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Diabetes And The Things You Should Know

Chances are, you know someone with diabetes, or someone in your family has it. But what causes it? How does a person develop the symptoms of diabetes?

There are basically two types of diabetes, Type I and Type II. These differ as to their cause and treatment. Here are some ideas about what causes diabetes.

Type I

Type I diabetes is caused by a malfunctioning pancreas. What causes the pancreas to malfunction differs from case to case. It tends to run in families, but some individuals have developed diabetes in childhood when no one in their family has any history of the disease.

In some individuals, their own immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys its cells, thereby rendering it useless. In others with Type I diabetes, an injury or pancreatic surgery destroys the pancreas to the point that it can no longer produce insulin.

Type I diabetes has a different demographic than Type II. Children as young as 2 or as old as 22 can be diagnosed with Type I diabetes – hence the alternate name for Type I diabetes: juvenile diabetes. However, older people can certainly develop Type I diabetes, especially if there is injury to the pancreas.

Diabetes And The Things You Should Know

Type II

Type II diabetes may have some hereditary factors, too, but not to the clear-cut degree that Type I does. In Type II, the body becomes resistant to the insulin that the pancreas is still producing. Or, Type II diabetics have a functioning pancreas but the organ does not produce enough insulin.

Older individuals and those who are overweight are considered more at risk for developing Type II diabetes than those with a healthy body weight and lifestyle.

What Triggers It?

An auto-immune disorder might trigger Type I diabetes, as the body’s immune system can inexplicably attack the pancreas and destroy its cells. There might also be some other way that the pancreas gets damaged, which is not age specific.

Type II diabetes may be triggered by unhealthy, sugar-rich diets and a sedentary lifestyle. The pancreas may simply become exhausted trying to keep the blood sugar down in response to the constant influx of sugar from the diet.

Other possibilities for triggers include high blood pressure and stress. While it’s not directly proven as a causal factor, individuals with high blood pressure are statistically more likely to develop diabetes than those with normal blood pressure.

Stress as a causal factor has a similarly unproven status, but it is often thought by medical professionals that prolonged, unrelieved stress increases the risk of diabetes. Sometimes the stress is caused by trauma or emotional disturbance, somehow making the individual susceptible to developing diabetes.

 


Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Everybody has a sweet tooth, and chocolate is a no-fail satisfier.

Dark high quality chocolate in particular (not your typical Snickers) has several health benefits that make it a bit more justifiable to snack on!

For many years, chocolate has been viewed as the ultimate comfort food and it has become one of the most popular foods in the world. However, due to the over consumption of this silky, dark, sweet food many health practitioners warn against it. They say that it’s calorie-laden and does little in the way of ‘real’ nutrition.

The question is, though: are there any health benefits to consuming dark chocolate?
Obviously, over-consumption of any food can have a detrimental effect on general health. Recent studies, however, have shown that consumption (in moderation of course) of dark chocolate has many health benefits. So eating about an ounce of dark chocolate every day is actually a good thing!

The first question that many may ask is: why dark chocolate, not milk chocolate?
The reason is that when you compare dark chocolate with milk chocolate, dark chocolate comes out trumps when it comes to nutritional benefit. Dark chocolate has more fiber and nutrients, but less sugars and cholesterol.

It has to be said that, when talking about dark chocolate, we are talking about chocolate with a cacao percentage of 70% and more.

Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Main Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

• Lowers cholesterol. In studies, dark chocolate has proven to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). As we know, too much bad cholesterol is not good for us. These studies showed that dark chocolate actually provided health benefits when it comes to cholesterol.

• It’s good for the heart. Perhaps the most well-known reason, dark chocolate is good for the heart. Dark chocolate contains nutrients that are known to help lower blood sugar and increase blood flow.

In addition, anything that lowers cholesterol is good for the heart. Some observational studies have showed that dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular death in men by up to 50%. These aren’t scientific studies, but given that dark chocolate lowers cholesterol and can lower blood pressure, then these findings are significant.

• It improves your skin. Dark chocolate contains lots of flavanols, which protect the skin against sun damage. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do without sun cream! However, it does mean that the flavanols will reduce the damage on the skin due to the sun.

Therefore, if you are planning a summer vacation, then you could start increasing your intake of dark chocolate a few weeks before your holiday. In general, dark chocolate has a positive effect on the skin.

• Can prevent diabetes. Insulin is a word associated with diabetes. Many studies have shown that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity. This means that dark chocolate can improve blood sugar levels. Because of its properties it can actually be incorporated in a diabetic diet.

• It’s nutritious. There are many good aspects to chocolate. Of course, chocolate contains calories – up to 242 per 100 grams. This means that it should be eaten in moderation. However, dark chocolate contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, zinc, potassium and selenium. It is also a good source of fiber, containing about 11 grams.

• Good source of antioxidants. Dark chocolate also contains a vast amount of antioxidants, which are great for promoting heart health, decreasing risk of infection, and fighting free radicals in the body. The cocoa tree is one of the best source of antioxidants on the planet.

Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

 

 

This means that its fruits – the cocoa pods also have antioxidant properties. Many studies have shown dark chocolate to have a higher amount of antioxidants than blueberries or Acai berries.

Although dark chocolate has a higher calorie, fat and saturated fat content than milk chocolate, its health benefits are much higher than milk chocolate. If you consider that dark chocolate has 22% more iron, four times more fiber and 242 grams more theobromine (the alkaloid which reduces blood pressure) per half bar than milk chocolate, then the picture becomes clearer that dark chocolate has many health benefits.

It is also worth considering that dark chocolate has less carbs and half the sugar of milk chocolate and it’s easy to see why dark chocolate has many health benefits.

Dark chocolate is definitely the preferred flavor of chocolate when it comes to those midnight snacks or holiday treats. Just make sure you don’t over indulge!

 


The Importance of Carbs and Fat to Fuel our Brains

There has been so much literature on the news and in the papers about carbohydrates. Some say they are bad, some say they are good, but all they are really doing is confusing us all.

What is the truth about carbs and how does it affect the brain? We all know good nutrition is needed for good health of our bodies and for our bodies to function properly.

It’s also important to nourish the most important organ we have, the brain. Poor nutrition has been linked to many forms of dementia and even Alzheimers disease. It’s obvious our brains require good nutrition to function at its best. Have you ever felt sluggish, foggy-headed, confused or irritable? All of these conditions can be attributed to a brain that doesn’t have enough power to work well.

Brain power is not just important to do school work or your job, but also to help your body to function as it should. After all, the brain controls much of the functioning of the human body. Scientific evidence exists today showing we need to begin good nutrition programs early to determine how our brains function in the future as the aging process takes place.

B-vitamins and Omega fats are excellent for boosting brain power and also play a huge role in cardiovascular health. If you’re deficient in these vitamins and minerals, you run the risk of developing cognitive problems, plus anxiety or depression.

So, here are a few facts to digest. The body uses carbohydrates for fuel. The brain needs a lot of fuel. Actually, it needs about twice as much energy as the rest of your body. That energy comes from carbs being used to maintain certain levels of glucose in the blood. It is the glucose that is used by the body as fuel.

The Importance of Carbs and Fat to Fuel our Brains

Omega fatty acids are essential to build and repair brain cell membranes. Neurotransmitters, helping the brain communicate with the rest of the body, are also vital to the proper functioning of the brain. Nutrition for your brain health

should be at the top of your priority list of why you need to choose and adhere to a good diet plan. A well-nourished brain depends on the choices you make today to keep it healthy and functioning well in the future.

So, now that we know the role that Omega fatty Acids play in the overall health of the brain, lets talk a little more about carbohydrates. Where do these carbs come from? They come from food sources. You get carbs from whole grains, a variety of vegetables and anything made from grains.

You can get carbs from a candy bar and also from a plate of leafy green vegetables, but they won’t necessarily function the same way in the body. Simple carbs are like the sugars found in sweet snacks. These carbs are rapidly absorbed by the body which leads to a spike in your blood sugar.

The Importance of Carbs and Fat to Fuel our Brains

We’ve all experienced such a spike. For about an hour you feel like the Bionic Man but afterwards, you are moving slower than a turtle. To get more energy you eat more sweets and then the cycle begins again. When you get your carbs from healthier food sources like green vegetables and whole grains, you are eating complex carbohydrates.

This includes your whole grains and fruits and vegetables. These carbohydrates are broken down over time, keeping your glucose levels steady so the body gets a constant supply of energy throughout the day.The way to break that cycle is by eating the right types of carbohydrates. Oh, yes, there are right and not-so-right types of carbs.

One way that you can tell the difference is by the glycemic index. This measures the ability of a carbohydrate to affect the blood sugar. Carbs that are low on the glycemic index are complex carbs. Those that are higher are simple carbs that will cause major shifts in the blood sugar levels and your energy.

Many fad diets advocate high carb or low carb consumption. The fact of the matter is that if you don’t eat enough carbs in your daily diet, your body will start using muscle to create glucose and depleting the liver of its glycogen

(broken down into glucose). When the brain is deprived, you may feel lack of co-ordination, dizzy, tired and not in a good mood. Eat your carbohydrates every day, just make sure they are the best kind to keep your brain sharp as cheddar and the body is tiptop shape.

 

Foods That Can Help Boost Your Immune System

A number of foods have been found to benefit the immune system in a range of ways.

One group of foods is thought to reduce inflammation in the body, leading to less wear and tear on all your bodily systems, including your immune system.

Adding anti-inflammatory foods is thought to prevent disease, or reduce the more severe symptoms in those who are suffering from certain health issues, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Another group of foods has been found to trigger inflammation, so avoiding these foods can also provide relief from a range of troublesome symptoms, including allergic reactions such as eczema, asthma, gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance.

These allergies are obvious examples of how inflammation can affect anyone?s health. Avoiding inflammatory foods has shown clear benefits in relation to heart disease and all forms of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The third group of foods that can boost the immune system to prevent disease and enhance health are known as antioxidants. The normal wear and tear on our bodies every day as a result of stress, the environment, unhealthy foods we eat, smoking cigarettes, and so on, is called oxidative stress. It is thought to be a major cause of aging in the body.

Foods That Can Help Boost Your Immune System

Antioxidants are so named because they combat oxidative stress, thus decreasing the wear and tear on the body and reducing the effects of aging. Some antioxidants are so powerful, they have even been associated with cancer prevention.

Eating more anti-inflammatory foods while cutting back on inflammatory ones, and adding delicious antioxidants to your diet, is the best way to boost your immune system, reduce the effects of aging, and prevent disease. So, which are the best foods to eat, which are the best to avoid, and which foods are the best sources of antioxidants? We will list the top 10 for each category below.

Top 10 to Eat, to Reduce Inflammation :

1-Salmon and Other Fatty Fish with Omega-3s
2-Probiotics, found in cultured foods like yogurt and kefir
3-Olive Oil
4-Sour Cherries
5-Walnuts and other tree nuts
6-Peppers
7-Ginger
8-Turmeric
9-Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous (pronounced CREW-sif-er-us) vegetables like broccoli and bok choy (Chinese cabbage)
10-Berries such as blueberries

Top 10 to Avoid If You Wish to Reduce Inflammation :

1-Sugar
2-Salt
3-Standard Cooking Oils
4-Trans fats
5-Red Meat
6-Processed Meats/cold Cuts
7-Refined Carbohydrates
8-Artificial Sweeteners and Flavorings, such as aspartame and saccharin; Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
9-Alcohol
10-Dairy Products

Top 10 Foods with the Highest Level of Antioxidants :

1-Small red beans
2-Blueberries, wild
3-Red kidney beans
4-Pinto beans
5-Blueberries, cultivated
6-Cranberries
7-Artichokes
8-Blackberries
9-Raisins
10-Raspberries

It may seem overwhelming at first to make changes to your diet, especially if many of your favorites are on the foods to avoid list. Fortunately, a little effort can go a long way towards improving your immune system if you make healthy substitutions.

For example, if you love sweet, sugary foods, use more fruit to curb your cravings. Blueberries and raspberries can be eaten fresh or cooked as part of a healthy dessert. In our house we buy them frozen when they are on sale in the supermarket and eat them frozen in place of ice cream or another more fattening dessert. We add fresh ones to a range of recipes, from fruit salad to interesting sauces and rice pilafs.

If you are a meat eater, eating fish for 2 meals a week and beans such as the antioxidant-rich red kidney beans or pintos is easy and tasty too. Have fun looking up new recipes and exploring cuisines from around the world. For example, these beans are perfect for Mexican or Tex-Mex cookery. Many of the foods on the anti-inflammatory list are ideal for Chinese or Indian recipes.

Use these three lists to boost your immune system, and see how you can eat better than ever while fighting disease.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Food-Ingredients-and-Inflammation

Top-50-Foods

 

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, many of us neglect breakfast.

And there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that your body and mind will suffer unless you have a healthy breakfast each morning.

You spend six to eight hours sleeping. After that time, your body needs fuel to keep going. Without breakfast at home, your options for on the run nutrition may amount to too much fat, too much sugar and too many carbs.

And, that convenient run to the fast food joint is not as convenient and time saving as you think if everyone else has the same idea. The fifteen or twenty minutes spent in line could have been used to fill your belly with something good at home.

If you are the type to skip breakfast, here is a solution to starting the day with a good breakfast which will help you keep hunger in check as well as give you the natural energy boost to start your day.

Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

1. Oatmeal – This food makes a good hot meal that contains lots of filling fiber to keep you from getting hungry later on in the morning. Depending on your taste, you can take five minutes to fix it on the stove or use the microwave for instant oatmeal.

Kids tend to like the variety of flavors that come with instant oatmeal. The night before, put together a container of add-ins like blueberries, strawberries and bananas that can be tossed on top for a bit of antioxidant power.

2. Fruit smoothies – These are good any morning but particularly on a hot day. You’ll have to blend the ingredients together in the morning, but the prep work can be done at night.

Cube your fruit and place it into a container. Instead of frozen yogurt in the morning, use a cup of plain yogurt. Add ice cubes, a little water and blend.

3. Egg sandwich – The eggs can be cooked the night before and placed in a sealed container. In the morning, warm up the eggs in the microwave. If you want, add some chopped veggies or shredded cheese. Serve on toasted wheat bread.

The night before, place two pieces of bread into a Ziploc bag for each family member. They can toast their bread as they get up and place the sandwich in the bag for easy transport in the car to work or school.

4. Yogurt with granola and fruit – Some people like to eat yogurt. But, yogurt by itself won’t keep you from being hungry. Add some granola and a few blueberries to the mix.

This makes a great breakfast idea for those mornings when you are running late. Keep small bags of granola and blueberries in the fridge next to the yogurt so you can grab them and run.

Are you fighting the breakfast battle? To get a filling meal you don’t have to opt for too much fat, calories or carbs. These quick and easy breakfast ideas can be made within minutes and are a much healthier alternative to skipping breakfast or grabbing a high fat alternative.