Category Archives: natural foods
Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes
(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:
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!
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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:
(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 stimulates the body’s metabolism and can also suppress the absorption of fat. Drinking it daily aids in weight loss.
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.
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.
This white meat is more meat and less fat, making it a good source of meat protein.
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 are a great refreshing and crunchy snack. They are satisfying and low in calories.
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.
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 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 is rich in curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-cancer and antibacterial properties.
This whole grain is a wonderful alternative to other grains. Rich in protein, fiber, copper, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 has probiotics that aid in digestion and keep the colon and intestinal walls healthy.
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.
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:
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 Organic and Natural 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?”
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?”
According to the FDA, “It is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.”
In short, the FDA has not officially defined the term natural. 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: No.
But perhaps a better answer would be: It depends.
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?”
As stated by the FDA, “the term organic refers not only to the food itself, but to how it was processed.” In order to be labeled as “organic,” foods “must be grown and processed using organic farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity.” They can’t use a variety of products such as synthetic pesticides and bioengineered genes; and “organic farm animals must have access to the outdoors and be given no antibiotics or growth hormones; and organic foods may not be irradiated.”
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:
- 100% Organic: Derived from and made with 100% organic ingredients
- Organic: At least 95% of the product uses organic ingredients
- 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, “The quality and quantity of the science applied in this area to date is inadequate. Conclusions cannot be drawn regarding potentially beneficial or adverse nutritional consequences, to the consumer, of increased consumption of organic foods.”
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,“There have been very few scientific studies in which foods grown conventionally have been compared, under comparable and controlled conditions, with those produced organically, in terms of their nutrient composition or their biological effects on animals or human subjects. 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 “a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, and adequate in foods from the other groups, is unequivocally able to maintain and improve health, regardless of its organic or conventional origin.”
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, “The USDA makes no claims that organic food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food, and indeed many organic foods are likely to match their conventional counterparts….”
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, “When a food is described as organic, perceivers erroneously infer that it is lower-calorie and that it can be eaten more frequently.”
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.
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.
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)
Quiz: What are amaranth, emmer, and teff? No, they’re not celebrity baby names. Along with millet, quinoa, and rye, they’re part of a class of food commonly referred to as “ancient grains.” Although they represent some of the oldest plants consumed by humans, for many Americans they’re a new and healthier way to eat.
Ancient grains offer health benefits
While many are true cereal grains, several—such as amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa—actually originate from broadleaf plants. But they offer the same health benefits, such as helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. And when eaten as a whole grain, most are high in fiber.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines, at least half of all grains eaten each day should be “whole”—that means the intact, ground, cracked, or flaked grain. Most of us limit our grains to barley, corn, oats, rice, and wheat, but you can add variety to your diet by including some ancient grains. And it could make it easier to eat the recommended 3 ounces of whole grains daily. Additionally, several varieties are sources of high-quality protein.
Eight widely available ancient grains
Below are listed eight of the more widely available ancient grains, often sold in health-food stores, online, and sometimes at your local grocery store. Most can be found in whole-grain form. (Find tips on eating whole grains here.)
One of the earliest known food plants, it was cultivated by the Aztecs and the Incas (one of the best-known varieties is called Inca wheat). High in protein and a range of nutrients, including calcium, folic acid, magnesium, and potassium, it’s as simple to make as rice. Traditionally eaten as a breakfast porridge, it can also be cooked and added to salads, pancake batter, and soups, or eaten as a side dish.
Despite its name, it’s not a type of wheat, but provides lots of protein as well as calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, and zinc. Native to Southeast Asia, buckwheat is common in Eastern Europe and Asia. The flour is used to make various foods, including pancakes and soba noodles. The grains, or groats, can be tricky to cook, so follow directions carefully. Cooked groats are a great addition to side dishes and salads.
Farro (or emmer)
One of the first crops domesticated in the ancient Near East, whole kernels and flour are full of fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, and zinc. It can be served in salads, side dishes, and baked goods.
One of the earliest cultivated crops, it is a staple in Africa, China, and India. High in magnesium, whole cooked millet can be served as a side dish or added to soups. When popped it can be eaten as a snack. Millet flour can be used in baking.
Grown in the Andean region of South America, this ancient seed was named the “mother of all grains” by the Incas. It provides high levels of complete protein and is rich in iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa may require a thorough rinse before cooking to wash off its naturally bitter coating (called saponin). It cooks in about 15 minutes and can be served as a side dish or added to soups and salads.
Don’t expect this grain to taste like rye bread, which often takes on the distinct flavor of the added caraway seeds. While rye flour is used to make breads and crackers, rye grains can be served hot as a side dish or added to soups and salads. Soaking overnight shortens the cooking time. Rye is high in nutrients, including folic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, and zinc.
Widely popular in Africa, it’s high in fiber, niacin, and phosphorus. In India it is used to make chapatis (a type of flatbread). In the U.S., it’s most often ground into flour and used in baked goods.
Teff (or tef)
One of the tiniest grains, with seeds smaller than a pinhead, it’s high in calcium and vitamin C. In Ethiopia teff is ground into flour and made into a soft, spongy bread called injera. Teff can also be found in cereals and can be sprinkled on salads or added to soup.