Pages

Thursday, 13 December 2018

The Proven Foods that Lower Colon Cancer Risk

Cancer rates have been skyrocketing for decades so it may not come as a surprise that 15.5 million people with a history of or existing cancer were living in the United States as of January 1, 2016. While it might not be surprising, it is an alarming number of people. Colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon or rectum, is the third leading cause of deaths linked to cancer. Anything that might help reduce the incidence, prevent or treat colorectal cancer is certainly welcome. Fortunately, new research found that flax oil could significantly cut colon cancer risk.
According to the study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, found that increasing intake of a particular type of Omega 3 fatty acid, known as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), which is primarily found in fatty fish, can help with the prevention of colon cancer. The researchers explored the effects of taking aspirin and supplementing the diet with EPA.
Seven hundred and nine people were recruited to participate in the study through 53 British hospitals. The participants were divided into four groups: the first group received 300 milligrams of aspirin only on a daily basis for a year, the second group received 2000 milligrams of EPA supplements only for a year, the third group received both aspirin and EPA, and the fourth group were given placebo pills. 
Since colon cancer often starts with polyps, or abnormal growths of tissue, in the colon, the researchers assessed the number of polyps each group had before and after treatment. They found that those who took aspirin had 22 percent fewer polyps, those who took EPA supplements had 9 percent fewer polyps, and those who took both had 25 percent fewer polyps, making the combination particularly effective in reducing polyps and the potential risk of colon cancer.
That’s good news for those already suffering from the disease and the more than 97,000people that are estimated to be diagnosed with colon cancer and over 43,000 people that are estimated to be diagnosed with rectal cancer this year alone, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
It’s important to consider that while aspirin has shown some anti-cancer benefit, it has some disadvantages too. Regular intake can cause an increased loss of folic acid in urine. Since this B vitamin is necessary to help us deal with stress and to keep our immune system strong, it may be beneficial to supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
Ongoing aspirin use has been linked to gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding that can also result in a loss of iron from the body.  If continued over the long-term, iron-deficiency anemia can result.  Women, particularly those during the menstrual years, may need to supplement with iron; however, iron levels should be tested by your doctor prior to considering supplementation.
Those with heart disease may also find that aspirin depletes their vitamin B12 stores. Since this crucial vitamin is essential for memory, nervous system function, balanced moods and energy, it may be wise to supplement with vitamin B12 if you are taking aspirin on a daily basis.
While there are three main types of Omega 3 fatty acids, including: alpha linolenic acid (or ALAs, which are found in many plant foods like flaxseed oil), docosahexanoic acid (or DHA which is primarily found in fish and seafood) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA, which is primarily found in fish and seafood), the study results were achieved with EPA supplements. The best food sources of EPAs are fatty fish like wild salmon, tuna and mackerel.

The Effect of Animal Protein on Stress Hormones, Testosterone and Pregnancy

Are high-protein diets during pregnancy healthful or harmful? That question was answered about 40 years ago in the infamous Harlem Trial of 1976: a “randomized controlled trial of nutritional supplementation pregnancy, in a poor black urban population in the United States.” The study, which I discuss in my video below “was begun when protein was commonly assumed to be deficient in the diet of the poor.” Had researchers actually analyzed their diets before they started, they would have realized that this wasn’t true, but why let facts get in the way of assumptions?

So, the researchers split poor black pregnant women into three groups, each receiving one of the following treatments: (1) an extra 40 grams of animal protein a day, which is essentially a couple cans of Ensure, (2) an extra 6 grams of animal protein, or (3) no extra protein. Then they sat back and watched what happened. The high-protein group suffered “an excess of very early premature births and associated neonatal [infant] deaths, and there was significant growth retardation” in the babies who survived. More protein meant more prematurity, more deaths, and more growth retardation.

What’s more, animal protein intake during pregnancy has been associated with children becoming overweight later in life and getting high blood pressure. The “offspring of mothers who reported eating more meat and fish had higher systolic blood pressure” in adulthood. This was part of another failed dietary intervention trial in which mothers were advised to eat a pound of meat a day. The increased weight gain and high blood pressure may be due to the obesity-causing chemical pollutants in the meat supply, or the animal protein-induced rise in the growth hormone IGF-1. Or, it could be due to a steroid stress hormone called cortisol.


A single meal high in animal protein can nearly double the level of the stress hormone in the blood within a half hour of consumption, much more than a meal closer to the recommended level of protein. When subjects are given a meal of crab, tuna fish, and cottage cheese, the stress hormone level shoots up. If they’re instead given some barley soup and a vegetable stir-fry on rice, the stress hormone level goes down after the meal. Imagine eating meat-fish-dairy meals day after day. Doing so “may chronically stimulate” our stress response axis “and increase the release of vasoactive hormones” that could increase our blood pressure. And, all that extra cortisol release has been linked to increased risk for elevated blood levels of insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

When men on a high-protein diet, “such as meat, fish, poultry, egg white,” were switched to a high-carb diet of bread, vegetables, fruit, and sugary junk, their cortisol levels dropped about a quarter within 10 days. At the same time, their testosterone levels shot up by about the same amount. High-protein diets suppress testosterone. That is why, if men eating plant-based diets begin to eat meat every day, their testosterone levels go down and some estrogens actually go up, and that’s why bodybuilders can get such low testosterone levels. It’s not the steroids they’re taking. If you look at natural bodybuilders who don’t use steroids, there is a 75 percent drop in testosterone levels in the months leading up to a competition. Testosterone levels were cut by more than half, which is enough to drop a guy into an abnormally low range. It’s ironic that they’re eating protein to look “manly” on the outside, but it can make them less and less “manly” on the inside. And, from an obesity standpoint, in general, a drop in testosterone levels may increase the risk of gaining weight and body fat. What does cortisol have to do with weight?

There’s actually a disease caused by having too much cortisol, called Cushing’s syndrome, which can increase abdominal obesity. Even in normal women, though, chronic stress and chronic high cortisol levels can contribute to obesity. What’s more, if they’re pregnant, high-meat and low-carb diets may increase cortisol levels in the moms, which can lead to inappropriate fetal exposure to cortisol, which, in turn, can affect the developing fetus, resetting her or his whole stress response thermostat and leading to higher cortisol levels in later adult life. This can have serious, life-long health consequences. Every maternal daily portion of meat and fish was associated with 5 percent higher cortisol levels in their children as much as 30 years later, though green vegetable consumption was found to be protective. Higher meat consumption, such as three servings a day compared to one or two, was associated with significantly higher cortisol levels, but eating greens every day appeared to blunt some of that excess stress response.

As well, the adult children of mothers who ate a lot of meat during pregnancy don’t only have higher stress hormone levels, they also appear to react more negatively to whatever life throws at them. Researchers put them through the Trier Test, which involves public speaking in front of a panel of judges, following by a live math exercise. You can see in my video at 5:36 a chart comparing the stress hormone responses in those whose moms ate less than two servings of meat per day, about two servings a day, or about two to three servings a day. Note that before the test started, the cortisol levels of the two groups eating less meat started out about the same, but their exaggerated cortisol response was laid bare when exposed to a stressful situation. The real-world effects of this are that after that sort of test, when people are given their own private snack buffet with fruits and veggies versus fatty, sugary, comfort foods like chocolate cake, guess who may eat less of the fruits and veggies? Those who have high chronic stress levels. “Cortisol has been implicated as a factor in motivating food intake” even when we aren’t really hungry.

It’s no surprise then that a woman’s animal protein intake during pregnancy may lead to larger weight gain for her children later in life—and maybe even for her grandchildren. “Remarkably, recent evidence suggests that the long-term consequences of adverse conditions during early development may not be limited to one generation, but may lead to poor health in the generations to follow, even if these individuals develop in normal conditions themselves.” Indeed, the diet of a pregnant mother may affect the development and disease risk of her children and even her grandchildren. Ultimately, these findings may shed light on our rapidly expanding epidemics of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

9 Secrets of Healthy Eaters

Ever looked at an unwavering healthy eater and wondered, “What’s your secret?” Maintaining a healthy diet is a lifestyle — but it’s one that’s open to everybody. So where should you begin? Here are nine common habits of healthy eaters.

1. VARY YOUR DIET

A healthy diet is a varied diet. And healthy eaters know the importance of switching things up to get all the nutrients they need — and to keep their taste buds entertained. “Not all the nutrients and other substances in foods that contribute to good health have been identified, so eating a wide assortment of foods helps ensure that you get all of the disease-fighting potential that foods offer,” according to Berkeley Wellness. “In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in a particular food.”

2. PLAN MEALS

Meal planning can make all the difference when it comes to eating healthy. Filling your home with plenty of nutritious options — especially ones that are ready to eat — can prevent you from impulsively reaching for junk food. “Make a weekly meal plan, eat most meals at home, and think about your entire day when making food choices,” Food Network recommends. “You will save time, money and a whole bunch of calories.”

3. EAT BREAKFAST 

When healthy eaters plan their meals, there’s one they definitely don’t skip: breakfast. “Research indicates that eating breakfast every day helps with weight loss and weight maintenance by reducing hunger later in the day,” according to Mayo Clinic. “When you break the overnight fast with a healthy breakfast, it’s easier to resist unhealthy choices during the day.” Even if you don’t love big breakfasts, try to include at least two food groups in your meal to set your body off to a healthy start for the day.

4. DRINK LOTS OF WATER

We hear it all the time: Are you drinking enough water? Besides being critical for your entire body to function properly, water can be your secret weapon for maintaining a healthy diet. “Sometimes thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger,” according to Mayo Clinic. “Check in with your body when you feel hungry, especially later in the day. Drinking a glass of water before eating can satisfy thirst and keep you from eating unnecessary calories.” The amount of water you need depends on several factors — age, weight, health, weather, exercise, etc. And remember some of your water intake does come from the hydrating foods you eat.

5. WATCH OUT FOR LIQUID CALORIES

Water is crucial for a healthy diet, but other beverages can do more harm than good. “Beverages supply more than 20 percent of the calories in the average American’s diet,” according to Berkeley Wellness. Some of those beverages do offer health benefits, including milk and natural fruit juices (though eating the whole fruit is the healthier choice). But other drinks, such as soda and alcohol, are just empty calories. And because it’s easy to forget to count liquid calories, it’s important to limit these beverages in your diet.

6. READ THE INGREDIENTS LIST 

In a world full of unpronounceable ingredients, it takes effort to maintain a healthy diet. But the best thing you can do is know exactly what you’re putting in your body. “Eat foods that contain only ingredients that you can easily identify and foods with just a few ingredients,” Mayo Clinic says. “Eating more ‘real food’ will help you cut out processed food, such as chips, cookies and frozen meals.” Plus, it’s important to know the correct serving size — even when it comes to some healthy foods. For instance, you don’t want to snack on a whole bag of almonds when a handful is the proper portion.

7. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

If you really want to be certain about what’s in your food, you always could grow it yourself. “Any food you can grow on your own is better for your health and the health of the environment,” Food Network says. “Whether it’s a few pots of herbs or a full-blown veggie garden, get your hands a little dirty and start growing your own food.” Because home gardeners primarily grow healthy foods — and not, say, a potato chip plant — they’re more likely to construct nutritious meals using these ingredients. And the satisfaction of taking greater ownership over your food can help motivate you to keep on that healthy path.

8. BE PICKY

Sometimes you have to speak up and advocate for your healthy diet. For instance, when eating at a restaurant make sure you’re aware of everything that goes into your meal. “Ask your server how foods are prepared and choose menu items that are baked, broiled, roasted, seared, poached or steamed,” Mayo Clinic suggests. “Also make sure to ask for sauces or dressings on the side, and look for vegetables or fruit as side options instead of french fries.” Restaurants often can accommodate certain dietary needs if you just ask. So find a way to be picky, but polite, to avoid putting something you don’t want into your body.

9. ENJOY YOUR FOOD 

Healthy eating should never be synonymous with deprivation. In fact, the real secret to maintaining a nutritious diet is enjoying it. Practice mindful eating by slowing down to savor each bite. “It takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to register the chemicals that let you know when you are no longer hungry,” according to Mayo Clinic. “Slowing down helps your brain catch up to how full you’re feeling.” And don’t torture yourself if you indulge in something unhealthy. Instead, focus more on adding in good foods rather than cutting out the junk for a truly satisfying healthy diet.

Top 14 Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli is a green vegetable that vaguely resembles a miniature tree. It belongs to the plant species known as Brassica oleracea.
It’s closely related to cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower — all edible plants collectively referred to as cruciferous vegetables.
There are three main varieties of broccoli:
  • Calabrese broccoli
  • Sprouting broccoli
  • Purple cauliflower — despite its name a type of broccoli
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Here are the top 14 health benefits of broccoli.
Share on Pinterest1. Packed With Vitamins, Minerals and Bioactive Compounds
One of broccoli’s biggest advantages is its nutrient content. It’s loaded with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other bioactive compounds.
One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli packs (1):
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Protein: 2.6 gram
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 135% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 116% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 14% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 6% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 3% of the RDI
Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw — both are perfectly healthy but provide different nutrient profiles.
Different cooking methods, such as boiling, microwaving, stir-frying and steaming, alter the vegetable’s nutrient composition, particularly reducing vitamin C, as well as soluble protein and sugar. Steaming appears to have the fewest negative effects (2).
Still, raw or cooked, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C. Just half a cup (78 grams) of cooked broccoli provides 84% of the reference daily intake (RDI) — more than one-half orange can offer (34).
SUMMARYBroccoli is a rich source of multiple vitamins, minerals and fiber. Different cooking methods may affect the vegetable’s nutrient composition, but broccoli is a healthy addition to your diet whether cooked or raw.

2. Contains Potent Antioxidants That Offer Health-Protective Effects

The antioxidant content of broccoli may be one of its main boons for human health (5).
Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit or neutralize cell damage caused by free radicals. This can lead to reduced inflammation and an overall health-protective effect.
Broccoli has high levels of glucoraphanin, a compound that is converted into a potent antioxidant called sulforaphane during digestion (6).
Test-tube and animal studies indicate that sulforaphane may offer multiple health benefits, including reduced blood sugar, cholesterol levels, oxidative stress and chronic disease development. However, more research is needed to understand its role in humans (7).
Broccoli also contains measurable amounts of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eyes (8).
SUMMARYBroccoli contains multiple potent antioxidants that may support healthy cells and tissues throughout your body.

3. Bioactive Compounds May Contribute to Reduced Inflammation

Broccoli contains various bioactive compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammationin your body’s tissues.
It’s theorized that multiple compounds work synergistically to support this effect, though some seem to work individually as well (5).
Kaempferol, a flavonoid in broccoli, demonstrates strong anti-inflammatory capacity in both animal and test-tube studies (910).
A small human study in tobacco smokers also revealed that eating broccoli led to a significant reduction in markers of inflammation (11).
While these results are promising, more research is needed to better understand how broccoli consumption affects inflammation in humans.
SUMMARYBroccoli contains several bioactive compounds that demonstrate an anti-inflammatory effect in animal and test-tube studies. However, more human research is needed.

4. May Protect Against Certain Types of Cancer

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain various bioactive compounds that may reduce cell damage caused by certain chronic diseases (12).
Multiple small studies have shown that eating cruciferous vegetables may protect against certain types of cancer, namely:
  • Breast (13)
  • Prostate (14)
  • Gastric/stomach (15)
  • Colorectal (16)
  • Renal/kidney (17)
  • Bladder (18)
Though this data is encouraging, it isn’t strong enough to make definitive health claims regarding broccoli’s role in cancer treatment or prevention.
Ultimately, more human research is needed to determine the relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention.
SUMMARYMultiple studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, may have a cancer-preventative effect, though more research is needed.

5. Antioxidants and Fiber May Aid Blood Sugar Control

Eating broccoli may support better blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, it may be related to broccoli’s antioxidant content (19).
One human study showed significantly decreased insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who consumed broccoli sprouts daily for one month (19).
Interestingly, an animal study revealed decreased blood sugar in addition to reduced pancreatic cell damage in diabetic rats fed broccoli extract (20).
Broccoli is also a good source of fiber. Some research indicates that higher intake of dietary fiber is associated with lower blood sugar and improved diabetic control (2122).
SUMMARYEating broccoli may lower blood sugar and improve diabetic control. This is likely related to its antioxidant and fiber content.

6. May Support Heart Health in a Variety of Ways

Several studies indicate that broccoli may support heart health in a variety of ways.
Elevated “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are known to be major risk factors for heart disease. Broccoli may play a role in improving these markers.
One study noticed significantly reduced triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels in people who were treated with a powdered broccoli sprout supplement (23).
Some research also supports the notion that specific antioxidants in broccoli may reduce your overall risk of heart attack (7).
A study in mice fed broccoli sprouts revealed a potentially protective effect against cell death and oxidative stress in heart tissue following a cardiac arrest (24).
Additionally, higher intake of fiber-rich foods like broccoli is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease (25).
SUMMARYResearch indicates that broccoli may help reduce various heart disease risk factors and prevent heart tissue damage.

7. Promotes Healthy Digestion and Reduced Constipation

Broccoli is rich in fiber and antioxidants — both of which may support healthy bowel function and digestive health.
Bowel regularity and a strong community of healthy bacteria within your colon are two vital components to digestive health. Eating fiber- and antioxidant-rich foods like broccoli may play a role in maintaining healthy gut function (262728).
A study in mice on a broccoli diet found reduced levels of inflammation in the colon, as well as favorable changes in gut bacteria (29).
A recent human study indicated that people who ate broccoli were able to defecate more easily than individuals in the control group (30).
Though these results are promising, more human research is needed to better understand how broccoli affects digestive health.
SUMMARYEating broccoli may support bowel regularity and healthy gut bacteria, though more research is needed.

8. May Slow Mental Decline and Support Healthy Brain Function

Some of the nutrients and bioactive compounds in broccoli may slow mental decline and support healthy brain and nervous tissue function.
A study in 960 older adults revealed that one serving per day of dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, may help resist mental decline associated with aging (31).
Additionally, an animal study showed that mice treated with kaempferol — a compound in broccoli — had lowered incidence of brain injury and reduced inflammation of neural tissue following a stroke-like event (32).
Sulforaphane is another potent bioactive compound present in broccoli with the potential to support brain function after an event of reduced oxygenation to the brain.
In some studies, mice treated with sulforaphane showed significant brain tissue recovery and reduced neural inflammation following brain injury or toxic exposure (333435).
Most current research evaluating the effect of bioactive compounds found in broccoli on brain health are restricted to animal studies. More research is needed to determine how these compounds support neurological function in humans.
SUMMARYMultiple animal studies show that specific bioactive compounds in broccoli may have a protective effect on brain tissue. However, more research is needed to establish this relationship in humans.

9. May Help Slow the Aging Process

The process of aging is largely attributed to oxidative stress and reduced metabolic function over the course of your lifespan (36).
Though aging is an unavoidable natural process, diet quality is thought to be a major player in determining genetic expression and development of age-related diseases (37).
Research shows that sulforaphane, a key bioactive compound in broccoli, may have the capacity to slow the biochemical process of aging by increasing the expression of antioxidant genes (37).
Still, more human research is needed to determine a cause-and-effect relationship between dietary intake of broccoli and its effect on the aging process.
SUMMARYSulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, may be able to slow the aging process. More human research is needed to better understand this function.

10. Vitamin C Content Supports a Healthy Immune System

The human immune system is complex and requires a multitude of nutrients to function properly.
Vitamin C is arguably the most essential nutrient for immune function — and broccoli is loaded with it.
Research indicates that vitamin C plays a role in both the prevention and treatment of various illnesses. A daily intake of 100–200 mg of vitamin C seems to be sufficient to prevent certain infections (38).
Typically, vitamin C is associated with oranges or strawberries, but broccoli definitely deserves credit — a half-cup (78-gram) serving of cooked broccoli boasts 84% of the RDI for this vitamin (3).
SUMMARYBroccoli provides an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient known to support healthy immune response.

11. May Support Dental and Oral Health

Broccoli contains a wide array of nutrients, some of which are known to support oral health and prevent dental diseases.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C and calcium, two nutrients associated with a decreased risk of periodontal disease. Kaempferol, a flavonoid found in broccoli, may also play a role in preventing periodontitis (3940).
Additional research indicates that the sulforaphane found in broccoli may reduce your risk of oral cancers (41).
Some sources claim that eating raw broccoli can help manually remove plaque and whiten your teeth. However, no rigorous scientific data exists to support this.
Ultimately, more human research is needed to better understand broccoli’s role in maintaining a healthy mouth.
SUMMARYCertain nutrients found in broccoli are associated with a decreased risk of certain dental and oral diseases.

12. May Promote Healthy Bones and Joints

Many of the nutrients found in broccoli are known to support healthy bones and may prevent bone-related disorders.
Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K and calcium, two vital nutrients for maintaining strong, healthy bones (424344).
It also contains phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A and C, which are necessary for healthy bones as well (45).
A test-tube study indicates that the sulforaphane found in broccoli may aid in preventing osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to draw any definitive conclusions on its role in humans (46).
SUMMARYMany of the nutrients in broccoli — including calcium, vitamin K and phosphorus — are necessary for maintaining healthy bones. Additionally, early research indicates that certain antioxidants in broccoli may prevent some joint disorders.

13. Nutrient Content May Support a Healthy Pregnancy

Your body requires a multitude of vitamins, minerals and protein during pregnancy to support both baby and mother.
Broccoli is a good source of B vitamins — namely B9, also known as folate.
Folate is an essential nutrient for the development of the fetal brain and spinal cord. Regular consumption of folate-rich foods like broccoli can help ensure healthy pregnancy outcomes.
Additionally, some animal studies indicate that broccoli eaten by the mother may support healthier cognitive development of the newborn (4748).
More research is needed to better understand how broccoli and its bioactive compounds may support healthier pregnancy outcomes.
SUMMARYBroccoli contains nutrients vital for certain aspects of fetal development. Folate is particularly important in this regard. However, more research is necessary to study this topic further.

14. May Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage

Skin cancer is on the rise due in part to a damaged ozone layer and increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays (49).
Research indicates that bioactive compounds in broccoli may protect against UV radiation damage which leads to skin cancer.
In some animal studies, treatment with broccoli extract resulted in significantly reduced tumor growth and prevalence in mice with UV radiation-induced skin cancer (495051).
Small human studies have achieved similar results, revealing a significant protective effect of broccoli extract against skin damage and cancer development after sun exposure (49).
Ultimately, more research is needed to understand how broccoli and its bioactive components may protect skin from sun damage.
SUMMARYSmall animal and human studies showed significantly reduced tumor growth when broccoli extract was used as a protective therapy against UV radiation.

The Bottom Line

Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable that may enhance your health in a variety of ways, such as by reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar control, boosting immunity and promoting heart health.
However, keep in mind that good health doesn’t come from any single food. Broccoli is merely one of numerous healthy foods that can contribute to optimal health.
Including this nutritious vegetable in your healthy, balanced diet may help you achieve your health goals more easily.

Zinc: Health Benefits and Vegan Sources

Zinc is essential for proper wound healing, sexual health, fertility and immunity. You only need minimal amounts to stay healthy. Fall short, however, and you may be at risk of developing various health conditions.

Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning that you only need small quantities of it to stay healthy. Men need slightly more zinc than women to ensure healthy reproduction. Adult men aged over 19 years need around 11mg per day, while adult women need around 9mg per day.
Around 85 per cent of the zinc you consume through diet is present in your muscles and bones; 11 per cent in your skin and liver, and the remaining 4 per cent in the rest of your tissues.
Zinc plays a key role in regulating many of your body’s functions, from seemingly simple things like maintaining your sense of taste to more complex tasks like keeping your hormones balanced.
It is important for the synthesis of DNA, tissue repair and growth, and crucial for:
*your reproductive health
* regulating the viscosity of your blood
* the maintenance of your body tissues;
*detoxification of chemicals
*maintaining your immune function
*regulating insulin activity
*maintaining your thyroid function and maintaining your sight and smell.
The consequences of zinc deficiency
Zinc is crucial to your well-being since it is present in all tissues of your body. Falling short of it can have mild to severe consequences. Unfortunately, due to soil depletion and food processing, zinc deficiencies are now very common. If you have a marginal to moderate deficiency, you could suffer from:
*loss of sense of taste and/or smell
*poor appetite
*slow nail and hair growth
*frequent infections and impaired immunity
*enhanced oxidative stress
*increased production of inflammatory molecules
*delayed wound healing
*reduced thyroid function and skin disorders including eczema, acne or psoriasis
*reduced reproductive capacity
*mental lethargy
*depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

7 Ways Vodka Is Actually Good For You

Vodka was made for so much more than mules and martinis. It may surprise you to learn that the spirit was actually invented as a source of medicine (something Princess Margaret was perhaps privy to, given her decadent morning routine) and to this day, the colorless, odorless drink has a number of health benefits. So the next time you're debating what kind of cocktail to order, consider this:

1. Vodka is a cure-all.
Vodka is a natural disinfectant and antiseptic. It can be used to treat toothaches, clean wounds, and clean your house. In fact, you'll be surprised by how many of your household cleaning and hygiene products include alcohol in their ingredients.

2. It can relieve stress.

You may have heard that red wine is a natural relaxer, but it's nothing compared to vodka, which studies have shown to relieve tension better than vino.

3. It's heart-healthy.

Vodka can increase blood-flow and circulation in your body which can prevent clots, strokes, and other heart diseases. Vodka can also help lower your cholesterol. And, for those watching their weight, it's also generally considered a lower-calorie alcohol. (Check out these recipes for "healthy" vodka cocktails.) Everything in moderation of course.

4. It can be used as a skincare product.

Out of your go-to facial cleanser? Vodka acts as a natural astringent or toner, and due to its disinfectant properties, can deep-clean your pores. (Just be sure to dilute it with equal parts water first.) It'll also tighten the skin on your face and can treat acne breakouts with it's drying and detoxifying properties. But it can have a dehydrating effect, which you should be mindful of if you have particularly dry or sensitive skin.

5. It contributes to oral hygiene.

We already mentioned how vodka can soothe toothaches, but swishing a shot of it can help combat bad breath as well.

6. It can alleviate symptoms caused by arthritis.

Apparently, patients who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and had semi-regular vodka drinks throughout the month felt less pain and inflammation associated with their disease, according to this study.

7. It reduces risks associated with diabetes.
Unlike beer or wine, a shot of vodka can actually reduce blood sugar levels. This is most effective when taken straight, so order it neat or on the rocks.

20 Diabetes Myths That Could Be Sabotaging Your Health

Myth: Eating sugar causes diabetes
Fact: Eating sugar doesn’t cause diabetes in the same smoking-gun way that cigarettes cause cancer, notes Prevention, but sugar seems to play an indirect role, and it’s just plain common sense to limit your intake. For one thing, eating too much sugar can lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, says David G. Marrero, PhD, president of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association. But beyond that association, recent research suggests that sugary drinks can increase diabetes risk, even after accounting for weight. A 2015 BMJ study found that consuming one sugar-sweetened drink a day raises type 2 diabetes risk by 18 percent. And a JAMA study found that the risk of diabetes in women almost doubled when they went from drinking from 1 or fewer sugary drinks a week to 1 or more per day over a four-year period. These rapidly absorbed sugars may damage cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin, according to Prevention. Sugar is hidden in countless packaged foods, so you’re probably consuming more than you think. Look at nutrition labels and avoid highly processed foods. The World Health Organization recommends sticking to no more than six teaspoons (or 24 grams) a day for the average adult. Start these healthy habits to help prevent diabetes.

Myth: Thin people don’t get type 2 diabetes

Fact: While some 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, that means 15 percent of people with diabetes are at a healthy weight, according to a recent article in Harvard Health Publications. In fact, a 2012 study in JAMA found that normal-weight people with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes than overweight people with diabetes. Genes can play a role, as can having an excess of visceral fat, or fat that isn’t jiggly and pinch-able, but rather clings to your abdominal organs, where it affects the production of inflammatory compounds that damage your liver and pancreas and could lower your insulin sensitivity, putting you at risk of type 2 diabetes, molecular imaging expert Jimmy Bell, MD, told Women’s Health magazine.

Regardless of weight, if you are age 45 or older get your blood sugar levels checked every three years, especially if you have risk factors like being sedentary; having a family history of diabetes or personal history of gestational diabetes; heart disease; high blood pressure; and/or high cholesterol.

Myth: Exercise is dangerous for people with diabetes

Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth: Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity actually helps lower blood sugar levels and can improve diabetes management. The important thing is to get your doctor’s clearance to start exercising (particularly if you’ve been inactive) and talk to your doc or a diabetes educator about how/when to test your blood sugar as part of your workout routine. If you take medication or insulin that can cause low blood sugar, says the Mayo Clinic, “test your blood sugar 30 minutes before exercising and approximately every 30 minutes during exercise. This will help you determine if your blood sugar level is stable, rising, or falling and if it’s safe to keep exercising.” It’s also a good idea keep a snack on hand in case you need to bring your blood sugar back up post-workout. If you feel weak or shaky, your body is telling you to take a break or stop. These science-backed strategies can help to reverse diabetes.

Myth: Diabetes has no symptoms; only my doctor can detect it

Fact: Diabetes does have a number of early warning signs, but the problem is that they’re often subtle enough to overlook or ignore. No wonder 25 percent of people with diabetes don’t even know they have it. Telltale signs: feeling dehydrated even when you’ve been drinking, drinking more fluids than usual, frequent trips to the bathroom, feeling tired and hungry all the time, or losing weight without changes to diet or lifestyle. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Diabetes is easily and definitively diagnosed with a blood test.

Myth: You shouldn’t get pregnant if you have diabetes
Fact: “People are worried about the risk to themselves and their child, or worry that they can’t become pregnant at all, particularly in those with type 1; but that’s just not true anymore,” says Marrero. “This myth stems from a time when diabetes was poorly controlled and understood.” There’s still a risk of complications, such as preterm birth, if you aren’t vigilant in controlling your blood sugar levels, but plenty of people become pregnant and have normal pregnancies with proper monitoring, he says. For more information on having a health pregnancy with diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association’s resource guide.

Myth: You’ll always be able to tell if your blood sugar levels are too low or too high

Fact: Initial signs of elevated blood sugar are often so mild that they’re easily overlooked. This is why it’s important to regularly test and track blood sugar levels. Not only can this alert you to a dip or spike even before your body sends you signals, it also helps you learn how diet, exercise, stress, and illness affect your levels. When you become hypoglycemic (blood sugar is too low), you may experience sweating or shakiness. But long-term diabetics often develop something called “hypoglycemia unawareness,” which means they lose the ability to feel these symptoms as time goes on, says Deena Adimoolam, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Endocrinology, Obesity & Metabolism at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for how often to check blood sugar levels. Call 911 immediately if you have blurred vision, feel confused or sleepy, or experience vomiting. And become familiar with these silent diabetes complications.

Myth: Diabetics have to follow a strict, no-sugar diet
Fact: Dessert is not off the table, either for type 1 or type 2 diabetics. With type 2 diabetes, the key is moderation; keep sweets a small portion of your overall diet and fill the rest with fiber-packed whole grains, veggies, and lean protein. Type 1 diabetes is a little trickier, because you’ll have to learn how to adjust your next insulin dose to compensate for sugary carbs. “It just takes a little bit of trial and error to figure out the right insulin dose, but it’s very manageable and learnable,” says Marrero, who himself has type 1 diabetes. “Using a continuous glucose monitor that will show you when your levels are changing is a great option.”

Myth: If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to catch a cold

Fact: You’re no likelier than anyone else to pick up a cold, the flu, or any other illness if you have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, illnesses can make diabetes more difficult to control; for instance, people will diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu than those without the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get a flu shot and follow the CDC’s tips for keeping yourself healthy during flu season. Here’s what diabetes doctors do every day to keep their own blood sugar under control.

Myth: There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes

This is false-ish, says Eduardo Sanchez, MD, the Chief Medical Officer for Prevention and Chief of the Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation for the American Heart Association in Dallas. Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the disease and is most closely linked to obesity. For people who are obese, some types of gastric bypass surgery can almost completely clear up symptoms. So can intermittent fasting. “The idea of a cure is elusive, but it is not outside of our grasp,” he says. “We are not optimizing our efforts to prevent diabetes and there is a tremendous opportunity for hope because we can dramatically improve quality of life and enhance the length of life of people with diabetes through lifestyle changes and medication.” Meet the doctor who is beating diabetes one patient at a time.

Myth: There is no way to prevent it

Prediabetes is a wake-up call that you are at risk for developing diabetes. It occurs when your blood sugar or glucose is higher than it should be, but not quite at diabetes level—yet. “There is a body of evidence that says adopting a healthy lifestyle can lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Sanchez says. Approximately one of three US adults have prediabetes, but 90 percent of them don’t know it, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. A simple blood test can tell if you have prediabetes and get you on the path to prevention. These are the best and worst foods to turn the table on prediabetes.

Myth: All people with diabetes should follow the same diet

There is no one-size-fits-all diet for people with diabetes in the same way that there is no single diet for people without diabetes, Dr. Sanchez says. There are many styles of eating that can help manage diabetes, from a Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in vegetables, healthy fats, some grains, and lean proteins to the keto diet, which is low in carbs, moderate in protein, and high in fat. Learn what the 2-day diet is and how can it help manage diabetes.

Myth: If you have diabetes, you will develop heart disease

Hopefully not, Dr. Sanchez says, “We know that heart disease is most likely to shorten the life of someone with diabetes, but we also know what to do to lower this risk and change this trajectory,” he says. This includes adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle and making sure blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and glucose levels remain at healthy levels. To get more people on board with these life-saving changes, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association joined forces for a partnership to raise awareness about the increased risk for cardiovascular disease among those living with type 2 diabetes—it’s called the Know Diabetes by Heart initiative. This silent symptom causes half of all heart attacks—and it has nothing to do with cholesterol.

Myth: You will lose a limb
Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean that you will lose a limb, says Maria Elena Rodriguez, RD, CDN, CDE, the Diabetes Program Manager at The Diabetes Alliance of the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. “Staying well informed about how to manage blood sugar and taking your medications as directed is the best way to prevent complications including the loss of a limb.” Get ahead of this risk by scheduling a complete foot exam at least annually and checking your feet daily. If you have diabetes, even a small cut can have devastating consequences because the disease causes nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet and reduces blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal.

Myth: Every diabetic will need insulin therapy

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) for energy. When you have diabetes, your body either does not produce insulin (type 1) or your cells are resistant to its effects (type 2). As a result, sugar builds up in your blood and overflows into the urine. Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems. “Not everyone with type 2 diabetes will end up needing insulin to control blood sugar,” says Rodriguez. Other medications and lifestyle changes such as weight loss and regular exercise may be enough to manage your diabetes.

Myth: You will go blind
Uncontrolled high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in the retina—the back wall of your eye. So-called diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss for people with diabetes, but it often has no symptoms. Losing your eyesight is not inevitable. Prevent blindness by getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year, Rodriguez says. This is on the list of the 10 life-saving things you must do if you have type 2 diabetes.

Myth: You will need dialysis

When you have diabetes, the blood vessels in your kidneys suffer damage, which means they’ll no longer effectively filter your blood. Left untreated, this can result in kidney failure and the need for dialysis to clean out waste from your bloodstream. Tight blood sugar control can lower risk of all diabetes complications, including kidney failure, Rodriguez explains.

Myth: You can’t even have a sip of alcohol

Moderate alcohol consumption can be okay if you have diabetes, Rodriguez says, but you need to take some precautions before happy hour. “Alcohol contains empty calories which convert to sugar in the body, and then metabolize as fat,” she says. Don’t overdo it, and make sure mixers are sugar-free—think diet soda or seltzer instead of sugary juices. Moderate alcohol consumption means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. (One drink equals a 12-oz. beer, a 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1½ oz. distilled spirits such as vodka). Don’t drink on an empty stomach either because your risk of low blood glucose increases when you haven’t eaten and after drinking. This combination raises your risk of a dangerous hypoglycemic event. Check out these 26 life-saving facts about glucose.

Myth: Gestational diabetes means you will develop diabetes

If you had gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, you are at greater risk for developing diabetes after you give birth—but this is not written in stone, Rodriquez says, “Your body may go back to regulating blood sugar properly after delivery,” she says. Make sure your doctor checks your blood sugar during your annual well-visits so that you can catch any changes early.

Myth: Diabetes means you can never run a marathon

Check out these 10 science-backed reasons to start working out if you have diabetes. Just as with any exercise, “if you are going to exercise for more than an hour, test your blood sugar before and after and make sure to carry snacks with you,” advises Rodriguez. If you’re not sure how much exercise you should be getting, ask your doctor or diabetes educator before signing up for a marathon.