerous studies in both children and adults have shown that mental function is directly related to nutritional status. Higher nutritional status equals higher mental function. A deficiency of virtually any nutrient can lead to altered brain function.

 

Brain health is also influenced by other factors including increased oxidative damage and inflammation; traumatic injury to the head; and exposure to toxins from environmental sources, such as heavy metals and solvents have all been implicated as causative factors leading to poor brain health

 

What dietary factors are important in Brain Health?

The brain utilizes about 40% of the nutrition that we consume on a daily basis. So, we actually eat more to preserve and promote brain function than any other organ. In that regard, it is critical to eat a health promoting diet rich in key nutrients for the brain. Here are some key dietary recommendations:

 

  • Your brain is largely composed of fats, so it is important to increase the intake of good fats. Increase the intake of omega-3 oils by eating flaxseed oil, walnuts, and cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, etc.). Also increase the intake of monounsaturated fats by eating more nuts and seeds, including almonds, Brazil nuts, coconut, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame and sunflower seeds, and using a monounsaturated oil, such as olive, avocado, or canola oil for cooking purposes.
  • Eat five or more servings daily of a combination of vegetables and fruits, especially green, orange, and yellow vegetables; dark colored berries; and citrus fruits. Antioxidant compounds in these plant foods, such as carotenes, flavonoids, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin C, are important in protecting against the development of atherosclerosis.
  • Limit the intake of refined carbohydrates (sugar and refined grains). Sugar and other refined carbohydrates are a significant factor in the development of atherosclerosis, inflammation, and insulin resistance.
  • Eliminate smoked or cured meats such as hot dogs, salami, bacon, etc. These foods are very bad for the brain.
  • Avoid food additives such as artificial food preservatives, flavoring agents, and colors.

 

Cholestrol 

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the body that serves several vital roles. It is a building block for various hormones and bile acids; and it plays a major role in stabilizing cell membranes. While proper cholesterol levels are important to good health, the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated blood cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease.


Cholesterol is transported in the blood by lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is responsible for transporting fats (primarily triglycerides and cholesterol) from the liver to body cells, and elevations of LDL is associated with an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, the primary cause of heart attack and stroke. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is responsible for returning fats to the liver, and elevations of HDL are associated with a low risk of heart attack.


Currently, experts recommend that your total blood cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dl from a fasting blood sample. The HDL level should be greater than 40 mg/dl. The LDL level limit is based on your current health history and risk factors:

  • Less than 100 mg/dl for people who have coronary heart disease, diabetes, or an elevated 10-year risk estimate, as determined by a physician.
  • Less than 130 mg/dl for people who do not have coronary heart disease or equivalent risk for it, but have two or more risk factors. Risk factors include age, low activity, smoking, and being over weight.
  • Less than 160 mg/dl for people who have no or one risk factor for coronary heart disease.

What causes high cholesterol?

Elevated cholesterol levels are usually reflective of dietary and lifestyle factors, although it can also be due to genetic factors.

 

What dietary factors are important in lowering high cholesterol?

The key recommendations are to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet. Increase the consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and raw nuts and seeds). When attempting to lower cholesterol through diet it is important to eat a variety of cholesterol-lowering vegetables including celery, beets, eggplant, garlic and onion, peppers and root vegetables.

 

Diets rich in legumes (beans) are being used to lower cholesterol levels and soy protein has been shown in some studies to be able to lower LDL levels by as much as 35-40%. Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds, walnuts, and ground flaxseeds are also quite useful in lowering cholesterol through their fiber, monounsaturated oil, and essential fatty acid content.

 

Constipation

 

What is constipation?

Constipation refers to the inability to defecate. Hard, small and difficult to pass stools is the most frequent complaint. The frequency of defecation and the consistency and volume of stools vary so greatly from individual to individual that it is difficult to determine what is normal. In general, most physicians recommend at least one bowel movement a day.

 

What causes constipation?

There are a number of possible causes of constipation, but the most common cause of constipation is a low-fiber diet. Other common causes include: inadequate fluid intake; lack of physical activity; various medications (e.g, anesthetics, antacids, diuretics, etc.); low thyroid function; and the irritable bowel syndrome.

 

What dietary factors are important in constipation?

A high-fiber diet, plentiful fluid consumption, and exercise is an effective prescription in most cases of constipation. High levels of dietary fiber increase both the frequency and quantity of bowel movements, decrease the transit time of stools and the absorption of toxins from the stool, and appear to be a preventive factor in several diseases. Particularly effective in relieving constipation are bran and prunes. The typical recommendation for bran is 1/2 cup of bran cereal, increasing to 11/2 cups over several weeks. When using bran, make sure to consume enough liquids. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. Whole prunes as well as prune juice also possess good laxative effects. Eight ounces is usually an effective dose. In addition, 25 to 35 grams of fiber from food sources are recommended.

 

  Eyes - Macular Degeneration

 

What is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is the area of the retina where images are focused. It is the portion of the eye responsible for fine vision. Age-related degeneration of the macula is the leading cause of severe visual loss in the United States in persons aged fifty-five years or older.

 

Individuals with macular degeneration may experience blurred vision; straight objects may appear distorted or bent; there may be a dark spot near or around the center of the visual field; and while reading parts of words may be missing. People with macular degeneration generally have good peripheral vision; they just can’t see what is directly in front of them.

 

What causes Macular Degeneration?

The major risk factors for macular degeneration are smoking, aging, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and high blood pressure. Apparently, the degeneration is a result of free-radical damage, similar to the type of damage that induces cataracts. However, decreased blood and oxygen supply to the retina is the prelude and key factor leading to macular degeneration.

 

What dietary factors are important in Macular Degeneration?

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lowered risk for ARMD. Presumably, this protection is the result of increased intake of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. However, various “non-essential” food components, such as the carotenes lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene, along with flavonoids, are proving to be even more significant in protecting against ARMD than traditional nutritional antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. The macula, especially the central portion (the fovea), owes its yellow color to its high concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin. These yellow carotenes function in preventing oxidative damage to the area of the retina responsible for fine vision and obviously play a central role in protecting against the development of macular degeneration.

 

Dietary sources of these carotenes include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbages, collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, red peppers, tomatoes for their lycopene, and corn, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots for other carotenoids.

 

Heart Health

 

What is Heart and Vascular Health?

The cardiovascular system is composed of the heart and blood vessels. Its primary functions are to deliver oxygen and vital nutrition to cells throughout the body as well as aid in the removal of cellular waste products.

 

Heart health requires the heart beat with proper force and rhythm while vascular health is responsible for maintaining the proper blood pressure and delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

 

What affects Heart and Vascular Health?

The biggest challenge to heart and vascular health is the process of atherosclerosis - hardening of the artery walls and the build-up of arterial plaque. Therefore, heart and vascular health involves focusing on eliminating various risk factors associated with atherosclerosis. Risk factors are divided into two primary categories: major risk factors and other risk factors.


Risk Factors for Atherosclerosis

 

Major Risk Factors:

  • Smoking
  • Elevated blood cholesterol levels (especially LDL cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity

 

Other risk factors:

  • Elevations of high sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • Insulin resistance
  • Low thyroid function
  • Low antioxidant status
  • Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Increased platelet aggregation
  • Increased fibrinogen formation
  • Low levels of magnesium and/or potassium
  • Elevated levels of homocysteine
  • “Type A” personality

 

What dietary factors are important in Heart and Vascular Health?

Key dietary recommendations to promote heart and vascular health:

  • Increase your intake of omega-3 oils by eating flaxseed oil, walnuts, and of cold-water fish.
  • Increase the intake of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats by eating more nuts and seeds, including almonds, Brazil nuts, coconut, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame and sunflower seeds, and using a monounsaturated oil, such as olive or canola oil for cooking purposes.
  • Eat five or more servings daily of a combination of vegetables and fruits, especially green, orange, and yellow vegetables; dark colored berries; and citrus fruits. Antioxidant compounds in these plant foods, such as carotenes, flavonoids, selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin C, are important in protecting against the development of atherosclerosis.
  • Increase your intake of fiber. A diet high in fiber has been shown to be protective against atherosclerosis. Dietary fiber, particularly the soluble fiber found in legumes, fruit, and vegetables, is effective in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Limit the intake of refined carbohydrates (sugar and refined grains). Sugar and other refined carbohydrates are a significant factor in the development of atherosclerosis, inflammation, and insulin resistance.

 

 

High Blood Pressure

 

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the resistance produced each time the heart beats and sends blood coursing through the arteries. The peak reading of the pressure exerted by this contraction is the systolic pressure. Between beats the heart relaxes, and blood pressure drops. The lowest reading is referred to as the diastolic pressure. A normal blood pressure reading for an adult is: 120 (systolic) / 80 (diastolic). Readings above this level are a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure readings can be divided into the following levels:

  • Prehypertension (120-139/80-89)
  • Borderline (120-160/90-94)
  • Mild (140-160/95-104)
  • Moderate 140-180/105-114)
  • Severe (160+/115+)

Borderline to moderate high blood pressure is generally without symptoms. Severe hypertension may be associated with increased sleepiness, confusion, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

 

What causes High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is closely related to lifestyle and dietary factors. Important lifestyle factors that may cause high blood pressure include: coffee consumption, alcohol intake, lack of exercise, stress, and smoking. Important dietary factors include: obesity; high sodium-to-potassium ratio; low-fiber, high-sugar diet; high saturated-fat and low essential-fatty-acid intake; and a diet low in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

 

What dietary factors are important in High Blood Pressure?

Achieving ideal body weight is the most important recommendation for those with high blood pressure. Even modest amounts of weight loss often produce significant reduction in blood pressure.

A diet high in sodium and low in potassium is associated with high blood pressure. The easiest way to lower sodium intake is to avoid prepared foods and table salt. The best ways to boost potassium levels are to increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

 

Special foods for people with high blood pressure include celery; garlic and onions; nuts and seeds; cold-water fish, e.g. salmon and mackerel, or fish oil products concentrated for the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA; green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables for their contents of calcium and magnesium; ground flaxseeds, whole grains, and legumes for their fiber; and foods rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli and citrus fruits.

 

How does one get to know if the recommendations are working?

You will know if the program is working by monitoring your blood pressure. Do not expect an immediate reduction as diet, lifestyle, and supplement strategies often take 4-6 weeks to start showing an effect. As a reminder, high blood pressure must not be taken lightly. By keeping your blood pressure in the normal range, you will not only lengthen your life, but you will improve the quality of your life as well. This is especially true if natural measures, rather than drugs, are used to attain proper blood pressure; the drugs could carry significant side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and impotence.


If you have severe hypertension or with the natural approach your blood pressure has not dropped below 140/105, you will need to work with a physician to select the most appropriate medication. The diet, lifestyle, and supplements recommended above are perfectly safe for use with prescription drugs for high blood pressure.

 

Immunity

 

What is Immunity?

Immunity refers to the function of the immune system. Support and enhancement of the immune system is perhaps the most important step in achieving resistance and reducing susceptibility to colds, flus, and other infections. Supporting the immune system involves a health-promoting lifestyle, stress management, exercise, diet, and the appropriate use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines.


If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it is a sign that your immune system needs support:

  • Do you catch colds easily?
  • Do you get more than two colds a year?
  • Are you suffering chronic infection?
  • Do you get frequent cold sores or have genital herpes?
  • Are your lymph glands sore and swollen at times?
  • Do you have now or have you ever had cancer?


What causes low Immunity?

The health of the immune system is greatly impacted by a person’s emotional state, level of stress, lifestyle, dietary habits and nutritional status. Nutrient deficiency is the most frequent cause of a depressed immune system. An overwhelming number of clinical and experimental studies indicate that any single nutrient deficiency can profoundly impair the immune system.


Stress also lowers immunity. Take steps to manage stress effectively, see Stress.

 

What dietary factors are important in low immune function?

Optimal immune function requires a healthy diet that is (1) rich in whole, natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts, (2) low in fats and refined sugars, and (3) contains adequate, but not excessive, amounts of protein. On top of this, for optimal immune function, an individual should drink five or six 8-ounce glasses of water per day (preferably pure.


One of the more damaging food components to our immune system is sugar. In one study, the ingestion of 100 gram (roughly 3-1/2 ounces) portions of carbohydrate as glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, and pasteurized orange juice all significantly reduced the ability of white blood cells (neutrophils) to engulf and destroy bacteria.


Some of the most important food components to enhance immune function are the carotenes. Foods high in carotenes include colored vegetables, such as dark greens; yellow and orange squash, carrots, yams, and sweet potatoes; and red peppers and tomatoes.

 

Other foods useful for proper immune function include cabbage family vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, collards, kale, and greens from mustard, radish and turnip), flavonoid rich berries, garlic and onions.

 

Indigestion

 

What is Indigestion?

Indigestion is the common term used to label upper digestive issues and/or heartburn that are not related to an ulcer. Medical terms used to describe similar symptoms of indigestion include non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of indigestion can include symptoms of GERD (heartburn and/or upper abdominal pain) as well as difficulty swallowing, feelings of pressure or heaviness after eating, sensations of bloating after eating, stomach or abdominal pains and cramps, as well as all of the symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

What causes Indigestion?

Symptoms of indigestion are most often caused by the flow of gastric juices up the esophagus leading to a burning discomfort that radiates upwards and is made worse by lying down. This reflux of gastric juices can be the result of factors that increase intra-abdominal pressure (e.g., overeating, obesity) thereby causing the gastric contents to flow upwards, or factors decrease the tone of the esophageal sphincter (e.g., hiatal hernias, coffee).

 

What dietary factors are important in Indigestion?

Common dietary causes of indigestion include overeating, obesity, coffee, chocolate, fried foods, carbonated beverages (soft drinks), and alcohol.

 

Joints Health

 

What is Joint Health?

Joint health reflects the ability of structures like cartilage, tendons, and ligaments to perform their roles in the function of the joint. Preservation of joint structure and function is critical in the battle against arthritis (inflammation of a joint).

 

Osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease) is the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by degeneration of cartilage. Cartilage serves an important role in joint function. Its gel-like nature provides protection to the ends of joints by acting as a shock absorber. Without the cartilage in the joint, bone literally rubs against bone leading to pain, deformity, inflammation, and limitation of motion in the joint.

 

 

What causes poor joint health?

The primary cause is the combination of the degenerative “wear-and-tear” process of aging. The cumulative effects of decades of use leads to the degenerative changes by stressing the collagen matrix of the cartilage. Stress on the cartilage results in the release of enzymes that destroy cartilage components. With aging, the ability to restore and manufacture normal cartilage structures decreases. Often this inability to restore collagen as a person ages is related to nutritional factors.

 

 

What dietary factors are important in Joint Health?

Perhaps the most important dietary recommendation to preserve joint health is maintaining or achieving normal body weight. Being overweight means increased stress on weight-bearing joints. That greatly increases the risk osteoarthritis.


A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important to joint health because of their natural plant compounds that can protect against damage to the joints. Foods especially beneficial are flavonoid-rich fruits, such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. Also important are sulfur-containing foods, such as garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The sulfur content in fingernails of arthritis sufferers is lower than that of healthy subjects without arthritis.

 

Liver Health

 

What is Liver Health?

Liver is the second-largest organ in the body (skin is the largest) and is the largest gland. All together, the liver performs over five hundred separate jobs. Here are just some of its crucial functions:

  • It is critically involved in the conversion of fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are converted into more usable forms.
  • It makes important cellular structural components including cell membrane compounds (phospholipids) and cholesterol. It is also the liver’s job to manufacture the carrier proteins (lipoproteins) that transport these components throughout the body.
  • It produces many important blood proteins including immune factors, proteins involved in blood clotting and the crucial component of hemoglobin for our red blood cells.
  • It breaks down excess amino acids to form a waste product called urea, which is then carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
  • It stores many vitamins and minerals including iron and B12.
  • It breaks down old red blood cells and recycles their components.

The liver is also responsible for filtering the blood to remove toxins and excess hormones. The liver then changes the chemical structure of those toxins to make them water-soluble so that they can be excreted in the urine. The liver also secretes bile, which collects the waste products and carries them away from the liver.

 

Why is Liver Health important?

Liver health is critical to your wellbeing. If your liver is overloaded, you may be suffering from low energy levels, since even more of your body’s energy is being devoted to detoxification. That leaves very little energy for other body processes. Supporting your liver will help your energy levels soar to new heights.

 

What dietary factors are important to Liver Health?

To promote liver health, avoid putting undue stress on the liver. Don’t smoke; drink little or no alcohol; and do your best to avoid harmful chemicals especially cleaning solvents and pesticides. The most important dietary guidelines for supporting good liver function are also those that support good general health: avoid saturated fats, refined sugar, and alcohol; drink at least 48 ounces of water each day; and consume plenty of vegetables and legumes for their high fiber and nutrient content.

 

Certain foods are particularly helpful because they contain the nutrients your body needs to produce and activate the dozens of enzymes involved in the various phases of detoxification. Such foods include:

  • Garlic, legumes, onions, eggs, and other foods with a high sulfur content.
  • Good sources of water-soluble fibers, such as pears, oat bran, apples, and legumes
  • Cabbage-family vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
  • Artichokes, beets, carrots, dandelion greens, and many herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and licorice.
  • Green foods like wheat grass juice, dehydrated barley grass juice, chlorella, and spirulina.

 

Male Vitality

 

What is Male Sexual Vitality?

The ability to attain and maintain an erection as well as have sufficient viable sperm for reproduction are the key aspects of male sexual vitality. Nearly one out of every four men over the age of 50 are unable to perform sexually. Even more emotionally painful for many men is the inability for a couple to conceive because the male partner is infertile. In the United States it is estimated that about 6% of men between the ages of 15 and 50 are infertile. Most causes of male infertility reflect an abnormal sperm count or quality. Although it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, in an average ejaculate a man will eject nearly 200 million sperm. However, because of the natural barriers in the female reproductive tract only about 40 or so sperm will ever reach the vicinity of an egg. There is a strong correlation between the number of sperm in an ejaculate and fertility.

 

What affects Male Sexual Vitality?

Factors that reduce male sexual vitality include hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), diabetes, low testosterone, and the use of various prescription drugs such as those for high blood pressure, depression, and allergies. Atherosclerosis of the penile artery is the primary cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) in over half of the men over 50. Drugs like Viagra and Cialis work for a time because they artificially improve blood flow to erectile tissue, but an effective long-term solution is improving the health of the arteries through diet, lifestyle, and proper supplementation.


Factors that affect total sperm count as well as sperm quality include a variety of environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors.

 

What dietary factors are important in Male Sexual Vitality?

Optimal sexual function requires optimal nutrition. A diet rich in whole foods particularly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds is extremely important. Those factors important in Heart Health are also very important to male sexual vitality.

 

Menopause

 

What is Menopause?

Menopause denotes the cessation of menstruation in women, which usually occurs when a woman reaches the age of fifty but may occur as early as 40 and as late as 55 years of age. Six to twelve months without a menstrual period is the commonly accepted rule for diagnosing menopause.


The most common complaints of menopause are hot flashes, headaches, vaginitis, frequent urinary tract infections, cold hands and feet, forgetfulness, and an inability to concentrate.

 

What causes Menopause?

Menopause occurs when there are no longer any eggs left in the ovaries. This “burning out” of the ovaries reflects the natural course of events. At birth, there are about one million eggs (ova). This number drops to around 300,000 or 400,000 at puberty, but only about four hundred of these ova will actually mature during reproductive years. By the time a woman reaches the age of fifty, few eggs remain. With menopause, the absence of active follicles (the cellular housing of the egg) results in reduced production of estrogen and progesterone. In response to this drop in estrogen, the pituitary gland increases secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

 

What dietary factors are important in Menopause?

The key dietary recommendation to relieve menopausal symptoms is to increase the amount of plant foods, especially those high in phytoestrogens, while reducing the amount of animal foods in the diet. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that are capable of binding to estrogen receptors and can replace some of the effect of estrogen that is no longer being made. Foods high in phytoestrogens include soy beans and soy foods, flaxseeds, nuts, whole grains, apples, fennel, celery, parsley, and alfalfa. A high intake of phytoestrogens is thought to explain why hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms rarely occur in cultures in which people consume a predominantly plant-based diet. Increasing the intake of dietary phytoestrogens helps decrease hot flashes, increase maturation of vaginal cells, and inhibit osteoporosis.

 

Migraine

 

What is Migraine Headache?

A migraine is a vascular-type headache characterized by a sharp pounding pain located within one side of the head. The pain of a migraine is characterized as a throbbing or pounding sharp pain. It is typically noticed on just one side of the head. Although some migraines come on without warning, many migraine sufferers have warning symptoms (“auras”) before the onset of pain. Typical auras last a few minutes and include: blurring or bright spots in the vision, anxiety, fatigue, disturbed thinking, and numbness or tingling on one side of the body.

 

What causes Migraine Headache?

Considerable evidence supports an association between migraine headache and instability of blood vessels. The mechanism of migraine can be described as a three-stage process: initiation, prodrome (time between initiation and appearance of headache), and headache. Although a particular stressor may be associated with the onset of a specific attack, it appears that initiation is dependent on the accumulation of several stressors over time. These stressors ultimately affect serotonin metabolism. Once a critical point of susceptibility (or threshold) is reached, a “cascade event” is initiated that sets in process a domino-like effect that ultimately produces a headache. Food allergies, histamine-releasing foods, alcohol (especially red wine), stress, hormonal changes (e.g., menstruation, ovulation, birth-control pills) and weather changes especially barometric pressure changes are examples of some common triggers of migraines.

 

What dietary factors are important in Migraine Headache?

Food allergy or sensitivity can play a primary role in migraine headaches. Many double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated that the detection and removal of allergenic foods will eliminate or greatly reduce headache symptoms in the majority of patients. Food allergy/intolerance induces a migraine attack largely as a result of platelets releasing serotonin and histamine. In addition, foods such as aged cheeses, beer, canned figs, chicken liver, chocolate, food additives, pickled fish, the pods of broad beans, wine, and Brewer’s yeast contain histamine, tyramine and/or other compounds that can trigger migraines in sensitive individuals by causing blood vessels to expand. Red wine is much more likely than white wine to cause a headache because it contains higher levels of phenols and 20-to-200 times as much histamine.

 

Prostate Health

 

What is Prostate Health?

The prostate is a single, doughnut-shaped gland about the size of a walnut that lies below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The prostate secretes a thin, milky, alkaline fluid that increases sperm motility and lubricates the urethra to prevent infection.

 

There are two main conditions that affect the prostate. One is prostate enlargement, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Almost every man will develop an enlarged prostate if he lives long enough. BPH is not cancer and is not life threatening. The other condition, prostate cancer, is much more serious. It can cause symptoms similar to those in BPH, but it can also spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal. In men, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer. (Lung cancer is by far the first.)

Symptoms of either BPH or early prostate cancer are due to bladder obstruction, such as increased urinary frequency, nighttime awakening to empty the bladder, and reduced force and flow speed of urine.

 

Warning: Prostate disorders can only be diagnosed by a physician. Do not self-diagnose. If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with BPH or prostate cancer, see your physician immediately for proper diagnosis.

 

What determines Prostate Health?

Many issues of poor prostate health are largely the result of hormonal changes associated with aging. These include many changes in both male (androgen), female (estrogen) and pituitary hormone levels in aging men. The ultimate effect of these changes is that there be an increased concentration of testosterone within the prostate gland, and an increased conversion of this testosterone to an even more potent form known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The increase in levels of testosterone and DHT is largely due to a decreased rate of removal combined with an increase in the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to DHT.

 

Which Dietary Factors are Important in Prostate Health?

Diet appears to play a critical role in the health of the prostate. A diet rich in natural, whole with a focus on legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds is recommended. Eating ¼ cup of raw sunflower seeds, pumpkinseeds, or ground flaxseeds is often recommended for improving prostate health. Also, daily consumption of lycopene-rich vegetables, such as tomatoes, spinach, kale, mangos, broccoli and berries, promotes prostate health. It is also important to reduce your intake of alcohol (especially beer), caffeine and sugar, all of which have an adverse effect on the way testosterone is metabolized and cleared from the body.

 

Sleep

 

What is Sleep Quality?

Sleep quality refers to a combination of easy induction of sleep, sufficient time being spent in the deeper levels of sleep as well as REM (rapid eye movement sleep), and adequate total sleep time.

 

What affects Sleep Quality?

The biggest challenge to sleep quality is insomnia. There are two basic forms of insomnia. In sleep-onset insomnia a person has a difficult time falling asleep. In sleep-maintenance insomnia a person suffers from frequent or early awakening.

 

The most common causes of insomnia are psychological: depression, anxiety, and tension. If psychological factors do not seem to be the cause, various foods, drinks, and medications may be responsible. There are numerous compounds in food and drink (most notably caffeine) that can interfere with normal sleep. There are also over three hundred drugs that interfere with normal sleep.

 

What dietary factors are important in Sleep Quality?

Here are the key dietary factors:

 

  • Eliminate caffeine. It is essential that the diet be free of stimulants such as caffeine and related compounds. Even small amounts of caffeine such as those found in decaffeinated coffee or tea, may be enough to cause insomnia in some people.
  • Eliminate alcohol. Alcohol causes the release of adrenaline and disrupts the production of serotonin (an important brain chemical that initiates sleep).
  • Avoid sugar and foods with a high glycemic index. Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrate and eating irregularly can cause faulty blood sugar control leading to the release of adrenaline and cortisol during the night.
  • Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as turkey, milk, cottage cheese, chicken, eggs, and nuts, especially almonds, may help to promote sleep. In the brain, tryptophan is converted to serotonin and melatonin, which are natural sleep-inducing compounds.

 

Stress

 

What is Stress?

Stress is defined as any disturbance—e.g., heat or cold, chemical toxin, microorganisms, physical trauma, strong emotional reaction—that can trigger the “stress response.” The stress response is composed of three phases: alarm (fight or flight), resistance, and exhaustion. These phases are largely controlled and regulated by the adrenal glands. If stress is extreme, unusual, or long lasting, the stress response can be overwhelming and becomes quite harmful to virtually any body system.

 

What causes Stress?

Stress is part of life. According to Selye, the father of stress research, stress in itself should not be viewed in a negative context. It is not the stressor that determines the response; instead it is the individual’s internal reaction, which then triggers the response. This internal reaction is highly individualized. What one person may experience as stress, the next person may view entirely differently.

 

What dietary factors are important in Stress?

One of the key culprits for many people who are stressed out is caffeine. The average American consumes 150 to 225 mg of caffeine daily, or roughly the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee. Although most people can handle this amount, people prone to feeling stressed or anxious tend to be especially sensitive to caffeine. During times of stress it is important to cut back or eliminate caffeine. In addition, here are some other very important guidelines for supporting the body’s stress response:

 

  • Eliminate or restrict the intake of alcohol.
  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates from the diet, especially sources of white sugar and white flour.
  • Increase the potassium-to-sodium ratio by focusing on whole, natural foods.
  • Eat regular planned meals in a relaxed environment.

 

Herbs for Adrenal Support. Several herbal products support adrenal function. Most notable are Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), rhodiola (Rhodiola rosacea), and ashwaganda (Withania somnifera). All of these plants exert beneficial effects on adrenal function and enhance resistance to stress, and are often referred to as “adaptogens” because they help us adapt to (cope with) stress. These plants have historically been used to:

 

  • Restore vitality in debilitated and feeble individuals.
  • Increase feelings of energy.
  • Improve mental and physical performance.
  • Prevent the negative effects of stress and enhance the body’s response to stress. These herbs can be used individually or in combination. Dosage: follow label instructions. Note: sometimes combination formulas seem to produce the best results, e.g., Serenity Formula from Natural Factors.

 

Ulcers

 

What causes an Ulcer?

Even though duodenal and gastric ulcers occur at different locations, they appear to be the result of similar mechanisms. Specifically, the development of a duodenal or gastric ulcer is a result of some factor damaging the protective factors which line the stomach and duodenum such as too much gastric acid, the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and various drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and prednisone.

 

What dietary factors are important in an Ulcer?

Food allergy appears to be a primary factor in many cases of duodenal or gastric ulcers. A diet that eliminates food allergens has been used with great success in treating and preventing recurrent duodenal or gastric ulcers. It is especially important to avoid milk and dairy products. Milk is one of the most common food allergen, and population studies show the higher the milk consumption, the greater the likelihood of duodenal or gastric ulcers. Milk, as well as coffee, significantly increases stomach acid production. Both should be avoided by the individual with duodenal or gastric ulcers.

 

A high-fiber diet is associated with a reduced rate of duodenal or gastric ulcers, as compared with a low-fiber diet, by decreasing prolonged stomach acidity Fiber supplements (e.g., pectin, guar gum, oat bran and psyllium) have been shown to produce beneficial effects as well.

 

In addition, raw cabbage juice is well documented as having remarkable success in treating duodenal or gastric ulcers. In one study, 1 liter of fresh raw cabbage juice per day, taken in divided amounts, resulted in total duodenal or gastric ulcers healing in an average of only ten days. The beneficial effect is thought to be due to the amino acid glutamine, which is needed by the cells on the surface of the small intestine to regenerate. Broccoli and Brussels’ sprouts are in the same family as cabbage and regular consumption is helpful in preventing recurrence of duodenal or gastric ulcers as these foods are rich in sulforaphane, a compound that may be effective for helping the body get rid of Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria is responsible for most peptic ulcers and also increases a person's risk of getting gastric cancer three to six-fold, and is also a causative factor in a wide range of other stomach disorders including gastritis, esophagitis, and acid indigestion.

 

Varicose Veins

 

What is Vein Health?

Veins are fairly frail structures. Defects in the wall of a vein lead to dilation of the vein and damage to the valves. Normally these valves prevent blood from backing up, but when the valves become damaged, blood pools and causes the bulging veins known as varicose veins. Varicose veins may be without symptoms or may be associated with fatigue, aching discomfort, feelings of heaviness, or pain in the legs. They may also be associated with fluid retention (edema), discoloration, and ulceration of the skin may develop.

 

What affects Vein Health?

The following factors can lead to poor vein health or varicose veins: genetic weakness of the vein walls or their valves; excessive pressure within the vein due to a low-fiber-induced increase in straining during defecation; long periods of standing and/or heavy lifting; damage to the veins or venous valves resulting from inflammation; and weakness of the vein walls.

 

What dietary factors are important in Vein Health?

A high-fiber diet is the most important component in the treatment and prevention of varicose veins (and hemorrhoids). A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains promotes peristalsis; many fiber components attract water and form a gelatinous mass that keeps the feces soft, bulky, and easy to pass. Individuals who consume a low-fiber diet tend to strain more during bowel movements since their smaller and harder stools are more difficult to pass. This straining increases the pressure in the abdomen, which obstructs the flow of blood up the legs. The increased pressure may, over a period of time, significantly weaken the vein wall, leading to the formation of varicose veins or hemorrhoids.

 

Flavonoid-rich berries, such cherries, blueberries, and blackberries, are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of varicose veins. These berries are very rich sources of flavonoids that improve the integrity of support structures of the veins and entire vascular system. Extracts of several of these berries are used widely in Europe as medications for various circulatory conditions, including varicose veins. Grape seed extract and pine bark extracts are the most popular and possibly the most effective. The recommended daily dosage for these extracts is 150 to 300 mg daily.

 

Weight Loss

 

What is Weight Loss?

There are literally hundreds of diets and products that claim to be the answer to weight loss. However, the basic equation for losing weight never changes. In order for an individual to lose weight, energy intake must be less than energy expenditure. This goal can be achieved by decreasing caloric intake (dieting), and/or by increasing the rate at which calories are burned (exercising). Most individuals will begin to lose weight if they decrease their caloric intake below 1,500 calories per day and do aerobic exercise for 15-to-20 minutes 3-to-4 times per week.

 

What causes Weight Gain?

Weight gain is often tied to resistance to the hormone insulin. As fat cells in the abdomen grow in size or number, they secrete a number of biologic products (e.g., resistin) that dampen the effect of insulin, impair glucose utilization in skeletal muscle, and promote glucose (blood sugar) production by the liver. Also important is that as the number and size of fat cells increase, they lead to a reduction in the secretion of compounds that promote insulin action.

 

What dietary factors are important in Weight Loss?

Dietary carbohydrates play a central role in any weight loss program through their effect on insulin sensitivity. It is important to avoid refined sugars, white flour products, and other sources of simple sugars as these are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar, severely stressing blood sugar control.

 

Increasing the intake of dietary fiber, especially the soluble form, is very important. Soluble fiber is capable of slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing rapid rises in blood sugar. These fibers are also associated with increasing the sensitivity of tissues to insulin and improving the uptake of glucose by the muscles, liver, and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar.

 

Particularly good sources of soluble fiber are legumes, oat bran, nuts, seeds, pears, apples, and most vegetables. Large amounts of plant foods must be consumed to obtain enough dietary fiber, although beans, peas, and legumes are overall the best sources for high fiber intake in relatively easy amounts to ingest.

 

 

What nutritional supplements should I take for Obesity?


Mulberry leaf extract has shown an ability to help to improve blood sugar control and promote weight loss. Dosage: generally equivalent to 3,000 mg of dried mulberry leaves per day. The dosage for a 10:1 extract is 100 mg three times daily before meals.

 

Green coffee bean extract is rich in chlorogenic acid, a compound that has been shown to improve glucose metabolism, inhibit the accumulation of fat, and decrease the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Only raw green coffee beans contain a significant amount of this health-promoting compound. Dosage: 400 mg three times daily.

 

Green tea extracts concentrated for catechins (polyphenol flavonoids) safely enhance the metabolic rate and promote weight loss. However, these compounds are often difficult for humans to absorb efficiently. Dosage: 150 mg twice daily.

 

How do I know if the recommendations are working?

When you jump on the scales, you are looking at your total weight, not the relationship of fat to muscle or body composition. While being overweight is a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes, it is not the critical risk factor. Correctly stated it is increased body fat that is associated with these diseases, not increased body weight. To more accurately determine body composition, it is advisable to use a scale that can measure body fat percentage. Ideally, women should strive to keep their body fat percentage below 25% and men 20%.

 

Benefits of Fruits

The health benefits of fruits guarantee you optimum health and a well-built body in the long run. Fruits benefit your body immensely as they are natural sources of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Rich in dietary fiber, fruits also help to improve the functioning of the digestive tract. Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet for those who want to lose weight; they give ample energy and nearly every nutrient that your body needs to curb weight gain, without adding any unnecessary fats.

Moreover, fruits help you to stay away from health complications like heat stroke, high blood pressure,cancerheart ailments, and diabetes. Fruits effectively fight skin disorders and promote healthy hair growth. It is always suggested to eat raw, fresh and ripe fruits because then you experience the real health benefits, rather than consuming them after processing or cooking.

 

How Do Fruits Help?

The human body is an intricate system and hundreds of complex reactions take place in it all the time. For smooth functioning of the body, you need an ample amount of nutrients that are supplied by fruits in a natural way. When you become ill or develop any health disorders, these can be avoided or treated with a healthy diet rich in fruits. With a busy lifestyle, our eating habits have become packed with preservatives and processed foods that are not only devoid of essential nutrients but can also cause some harm to the body. Fruits boost your immune system and keep you in perfect health. Eating fruit and vegetables may promote emotional well-being among healthy young adults.  Research suggests that good mood may lead to greater preference for healthy foods over indulgent foods.

Instant Energy Supplier: When you eat fruits, your supply of energy increases in no time; this is one of the prime benefits of fruits that we can utilize in our busy schedules. This is the reason why athletes often eat fruit during and after exercising and why diets for pregnant mothers almost always involve fruits of some kind.

Prevention is Better Than Treating – Nowadays, drug stores have many types of multivitamin tablets that can give supplemental nutrition during critical times. However, it is always advisable to eat the vitamins of fruits in their natural form so that all of the benefits are conferred to you. As is always said, the benefits of fruits can never be outmatched or replaced. Over a 10-20 year time frame, eating fruits regularly can completely change your life and makes a great deal of difference to the health and functioning of your body.

Keeps You Disease Free – The combination of powerful flavonoids, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and the countless micro- and macronutrients make fruits very advantageous for your health. The daily consumption of fresh fruits lowers the risk of strokes, high blood pressure, indigestion, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Fruits keep your skin supple, hydrated and nourish it with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, thereby retaining your radiant skin for a long period of time. In fact, if you are tired of using the commercial anti-pimple creams, just try including fruits like berries, apples, or bananas into your daily diet and see the acne disappear quite quickly.  Fruits even ensure healthy hair growth and keep your locks lustrous and soft. Some fruits like bananas contain vital chemicals such aspotassium, which helps to prevent strokes, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Fruit consumption basically eliminates vitamin and mineral deficiencies and their associated symptoms. Fruits also have high quantities of water and fiber in them, which helps to keep your digestive tract clean and your weight under control.

Why Do We Need Fibrous Fruits?

Fibrous fruits aid the digestion process in the body. The fruit skins are rich in dietary fiber, which is a major contributing factor in proper digestion and the excretion process of your body, while simultaneously keeping you safe from problems like gastritis and constipation. However, in some cases, the skin is thick, like in lemons, bananas, melons, and oranges, and cannot be consumed by humans. In those cases, the edible part or the flesh within the skin has plenty of fiber as well.

The fiber content in fruit not only has a brilliant laxative effect but also makes you feel full by adding bulk nutrition to the diet. Fibrous fruits also benefit conditions like heart diseases by reducing hyperlipidemia and hypertension, diabetes mellitus and obesity. Owing to this fibrous composition, fruits also have anti-carcionigenic properties, and are known to prevent colon cancer and fight bowel irregularity disorders.

 

Fruits Are Storehouses for Nutrients

Almost all fruits have immense nutritional value, but obviously the type and quantity of nutrients vary between types. As the composition changes with each fruit, the health benefits also change with them. The beneficial powers of common fruits are discussed below.

Apples: A good example of a complete healthy fruit is the apple; it helps in digestion, strengthens bones, provides relief from asthma, lowers blood cholesterol, prevents cancer and helps in reducing weight. Read more

PearsAnother beneficial fruit is the pear, which is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, B2, E, copper and potassium. Pears are an excellent source of pectin and fiber that effectively lowers cholesterol levels. It is mostly prescribed for infants as it is believed to be a hypoallergenic fruit that is completely safe for young children to ingest.

GrapesGrapes are also a common fruit that can be easily included in your regular diet. Grapes alleviate indigestion, constipation, fatigue, kidney disorders and eye problems. It is rich in several vitamins and also possesses minerals like calcium, potassium, ironmagnesiumphosphorusand seleniumRead more

Berries: Blueberriescherries, and blackberries prevent cancer and keep your heart protected. If you include cherries or cherry juice in your diet, you can eliminate the associated pain from arthritisgout and joint inflammation. Berries have the capability of curing arthritis naturally. Blueberries with high silicon content aid in the functioning of the pancreas and is good for diabetic conditions. Blackberries can naturally controldiarrhea and form new blood cells, but it can also have the adverse reaction of promoting constipation. If you mix blackberries with cherries or prune juice, it will not eliminate that constipation. High sodium and potassium content in gooseberries and huckleberries protect the liver and the intestinal tract.

ZucchiniThis fruit provides relief from asthma. Owing to its Vitamin C content, it is a powerful antioxidant, and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Zucchini is mostly known and widely used for weight lossRead more

Mangoes and PapayasMangoes and papayas are rich in beta carotene. Papayas act as powerful antioxidants with an abundance of vitamin C, vitamin Evitamin D and vitamin A that all aid in the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. This prevents the formation of dangerous plaque that can result in atherosclerosis, heart attacks, or strokes. You get good amounts of vitamin C from papayas, oranges, guavas and Indian gooseberries.

TomatoesYou might be surprised to know that tomatoes are actually fruits and not vegetables, although we typically consider it as one of the latter. Tomatoes have a high vitamin content and they are an excellentblood cleanser.

Citrus Fruits: Fruits rich in vitamin-C like oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits are excellent for youroverall health.  Oranges are consumed widely for healthy skin, teeth, gums, and to keep the lymphatic system healthy. Lemon, the bitter yellow fruit, has been used for for vision issues for thousands of years and it also treats disorders ranging from common colds to epilepsy. Lemon juice helps people lose weight as well. Grapefruit lowers cholesterol and has antioxidant properties. Limes help prevent disorders like scurvy, piles, and gout, as well as respiratory and urinary disorders.

Dry fruits: Dry fruits like figsdatesapricots and raisins are extremely beneficial for your health. Apart from being excellent laxatives, apricots are a great natural remedy for anemic conditions. Figs include potassium, the essential mineral that helps in controlling blood pressure. Raisins effectively treat anemia, acidosis, fever, and sexual weakness. It helps you to gain weight, promotes eye, teeth and bone health. Dates have abundant fiber that helps to prevent constipation.

 

Do Fruits Help to Lose Weight?

Once you start including a significant amount of fruit in your normal diet, you will begin to see that your weight is being controlled and your health is improving. However, fruits alone cannot reduce your weight. You also need to exercise regularly.

Many surveys done in America showed effective weight reduction after fruits were included in the family’s diet. A person who habitually eats fruits will be less inclined to have snacks and junk foods between meals that hardly have any nutritional value. Also, fruits are composed of 90-95% water; therefore it has a powerful diuretic effect on your body, thereby flushing out the nitrogenous wastes and unwanted toxins from the body.

One example of this is Lychee, a fruit that is a great laxative with a negligible amount of calories, and no saturated fats or cholesterol. It also helps to cut down excess body weight. Except for a few fruits like coconuts, avocados and olives, fruits are usually fat-free.

Fruits in Acne Treatment

Acne is one of the most irritating skin disorders that can affect people of any age. With a good amount of fruit in your diet, you can naturally curb this problem rather than opting for expensive dermatological creams. Acne mostly occurs from skin infections and dermatological issues, but there are other reasons for such eruptions as well. Apples are the best option for treating acne; eat the skin of the apple, which has a high level of pectin that helps with constipation, which can be a trigger for acne. Bananas also helps to alleviate acne, as it is high in fiber that again relieves constipation. Berries have excellent cleansing properties and keep you protected from skin disorders. If you eat grapes during the day, it helps to cleanse your skin and body. While papayas rejuvenate your skin and repair minor damage that you may not even notice, lemon juice slowly eliminates the signs and scars from acne spots.

Apart from including fruits in your diet, try to watch your other food habits as well. Reduce caffeine consumption since it increases hormones in your body and thus increases acne. Cut down on red meat and dairy intake as well, since they aggravate your hormonal generation, resulting in acne. You should also keep your skin clean by frequently washing with herbal soaps and mild face wash.

Fruits for Healthy Hair

Just as fruits enhance the radiance of your skin, they also contribute greatly to healthy, long hair. Vitamin A brings luster to your hair and also softens its texture. If you have fruit on an empty stomach, it will preventhair loss and premature greying. Citrus fruits are excellent hair stimulants. The vitamin-C content in citrus fruits also prevents hair loss and keeps your hair shiny and healthy. Fruits like kiwisstrawberries andpineapple are also known for aiding hair growth.

The benefits of fruit for your hair health can also be enjoyed through hair masks. Melon and banana hair masks are recommended by many beauty professionals for healthy hair care at home. You can also make a paste of lemon juice and aloe vera and apply it generously to the hair. Keep the paste on for approximately 45 minutes and then thoroughly wash your hair with mild shampoo. These packs not only improve hair quality, but also eliminate scalp disorders like dandruff and itching. Avocado has an impressive amount of vitamin E, which is widely known to be very good for hair. Avocado hair masks strengthen hair and delay premature greying of your hair. Coconuts are also very good for healthy hair growth. Coconut oil is used extensively throughout the tropical world for haircare.

Multimorbidity

Recent research suggests that greater consumption of vegetable, whole grain products and fruits may lower the risk of multimorbidity.

 

Fruit Juice vs. Raw Fruits

You may often wonder which form of fruit gives you more nutrition – whole fruits or fruit juices? It is actually difficult to say which one gives more nutrition. Although eating whole fruit is considered to be the best way of attaining the full benefits of fruits, fruit juices are also easy and healthy options. Of course, if the fruit juice is composed of 100% fruit without extra preservatives or additives, then it has the same nutritional value.

Normally fruit juices are available in two forms, 100% fruits juices and as fruit pulp + water + sugar. In both cases, preservatives and additives are added to increase the shelf life of the juice. Very few brands contain no preservatives. In fact, fruit juices are considered to be the best way of incorporating nutrition into your child’s diet, as they usually love anything that tastes good. Buying and drinking fruit juices is much easier than buying whole fruits, cutting and then eating them. In other words, it’s better to drink the juice than to have no fruit in your diet at all.

When you make fruit juice at home, they contain the same fiber content as whole fruits, provided you don’t add any artificial flavors and preservatives. However, if bought from the store, these juices may not have the equal fiber content after the vigorous processing. Moreover, when you consume those types of juices, extra sweeteners and additives are added, which is not the case for whole fruits. Thus, with whole fruits, you can keep your weight controlled. When you make fruit juice at home, try to add the edible skin of the fruits to the juice to gain even more nutritional value.

You have probably come across the term “seasonal fruits”, and as a matter of fact, most fruits are considered seasonal. They grow in a particular season depending on their native geography and climate.  You may be able to get these fruits throughout the year, but they have usually been in frozen state for a varying amount of time. Eating seasonal fruits during the season ensures that they are fresh. Furthermore, most seasonal fruits can also ward off the disorders that come with the season. For example, in India, green mangoes are quite useful for dealing with the heat of summer. Including seasonal fruits in your diet is a delicious and natural way to stay healthy!

We have listed a few fruits below. Click on any of them to find out more details about

 

Things to Remember About Fruits

Try to eat fruits in whole form, including their skin if it is edible, in order to gain the benefits of high fibrous content present in them. This promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation.

The maximum nutritional value in fruits can be derived when eaten raw. Cooked or preserved fruits usually lose some of their important nutrients due to high heat and extended shelf life, respectively. Thus, fresh fruits are the most advantageous for your diet.

Never eat fruits along with your main meal; this can result in severe acidity and digestive problem because fruits are usually mildly acidic in nature. Always eat fruits before or after your meals, usually leave an hour or two of separation.

It is always recommended to eat fruit on an empty stomach, or at least after a relatively light meal. Fruits on an empty stomach help to delay greying of the hair, nervous outbursts, dark circles under the eyes, and balding.

Never drink water immediately after having fruits as it can also result in high acidity.

Fruits should be eaten in the morning, as this helps in detoxification and also aids in weight loss. Although these benefits can be gained by eating fruits at any time during the day, morning is said to be the ideal time for them to have their greatest effect.

 

Try not to keep fruits in very hot or very cold places, this reduces their shelf life – a moderate, dry, cool temperature is suggested for storage.

 

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