Category Archives: healthy foods

Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes

Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes

by Yanjun 


(NaturalNews) Diabetes is a disorder wherein the body cannot control its level of blood glucose or sugar. While many of the foods today contain high levels of diabetes-inducing sugar, there are ten amazingly healthy foods that can actually prevent diabetes from developing. Not only do these foods control blood sugar levels, but they are also packed with other nutrients and minerals that even those who do not have diabetes will benefit greatly from.

Preventing Diabetes through Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle of exercise to maintain a normal weight is a sure-fire way to prevent diabetes type 2 or adult-onset diabetes. This is according to research as well as diabetes educators from the Healthcare and Education for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Christine Tobin, the president of Healthcare and Education for the ADA, said that, while there are a whole list of foods that can be considered as “superfoods” in terms of diabetes-prevention, her association recognizes the top ten of these foods that can help those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These foods contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E. These foods are also rich in fiber, which helps in suppressing cravings by keeping the blood sugar and the glycemic index low for longer periods. On top of that, these foods also control blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, keeping them at healthy levels.

These are all very important to those with diabetes, but even normal people can benefit from these foods too:

  • Beans

Black, pinto, navy, kidney or other beans might be high in calories, but they are also rich in fiber and other nutrients. Rich in fiber means that they will help people feel full for longer periods.

  • Dark, Leafy Greens

Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, kale and others are not only high in nutrients but also low in carbohydrates. Greens are also very low in calories, so people can eat as much of them as they as want!

  • Citruses

Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits are good for the heart because of their high content of vitamin C. Whole fruits are better than juices, since the fruit contains the fiber, which slows down the body’s absorption of sugar.

  • Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are better than other types of potatoes, because they have a low glycemic index. This means that sweet potatoes will not cause blood sugar levels to spike. They are also high in vitamin A.

  • Berries

Fresh, whole strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and any other variants are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Add fresh berries into salads or cereal, or make into smoothies.

  • Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be eaten either raw or cooked, and they are low in calories too. They can be served in a variety of ways, as side dishes, mixed in salads and soups or as a base sauce for casseroles or stews. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins E and C and iron.

  • Fish

Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring and halibut are all rich in omega-3, a kind of fatty acid that strengthens the heart and prevents diabetes. The best way to enjoy these fishes and their benefits is to serve them broiled or in soups. Frying them in batter and breading defeats the purpose.

  • Whole Grains

Oatmeal, pearled barley and other whole grain products, like bread and pasta, all contain high amounts of fiber. They also contain essential nutrients like chromium, magnesium, omega-3 and folate.

  • Nuts

Nuts are high in omega-3 and other good fatty acids. These kinds of fats protect and help the heart rather than burden it. However, one should not eat too much, as they are high in calories. A small handful, or roughly 1.5 ounces, is enough for a healthy snack.

  • Fat-Free Yogurt and Milk

Both are rich in calcium and vitamin D and are also good choices to help keep cravings under control.

It is quite easy to lose control and to splurge on food, but a good choice would be to splurge on these ten healthy foods rather than on sweets like chocolate.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.helpguide.org

http://health.usnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

20 foods for a flat stomach

by Yanjun 

(NaturalNews) A flat stomach is a quest that has remained elusive for many people all over the world. Dieters often shy away from food to keep their slim figures. Food experts, however, have discovered several foods that actually help flatten the stomach.

These 20 foods help burn the fat away to reveal a sexy, flat tummy:

  • Green Tea

Green tea stimulates the body’s metabolism and can also suppress the absorption of fat. Drinking it daily aids in weight loss.

  • Olive Oil

Olive oil has many benefits, but the main benefit is that it lowers LDL cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol – and raises HDL cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol. It is also rich in phenol, an antioxidant that protects the walls of the arteries from cholesterol or fatty buildup.

  • Lemon

Weight-watchers should reduce their intake of sugar, and that means soda pop, alcohol and most bottled or canned fruit drinks. Try drinking lemon water instead. It is refreshing and bursting with vitamin C as well.

  • Chicken

This white meat is more meat and less fat, making it a good source of meat protein.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon can prevent diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. While it is packed with antioxidants, cinnamon can also prevent bloating.

  • Green Chai Tea

Chai tea is full of flavor from the spices but without the guilty calories. Homemade chai will also give healthier milk choices, and the addition of green tea will speed up the body’s metabolic rate.

  • Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a great refreshing and crunchy snack. They are satisfying and low in calories.

  • Bran

Cereal is high in calories. Replacing it with bran will not only cut the excess calories but will also increase the body’s supply of fiber.

  • Low-Fat Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in protein, with three quarters of a cup serving 9 grams of it. Not only that, but yogurt is also rich in B vitamins and bone-strengthening calcium.

  • Legumes

Legumes are a generally nutritious food packed with protein, B vitamins, potassium, iron and other trace minerals. Legumes are also a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, which helps control optimum blood cholesterol levels. Legumes are ideal for dieters, since it is heavy on the stomach and controls cravings by controlling the body’s levels of blood glucose.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-cancer and antibacterial properties.

  • Quinoa

This whole grain is a wonderful alternative to other grains. Rich in protein, fiber, copper, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese.

  • Pears

Pears are incredibly rich in fiber, so much that a medium-sized pear can give 20% of a person’s daily need. The juicy flesh contains soluble fiber and pectin, which lowers the “bad” cholesterol previously mentioned.

  • Dark Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate more frequently results in a lower body mass index, according to studies. As an added bonus, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, too.

  • Berries

Juicy, succulent berries are rich in fiber and vitamins. They are also home to some of the most powerful antioxidants in foods, which helps protect the heart and eyes and helps fight off cancer.

  • Leeks

Leeks are rich in manganese, which is an essential mineral that was found to prevent mood swings and menstrual cramps in women who took high amounts of it regularly. Not only that, leeks also help prevent and relieve bloating.

  • Salmon

Salmons of all kinds are rich in heart-friendly omega-3, as well as vitamin D. Bones in canned or processed salmon are also rich in calcium.

  • Miso

Miso has probiotics that aid in digestion and keep the colon and intestinal walls healthy.

  • Eggs

Research by the Rochester Center for Obesity found that those who regularly eat eggs for breakfast tend to take in less calories throughout the day – by around 400 or more. This translates to at least three pounds less in weight in a month.

  • Greens

Leafy green vegetables contain carotenoids, which prevent degenerative eye disease. Spinach alone is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Greens are also rich in magnesium, potassium and folate, which lowers blood pressure.

These foods are great, not just because they aid in weight loss and burning fat, but also because they strengthen the body in many ways.

Sources for this article include:


http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.self.com

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

How to Eat Healthy and Lose Weight: The Simplest Guide Ever

Portion Control
Every day we are bombarded with fad diets and conflicting information on how to eat healthy and lose weight. No wonder people fail to reach their weight-loss or health goals. (Read The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements.)
Popular nutrition information and diet strategies are simply too complicated or unrealistic to maintain over the long term. And many nutrition books contain hundreds of pages of difficult-to-understand “sciencey” stuff that only dieticians bother to read or need to understand.
So, I’ve come up with a simple nutrition formula that we use at Performance University. It helps everyone, from average Joes to professional athletes, more effectively burn fat by ensuring that each meal is healthy and well balanced. This isn’t a restrictive diet plan. It’s a healthy and realistic eating strategy for putting together balanced and nutritious meals—a strategy you can use for a lifetime.

The Thermic Effect of Food

The term “thermic effect of food,” or TEF, describes the energy we expend to consume (bite, chew and swallow) and process (digest, transport, metabolize and store) our food. Certain foods require us to burn more calories than others simply by eating them.
Here’s the breakdown:
  • Fat (9 calories/gram) is simple to digest because the body keeps breaking down fat into smaller and smaller molecules. For every 100 calories of fat ingested, you burn approximately 5 calories.
  • Complex carbohydrates (4 calories/gram) take more effort to digest because of the complexity of glucose molecules. For every 100 calories you ingest from complex carbs, you burn approximately 10 calories.
  • Protein (4 calories/gram) requires the most work to digest because it is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscles. For every 100 calories of protein you ingest, you burn approximately 25 calories.
Based on this information, you can form an eating plan that minimizes the amount of calories consumed and naturally increases the amount of calories you burn. No calorie counting required!

Foods to Eat

Do your best to include each of following food categories in your three or four daily meals. It’s unrealistic to expect that every meal will include all four categories, so don’t stress if you occasionally miss a category.
Choose your favorite food from each category to form your meal. Ensure that it’s a whole food and not processed. The food recommendations below are great examples, but they are not comprehensive. If you enjoy a specific food, do the research to see if it falls into one of the categories. (Learn how tobalance your protein intake.)
  • Lean Protein: eggs, chicken, fish, bison, beef, low-fat dairy
  • Fibrous Carbohydrate: fruits and vegetables
  • Starchy Carbohydrate: sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal
  • Healthy Fat (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, Omega-3 fatty acids): avocado, nuts, olive oil

Foods to Avoid

It’s no secret that you should limit your consumption of processed foods, simple sugars, saturated fats and hydrogenated oils. However, limiting consumption doesn’t mean you can never eat it. (See The Unhealthiest “Healthy” Foods.)
I recommend using the 80/20 rule, meaning 80 percent of your meals consist of healthy and whole foods, while the other 20 percent consists of not-so-healthy items. This will keep you on track with your diet by preventing binging and cravings without adverse effects on your health and weight.

Portion Sizes

The amount of food you eat largely depends on how much energy you need. You can get technical and calculate your daily energy demands and count calories to ensure you are meeting your goals, but this is time consuming and difficult to stick to in the long term.
As a general guideline, if you are left feeling hungry within an hour or so after finishing a meal, you probably didn’t eat enough. On the flip side, if you feel full for hours, you likely ate too much. It really comes down to common sense, intuition and simply listening to your body.
As for specific portions of each food category suggested above, I recommend using this formula to fill your plate.
  • Protein & Fibrous Carbs – largest serving on your plate.
  • Starchy Carbs – smaller than the protein and vegetable serving.
  • Healthy Fats – smallest serving on your plate.

Final Thoughts

There are certainly other issues—like thyroid function—that can impact weight loss. And there are instances where counting calories and restricting a diet are necessary. However, these require an individualized approach and are not long-term solutions. The information I provided above is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Five best healthy foods for lowering your stress levels fast


by J. D. Heyes 

(NaturalNews) Most of us would agree that life is a busy endeavor, which can lead to lots of stress. And the busier we get, the more stress we have to deal with.

Fortunately, there is a medicine-free way in which you can reduce a significant portion of that stress, all from the comfort of your own kitchen and dining room. Here are six excellent, healthy foods that can help you lower your stress levels naturally:

Grab a couple handfuls of almonds daily. Almonds, and other nuts, are so good for so many different reasons – among them; their ability to reduce your stress level.

“Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, which boosts immunity,” says Health and Living. “A healthy immune system means you’re less likely to fall victim to that cold that’s making its way around the office, and a healthier you means a less stressed you, too.”

According to Anna Magee and nutritional therapist Charlotte Watts, authors of the book The De-Stress Diet, “Nuts are crammed with B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and omega oils, nutrients that are depleted when anxiety is high. As a source of healthy fats, nuts have also been shown to curb appetite, naturally balance blood sugar levels, reduce sugar cravings, and support the metabolism.”

Use caution; however, in terms of the amount of almonds and other nuts you consume, writes Lisa Collier Cool for Yahoo! Health.

There’s no fish like oily fish. Fish like salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is the perfect dinner de-stress option. “Omega-3s have been shown to boost mood and brain function, and can aid significantly in dealing with anxiety and depression,” Health and Living says.

“A 2011 study from Ohio State showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical school students who took omega-3 supplements,” Cool notes. “The researchers made this surprising discovery during research to test their theory that omega-3s would lower stress-induced levels of cytokines, compounds that promote inflammation in the body, which can lead to illness and heart attack.”

Oily fish also contain a host of vitamins and minerals – B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium – “that help reduce sugar-addiction cycles and counteract the damaging effects of stress on the body,” says Dina Spector of BusinessInsider.com.

Oh, yes – chocolate. Not that the other foods aren’t good (and good for you), but seriously, who can resist a little chocolate?

Few of us can but that’s all right because a little chocolate goes a long way towards reducing our stress levels.

“Too much indulgence is likely to keep you from your weight-loss goals, but a small portion of chocolate as a pick-me-up isn’t such a bad idea,” Health and Living says. “This sweet treat helps to boost serotonin levels, which plays a key role in dealing with stress. In a study conducted by Duke Medical Center, researchers found that lower levels of serotonin actually cause a more extreme reaction when the body encounters stress.”

How much is just enough?

“Research has shown that 40g of dark chocolate a day can help us cope with stress by releasing ‘happy chemicals’ known as beta endorphins in the brain,” says Spector. “When it comes to a treat, dark chocolate can be a good snack choice to stave off cravings for less healthy choices, while providing a much-needed energy boost without the agitating effects of caffeine.”

From chocolate to… spinach. Well, Popeye knew a little something about nutrition after all.

“Spinach and other dark leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale are loaded with magnesium, which has been credited as a major stress fighter, helping to relax muscle fibers and put you at ease,” saysHealth and Living.

“There’s no such thing as a chill pill, but some foods contain body-boosting nutrients that help soothe stressed-out nerves,” adds Whole Living, noting that green leafy foods contain folic acid, which helps “make dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.”

Oranges – for sunshine in your life. Oranges, along with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red and green peppers and strawberries contain lots of vitamin C, which “boosts your immune system and fights brain-cell damage resulting from constant exposure to cortisol,” says Whole Living.

“Stress makes our body release even more free radicals than when we are in good mood. Interestingly, vitamin C helps to keep the free radicals in control, and repairs the body. Basically, it helps protect the body from the cumulative effects of stress,” adds Dr. Lee Dobbins, a physician who specializes in weight loss-related issues.

Bad eating habits can be corrected by using the right workarounds

Published: September 24

We all have those moments when a fresh-baked cookie seems like a much tastier option than a fresh green pear. Or when potato chips on sale — and in bulk! — seem like a more fiscally sensible choice than pricey vegetables that might not last long in the refrigerator. With so many challenges to eating healthfully, can you really win the battle against bad eating habits?
Yes, with the right workarounds.
Here’s how to counter four common excuses that can get in the way of making good choices.
The excuse: Healthful food is too expensive.
How to fix it: Find the best nutrition deals.
Healthful food doesn’t have to be more expensive, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a nutrition expert in Chicago and author of “The Flexitarian Diet.” If you’re looking for nutrient-dense but inexpensive foods, try fiber-rich grains such as barley and quinoa. Instead of planning meals around meat, choose less expensive proteins, including beans, eggs, skinless chicken thighs and canned salmon. And when buying fresh produce, get what’s local and in season, says Elisa Zied, a dietitian in New York and author of “Nutrition at Your Fingertips.” You’ll often save money, since the food didn’t have to be flown or trucked from a faraway place.
The excuse: It’s hard to eat healthfully at restaurants.
How to fix it: Do some research and plan ahead.
In particular, see if you can look up the restaurant’s menu online ahead of time. Many chain restaurants post nutrition information on their Web sites, allowing you to see which dishes best suit your dietary needs. If the restaurant you’re going to doesn’t provide nutrition information, scan the menu for grilled fish, chicken or vegetable dishes, which are often leaner and lower in calories than other items. Consider getting a baked potato or vegetables instead of french fries or mashed potatoes. And ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side.
The excuse: It’s too hard to change bad habits.
How to fix it: Try new, better-for-you foods — then try them again.
The best way to regularly get more-healthful food into your diet is to make it a habit. But that’s not always easy, especially since you might not like new items much the first time you try them. The trick is to keep trying them, according to Zied. “It can take up to 20 exposures to a new food for someone to accept it,” she says.
Experiment with different cooking techniques, temperatures and seasonings. Perhaps you prefer your asparagus grilled rather than steamed. Or maybe you find lentils more palate-pleasing with a little curry added.
“It helps to pair something you like with a food you’re not sure about,” Zied says. For example, if you like carrots but you’re wary of parsnips, chop them all up and saute them together. You’ll get a tasty dish with familiar flavors but twice the variety of produce.
The excuse: I don’t always know what’s healthful at the store.
How to fix it: Use the 50 percent rule.
Blatner offers this advice for grocery shopping: Your cart should contain 50 percent produce (canned, fresh or frozen), 25 percent lean protein (eggs, beans, fish, chicken, leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy) and 25 percent whole grains (breads, cereals, pasta and wraps). Read nutrition labels on packaged food and compare serving sizes, calories, saturated fat, sodium and fiber among similar products to make the best choices.
Other strategies to try
Eat breakfast. A meal of low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and protein is filling and sets a healthful tone for the rest of the day.
Avoid liquid calories. Skip sweetened drinks such as soda in favor of water, seltzer or tea. You’ll have more calories to spend on food.
Plan what you’ll eat. Plot out meals and snacks ahead of time so you have the right items on hand when you get hungry.
Eat mindfully. Turn off the TV, radio and computer, and focus on what you’re eating. This can make it easier to notice when you’re full.
Slow down. Savor each bite and chew it thoroughly. It gives your brain time to catch up with your stomach.
Don’t go shopping for food when you’re hungry. You’re liable to reach for higher-calorie food and overbuy in general.
Control portions. Use smaller plates (10-inch diameter or less) and keep serving dishes off the table.

Six of the best foods for diabetics

by PF Louis 

(NaturalNews) There are two forms of diabetes: Type one and type two. Both types involve imbalanced blood sugar and insulin issues. Insulin is the hormone that helps convert glucose into the cellular energy that’s needed for the cells to metabolize nutrients.

Type one diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes because it usually occurs early in life. The pancreas doesn’t produce any or enough insulin and usually needs to be supplied externally.

That often means insulin injections by manual syringe, or an easier managed insulin injection pen, insulin pills, or a portable insulin pump.

The pancreas is usually functioning with type two diabetes, which normally occurs later in life. However, the body is insulin resistant, or not using the insulin well enough. Type two diabetes can often be controlled by exercise and diet while monitoring blood sugar.

Again, chronically high blood sugar is an indicator for both types of diabetes. But sometimes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) occurs, especially with type two diabetes.

Many diabetic symptoms cross over with adrenal and thyroid issues as well as fibromyalgia. So it’s best to get your blood sugar tested to determine whether or not your health problems are diabetes related.

Foods for diabetics

Obviously, foods with high glycemic indexes (GI) need to be avoided. Those include refined starches and carbohydrates, sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) honey, maple syrup, candies, cakes, and cookies. Synthetic sugar substitutes cook your brain cells.

Unsweetened fruit juices are short-term solutions for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), but should be avoided unless diluted if one suffers from high blood sugar.

Did you know that many foods from fast food restaurants and processed foods off the shelf contain sugars even if they’re not meant to be sweet? Avoid them all. Buy bulk organic as much as possible.

(1) Veggies, especially greens, are items you can eat every day. Steamed veggies and raw salads are nutritionally beneficial for anyone and certainly if you have a low glycemic index.

Off-the-shelf salad dressings often contain sugar or other sweeteners. Use only unprocessed cold-pressed virgin vegetable oils, except soy, and vinegar or lemon/lime.

(2) Slice some avocado into your salad for taste variety and good nutrition. Avocados have low GIs. Avocados’ high omega-3 content contributes to healing chronic inflammation, which is often associated with diabetes; leading to other serious diseases.

Avocados are an excellent plant source of protein. (http://www.naturalnews.com/029864_avocados_health.html)

(3) Walnuts are also a good low GI source of omega-3. You can sprinkle them onto salads or veggies for a tasty change. Most other unsalted, raw nuts are also okay for diabetics. (http://www.naturalnews.com/032772_walnuts_omega-3s.html)

(4) Fresh wild (not farmed) fish, especially tuna or cold water salmon, are another high source of omega-3 with very low GI levels. All other meats are low GI high protein sources, if you are so inclined.

Then try to stick with grazing grass-fed livestock or poultry that’s free range, both to stem the excessive animal cruelty and avoid consuming the toxic antibiotics and hormones injected into factory farm animals.

(5) Grains are tricky. Obviously avoiding processed grains is necessary. But some whole grains have a higher GI (glycemic index) than you would think. Whole wheat is one of them. Quinoa and buckwheat are good substitutes. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036845_wheat_belly_weight_gain_gluten.html)

Organic brown rice may work for some diabetics since it is a complex carbohydrate that doesn’t convert to glucose rapidly. But most experts recommend diabetics not make brown rice an everyday meal.

(6) Various legumes (beans) can be added to a dish of brown rice for a delicious entree. Beans are high protein and fiber with lower GIs than potatoes. They can also be mixed in with veggies or prepared as a side dish. (http://www.naturalnews.com/025175_cancer_WHO_risk.html)

Sources for this article include:

http://www.ehow.com/about_5372662_safe-foods-diabetics.html

The Difference Between Organic and Natural

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
In many respects, making healthier food choices has recently become far easier than it’s been in the past.
From caloric content being displayed on menus, to the USDA’s new My Plate design, and of course the remarkable amount of information available to us on the Internet, searching for and finding science-based and accurate information has really never been easier.
Unfortunately, however, there’s still a truly shocking amount of false, misleading, and utterly false information that we often have to sift through until we (hopefully) find the truth.
One area which has recently caused a great deal of confusion is food labeling and understanding what certain labels actually mean.
Notably, labels such as  and  have received a great deal of attention. What’s frustrating, however, is not that these labels exist (in fact, I think they can be very helpful), but that there are so many conflicting views regarding the validity of these products and what their labels denote.
Some argue organic is the only way to eat if you don’t wish to die a slow, painful, and early death as a result of ingesting various toxins and pesticides. And others proclaim they won’t eat anything other than foods stamped with an all natural label as they’ll only eat foods in their purest form.
But what do these labels truly mean?
Does having the USDA Certified Organic stamp of approval automatically make it a “healthy” food?
Is an “All Natural” product inherently better than its otherwise identical non-all-natural counterpart?
And, perhaps most importantly, are products bearing these labels intrinsically “healthy” options?
To answer these questions accurately we must first understand what each of these labels truly mean. Afterwards, we’ll review the current data at which point you can decide what (if any) food labels are important and necessary for you.
But first, before we begin, I think it’s important to answer one crucial question:

What Makes a Food “Healthy?”

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
Does it need to be low-calorie? Nutrient dense? Low-carb? Low-fat? Free of pesticides? Unprocessed?
The options are endless and it even gets more complicated than that! So, in my opinion, before we decide what the healthiest options are, we must first establish what “healthy” means to each and every one of us on an individual basis.
Personally, I don’t view any single food as inherently good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Too much (or too little) of anything, regardless of what it is, isn’t conducive to long-term health or success.
Additionally, as long as an individual is habitually eating in a manner which appropriately supports their caloric, macro/micronutrient, and individual needs, then moderately incorporating traditionally labeledunhealthy foods into their diet likely won’t result in unhealthy side effects and, may in fact, be beneficial on a physical, emotional, and psychological level.
In other words, instead of judging the “healthiness” of each individual food, I prefer to take a more holistic approach and consider the health of a person’s overall nutritional habits.
Taking my definition of “healthy” into account, let’s move onto the first label of the day:

What Is “Natural?”

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
According to the FDA, 
In short, the FDA has not officially defined the term . And interestingly enough, they even allude to the fact that, unless you’re growing and/or killing your own food, anything you buy in the grocery store is in some way, shape, or form processed and therefore not “natural.”
Whether that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to you, but I found it interesting nonetheless.
Despite not having a clear-cut definition, the FDA has provided a guideline that states “Natural” is a general term which encompasses a wide-ranging spectrum of foods that are minimally processed and free of synthetic preservatives; artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and other artificial additives; growth hormones; antibiotics; hydrogenated oils; stabilizers; and emulsifiers.
So there’s your definition. For a food to be labeled as natural it must be minimally processed and free of the aforementioned ingredients such as synthetic preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
It’s important to note, however, that for a product to bear the “natural” label it’s only required to beprocessed without the use of artificial additives, but not necessarily raised without them. To illustrate, meat and poultry items labeled as natural can be raised using antibiotics, growth hormones, and other synthetic ingredients so long as their use is discontinued after the animal has been slaughtered.
Needless to say, this lack of a clear definition has created a great deal of confusion, controversy, and deceit. Not only are consumers utterly perplexed as to what may (or may not) be the “healthiest” option, but many company’s perpetuate the issue by making false or misleading claims solely for the purpose of selling more products.
Which brings us to the question: Are foods labeled as “natural” inherently better or healthier than foods not labeled as natural?
In short: 
But perhaps a better answer would be: 
Again, taking my above definition of “healthy” into account, I don’t think foods labeled as natural are inherently better or healthier than foods not labeled as natural. Rather, I think it depends on the individual, their habitual diet, and the extent to which they’re consuming certain foods (regardless of whether they’re labeled as natural or not) on a day-to-day basis.
Additionally, I think it’s important to understand that just because a food is labeled as “natural” doesn’t mean it’s inherently good for us. Foods labeled as “Natural,” “All Natural,” and “100% Natural” can be calorically dense, high in sugar, and undergo extreme processing measures.
That being the case, when it comes to “natural” foods, invest in what you feel most comfortable with. Stick to a diet largely consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean animal proteins, whole grains, and a mix of high quality fats. Whether or not these foods are labeled as “natural” is (at least in my opinion) irrelevant.
On to label number two…

What Is “Organic?”

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
As stated by the FDA,  In order to be labeled as “organic,” foods  They can’t use a variety of products such as synthetic pesticides and bioengineered genes; and 
All in all, organic food products seem to be produced with as little human, technological, and chemical intervention as possible.
Simple enough, right?
Well, not so fast. Where it starts to get confusing is when we begin to see the different types of organic labeling. Without going into excruciating detail, there are 3 major types of organic product labels which I’ve listed and generally defined below:

  1. 100% Organic: Derived from and made with 100% organic ingredients
  2. Organic: At least 95% of the product uses organic ingredients
  3. Made with Organic Ingredients: Must contain at least 70% organic ingredients

Delving into each subset of organic labels is entirely outside the scope of this article so, for today’s purposes, I’m going to lump all types of organic into one general group.
Now, it seems as though a large majority of people who buy organic do so to limit their consumption of pesticides and food additives. That being the case, I think it’s safe to assume (and correct me if I’m wrong) that people want to avoid these food additives because of their potential adverse side effects on human health.
So what’s the word? Are organic foods safer than non-organic foods?
Well, simply put, we’re not sure.
The current data regarding the superior safety of organic vs. conventional foods is inconclusive. While a number of animal and observational studies suggest organic is the safer option, other similarly performed trials disagree.
To illustrate this point, Christine Williams and colleagues, in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, reviewed the current data on organic vs. conventional food and concluded, 
In spite of this, Williams and colleagues appeared to suggest that any differences between organic and conventionally produced foods are minimal and inconsequential. They expressed this view by stating, It would appear that few differences can be demonstrated, and where differences are detected they are very small.
Finally, and seemingly in accordance with Williams, in their review of the currnet literature comparing organic vs. conventional foods, Magkos and colleagues concluded 
In short, we’re not entirely sure if one is safer than the other. However, from what we can tell thus far, it’s really not all that important. As long as you’re eating a typically “healthy” diet, it doesn’t matter whether you eat organically or conventionally produced foods.
So what about overall health? Are organic foods generally healthier than non-organic foods?
Well, according to the FDA, 
Based on the current literature, there’s little to no evidence suggesting that organic products are inherently healthier than their non-organic equivalents.
While there are some minor discrepancies (such as a higher vitamin C and lower nitrate content in organic leafy vegetables), research has not yet indicated whether these differences will have a clinical significance on human health. Personally, I doubt it will.
Despite there being a general lack of evidence proving that organic is healthier than conventional, the rise of organic food products and advertisements has unquestionably resulted in the formation of a “health halo” regarding organic foods and their supposed superiority to all others.
Briefly, a health halo describes a phenomenon in which consumers make (positive or negative) inferences about a specific product based on separate and irrelevant characteristics of the same or similar products.
In the context of organic food labels, Schuldt and Schwarz found that, 
In other words, when a food product bears the organic label, often times people make the mistake of assuming it’s automatically “healthy” and likely lower-calorie than its non-organic counterpart. As a result, this could potentially cause a downstream effect and lead to weight gain and other related health issues.
Which leads me to my next big point: Just because a food is labeled organic does not imply that it is inherently healthy, low-calorie, nutrient dense, good for weight loss, etc., etc., etc.
It simply means that it’s organic…period.
Regardless of whether it’s packaged in an eco-friendly box, marked with the USDA Organic stamp of approval, or cleverly named in a way that suggests life-long health, if you want the unbiased truth, then you need to turn the box over and read the nutrition label.

Wrapping Up

The Difference Between Organic and Natural
Foods labeled organic and/or natural are not inherently healthier than their conventional counterparts. As long as you’re habitually eating appropriate quantities of fruits, veggies, lean animal proteins, unprocessed whole grains, and a mix of high quality fats, the current research has simply not found any conclusive data to support the consumption of one over the others.
If you have the extra cash and want to buy the more expensive options, by all means go for it. But remember, just because a food is labeled organic or natural does not imply intrinsic health or quality value.
Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.

Six foods for a happy belly

by PF Louis 

(NaturalNews) What is a happy belly? Well, an unhappy belly will produce flatulence, bloating, nausea, cramps, and so called heartburn. You should be able to digest foods without any hassles, providing you don’t overeat. That’s a happy belly.

Considering that digestion begins in the mouth, it’s wise to chew your food thoroughly. In addition to reducing the food into smaller, easier to digest pieces, the saliva from chewing produces more digestive enzymes early in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

It’s also important to take your time and relax while eating. Rushed eating while stressed or hassled in any way will result in digestive stress that can create a very unhappy belly while depriving you of the food’s nutritional value.

Foods and beverages to help your belly’s happiness

As usual, organic food sources are the best choices. If you can purchase reliably clean raw milk for milk kefir, do so. Always use purified fluoride-free water.

Reverse osmosis is the best accessible system. Stations are available for filling containers in larger food markets. Make sure to re-mineralize with sea salt or some other mineral solution.

(1) Fermented foods provide probiotics that aid digestion and more. Having an intestinal flora microbial balance of 80 percent to 20 percent healthy bacteria to pathogenic bacteria is vital for even more than good digestion. It’s an important part of our immune system.

Without a well balanced intestinal flora stocked heavily with an abundance of healthy bacteria, Candida overgrowth is given a nice breeding ground. (http://www.naturalnews.com)

Fermented foods include sauerkraut, yogurt (unflavored and unsweetened) kimchi, miso, pickles, and tempeh or fermented soy, which is the only soy that’s consumable without digestive issues.

You can always add good honey or maple syrup to plain yogurts. Yes, you can make your own sauerkraut. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034788_sauerkraut_probiotics_recipes.html)

If you can get a good sourdough bread baked with sprouted grains without using bromide, that’s good for making your belly happy too. Sourdough is fermented. Sprouted grains reduce gluten’s harmful effects. Bromides block the enzyme that helps your thyroid produce adequate hormones for metabolism.

(2) Probiotic beverages can be as potent as some probiotic supplements, and a lot cheaper. Kombucha is a popular item that offers the same probiotic potential as fermented foods. Even more powerful are water and milk kefirs. You need starter grains specific to either purified water or milk, best to find raw milk.

Then you can make your own. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036419_probiotics_immunity_bacteria.html)

A woman who cured her really bad case of colitis with milk kefir showed this author how to make it. She didn’t even use raw milk, which is recommended. Here’s a good source for milk kefir starter grains with excellent instructions. (http://kefirlady.com/)

There are also several DIY kefir YouTube videos online.

(3) Prebiotic foods are essential for helping the healthy bacteria from probiotics flourish. They don’t contain healthy probiotic bacteria, but they provide the food energy to help probiotics maintain a GI tract stronghold.

Bananas, berries, artichokes, garlic, honey, legumes (beans) and whole grains such as brown rice are good prebiotic food sources.

(4) Apple cider vinegar is regarded as an excellent digestive aid by many alternative practitioners and nutritionists, but not so much by MDs and mainstream dieticians.

Us an apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized or filtered for best results. Before each meal, one or two tablespoons downed in a half glass of water can be beneficial. Water with meals should be room temperature for optimum digestion.

(5) When your stomach becomes unhappy, stay away from the Tums and try something healthier. Ginger root is one such choice. Only a few dare chew on a ginger root. It’s usually converted into a tea by peeling the root and cutting it into thin slices.

Make enough thin slices to cover the bottom of a pan, fill the pan with good non-fluoridated water from reverse osmosis. Simmer for 30 minutes after boiling. It can be refrigerated for several days. Ginger has been known to remedy queasy or cramping stomachs, and it’s good for general inflammation as well.

(6)The king of natural GI tract and stomach disorders is Aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice needs to be shopped wisely. The cheap adulterated ones with preservatives or pasteurized stuff won’t cut it. Get only pure, whole unpasteurized aloe vera juice. Yes it’s pricier, but worth it.

Stomach ulcer sufferers swear by it. There have been many, many reports of Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease sufferers curing themselves with aloe vera juice, as well as some experiencing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

With a disease as intense as Celiac, Crohn’s or IBS, it takes several days to a few weeks of daily use to get results. (http://www.naturalnews.com/021858_aloe_vera_gel.html#ixzz25fIbagIM)

Pure aloe vera juice has many, many other curative capabilities and health benefits. It has been clinically tested successfully on AIDS and cancer patients. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034738_aloe_vera_cancer_AIDS.html)

Healing Properties of Bananas

 

Bananas are filled with mood-boosting serotonin that improves your mood and helps you stave off depression.

They’re also great for weight loss because they are high in fiber, filled with nutrients, and they are low calorie.

Bananas provide lasting energy and are a wonderful source of carbs (sugar). And will keep you going in a workout for many hours!

Bananas are RICH in potassium. What does potassium do? It helps the body’s circulatory system efficiently deliver oxygen to the brain (important!!) – this helps to boost brain power, and help you function much better

Bananas promote BOWEL health – They help with reducing constipation and diarrhea

Bananas contain TRYPTOPHAN – a mood regulating substance that contains a level of protein that helps relax the mind so you feel happier (people suffering from depression feel better after eating bananas)

Bananas help ease menstrual pain! (for the ladies)

Bananas contain B6 which helps to regulate blood glucose levels!

Bananas can help people stop smoking!! B vitamins and other minerals they contain reduce the physical and psychological effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Bananas help to combat morning sickness – calms the nerves.

Banana peels (on the inside) help to relieve bug bites – like mosquito bites (just rub it on your bite).

Bananas help soothe ulcers – they reduce the acidity in the stomach that some foods can leave in the stomach. Since they help to neutralize acidity, they are also a great way to get rid of heartburn. They act as a natural antacid and they quickly soothe the burn.

Bananas help reduce the irritation of the digestive system by leaving a protective coating around the inner walls, making it a natural way to promote intestinal health too!

Bananas are RICH in IRON – If you are anemic, eat lots of bananas! They also help promote hemoglobin production so your blood can clot faster in case of a cut or serious injury.

Bananas can also benefit your garden. Instead of throwing the peels away, banana peels are ideal fertilizer for gardens and soils.

If you have a wart on your foot, wrapping a banana peel around your foot so that the exterior of the peel rubs against the wart will help it go away in a matter of time.

Children who eat healthy diets have a higher IQ, study finds


by Eric Hunter 

(NaturalNews) Children who are breastfed and eat healthy foods during childhood experience better physical development than children who eat poor diets. It has also been speculated that the consumption of quality foods leads to a higher IQ, but few long-term studies have been done until now. Researchers at the University of Adelaide looked at the link between eating habits and IQ.

The study of more than 7,000 children showed that kids who are breastfed and have a healthy diet during the first two years of life, have a slightly better IQ at the age of eight than children who are eating junk foods.

Children who were eating a diet based on legumes, cheese, fruits and vegetables had a two point higher IQ at the age of eight. Kids who ate mostly processed foods and food with a high-carbohydrate density, experienced two points lower IQ.

Although there was only a small difference in IQ, it can be assumed that a more controlled study would have led to significantly better improvements. The healthy children in this study were definitely eating more nutritious foods than the unhealthy group, but they were still consuming a fair amount of typical western foods. Also, the study only looked at the diet at 12 and 24 months, not the remaining six years up until age eight.

It’s well established that children who are breastfed develop a healthier gut flora and better immune system than children who are given formula and ready-prepared baby foods. The research at theUniversity of Adelaide reveals that breastfeeding also can positively affects the IQ of the child.

This study shows that children who consume mostly whole foods during the first years of life have a slightly higher IQ when they grow up. Children who are not eating western foods and base their diet exclusively on organic whole-foods will most likely have an even higher IQ.

Despite our technological advancements and economic expansion; we are getting dumber and dumber because of poor nutrition. Feeding a growing child processed junk foods directly influences the child’s development and should be considered child abuse.

Sources for this article include

Smithers LG, Golley RK, Mittinty MN, et al. Dietary patterns at 6, 15 and 24months of age are associated with IQ at 8years of age.
Eur J Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;27(7):525-35. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120807095740.htm

McDade, T.W., Rutherford J. , Adair, L, et al. Early origins of inflammation: microbial exposures in infancy predict lower levels of C-reactive protein in adulthood
Published online before print December 9, 2009, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1795

About the author:
Eric is the editor of OrganicFitness.com and GutFlora.com. He’s an independent writer with a strong interest in personal health and the power of nature to help us heal. 
His entire adult life he’s been studying the underlying causes of disease and how to accomplish optimal health. He’s mostly writing about the human microbiome, inflammation, gut permeability and other health subjects. 
Eric works as a personal trainer and currently coaches a few dedicated clients on their way to a better physique. He specializes on barbell- , kettlebell- and sprint- training. Subjects like mass building and weight loss are some of his favorites.
Eric believes that lifestyle choices have to be made on an evolutionary basis!


Eric is the editor of OrganicFitness.com and GutFlora.com. He’s an independent writer with a strong interest in personal health and the power of nature to help us heal. His entire adult life he’s been studying the underlying causes of disease and how to accomplish optimal health. He’s mostly writing about the human microbiome, inflammation, gut permeability and other health subjects. Eric works as a personal trainer and currently coaches a few dedicated clients on their way to a better physique. He specializes on barbell- , kettlebell- and sprint- training. Subjects like mass building and weight loss are some of his favorites. Eric believes that lifestyle choices have to be made on an evolutionary basis!
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