5 Unbelievable Things You Never Knew About Mushroom Coffee

You’ve probably heard of mushroom coffee or seen one of those Instagram photos with a freshly brewed cup of black coffee and several raw mushrooms placed meticulously on a side plate and wondered what the heck coffee has to do with mushrooms. If not, you’re not too late to the party.

Mushroom coffee is not as new as you may believe. In fact, it dates all the way back to World War II in Finland, the world’s highest coffee consumer country, according to data. As per legend, the people of Finland were so fond of coffee that when it became scarce and was rigorously rationed, they needed to find an alternative. During this hunt, they found mushrooms could be converted into a beverage. The Chaga tea, which is prepared from the Chaga fungus, has a flavour almost identical to coffee. Over time, those who disliked the mushroom taste began mixing it with coffee for a more aromatic flavour.

What Is Mushroom Coffee, And How Is It Prepared?

As the name implies, Mushroom coffee is a blend of mushrooms and ground coffee beans that results in a soft dark smooth cup of coffee. However, not in the way, you may assume; mushrooms are not just thrown into a blender and churned into a smoothie. They are first dried and then powdered, and those who have tried it say it tastes just like ordinary coffee, with the added benefit of being healthier.

You see, mushroom coffee is not produced from common culinary mushrooms like shiitake and Portobello, but rather from extracts of medicinal mushrooms like Chaga, Turkey’s tail, Lion’s mane, and Reishi Cordyceps.

How Come Mushrooms?

Mushrooms blended in coffee, isn’t it intriguing? You have to agree that mushrooms and coffee are a strange pairing, yet the two appear to work so well together that it has become a global craze. For the longest time, there has been a conflict between the benefits and downsides of coffee. And while coffee has been found to have a multitude of benefits such as providing an energy boost in the morning, assisting you in focusing and remaining alert, and it has also been proven to aid in fat burning thus weight loss, it does have some drawbacks. It causes insomnia and can cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as lack of focus and anxiety.  However, when coupled with mushrooms, it’s like a perfect union. After all, mushrooms are not only delicious they have a profound medical history, especially in Asian cultures.

To answer why mushrooms and coffee make such an excellent combination, it is because the health benefits of mushrooms help to offset the adverse effects of coffee, making mushrooms an ideal therapeutic beverage.

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The Primary Benefits Of Mushroom Coffee

1. Antibacterial and Antiparasitic

For hundreds of years, they have been used to cure various infections, and their immense medical potential continues to be discovered to this day. This is because medicinal mushrooms possess antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties that aid in detoxifying and infection combating. Recent research has explored the use of mushrooms such as reishi in treating pulmonary disorders and boosting immunity, keeping in mind that China has been employing reishi in conjunction with chemotherapy for cancer treatment for the past three decades.

2. It Has Less Caffeine.

Are you concerned about developing an addiction to coffee and the withdrawal symptoms that may occur if you stop? When brewing mushroom coffee, the ratio of ground coffee beans to mushroom powder is typically 1:1, indicating that a mushroom coffee cup contains 50% less caffeine than regular coffee. While most people are unlikely to be adversely affected by a moderate amount of caffeine, those with underlying health problems who are accustomed to daily coffee consumption may be. However, substituting mushroom coffee for ordinary coffee will reduce your caffeine intake while still benefiting your health.

3. Beneficial To Your Mental Health.

The benefits of mushrooms extend far beyond caffeine reduction. Who would have believed that one of the primary benefits of mushrooms is that they aid with stress management? Mushrooms can operate as adaptogens, assisting your adrenal glands in their function. It helps you in remaining calm in stressful situations and in coping with anxiety.

4. It Is Beneficial For Indigestion And Gut Health.

It is proven that mushrooms include prebiotics and carbohydrates with profiles such as polysaccharides that can aid to improve overall intestinal health while also providing relief from indigestion and minor gastrointestinal issues.

5. Beneficial For Individuals With High Blood Pressure.

Mushrooms are extremely high in potassium, a mineral that aids in relaxing the blood vessels, easing muscle tension and cramps. While mushrooms have long been regarded as a superfood due to their numerous health benefits, most claims have not been substantiated. Nonetheless, unless you have an allergy to mushrooms, you should give mushroom coffee a try; many people swear by it, and who knows, you might wind up liking it more than your regular coffee.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mushroom-coffee#how-its-made

https://www.webmd.com/diet/mushroom-coffee-health-benefits

https://www.fastcompany.com/40515798/heres-what-happened-when-i-drank-mushroom-coffee-for-a-month

 

Think You Know About Clogged Arteries? Think Again

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Similar to the plaque found on our teeth, our arteries are also prone to having plaque, and it builds up over time. However, the plaque in our arteries is quite different in composition, as it is made up of cholesterol, fats, calcium, and other waste products from our cells that end up in our bloodstream.

Atherosclerosis, or the narrowing of artery walls due to the buildup of plaque along these walls, is a natural occurrence among us humans– but what exactly causes plaque to build up?

Coronary and Carotid Plaque Causes

Coronary plaque and carotid plaque refer to plaque that form in the coronary arteries and in the carotid arteries. Coronary arteries are blood vessels wrapped around the heart that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart itself, while carotid arteries are blood vessels found in the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain, face, and neck. Too much plaque in either of these areas can have fatal consequences, such as getting a stroke or a heart attack.

Since the buildup of plaque is a natural process, we should take note of the factors that can speed up the accumulation of plaque so that we can avoid them, especially those of coronary and carotid plaque. A few known causes of plaque buildup are as follows:

High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol

High low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is part of what arterial plaque is composed of, which is why it is considered “bad” cholesterol. Eating too many foods with high LDL cholesterol is considered risky when watching out for heart disease.

Smoking and second-hand smoke

When the nicotine found in tobacco smoke is breathed in, it can trigger plaque buildup in the arteries via inflaming them. Not only that, nicotine brought into the body this way also makes it easier for cholesterol to enter arterial walls.

High blood pressure

Now, high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily cause plaque, but it can worsen the condition of arteries already affected by a buildup of plaque. High blood pressure can damage our arteries, making them harden into narrow pathways as a result. This, along with arterial plaque, makes the possibility of a total blockage of arterial pathways closer to reality.

Fat from dairy products, fish, and meat

Fatty products can speed up plaque buildup. This is also due to the fact that the intake of too much of these products can cause high blood pressure over time, and as discussed above, high blood pressure isn’t good for keeping our arteries healthy. Another reason is due to the presence of POPs, which is discussed below.

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Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates

Studies show that BPA, an industrial chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and resins, and phthalates, a group of chemicals that make plastics more durable, are linked to cause carotid atherosclerosis (or carotid plaque buildup). Although studies have only linked the risk in the elderly so far, their findings suggest that such chemicals, if found in significant doses in the body, aid in plaque development.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

POPs are toxic chemicals that take several years to break down and are therefore persistent in the environment, which means that POPs from one side of the world can end up in another part of the world due to being brought from place to place by repeated processes of evaporation and deposition.

POPs tend to be by-products of many industrial processes, but more notably, POPs can be found in organochlorine pesticides. POPs are also lipophilic, which means they accumulate in the fatty tissue of living beings, and often have a “magnified” in effect when in fat or when they move up the food chain. Farmed fish and farm animals tend to be exposed to such POPs, which means consuming their meat or by-products– especially their fat– can incorporate our own bodies with POPs.

Studies have shown that the presence of POPs in the body is associated with cardiovascular diseases and the accumulation of plaque– particularly carotid plaque.

Ways to Avoid or Minimize Plaque Buildup

The creation of plaque deposits in our arteries may be a natural phenomenon, but there are definitely ways to slow it down– especially now that we know the factors that speed up plaque buildup.

Although POPs are practically undetectable by the human eye, we can minimize its effects by knowing the origins of the food that end up on our plates. Organic and fresh foods are our best bet when it comes to eating safe. Avoiding fatty and high-cholesterol foods are also a good step to consider when rethinking our diets. Getting that much-needed exercise to keep our blood healthily pumping through our blood vessels can also help minimize plaque buildup.

The bottom line is, keeping a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular exercise and following a proper diet is key to keeping plaque deposits away from our arteries.

Sources:

Lind PM, et al, Circulating levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and carotid atherosclerosis in the elderly, Environ Health Persp 120; 1:38-43, 2012

Lind PM, et al, Circulating levels of bisphenol A and phthalates are related to carotid atherosclerosis in the elderly, Atherosclerosis 218; 1:207-13, 2011

Sergeev AV, et al, Residential proximity to environmental sources of persistent organic pollutants and first time hospitalizations for myocardial infarction with co-morbid diabetes: a 12-year population-based study, Internat J Occupat

 

Blueberries Improve Heart Health: Hip or Hype?

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There is a special food that has been scientifically proven to be excellent in promoting heart health: Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium). Vaccinium angustifolium is also called the Lowbush Blueberry and comes from the Heath family (also known as the Ericaceae family). The Heath family contains over 4,000 species of plants, including the blueberry. They usually grow to no more than 1.5 inch in size and are known for their sweet taste. Blueberries have been identified as a superfood that is packed with antioxidants. Blueberries contain: Vitamin K, four grams of fiber, Manganese, 84% water, 0.4 % fat, Vitamin C, iron, and many other nutrients. Particularly concerning heart health, blueberries are rich in polyphenols including anthocyanins, micronutrients, and fiber, which protect the heart. Anthocyanins is a type of flavonoid and an herb utilized in holistic medicinal practice that is responsible for giving the blueberry its color. Flavonoids promote the regulation of healthy cell activity and ward of free radicals that cause oxidative stress on the heart. Anthocyanins possess anti-inflammatory antioxidant properties that prevent cardiovascular disease. The fiber consumed in blueberries reduces blood pressure levels as well as LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Oxidative stress is the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Accumulation of oxidative stress may result not only in extreme inflammation, but also in chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis.

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The intake of polyphenols, by way of consumption of blueberries, protect the heart from coronary heart disease and stroke by decreasing arterial hardness and blood pressure. Blueberries also work to lower LDL oxidation or bad cholesterol.  Bad cholesterol is produced in the body when normal LDL cholesterol is damaged by chemical interactions with free radicals. Studies have shown that consuming 150g or 2/3 cup of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 12-15%.

Polyphenols also reduce oxidative damage by refining the flexibility of systemic arteries, and simultaneously increasing the production of good lipids and lipoproteins. Polyphenols also removes harmful fat from the bloodstream and prevents the heart from experiencing heart trauma. Such trauma includes: Lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis refers to the toughening of the arteries that results from free radicals attack the blood with inflammatory responses. Lipid peroxidation is best described as a chain reaction of attacks where lipid molecules become so oxidized that they create molecules that will decompose and produce harmful waste in the body.

Blueberries have such a pleasant taste that it should be fairly simple to incorporate them into a daily diet regimen. Raw blueberries can be eaten alone or with yogurt and granola as a snack, or in a smoothie or salad, or even cooked in a healthy crumble or baked in a pastry for dessert.

In essence, the many compounds in blueberries hold many antioxidant properties that work to block the hardening of the arteries, lower LDL bad cholesterol, and promote optimal heart functionality. Blueberries also have a role in the regulation of healthy cell activity and response so to prevent the production of free radicals and waste that create oxidative stress and damage the heart. Blueberries are an essential food that must be incorporated into a heart healthy diet. In order to achieve desired or noticeable results, at least 2/3 cup (up to 1 cup recommended) of blueberries should be consumed on a daily basis.

Helpful Tips

A healthy heart is the main key to overall health of the body. The heart is responsible for pumping hormones and blood to the rest of the body, eliminating waste, preserving healthy blood pressure levels, and producing nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells. A weak heart can lead to fatal health complications, including but not limited to: kidney damage, thickened heart muscle, coronary heart disease, extreme body inflammation, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure.

It goes without saying that healthy lifestyle habits including daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and low body mass index, not smoking, and consuming a heart healthy diet are the main ways to ensure the heart is strong enough to perform at its greatest capacity. Common heart healthy foods that are more popular and regularly advised include: avocados, leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, Omega 3 fatty acid, walnuts, and whole grains.

 

SOURCES USED:

ttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955286305001518

 

The Surprising Truth About Environmental Toxins and ALS

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord nerve cells. The name stems from the Greek language. “A” translates to no, “Myo” implies muscle, and “Trophic” is nourishment. During lack of muscular nourishment, the muscle begins to atrophy or waste away. Lateral signifies the areas in the people with ALS spinal cord where segments of nerve cells that control the muscles by sending signals are located. The condition causes degeneration, leading to sclerosis (hardening or scarring) of the area. (ALS Association,2021)

The Role of Environmental Toxins in ALS

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scientific study investigated the role of exposure to toxins within the workplace in the development of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in workers. The study examined “109 cases 253 controls who completed a structured interview covering occupations and workplace exposures. (Fang et al.,2009).”

According to the study results, construction workers and metal workers are at a higher risk for ALS, though supervisors showed no increased risk. An association of a 60-90% higher risk for developing ALS correlated to exposure to the following chemicals:

  • Paint Strippers
  • Cutting Lubricant,
  • Cooling Lubricants
  • Lubricating Oils
  • Antifreeze
  • Coolants
  • Mineral or White Spirits
  • Dry Cleaning Agents

This list is alarming, considering that most of these chemicals arrive packaged with little warning of potential risks. Many occupations rely on the regular use of the substances above. The need to support one’s family negates the possibility of objecting to their use or turning to another profession.

Lead as a Risk for ALS

Another study examined the role of lead exposure in the development of ALS. The study confirmed an associated risk between self-reported lead exposure and the development of ALS.

The following information from the CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lists the occupations at “risk of lead exposure:

  • Artists (materials used may contain lead)
  • Auto repairers (car parts may contain lead)
  • Battery manufacturers (batteries contain lead)
  • Bridge reconstruction workers (old paint may contain lead)
  • Construction workers (materials used may include lead)
  • Firing range instructors and gunsmiths (ammunition contains lead)
  • Glass manufacturers (lead may be used in glass production)
  • Lead manufacturers
  • Lead miners
  • Lead refiners
  • Lead smelters
  • Manufacturers of bullets, ceramics, and electrical components (all contain lead)
  • Painters (old paint and commercial paint may contain lead)
  • Plastic manufacturers (materials made may contain lead)
  • Plumbers and pipefitters (pipes may contain lead)
  • Police officers (ammunition contains lead)
  • Radiator repairers (radiators may contain lead)
  • Recyclers of metal, electronics, and batteries (may contain lead)
  • Rubber product manufacturers (process contains lead)
  • Shipbuilders (materials used may include lead)
  • Solid waste incinerator operators (waste may contain lead)
  • Steel welder (galvanized steel is coated in part with lead)(CDC,2018).”

ALS, ALS symptoms, what is ALS, ALS treatmentAs you can see, the list is exhaustive. Given the significant number of environmental toxins many workers are regularly exposed to, and the confirmed higher risk of ALS given exposure, it is shocking that only two in 100,000 people develop ALS.

If we, as a society, are to reduce the rate of disease caused by environmental toxins, we will need to begin demanding a reduction in toxins within our environment. Environmental toxins harm the biosphere on a grand scale, poisoning water, land, animals, and humans. Sadly, our economic system is supported by professions interdependent on toxic chemicals, and a radical systemic change must occur before a reduction of toxins occurs. The first step is getting society to acknowledge the problem through awareness. It is our hope that this article will serve as an essential step toward that end.

Fang F, et al, Workplace exposures and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Environ Health Persp, 117:1387-92, 2009

Homer RD, et al., Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis among 1991 Gulf War veterans: evidence for a time-limited outbreak, Neuroepidemiol 31:28-32, 2008

“Jobs That May Have Lead Exposure.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 June 2018, www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/lead/jobs.html.

Kamel f, et al, Lead exposure as a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neurodegen Dis, 2:195-201, 2005

“What Is Als? .” The ALS Association, 26 Apr. 2021, www.als.org/understanding-als/what-is-als.

6 Bizarre Orange Peel Facts You Need to Know

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Most people rush to throw their orange peel away after eating a delicious orange. For many, this has been ingrained into their heads since childhood that we simply do not eat the peel! However, orange peels have so many other uses beyond eating them. Orange peels are the outside or “bumpy” part of an orange, along with some of the stringy white stuff that surrounds it. Believe it or not, the orange peel is packed with nutrients and health benefits. In this article, we’ll provide some of the amazing benefits of orange peels and how to use them. Orange peels can actually be a beneficial addition to a healthy diet. You’ll never trash an orange peel again after reading these benefits.

What does an orange peel contain?

Oranges are part of the citrus family and are known for having a high Vitamin C content. However, as far as the peel goes, there are several other nutrients and antioxidants found in orange peels, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, copper, calcium, and magnesium. Orange peels contain polyphenols that protect against diseases, too, such as lung problems and heart conditions. Orange peels contain a compound known as limonene which may also have anti-cancer effects. Keep reading to learn more about all of the amazing health benefits of orange peels!
Although the peel of an orange is edible for humans without harm, it may not be feasible or recommended for most people. Due to their rough and tough outside texture, it is not generally pleasant to eat as it can cause digestive problems and stomach upset. Orange peels are high in fiber, which can lead to stomach upset as well. Eating too much or very large pieces of orange peels can cause digestive symptoms such as bloating, cramps, or abdominal pain. In addition, many people find them unappealing due to their bitter taste and dry texture.

How do I consume it?

There are other methods to ingesting an orange peel rather than direct consumption. Using a knife or veggie peeler, you can cut thin strips to use in salads or smoothies. Another common orange peel usage method is to make them into sweetened, dried orange peels for a delicious and nutritious snack. Orange zest can be used in many ways, too, including in marinates, oatmeal, yogurt, and much more.

When consuming orange peel, be mindful of quantity as too much orange peel can cause some other unwanted side effects, such as a headache, body weakness, or vision problems. This is only seen in excessive consumption of orange peels.

Orange essential oil can be used for a variety of applications that range from lifting mood and reducing stress to adding a fresh, citrusy aroma to a room.

Benefits of Orange Peels

Other than the ways mentioned above to use orange peels, there are even more benefits and uses of orange peels to incorporate into your life.

orange peel benefits, orange peel tea benefits, health benefits of orange peel, orange peel benefits for skinSkin Care Benefits- A great use of orange peel is to improve your skin! Due to the antioxidants found in orange peels, applying them to your skin can help fight skin conditions that are linked to inflammation and even prevent wrinkles and age spots. Some people have also found orange peels to help with dry skin, acne, and blackheads. For those looking for natural skincare products, an orange peel could be your answer to fresh, glowing skin!

 

orange peel benefits, orange peel tea benefits, health benefits of orange peel, orange peel benefits for skinHeart Health- Since orange peels are high in fiber and have numerous vitamins, peels can help improve your heart health! Orange peels can lower blood pressure and prevent problems such as high cholesterol. Orange peels also contain a common flavonoid known as hesperidin. Hesperidin helps regulate blood pressure and maintain good cholesterol levels.

 

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 Lung Health- In addition to positive benefits for your overall heart health, orange peels can have amazing health benefits for your lung health. The vitamin C within orange peels helps clear chest congestion and cleanse the lungs. Vitamin C also increases immunity and strengthens the immune system to fight off viruses and colds to help improve overall health.

 

 orange peel benefits, orange peel tea benefits, health benefits of orange peel, orange peel benefits for skinHangover Cure-This is one unique use for orange peels! Feeling hungover after a long night out? Try boiling an orange peel for 15 to 20 minutes and create a tea. Drink this tea for a hangover cure!

 

 orange peel benefits, orange peel tea benefits, health benefits of orange peel, orange peel benefits for skinCancer Prevention- Orange peels have the ability to slow the growth of cancer cells, specifically found to help with skin cancer. Regular consumption of orange peels can help you decrease your risks for skin and lung cancer. This is due to specific types of flavonoids that inhibit a protein that has been linked to cancer.

 

 orange peel benefits, orange peel tea benefits, health benefits of orange peel, orange peel benefits for skinAllergies & Inflammation – Struggling with nasty allergies? Orange peels contain active compounds which can help suppress allergic reactions and serve as an anti-inflammatory. A recent study has compared the use of orange peels with a commonly known anti-inflammatory drug, known as Indomethacin. The study concluded that orange peel can be a great natural alternative with positive anti-inflammatory benefits.

Research has shown that orange essential oil may have several benefits. Some examples include antimicrobial activity, pain relief, insecticide activity, weight loss, exercise performance enhancement, anxiety and depression relief.

 

The Unbelievable Things You Never Knew About Cinnamon

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What is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice that has been used for thousands of years and yet as popular as ever today. In fact, it is currently ranked as the number 1 spice out of the most common spices used in the world.  Why is cinnamon enjoying such incredible popularity?  This inexpensive spice can be found in every grocery store and it not only provides its characteristic taste of sweetness and warmth when added to recipes, but as many ancient cultures who have used it medicinally have known, cinnamon has many health benefits as well.

 

What’s Good About Cinnamon?

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Cinnamon’s numerous healing and medicinal properties are well established.  Here are just of few the benefits of this ubiquitous spice.

Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants that reduce free radicals, fight oxidative stress, and limit nitric acid build up, all of which can help prevent various brain and heart diseases as well as cancer, and generally help slow the aging process.  Cinnamon is ranked number 7 among all foods for its level of antioxidants.

Cinnamon can boost heart health by reducing high cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, all of which can help avoid strokes and heart disease. Further, its natural anticoagulant properties help it form blood clots that can stop excess bleeding and improve tissue repair and circulation in the body.

Cinnamon’s flavonoids help relieve inflammation, which can ease muscle soreness, swelling, menstrual pain, and allergic reactions. It can also preserve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  More research is needed, but it may help protect against neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Cinnamon can help stabilize blood sugar due to its anti-diabetic effects, while also improving insulin sensitivity for improved movement of sugar through the blood and into tissues.  Supplementing with cinnamon extract may assist people with Type 2 diabetes.

 Varieties

 Cinnamon is produced from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree and is harvested by extracting its inner bark which dries into rolls that can be ground into cinnamon power.  While most people would likely be surprised to learn that there are hundreds of types of cinnamon, most of the varieties used commercially can be classified as one of two types: Cassia cinnamon, with a flavor that is somewhat deeper and spicier, and Ceylon cinnamon with a bit of a lighter, sweeter, more citrusy taste.  When most people think of “cinnamon,” they are thinking of the more commonly available Cassia variety, while the Ceylon variety is harder to find and more expensive.

Identifying and Buying Types of Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon is readily available in the spice section of most grocery stores and supermarkets; however, you may need to look for Ceylon cinnamon in health or ethnic food stores, or in those sections of your grocery store.  Cassia cinnamon is generally a red or dark brown in color while Ceylon cinnamon is a tan color.  If the variety of cinnamon you are buying isn’t listed on the label, it is likely the more common Cassia variety.

Too Much of the Spice?

All varieties of cinnamon contain coumarin, a chemical that is present in plants and acts as a natural blood thinner.  However, the concentration of coumarin is higher in Cassia cinnamon than in Ceylon cinnamon, an important distinction because coumarin has the potential to damage the liver if eaten in high enough quantities. This is something to keep in mind if you are if you are taking medications for or have a damaged liver, are about to undergo a dental or surgical procedure, or are at high risk of bleeding.  Therefore, consuming too much Cassia cinnamon per day could be problematic for the liver.  If you consume cinnamon daily for health reasons, you may want to consider exclusively eating Ceylon cinnamon.  So even with cinnamon, there can be “too much of a good thing” as the adage goes, even for people without these health considerations, but the average person does need to be overly concerned with the effects of excess coumarin in their diet.

In summary

Cinnamon is a very popular spice that has been used for thousands of years for its sweet, warm flavor and its health and medicinal properties.  Some of its many benefits are that it is loaded with antioxidants and can boost heart health, relieve inflammation, preserve brain function, and stabilize blood sugar.  The two main varieties of cinnamon are Cassia, the less expensive and more commonly available variety with a deeper, spicier taste, and Ceylon, the more expensive and less common variety with a sweeter, more citrusy flavor.  Coumarin is a natural blood thinner that is present in Cassia cinnamon in higher concentrations.  People who are sensitive to liver issues or bleeding may want to consider switching to Ceylon cinnamon.

SOURCES USED: 

paleofoundation.com/9-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-your-cinnamon/

draxe.com/nutrition/health-benefits-cinnamon/

Should You Be Worried About the Link Between Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease?

In recent years, research has accelerated into Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are studying the disease around the clock in order to understand the causes, and solutions, to the disease. While there are still dozens of different avenues to look into, some research has illuminated a potential link between common household pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease.

It’s been found that exposing certain neurotransmitters to pesticides greatly reduces their energy level and output, which could translate into the development of Parkinson’s Disease. The link between pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease is still being studied and reviewed thoroughly, so new evidence is still coming out every day. Here’s a brief guide to the findings so far.

The Environment and Parkinson’s Disease

It’s been known for years now that while environmental factors can and do play a part in developing Parkinson’s Disease, they aren’t as important or predictive as genetic factors. A person’s genetic makeup is still the number one determining factor when trying to figure out how Parkinson’s Disease develops and reveals itself, though environmental factors can “trigger” the disease in people who are already genetically susceptible.

Any environmental factor is thought to only increase the odds of developing the disease slightly, especially when comparing it to the genetic makeup of the individual. Furthermore, there are also environmental factors which have actually been shown to decrease the risk of the disease, such as coffee and anti-inflammatory medications.

Location and the Development of Parkinson’s

Studies were conducted throughout the 80s to determine the link between rural living and the development of Parkinson’s Disease. Although many are unaware of these studies, they do confirm a link, although tenuous, between rural living and the development of Parkinson’s.

There are many factors which researchers looked at when trying to establish a connection: farming as an occupation, frequency of time spent around animals, living on a farm, and exposure to a variety of pesticides, as well as frequently drinking well water. These factors closely correlate to each other, however, so the individual factors should be taken with a grain of salt.

Restudying Rural Considerations

Since the study in question was performed in the 80s, nearly forty-five years ago, a team in Finland decided to reconduct the experiment to see if anything had changed in that timespan. Interestingly, they came to the same results as the previous study.

Although citizens had flocked to urban areas from rural farmland and well water is no longer used predominantly as a drinking source in rural areas, the study still showed a tenuous connection between growing up in rural areas and developing Parkinson’s Disease. It’s possible this conclusion represents a carry-over from environmental exposure from well into the past, although there is no substantial evidence to confirm or deny this conclusion.

Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease

The connection between pesticides and Parkinson’s has been raised many times, which led some researchers to look into specific pesticides. However, these efforts are difficult because they require data which already exists in the population. Researchers can’t simply expose individuals to pesticides and record the data, so they must use information from pre-existing patients and study their findings based on the patients’ accounts.

However, despite these difficulties, there have been specific chemicals which have been studied, as there is enough data to do so. The chemical paraquat has been the most studied chemical in this timespan and seems to pose a significant risk to triggering Parkinson’s in patients.

The chemical is associated with a likelihood of disease development two or three times the control group. Another chemical which is concerning to the scientific community is rotenone, which acts to disrupt mitochondria during its use. Rotenone is actually extracted from plants, making it a “natural pesticide” though it has still been associated with Parkinson’s Disease and its development.

Other Concerns

Pesticides and rural living are not the only factors which can increase pesticides. Although, again, this research is difficult to conduct and conclusions are not always substantial or set in stone, there have been other, urban elements that have been associated with a slight risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. These mostly include factors born from air pollution in cities and other urban areas.

For example, numerous pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide have been linked to Parkinson’s Disease. Additionally, metals like copper, mercury, and manganese which can become entwined in the fabric of city air have also shown the potential to increase the risk of Parkinson’s, though not to a great degree.

Military Pesticides

One of the most extensively studied chemicals in the last fifty years is “agent orange” a pesticide sprayed by the American military in Vietnam, in an attempt to kill trees and plants of the country. This chemical is itself a mix of two other chemicals and lasts an extremely long time in the environment and in the systems of those who are exposed.

Many negative health outcomes, such as birth defects and cancer, have been attributed to Agent Orange’s use. However, many studies also come to wildly different conclusions. American Veterans are actually protected under the “Agent Orange Act” even if the scientific data is not airtight, an accommodation made to protect those who served in Vietnam. In 2010, Parkinson’s Disease was added to the list of ailments covered under the act.

SOURCES USED:

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/isee.2013.P-3-23-13

8 Reasons Licorice Root Is Going to Be Big in 2022

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Licorice root has been used throughout history and is extremely beneficial to the human body. Over the years, it has been studied and its effects have been observed, to give people an accurate idea of how the herb can help.

What is Licorice Root?

 Licorice root is an herb from the Mediterranean that has been used for its medicinal benefits from ancient times. It is extremely sweet, containing glycyrrhizin, which can be up to 50 times sweeter than sugar. Thus, the candy licorice, takes its name from the root known for its sweetness and medicinal benefits.

In the ancient world, it was used for the treatment of coughs, asthma, inflammation, and mucous membrane irritation. Documented use took place in Greece, China, Arabia, India, and more, making it a common treatment in history. In fact, licorice root was used as an ingredient in practically every herbal treatment in China, due to its ability to support and boost the effects of other herbs.

Today, people continue to use licorice root for multiple reasons. Having been used and promoted as an effective treatment option for centuries, people all over the world have discovered the natural gem that licorice root is.

What are the Benefits?

 Users and studies have claimed abundant benefits when it comes to licorice root. Take a look at some of the most common health benefits of this ancient perennial herb:

  • Helps with cold symptoms (coughs, sore throats)

 One of the most common uses of licorice root is for help with colds and cold symptoms. For centuries, it has been used to reduce congestion that is associated with colds and coughs. Its help lies in its ability to loosen phlegm, expel it from the lungs, and provide a soothing sensation for the irritation of mucous membranes.

  • Supports the digestive system and helps with acid reflux

It has been proven to be an effective aid in digestion. It also helps relieve acid reflux due to its ability to soothe the irritation and inflammation that occurs in the digestive tract.

Other negative effects of digestion issues, such as gas, bloating, and upset stomach, can be reduced, or eliminated with the use of licorice root. The extract of licorice root, combined with extracts from other herbs, has also been found to relieve other digestive issues such as vomiting and indigestion.

  • Stomach ulcer relief

Stomach ulcers are caused by the H. Pylori bacteria. Due to the antibacterial properties found in licorice root, it has been used as treatment and relief for those who suffer from stomach ulcers.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties that support the immune system

It contains compounds that assist in the regulation of T cell induction, which has a major role in immune response. The anti-inflammatory properties of licorice root assist the immune system, aiding in the fight against illness and other immunosuppressed conditions.

  • Helps fight viral infections

 There are anti-viral properties in licorice root that have the potential to fight against influenza, hepatitis, SARS, herpes, and other infections. From a research standpoint, more studies could make them an integral part of healing illness.

  • Constipation relief

 This root works as a natural laxative, helping the colon contract to move waste through. Anyone suffering from constipation could potentially find relief using licorice root.

  • Supports through PMS and menopause

 Licorice root has been known to help relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause, including reducing hot flashes. This is due to certain effects of licorice that act like estrogen. The herb can be used as an effective addition to hormone therapy.

  • Supports the adrenal system

 As an apoptogenic herb, it helps the body regulate cortisol, which relieves the adrenal glands. This relief helps to reduce stress, which positively supports the entire physical and mental condition of the body.

Is It Safe?

Overall, licorice root is safe and provides multiple benefits for the physical and mental health of its users. However, users must be sure not to take too much licorice root or to take it for extended periods of time.

Glycyrrhiza, the main active ingredient in the herb, can cause a condition that creates an overactive sensitivity in the adrenal cortex. This oversensitivity can cause headaches, high blood pressure, and has been known to cause heart attacks.

Licorice root should not be taken for over a week at a time or be pregnant and breastfeeding women. With safe practices, licorice root can be a very useful treatment for multiple ailments.

SOURCES USED:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/21/licorice-root-uses.aspx

The Simple Formula for Success with Insulin Resistance

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Insulin resistance is a condition that occurs when the human body fails to use insulin properly. This means that the body cannot balance blood glucose levels. The prevalence of this condition among adults ranges from 15.5 to 46.5% across the world. However, insulin resistance occurs across all age groups. This post provides you with all you need to know about insulin resistance, including how you can prevent or reverse the condition. But before we can go deep into insulin resistance, we should understand what insulin is and how it works.

The Importance of Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas; a large gland situated at the back of your stomach. The primary role of this hormone is to help your body absorb glucose and use it for energy.  After eating, your digestive tract processes carbohydrates into glucose, which is then absorbed in your bloodstream through the small intestines. Insulin enables the cells in your body to absorb the glucose and use it for energy.  The hormone is also responsible for balancing the glucose levels in your blood. If the levels are high, insulin prompts your body to store the excess glucose in your liver.

What is Insulin Resistance

Also known as impaired insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance is a condition that occurs when the cells in your liver, fat, and muscles fail to respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose for energy.  In response, your pancreas produces more insulin. Your blood levels remain healthy, provided the pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome the condition. Otherwise, your blood glucose levels go higher than average in a condition called prediabetes.

What is Prediabetes, and How Common is it?

Simply put, prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be regarded as type 2 diabetes. The condition occurs in people with insulin resistance or when your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to balance the sugar levels.  Individuals with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they fail to change their lifestyles.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three people in the United States has prediabetes.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes

Most individuals don’t realize they have insulin resistance or prediabetes until they get a blood test. It is normal for anyone to have high blood sugar levels every now and then. However, if your blood sugar levels are consistently high, you feel more tired, thirstier, have a vision problem, and urinate more, then it could be prediabetes.  Also, some individuals may develop dark spots on the back of the neck and under the armpits. Skin growths in these areas are also a common sign of prediabetes.

Causes and Risk Factors of Insulin Resistance

Although the exact cause for insulin resistance is still unclear, researchers have often associated the condition with an inactive lifestyle and excess weight.

Inactive lifestyle

Leading an inactive lifestyle has been linked to prediabetes and insulin resistance. Physical activities allow your body to undergo some changes that help it to balance normal blood sugar levels.

Excess weight

Doctors say that being obese, overweight, or sedentary increases your insulin resistance risk. They believe that extra fat tissue may cause physiological stress and inflammation, which lead to insulin resistance.

Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Certain medications like antipsychotics
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Sleep problems

Diagnosis and Tests for Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes

If you notice any of the symptoms of insulin resistance and prediabetes – mentioned above – you should visit your doctor. The physician will use the following things to diagnose the condition:

Physical exams: The doctor will check your blood pressure and weight

Questions: The care provider will ask about your family medical history

Blood tests: The physician will likely carry out several blood tests, including:

Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test:

This test measures your blood glucose levels when you haven’t eaten for at least 8 hours. The table below shows the results and their interpretation.

Result FPG
Diabetes 126 mg/dl or more
Prediabetes Between 100mg/dl to 125 mg/dl
Normal /dl or below

Hemoglobin A1c test:

This test checks your blood glucose levels in the last 2 to 3 months. Below are the results and interpretation of the test

Result A1c
Diabetes 6.5% or more
Prediabetes 5.7% to 6.4%
Normal 5.7% or less

 

Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT):

OGTT checks your blood glucose levels 2 hours after taking a sugary drink. The following table shows the results and interpretation of the test.

Result OGTT
Diabetes 200 mg/dl or more
Prediabetes Between 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl
Normal 140 mg/dl or below

If you’re free from either of these conditions, you should be retested at least once every three years, especially if you have other risk factors for diabetes.

Reversing or Preventing Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes

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While it’s impossible to deal with insulin resistance or prediabetes completely, there are several ways you can make your body cells more receptive to insulin, including:

Weight loss

Losing weight can help you reverse or prevent insulin resistance in your body. Research shows that losing 5 to 7% of your starting weight can help minimize the chances of developing diabetes.

You can eat certain foods or change your lifestyle to lose weight. For instance, you can eat more vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, whole grains, and other lead proteins. Also, you may consider talking to a personal trainer or a nutritionist.

Getting active

Regular physical exercise remains to be the most effective way of reducing insulin resistance and diabetes among individuals. Exercising makes your body more sensitive to insulin and opens up alternative paths for glucose to enter your muscle cells.

Medications

Although there are no medications specifically for treating prediabetes or insulin resistance, you may use diabetes medications to manage the conditions. These medications include thiazolidinediones and metformin

Don’t panic

Although a fight against an invisible condition can feel discouraging and frustrating, know that you’re not alone. There are several effective and proven ways of combating insulin resistance and prediabetes. Staying active, losing weight, and eating healthy are sure ways to manage the condition.

SOURCES USED:

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance

The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet

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Deciding what to eat is probably the single most important health decision a person makes.  While air and water are the two most necessary requirements for staying alive, food occupies our minds most of the time.  Our prerequisites for air and water center almost entirely around whether they are pure and clean.  Food on the other hand introduces the factor of taste.  A question we ask daily, “What do you want to eat?” is almost always a query about flavor rather than nutrition.  Eating food not only sustains human beings, it is one of our carnal pleasures.  Sometimes that need for taste leads us to make bad choices.  We fill our diet with food that isn’t good for us.  Conversely when we find a diet that strikes a better balance we stick with it.  The Paleo Diet, popularized strongly at the beginning of the century, has showed staying power for just that reason.  It’s a well-researched nutrition plan backed by several noted scientists that also happens to have plenty room for variety and taste.

What Is the Paleo Diet?

The concept behind the Paleo Diet is the idea that humankind’s DNA is essentially the same as it was during the Paleolithic era.  Modern humans came into existence between one hundred and three hundred thousand years ago.  The Paleolithic era ended approximately eleven thousand years ago, so our species has spent more than ninety percent of its evolutionary time within the Paleolithic.  The thinking behind the diet is that the human digestive tract has not gone through substantive changes since the Paleolithic era ended.  Our ancestors were essentially hunter-gatherers.  They didn’t eat cultivated grains or domesticated meats in any quantity.  Their water had fewer chemicals, and their physical activity was far more pronounced.

Our habits and food sources have changed significantly through the centuries.  We have access to more diverse meal possibilities due to our famous ability to adapt.  On top of that, our scientific and industrial innovation has given us artificial supplements and food capabilities unavailable to our primitive ancestors.  We ingest meats and grains that the human body has only had a few dozen decades to absorb.  Our plants and animals are fed by fertilizers and steroids, which come into our systems as we consume the food we manufacture.

Creators of the Paleo Diet believe we force ourselves to digest foods that are incompatible with our gastrointestinal systems as well as our health.  As far back as the 1890’s writers such as John Harvey Kellogg and Emmet Densmore lamented the effects of grains on human health.  Author Walter L. Voegtlin published a book in 1975 called “The Stone Age Diet”.  As a gastroenterologist he advocated a meat-centric diet that kept vegetables and starches to a minimum.  In the twenty-first century Dr. Loren Cordain published his book, “The Paleo Diet”, which trademarked the name and system that suggests a diet almost exclusively of vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, meat, and organ meats

What Are the Benefits Of A Paleo-Diet?

The Paleo Diet allows you to eat the following:

  • Wild Game and Lean Grass-fed Meats
  • Seeds And Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Oils
  • Fish

The diet seeks to avoid the following foods:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Refined Sugar
  • Salt

On top of these restrictions the Paleo Diet frowns upon heavily processed food in general.

As we can see by the above lists, the Paleo-Diet is good for weight loss, since it cuts down on calorie-rich food and carbohydrates.  Since the diet’s proponents also suggest a good exercise regimen and generous water consumption, the system encourages muscle tone and skin health.  The diet’s food components are good regulators of blood sugar.  It helps with stress and keeps dangerous fats at a low level.  The Paleo Diet’s ‘creators’ claim that it lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disease.  Not enough definitive studies have been done to give these claims firm scientific backing, but elements of the diet have been known to have a positive influence on heart and digestive health.

Since the Paleo Diet forbids dairy products, there is some worry about suffering from Vitamin D and calcium deficiency.  Some other worries are increased diarrhea, as well as possible exposure to more toxins in fish.  Proponents of the diet point out the ability to avoid toxins by practicing simple avoidance. Some foods that the diet allows have supplies of Vitamin D and calcium that can be increased to compensate for the absence of dairy products.

What Are Some Examples of a Paleo-Diet Meal?

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As we first mentioned taste is an important part of anyone’s diet choice.  The Paleo Diet has several fine dishes that are in perfect keeping with its requirements.  Everything from chicken salad to burgers, to grilled salmon and pork is allowed in Paleo Diet meals.  Vegetables fried in coconut oil, sweet potatoes and steak are also on the menu.  Lettuce leaf wraps can be used instead of sandwiches.  Grilled chicken wings with salsa make a nice movie or sports-event snack.

 

SOURCES USED :

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/paleo-diet/art-20111182,

https://thepaleodiet.com/