Why read food labels

In four of my recent articles, I mentioned that reading food labels was required reading in today’s world. One of those articles was: The Facts about Carbohydrates: Are They Really That Bad. But, why read food labels? Why are they important? What do they really tell us? The purpose of this article is to tell all about why read food labels.

What are food labels

Food labels, also known as Nutrition facts labels are labels required on most Why read food labelspackaged foods showing what nutrients are contained in the food within the package. They are used in many countries.

Usually found on a panel found on a package of food, they contain a variety of information regarding the nutritional value of the food. There are numerous pieces of data that are standard on most food labels, which include serving size, number of calories, grams of fat, included nutrients, as well as a list of ingredients.

Why are food labels important

Food labels are important because they carry useful information to help make good choices about food. They will indicate if the food contains an additive that an individual might want to avoid. The nutritional information panel helps one to compare the nutrient profile of similar products and choose the one that suits their needs.

Reading food labels is one of the most important steps one can take to eating well and living healthy. Food labels provide important information about the food being consumed including: serving sizes, calories, fat, important nutrients, as well as salt, sugar, and cholesterol.

Reading food labels

Food labels provide more than just nutrition facts. They also tell you the ingredients.

All ingredients are required to be listed in descending order by weight, How to read food labelsincluding added water. Remember that:

  • The ingredient listed first is represents the largest amount of that ingredient.
  • The ingredient listed last the least amount of that ingredient.

Note: if an undesirable ingredient is listed first or close to the first, avoid that product.

An ingredient (other than an allergen or additive) is not required to be listed if it makes up less than five per cent of the food. Where there are very minute amounts of multi-component ingredients (less than five per cent), it’s permitted to list ‘composite’ ingredients only: as an example, it may say ‘chocolate’ (rather than cocoa, cocoa butter and sugar) in a choc chip ice cream.

But again, this does not apply to any additive or allergen. They must be listed no matter how minuscule the amount.

All food additives must have a specific use and they must be assessed and approved by the government. Food additives can be used to improve quality of a food or improve the flavor or appearance of a food. They must also be used in the lowest possible quantity that will achieve their purpose.

Food additives are identified in the ingredient list according to their class, which is followed by a chemical name or number. For example:

  • emulsifier (lecithin)Why Read Food Labels
  • preservative (200)
  • color (tartrazine)
  • color (102)

This same food additive numbering system is used throughout the world. Vitamins and minerals are additionally listed under food additives.

The nutrition panel also indicates the quantity of various nutrients a food contains per serving, as well as per 100 g or 100 ml. It’s best to use the ‘per 100 g or 100 ml’ value to compare similar products, because the amount of 1‘serving’ may differ between manufacturers.

The nutrients are displayed in a format that is standard, providing amount per serve and per 100 g (or 100 ml if liquid).

The following are large amounts per 100 g:

  • 30 g of sugars
  • 20 g of fat
  • 3 g of fiber
  • 600 mg of sodium.

The following are small amounts per 100 g:

  • 2 g of sugars
  • 3 g of fat
  • 0.5 g of fibre
  • 20 mg sodium.

Size matters—It is important to observe the serving size of a product because the values only pertain to that service size; not the whole package. For example: a box of crackers labeled as low salt with a serving size of 5 crackers, the value is stated (e.g. 250 mg). But that is only for 5 crackers. If an individual consumes the entire box while watching a movie, it’s no longer low salt. If the box has 25 crackers, that’s 1250 mg of sodium (salt). That’s about half of the daily minimum requirement—on a snack! Not to mention that most boxes have more than 25 crackers! That doesn’t include all of the other sodium consumed during a day. Salt (sodium) is contained in so many of the products we consume.

Allergens on food labels

Food labels can help individuals with allergies or sensitivities to foods. The main ingredients that may cause severe adverse reactions must be stated on the label no matter how minute the amount.

Common foods which will cause allergies include peanuts, other nuts, seafood, fish, milk, gluten, eggs, soybeans.

Some labels may also state ‘may contain’ because there is a possibility that traces of an allergen may be present in a food unintentionally, such as food processed in the same plant or on the same equipment as products that contain nuts.

There must also be information to alert people of a possible health risk from some ingredients, for example, caffeine, aspartame, quinine, guarana, royal jelly, unpasteurized milk or egg.

Beware of claims on front labels

Front labels are a form of advertising and they don’t always tell the full story behind a product.  Therefore, it is important to go to the back or side of a product to get the complete picture regarding ingredients and nutrition.  Below are some examples.

  • The term ‘light’ or ‘lite’ doesn’t automatically mean that the product is low in fat or energy. The term ‘light’ can refer to the texture, color or taste of Why read food labelsthe product. The aspect that makes the food ‘light’ must be stated on the label.
  • The claims low cholesterol, no cholesterol, or cholesterol free on foods derived from plants, like margarine and oil, are meaningless because all plant foods contain virtually no cholesterol. But, some may be high in fat and will contribute to weight gain if used too generously.
  • If an item claims to be 90% fat free, it actually contains 10% fat, but it looks healthier the other way.
  • ‘Baked not fried’ sounds healthier, but it may still have just as much fat – verify the nutrition information panel to be sure.
  • ‘Fresh’ can actually mean the product hasn’t been preserved by canning, freezing, high-temperature or chemical treatment. But, it may have been refrigerated and spent time in processing and transport.

Food labels are extremely import for revealing what is contained in the

foods we consume. It behooves us to observe them and respond accordingly by making educated decisions concerning our diets.

Please leave any questions, comments, or concerns below.

Good Health!!

 

The Symbol of Healing

 

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The Importance of Water to the Body

Water—the universal, life sustaining substance that is often taken for

The Importance of Water to the Body
The healthiest beverage on the planet!!

granted; especially in the developed nations. Besides quenching our thirsts, what else is water good for. What is the importance of water to the body? It is the intention of this article to answer that question.

What is water

Water is an inorganic chemical substance. It is, odorless, transparent, tasteless, and colorless. It is the main component of the earth’s hydrosphere, which is the portion of Earth’s surface that includes the seas and the water in the atmosphere and the fluids of most living organisms. It is crucial for all forms of life, although it provides no calories or organic nutrients.

Why is water important

Just think of all the many ways we use water: drinking, cooking, bathing, brushing teeth, washing clothes, dishes, and cars, flushing toilets, watering gardens and lawns, and filling swimming pools and that’s just at home. There are many industrial uses as well such as conducting electricity. It is also the best all-around dissolvent. More dense materials dissolve in water than in any other liquid. Mankind has done a pretty good job of making use of water!

Water’s importance to the body

More specifically, what is the importance of water to the body?

For starters, our body is approximately sixty percent of our body weight. That means that over half of our body is water. The body uses water in all of

The Benefits of Water
The Benefits of Water

its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate temperature and maintain other bodily tasks. Because the body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. The amount of water essential for optimum health depends on a range of things, including the climate, physically activity, illnesses or other health problems.

Water doesn’t merely quench thirst and regulate body’s temperature; it also keeps tissues within the body moist. These include the eyes, nose, and mouth. Keeping the body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, also as within the blood, bones, as well as the brain. Additionally, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for the joints.

Water also aids in removing waste. Ample water intake enables the body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys and liver use it to help flush out waste, as does the intestines. Water can also prevent one from getting constipated by softening the stools and helping move the food ingested through the intestinal tract.

Water assists with digestion. Digestion starts with saliva, the origin of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to assist the break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more obtainable to the body. Water is additionally necessary to assist in digesting soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber breaks up easily and benefits bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.

Water prevents dehydration. The body loses fluids when employed in vigorous exercise: sweat in high heat, or develop a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. If fluids are being lost for any of these reasons, it’s important to increase the fluid intake to enable the body to restore natural hydration levels. A doctor may recommend more fluids to help treat other health conditions, such as bladder infections and urinary tract stones. If one is pregnant or nursing, it is best to consult with a physician about fluid intake because the body will be using more fluids than usual, especially if in the case of breastfeeding.

How much water should we drink a day

One suggestion is the 8×8 rule (8 8oz glasses a day). But there’s really no concrete rule on the amount of water to drink each day. Many folks simply drink water when they are thirsty. Basically, people who are in good physical health get enough fluids by drinking water and other fluids when they are thirsty and with each of their meals. One indication of hydration level is by observing urine. If it’s clear that’s a great indication of being well hydrated. However, if it’s dark, that’s a clear indication of dehydration. The clearer the better, the darker, not so much but light yellow is acceptable.   Having said that, discolorations can occur from taking certain vitamins or supplements that may make urine darker.  Also, other beverages (coffee, tea, sodas) can make urine darker.  The only beverage that hydrates completely and makes urine lighter is water.

Everybody’s body is different therefore the required amount of fluid intake varies. It depends on weight, age, the amount of fluid loss during the day, and the level of physical activity.

Personally, if I drank 8 8oz’s glasses a day, I would simply float away!

Through normal daily activities, our bodies can lose up to three to four liters a day just by perspiration, urine, bowel movement, and exhalation of hair. We lose one to two liters alone from just breathing.

How much water should you drink to lose weight

Drinking ample amounts of water will aid in weight loss as follows:

  • Drinking water increases caloric burning. Drinking extra 1500 ml water can burn around 23 calories on average per day.
  • Drinking cold water before meals can reduce your appetite – you will consume 75-90 calories less per meal. This is because the body uses extra How much water should you drink to lose weightenergy which burns more calories to heat the water to body temperature before it can be absorbed.
  • If we consume more pure, filtered water, we are less likely to drink high-calorie beverages like sodas and sports drinks. These are full of added sugars, and empty calories.
  • Water frees fat stored as an energy source.
  • It aids to clear toxins. When overloaded with toxins the body turns to alternative plans, like adding fat cells to help store the toxic material. Water facilitates to flush out both the toxins and fat.
  • Excess toxins can interrupt hormonal signals that indicate when we are full, and to stop eating. Drinking enough water helps prevent this from happening.
  • The organs of elimination and digestion can work properly, ensuring we stay a healthy weight when we drink plenty of water.
  • Water eliminates sodium, and our muscle cells stay hydrated, giving us the energy to stay active.
  • Water is also important for muscle tone.  It energizes muscles by acting as a lubricant around  muscles and joints which helps prevent against cramping.  Thus allowing for harder and longer to workouts.  A well toned body has a faster metabolism that burns fat.

It is recommended to drink 1500mi (50 ounces) of water in addition to your normal water intake. The colder the water, the more effective it is for burning calories.

Therefore, first make sure your water intake is at the proper level. Then add the 1500mi for the weight loss.

Feel free to leave your questions, comment or concern below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

 

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What is Cholesterol and What Does it Do

Cholesterol is something we hear about all the time.  Mostly, that it causes heart disease and other ailments.  But what else do we know?  Do we know how and why it causes these diseases? Does it have any purpose?  Do we know where it comes from?   In this article you will discover, what is cholesterol and what does it do…all about cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol

The Symbol of Healing

Cholesterol is a substance; a type of fat found in the body as well as in animal products like meat, eggs and dairy products. It is a waxy-fat like substance that plays important roles in the production of hormones, vitamin D and the bile necessary for digesting fats.

What does Cholesterol do

Cholesterol is a vital component of every cell in the body, giving cell membranes the necessary strength and flexibility. The liver produces all the cholesterol that the body needs to function, but cholesterol can also be introduced by consuming animal products.

Since cholesterol doesn’t mix well with liquids (i.e.blood), it’s transported by particles called lipoproteins, which includes low-density and high-density lipoprotein — or LDL and HDL.

LDL is often referred to as bad cholesterol, as it is associated with the

plaque buildup in arteries, while HDL or good cholesterol helps excrete excess cholesterol from the body.

When extra cholesterol is consumed, the body compensates by reducing the amount of cholesterol that it naturally makes. On the other hand, when dietary cholesterol intake is low, the body increases’ cholesterol production to ensure there is always enough of this vital substance.

Only about 25% of cholesterol in the body comes from dietary sources. The rest is produced by the liver.

How is Cholesterol bad for you

Cholesterol is a vital substance for the body. However, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

To break this down further there are two types of cholesterol as mentioned

Good and Bad Cholesterol
Good & Bad Cholesterol

earlier: LDL and HDL. LDL is bad cholesterol that can cause plaque to build up in the arteries leading to heart disease and stroke. This level needs to be low.

HDL is good cholesterol that acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL (bad) cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where the LDL is broken down and eliminated from the body. This level needs to be high. Healthy HDL cholesterol levels may protect against heart attack and stroke. Studies show that low levels of this cholesterol increase the danger of cardiovascular heart disease. However, HDL cholesterol does not completely eliminate LDL cholesterol. Only 1/3 to 1/4 of blood cholesterol is carried out by HDL.

There is a third component of the cholesterol equation known as triglycerides. They are the most common type of fat in the body and they store excess fat from your diet.

Therefore, a high triglyceride level combined with high LDL (bad) cholesterol or low HDL (good) cholesterol is linked with fatty buildups within the artery walls, which increases’ the risk of heart attack and stroke.

So there you have the components of the cholesterol equation. [The good, the bad, and the ugly]  For a video presentation illustrating the cholesterol equation, click the link that follows: https://youtu.be/inaqswqMDds

What causes high Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels are due to a range of dynamics including heredity, diet, and lifestyle. Less frequently, underlying illnesses affecting the liver, thyroid, or kidney may affect blood cholesterol levels.

  • Heredity: Genes can influence how the body metabolizes LDL (bad) cholesterol. For example, there are inherited forms of high cholesterol that can lead to early heart disease.
  • Weight:
    Excess weight can modestly increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Losing weight can lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
  • Lack of physical activity: Regular physical activity such as exercise may lower triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Age and sex: Before menopause, females usually have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. As females and males age, their blood cholesterol levels rise until about 60 to 65 years of age. After approximately age fifty, women often have higher total cholesterol levels than men of the same age.
  • Alcohol:
    Moderate (1-2 drinks daily) alcohol intake increases’ HDL (good) cholesterol but does not lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Physicians don’t know for certain whether alcohol also reduces the risk of heart disease. Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol will harm the liver and heart muscle tissue, lead to high blood pressure, and raise triglyceride levels. Even though moderate alcohol intake increases’ good cholesterol, because of the other risks, alcoholic beverages should not be used as a way to prevent heart disease.
  • Stress:
    Several studies have shown results indicating that stress raises blood cholesterol levels over the long term. One way that stress may do this is by affecting one’s habits. For example, when some are under stress, they may console themselves by eating fatty foods. The saturated fat and LDL cholesterol in these foods contribute to higher levels of blood cholesterol.

Symptoms of high Cholesterol levels

Fact is, high cholesterol is a risk factor for other illnesses and by itself does not bring about symptoms. Routine screening blood tests can reveal elevated cholesterol levels in the blood.

The National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines recommend a strategy that everybody aged twenty years and older ought to have their blood cholesterol level measured a minimum of once every five years. It is best to have a blood test called a lipoprotein profile to determine cholesterol numbers.

Since the only symptom of high cholesterol is a blood test, below is the range of numbers for determining the condition of an individual’s blood cholestero.

Total cholesterol
Less than 200 mg/DL: desirable
200-239 mg/DL: borderline high risk
240 and over: high risk
HDL (high density lipoprotein)
Less than 40 mg/DL (men), less than 50 mg/DL (women): higher risk of heart disease
Greater than 60mg/DL: some protection against heart disease
LDL (low density lipoprotein)
Less than 100 mg/DL: optimal
100-129 mg/DL: near optimal/above optimal
130-159 mg/DL: borderline high
160- 189 mg/DL: high
190 mg/DL and above: very high
Triglycerides
Less than n150 mg/DL: normal
150-199 mg/DL: borderline to high
200-499mg/DL: high
Above 500 mg/DL: very high

How to control Cholesterol naturally

Consume monounsaturated fats – a diet high in monounsaturated fats reduces harmful LDL, but also protects higher levels of healthy HDL. Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of lipoproteins, which adds to clogged arteries. A study of 26 individuals found that replacing polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet reduced the oxidation of fats and cholesterol.

A few excellent sources of monounsaturated fats are below. Some are also good sources of polyunsaturated fat:

  • Olives and olive oil

    Foods that lower cholesterol
    High Cholesterol Prevention
  • Canola oil
  • Avocados
  • Tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and cashews

Include polyunsaturated fats – Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.

For example, one study replaced saturated fats in 115 adults’ diets with polyunsaturated fats for eight weeks. By the end, total and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by about 10% (10Trusted Source).

Another study included 13,614 adults. They replaced dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, providing about 15% of total calories. Their risk of coronary artery disease dropped by nearly 20% (11Trusted Source).

Polyunsaturated fats also seem to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Another study modified the diets of four thousand twenty (4,220) adults, replacing 5% of their calories from carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats. Their blood glucose and fasting insulin levels decreased, indicating a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes (12Trusted Source).

Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of

Cholesterol lowering foods
Cholesterol Lowering Foods

polyunsaturated fat. They’re found in seafood and fish oil supplements (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).

Omega-3 fats ar found in high amounts in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and deep ocean tuna like blue fin or albacore, and to a lesser degree in shellfish including shrimp (15).

Other sources of omega-3s include seeds and tree nuts, but not peanuts.

Steer clear of Trans Fats – Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation. The reason for this is to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable as an ingredient. Many margarines and shortenings are made of partially hydrogenated oils.

The resulting trans fats are not fully saturated, but are solid at room temperatures. This is why food manufacturers have used trans fats in product like spreads, pastries and cookies — they provide more texture than unsaturated, liquid oils.

Unfortunately, partially hydrogenated trans fats are handled differently in the body than other fats, and not in a good way. Trans fats increase total cholesterol and LDL, but decrease beneficial HDL by as much as 20% (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

A study of world health patterns calculated that trans fats could also be liable for 8% of deaths from heart disease worldwide. Another study estimated a law restricting trans fats in New York will reduce heart disease deaths by 4.5% (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

In the United States and an increasing number of other countries, food companies are required to list the amount of trans fats in their products on nutrition labels. However, be aware that these labels can be misleading, since they are allowed to round down when the amount of trans fat per serving is less than 0.5 grams. This means some foods contain trans fats even though their labels say “0 grams of trans fat per serving.” To avoid this trick, read the ingredients in addition to the nutrition label. If a product contains “partially hydrogenated” oil, it contains trans fats and should be avoided.

Go for Soluble Fiber – Soluble fiber is a group of different compounds in plants that dissolve in water and that humans can’t digest. However, the beneficial bacteria that live in the intestines can digest soluble fiber. In fact, they need it for their own nutrition. These good bacteria, also called probiotics, reduce both harmful kinds of lipoproteins, LDL and VLDL (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

In a study of 30 adults, taking 3 grams of soluble fiber supplements daily for 12 weeks decreased LDL by 18% (22Trusted Source).

A different study of fortified breakfast cereal found that added soluble fiber from pectin reduced LDL by 4% and fiber from psyllium reduced LDL by 6% (23Trusted Source).

Soluble fiber can also help increase the cholesterol benefits of taking a statin medication.

One 12-week study had 68 adults add 15 grams of the psyllium product Metamucil to their daily 10-mg dose of the lipid-lowering medication simvastatin. This was found to be as effective as taking a larger 20-mg dose of the statin without fiber (24Trusted Source).

Soluble fiber’s benefits reduce the risk of disease. A large review of several studies found high fiber intakes of both soluble and insoluble fiber reduced the risk of death over 17 years by nearly 15% (25Trusted Source).

Another study of over 350,000 adults found those eating the most fiber from grains and cereals lived longer, and they were 15–20% less likely to die during the 14-year study (26Trusted Source).

Some of the best sources of soluble fiber include beans, peas and lentils, fruit, oats and whole grains. Fiber supplements like psyllium are also safe and inexpensive sources.

Exercise – Exercise is a double whammy for heart health. It not only improves physical fitness and help combat obesity, but it also reduces harmful LDL and increases’ beneficial HDL.

While even low-intensity exercise like walking increases’ HDL, making your exercise longer and more intense increases’ the benefit (30Trusted Source).

Based on a review of 13 studies, 30 minutes of activity five days a week is enough to improve cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Ideally, aerobic activity ought to raise the heart rate to about seventy-five percent (75%) of its maximum. Resistance training should be fifty percent (50%) of maximum effort.

Activity that elevates the heart rate to 85% of its maximum increases’ HDL and also decreases LDL. The longer the duration, the greater the effects.

**Resistance exercise can decrease LDL even at modest intensity. At maximum effort it also increases’ HDL. Increasing the number of sets or repetitions increases’ the benefit

Supplements – There’s robust proof that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health and is available in supplement form. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in advancing cholesterol results, even though its long-term advantages aren’t so far known.

Fish oil – is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). One study of forty-two (42) adults found that taking four (4) grams of fish oil daily reduced the entire quantity of fat being carried in blood. In another study, taking 6 grams of fish oil daily increased HDL (45Trusted Source)

A study of over 15,000 adults also found that omega-3 fatty acids, including from fish oil supplements, reduced the risk of heart disease and prolonged life expectancy (47Trusted Source).

Psyllium – Psyllium is a type of soluble fiber that is accessible as a supplement.

A four-week study of 33 adults found that cookies enriched with 8 grams of psyllium reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10% (48Trusted Source).

Another study found similar results employing a 5-gram psyllium supplement two times daily. LDL and total cholesterol decreased by about 5% over a longer, 26-week period (49Trusted Source).

Coenzyme Q10 – Coenzyme Q10 is a food chemical that helps cells produce energy. It is the same as a nutritional supplement, except that the body can produce its own Q10, preventing deficiency.

Even if there is no deficiency, extra Q10 in the form of supplements may have benefits in some situations.

Several studies with a sum of 409 participants found coenzyme Q10 supplements reduced total cholesterol. In these studies, LDL and HDL did not change (50Trusted Source).

Coenzyme Q10 supplements may additionally be valuable in treating heart failure or breakdown, though it’s unclear whether they reduce the risk of developing heart failure or heart attacks.

You can purchase these and other supplements online by clicking HERE.

Conclusion

Cholesterol has vital roles in the body, however it can cause clogged arteries and heart disease if gets out of control.

Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is subject to free radical damage and contributes most to heart disease. On the contrary, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) protects against heart disease by carrying LDL cholesterol away from vessel walls and back to the liver.

If your cholesterol is out of balance, lifestyle interventions are the first line of treatment. Unsaturated fats, soluble fiber and plant sterols and stanols will increase good HDL and reduce bad low density lipoprotein (LDL). Exercise and weight loss can also help. Eating trans fats and smoking is harmful and should be avoided.

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, have them checked by your doctor. A simple blood draw, taken after fasting overnight, is all that’s needed.

Please feel free to leave any question, comment or concern below.

Good health!!

 

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Tips for a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is the best way to achieve numerous health benefits that include reducing the risk of chronic diseases and overall good

A Healthy Meal

health. This article contains tips for a healthy diet.

Surprisingly, making changes to a diet doesn’t have to be a major enterprise with major changes. Instead of creating huge changes, it may be better to start with a few smaller ones. Below are a few small tips to begin the journey of a healthier lifestyle.

Ways to eat healthier

Take it slow – Did you know that eating fast can contribute to weight gain? The pace at which one eats controls how much they eat, as well as how likely they are to gain weight.

In fact, studies comparing different eating speeds show that fast eaters are up to 115% more likely to be obese than slow eaters (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Our appetites, how much we eat and how full we get is all controlled by hormones. These hormones signal the brain whether we’re hungry or full.

However, it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to receive these messages, therefore eating more slowly would give the brain the time it needs to perceive that we are full.

Studies have confirmed this, showing that eating slowly may reduce the number of calories you consume at meals and help us lose weight.

Eating slowly is additionally joined to additional thorough mastication (chewing), which has also been linked to better weight maintenance.

Therefore, just by taking in food slower and grinding it up more often, you can reduce your risk of eating too much and gaining excess weight.

Stay away from refined breads – a diet can become a bit healthier by choosing whole grain bread over traditional refined-grain bread. As

There are many whole grains to choose from

opposed to refined grains, which have been tied to many health issues, whole grains have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They are additionally a decent supply of fiber, B vitamins and several minerals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese.

There are many varieties of whole-grain bread on the market, and many of them have a better taste than refined bread.

To be sure, read the label to make certain that the bread selected is made with whole grains only, not a mixture of whole and refined grains. It’s additionally preferred that the bread contains whole seeds or grains.

Don’t forget that list – There are two important tactics to use when going

Check it twice!

grocery shopping: make a shopping list ahead of time and never go to the store hungry. Not knowing exactly what items are needed makes room for impulse buying, while hunger can additionally intensify one’s impulses. Therefore, to make sure to avoid impulses, it’s best to plan ahead and write down what is needed beforehand. This will ensure not only the purchase of healthier items but also save money and have healthier foods available.

Consume eggs for breakfast – Eggs are very healthy, especially in the morning. They are rich in high-quality protein and many essential

Breakfast BLT Egg Sandwich

nutrients that we often don’t get enough of, such as choline. When comparing studies containing various types of calorie-matched breakfasts, eggs come out ahead.

Eating eggs within the morning bracket will increase feelings of fullness. This has been shown to cause one to consume fewer calories over the following thirty-six hours, which can be quite helpful for weight loss.

Bottom line: by simply replacing a current breakfast with eggs may result in major benefits for health.

Increase the protein – Protein is often referred to as the king of nutrients, and it does seem to have some very powerful advantages.

Some Protein Sources

Due to its ability to affect hunger and satiety hormones, it’s the most filling of the macronutrients.

One study showed that merely increasing protein intake from fifteen to thirty percent of calories caused participants to eat 441 fewer calories per day, without actively restricting their intake.

Also, protein helps to retain muscle mass, which determines the rate of your metabolism. A high protein intake could increase the amount of calories you burn by 80–100 per day. This is especially important for preventing the loss of muscle mass that can occur during weight loss and as one ages.

Therefore, it is best to aim to add a source of protein to each meal and snack. It will facilitate feeling fuller for longer, curb cravings and make one less likely to overeat.

For more information on protein, refer to the article: https://universal-health-products.com/the-facts-about-proteins/

Consume plenty of (H2O) – Drinking ample amounts of water is important for optimal health.

The healthiest beverage on the planet!!

Many studies have shown that taking in ample amounts of water could aid weight loss, weight maintenance and even slightly increase the number of calories you burn daily.

Studies in addition show that drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and calorie intake during the subsequent meal in middle-aged and older adults.

Additionally, the most important thing is to drink water as an alternative of other beverages as much as possible. This can significantly reduce your sugar and calorie intake.

People who drink water principally are shown to consume two-hundred fewer calories per day, on average, than individuals who drink alternative beverages.

Food preparation – The way food is prepared can drastically change its effects on one’s health.

Grilling, broiling, frying and deep-frying are all popular means of preparing meat and fish. However, during these types of cooking methods, several potentially toxic compounds are formed, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) (36Trusted Source).

All of these compounds have been linked to several diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Better cooking methods include baking, broiling, simmering, slow-cooking, poaching, pressure-cooking, stewing and sous-vide. These methods do not promote the formation of these harmful compounds and consequently makes food healthier. Therefore, it is wise to use the previous methods sparingly.

Take Omega-3 and Vitamin D Supplements – A shocking range of individuals round the world are deficient in vitamin D, as well as forty-two percent of the American population. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is very important for bone health and the proper function of the immune system. Essentially, every cell in the body has a receptor for vitamin D, indicating its importance. However, vitamin D is found in very few foods, but fatty seafood generally contains the highest amounts.

Omega-3 fatty acids are another usually lacking nutrient found in fatty sea food. They have several vital roles within the body, including reducing inflammation, maintaining heart health and promoting brain function. The Western diet is generally very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation and have been linked to many chronic diseases.

Omega-3s on the other hand, help fight this inflammation and keep the body in a more balanced state. If fatty seafood isn’t regularly consumed in one’s diet, taking a supplement should be considered. Omega-3s and the D vitamin will typically be found along in a supplement.

For more detailed information on dietary supplements, please refer to the article https://universal-health-products.com/dietary-supplements-the-facts/

For an online supplement and vitamin store that has a great selection click here.

Healthier eating is paramount!!

Avoid those French Fries – Potatoes are very filling and a common side to many dishes. However, the method by which they are prepared largely determines their health effects.

To begin with, 100 grams of baked potatoes yields 94 calories, while the same amount of french fries yields over three times as many, or 319 calories.

Additionally, deep-fried french fries generally contain harmful compounds, such as aldehydes and trans fats. Replacing french fries with baked or boiled potatoes is a great way to reduce calories and evade these harmful compounds.

Eat your veggies – and eat them first. A good way to ensure that they are consumed is to eat them as a starter. By doing so, it is most likely that all

Yummie!!

the veggies are finished while one is the hungriest and be apt to eat less of other, possibly less healthy, parts of the meal.

This may lead one to eat fewer and healthier calories overall, which can result in weight loss.

In addition, eating vegetables before a carb-rich meal has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels. This is accomplished in that it slows down the speed at which carbs are absorbed into the bloodstream and may benefit both short- and long-term blood sugar controls in people with diabetes.

Don’t forget the fruits – fruits should be eaten instead of drinking them. Fruits are very healthy. They are laden with water, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Studies have repeatedly linked eating fruit to a reduced risk of several diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Because fruits contain fiber and numerous plant compounds, their sugars

Antioxidants galore!

are generally digested very slowly and do not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels. However, it doesn’t apply to fruit juices. Countless fruit juices aren’t even made from real fruit, but rather concentrate and sugar. They can even contain as much sugar as a sugary soft drink.

Even real fruit juices lack the fiber and mastication (chewing) resistance provided by whole fruits. This makes fruit juices far more possible to spike blood glucose levels. It also makes it far too easy to ingest too much in one sitting.

Eat fresh berries – in fact we should eat fresh Berries instead of the dried ones. Fresh berries are very healthy and packed with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. Most varieties can be purchased fresh, frozen or dried.

Although every type is comparatively healthy, the dried varieties are a much more concentrated source of calories and sugar, since all the water has been removed. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of recently picked or frozen berries contains 32–35 calories, while 3.5 ounces of dried strawberries contain a whopping 396 calories. The dried varieties are typically lined with sugar, further increasing the sugar content. By going for the fresh varieties, the result is a much juicier snack that’s lower in sugar and a lot lower in calories.

Choose healthier oils – Unfortunately, highly processed seed and vegetable

Healthy Cooking Oils

oils have become a prominent household staple in recent years. Examples include soybean, cottonseed, and sunflower oil.

These oils are extremely processed and high in omega-6 fatty acid, but deficient in omega-3s.

A high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can lead to inflammation and has been linked to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases.

It is best to swap these unhealthy oils for healthier alternatives, such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil. Coconut oil is the best of these. More on Coconut oil to follow in a future article.

Get enough sleep – The importance of proper sleep cannot be overstated. Sleep deprivation disrupts hunger regulation, typically resulting in

Gotta have it!

increased food craving, which causes increased calorie intake and weight gain. Personally, when I am sleep deprived, my appetite goes through the roof!

In fact, people who sleeps too little tend to weigh significantly more than those who get enough sleep. Being sleep poor additionally negatively affects concentration, productivity, athletic performance, sugar metabolism and immune execution. What’s more, it increases the risk of several diseases, including inflammatory diseases and heart disease.

Therefore, it is important to try to get sufficient amounts of good-quality sleep, preferably in one session. For more detailed information on sleep, please refer to the articles:

https://universal-health-products.com/the-importance-of-sleep-for-health/

https://universal-health-products.com/sleep-apnea-the-facts-new/

We gotta keep it moving!!

Keep it moving – proper nutrition and exercise regularly go hand in hand. Exercise has been shown to improve mood, as well as decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.

It is also important to note that these are the exact feelings that are most likely to contribute to emotional and binge eating.

Aside from strengthening your muscles and bones, exercise can help weight loss, increase energy levels, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve sleep.

The goal of accomplishing 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise each day, or simply take the stairs and go on short walks whenever possible is reasonable.

Thanks for visiting – I hope these tips will prove beneficial!  Remember: we are what we eat!!

Please feel free to leave any question, comment or concern below.

Good Health!

 

 

 

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All about the Urinary System

Recently I promised to cover all the systems of the body. So far I’ve covered the: cardiovascular, endocrine, and lymphatic systems. In this article, I will be covering all about the urinary system.

What is the urinary system

The urinary system, (aka the renal system), generates, stores and eliminates urine, the fluid waste excreted by the kidneys. The kidneys turn out urine by filtering wastes and excess water from blood. Urine travels away from the kidneys through two delicate tubes called ureters and fills the bladder.

The purpose is to eliminate waste from the body, regulate blood level and blood pressure which is the force that blood travels through the veins and arteries, control levels of electrolytes and metabolites, and regulate blood pH. It is the system that filters the blood of waste leaving it clean and vibrant.

What are the organs of the urinary system

The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, urinary bladder, ureters, and urethra. The kidneys form the urine and account for the other functions ascribed to the urinary system.

How does the urinary system work

The urinary system removes a type of metabolic waste called urea from your blood. Urea is formed once foods containing protein, such as meat, poultry, and certain vegetables, are broken down in the body. Urea is carried within the blood to the kidneys.

Kidneys The kidneys are twin bean shaped organs about the size of a fist. They are close to the center of the back, just below the rib cage. The kidneys extract urea from the blood through tiny filtering units called nephrons.

Organs of the Urinary System

Urea, in conjunction with water and alternative waste substances, forms the urine as it passes through the nephrons and down the renal tubules of the kidney.

From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin tubes called ureters to the bladder.

Ureters The ureters ar approximately eight to ten inches long. Muscles in the ureter walls constantly constrict and release to force urine descending away from the kidneys. If urine is allowed to stagnate, or reverse, a kidney infection can develop. Small amounts of this waste water are drained into the bladder from the ureters about every ten to fifteen seconds.

Bladder The bladder is a sunken sturdy organ shaped like a balloon. It sits in the pelvis and is held in place by ligaments attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. The bladder contains urine until an individual is ready to go to empty it in the bathroom (urination). It expands into a round shape when it is full and contracts when empty. With a healthy system, the bladder can hold up to 16 ounces (2 cups) of urine comfortably for 2 to 5 hours.

Circular muscles called sphincters help keep urine from escaping. The sphincter muscles contract tightly like a rubber band around the opening of the bladder into the urethra, the passageway that allows urine to pass out of the body.

Nerves in the bladder indicate to an individual when it is time to urinate, or empty the bladder. As the bladder first fills with urine, one may notice a feeling indicating that there is a need to urinate. The indication to urinate becomes stronger as the bladder continues to fill and reaches its limit. At that point, nerves of the bladder sends a message to the brain that the bladder is full and the urge to empty the bladder intensifies.

When you urination takes place, the brain signals the bladder muscles to tighten, squeezing urine out of the bladder. Simultaneously, the brain signals the sphincter muscles to relax. As these muscles relax, urine leaves the bladder through the urethra. When all the signals within the correct order are completed, regular elimination occurs.

Problems of the urinary system

Problems of the urinary system can be caused by illness, injury, or aging. As we get older, changes in the structure of the kidneys cause them to lose some of their ability to remove wastes from the blood. Also, the muscles in the ureters, bladder, and urethra tend to lose some of their tone and vigor. An individual may have more urinary infections because the bladder muscles don’t tighten enough to empty the bladder completely. A decrease in strength of muscles of the sphincters and the pelvis can in addition cause incontinence, which is the unwanted leakage of urine. Illness or injury can also prevent the kidneys from cleansing and filtering the blood completely or obstruct the passage of urine.

Disorders of the urinary system range from easy to treat to the threat of life.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – is a condition in men that affects the prostate gland, which is part of the male reproductive system. For more information on BPH and the prostate, review the article: https://universal-health-products.com/all-about-the-prostate/

Painful bladder syndrome/Interstitial cystitis (PBS/IC) – is a persistent bladder disorder also known as frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome. In this ailment, the bladder wall will become inflamed and irritated. The inflammation can lead to scarring and hardening of the bladder, diminished bladder capacity, pinpoint bleeding, and, in unusual cases, ulcers in the bladder lining. The cause is unknown at this time.

Kidney stones – are stones, or calculi, in the urinary system. The stones form in the kidneys and can be found anywhere in the urinary system. They vary in size. Some stones cause great pain while others hardly cause any at all. The goal of treatment is to remove the stones, prevent infection, and prevent recurrence. Both nonsurgical and surgical treatments are used. For unknown reasons, kidney stones affect men more often than women.

Prostatitis – is inflammation of the prostate gland. For more information on this condition of the prostate, please review the article https://universal-health-products.com/all-about-the-prostate/

Proteinuria – is the presence of higher than normal amounts of protein in the urine. Healthy kidneys take wastes out of the blood but leave in protein. Protein in the urine does not cause a problem by itself. But it can be a sign that one’s kidneys are not working properly.

Renal (kidney) failure – occurs when the kidneys are unable to manage water and chemicals in the body or remove waste products from the blood. Acute renal failure (ARF) is the abrupt start of kidney failure. This condition can be caused by a calamity that damages the kidneys, loss of an excessive amount of blood, or some drugs or poisons. ARF may lead to permanent loss of kidney performance. However, if the kidneys are not seriously damaged, they may recover. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the slow reduction of kidney function that could lead to permanent kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). An individual may go several years without knowing they have CKD.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. Adult females contract this condition more often than men. UTIs are treated with antibiotics. Drinking lots of fluids also helps by flushing out the bacteria.

The name of the UTI depends on its location in the urinary tract. An infection in the bladder is called cystitis. If the infection is in one or both of the kidneys, the infection is called pyelonephritis. This type of UTI can cause serious damage to the kidneys if it is not adequately treated.

Urinary incontinence – this is loss of bladder control. It is the involuntary passage of urine. There are many causes and types of incontinence, and many treatment options. Treatments can range from simple exercises to surgery. Adult females are affected by this condition more often than men.

Urinary retention – this is bladder-emptying problems, which is a common urological problem with many possible causes. Normally, urination can be initiated voluntarily and the bladder empties completely. Urinary retention is the abnormal holding of urine in the bladder. Acute urinary retention is the sudden inability to urinate, causing pain and discomfort.

Getting help with urinary problems

A general practitioner or primary doctor may help with some urinary problems. However, some problems may require the attention of a urologist, which is a doctor who specializes in treating problems of the urinary system and the male reproductive system. A gynecologist is a specialist who specializes in the female reproductive system and may be able to help with some urinary problems. An urogynecologist is a specialized gynecologist who specializes in the female urinary system. A nephrologist specializes in treating diseases of the kidney.

How to maintain a healthy urinary system

1. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to keep a normal urinary pattern. This works to remove any waste products in your system.

2. Don’t prolong discharging urine. Withholding urination puts added pressure on the bladder which can lead to infection.

3. Avoid foods that can irritate the bladder. For an overactive or sensitive bladder, avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks and alcoholic drinks.

4. Practice good hygiene by avoiding harsh soaps and shower thoroughly after swimming in pools or lakes

5. Seek medical help if you suspect something is wrong.

Please feel free to leave any question, comment or concern below.

Good Health!!

 

 

 

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