Thursday, 31 March 2016

10 Surprising Facts About Pistachios

They may be small, but the puny pistachio packs a nutritional punch.
Here are 10 reasons to go nuts for pistachios:
1. They're nutrient-dense.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database, pistachios provide more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
2. They have as much protein as an egg.
A serving (1 oz or 49 nuts) has 160 calories and 6 grams of protein -- about the same as an egg. 
3. Their shells may help you eat less.
It's true: Preliminary research suggests, but does not prove, that in-shell pistachios may help youreduce calorie consumption. In one study, people who left pistachio shells on their desk lowered their calorie intake by 18 percent compared to participants who discarded shells immediately after consumption. The shells may help remind you of how much you've eaten, so you're less likely to overindulge.
4. They smile.
In China, pistachios are known as the "happy nut" because they look like they're smiling. Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune.
5. They're heart-healthy.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's qualified health claim for nuts: "Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Be sure to check the nutrition information on the back of the package for fat content. 
6. They're grown in the U.S.
While the cultivation of pistachios began in the Middle East thousands of years ago, today more than 550 million pounds of pistachios are grown in California, making the U.S. the second leading producer of pistachios.
7. They'll fill you up, not out.
Pistachios provide fiber and protein to help keep you fuller longer. What's more, they're one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie and highest-protein tree nuts.
8. They're great for cooking and baking.
Pistachios provide a rich, nutty flavor and texture to savory chicken or seafood meals, as well as sweet baked goods and grain-based sides. Here's a great Pistachio Crusted Salmon recipe to try.
9. They'll help you snack smarter.
According to USDA research, about a quarter of daily calories -- 586 for men and 421 for women -- now come from between-meal bites. Pistachios are a healthier alternative to the most popular snacks, including soda, chips, candy and baked goods. 
10. They open on their own.
Pistachios grow in heavy grape-like clusters surrounded by a fleshy hull (they're actually related to mangoes!). When they ripen, the pistachio kernel grows inside until (in most cases) the shell splits open.

10 Health Benefits of Mangos

Mangos taste so good that people forget they are also healthy!  Discover how the “king of fruits” can help you, plus why monkeys eat mango seeds and a few mango cautions and concerns.

Health Benefits
1.  Prevents Cancer: 
Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes.
2.  Lowers Cholesterol: 
The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein (the bad stuff).
3.  Clears the Skin: 
Can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples.
4.  Eye Health: 
One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.
5.  Alkalizes the Whole Body:
The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.
 6. Helps in Diabetes: 
Mango leaves help normalize insulin levels in the blood. The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not spike your sugar levels.
7. Improved Sex: 
Mangos are a great source of vitamin E. Even though the popular connection between sex drive and vitamin E was originally created by a mistaken generalization on rat studies, further research has shown balanced proper amounts (from whole foods) does help . 
8. Improves Digestion: 
Papayas are not the only fruit that contain enzymes for breaking down protein. There are several fruits, including mangoes, which have this healthful quality. The fiber in mangos also helps digestion and elimination.
9. Remedy for Heat Stroke
Juicing the fruit from green mango and mixing with water and a sweetener helps to cool down the body and prevent harm to the body. From an ayurvedic viewpoint, the reason people often get diuretic and exhausted when visiting equatorial climates is because the strong “sun energy” is burning up your body, particularly the muscles.  The kidneys then become overloaded with the toxins from this process.
10. Boosts Immune system 
The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mangos, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids keep your immune system healthy and strong.

Nutrition by the Numbers
One cup (225 grams contain) contains the following. Percentages apply to daily value.
  • 105 calories
  • 76 percent vitamin C (antioxidant and immune booster)
  • 25 percent vitamin A  (antioxidant and vision)
  • 11 percent vitamin B6 plus other B vitamins (hormone production in brain and heart disease prevention)
  • 9 percent healthy probiotic fiber
  • 9 percent copper (copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes plus production of red blood cells)
  • 7 percent potassium (to balance out our high sodium intake)
  • 4 percent magnesium

How to Prepare a Raw Mango For Fancy and Practical Eating
1. Hold the mango on its side and cut down on either side of the central seed. You will end with two big “halves” plus the central seed.
2. Place each half on the cutting board with peel facing down and cut the exposed flesh in a horizontal and vertical pattern, taking care not to cut too deep through the skin.
3. Then invert the whole half to push out the cubes as shown in the photo above.
Mangos for the Skin:

Just blending up the mango and applying to the face is fast and easy. Mangos contain beta-carotene, which is converted by your body to vitamin A. That and vitamin C are crucial to skin self-repair.
This Mango Mud Mask has all the benefits of mango plus the exfoliating benefits of oatmeal and almonds.
When eaten, mangos can aid skin problems, including pimples. Extract the large pit or seed from green mangos. You can eat this seed raw or cooked, or try a recipe like this Cucumber-Mint-Mango Lightness.
Do Monkeys Know Something We Don’t?
Monkeys eat the seed from the green mango, which Ayurvedic healers suggest gives the monkey its energy and powerful strength to jump in the tress.
  1. If you have a latex allergy, a reaction is possible with mangos, particularly green mangos. This reaction develops because of anacardic acid.
  2. Mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac which can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
  3. Mangos are ripened by some dealers using calcium carbide, which can cause serious health problems (one more reason to buy organic).  If you do have inorganic mangos, wash them properly before consuming or soak overnight in water. 

Best & Worst Foods for Gallbladder Disease

Over half a million gallbladders are removed annually in the U.S. Gallbladder disease is a serious condition. If you suspect that you are having a gallbladder attack and are in severe gallbladder pain, especially if you also have a fever, consult your doctor immediately or go straight to the emergency room. This post may serve to help you know the symptoms in advance and take precautions so a gallbladder attack might be avoided.
Remember no one, neither an MD nor a holistic practitioner, ever cures us of anything. Natural therapies simply provide the building blocks to help the body heal itself. Western medicine is great for emergencies, however, it falls short when it comes to chronic disease as it does not offer a forensic look at what led to the disease state in the first place, such as improper diet and nutritional deficiencies, unhealthy choices, such as smoking and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs and a stressful lifestyle.
What we find in western medicine is a one size fits all model and its goal is to make symptoms go away. This is kind of like pulling the fuse when the engine warning light goes off. We don’t really want to just make symptoms go away, we want to get to the root or underlying cause of our “dis-ease” state. 
With gallbladder disease, both western medicine and holistic alternatives can come together and provide the tools for actual healing. If a gallbladder removal surgery can be avoided by making some changes, for example in your diet, wouldn’t that be the best possible outcome? Or what if symptoms persist after gallbladder removal, which often happens? This is a clear sign that the underlying cause of problem has not been resolved.
The diagnostic tool of choice for gallbladder disease is usually an ultrasound scan. Ask your doctor for a copy of the scan results so you can get a second opinion. Explain to your doctor that you wish to use nutrition and nutritional supplementation as adjunct therapy and would like your progress monitored carefully. He or she might welcome learning about this. One of my own MDs was so impressed with Oriental Medicine and acupuncture that he took two years off from his own practice to become trained in it and now incorporates it into his practice. His entire paradigm shifted as a result of this exploration.
With your medical diagnosis in hand and blessing from your doctor, the first and perhaps most important rule to follow from now on is to eat a variety of fresh organic, raw and lightly steamed green vegetables, good fats (like avocados) and exclude sugars, and all processed and refined foods. It was most likely food choices that caused the gallbladder dis-ease in the first place.
Foods to avoid for general gallbladder disease:
  • Eggs (Research showed that eggs have caused symptoms in up to 95 percent of patients. We don’t know if the eggs used in this research were factory-farmed or the better choice of free range and organic, but this is always the problem with clinical trials and tests.
  • Pork
  • Fowl (turkey, chicken and again we assume the culprits are factory farmed, but again let’s err on the side of caution and avoid these foods for now)
  • Dairy (pasteurized) milk, cheese and cream. (I personally have found raw dairy to not be a problem, but again we are all different and have different philosophies, so proceed with caution)
  • Gluten and grains in general such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, etc.
  • Corn
  • Coffee, regular or decaf
  • Oranges, grapefruit
  • Nuts
  • Trans fats, Hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils
  • Margarine
  • Fried Foods
  • Saturated fats (it’s best to even avoid my favorite fat for just about everything, coconut oil until feeling better)
  • Red meats
  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Black tea
  • Alcohol, beer, wine, liqueur
  • Fruit juice
  • Carbonated water
  • Tap water
  • Turnips
  • Cabbage, cauliflower
  • Colas and all sodas
  • Oats (for some people)
  • Avoid all artificial sweeteners, sugar, preservatives, refined and bleached foods (like white flour)
  • Avoid smoking as it can exacerbate the symptoms
  • Avoid all possible food allergens
Are there foods good for our gallbladder? tell us that these dietary suggestions are not the food bible because we are all so different. You can try the foods on the next list, one a time, to determine what you can tolerate. Then take a look at the list above and experiment cautiously with what you may be able to introduce again without having a relapse.
Foods to try if you have gallbladder disease:
Organic and locally grown foods from the list below are wonderful raw or lightly steamed, especially the green vegetables. Don’t forget, we must include good fats (like avocados) too.
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans – not the same as dried beans
  • Okra
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Vinegars – all types
  • Garlic and onions help with liver cleansing but not processed types like flakes or powder. But some people have trouble digesting them so pay attention to what your own body tells you!
  • Shallots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cold water fish – salmon, trout
  • Lemons (lemon juice in the morning with hot water helps to clean the liver)
  • Grapes and fresh organic grape juice
  • Apples, berries, papaya, pears
  • Oils like flax or hemp should be used for salad dressing with fresh lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Vegetable juices – beet and cucumber are especially helpful to gallbladder. You can add other green vegetables like swiss chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, celery, carrots, (avoid the cabbage family)
  • Use baby mixed organic greens for salads just avoid the bitter greens for now.
  • Soluble and insoluble fiber found in fruits, vegetables and guar gum are also beneficial.
When gallbladder disease is suspected or has been confirmed, again it is critical to avoid fried foods, fatty foods and particular types of fats like trans fats, hydrogenated fats, partially-hydrogenated fats (read your labels) and saturated fats. 

5 Foods You Didn’t Know Contain Car Wax

Called the “Queen of Waxes,”carnauba wax comes from the leaves of the tropical palm, Copernicia prunifera (copernica cerifera), native to Brazil. It is a complex mixture of aliphatic (waxy) esters, hydroxyl esters and cinnamic aliphatic diesters, along with free acids, free alcohols, hydrocarbons and resins.
Carnauba wax forms on the fronds of the trees and is recovered by cutting and drying the fronds, then mechanically removing the wax. Impurities are removed from the wax by melting and filtering, or centrifuging.
It is also used in shoe polishes, furniture polish, automobile wax, and a coating for dental floss. Carnauba wax is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry to coats pills, and make tablets easier for patients to swallow. The coating adheres because the wax is insoluble in water. It is also the hardest of the commercial vegetable waxes.
Carnauba wax is used in the cosmetic industry in mascara and eye liner.   
Safety Issues
The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) reaffirmed the safety of carnauba waxat current usage levels, with its toxicity within the margins generally classified as No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs). Their Scientific Opinion states: “The panel considered that carnauba wax would be predicted to not be significantly absorbed from the diet and that if hydrolyzed its main constituents could be absorbed and incorporated into normal cellular metabolic pathways. Based on the available data nd the lack of structural alerts on carnauba wax it was concluded that there is no concern for genotoxicity for carnauba wax. Subchronic and reproductive and developmental toxicity studies did not show adverse effects related to carnauba wax intake. No chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity studies were available on carnauba wax.” No data was obtained with respect to allergenicity, hypersensitivity, or intolerance. The ESFA concluded, “Overall the Panel concluded that long-term toxicity data on carnauba wax were lacking and therefore did not establish and ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake).”  
And yet, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for carnauba wax lists the product as “Very hazardous in case of ingestion”. No doubt this was determined for lab ratswho ingested substantial quantities of carnauba wax. But note that data for carcinogenic effects, mutagenic effects, teratogenic effects and developmental toxicity are listed in Section 3 as “Not available.”

5 Foods You Didn’t Know Contain Car Wax

  • Apples. Foods commonly waxed include: apples, oranges, tangerines, lemons, peaches, bananas, melons, avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, turnips, cassava and potatoes. Waxes are typically applied by dipping, brushing or spraying the produce. This practice is very common, especially in supermarkets. Thin layer of wax is coated on apples, either by dipping, brushing or spraying with waxes like Carnauba. This wax is not digested, but is passed out through the digestive system.
  • Peeps. Interesting enough, when a group of Emory scientists put Peeps through a destructibility test, only the chicks’ brown carnauba wax eyessurvived a bath in Phenol, a protein-dissolving lethal solvent.
  • Haribo Gummy Candy
  • Reese’s Pieces.   
  • Skittles

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Hillary Clinton’s “tone”-gate disaster: Why her campaign’s condescending Bernie dismissal should concern Democrats everywhere If the Clinton campaign can't deal with Bernie's "tone," how are they supposed to handle someone like Donald Trump?

During a CNN interview on Monday, Hillary Clinton’s Chief Strategist Joel Benenson responded to a question about whether Clinton would participate in a Democratic debate in New York — as the Sanders campaign has requested — in such a condescending way, that he unintentionally managed to break the internet.
“I think the real question is what kind of campaign is Senator Sanders going to run going forward,” opined Benenson. “Senator Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very negative campaign against us. Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates.”
Shortly after Benenson’s patronizing comments, the Twitter hashtag #ToneDownForWhat began to trend, and the internet fittingly derided the strategist and Clinton, who just eight years ago said that “you should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere” while running for president. One can only assume that Benenson — who has consulted for various Wall Street firms — was alluding to the Sanders campaign’s criticism of Clinton’s financial ties to Wall Street and its insistence that she release transcripts from her Goldman Sachs speeches.
(He certainly couldn’t mean Sanders’s targeting of Clinton for her email scandal and ongoing FBI investigation, or for running direct attack ads, which the Senator has refused to do).
This has become a regular strategy for the Clinton campaign, consistently attacking the Sanders campaign for being “negative,” while itself running a dishonest and petty campaign, from the misleading attack on Sanders’ healthcare plan to Clinton’s deceptive auto-bailout remark to the malicious attempts to smear Sanders as a racist. (“Black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders,” said Clinton surrogate David Brock in January.)
Needless to say, if the Clinton camp thinks that the Sanders campaign is being negative, wait until they face Donald Trump. This kind of touchiness about Sanders stating inconvenient truths (like her $225,000 speeches for Goldman Sachs) should worry any Democrat about the general election, when a Republican challenger, most likely Trump, will be going after Clinton on everything from the email scandal to the Clinton foundation to her deep ties to Wall Street and other industries. If Trump has proven anything over the past year, it’s that nothing — absolutely nothing — is off limits (this includes all the scandals from the ’90s, from Whitewater to Travelgate to Monica Lewinsky).
Clinton has proven over the past months that she is not a natural-born politician. (She even said it herself.) And for someone with her political baggage, this is concerning. On Wall Street criticisms, for example, Clinton’s retorts have been impressively clumsy, from her reference to 9/11 at the first debate (“I represented Wall Street as a Senator from New York”) to her dismissive “thats what they offered” reply about her Goldman Sachs speeches.
Wall Street and other big money political connections have been where Sanders has criticized Clinton the most, but he has essentially refused to truly go negative. Most notably, he has declined to go after her “damn emails” and the FBI investigation that looms over her campaign. And whoever thinks this scandal won’t haunt Clinton in the general isn’t paying attention. It was recently revealed that 147 FBI agents are currently on the email probe, and an investigative report from Washington Post paints a surprisingly negligent Clinton and team.
“From the earliest days, Clinton aides and senior officials focused intently on accommodating the secretary’s desire to use her private email account, documents and interviews show,” writes Post reporter Robert O’Harrow Jr. “Throughout, they paid insufficient attention to laws and regulations governing the handling of classified material and the preservation of government records, interviews and documents show. They also neglected repeated warnings about the security of the BlackBerry while Clinton and her closest aides took obvious security risks in using the basement server. Senior officials who helped Clinton with her BlackBerry claim they did not know details of the basement server.”
Trump will have a field day with Clinton’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, the speeches, the big money donations, and all of the other right-wing conspiracy theories that a significant percentage of Americans continue to believe after all these years.
Now, the good news for Clinton, if she does face Trump, is that he has the worst general population favorability ratings of any presidential candidate in recent history. His divisiveness is legendary, and he has run one of the most sexist, racist, xenophobic, and just plain vile campaigns in modern American politics. But this is somewhat offset by the fact that Clinton has the second worst favorability rating of any presidential candidate in recent history. According to a new CBS/New York Times poll, Trump has a negative 33 rating (24% positive/57% negative), compared to Clinton’s somewhat better net negative of 21 (31% positive/52% negative).

Google To Begin Alerting Users if Gmail Account is Targeted by Government

As privacy advocates celebrate the FBI’s decision to stop harassing Apple over the San Bernardino shooter’s encrypted iPhone, other tech giants seem to have finally noticed that what consumers want is privacy. But for privacy to prevail, the government must stop snooping.
With that idea in mind, Google decided to change how the game is played.
In an official Google blog update detailing new security measures for Gmail, the tech giant announced it would begin alerting consumers whenever the firm detects an account is being targeted — or rather, hacked — by government agencies or their proxies. While the company believes less than 0.1 percent of Gmail users will receive this type of warning, the idea that a tech giant is going to these lengths to give users peace of mind and privacy should give advocacy groups across the country reason to continue celebrating.
Google opened its official statement by announcing the company has a “variety of new protections” in store “that will help keep Gmail users even safer.” The idea, Google added, is to “promote email security best practices across the Internet as a whole.” As one of these efforts, Google announced improvements to its “state-sponsored attack warnings,” a system that has been in place since 2012, when Google began warning Gmail users when their accounts were being targeted by attackers tied to the government.
While these “warnings are rare,” Google noted, “we’re launching a new, full-page warning with instructions about how these users can stay safe.”  The blog pointed out that “the users that receive these warnings are often activists, journalists, and policy-makers taking bold stands around the world.”
Enhancing its warning system is not the only thing Google is doing to keep users safe. According to the tech giant, its “safe browsing” notifications will also be expanded to warn users beforehand that a link they are about to open appears suspicious.
Google will also improve its email encryption securities by partnering with Comcast, Yahoo, and Microsoft.
From BGR:
Google wants to further improve email encryption, and the company partnered up with Comcast, Microsoft and Yahoo to submit a draft IETF [Internet Engineering Task Force] specification for ‘SMTP Strict Transport Security.’ Essentially, Google and its partners want to make sure that encrypted email stays encrypted along its entire path from sender to recipient.
This idea was originally explored by Google on Safer Internet Day, the day the California company introduced a new tool giving Gmail users a visual warning whenever they receive a message that hasn’t been delivered using encryption. The warning is also displayed whenever a user is about to send an email to an account whose email service provider doesn’t support TLS encryption.
While this step had a positive effect, as Google reported on its blog announcement, the company decided to go even further by partnering with other companies in order to develop a new IETF specification standard. This is intended to help companies “ensure that mail will only be delivered through encrypted channels, and that any encryption failures should be reported for further analysis, helping shine the spotlight on any malfeasance occurring around the Internet.”

Barack Obama: 'drug addiction is a health problem, not a criminal problem'

Barack Obama committed Tuesday to take on America’s growing heroin and prescription opioid epidemic by devoting resources to prevention and treatment, rather than to the “war on drugs” policies of the last few decades.
“For too long we’ve viewed drug addiction through the lens of criminal justice,” Obama said at a conference in Atlanta. “The most important thing to do is reduce demand. And the only way to do that is to provide treatment – to see it as a public health problem and not a criminal problem.”
The president said he hoped his participation in the panel – part of the “National Prescription Drug Abuse Heroin Summit” this week – would draw attention to the shift in approach, exemplified by a series of efforts aiming $116m at treatment that the administration laid out earlier in the day.
“When I show up, usually cameras do too,” Obama said. “My hope is that it provides a greater spotlight to help solve this problem.”
CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, who moderated the discussion, said the aim of the panel was to “focus on a path forward – on solutions” to the epidemic, which claimed 28,647 lives in 2014, a four-fold increase in opioid overdoses since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Others in the panel included Crystal Oertle and Justin Luke Riley, two recovering addicts who now help others, and Baltimore health commissioner Leana Wen. Obama referred to fixes needed in insurance, healthcare, and federal and state governments to stem the increase in addiction, which he said would not only help addicts but save the societal costs of their addiction.
Oertle recounted using heroin in the bathroom while her two children were at school. Wen told a story of sending an addict back to the streets when treatment was unavailable, only to see him later die of an overdose in the emergency room.
Wen said that care for addicts is currently often unavailable. “One of the worst realizations as a doctor is that you can’t help someone … it’s inhumane and ineffective,” she said.
Oertle said her recovery depends on buprenorphine, a drug that combats opiate addiction, counseling, and helping others. 
Obama’s plan introduced earlier in the day includes a proposed Health and Human Services Department (HHS) rule that would allow qualified doctors to increase the number of patients to whom they can prescribe buprenorphine from 100 to 200.
It also touted $94m in “new funding” that the department of health and human services released earlier this month, so that 271 community health centers could expand “medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved communities.” This funding could result in the centers treating 124,000 new patients, according to the White House. The plan also included $11m for states to distribute naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.
Obama also highlighted a nearly completed HHS rule that would treat substance abuse and mental health services like medical and surgical benefits under Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs. The White House said this could affect more than 23 million people.
Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, said the increased focus on helping addicts rather than interdicting drugs and incarcerating dealers continues Obama’s commitment to “doing more than previous administrations to roll back the war on drugs.”
Obama’s plan “build(s) on” his call last month for an additional $1.1bn in congressional funding to fight the growing public health problem, according to the White House.
But Obama made clear in his remarks to the panel that “those $1.1bn are still not allocated. Until the money comes through it’s just an idea”. He warned: “If we don’t invest in this, we’re going to keep on being penny wise and pound foolish.”
He said addiction has historically not been viewed as a public health problem, in part because it was viewed as affecting “the poor and minorities”.